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The 2018 MLB season may not even be a month old, but it’s never too early to start overanalyzing how teams have looked so far. That’s especially true this season, when many of the clubs slated to be favorites going into the year have stumbled a bit coming out of the gate. Most of these teams will probably be fine in the end — seriously, it is still very early to know anything about how the season will play out — but just the same, it’s worth checking on which aspects of their struggles should disappear in due time and which might be cause for real anxiety.Washington Nationals (10-12)What’s gone wrong: For a team supposedly built around pitching, Washington currently ranks fifth-to-last in the National League in adjusted ERA — though it hasn’t been the fault of the Max Scherzer-led starting rotation. No, the blame rests with a bullpen that collectively boasts a 5.78 ERA and has performed even worse in clutch situations. (Witness the Nats’ epic meltdown against the Mets last Wednesday.) Some bad early-season defense isn’t helping either, and despite Bryce Harper’s raw feats of power, the offense isn’t hitting enough to make up for the 4.6 runs Washington is allowing per game.Cause for concern? Maybe. The Nats’ bullpen and defense were nothing special last season, either — they ranked 19th and 17th, respectively, in wins above replacement.1Averaging together the versions of WAR found at Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. Closer Sean Doolittle has been fine so far, however, and setup men Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler are not as bad as they’ve looked in the early going. This lineup should get on track, too, when Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton return from injury — or when Michael Taylor and Ryan Zimmerman break out of their April slumps. (We’ve seen Zimmerman hit poorly before, but he rebounded last season and has been hitting the ball hard in 2018, despite his bad results so far.)New York Yankees (11-9)What’s gone wrong: For all their immense hype going into the season, the Yankees have been pretty “meh” starting out, scoring only 13 more runs than they’ve allowed (113 vs. 100). Prized new left fielder Giancarlo Stanton is striking out constantly, particularly in front of the home fans at Yankee Stadium, while the team’s pitching has been average at best. They’re wasting a great start to the season by shortstop Didi Gregorius; he’s looked like an MVP over the past three weeks, but the Yankees barely have a .500 record to show for it.Cause for concern? Probably not. Although Stanton is pressing at the plate like some batters have been known to do in the pressure-packed New York media market, swinging at more pitches overall and whiffing on fastballs over the plate especially, he’s simply too good a hitter to not adjust eventually. (The ball he smoked at home on Friday might be a sign of things to come.) Likewise, scuffling starters Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray should be better than the 7.22 ERA they’ve combined for so far, and a bullpen that ranked second in MLB in WAR last year is due for an improvement. Regression to the mean can work both ways, of course — Gregorius probably hasn’t fully made the leap to MVP level, for instance — but the Yankees should also benefit from better luck going forward: According to BaseRuns, which smooths out differences in the timing of offensive and defensive events, New York has been baseball’s fifth-best team so far, despite its record.Los Angeles Dodgers (10-10)What’s gone wrong: For one thing, Los Angeles’s offense is down this year, dropping from second in the NL last year to sixth in 2018, according to adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage. The Dodgers miss the production of third baseman Justin Turner, who fractured his wrist in spring training and has missed the entire season, and many of their other top hitters (Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, the now-injured Logan Forsythe, etc.) are off to subpar starts. But an even bigger problem has been L.A.’s bullpen, which ranks 22nd in WAR a year after finishing fifth. Closer Kenley Jansen, usually the best reliever on the planet, sports a 6.23 ERA, and he’s already blown twice as many saves this year as he did all of last season.2Granted, Jansen only blew one save last season. But it was in 42 chances! This year, he’s blown two in five tries.Cause for concern? Sort of. The Dodgers’ hitting issues should sort themselves out eventually — they’re still projected by FanGraphs to score the fourth-most runs per game in the NL over the entire season, and they ought to be even better than that once Turner comes back in May. The bullpen question may be longer-lasting, however, given Jansen’s struggles. Although he brushed off early concerns about his performance (and he recorded a pair of scoreless innings over the weekend), there were questions about Jansen’s velocity in the spring, which have only amplified a month into the season. According to BrooksBaseball.com, Jansen’s sinker is averaging only 93.6 mph this April, compared with 95.7 mph last April and 94.9 two Aprils ago. We know that unexplained changes in velocity may indicate the kind of injury or mechanical problem that leads to cold streaks or prolonged absences, and we also know how important Jansen was to the Dodgers’ bullpen last year (he accounted for 48 percent of their relief WAR by himself). If Jansen suffers a down season, it would seriously affect L.A.’s chances of returning to the World Series.Chicago Cubs (10-9)What’s gone wrong: The Cubs are scoring plenty and they’ve already enjoyed a few memorable moments in 2018 so far, including this ridiculous eighth-inning comeback against the Braves the Saturday before last. But their starting pitching and defense — i.e., the twin cornerstones of Chicago’s 2016 World Series run — have been surprisingly mediocre thus far. Although veteran lefty Jon Lester has basically been his usual solid self, none of the other rotation members have lived up to their previous track records, from club mainstay Kyle Hendricks to newcomers Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood and second-year Cub Jose Quintana. And if Cub pitchers used to generate easily fieldable balls in play, that’s no longer the case: The team is below average in defensive efficiency and ordinary in various other fielding metrics. (When even Jason Heyward is showing up as a negative in the field, your defense has problems.)Cause for concern? Defensively, not really. Heyward may have lost a step in the field — which is worth keeping an eye on — but Chicago started slow on defense last season, too. They eventually managed to finish near the top of the advanced-metric leaderboards when all was said and done. But there might be real cause for concern in the subpar performance of the Cubs’ rotation, even after taking defense out of the equation. Chicago’s starters rank seventh-worst in fielding-independent pitching so far this season, continuing a three-year slide from fourth-best in 2016 to 10th-best last year, and now 24th-best in 2018. The optimist’s case is that this group is too talented to keep pitching so poorly — and walking so many batters, specifically — but the Cubs will have a hard time fending off the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central (much less reclaiming their superteam status) if they don’t start getting a lot more out of their rotation soon.
