It goes without saying that Darwin’s theory fits hand in glove with the geological dating scheme, but how reliable is the latter? The textbook age names – Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Eocene and all the rest – have taken on their own life as assumed truths. Every once in awhile, though, papers are published that require heavy doses of credulity to keep the scheme intact. The Permian extinction is a case in point. The textbook story is that 80 to 85 percent of marine organisms perished at the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB). A new kink in the story requires believing that cephalopods, those most affected by the crisis, recovered spectacularly within one million years of the extinction, but everything else took five times as long, as measured by species diversity. Charles Marshall, the “Master of Disaster” of the Harvard Museum who tackled the Cambrian explosion problem in 2006 by saying that animals evolved because they evolved (04/23/2006), tackled the Permian extinction with David Jacobs of UCLA in Science last week.1 They were commenting on a paper in the same issue by Brayard et al who presented evidence that ammonites (a kind of shelled squid) recovered much faster than everything else.2 The two papers invoked copious amounts of hand-waving to explain the evolutionary difference. Many statements amount to references to the Stuff Happens Law (i.e., the negation of explanation; see 09/15/2008 commentary). For instance, Brayard et al entitled their paper, “Good Genes and Good Luck.” Here are some example quotes from Marshall and Jacobs that cast doubt on scientific confidence in the Permian extinction story, both its causes and its effects:Two hundred and fifty-two million years ago, the Paleozoic Era came to a cataclysmic close with the end-Permian mass extinction, when as much as 85% of readily fossilizable marine species became extinct. It took 5 million years for the biosphere to begin to recover from the event. At least this has been the conventional view. However, on page 1118 of this issue, Brayard et al. show that ceratitid ammonoids (see the figure, panel A) recovered much faster than did most other marine groups, attaining considerable diversity just 1 million years after the mass extinction. Moreover, these mollusks reached a peak in their diversity at the end of the Early Triassic, when the diversity and body size of most other groups (particularly bivalves and gastropods) was still depressed.The cause of the end-Permian mass extinction has long been controversial. There is increasing agreement that toxic waters decimated bottom communities in shallow waters, but it remains unclear whether the kill mechanism was hypercapnia (high CO2 levels), euxinia (anoxic water infused with H2S), or something else. There is even less agreement on what might have caused the toxicity.Whatever the ultimate cause(s) of the extinction, the proximal cause appears to have been the inability of many species to handle the physiological demands of a changed ocean chemistry. Evidence that conditions remained difficult for 5 million years after the extinctions comes mainly from the observation that the diversity and size of fossil bivalves and gastropods remained low, indicating stressed conditions. Furthermore, the carbon cycle was unusually volatile, although the exact meaning of this volatility is not understood.The ammonoid data reported by Brayard et al. suggest a much more rapid recovery, at least for part of the biosphere. Unlike the bottom-dwelling gastropods and bivalves, ammonoids live in the water column. Thus, Brayard et al.‘s study suggests that conditions in the water column were better than those on the bottom. Or does it?To better understand the meaning of Brayard et al.’s data, we need to know more about the biology and physiological tolerances of ammonoids in general, and of ceratitids in particular.These species lie deep in the evolutionary trees of living coleoids and living cephalopods, respectively, suggesting that a tolerance for low oxygen was ancestral for living cephalopods.Their Perspectives article did little more than to suggest this and that, and then to say more work needs to be done. How about the other paper? Did Brayard et al have anything more solid to lean on? Keep in mind that classic Darwinian evolution explains diversification as gradual and continuous.One problem has been a lack of absolute age calibration of evolutionary trends across the PTB.It has usually been assumed that the end-Permian mass extinction affected ecological assemblages so deeply that the postcrisis biotic recovery spanned the entire Early Triassic [~5 million years (My)], if not more.The Triassic part of the time series consists of four successive diversity oscillations of declining magnitude, probably primarily shaped by global climatic and oceanographic changes.In the first oscillation…only 1 to 2 My after the PTB, based on the available radiometric ages and associated uncertainties—ammonoid diversity reached