Enhanced Score

Enhanced Box Score: Marlins 5, Cubs 1 – September 30, 2020 –

That sucked. We haven’t seen the Cubs win a playoff game in a few years now, and we’ve seen three straight playoff game losses.

The really short version is something you’d expect: the bats were virtually non-existent, and the Marlins hit a couple homers. That’s it. Game over.

For most of the game, Kyle Hendricks had nothing working but his fastballs. He was able to make it work by keeping the ball on the ground and with some solid defense behind him. He started to get the changeup and curveball working a little bit in the 5th and 6th, but hard contact in the 7th – when he was over 100 pitches – bit him. Hard single, hard single, three-run homer in rapid succession. David Ross is gonna get ripped for the decision to leave Hendricks in that long, but it was at least a close call. My comment was to let Hendricks face the righties in the 7th, but have someone up. When things got to Dickerson, the lefty, that’s when pulling the trigger would’ve made sense (and not just because, well, he homered – it was Hendricks’ fourth time seeing Dickerson on the day). Maybe Andrew Chafin should’ve been up in anticipation of that moment? Alas.

Jeremy Jeffress took over for Hendricks, and promptly gave up a single and a homer of his own. Who knows what would’ve happened if he’d been in a batter earlier – different guy and all – but it’s not like he came in and was nails.

Offensively, the Cubs really struggled with Sandy Alcantara, who was wild early on, but battled well in deep counts, and got a lot better as the game went on. It just kinda wound up looking like so, so many games we saw this year.

But this one mattered a lot more. Good luck, Yu Darvish. Might have to shut the Marlins out tomorrow.

Full box score.

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Enhanced jobless

Enhanced jobless benefits expired overnight: Here’s where Congress’ negotiations stand – CNN

Washington (CNN)The federal enhanced unemployment benefit that out-of-work Americans have relied on amid the coronavirus pandemic has now officially expired — and Democrats and Republicans are still far apart in negotiations over a new stimulus package that could bring relief with no deal in sight.

Talks continued Saturday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosting a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Speaker’s office with the lead negotiators for the Trump administration, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but no deal was ultimately reached. The group will meet again on Monday and members of their staffs will meet Sunday to discuss issues, Schumer said.
Pelosi and Schumer told reporters following the meeting that the morning’s discussions were productive, but that the sides still are not close to an agreement.
“The best discussions we’ve had so far, I call it progress but a ways to go,” Schumer said, noting that it was the longest meeting the group has had to date.
Mnuchin and Meadows echoed that sentiment. “We’re still a long ways apart, and I don’t want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not,” Meadows said. “But like with any deal, as you make progress, I think it’s important to recognize that you’re making progress and not set an unrealistic expectation that we are just a few items away. Because there are still substantial differences, but we did make good progress.”
Mnuchin told reporters that “there’s clearly a subset of issues where we both agree on,” listing an extension of unemployment insurance, schools, the Paycheck Protection Program and jobs.
Pelosi had reiterated prior to the meeting that Democrats are not interested in a short-term agreement. Following the talks, Mnuchin said they were at an “impasse” over whether to pass a short-term fix to buy time for talks over a broader package.
“They’ve made clear, there’s clearly a desire on their part to do an entire package, we’ve made clear that we’re willing to deal with short-term issues and pass something quickly and come back to the larger issues, so we’re at an impasse on that,” he said.
The federal enhanced benefit program was set up to provide an additional $600 a week to individuals receiving regular state unemployment benefits and was meant as an added boost to help blunt the economic fallout from the pandemic.
There has been major disagreement, however, between Democrats and Republicans over how to deal with the program’s expiration. A House bill put forward by Democrats as their opening offer in the talks would extend the $600 enhanced benefit through January. In contrast, Republicans, in a plan unveiled at the beginning of the week, proposed cutting the weekly payment to $200 until states implement a system that replaces roughly 70% of laid-off workers’ wages.
The White House has also offered a shorter-term extension of the federal unemployment benefit, but it was rejected by Democrats who have argued any deal should be broader and include stimulus money for state and local governments, testing funding and more money for small business programs.
Republicans have argued that the existing system risks incentivizing some Americans not to go back to work by paying them more than they would at their prior jobs, while Democrats have argued that the benefits should be left intact.
At this point, there has been little progress toward any kind of deal to reinstate the benefit, but there has been plenty of finger pointing on both sides with both blaming the other for the lapse.
In dueling press conferences on Friday, Meadows took to the White House briefing room podium to accuse Democrats of “playing politics at a critical time,” while Pelosi said during her own news conference on Capitol Hill that Republicans “do not understand the gravity of the situation” and are “disrespectful of the needs of America’s working families.”
Meadows said that the White House made “no less than four” offers to Democrats dealing with the enhanced benefit and eviction protection and said that the offers were all rejected.
President Donald Trump joined in on the finger-pointing Friday afternoon, tweeting, “Pelosi & Schumer have no interest in making a deal that is good for our Country and our People.”
In a sign of just how far apart the two sides are, Pelosi pushed back Friday in an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on the assertion that the White House offered a short-term extension of the benefit that Democrats rejected.
“That isn’t true,” Pelosi said. “Let’s just set the record straight. They made no such offer. They made no such offer. Don’t accept something as fact just because the White House said it.”
Pelosi went on to say, “They’re asking about doing something for a week.” She added that Republicans are “making up things that they say they’re offering and the rest. But understand this, passing something for a week without all the other things that should go with it is not any path we will go down. It’s a public relations stunt on their part.”
Amid the war of words, however, it’s worth taking note of what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put into place on Thursday, which signals upcoming action in the upper chamber.
He brought up a shell bill and, with a simple majority vote, put it into play for next week — something that creates a number of potential options, from serving as a vehicle for a short-term unemployment deal, or even a comprehensive deal, or just a place where there will be dueling messaging votes. But the point is this: there will be action on the Senate floor next week. It might all be a sideshow, but often movement of any kind starts to jar loose actual discussions which lead to actual movement on things.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, meanwhile, advised members on Friday that despite a planned August recess the House is expected to meet during the month of August as talks continue around a coronavirus relief package. Members will be given at least 24 hours notice before being called back for votes.
This story has been updated with additional developments Saturday.

