Jones: Mata makes us motor

first_img “He sees the pass that sometimes no-one else does,” said Jones. “If he continues to make them I am sure we will soon be climbing the table. “There is no two ways about that. He will be a fantastic player for Manchester United, hopefully for many years to come.” With Van Persie taking so little time to make an impact after 11 games on the sidelines with a thigh injury, and Wayne Rooney able to replace the Dutchman after recovering from a groin problem, it is easy to view the gloom that has gathered around Old Trafford as an over-the-top reaction to a temporary problem. Not that Jones was paying much attention anyway. “Daft as it sounds, we try not to take any notice of what is going on around us and concentrate on improving and getting the things right we needed to address,” the versatile United man said. “Slowly but surely I am sure we will do that and come back stronger than ever.” Nevertheless, as Moyes pointed out on Monday, a reshaping of his squad is under way. Anderson, Fabio and Wilfried Zaha have already been allowed to leave, with a growing feeling Nani might well follow amid speculation about a loan move to Inter Milan, despite him being absent since December 7 with a hamstring injury. Certainly, Ashley Young, who scored United’s second against Cardiff, and Antonio Valencia, who headed against the bar immediately prior to Van Persie’s opener, would appear to have a greater chance of playing a significant role under Moyes. And, as former captain Gary Neville indicated last week, Mata’s arrival suggests the United boss is prepared to ditch the club’s traditional tactic of playing orthodox wide-men anyway, at least on occasion. All will become obvious as the months roll on. For now, Jones knows United’s task is the straightforward one of attempting to win matches, continuing at Stoke on Saturday. “It is a game-by-game situation now,” he said. “All we can afford to do is look at Saturday. “We have Stoke this weekend. We need to go there and win. Then we need to follow that up. “We need to maintain a run. There is no point looking at the situation in any other way.” Despite having just two training sessions under his belt following a club record £37.1million transfer from Chelsea, manager David Moyes still handed Mata his first United start in the 2-0 Premier League win over Cardiff. The midfielder even managed to play a role in a goal, given it was his magnificent crossfield pass that launched the attack that resulted in Robin van Persie netting a sixth-minute opener. Phil Jones has revealed Juan Mata has already made a big impact at Manchester United – and not only on the pitch. That contribution came as little surprise to those who have watched Mata produce performances that earned him Chelsea’s player of the year prize for the past two seasons. His talents have not gone unnoticed in the United dressing room, which is why Jones feels an extra spark has been evident at the Aon Training Centre. “It makes an impact in the dressing room when you sign a player of that calibre,” said Jones. “He is such a talented player. “He has definitely lifted spirits, especially in training. “We want to impress and show him that we are one of the best teams to be at. “I am sure he will be a huge asset.” Although it was understandably only seen in glimpses, Mata offered the kind of inventiveness that has been lacking from United’s play too often this season. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Dodgers bullpen lets another one slip through its fingers in loss to Reds

first_imgTrailing by two with one out in the ninth inning, Cody Bellinger (who had homered for the Dodgers’ first run in the game) got ahead in the count 3-and-0 against Reds reliever Jared Hughes. Dave Roberts sent the take sign to third base coach Chris Woodward who relayed it to Bellinger.And Bellinger bunted.“In that situation, you want to make that guy throw strikes,” Roberts said later. “A 3-and-0 situation — I was surprised.”Hughes handled the bunt easily, threw Bellinger out and then got Chris Taylor to line out to shortstop to end the game.Just a few days after Roberts bemoaned the fact that his hitters needed to “have different clubs in your bag,” Bellinger had pulled the wrong club for the situation.“I was trying to get the tying run to the plate there. Just didn’t execute,” Bellinger said.“I mean, I had the take sign. Knew the fastball was coming. I’ve done it so many times before I thought it was going to be an easy bunt. …At that moment, I thought it was a good play. I knew a heater was coming and those are the easiest pitches to bunt.”Given the current state of the team and the fact that Roberts pulled him from a game for a perceived lack of hustle just two weeks ago, Bellinger’s misguided attempt to jumpstart a rally plays as willful defiance as well.Roberts and Bellinger had not spoken about it immediately after the game but Roberts indicated there would be a conversation.“It’s one of those where if you get it down, it’s a great play. If you don’t, it’s a bad play,” Bellinger said. “If I could do it again I wouldn’t. At the time, I thought it was a good idea.”Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.Letting Stripling bat for himself with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth seemed like a good idea to Roberts at the time too. He was more focused on “run prevention” with Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett coming up in the sixth than using a pinch-hitter to try and push across another run, Roberts said.His two lefty relievers, Adam Liberatore and Scott Alexander, were unavailable so Roberts sent Stripling out to face the two lefties – the right-handed Stripling actually fares better against lefties. Stripling had already thrown 71 pitches – the most he had thrown in a game since August 2016.He got Votto looking at a curveball for a called third strike, Stripling’s career-high seventh strikeout of the game. But he gave up a single to Gennett (who is 10 for 14 in this series). Roberts went to Chargois — and another Dodgers’ lead disappeared through the hole in their pockets.