values equal to, if not higher than, those for the Permian (~85 sampled genera) and then were followed by still higher values …. This late Early Triassic generic richness is unsurpassed during the Middle and Late Triassic, where diversity oscillated around an average value…close to the Middle Permian maximum. This rapid recovery less than 2 My after a mass extinction is also seen for Early Jurassic ammonoids.The Early Triassic rapid ammonoid diversification diverges from delayed recovery after the PTB suggested for many benthic groups…. Apparently, recovery rates strongly varied across marine clades, and ammonoids boomed well before the oceanic realm returned to a long-term steady state.Extreme contraction of survivorship and prenascence contour lines is diagnostic of high evolutionary rates, as echoed by the simultaneously high numbers and rates of Early Triassic originations and extinctions (Fig. 3).Ammonoid diversification during the Early Triassic produced more than 200 genera in less than ~5 My and was accompanied by a progressive change from cosmopolitan to latitudinally restricted distributions of genera.This trend was not a gradual, continuous, and smooth one.How did these cephalopods flourish in the presumably unstable and harsh environmental conditions prevailing at that time? The same question applies to conodonts, whose Early Triassic diversity dynamics tend to parallel that of ammonoids.Ammonoids are morphologically and taxonomically so diverse that it is likely that they occupied a great variety of niches and exploited various food resources. Their high diversity and abundance suggest that diversified and abundant food resources were already available less than 2 My after the PTB. Consequently, even if Early Triassic trophic webs were possibly less complex than Permian and Middle-Late Triassic ones, they were far from devastated. At least some sizeable, while still unknown, primary production made it possible for these two clades to diversify profusely and rapidly despite short-term fluctuations of environmental conditions.The Early-Middle Triassic transition was again marked by a severe drop in ammonoid diversity. In this case, a fall in global sea level is implicated.In addition, the empirical (log) richness-rates relationships (table S4) illustrate a possible niche incumbency effect. This hypothesis, which predicts that richness and extinction rates are independent, allows the estimate of an average steady-state generic niche saturation level of ~85% under the hierarchical model, compatible with species niche saturation levels previously published for various clades of marine organisms.Numerous Lazarus taxa3 among benthic and pelagic mollusks reappear during the Smithian.Coupled with the Triassic ammonoid nondelayed diversity dynamics evidenced here, this suggests that complex trophic webs based on abundant and diversified primary producers were already functioning less than 2 My after the PTB and opens the possibility that heterotrophic taxa other than ammonoids also rapidly recovered.This phased scenario for the Triassic biotic recovery accounts well for its generally accepted delayed character, which may reflect still inadequate sampling and time resolution and/or biased diversity estimates due to the lack of sampling standardization in the first million years after the PTB.Recoveries obviously show environment- and clade-specific dynamics. Nevertheless, our results indicate that the time duration of the post-PTB recovery is likely overestimated, at least for some marine taxa.It should be noted that the statistics of biodiversity on which they relied for their graphs and charts depend heavily on sampling – a human enterprise. The fossils, in other words, do not speak for themselves. This was clear from several paragraphs in the paper that explained why Brayard et al leaned on some data sets but rejected others.1. Charles R. Marshall and David K. Jacobs, “Paleontology: Flourishing After the End-Permian Mass Extinction,” Science, 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1079-1080, DOI: 10.1126/science.1178325.2. Brayard, Escargue, Bucher, Monnet, Br�hwiler, Goudemand, Galfetti, and Guex, “Good Genes and Good Luck: Ammonoid Diversity and the End-Permian Mass Extinction,” Science,28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1118-1121, DOI: 10.1126/science.1174638.3. Lazarus taxa: resurrected extinct groups or “living fossils” – see 03/10/2006 and 12/04/2007.Who else but CEH is revealing, line by line, in detail, the arbitrariness of story generation in the evolutionary scientific literature? The Framework is never called into question, no matter how many anomalies are found, and no matter how many suspensions of disbelief are required. The Stuff Happens Law is everywhere – “good genes and good luck.” There is no pattern or sense to any of this. Here is the story in a nutshell:Through causes we don’t understand, something happened at some uncalibrated time, and, if our sampling methods are not completely biased, some groups