BRISBANE, Australia, (CMC): West Indies opener Lendl Simmons emerged from his slump to stroke a small cameo as Brisbane Heat chased down a challenging total to beat Andre Russell’s Sydney Thunder by six wickets in the Big Bash League here yesterday. In pursuit of 187 for victory at the Gabba, Heat reached their target with three deliveries to spare, with the right-handed Simmons carving out 34 off 25 balls. Simmons, who failed to score in his two previous innings, struck two fours and two sixes, putting on 72 off 55 balls for the first wicket with Jimmy Peirson, whose 40 came from 36 balls with six fours. Simmons was first to fall, caught at third man by Clint McKay off seamer Shane Watson. His dismissal paved the way for captain Chris Lynn, who slammed 75 off 32 deliveries with six fours and six sixes. Lynn put on a swift 62 off 24 balls with Ben Cutting (22 not out) for the fourth wicket, before becoming one of Russell’s two wickets. The right-handed Russell had earlier belted two fours and a six in scoring 20 off nine deliveries as Thunder reached 186 for five off 20 overs, after being sent in. Captain Mike Hussey stroked 56 from 43 balls with two fours and two sixes, while Watson hammered 46 from 31 balls with five sixes. West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree finished with one for 26 from his four overs.
27 September 2004Marketing South Africa has gone big abroad. The International Marketing Council of SA (IMC) has placed full-page advertisements in leading global business magazines such as Fortune and The Economist.The adverts, part of a campaign by the IMC to raise awareness of the country abroad, began earlier this month when 10 South African-branded taxis took to the streets of London.The IMC is a public-private partnership tasked by the government marketing South Africa through the creation and promotion of a unified brand image for the country.The IMC’s new print adverts target potential investors, citing the performance of the SA economy and the rising number of multinational firms setting up base in SA. “If this page was developing as fast as our economy, it would be a billboard”View the advert (enlarged) “350 days of sunshine could be just what your business needs”View the advert (enlarged) South Africa, please, taxi driverMore on the IMC’s taxi campaignBranding mission to USThe IMC’s latest overseas campaign follows an unprecedented South African investor mission to the US, organised by the IMC and the US Commercial Service in June.IMC chairperson Wendy Luhabe led the South African delegation of 40 high-level business and government leaders, which included African Rainbow Minerals deputy chairman Rick Mennell and New Africa Investments Limited CEO Saki Macozoma, among others.Delegates met about 2 000 counterparts during meetings that included investor conferences in Chicago, Atlanta and New York. They also met with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey and editors from Forbes magazine, among others.IMC CEO Yvonne Johnston said that visits of this scale to market South Africa had not been undertaken before.Johnston said the idea for the visit was to have a band of “brand ambassadors” that spoke with one voice on business issues. “The scale made it powerful,” she said, adding that similar ventures to other of South Africa’s top trading partner countries could be undertaken.Representatives in US, UKThe IMC has posted representatives to the US and UK, and is also recruiting a representative for Japan, to identify opportunities to improve the climate in those countries for trade, tourism and investment in South Africa.Part of this involves changing perceptions about SA abroad. To do this, the IMC relies on South African businesses operating overseas to help.John Battersby, UK country manager for the IMC, has been focusing on “the big six in London – Anglo American, De Beers, Dimension Data, Investec, Old Mutual and SABMiller.“I’m talking to these six companies through their CEOs to try to explore and encourage opportunities for joint marketing of SA”, Battersby told Business Day, “so instead of companies going off and doing solo marketing of their own brands, we can get two or three CEOs on one platform, talking to an audience about South African issues like black economic empowerment.”Battersby told Business Day that a conference in London in March, hosted by Investec and Old Mutual, broke new ground in reassuring investors about the investment climate in South Africa.He says that UK investors are just as concerned about the countries where a company operates as they are about the company itself. Economic and currency stability, rule of law, labour and empowerment are issues they want to know more about.SA needs to market itself more: IICPresident Thabo Mbeki’s International Investment Council, at its last meeting in Cape Town in June, warned that SA should step up efforts to market the country if it wanted to compete with other economies for foreign investment.Among the foreign council members attending the meeting were Martin Kolhaussen of Commerzbank, Jurgen Schremp of DaimlerChrysler, Frank Savage of Savage Holdings, Tan Sri Marican of Petronas, Niall Fitzgerald of Unilever, and Tony O’Reilly of Independent News Group.Mbeki, briefing the media after the meeting, said there was an imbalance between the perceptions and the reality of South Africa among some abroad.Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said that council members had, during the meeting, expressed the view that the conditions for a higher growth rate had been established in South Africa – but that this would require raising the rate of investment, both domestic and foreign.Bearing in mind that SA was competing with other economies for foreign direct investment, the council felt it was imperative that South Africa should effectively market its comparative advantages – communicating consistently about the country’s economic progress and success stories – while addressing those areas where competing countries did better than itself.SouthAfrica.info reporter
