Bermuda-incorporated Suezmax owner Nordic American Tankers (NAT) ended the first quarter of this year with a widened net loss year over year.The company posted net loss of USD 18.7 million in Q1 2018, compared to net loss of 3.4 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier.However, when compared to Q4 2017’s net loss of USD 151.4 million, loss was considerably narrowed in the first quarter of this year.Net voyage revenue decreased to USD 29.6 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2018, from USD 55.2 million recorded in Q1 2017.During the quarter, the time charter equivalent for NAT vessels was USD 11,200 per day per ship.“Going forward, prospects are good for NAT. The world economy is enjoying its strongest upswing since 2010. What is good for the world economy, is positive for NAT,” the company said.The company intends to replace the existing revolving credit facility with a new financing. The recapitalization program is expected to be finalized by the end of the second quarter of 2018. As explained, the recapitalization, when completed, should improve the company’s financial flexibility going forward.“NAT is well positioned when the tanker market improves. The historic average market rate for the last 25 years was about USD 30,000 per day per Suezmax vessel. Such earnings would give a free cashflow from NAT’s operations of about USD 160 million per year, which would pay back today’s market capitalization of NAT in less than 2 years. In contrast, a Suezmax vessel may trade for 25 years,” the company added.Earlier this month, NAT unveiled plans to sell two ships, thus reducing its fleet to 31 tankers.“This fleet adjustment must be seen in light of our three new vessels for delivery early July, end of August and end of October this year,” NAT explained.Currently, NAT fleet comprises 33 Suezmaxes — including three newbuilds — with an aggregate cargo capacity of 33 million barrels of crude oil.
Steven Gerrard secured Liverpool an incredible 3-2 stoppage-time victory at Craven Cottage, rifling home from the penalty spot to break struggling Fulham’s hearts. It was a fine win but one in which Liverpool failed to get anywhere near the heady heights reached in Saturday’s 5-1 mauling of Arsenal, falling behind after just eight minutes. Kolo Toure, guilty of gifting West Brom a 1-1 draw 10 days ago, could only watch on in horror when he sliced a Kieran Richardson cross into his own goal. Fulham continued to impress but were undone as half-time approached by a wonderful first-time Gerrard through ball, which found Daniel Sturridge to net his eighth goal since returning from injury. While Liverpool were somewhat fortunate to go in level at half-time, they began the second half with renewed vigour and Luis Suarez rattled the far post as the Whites looked increasingly unsteady. Fortunately for them, Martin Skrtel was looking even more shaky and his defensive mistake allowed Manchester United academy graduate Richardson to net from close range. The lead did not last long, though, as Philippe Coutinho sent a fine shot past Maarten Stekelenburg via a slight deflection off former Everton defender John Heitinga. Fulham looked good value to follow up their thrilling 2-2 draw at Manchester United with another point, only for Sascha Riether to foul Sturridge, allowing Gerrard to fire home a stoppage-time winner from the spot. Few expected Fulham to suffer a ninth home loss of the season given the way they flew out of the blocks. Press Association Less than a minute was on the clock when Lewis Holtby sent a lovely chipped ball over to Darren Bent, who played in the overlapping Ryan Tunnicliffe for a strike that stung the palms of Simon Mignolet. Dan Burn headed over as Fulham continued in the ascendancy, with their early endeavours rewarded with just eight minutes on the clock. Holtby’s exquisite through ball put Richardson behind Skrtel, with the former United man’s cross comically turned into an own goal by Toure. It was quite the start by the Whites, for whom things came close to improving moments later as Holtby met a Darren Bent knock-back with a half-volley that flew inches wide. Liverpool were struggling to quell Fulham’s intensity, but with Suarez in attack it would not be long before Stekelenburg was called into action. The Netherlands goalkeeper denied his former Ajax team-mate after impressively wriggling free to turn on target, before thwarting the Reds striker’s cheeky attempt at a lob. Stekelenburg saved Steve Sidwell’s blushes after his woeful backpass almost put Suarez through on goal, with Sturridge and Coutinho wasting chances before Fulham regrouped. Former Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise and Sidwell saw shots blocked either side of a Bent header as the hosts upped the ante, coming closest when Holtby played a neat one-two with William Kvist and continued to fire into the side-netting. They were missed chances the home side were made to rue four minutes before half-time. Getting back on his feet after slipping just inside the