of animals, based on some method of deciding what constitutes a species or genus among extinct animals we cannot observe except by their shells, using controversial measures of classification and sampling, recovered much faster than others, through reasons we also don’t understand, perhaps due to their level in the water column, or climate, or availability of food, or tolerance to carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, or a number of other possibilities. This points out that their evolutionary potential, whatever that means, was greater than that of shellfish, because of mechanisms not well understood, i.e., some sizeable, while still unknown, primary production that made it possible for ammonites and conodonts to diversify profusely and rapidly compared to their depressed contemporaries, despite rapid fluctuations and oscillations in their environment, illustrating their ability to occupy a variety of ecological niches, though stressed by the unknown extinction event of unknown duration or cause–perhaps volcanoes, which surprisingly killed almost everything on the sea floor (which one would think more robust against calamities in the climate or on the surface, but whatever). Yet some of them, nevertheless, somehow, resurrected like Lazarus (but we don’t want this to get anyone started thinking about the Bible or miracles, which is forbidden; only Darwinian miracles are allowed). So whatever the cause, or causes, or no cause at all, while all we have is confusing data and a Framework to put it in bequeathed to us by Saint Lyell, we at least came up with a “scenario”, illustrated with a few graphs and charts and math, that was good enough to get published by the Keepers of the Darwinian Flame in Science, even though we diverged a little bit from Saint Darwin’s concept of gradual, smooth, continuous change, because we know his heirs have become more tolerant of unexplained hiccups in the geological record, or the biological record, or in evolutionary theory itself, because of the need to keep Evolution reigning supreme in the public eye, by sounding sophisticated with terms like “diversity dynamics” (which we don’t have to define or explain), but that doesn’t matter because it sounds scholarly, and helps to keep at bay the constant threat from those rascally Creationists, who might expose our methods and threaten our jobs and funding unless we present a unified front and an air of confidence in the journals and cooperative science news outlets.Abbreviated version: Something happened. We’re not sure what, when, or how, or why, or even if something happened at all, but some day we may figure it out. Praise Darwin for modern science!Welcome to modern evolutionary biology. Stuff happens. Evolution happens. Diversity happens. Niches magically get filled. Rates of change vary with no known reason. Facts are convenient props, but keeping the Framework intact while weaving more intricate stories is the name of the game. Don’t even THINK about criticizing us. We are scientists. Don’t even think.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Runners move along 4th Avenue in the Brooklyn borough of New York during the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)NEW YORK — Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya has won the New York City Marathon, holding off countryman Wilson Kipsang by three seconds for his first major victory.Kamworor ran the race in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 53 seconds. He and Kipsang embraced just past the finish line to huge cheers.ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice PLAY LIST 01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:29DOH kicks off nationwide polio vaccination drive01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Aussie coach, Reyes, Baldwin headline coaches convention Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 American running great and 2009 New York winner Meb Keflezighi completed his 26th and final marathon, collapsing as he crossed the finish.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments
An Australian politician has questioned Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to award an Order of Australia to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for his contribution to sport.Federal Independent MP Rob Oakshott, who expressed his love for Little Master, said the special award should not be used for diplomatic gain, the ABC news reported.”I love Sachin Tendulkar, I love cricket. But I just have a problem with soft diplomacy as you call it,” he said, adding “Getting in on the act of the Australian honours.” Oakeshott said the Order should be focused on recognising Australians doing community work instead.”I’m not going to die in a ditch over it…but it’s about the integrity of the honours list which should be for Australians,” he said.He said that Tendulkar was an “obvious diplomatic touch point”, and further suggested setting up an inter-nation gong, such as an “Australia-India award”.