The agreement earlier this month among 170 countries to phase in strict limits on the use of a common type of refrigerant will mean changes to many products used by residential builders, including foam insulation and heating and cooling equipment, but consumers probably won’t be seeing wholesale changes for a number of years.The accord reached in Kigali, Rwanda, commits the countries to a gradual phase-down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of chemical used as refrigerants and as blowing agents in foam insulation, beginning in 2019.A conversion to environmentally friendlier chemicals has been anticipated for years in the foam insulation industry, and in some cases already is underway, but makers of extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation don’t expect to be weaned off HFCs until 2021. On the heating and cooling side, one major manufacturer doesn’t expect a switch to newer refrigerants for residential equipment such as ductless minisplits for a number of years. The pact is an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol and will be put into place gradually. The U.S. and the European Union are on a faster timetable than other nations, according to an article posted at The Guardian. In 2019, the U.S. pledges to cut its HFC use to no more than 90% of its baseline (an average from the years 2011 through 2013). By 2024 that drops to 60%, and then to 15% of the baseline by 2036.Unlike the refrigerants they replaced, HFCs don’t damage the ozone layer in our planet’s atmosphere. But they are powerful greenhouse gases with 1,000 times or more the potential of carbon dioxide to trap heat. As the demand for refrigeration and air conditioning has shot up, so has the use of HFCs.In addition to their use as refrigerants, HFCs also are used as blowing agents for extruded polystyrene insulation, a rigid foam common to many high-performance buildings, and in some types of spray polyurethane foam. Their high global warming potential (GWP) has steered some builders away from these products even though they excel as thermal insulation. Friendlier Foam Insulation On the Way, Eventually New Blowing Agent Addresses Climate Impact of Foam InsulationInsulation to Keep Us Warm — Not Warm the PlanetSpray Foam Insulation Is Not a Cure-All The Misleading Numbers Behind the Global Warming Impact of Insulation EPA Warns Against Unapproved Refrigerants in Air ConditionersThe Loophole and the Ozone Hole Refrigerants may be a tougher problemThe phase-down is a bigger deal for makers of air conditioners and heat pumps because components such as valves and compressors often must be altered or even completely redesigned when manufacturers switch from one kind of refrigerant to another.“There definitely will be an impact on refrigeration and air conditioning based on the amendment that was agreed on in Kigali,” Hillbrand said. “When that will happen is less clear.”The EPA, he said, has yet to approve an alternative to the R410a refrigerant used in central air conditioners, ductless minisplits, rooftop AC units, and high-pressure chillers. Alternatives are coming to market, but they’re not here yet.“We are definitely seeing a lot of movement of industry toward a couple of alternatives, but the products that use these refrigerants are still under design, and the safety standards and codes are still in the process of being updated,” Hillbrand said.In the past, the industry has approached conversions by looking for alternatives that are as compatible as possible with current equipment.“That is to say, chemical producers have worked closely with manufacturers of equipment to minimize the equipment redesign that will be required when transitioning to the new refrigerants,” Hillbrand said.“All of the major manufacturers have been supportive of the amendment to the Montreal Protocol,” he continued. “Most manufacturers do need to make some changes, of course, and there is real engineering that has to be done and changes to production and design. But the manufacturers have found time and time again they are left with better products that are more energy efficient and so they have supported these transitions and have continued to do so.” XPS industry hasn’t made the switchDow, Owens Corning, and Kingspan are the major manufacturers of XPS available in the U.S. and none has announced a switch from HFC to HFO blowing agents.When asked about a change, Kingspan sent GBA a two-sentence statement: “Kingspan is fully supportive of the plans to reduce HFC use agreed in the Rwanda Accord. International political agreements like this are crucial if we are to address successfully the threats posed by climate change.” The Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association (XPSA) issued a similar statement.Owens Corning said by email it would comply with regulations in the U.S. and Canada, meaning an end to HFC blowing agents in 2021, but presumably not before, adding, “The Kigali amendment does not affect the timing of the North American regulations or our compliance plans.” The company said it “fully supports” the intent of the Kigali agreement.EPA had originally sought a 2017 phase-out of HFCs in insulation, but the industry said the effective date was unrealistic. In its final rule, the EPA delayed the transition until 2021. Until then, HFCs will remain “acceptable” for use in XPS.In August, XPSA said it supported the phase-down of HFCs, calling it “an important accomplishment for the industry’s stewardship and sustainability objective and a natural step in the ongoing search for better technologies to serve our customers.”But, the association added, blowing agents are “not interchangeable” and that it took the industry 10 years to successfully complete