Sports-in-Brief

Matthew Levenson, Asst. Sports Editor

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Disappointing end to Penguins season

On April 16, the Pittsburgh Penguins were swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York Islanders. Unable to win a single playoff game and struggling to score goals, this year’s team simply did not meet their expectations. For the second year in a row, this group did not seem like they were playing at the necessary level to win the cup again which means something needs to change. The Penguins themselves stated that they are even open to trading star players like center Evgeni Malkin, right-winger Phil Kessel and defenseman Kris Letang. Whether it be the style of play, the players or both, big changes are heading Pittsburgh’s way.

 

Injury riddled ‘Bucs’ keeping heads at .500.

At the time of print the Pittsburgh Pirates have a .500 win/loss percentage and are tied for third in the central league. The Pirates are on pace to finish around .500 this season which is what was expected of them coming into this year. What was not expected was the fact that they are remaining in contention with countless injuries to key players all season long. 60% of the Pirates starting pitching rotation has been out for extended periods of time. Pitcher Chris Archer just returned after having been out from a thumb injury, Trevor Williams is currently out with an oblique injury and their ace Jameson Taillon has been out for the last few weeks with a strained forearm and is not expected to be back until late June or early July. Injuries have also plagued their position players. Gold-Glove left fielder Corey Dickerson has been out for all but the first four games of the season with a strained shoulder. Right fielder Gregory Polanco had offseason shoulder surgery and did not return to the lineup until the end of April and starting shortstop Eric Gonzalez has a broken collar bone and is not scheduled to return until mid July. What has helped the Pirates remain around .500 has been the performance of first baseman Josh Bell who is currently batting .340 with 17 home runs and has the second most RBIs in the MLB with 48. Once the Pirates get their key players back from injury they have a very good shot at reaching 90 wins or more on the season, finishing above .500 and possibly making the playoffs.

 

Steelers fill major gaps in draft

On April 25, the 2019 NFL Draft began in Nashville, Tenn. The Steelers made a surprising and much needed move, trading up to the 10th spot in the first round and selecting linebacker Devin Bush from Michigan. Bush was one of the best linebackers in the draft and will fill the hole where Ryan Shazier used to play perfectly using his speed. The Steelers also strengthened their receiver and running back corp following the losses of Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell earlier in the offseason by drafting wide receiver Diontae Johnson from the University of Toledo and running back Benny Snell Jr. from the University of Kentucky. Additionally, the Steelers addressed another weak position by adding a promising cornerback to the secondary: Justin Layne from Michigan State. With the drama out of the locker room and a slew of much needed talent from the draft, Steelers fans have plenty to look forward to this season.

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