FSU FootballsFlorida State travels to Wake Forest this Saturday, and the game could be affected by the path of Hurricane Joaquin. At the very least, heavy rain could fall during the contest, and the Seminoles are preparing for the inclement conditions. Here’s a video courtesy of FSU beat writer Safid Deen showing the Seminole running backs working with wet footballs in anticipation of a downpour on Saturday. The balls get a quick dunk in a bucket of water before being used in the drill.FSU’s running backs working with wet footballs in preparation for Saturday’s game at Wake Forest. #Noles pic.twitter.com/tvkRuRavtE— Safid Deen (@Safid_Deen) October 1, 2015Can’t leave any stone unturned when getting ready to play.
chris daniels father upset with texasOn January 4, 2006, in one of college football’s most prestigious venues, Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns made sports history. UT’s national championship upset of Pete Carroll’s dynastic USC Trojans has been selected as the No. 34 best moment in sports history by Sports Illustrated. SI, on the epic win for the Longhorns:DATE / Jan 4, 2006 LOCATION / Rose Bowl | Pasadena, Calif.MOMENT / The 2006 BCS Championship featured a pair of unbeaten powerhouses, but in the end, it was Texas and QB Vince Young who stood tallest. Young, who accounted for a record 467 yards of offense, rushed in the game-winning score with 19 seconds remaining to lift the Longhorns over the USC Trojans 41-38. IMPACT / Players from this instant classic dominated the NFL draft, with four of them going in the top 10 (Young went No. 3). An NCAA investigation would eventually conclude USC’s Reggie Bush received illegal benefits while at the school, causing the Trojan to vacate their 12 wins from that season.Texas is one of eight college football moments included in SI’s Top 100 list. Only “The Play” from the 1982 Cal-Stanford game edges it out from the sport. We can’t argue with that. Vince Young’s performance was unforgettable.For the full list, click here.[Sports Illustrated]More: The 10 CFB Teams That Could Go Undefeated In 2016 >>>
The 2016 NCAA Tournament field was unveiled Sunday night, meaning that for the next three days, college basketball fans will be spending their time filling out brackets. We here at College Spun have a different kind of challenge for you, however. We want you to help us determine the most annoying person in sports media. We’ve gone ahead and nominated 64 different candidates.A few of the nominees – like Barstool Sports, Saturday Down South and SB Nation – are actually entities, rather than people. But you get the gist. We’ve also put ourselves on here, just in case you think that we’re actually the most annoying.Let’s get started. You can vote on the Clay Travis region below:The 64 Most Annoying People In Sports MediaVote On The Clay Travis Region Below1. Clay Travis vs. 16. Jim RomeRome isn’t burning anymore, but Clay’s hot takes do enough melting for this entire field. More Annoying: Clay Travis vs. Jim Rome?2. Dick Vitale vs. 15. Jim NantzImpossible to fall asleep when Vitale is on the broadcast. Impossible not to when it’s Nantz. More Annoying: Dick Vitale or Jim Nantz?3. Doug Gottlieb vs. 14. Ron JaworskiSyracuse fans, among others, can’t stand Gottlieb. Jaws’ shtick is played out too. More Annoying: Doug Gottlieb or Ron Jaworski?4. Keith Olbermann vs. 13. Chris ChaseOlbermann can’t figure out how to play nice in the sandbox. Chase is infamous for going against the grain. More Annoying: Keith Olbermann or Chris Chase?5. Erin Andrews vs. 12. Lee CorsoSome think Andrews looks annoyed all the time. Some don’t like Corso’s shenanigans each Saturday. More Annoying: Erin Andrews or Lee Corso?6. Kirk Herbstreit vs. 11. SB Nation’s Twitter MafiaHerbstreit gets it from basically every fan base, regardless of which teams he picks. Spencer Hall, Ryan Nanni, Jason Kirk and Rodger Sherman are basically all the same person. More Annoying: Kirk Herbstreit or SB Nation’s Twitter Mafia?7. Max Kellerman vs. 10. Barstool Sports GuysWe’re still not sure how Kellerman weaseled his way back onto ESPN. And you either love or hate Barstool. More Annoying: Max Kellerman or Barstool Sports?8. Rick Reilly vs. 9. Todd McShayReilly had it first on Twitter, we’re told. McShay’s back-and-forth with Kiper could be its own category. More Annoying: Rick Reilly or Todd McShay?Vote On The Stephen A. Smith Region Here >>>
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A conservative Christian law firm that has pushed religious issues in multiple states will urge a U.S. judge on Friday to block Alaska’s largest city from requiring a faith-based women’s shelter to accept transgender women.Alliance Defending Freedom has sued the city of Anchorage to stop it from applying a gender identity law to the Hope Center shelter, which denied entry to a transgender woman. The lawsuit says homeless shelters are exempt from the local law and that constitutional principles of freedom of religion are at stake.