each of the last two conversions from one blowing agent to another.The association says that the refrigeration industry is much bigger player in the debate than insulation. The use of HFCs in foam accounts for only 16% of total HFC production in North America, it said; just 7% of the HFC-134a produced here goes into foam insulation. A “significant” amount of the blowing agent remains in the foam at the end of its service life, with typical in-use emission rates between 0.5% and 1% per year, the association said.Plus, the trade group adds, energy savings resulting from the use of XPS are significant. “For every 1 lb. of C02 equivalent created to make an XPS foam board, 233 lb. of C02 equivalent are saved because of the energy spared throughout the life of the building,” the association said. Deal has broad support A statement issued on October 19 by David Doniger, director of clean air programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Stephen Yurek, CEO and president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, praised the new pact on HFCs.Because of the growing worldwide demand for air conditioning and refrigeration, they said, HFCs are “the fastest growing of the gases damaging our climate.”“Unlikely as it may seem, this global HFC phase-down has the backing both of leading environmental groups and the industry that makes and uses these chemicals,” they said. “With their support, the Obama administration pushed hard for the Kigali deal to reduce and replace HFCs. Coming after last December’s Paris climate agreement, an HFC pact is the biggest step we can take this year to significantly reduce human impact on the environment.“The HFCs avoided over the next 35 years will amount to the heat-trapping equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide,” the statement continued. “That is equal to stopping the entire world’s fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions for more than two years.”They said the agreement also will lead to better technology.“Cooperation on HFCs shows that we can still govern — locally and globally — and can solve the challenges of climate change,” they said. “ We all can and must do more to beat the heat and the HFC success story is a victory for common sense and the environment.” RELATED ARTICLES Insulation changes are already underwayA conversion to other chemicals for making insulation is already in the works in both the U.S. and Europe. The most likely replacement looks like hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs). They have a global warming potential of less than 1 and could be used in both spray polyurethane and XPS. Manufacturers still need to solve a few technical issues related to the conversion.Prodded by the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP), U.S. manufacturers already are facing a phase-out of HFCs in the years ahead. Most formulators of spray polyurethane insulation are planning a conversion to HFOs in anticipation of tougher EPA rules, according to one industry insider. Lapolla Industries Inc. already has such a product on the market.“Those that I’ve talked to in the foam industry seem to have this well in hand,” Alexander Hillbrand, a technical analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a telephone interview. “I think we see much more environmentally friendly alternatives on the market. They have better thermal performance by and large. They blow pretty well.“I have not heard any particular response [to the amendment] from the foam side,” he continued. “I haven’t heard of any particular holdups there.”Timing remains a question. The EPA has mandated a transition away from HFCs in XPS insulation by 2021, and Hillbrand said it’s still not completely clear how the Kigali agreement will be implemented.“We are waiting for the State Department’s guidance on how the U.S. can formally become party to the treaty, including this amendment,” Hillbrand said. “Perhaps additional steps need to be taken. We certainly have ratified or at least become a part of all the previous amendments. We have existing Clean Air Act authority to carry out all the control measures that we’ve agreed to under the HFC amendment. But in terms of the formal process we’re still waiting for some guidance on exactly how that will happen.” Mitsubishi sees changes years outMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, maker of a popular and efficient line of ductless minisplits used for both heating and cooling, said that the industry is hard at work on an alternative to R410a. Exactly when the industry will phase out its use of HFC refrigerants, however, ultimately depends on the EPA.“It’s probably going to be 2023 or 2024 for a changeover, but that’s not even definite,” said Paul Doppel, the senior director of industry and government affairs at Mitsubishi. “Everything is pretty much dependent on the EPA’s SNAP program.”EPA hasn’t hinted it will delist R410a for use in home heating and cooling systems anytime soon, and the agency may target other industries first to meet terms of the Rwanda accord, he said.The global warming potential of R410a is about 2,000, and Mitsubishi expects an interim step will be to develop refrigerant blends of HFCs and possibly some HFOs that get the GWP to no more than 750 before further development takes that value into the single digits. But an outright switch to an HFO refrigerant isn’t in the cards.“Development cycles are long,” Doppel said. “It’s going to take a while. It’s around the corner, but not right around the corner.”When the industry does move away from HFCs, he added, Mitsubishi doesn’t expect the efficiency of its heating and cooling equipment would suffer, and doubts there would be much of an impact on consumer pricing. In fact, an earlier conversion from R22 to R410a helped Mitsubishi introduce its inverter-driven compressors, a technical innovation that improved performance.