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Enhanced PowerA

PowerA’s Nano Enhanced review: a Switch Pro for smaller hands – The Verge

Nintendo’s Switch Pro controller is fantastic, but it’s also kind of big. If you struggle to get a good grip on it or if you simply want a smaller controller to tuck into your bag, PowerA’s new Nano Enhanced wireless controller for the Switch (also compatible with Windows 10) is a good solution. It’s a more compact version that shaves about a third off the size of Nintendo’s official controller. Most of its design and features are faithful, including USB-C charging, motion controls, and LED lights on its bottom to indicate connectivity status. On the downside, it lacks rumble support and NFC for Amiibo.

The Nano is $49.99, which is significantly less than the $69 Switch Pro, and it comes in two colorways: black with gray details around the sticks and triggers or gray with neon blue and red details sprinkled in.

Even though the controller is shrunken, the analog sticks, face buttons, and triggers are large and easy to find. With the exception of the directional pad, each of those elements matches the responsiveness of Nintendo’s own controller. That’s not to say the D-pad isn’t serviceable, but it requires a more concerted effort to press each direction, almost as if the membrane isn’t properly aligned under the plastic. Small children might struggle to easily press it, and I would rule out this model if you primarily play classic games that rely on the D-pad.

This small controller has two mappable buttons on its rear that you won’t find on the Switch Pro, and they allow you to remap, say, a trigger and a face button to the rear, which might be more convenient for you if you play games that require holding down a button to sprint or something else equally tedious. It’s sort of like having a more limited version of Sony’s Back Button attachment on a Switch controller. This feature doesn’t really do much for me, as I’ve just gotten accustomed to using the standard face buttons, but it adds ease of use and some extra value.

PowerA Nano Enhanced controller for Switch

This controller has two configurable buttons on its rear that are easy to reach.

Controls aside, you’ll find a USB-C charging port on the Nano’s top, and PowerA claims that it can last 20 hours between each charge. Many third-party Switch controllers use replaceable batteries, so it’s great that this one’s built in and rechargeable. It also lasts for a few weeks at a time if you only play for a little while each day. There’s an LED near the port that indicates when the battery level is critically low. In the box, PowerA includes a 10-foot USB-C to USB-A cable along with a drawstring pouch for the controller.

In terms of reliability, it’s up there with the Switch Pro, which is to say it’s excellent. I found it just as easy to connect to the Switch, requiring just a press of the pairing button near the USB-C port for it to be connected. (The process for pairing it to a Windows 10 PC with Bluetooth is the same.) It never dropped signal with the console, and PowerA’s 20-hour battery life claim holds up well. The Nano’s build quality is great. It has a rugged, matte-textured feel around the controller’s body that really works for a smaller controller. I have no problem finding a comfortable grip with the standard Switch Pro, though I found myself gravitating toward this one half of the time when I just wanted something a little more low-profile to hold.

The PowerA Nano is a good complement for the Switch Pro. Depending on your hand size, it could easily be your main Switch controller. Though, for me, I’m less enthused to make it my main because it lacks the HD rumble feedback. Still, I can imagine bringing this with me on the go or keeping it handy for either my partner or me to use during a multiplayer game so that neither of us is stuck with the maligned (at least in my home) Joy-Con grip. So long as you can look past the omission of rumble, this shrunken controller is a solid addition to your Switch setup.

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