“The case is really about whether the Hope Center can operate according to its religious beliefs to provide the things that it does to the homeless population in Anchorage,” Kate Anderson, an attorney for the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom said before the court hearing.The shelter operators filed a federal lawsuit against the city and its Equal Rights Commission in August, months after a transgender woman complained to the commission that she was denied housing at the shelter.The city says it was premature for the shelter to ask a judge to block the law because the commission’s investigation wasn’t finished, largely because the shelter wasn’t co-operating. The investigation is now on hold.The plaintiffs maintain the person identified only as “Jessie Doe” showed up inebriated after hours in January 2018 and was not turned away because of gender. The shelter officials even paid for a taxi to take her to a hospital for treatment of a forehead wound from fighting at another shelter, according to alliance attorneys.The same individual showed up the following day and again was denied entry, according to the motion for a preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs say they want the federal court to make clear that the shelter is not violating the law.Alliance Defending Freedom also represented a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In a limited decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the baker, but it did not rule on the larger issue of whether businesses can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gays and lesbians.The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the alliance as an LBGT hate group, one that seeks to push transgender people “back into the shadows.”Anderson said women at the shelter are most often survivors of violence, including rape and domestic abuse and that housing biological men would be highly traumatic for them.___Follow Rachel D’Oro at https://twitter.com/rdoro .Rachel D’Oro, The Associated Press
Miami: Novak Djokovic put his Indian Wells disappointment behind him on Friday at the ATP and WTA Miami Open with a ruthless 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 destruction of Australian Bernard Tomic to move into the third round. The Serbian world number one endured a meek exit at the hands of German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the California desert but arrived desperate to land what would be a record seventh title in South Florida. Tomic, the current world No. 81, gave the 31-year-old a few problems yet the Australian struggles to consistently challenge the best players and this was evident once again as Djokovic eased through the gears at Hard Rock Stadium with just one hour and 13 minutes on the clock. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh “In Indian Wells I wasn’t feeling my best,” conceded Djokovic who won 81 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 11 aces. “Everyone has nerves coming onto center court regardless of how much experience you have and what your ranking is. You care about it and if you are nervous that means you care. “I commonly feel like that. This was my first time playing at this new stadium, it felt like being indoor a little bit. It’s unique. “Now hopefully,” he added, “I can build some momentum.” On a day that saw Djokovic, top-ranked woman Naomi Osaka and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams advance, the shock of the day was the departure of Indian Wells Masters winner Dominic Thiem, who was beaten 6-4 6-4 by highly rated Polish 22-year-old Hubert Hurkacz. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Kei Nishikori. The fifth seed lost to Serbian Dusan Lajovic 2-6 6-2 6-3 but reigning champion John Isner outlasted Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7/2) 7-6, (9/7). Japanese star Osaka had to keep her emotions in check as she opened her campaign by outlasting Yanina Wickmayer 6-0 6-7 (3/7) 6-1. Since winning her second consecutive Grand Slam title in January at the Australian Open, Osaka has failed to go deep in Dubai or Indian Wells. But she appeared in solid form against 141st-ranked Wickmayer, despite losing her way in the middle of an entertaining match at Hard Rock Stadium. The 21 year-old was forced to dig deep after the Belgian, who reached the Miami Open last eight in 2010, forced a third set as Osaka’s game badly dipped. – ‘Just breathe’ – ================== “In the second set, I got really emotional, so in the third, I just tried to shut off my feelings,” Osaka said. “I started thinking about winning and not the things I could do in order to win. I had a dip and she started playing really well. “I just had to breathe and regroup,” she said. “I find myself doing it often when I am in emotional situations, it’s like an energy saver.” Next up in the third round is Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei, who defeated American Alison Riske 6-2, 7-5. The pair had a rollercoaster clash in the Australian Open at the start of 2019 with Hsieh a set and 4-1 up in Melbourne only to lose a dramatic third-round encounter. Serena Williams survived a second-set lull to beat Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson 6-3 1-6 6-1 and elder sister Venus also advanced with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-1 win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. There will be a repeat of last week’s WTA final in Indian Wells between Bianca Andreescu and Angelique Kerber. Canadian 18-year-old Andreescu, who brilliantly won her maiden WTA title in California, beat American Sofia Kenin 6-3 6-3 to book a third-round meeting with three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber, who saw off Russia’s Karolina Muchova 3-6 6-3 6-3.
