QPR clash is crucial – Perez

first_img The 21-year-old striker snatched a point with his seventh goal of the season to secure a 1-1 draw with West Brom at St James’ Park on Saturday, their first point since February 28. Perez’s strike could not prevent the club from slipping to 17th place in the table, just two points above the drop zone as a result of victories for Sunderland and Leicester. But their fate remains in their own hands with Hull having slipped into the bottom three and facing testing final fixtures against Tottenham and Manchester United. However, a win at Loftus Road could prove decisive, and that will be the only focus for the former Tenerife frontman and his team-mates. Perez told nufcTV: “It has given us a lot of confidence, but we need to focus on the next game, QPR, and just go after those three important points. “It’s a crucial game, a very important game. We need to go there and get the three points. It’s very important.” Summer signing Perez has been something of a revelation for Newcastle having been thrown in at the deep end because of a combination of Papiss Cisse’s protracted absences through injury, the African Nations Cup and suspension, and Emmanuel Riviere’s difficulties settling into English football. His side was trailing to Victor Anichebe’s 32nd-minute header when Ryan Taylor’s free-kick was half-cleared and he drilled a left-foot snapshot past Boaz Myhill and into the bottom corner. Asked if it was his most important goal to date for the club, he said: “Yes, undoubtedly. “We had a really bad start to the game and therefore the goal made up for it. It’s one more goal under my belt, so it was very important.” Press Association Both sides had chances to win the game during a tense second half, with Baggies substitute Saido Berahino being denied by both keeper Tim Krul and the woodwork and Magpies counterpart Sammy Ameobi sending an acrobatic overhead kick just too high at the death. However, they had to make do with a point apiece, a satisfactory reward for the home side in the circumstances, although two fewer than they had hoped for. Nevertheless, under-fire head coach John Carver breathed a sigh of relief after fearing the worst as the players lined up in the tunnel before kick-off following his team’s capitulation at Leicester seven days earlier. He said: “It was probably the worst game we could have had following last week because I looked at the two sides in the tunnel and it was like Land of the Giants. “They were all 6’4″ centre-halves at the back, we had 5’7″ jockeys, and that’s something we have got to look at because set-plays are important.” The draw handed West Brom the point they needed to mathematically seal their presence in next season’s Barclays Premier League and leave manager Tony Pulis delighted with his players, who have taken 24 points from the 17 league games they have played since his appointment. Pulis said: “Yes – and only just got safe now, which shows how well the players have done. “It’s been absolutely fantastic. If you spin it round, we could have been on 48, 50 points if we had done the same in the first half of the season. “They have done fantastically, they have done really, really well and I’m really pleased for them.” Ayoze Perez is targeting victory at QPR to further ease Newcastle’s relegation fears after bringing an end to their eight-game losing streak. last_img read more

Close game exposes lack of setup man for Dodgers

first_imgThanks in large part to Gordon’s speed, Morrow was ultimately charged with a run when Gordon came around to score with Jansen on the mound. It was only the fourth run Morrow has allowed in 16 appearances this season. Is he the Dodgers’ setup man now?No, Roberts said. Besides Baez, there’s right-hander Josh Fields, who pitched the sixth inning Sunday.“Even Ross (Stripling) … I like Ross in that spot too, as far as his ability to execute four pitches,” Roberts said.While Roberts framed his wealth of options as “the beauty of our ’pen,” it also highlighted the possibility that the Dodgers could acquire a more traditional eighth-inning pitcher.They have been linked in published reports to Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton, whose 125 saves since 2014 rank fifth in baseball. Jansen endorsed the idea of adding Britton to form a peerless eighth/ninth-inning combo. MIAMI >> The Dodgers led the Miami Marlins 3-1 when the eighth inning began Sunday. It had been nine days since the Dodgers held such a slim margin that they needed to turn to a traditional setup man — a drought so long, the game served as a reminder that the Dodgers do not have a traditional setup man.Brandon Morrow got the call Sunday. Fellow right-hander Pedro Baez had been warming up too, but Baez pitched two-thirds of an inning the day before and manager Dave Roberts only wanted to use Baez for one batter.“The way Morrow’s been for us, just has really given me a lot of confidence to start the inning,” Roberts said. “I felt more comfortable with Morrow.”So Morrow started the eighth and faced three batters. That might have been enough to retire the side, but Marlins leadoff man Dee Gordon beat out a ground ball that handcuffed Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. The play was ruled a single. Other options include San Diego Padres lefty Brad Hand, Detroit Tigers lefty Justin Wilson and Chicago White Sox right-hander David Robertson.Two potential late-inning options left the market Sunday when the Oakland A’s traded Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.Down timeThe Dodgers endured a grueling stretch of 26 games in 27 days leading into the All-Star break. Now, after most of the team enjoyed four days off at midseason, down time abounds. The schedule calls for six off-days in the next five weeks.That, plus the Dodgers’ 10 1/2-game cushion in the National League West standings, could mean more equitable playing time in the coming weeks. In three games against the Marlins, Roberts started every position player except for veteran Chase Utley. Every reliever besides Sergio Romo appeared in at least one game.“It’s going to be a fight to get some of these starters rest because the off-days are there,” Roberts said. “I’m going to have to find a way to manipulate these guys, to convince them that they need an off-day to get their teammates an off-day too. We have 25 good players. I know we need to keep ’em all current.”Gonzalez updateFirst baseman Adrian Gonzalez increased his workload to 60 swings Sunday, adding soft toss to his tee work. Gonzalez, who hasn’t played since July 11 because of a lingering back injury, was planning to fly back to Los Angeles to continue his rehab. The Dodgers play in Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday.The Dodgers are treating Gonzalez’s rehab with caution. Roberts said it would be “a couple weeks” before Gonzalez begins a minor league rehab assignment, after which he’d have up to 20 days before rejoining the active roster. That projects to mid-August, roughly, but an exact timetable is yet to be determined.“I’m really reluctant to put a timetable on there,” Roberts said. “We are going to take the time to make sure he’s right. If something unforeseen does happen, then we can feel comfortable we can go to him early.”Gonzalez, 35, is hitting .255 with one home run and 23 RBIs in 49 games this season.Buehler’s day upRight-handed pitcher Walker Buehler was promoted from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Some within the organization have long considered Buehler, the Dodgers’ first-round draft choice in 2015, a candidate to join the major league bullpen this season.Before being promoted, Buehler had 91 strikeouts and a 2.89 ERA in 65 1/3 innings between Class-A and Double-A. He has pitched exclusively as a starter to this point in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.A predetermined innings limit would likely relegate Buehler, 22, to the bullpen before the season ends, regardless of where he is pitching. His immediate role at Oklahoma City hasn’t been defined.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more