“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4” – OR – “Pair up in threes” – #RIPYogi

It’s Deja-Vu all over again…

It is inevitable.  The older I get, the more heaven seems to load up on talent – it’s a helluva team up there.  Yogi, went from Northern Italy, to St.Louis, to New York, to one of the best catchers of all time.  For my money, it is him and Roy Campanella for the title, to quote Casey Stengel: “you can look it up.”  Need more proof – how many baseball players have a cartoon character named after them?

With that said, Yogi Berra passed at the age of 90, Tuesday evening. Yogi died 69 years to the day after he had made his major-league debut, on Sept. 22, 1946; against the Philadelphia Athletics, Yogi went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in a 4-3 Yankees win. Yogi won 10 World Series titles as a player.  That is an all-time record, and one more than the great Joe DiMaggio.Logo_alt#2

Berra’s record of 75 World Series games played may never be threatened, much less actually broken. Consider Derek Jeter, who played 20 years for maybe the best team of his era, wound up playing 38 World Series games, barely half of Berra’s total. The only active players who have appeared in more than 15 World Series games are Yadier Molina (21), Matt Holliday (16), Buster Posey (16) and Albert Pujols (16). Furthermore, if the 28-year-old Posey (the only one of them not yet 30 years old) plays in the next eight World Series (through 2022), and all of them extend to seven games, he would still be three games shy of Berra’s record.

Not everyone makes the Hall of Fame, fewer still become icons – Lawrence Peter Berra’s legacy transcends baseball.  He was one of the greatest players, for one of the greatest teams, in all of sports, and for the lucky ones who knew him, they say he was a better person.  Beyond his success on the field, was the quality of the man.  So, when you come to the fork in the road, take it, because if the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.


In memoriam – more Baseball

Here is last night’s #DraftKings Perfect Lineup – 9-22-15…maybe I should have took the other side of the Mets v. Braves game for the #sleeper pick.

92215_perfectlineup

Baseball’s first 20-game winner

Jake Arrieta became baseball’s first 20-game winner and he did it with style, tossing a three-hit, complete-game shutout and striking out 11 in the Cubs’ 4-0 victory over the Brewers. He became the first major-leaguer whose 20th victory of a season was a shutout with double-digit strikeouts since 1993, when Jack McDowell’s 20th win met those parameters.

Arrieta became the first Cubs pitcher to become the majors’ first 20-game winner in a season, with all the victories coming for the Cubs, since Larry Jackson did that back in 1964. (In 1984, Rick Sutcliffnulle was the first big-leaguer to reach 20 wins, and he won his 20th while pitching for the Cubs; but Sut had won his first four games that season while pitching for the Indians.)

Arrieta lowered his season ERA to 1.88, second-lowest in the majors to Zack Greinke’s 1.65. But Arrieta is putting some pressure on the Dodgers’ right-hander: in each of Arrieta’s last five starts, he has thrown at least eight innings and has allowed no more than one run. The last major-league pitcher who strung together five straight games like that was Roger Clemens in 1997; the last to do so this late in a season was Orel Hershiser in 1988, when he tossed five straight shutouts and then a 10-inning scoreless outing in his last six starts of the season, fashioning the major-league -record 59-inning scoreless streak that Greinke had challenged earlier this season.

It’s a Bird in Toronto

Greg Bird’s line-drive three-run homer in the 10th inning cut through the tension at Rogers Centre and lifted the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays. It was the 10th home run of the season for the Yankees rookie, who replaced the injured Mark Teixeira down the stretch. Bird became the first Yankees rookie to hit an extra-inning home run in a road victory since July 14, 1962, when Tom Tresh belted a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Angels rookie (and future Cy Young Award winner) Dean Chance in New York’s 9-8 win at nullDodger Stadium. (The Angels were the Dodgers tenants for four years in the early 1960s.) Tresh filled in for Tony Kubek that year when Kubek, the Yankees regular shortstop, spent most of the season in military service.

Bird has now hit eight home runs in September, tying Chris Davis for the highest total by any American League player this month. Bryce Harper leads the majors with 10, while Nolan Arenadoand Yoenis Cespedes have smashed nine.

Edwin Encarnacion homered in the bottom of the tenth, his 35th of the season, joining teammates Josh Donaldson (39) and Jose Bautista (36) at that level. Prior to this season, the last big-league team that featured three players with at least 35 home runs was the 2006 White Sox, with Jermaine Dye (44), Jim Thome (42) and Paul Konerko (35). The lone previous season in which a Toronto trio achieved that feat came in 1998; the three players were Jose Canseco(46), Carlos Delgado (38), and Shawn Green (35).

Crazy-ness in Detroit

Fans leaving Comerica Park on Tuesday night must have been thinking of that old adage: there’s a chance at the ballpark you’ll see something that you may not have seen before. Here’s the recap of the Tigers-White Sox game:

Detroit starter Daniel Norris, in his second game since returning from a recent injury, was removed from the game after he retired Chicago’s first 15 batters of the game. His was the first perfect-through-five start by a Tigers rookie since Armando Galarraga did it – no, not in his 8.2-perfect-innings effort against Cleveland in 2010 – but in 2008 against the Royals. The last major-leaguer to be taken out after at least five innings with a potential perfect game still intact was Houston’s Bob Knepper in the final game of the 1986 season, as the Astros readied their starters for that year’s postseason.single logo_small

After four relievers extended the potential no-hitter through one out in the ninth inning, Tyler Saladino ruined the bid with a triple. He became only the second major-leaguer in the last 20 years to spoil a potential no-hitter with a ninth-inning (or extra-inning) triple, the other being Baltimore’s Jerry Hairston, Jr., against the Rangers in 2002. The odd thing: Hairston’s blow leading off the ninth also ruined a potential combination no-hitter in a game in which Texas starter Aaron Myette was ejected after throwing two pitches, Todd Van Poppel pitched two innings, and then Joaquin Benoit threw no-hit ball until Hairston’s triple.