KUSI Newsroom Updated: 9:55 PM Posted: July 24, 2019 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – An elite team of Navy Seals was ordered an early redeployment after “a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline” that made the military Commander lose “confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish the mission.”“The commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (in Iraq) ordered the early redeployment of a SEAL Team platoon to San Diego due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods,” US Special Operations Command said in a statement Wednesday.A US Defense Department official close to the situation noted the rare case of early redeployment for a SEAL Team platoon, is due to allegations regarding consumption of alcohol during downtime. Consumption of alcohol is a violation of general orders given to troops in overseas campaigns. KUSI Newsroom, Elite team of US Navy SEALS ordered home from ISIS fight due to alleged misbehavior July 24, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter
Tags Amazon’s drones and robots want to take over your deliveries Amazon Scout robots are heading out to deliver packages Amazon Prime Air’s new delivery drone could sneak up on you Inside an Amazon warehouse that ships your supersized purchases More Amazon delivery stories For instance, there’s no way to get packages out of a Scout now without a person coming up to it, pulling open its lid on top and taking out its payload. Scott said one idea could be to have Scouts wait for a while for customers to come home. Also, the Scout has magnetic locks in its lid to keep its top closed while it’s driving and to protect its packages from theft. It’s possible a resident could use the Amazon app in the future to unlock the bot and get her package once she comes home.To train Scouts on how to navigate around Snohomish, Amazon created bicycle trailers that were equipped with the same camera arrays as the robots. Riders would go around in neighborhoods capturing every detail of the sidewalks, streets, gutters and even the weeds.Then, Amazon created virtual worlds that were nearly identical to the streets the Scouts would be driving on and trained the robots over and over again using these digital doubles. That way, when the Scouts were ready to go out into the real world, they would be far more prepared for what they were about to experience.As the Scouts learn more about the world, they can be trained on less information to understand the way around new neighborhoods, allowing Amazon to quickly spread out more Scouts, Scott said.To see where to go, Scouts are equipped with GPS, radar and front- and rear-facing cameras. Scott showed me a video of a Scout in action on the street, slowing rolling along the sidewalk and carefully stopping when a neighborhood cat jumped in front of it.Amazon created digital doubles of real neighborhoods to teach the Scouts how to move around. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET The current version is being developed for suburban deliveries, but there’s a possibility future Scout robots will be able to function in a city or rural areas.While the Scouts remain a curiosity now, Scott said the bots were intentionally built to look cute, friendly and most importantly unassuming. Yes, the bots have a bright blue color emblazoned with the Prime logo on either side, as well as bright flashing lights, which are needed for when Scouts cross the street. Plus, when you open a Scout’s lid, it’s painted bright white and orange inside, offering a pleasing contrast to the blue exterior and giving the feel of opening a present. Otherwise, Scouts were built so they would fade into the background and fit seamlessly in a suburban setting.”That’s exactly what we want,” Scott said. “It’s designed for boring.”Originally June 10, 5 a.m. PT.Update, 9:50 a.m. PT: Adds more details about the Scout. 1:32 Plus, Amazon’s leaders have often mentioned that even as the company continues to find new ways to automate tasks, it also continues to hire rapidly as demand from customers grows. Amazon on Friday lost its contract with FedEx Express, a sign of growing friction with its shipping partners as Amazon keeps developing its own delivery infrastructure. If more turmoil like that happens with UPS or the US Postal Service, Amazon will need all the help it can get — from humans and robots — to make sure it delivers its packages on time.Teaching Scout to rollToday, the Scouts are loaded up in vans and brought to neighborhoods where they make their deliveries. To ensure the Scouts are working properly, each robot is assigned an Amazon worker — folks Scott called “ambassadors” — who walks with the bots during their deliveries and removes the packages stowed away in their bellies. The Scout program started with six robots, but Scott didn’t say how many robots are currently in use, or when and where the program will be expanded.The idea is to eventually pair the Scouts with delivery drivers and let the robots operate more on their own, but the details are still being worked out, Scott said. Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice Internet 7 The Scout is already delivering boxes to customers in Snohomish County, Washington. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET Sean Scott is almost poetic when describing his intense interest in sidewalks.”Each sidewalk is like a snowflake,” Scott, who’s soft-spoken with a friendly smile, told me with a bit of excitement in his eyes. “Because the textures are different, the way they’re laid out is different, what we see on the sidewalk is different.”Scott, vice president of the Amazon Scout program, is particularly curious about the drab and overlooked sidewalk because that’s the workspace of his Scout delivery robots. The e-commerce giant in January introduced these machines, which look like blue coolers on six wheels and can autonomously navigate suburban environments to bring packages to customers’ homes. The company is already using them to deliver orders in Snohomish County, Washington, just north of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.While Amazon has been mostly mum about Scout so far, Scott offered a more in-depth look at the robot during an interview last week at the company’s re:MARS robotics and space conference in Las Vegas. Just across from him in our conference room sat one of these robots, powered off but appearing at-the-ready for its next assignment. The Scout uses magnetic locks to keep its lid closed while driving and to protect its packages inside. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET “Customers have really welcomed Amazon Scout,” Scott said. “They find the device really cute.”The bots are another effort by Amazon to add more technology and automation into its delivery infrastructure. It already uses hundreds of thousands of robots in its warehouses to store and move around shelves of products. It’s also been developing drones to get packages to customers in less than 30 minutes. All this work should help Amazon in its costly push to transition its Prime two-day shipping program to one day, a plan it announced in April and is already rolling out.Amazon isn’t alone in its delivery robot work. Google, Workhorse and others are developing delivery drones, while Postmates and the startup Starship are working on sidewalk delivery bots.But as robots have gotten more sophisticated, many people have raised concerns that these machines could replace a lot of human workers, such as autonomous trucks and taxis taking away thousands of professional drivers’ jobs. A Brookings Institution study from January found 25% of US jobs, including food preparation and office administration, are already at high risk of becoming automated.It’s also hard to know how people outside of the Snohomish test area will react to having these camera-filled bots rolling down their streets.”History has shown us that we never know how customers are going to react to anything until they experience it,” said Brendan Witcher, a Forrester analyst. “The other thing history has shown us is some people will bristle and others will be delighted.”It will be up to Amazon, he added, to communicate and be transparent with residents to show them why such robots should be a part of their lives.Scott said Amazon isn’t developing Scout to take away workers’ jobs but instead to improve and grow the company’s delivery infrastructure. “We think it will make delivery drivers more efficient,” helping them deliver more packages, he said. Comments Amazon Prime Bots Amazon Robots
Mackenzie Bezos has decided to give half of her fortune to charity.MacKenzie Bezos, the former wife of Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, pledged on Tuesday to give half of her $36 billion fortune to charity, following a movement founded by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates. Bezos, whose former husband is the world’s richest man, was one of 19 people on Tuesday to join the “Giving Pledge,” a campaign announced in 2010 by Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s Buffett and Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates. It calls for the super-rich to give away more than half their fortunes during their lifetimes or in their wills.WATCH: MacKenzie Bezos, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, pledges to give half of her $36 billion Amazon fortune to charity https://t.co/0hO0FNJA47 via @ReutersTV pic.twitter.com/EK7nC4BmDg— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) May 28, 2019 “In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” MacKenzie Bezos said in a statement dated Saturday. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care.”MacKenzie Bezos became the world’s third-richest woman, according to a Forbes Magazine, acquiring a 4% stake in Amazon worth about $36 billion when she and Jeff Bezos announced their divorce settlement on April 4.Jeff Bezos, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes at $131 billion this year, was quick to support his ex-wife’s new philanthropic endeavour.”MacKenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her,” he said on Twitter. “Her letter is so beautiful. Go get ’em, MacKenzie.”Jeff Bezos, who tops the Forbes list of world billionaires, is not among the 204 wealthy “Giving Pledge” signatories from 23 countries who come from a wide range of fields, including finance, technology, healthcare and real estate development.Other Forbes top 10 billionaires who have not joined the “Giving Pledge” are Bernard Arnault, head of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (LVMH.PA); Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim; European fashion retail mogul Amancio Ortega and Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page.The pledge that signatories make is “a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract,” the campaign said on its website.