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.”
Following the Blue Jackets’ 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, left winger R.J. Umberger was already looking ahead to Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. “We really want to come out and get a win against St. Louis,” Umberger said. “That’s a team we love to beat.” Defeating the Blues will be no small task for the Blue Jackets. Following a 3-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, St. Louis has 75 points, good for third place in the National Hockey League standings and second place behind the Detroit Red Wings in the Central Division of the Western Conference. The Blues have been, arguably, one of the best teams all season since former Blue Jackets’ coach Ken Hitchcock took over in early November. Under Hitchcock, the Blues have gone 21-5-6. The Blues’ have compiled their record behind the prowess of the goaltending tandem of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. Halak is tied for the NHL lead in shutouts with six and Elliot is close behind with five. It could be argued that Hitchcock’s defense-first system is responsible for the stellar goaltending that the Blues’ have seen this season, but the fact remains that the Blue Jackets could have a hard time scoring in Tuesday’s game. On the other end of this goaltending spectrum is Blue Jackets’ goalie Steve Mason, who looks like he will be getting his third straight start, with the Blue Jackets’ other goalie, Curtis Sanford, out indefinitely with a back ailment. Mason has long been the brunt of criticism this season, and has done nothing with his play to put his critics to rest. Interim coach Todd Richards said he was happy with Mason’s effort after Sunday’s game against the Ducks, despite the fact that Mason gave up five goals. “I thought he gave us a chance,” Richards said following the game. “There’s only certain things he can control.” Mason will be key to giving the Blue Jackets’ a chance on Tuesday. If he can’t keep the score close, the Blues’ defensive system might prove to be too much for the Blue Jackets’ offense. Another key to the game will be the Jackets’ power play. It is the one point of consistency that the Blue Jackets’ seem to have found. Following the game against the Ducks’ in which the Blue Jackets recorded two power-play tallies, they now have seven power-play goals in their last five games. Richards credited the success of his team’s power play to their ability to hold on to the puck. “We’re able to retain possession of the puck,” he said. “We’re scoring in a lot of different ways.” Blue Jackets’ defenseman James Wisniewski said after Sunday’s game that it was time for the team to look “deep down.” The game against the Blues will prove whether the team takes this message to heart. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Nationwide Arena.
The Reds footballer believes his team has to retain the same winning mentality that lifted them to first place in order to become champions.Liverpool is currently in the second position of the English Premier League table with 65 points.The Reds are tied with Manchester City, who are first but have one more game played.Liverpool has won 20 out of 26 matches, drawing five times and losing once.But the goal difference is what has them in second place instead of on the first place they were almost all season.And if the team wants to become champions of the Premier League, they will have to continue with their winning mentality said Brazil international and Reds footballer Fabinho.“I know it is really hard to win a league, especially the Premier League, but we have experienced players here at Liverpool,” he told the club’s official website.“We know we are [competing] at the top of the table and it is important to be there at this point in the league, but we cannot think just about the title every time because that can put extra pressure on us.”“I had a good season with Monaco, we scored a lot of goals and we had joy playing football – and we have to do it here as well,” he added.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“Enjoy the games and go on the pitch with happiness and go game by game.”Liverpool will play next week against German Bundesliga record-title-holders Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.Then they will visit Manchester United before hosting Watford, both matches in the Premier League.Day one tactical drills ✅Time for a post-training competitive game of foot-tennis……Firmino and Lijnders VS Klopp and Mane! 🎾💪 pic.twitter.com/jTxdCr8E5t— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 13, 2019
00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A water main break flooded a Midway District block Sunday evening, leaving businesses in the area without service, a city official said.Pooling water on Midway Boulevard between Barnett Avenue and Rosecrans Street was first reported about 5:15 p.m., San Diego city spokesman Arian Collins said.City employees determined an 18-inch diameter water pipe was broken and quickly set to repairs. Ed Lenderman was live Monday morning to check on their progress.All businesses in the area — an undetermined number — were out of service while crews worked, Collins said.The flooded stretch of Midway Boulevard was also closed to traffic.It’s unclear when the work will be completed or when the street will reopen. Ed Lenderman Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Posted: August 6, 2018 Water main break in Midway District prompts road closure, businesses without service August 6, 2018 Ed Lenderman,
