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The Houston Astros have optioned reliever Ken Giles to Triple-A Fresno http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/prince-amukamara-jersey , a night after he appeared to curse at manager A.J. Hinch when he lifted him from the game.

Despite Tuesday night’s incident, the Astros insisted that the move was about baseball and not the right-hander’s behavior.

”We need to get his pitching right,” Hinch said on Wednesday. ”He’s had an up-and-down season. He’s had signs that things are good. He’s had some bad games. He’s had some meltdowns. But we need to get him right. He’s not right and we’ve got to get him right mentally and physically to make sure he’s a good contributor to a `pen.”

The Astros were up by four to start the ninth inning against Oakland on Tuesday night when Giles took over and gave up three straight singles, which cut the lead to 4-1.

Hinch came to the mound to take out Giles and the television broadcast caught him appearing to curse at Hinch right after he walked by him on his way off the field. The Athletics tied the game in the ninth but Houston went on to win the game 6-5 in 11 innings.

I?t was the second major outburst of the year for Giles, who punched himself in the face as he left the mound after another bad performance earlier in the season.

The 27-year-old Giles, who is in his third season in Houston after a trade from Philadelphia, is 0-2 with a career-high 4.99 ERA in 34 appearances this season. He has only one save in nine appearances since June 17.

Hinch said that Giles was ”frustrated” with the demotion and added that he didn’t specifically talk to him about what he appeared to say to him on his way off the mound.

Hinch though did acknowledge that he needs to handle himself better when things don’t go his way.

”It’s important for him to get himself right where he’s directing all of his attention toward the hitter and all of his attention toward his job,” Hinch said. ”He pitches with a lot of emotion and when things are going well we love it. When things aren’t going well we have our concerns just because of the volatility of the end of the game type stuff.”

Hinch added they want Giles to work on his breaking ball in the minors because it hasn’t been as good as in the past. They also hope he sorts out some things with the usage of his fastball.

Despite his struggles, Giles has converted all 12 of his save opportunities this season after converting 34 of 38 last season when he had a 2.30 ERA in 63 games.

The Astros hope that he can fix his problems and return to help them as they chase a second straight World Series title.

”Ken Giles was optioned so that he has an opportunity to go work on some things he needs to work on Youth C.J. Mosley Jersey ,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. ”He has not had the success up here this year that he’s had in the past or that he’s capable of having.”

The Astros called up left-hander Cionel Perez from Double-A Corpus Christi to take Giles’ spot.





A look at the NBA playoff picture, with three days remaining in the regular season:



EAST UPDATE

Philadelphia will open the playoffs at home for the first time since 2003, after clinching no worse than the No. 4 seed with its win over Dallas . The 76ers – now winners of 14 consecutive games – will finish No. 3 in the East if they close with wins over Atlanta and Milwaukee.

Indiana remained in the mix for a top-four seed as well with its win over Charlotte.

To reach No. 4, the Pacers will need to win their finale against Charlotte, and need Cleveland to lose both of its remaining games against New York. Otherwise, Indiana will be the No. 5 seed.

No. 1 seed Toronto beat Orlando in a game where the Raptors departed with some injury concerns – Lucas Nogueira strained a hamstring, and Fred Van Vleet left with what the team said was relatively minor back tightness. But the Raptors remained ahead of Golden State in the race for the NBA’s second-best record (and potentially home-court in the NBA Finals if Houston falls).



WEST UPDATE

Utah clinched its playoff spot with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers , and will finish with the No. 3 seed if it wins its final two games.

That means now it’s down to five teams – Oklahoma City, San Antonio Mark Giordano Jersey , New Orleans, Minnesota and Denver – vying for the final four Western Conference spots.

And the only seeds that are locked up remain at the top, No. 1 Houston and No. 2 Golden State.

The Jazz haven’t played a Game 1 of any series at home since the West semifinals in 2007, and haven’t played Game 1 of the first round at home since 2001. And after losing Gordon Hayward last summer, plus starting this year 19-28, this postseason berth represents nothing but an amazing job by Jazz coach Quin Snyder.

Plenty of clarity in the West race should come on Monday. Oklahoma City, San Antonio and New Orleans can all clinch spots with victories, and Minnesota can also secure its first postseason spot since 2004 with a win and some help.



MONDAY’S GAMES

– Toronto at Detroit: The Raptors held DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas out Sunday, and more resting of regulars is likely.

– Oklahoma City at Miami: There will be playoff intensity. Thunder trying to clinch their spot with a win Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey , Heat trying to hold No. 6.

– Cleveland at New York: Cavaliers finish No. 3 with two wins over New York and a 76ers loss; LeBron James is 19-8 all-time at MSG.

– Orlando at Milwaukee: Bucks may get to No. 6 in the East with a win and some help. Wednesday in Philly will be big for both teams.

– Memphis at Minnesota: Timberwolves can clinch a postseason berth with a win, a San Antonio win and a Portland win over Denver.

– Sacramento at San Antonio: Spurs clinch their 21st consecutive playoff spot with a victory, or a Memphis win, or a Portland win.

– Portland at Denver: Nuggets need at least one win in their final two games to have a chance, and the home finale might loom vital.

– New Orleans at L.A. Clippers: Doc Rivers says the eliminated Clippers will play it straight, knowing Pelicans clinch spot with a win.

– Chicago at Brooklyn: No playoff implications.



CURRENT BRACKET

First-round matchups if the season ended Sunday …

East: 1-Toronto vs. 8-Washington, 2-Boston vs. 7-Milwaukee, 3-Philadelphia vs. 6-Miami, 4-Cleveland vs. 5-Indiana.

West: 1-Houston vs. 8-Minnesota Taron Johnson Jersey , 2-Golden State vs. 7-Oklahoma City, 3-Portland vs. 6-San Antonio, 4-Utah vs. 5-New Orleans.



NOTE OF THE DAY

Philadelphia has won 14 consecutive games. From March 27, 2015, through Dec. 6, 2016, the 76ers won 14 times in a span of 114 games.



QUOTE OF THE DAY

”Bench play is going to be huge for us going into the playoffs without a full roster.” – Boston coach Brad Stevens, on why he left four starters on the bench for the fourth quarter in the Celtics’ loss to Atlanta.
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