“It’s kind of what’s been going on,” Roberts said. “He came in. I loved the matchup and he got a ground ball. It popped out of his glove and ends up being an infield hit. If he misses it completely, we get a double play. We had guys there (up the middle). If he catches it cleanly, it’s a double play.”The Reds piled on with doubles by Tucker Barnhart and Alex Blandino.During their past 19 games, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been the infected tooth that every bite seems to find. Relievers have given up 11 home runs and taken five losses during the freefall, posting a collective 5.25 ERA and unsightly 1.58 WHIP. Of course, the next batter, Scott Schebler, hit a three-run home run just over the wall in left field and the Cincinnati Reds went on to hand the Dodgers another defeat, 5-3.The Dodgers have lost three in a row to the team with the worst record in the National League and 13 of their past 19 overall.“Yeah, man – can’t get out of our own way a little bit,” said Dodgers starter Ross Stripling who handed a 3-1 lead to Chagrois in the sixth. “One bounce and it could have been different. This is definitely a tough one. None of them have been easy to swallow.“If he catches it, turns and makes a throw, maybe we’re having a more pleasant conversation right now. That one stinks. That’s just the way it’s going for us right now.”Indeed. Not only can’t the Dodgers seem to catch a break, when they try to make one for themselves they get that wrong too. PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig reacts after lining into a double play during the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey, top, reacts after Los Angeles Dodgers’ Austin Barnes scored on single by Joc Pederson during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsFormer Los Angeles Dodgers players Steve Yeager, left, Steve Garvey, center, and Ron Cey talk before an Old Timers game that was held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Fernando Valenzuela, left, and Sandy Koufax talk before an Old Timers game held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, center, puts his hands on the shoulders of Fernando Valenzuela, second from right, as Don Newcombe stands by before an Old Timers game that was held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, center, talks to Kirk Gibson, right, as Don Newcombe stands nearby before an Old Timers game held before a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers player Kirk Gibson signs autographs before an Old Timers game held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela winds up during an Old Timers game held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Sandy Koufax, left, and Don Newcombe talk before an Old Timers game held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers player and current manager Dave Roberts laughs after being thrown out at first during an Old Timers game held prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, left, dives for a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy as Chris Taylor runs to second during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. Muncy was thrown out at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger watches his solo home run off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, left, is congratulated by manager Dave Roberts, center, and coach Bob Geren after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Austin Barnes, right, scores on single by Joc Pederson as Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart waits for the throw during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey, left, reacts after Los Angeles Dodgers’ Austin Barnes scored on single by Joc Pederson during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds’ Scott Schebler hits a three-run home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher JT Chargois, front, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds’ Scott Schebler, right, scores on his three-run home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher JT Chargois, left, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson can’t reach a three-run home run by Cincinnati Reds’ Scott Schebler during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda looks at a bat belonging to Kirk Gibson, right, during an Old Timer’s game that was held prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Enrique Hernandez makes a catch on a ball hit by Cincinnati Reds’ Scott Schebler during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds’ Scott Schebler hits a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Jared Hughes throws during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Reds won 5-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez gestures before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig reacts after lining into a double play during the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 27Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES — You know the pie in the face is coming. You sense it. You just don’t know exactly when it will be delivered.It came in the sixth inning Saturday night.When J.T. Chargois stabbed at Eugenio Suarez’s hard comebacker to the mound, the ball hit right inside his glove. An inning-ending double play that would have preserved a two-run Dodger lead at the time was within reach. But not grasped.The ball didn’t stick. It bounced out. Chargois lost sight of it and spun around in confusion, looking for it. By the time he and the ball were reunited, everyone was safe.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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