Liverpool half, Gerrard played a wonderful first-time ball with the outside of the right boot that split the Fulham defence open and found Sturridge to coolly slot home off the inside of the far post. The England internationals both came close to adding to that before half-time, from which they returned with Suarez whipping a free-kick just wide of the far post. The Uruguay international was soon back in action again, first lashing across the face of goal before striking the post after turning his man on the edge of the 18-yard box. It looked only a matter of time until there was a goal, but few expected it to come from Fulham. A hopeful, if impressive, Sidwell shot from his own half was all the Whites had to show until the 63rd minute, when Liverpool gifted Fulham another lead. Skrtel could not clear a Riether cross from the right, wiping out team-mate Jon Flanagan as the ball fell kindly for Richardson to bury from close range. However, the lead was not to last as Coutinho showed impressive skill and poise to burst into space and strike, via a slight deflection of Heitinga, past Stekelenburg The Fulham goalkeeper was soon forced off after taking a bad knock in denying Suarez, with his replacement David Stockdale seeing Coutinho struck just wide before substitute Joao Teixeira fired over on his debut. And, just as it looked like the west Londoners would take a deserved point, Riether was adjudged to have taken down Sturridge in the box. Dowd pointed to the spot and Gerrard smashed home the spot-kick in front of the raucous visiting fans, who almost had another to celebrate when Teixeira struck over. The match was threatened earlier in the week by a proposed strike on the London Underground – and Brendan Rodgers’ six-match unbeaten league run looked in serious danger of ending on several occasions in west London. Rene Meulensteen’s side produced a performance that belied their position at the bottom of the Premier League, only for them to twice see leads pegged back and then Reds skipper Gerrard strike home in stoppage time.
No. 1 UC Irvine upended the No. 2 USC men’s volleyball team in straight sets to win the NCAA championship Saturday with scores of 25-22, 34-32 and 26-24, marking the second national title in four years for the Anteaters. An announced crowd of 9,162 made its way to the Galen Center — the third-highest in NCAA championship match history.Nail biter · Though the Trojans lost in straight sets to No. 1 UC Irvine in the NCAA championship game, the match was a fierce back-and-forth contest from beginning to end. · Razan Al Marzouqi | Daily TrojanSaturday’s match was a rematch of the five-set loss to the Anteaters in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation semifinals little more than a week ago and of the 2009 national championship match. The Anteaters were the preseason favorites to win the title, and the Trojans were picked to finish fifth in the conference in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.“People can see a three-game sweep as a blowout, but two deuce sets say otherwise,” USC senior outside hitter and co-captain Tony Ciarelli said. “We played them great. On paper we don’t match up with them — they’re the deepest team in the country and have several guys on the bench who could be ‘the guy’ anywhere else.”The match, which was decided by a combined seven points, was a fierce back-and-forth battle from start to finish, including a 34-32 second set where USC started ahead 14-7. But a 12-4 run by UC Irvine gave the Anteaters the lead for the first time in the set at 19-18. With a series of scramble plays — including a behind-the-head shot from Ciarelli and a huge kill off of a scramble play from redshirt sophomore opposite Tanner Jansen — the emotional roller coaster of dropping a seven-point lead and losing the set after an epic finish took the wind out of the Trojans’ sails.UC Irvine opposite and NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player Carson Clark led all players with 22 kills earned at a phenomenal .465 hitting percentage. His strength at the service line kept the Trojan offense out of sync for most of the night, and his ability to score efficiently from all over the court proved to be too much for the Trojans.The Anteaters are known throughout college volleyball as relentless attackers of the middle of the court through the “bic” set, a quick tempo set designed to keep opposing middle blockers at bay while deciding whether to jump with the first middle attacker, the “bic” hitter or closing to either outside spot.“We attacked Penn State in the middle of the court relentlessly in the semifinals, and we figured USC wouldn’t let us do that tonight,” said UC Irvine coach John Speraw. “Tonight we had to be better at the pins with Clark, [Connor] Hughes and [Kevin] Tillie.”The Trojans quelled the charge from Tillie and the “bic” as well as the middle attack, but the Anteaters’ depth proved to be too much to handle. Hughes poured in 13 kills from the outside hitter spot along with Clark’s monster day to give the Anteaters the boost they needed.