The Pulse: Patriots are in (so far), an MLB trade heist and World Cup penalty debate

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Good morning! We’re going to get more penalties, right?

While you were sleeping

New England enters the playoff picture

The Patriots rallied to strike Cardinals in an ugly version of “Monday Night Football”, setting up an exciting final stretch of the season for New England (7-6). If the playoffs started tomorrow, they are listed as the No. 7 seed.

Arizona (4-9) and Kyle Murray, meanwhile, just can’t catch a break. The fourth-year quarterback injured his knee on the opening drive of the game and did not return. His initial prognosis looks grim. Stick around. your ball, Colt McCoy.

Grab your popcorn

Reyna approaches World Championship controversy

USMNT forward Gio Reyna said yesterday he “let (his) emotions get the best of (him)” after being told before the World Cup that he would play a limited role in Qatar, in response to reports on Sunday that he had to apologize to the American team over his lack of effort in training.

  • As a reminder, the situation came to light after comments by U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter at a leadership summit in which he appeared to refer to it, without mentioning Reyna, were made public Sunday (the summit was supposed to be off the record).
  • Reyna wrote in an Instagram post Monday that he is “extremely surprised that anyone on the U.S. men’s team staff would contribute” to the coverage of the case and that Berhalter “has always said that issues that arise with the team will remain ‘in house.'” Oops!


What just happened in Oakland?

(Photo: Kelley L Cox / USA Today)

The A’s are at it again: Oakland handed out star catcher Sean Murphy, easily the team’s best player in 2022, to Brave in a three-team deal with Brewers. We’re still not quite sure why the Brewers got involved here, but funnily enough – tragically for this writer – Milwaukee somehow ended up the winner? Let’s unpack:

  • The A’s have quantity over quality, at least in advanced prospects Keith Law writes. The return did not include anyone on Law’s previous top 100 prospect lists or who will appear on it this year … or even be close. Sheesh.
  • The Brewers, who gave up only center fielder Esteury Ruiz, walked away with 25-year-old catcher William Contreras, who is three years younger and can hit. Milwaukee also got some serviceable arms.

Oakland’s willingness to trade Murphy held up the free-agent market for catchers. The move was to have cascading effects – Christian Vázquez signed with the Twins just a few hours after the deal, to name one.

WC date

A weighty semi-final – and a modest take

Argentina and Croatia meet this afternoon (2 p.m. ET) in the first World Cup semifinal, with the international career of a legend — Lionel Messi or Luka Modric — potentially coming to an end. Meanwhile, the cynic in us wonders if we should just fast forward to penalties.

  • Croatia is all about PKs. They have won in regular time just once in five games, drawn twice in the group stage and won both knockout games on penalties. Our Michael Cox even asked this week: Are they really good?
  • Morocco must also park the bus against France. The best defense of the World Cup has allowed just nine shots on goal in five games. The only goal conceded was an own goal. The burden will be on France to break through a wall.

It all makes us question whether penalties – in their current form – are the best way to end such a meaningful game. The pressure and drama are great, but is there more merit to a golden goal format? Or listen to us: Want to bring back MLS’ 35-yard hockey-style shootouts? (We could see this on a loop.) So it’s about time for another Pulse Poll: What is your favorite ending? Speak up. We have no pull.

More Cup reading:

Sad news

Latest on Mike Leach

Mike Leach remained in “critical condition” Monday after being taken to the hospital for a “personal health issue” Sunday, Mississippi State said. The 61-year-old coach, known for his legendary Air Raid offenses and sometimes hilarious interviews, sits atop a sprawling coaching tree that includes Kliff Kingsbury and Lincoln Riley.


Texas’ Beard Arrested

Texas men’s basketball coach Chris Beard was arrested on Monday and charged with assault by strangulation/strangulation – family violence, a third-degree felony charge, yesterday morning in Austin. The 49-year-old was booked into the Travis County Jail. Later Monday, the school suspended Beard without pay.

Pistons’ Cunningham done for season

Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, will undergo season-ending shin surgery and will miss the rest of the season, reports James L. Edwards III. The Pistons already have the worst record in the NBA. But that’s a misconception that this news will help their chances with landing Victor Wembanyama: Remember, the three worst teams all get the same lottery odds (14 percent).

Pulse selection

(Top photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

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