New Delhi: Former champions P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth stayed on course to reclaim titles while a vintage Parupalli Kashyap too regained some form, sealing his place in the men’s singles semi-finals of the $350,000 India Open here on Friday. Sindhu, a 2017 champion and 2016 finalist, edged out Denmark’s eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt 21-19 22-20 in a closely-fought contest to set up a clash with China’s He Bingjiao on Saturday. “I should have finished it earlier. I made too many errors. He Bingjiao and she is a tricky player. I have to be more patient,” Sindhu said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhSrikanth finally snapped his series of quarter-final finishes, outwitting compatriot B Sai Praneeth 21-23 21-11 21-19 in a 62 minute pulsating contest, while Kashyap entered his first semi-finals of a top-tier event (World Tour Super 500 or Superseries) in almost four years, beating Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei 21-16 21-11. Srikanth will face China’s Huang Yuxiang, while Kashyap takes on former world champion and former world no 1 Viktor Axelsen. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterH S Prannoy couldn’t match up with the second seeded Axelsen, going down 10-21 16-21 in a match that had some tight fights in the second game. Srikanth had made eight quarter-final finishes in last nine tournaments and the Indian didn’t look to make the last 8 after he lost the opening game narrowly and lagged 1-7 in the second. But a gritty Srikanth saved five game points, fighting back from 16-20 down before Praneeth staved off the challenge to take the opening game. Praneeth managed to grab a 7-1 lead to raise hopes of an upset but Srikanth came back strongly and took the match to the decider. In the third game, the Gopichand Academy colleagues split the initial 14 points before Praneeth edged ahead to 11-8 lead. But a fighting Srikanth again drew parity at 13-13 and eventually managed to produce those two points at 19-19 to seal a semi-final place. “The turning point of the match was in the second game when I was 1-7 down and I fought back. From there, things changed. At 19-19 in the decider it could have gone either way. But I played well in the crucial points. So happy with my performance,” Srikanth said. On the adjacent court, Kashyap made a confident start, leading 6-3 early on but three successive returns at the forehand corner of Wang going out allowed his opponent to keep pace with the Indian who enjoyed a 11-8 lead at the break. Wang made it 16-16 with Kashyap committing a few mistakes at the net but hit flat jabs and punches to the back of the court, pocketing the opening game. Kashyap took control of the net and retrieved everything, while Wang looked erratic with his smashes. Kashyap led 6-3 again in the second game. Wang again clawed back at 8-8 but Kashyap managed to keep his nose ahead at 11-9 at the interval. The Indian marched ahead, varying the pace with his strokes, using angles and measured returns, cramming his opponent for space. He led 18-11. A smash and drop took Kashyap closer to seal the match and he celebrated after Wang hit one long. “I feel good. I didn’t think about semi-final. “I had a good draw and a good run and I am just happy. I have fitness issues but I don’t know why my body is feeling at ease,” said Kashyap, who had reached the finals at 2017 US Open and won the 2018 Austrian Open.