“Our goal was to stop [UC Irvine outside hitter Kevin] Tillie and we absolutely did,” Ciarelli said. “But Clark picked up his game — this was the first time he hit over .250 in probably my four years here because we’ve tried so hard to stop him in the past.”The Trojans were not able to control the Anteaters’ serving attack, finishing with an uncharacteristic six receiving errors. As a result, the Trojans could not keep the Anteater defense honest with the quick middle attack that was so efficient for them in the past. High sets to the outside hitters became the only option on many occasions, leaving the Trojan hitters with a fully set defense to beat on many occasions.Despite hitting into the full force of the UC Irvine defense all night long, Ciarelli, an NCAA All-Tournament selection, finished with a team-high 18 kills in a gutsy effort.“On a broader scale, the level of play and fan support were unbelievable,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “I hope everyone involved understands what this does for the sport of volleyball — there has never been an atmosphere like this at a national championship game before and took college volleyball to a new level.”
Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling” in Arizona, he said.Those two won a World Series in 2001.Beyond the Big Three, Houston’s clubhouse includes many of the same personalities who have made playoff runs in three of the last four years. Alex Bregman (41 homers, 111 RBIs, 1.016 OPS after a solo home run on Friday night) assumes the MVP candidate role that Jose Altuve carried in 2017, when he won it. Altuve, George Springer and Yuli Gurriel are all having stellar offensive seasons. Michael Brantley, signed as a free agent in the offseason, has provided production on the field – his three-run homer in the eighth on Friday night broke the game open – and leadership off of it.One possible glitch: Shortstop Carlos Correa, limited to 75 games by injuries, is currently dealing with back issues, though the Astros hope to have him available for the AL Division Series next week.But then there is the guy who causes Dodger fans to wince, or flinch, when Josh Fields’ name comes up.Yordan Alvarez was a young Cuban outfielder who had yet to play a professional game when the Dodgers, in their ongoing quest for bullpen help, traded him to the Astros in 2016 for Fields. Alvarez started mashing almost from the moment he joined the Astros’ Dominican Summer League team in ’16, and he hasn’t stopped.Angel fans didn’t get to see the full package Friday night; he was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk. But he has a 1.091 OPS and an otherworldly .672 slugging percentage. He has 27 home runs and 78 RBIs in just 305 big league at-bats, and any thought that he would require some sort of learning curve when he was called up from Triple-A was dispelled pretty much immediately, with four homers and eight RBIs in his first five games.“Impact,” reliever Chris Devenski said. “He’s amazing. He’s a fun player to watch.”He is also a rebuttal to the prospects-are-cool/parades-are-cooler mentality, a reminder that sometimes the kids you have to trade for immediate help will haunt you for years to come.Was this trade a blunder the moment it was made? Perhaps not, but the evidence is pretty striking. Fields, who spent 2019 in Triple-A, has a 1.8 career WAR in the big leagues, as calculated by Baseball Reference. Alvarez’s is 3.9 in 85 games.Add to all of this a give-no-quarter approach to the game. Hinch has not ordered an intentional walk since August of 2018, and he talked before Friday night’s game of being similarly aggressive in other strategies.Offensively, for example, you may see Astros hitters in attack mode more often early in games, because opposing pitchers will have shorter leashes.“I’ve said this often to Bregman and George, and we talk about it offensively: Don’t wait around for the next time, because you may not see this pitcher again,” he said. “It’s getting that way in the regular season, let alone the postseason. You can’t spend a lot of time now in the first at-bat assuming you’re going to get another look at this guy. And if you play the likes of Tampa or Oakland, or the way the Dodgers have run their past two postseasons, or the way we did it in ’17, you can’t assume anything.”And defensively, he’ll bring the infield in with a runner on third “very aggressively … in the first three innings,” he said. “It’s not something traditionally teams have done, but I love that our pitchers know that I’m trying to put pressure on their offense. It’s going to be hard to score against us.”Isn’t it hard enough already?Related Articles Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco So, how much better is this Astros team than the 2017 edition? Hinch declined to compare, but Marisnick wasn’t hesitant.