Share David Dermer/APHouston Astros’ George Springer (4) and teammates celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of a baseball American League Division Series, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)When the challenge arose in August, the Houston Astros responded like champions.They’re doing it again in October.Two months ago, last year’s World Series winners hit one of those predictable lulls that every team encounters during the dog days of a season. Maybe feeling a bit overconfident and invincible, the Astros were caught atop the AL West by the Oakland Athletics, a scrappy squad that sneaked up on everyone in 2018.But just when it appeared the Astros might be in some trouble, they switched on their after-burners. After Aug. 18, Houston went 29-10 to finish with 103 wins.“There is an extra gear that our guys have,” explained manager A.J. Hinch. “And once we hit the postseason, it looks like, as of right now, our guys really, really turned it on.”Showing no weaknesses while exposing Cleveland’s flaws at every opportunity, the Astros took another step toward defending their crown Monday by finishing off a surprisingly easy three-game AL Division Series sweep with an 11-3 blowout of the Indians, who were overmatched on the mound, at the plate and in the field.Houston outscored Cleveland 21-6. The Astros outhit the Indians .327 to .144 and banged out eight homers with making an error.“They beat us in every area of the game,” said Indians reliever Trevor Bauer, whose two throwing errors in the seventh inning of Game 3 propelled Houston’s convincing clincher. “They’re tough, man. They keep coming. We didn’t play our best. I’m not sure if they played their best either, but they played much better than we did. And so, the better team won.”The Astros, who have some time to relax and get ready for the Boston-New York series survivor in the ALCS, can win in so many different ways.They have one of baseball’s best rotations, anchored by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, a devastating 1-2 pitching punch that staggered the Indians in Houston. The Astros can play long ball, small ball and any kind of ball needed with a balanced lineup loaded with contact hitters.Sure, they’ve got All-Stars in Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but the Astros are a selfless group that plays as one.“We have the most complete team in baseball,” Verlander said between puffs on a cigar as his teammates showered each other with champagne in the clubhouse. “I’ve been part of really special teams, but the drive to win here trumps everything else. Everybody is OK with whoever is the hero.”It was Verlander in Game 1, Marwin Gonzalez in Game 2, and George Springer was among a number of deserving candidates with two homers in Game 3.Springer has found his groove at just the right time. The 2017 World Series MVP was sidelined by a sprained left thumb that landed him on the disabled list in August. He struggled after returning and connected on just three homers over the final six weeks of the regular season.The postseason is his playground.Springer hit three homers in the final two ALDS game, giving him a franchise record 10 postseason homers.“I said this to our team in there — special teams do special things in October,” Hinch said. “And I believe that about players. George is one of them. We’ve seen him come up as an uber-prospect, produce at an uncanny level, hit the lowest of the lows in the World Series and then be the World Series MVP.“I don’t think this should surprise anyone. He’s a really special player.”On a really special team.Before his team was pushed aside by the Astros, Indians manager Terry Francona sat at his office desk and described what makes them so good.“Well, besides the talent, because they are obviously really talented, I do think they do a really good job of playing until the game’s over,” he said. “Like it’s been noticeable for a while. You know some times, like I think I said this the other day, when you beat them, sometimes they just run out of time.“You gotta have talent, but when you have talent and you play the game the right way, so that’s why they have a lot of ways to come at you.”Oddly, the Astros seem to get overlooked, lost deep in the heart of Texas amid the endless debate about whether the Yankees or Red Sox are the league’s best.Houston makes its case on the field.“That’s a big-time rivalry and I understand that,” Springer said, adding the Astros aren’t craving publicity. “But it’s all about us and our task at hand. That’s all we focus on. We’re going to sit back and watch and see what happens.”While he watched his young teammates party after another postseason triumph, Verlander looked like a proud father. He arrived last season to help the Astros get over the hump, and now that they have, there’s no going backward.“At no point this season was there any complacency with this team,” he said. “If I had been traded here after they won the World Series, instead of before it last year, I would have assumed this was a young and hungry team when I walked in the clubhouse.“No one takes anything for granted here. That’s the DNA of the guys in this clubhouse. This team has a propensity to do big things in big spots.”