Like most of the Cleveland Indians’ roster, the pitching staff is comprised mostly of young players. But that doesn’t stop Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro from putting pressure on the starting rotation. “It all depends on how the starting pitching comes together and what they accomplish,” Shapiro said. “If things break right I feel good about this group.”In order for things to break right the Indians are going to need a big year from the lone veteran in the rotation, Jake Westbrook. Westbrook, who has been plagued by injuries, missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery — elbow ligament replacement — in June 2008. Due to surgery and other injuries, the right-hander hasn’t been able to complete a full season since 2006, but has proven he can be effective when healthy. Westbrook won 44 games for the Indians from 2004-2006. Finally healthy, the 32-year-old is looking to get back on the mound this season.“Obviously, Jake has been chomping at the bit to get back,” Indians relief pitcher Jensen Lewis said. “Anytime you can get Westbrook 100 percent healthy, he’s going to be a force.” The Indians are looking for Westbrook not only to be a force on the field, but also a leader in the clubhouse. First-year Manager Manny Acta believes Westbrook will be just that.“Jake being healthy is going to be huge as a leader,” Acta said. “It’s easier to lead when you’re healthy and able to pitch and contribute.”Outside of Westbrook, the Indians don’t have a starting pitcher older than 26. While the staff is very young, it possesses valuable big-league experience. Acta believes now could be the time the young hurlers put it all together. “We have some guys who started last year and showed some flashes,” Acta said. “They’ve pitched effectively in the past. We’re just looking for more consistency out of them. I think they’re at the right age to take that step forward.”To help the young starters take that step, the Indians promoted Tim Belcher from within the organization to be the Tribe’s pitching coach. Lewis has tremendous respect for Belcher, having had previous experience with him. “I’ve worked with Tim from the minute I got into the organization in 2005,” Lewis said. “He’s a hell of a competitor, very intense and pretty much as go-getter as you’re going to find. I think that he’s really going to help all of us in the staff, both in the rotation and bullpen.”Acta echoed Lewis’ belief that Belcher will have success in developing the youthful staff. “I think he can make a difference. Belcher is a guy who has been there and had success,” Acta said. “He’s very smart and already working hard in the offseason to have a plan in order for us to pound the strike zone.”Acta, like anyone who knows the game, understands the importance of controlling the strike zone. “We need to throw more strikes. It’s not a coincidence the guys who didn’t pitch as well [had] way too many guys on base,” Acta said. Fausto Carmona is one of the Indians’ pitchers who struggled to throw strikes last year and tied a career-high with 70 walks. Consequently, Carmona set a career-high in losses with 12 and had a career-worst 6.32 ERA. The Indians will look for Carmona to bounce back to his 2007 form, when he won 19 games for the Tribe and recorded 137 strikeouts.“As long as Fausto does what he usually does he’ll be fine,” Lewis said. Carmona will start the season as the Indians’ second starter behind Westbrook.The third slot in the rotation looks to belong to Justin Masterson, who the Indians acquired in the Victor Martinez trade last season. In his first two seasons at the big league level Masterson juggled between starting and relieving. This year will be the first time the 24-year-old will have a full offseason to prepare as a starter.“Justin is a guy who is a tremendous competitor with above average stuff,” Shapiro said. “He wants to start and it’s just a question of repeating his delivery to be able to command the strike zone a little better. I think starting gives him a chance to do that.”Assuming Masterson adjusts to starting full time, the Indians will have two more spots to fill in the rotation. Those spots could be filled by any combination of David Huff, Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot. The Indians will use spring training to sort through their plethora of young starters. Acta said he expects a couple of the young guns to step up in Arizona, where the Tribe holds spring training. Acta believes if the Indians rotation is solidified, they have a chance to compete in a very balanced central division.“It’s not a secret,” he said. “All we need is our starting rotation to get in order.”