WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Jones probable for Packers tonight vs. Seattle
SEATTLE - Green Bay Packers' starting inside linebacker Brad Jones is listed as probable for tonight's NFL season opener at Seattle.
Jones is coming off a quadriceps injury. He was a full participant at practice yesterday, after being limited earlier in the week. Corner Demetri Goodson will miss tonight's game as he recovers from a concussion. For Seattle, corner Jeremy Lane and linebacker Bruce Irvin are both probable for tonight's contest at Century-Link Field. Lane is coming off a groin injury, and Irvin had an injured hip. Lane is expected to cover Packers' receiver Randall Cobb in the slot. Also, Seahawks backup rusher Christine Michael is out with a bad hamstring. And corner Tharold Simon will have minor surgery for an injured knee. Both teams have been talking up their running games. The Packers sat out Eddie Lacy for virtually all of the pre-season so he wouldn't get hurt. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch missed part of his training camp while holding out for more money. Despite that, Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll says he's never seen Lynch in better shape. NBC is showing tonight's league opener. Kickoff is just after 7:30.
The Green Bay Packers plan to use an elaborate set of hand-signals to run their no-huddle offense tonight, when they open the NFL regular season in Seattle. The Seahawks have one of the league's loudest crowds, as the team retired Number-12 long ago in honor of their "12th man" in the stands. Coach Mike McCarthy says all the signals are rooted in quarterback Aaron Rodgers' personality and thoughts -- to try and avoid the Seahawks from breaking the code. In last month's exhibition win at Saint Louis, Rodgers yelled out plays for his teammates on the inside -- while receivers were given hand signals. McCarthy says it's basically the old-style two-minute offense that teams used to run before that, too, became more complex. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements said the Packers did well with their communications throughout Training Camp and the exhibition games. NBC will televise tonight's contest. Kickoff is just after 7:30.
Wily Peralta still has the National League's fifth-highest win total with 15. But the Milwaukee right-hander has lost three of his last four outings -- and he'll try to turn things around tonight when the Brewers host the Saint Lous Cardinals. Peralta only went three innings in his last start against San Francisco. He gave up six runs on nine hits, as his record dropped to 15-9 with a 3.82 ERA. Cardinals' right-hander Michael Wacha will make his first start since June 17th, after being out with a shoulder injury. The 23-year-old Wacha is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA. The Cardinals have a five-game winning streak, after sweeping three from Pittsburgh this week. Saint Louis now has a three-game lead over second-place Milwaukee in the National League Central Division -- and the Crew leads Atlanta by a half-game for the second-and-final Wild Card playoff spot. The Brewers will try to end an eight-game losing streak, their longest in over four years. Their next win will surpass their victory total from a year ago, when they had 73 wins. The current team has been stuck on 73 victories for the last ten days.
After losing a division lead they held for 150 days, the Milwaukee Brewers are just barely hanging onto a Wild Card playoff spot. The Brewers are only a half-game ahead of Atlanta for the second-and-final National League Wild Card. That's after the Crew has lost eight straight games and 11-of-their-last-13. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy says he and his teammates are putting too much pressure on themselves -- and things generally don't go well when they try too hard. Still, Lucroy says he has all the confidence in the world that Milwaukee will pull through, and things will start going their way. The Brewers are still in second place in the Central Division, three games behind front-running Saint Louis -- and those teams will play a big four-game series starting tonight at Miller Park. The Cards come in with the momentum, after sweeping three games from third-place Pittsburgh. Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke says he's more concerned about getting his own team's act together, than about how the Cardinals could beat them. The skipper says it doesn't matter who they play if they don't get back to playing good baseball. Right-hander Wily Peralta will start for the Crew tonight against Redbirds' right-hander Michael Wacha.
Door County native Erik Cordier has finally made his big league debut, after two major injuries helped keep him in the minors for nine years. The hard-throwing right-hander from Southern Door High School threw a scoreless inning for the San Francisco Giants in a 9-2 loss at Colorado. Cordier threw a 100-mile-an-hour fastball that struck out Drew Stubbs to lead off the seventh. He also got Charlie Blackmon and D.J. LeMahieu to pop out to short, as he worked around a walk and a hit batsman. Cordier threw 25 pitches. Thirteen were for strikes, and 15 topped out at 100-miles-an-hour or faster.
__________________________ The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will end their season tonight if they don't win at Kane County in Game-Two of their Western Division semi-final series. The Rattlers lost the opener of the best-of-three set, 7-to-3 last night near Appleton. Kane County is a lower Class-"A" affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Cougars had the best regular season record in all of Minor League Baseball at 91-and-49. They're also 54-and-17 at home, with a 15-game home winning streak -- neither of which bodes well for the Brewer-affiliated Timber Rattlers.
Madison golfer Jerry Kelly has an early afternoon tee time, as the third-of-four Fed-Ex Cup playoff tournaments gets underway. Kelly just barely qualified for the BMW Championship in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. He was 70th in the point standings after the Deutsche Bank Championship -- and only the Top-70 advanced to the suburban Denver event. The Top-30 after Sunday move on to the playoff finale, The Tour Championship next weekend. Meanwhile, the senior Champions Tour has its second straight Canadian event, the Quebec Championship starting tomorrow in Quebec City. The tour's only Wisconsin regular, Rhinelander native Dan Forsman, is taking this one off.