Sunrisers HyderabadPosition: 4P -12, W – 6, L – 6, Points: 10Remaining games: vs Mumbai Indians (May 2), vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (May 4)What they must do: Sunrisers Hyderabad needs to win their next two games and they will automatically occupy one of the four spots in the playoffs. As of now, they are not dependent on any team, and fate is well within their reach.Rajasthan RoyalsPosition: 5P – 13, W – 5, L – 7, Points: 11Remaining games: vs Delhi Capitals (May 4)What they must do: By winning a point in their last game, Rajasthan’s hopes of entering the playoffs are in the hands of other teams. Royals can most get to 13 points. With run-rate not on their side, and Sunrisers and Kolkata have two games to play, their chances look slim.Kolkata Knight RidersPosition: 6P – 12, W – 5, L – 7, Points: 10Remaining games: vs Kings XI Punjab (May 3), vs Mumbai Indians (May 5)What they must do: Kolkata Knight Riders snapped their six-match losing streak with a win against Mumbai Indians. They will have to win their remaining games to seal an outright spot. If they lose one, they will have to hope either of Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals do not win more than one game.Kings XI PunjabPosition: 7P – 12, W – 5, L – 7, Points: 10Remaining games: vs Kolkata Knight Riders (May 3), vs Chennai Super Kings (May 5)What they must do: Though the fate isn’t in their hand, but they can still occupy the playoffs berth if they can upstage Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings. However, they will have to wait for other results, and would be hoping that other results go in their favour.Royal Challengers BangalorePosition: 8P – 13, W – 4, L – 8, Points: 9Remaining games: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (May 4)What they must do: Royal Challengers Bangalore has become the first team to get knocked out of the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Bengaluru stadium witnessed a rain curtailed game with two sides (Bangalore and Rajasthan) playing 5 over each. However, as the game reached the penultimate moment, the rain gods came back as two sides shared a point each. Royal Challengers is left with one game and will look to play for pride. For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings are the only two teams to qualify for the playoffs. Mumbai Indians missed their chance of sealing their playoff spot by losing to Kolkata Knight Riders. With Dinesh Karthik’s side snapping their six-match losing streak, the team is once again in the race for the playoffs. Apart from these two teams, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals are in contention for the knockouts. Royal Challengers Bangalore are all but out of contention after losing to Delhi Capitals and only a mathematical miracle can keep them in the race. With two spots still remaining and franchise except for Royal Challengers Bangalore still in contention, the playoffs scenario is one to be looked out for.Delhi CapitalsPosition: 1 (Qualified)P -12, W – 8, L – 4, Points – 16Remaining games: vs Chennai Super Kings (May 1), vs Rajasthan Royals (May 4)What they must do: Delhi Capitals have sealed their spot in the playoffs and a win in one of their remaining games will seal them a top-two spot in the points table and give them two chances of reaching the final.Chennai Super KingsPosition: 2 (Qualified)P – 12, W – 8, L – 4, Points – 16Remaining games: vs Delhi Capitals (May 1), vs Kings XI Punjab (May 5)What they must do: MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings have qualified for the playoffs for the 10th time in their 10 editions and a win in their remaining games will seal a top-two spot.Mumbai IndiansPosition: 3P – 12, W- 7, L-5, Points: 14Remaining games: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (May 2), vs Kolkata Knight Riders (May 5)What they must do: Mumbai Indians missed out on a chance to seal their playoff chances by losing to Kolkata Knight Riders. However, a win in one of the games will seal their playoff spot. A loss in their remaining games and a win for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals by big margins could see them get eliminated.
The Angels will face another Mariners right-hander on Opening Day, Felix Hernandez. Will the middle of the Angels’ lineup look the same come April 6?“There is a lot of flexibility,” Scioscia said, playing his cards typically close to his vest.While short on specifics, Scioscia had a general suggestion for his middle-of-the-order hitters coming into camp: Put the ball in play more with two strikes.The Angels struck out 40.7 percent of the time on two-strike counts last year. Only four American League teams were worse in that regard. Scioscia elevated the club’s two-strike approach to a point of emphasis coming into camp, as he has in the past with turning double plays and making relay throws to the infield. “If you talk about the whole situational package, it’s been re-emphasized this year because we think that the talent we have really needs to be in tune with that,” Scioscia said. “Last year we really had a great year in the batter’s box. This year we intend to have a great offensive year combining the situational hitting component with the talent that we have.”In other words, Hamilton was a slugger. Joyce, Freese and Aybar — who hit 26 home runs last year combined — are not.In order to maintain the offensive production that carried the Angels to 98 wins last year, there will need to be an additional degree of creativity. Runners will be moving with two strikes. The ball needs to be put in play. This is nothing new for the Angels, of course. It’s an organizational tenet. “From the minors to the bigs, (the two-strike approach) is something that was emphasized throughout my career,” Efren Navarro said. “I really like to work the counts. A lot of my at-bats are 3-2. It doesn’t matter what count I’m in. Being 0-2, the main focus for me is staying up the middle and not trying to do too much. It’s just emphasized for my part.”Navarro only struck out on 29.0 percent of his two-strike counts last year. Only Aybar (24.8 percent) and Albert Pujols (23.4) had a lower rate.Cron led Angels regulars with a .231 batting average with two strikes last year; he struck out 45.5 percent of the time. That’s still high, but less than Hamilton (54.5).Two players who did not come up in the Angels organization — Joyce (40.7 strikeout percentage) and Freese (44.4) — struggled mightily to put the ball in play with two strikes in 2014.“The two-strike approach is very tricky,” Joyce said. “Sometimes when you try to change things, you can get yourself into more trouble.”Clearly the Angels believe that putting the ball in play with two strikes is teachable, and Joyce has seen it done before. He pointed to James Loney, the former Dodgers first baseman who played with Joyce in Tampa Bay last year. Loney had a .240 batting average with two strikes.It’s an easily overlooked statistic, but one the Angels will be looking at closely in 2015.“I’m just trying to make solid contact and take what he gives me. That’s it,” Joyce said. “Stay in the strike zone and take what they give you. It’s a lot easier said than done. You’re not always going to be successful.”AlsoThe Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played Monday for the first time since four batters were hit by pitches, and four were ejected, during a Cactus League game March 23. “I think (the umpires) were a little concerned about this game,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. Mattingly and Chip Hale had an extended meeting at home plate with the umpire crew while exchanging lineup cards. … Two Diamondbacks batters, Tuffy Gosewich and Yasmany Tomas, were hit by pitches. … More than 1,400 players, coaches and managers from the 30 MLB Clubs pledged a record donation of $2,643,195 to the Baseball Assistance Team charity during BAT’s spring fundraising tour. … The Dodgers committed more money collectively than any National League team. The Dodgers’ payroll, in excess of $250 million, is the highest in baseball history. TEMPE, Ariz. >> The Angels scored more runs than any major league team in 2014. That’s one reason why general manager Jerry Dipoto felt comfortable trading second baseman Howie Kendrick, who finished the year as the team’s cleanup hitter, to the Dodgers for pitcher Andrew Heaney.But the trade came with a cost. One of the Angels’ top challenges in spring training was to find an adequate middle-of-the-order replacement for Kendrick and outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose future is clouded by a shoulder injury and possible drug suspension.Monday marked seven days until the regular season begins. In a sense, the Angels are no closer to replacing Kendrick and Hamilton’s pop than they were when spring training began. Matt Joyce, David Freese, Erick Aybar and C.J. Cron occupied the fourth through seventh spots in the batting order Monday against Seattle Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker — not unlike the lineups Mike Scioscia has written since Cactus League play began. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error