“This team’s ridiculous,” he said. “Look at the rotation. All the way through, it’s hard to find a hole, anywhere.”Moreover, these Astros are battle-hardened, veterans of seven playoff series and a wild-card game over the past four years. The veterans know the drill, and the newcomers pick up on it. There is no panic, just confidence and experience.And then Marisnick said this:“You see a confident group but you still see hunger. You see guys who want to win another World Series, who want to win multiple World Series. They don’t want to stop at just one.”Dodger fans, you’ve been [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter One area of improvement is obvious. Houston’s starting pitching Big Three two years ago was Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and late addition Justin Verlander. Now it’s Verlander, Gerrit Cole and late addition Zack Greinke.Cole and Verlander, who face the Angels the next two games to close out the regular season, are 1-2 in baseball in strikeouts and opponents’ batting average, 1-2 in the American League in ERA and likely 1-2 (in whichever order) in AL Cy Young voting. And while the analytics community has decided that pitching victories should be extinct, or at least irrelevant, Verlander has 20 and Cole 19 – first and tied for second in MLB.Wins do have a practical application. Getting them usually means those starters are pitching deep into games and reducing the stress on the bullpen. Verlander, Cole and Greinke all average more than six innings per start. Greinke is 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 Houston starts after coming over from Arizona, came within two outs of a no-hitter in Seattle Wednesday night and could be Houston’s postseason X-factor.“On a given night, on multiple nights in a row, you run out one of the best pitchers in the game,” Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick said. “The confidence level when they go out is through the roof.”Astros manager AJ Hinch was asked when he last saw two stars at the top of any rotation similar to Verlander and Cole. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire ANAHEIM — As the Dodgers embark on their annual quest to end their parade-less streak, now 31 years … well, we might be jumping the gun, and assuming a third straight World Series appearance can be risky. But it never hurts to know your potential enemy.They’re familiar. And scary.The Houston Astros clinched the best record in the American League Friday night with their 4-0 win over the Angels, and they remain a game ahead of the Dodgers for home field edge in a prospective World Series matchup.And that’s not the scary part. These Astros, now 105-55, likely are better – much better – than the Astros who spilled champagne in the Dodger Stadium visitors’ clubhouse on the first night of November in 2017. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Is the money argument valid, though? The answer appears to be “No.”HOT STOVE: Top five free agents who aren’t Bryce Harper, Manny Machado Most teams already have expensive DH candidates on their rosters, and the glut of offense-first free agents would make late signings affordable. In fact, it should be relatively painless to add bats until and unless baseball’s economic structure changes.To show how easy it would be for NL teams to embrace the DH for the 2019 season, SN put together this group of top in-house options for each club (2019 salary figures, per Baseball Prospectus, in parentheses):DiamondbacksYasmany Tomas ($15.5 million). No, really. The Snakes are paying their former right fielder to rake in the PCL because they don’t have a roster spot for him at the moment. This way, “El Tanque” would be able to rake at Chase Field. Before his game fell apart, he was a legit right-handed power threat, with 31 home runs and an .820 OPS in 2016. BravesBrian McCann ($2 million). Atlanta could still use McCann behind the plate on occasion as Tyler Flowers’ backup, but his main job would become swinging the bat against right-handers. The Braves could go with right-handed hitters Josh Donaldson ($23 million) and Adam Duvall against left-handers. That, in turn, would allow Johan Camargo to play more. Atlanta is not shy about adding catching depth, and it has journeyman Raffy Lopez on the 40-man roster if it wanted to carry a third backstop over a 13th pitcher.CubsKyle Schwarber ($3.39 million). He’s the free space in this bingo game. Brawny, defensively challenged as a playing-out-of-position outfielder (catching is his first love), the slugger as DH would allow Joe Maddon to make left field a revolving door of, say, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant and Ian Happ. Speaking of Zobrist and Happ, those switch hitters would be useful options against left-handers.RedsMatt Kemp ($21.75 million). The Dodgers are paying a reported $7 million of that salary this year, which means Cincinnati is committing a lot of money itself. Making him a regular DH would be a good use of those funds. He enjoyed a shocking revival in the first half of the 2018 season before slumping badly in August and then recovering as a part-time player in September. He’d allow the Reds to move Scott Schebler to left field and slot Phil Ervin into center to replace Billy Hamilton. RockiesDaniel Murphy ($10 million). Colorado signed him to be their regular first baseman, but his age (34 on April 1), knee issues and defensive shortcomings (he’s better at first than he is at second, but he’s still not great at first) scream “DH at Coors!” If Colorado didn’t want to do that, it could go with Mark Reynolds, who’ll be in camp as a nonroster player.DodgersMax Muncy (salary TBD). The surprise hit of the 2018 season could become the default option against right-handers. He’s a versatile infielder, but LA could cover with other players, especially if Corey Seager (elbow) is ready to return to shortstop. Manager Dave Roberts could go with a rotation of right-handed hitters against left-handers: David Freese, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and regular third baseman Justin Turner.MarlinsMartin Prado ($15 million). As always with Prado, you have to attach “health permitting.” The Fish’s former third baseman has had trouble staying in the lineup because of injuries; keeping him out of the field could be the remedy. Brian Anderson looks to be the long-term solution at third in Miami, so Prado is looking at a bench role in the final year of his contract. The young Marlins could benefit from seeing his professional at-bats on a more regular basis.BrewersEric Thames ($6 million). He isn’t slated to get much time in the outfield or first base, but he would become a regular threat against right-handers as the DH. He hit 15 of his 16 homers against them last year, albeit with a .223/.313/.491 slash line. Milwaukee could use first baseman Jesus Aguilar or left fielder Ryan Braun against left-handers, which would increase at-bats for Hernan Perez.MetsTodd Frazier ($9 million). It could be Yoenis Cespedes ($29 million) later in the season if he returns from heel surgeries, and Jeff McNeil could be a platoon option, but Frazier would be the default early pick (remember, this is all hypothetical). Frazier is looking at a shuttle between third and first base as New York fits Jed Lowrie into the infield, and when Peter Alonso is called up to take over at first, infield at-bats will become scarcer.PhilliesMaikel Franco ($5.2 million). Making him the DH would allow Philly to make Scott Kingery the everyday third baseman — assuming, of course, that Manny Machado doesn’t sign with the Fightin’s. Franco turned in a 113 OPS+ in 2018, but he missed time late in the season with injuries and lost time to the Carlos Santana, who moved across the diamond from first base in September. The Phils dealt Santana, an ideal DH type, in the offseason to open up first for Rhys Hoskins. PiratesCorey Dickerson ($8.5 million). He appeared in 117 games as a DH during his two-year stint with the Rays, but now he’s a Gold Glove left fielder after working to improve his defense, so DH might not be a good idea. Pittsburgh could instead go with Jung Ho Kang (which would keep Colin Moran at third base), or it could troll for a free agent (think former Pirates prospect Robbie Grossman). CardinalsJose Martinez (salary TBD). He’s another gimme. He lost his first-base gig when the Redbirds acquired Paul Goldschmidt, and he isn’t solid enough with the glove to be a regular outfielder for the club. St. Louis reportedly offered him to the Giants at the winter meetings for reliever Will Smith; with the DH in play, the Cards could keep Martinez and his .821 OPS and 17 homers in the lineup. PadresFranmil Reyes (salary TBD). Wil Myers is moving back to the outfield, which means Reyes will be fighting for at-bats against Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski, barring a trade. Reyes’ power could be the decider if DH were an option. He had 16 dingers and a 137 OPS+ in half a season (285 PAs) last year. Advanced fielding metrics had him at minus-1 DRS last season, which was well behind Myers, Renfroe and Manuel Margot. GiantsPablo Sandoval ($545,000). Yes, the Panda. He’s hanging on as a bench player partly because the Giants only have to pay him the minimum while the Red Sox choke down $18.6 million. A DH gig could extend the 32-year-old switch hitter’s career a few years. He contributed nine home runs and a 105 OPS+ in 252 plate appearances for San Francisco last season. NationalsMatt Adams ($3 million). “Big City” completes this board. He’s sharing first base with Ryan Zimmerman at the moment, but the DH would get both men in the lineup at the same time. Utility player Howie Kendrick would be another option, mostly in place of the left-handed swinging Adams against left-handers. One very large acorn fell from Ken Rosenthal’s report for The Athletic on Tuesday (subscription required) about negotiations between MLB and the Players Association on rules changes: The union in January proposed adding the designated hitter to the National League this year.A rapid change seems unlikely given the decadeslong intransigence of NL team owners. Among the reasons: They don’t want to increase payroll by employing full-time DHs.