The Tigers won, 2-1, in the 10th inning, on a walkoff triple by Rajai Davis, the second walkoff triple in the majors this season (Pittsburgh’s Pedro Florimon had the other on August 18). The last Tigers player with a walkoff triple was Ramon Santiago in 2011, but prior to him you have to go back to Mickey Stanley in 1968.

Mike and Albert

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, in a gripping 4-3 victory in Houston. The home runs were the 40th of the season for Trout and the 36th for Pujols – it was the first time that baseball had seen back-to-back homers by a pair of players, each of whom had already belted 35 homers that season, since 2006 – when Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome of the White Sox did it.

Jimenez with the bat

Ubaldo Jimenez lifted his September record to 3-0 (he had previously beaten both the Blue Jays and the Yankees) and added a nice little cherry with an RBI single as the Orioles shut down the Nationals, 4-1, and, coupled with the Astros’ loss, shaved a game off Houston’s Wild Card lead. Jimenez’s single produced the first run of the game, and Baltimore never relinquished the lead. He became the second American League pitcher this season to be credited with both a victory and a game-winning RBI in the same game; back on July 21, Tampa Bay rookie Nathan Karns hit a home run for the game’s only run in his victory over the nullPhillies.

Jimenez became the 25th American League pitcher in 19 years of interleague play to achieve that daily double – but the amazing thing is that of the 25 pitchers who did it, seven of them have at least one Cy Young Award on their mantles: David Cone, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana,Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer and R.A. Dickey. Even more remarkably, among the other guys who did it was Jon Lester. As we all know, Lester didn’t get his first major-league hit until this season, but in a game at San Francisco in 2010, he was credited with the game-winning RBI in his victory for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly.

The RBI was the second of the season for Jimenez, who knocked in a run in a game at Philadelphia on June 17. Since the designated-hitter rule was enacted in 1973, severely limiting their opportunities to hit, only eight other American League pitchers have driven in a run in two different games in the same season. But three of those eight others also pitched for the Orioles -Mike Mussina in 1999, Kris Benson in 2006 and Zach Britton in 2011.

Rangers perform sacrifices

Mitch Moreland hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning, but other than that, it was mostly a rat-a-tat-tat attack of sacrifice bunts (three), sacrifice flies (four) and heads-nullup base-running that allowed the Rangers to beat the A’s, 8-6. Sacrifice flies have been recorded as a category separate from sacrifice bunts since 1954, and over those 62 seasons, there have been only two other major-league games in which a team had at least three sacrifice bunts and at least four sacrifice flies. The Astros used that combination to help beat the Braves, 7-5, in 2009, while the Braves found that four sac flies and three sac bunts weren’t enough to win in a 12-inning contest that was won by the Padres, 11-10, in 1991.

Goldschmidt’s has 30 HRs include 7 vs. Dodgers

A. J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back home runs off two different Dodgers pitchers in the seventh inning and the Diamondbacks went on to rout the Dodgers, 8-0. Pollock’s home run chased starter Alex Wood, and Goldy’s greeted reliever Chris nullHatcher. It was the 30th boundary belt of the season for Goldschmidt, who also has 21 steals. He became the fourth player in Arizona’s 18-year major-league history to be admitted into that 30/20 club, joining Chris Young(2007), Mark Reynolds (2009) and Justin Upton (2011). It was Goldschmidt’s seventh home run against the Dodgers this season, the most by any Dodgers opponent in a season since 2004, when Barry Bonds and Vinny Castilla each hit eight and Jeromy Burnitz seven. Still some distance away from the record of 13 home runs hit against the Dodgers, then in Brooklyn, by the Milwaukee Braves’ Joe Adcock in 1956.

Iwakuma brings it in K.C.

Hisashi Iwakuma blanked the Royals and struck out 10 batters over seven innings in the nullMariners’ 11-2 win at Kansas City. Iwakuma became the third different Mariners pitcher this season, joining Mike Montgomery and Vidal Nuno, to win a game in which he did not allow a run and had a double-digit strikeout total. Only two other major-league teams have had three different pitchers provide such victories this season-the Indians (Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber) and the Nationals (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez).

Cardinals win another low-scoring game

The Cardinals took a 3-1 decision from the Reds on Tuesday, marking the 31st time this season that they have won a game in which they scored no more than three runs. Only one other major-league team in the last 20 seasons has won as many games of that type (the Giants won 31 such games four years ago). And in the long history of the Cardinals’ franchise, the only other year in which they won as many as 30 games in which they scored three-or-fewer runs was 1968. In that season – the one in which Bob Gibson fashioned his other-worldly 1.12 ERA – St. Louis won 41 games in which they scored no more than three runs (with Gibson having started 14 of those games).

Mahtook(LSU) blasts Fenway

Rookie Mikie Mahtook belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put the icing on the Rays’ 5-2 victory at Fenway Park. Mahtook has now hit five home runs this season; his previous blasts came in games at Toronto, Seattle, Chicago (against the White Sox) and nullDetroit. Mahtook, Washington’s Denard Span and San Francisco’s Gregor Blanco are the only players this season who have hit at least five home runs, all on the road.

By the way, among the players from the past whose first five major-league homers came away from home are Hall-of-Famers Eddie Mathews, Reggie Jackson, George Brett, Frank Thomas, Willie Stargell (first six) and Hank Aaron (nine). But none of those Hall-of-Famers holds a candle to the all-time major-league record-holder for home runs, all on the road, from the start of a career. That would be Johnny Hodapp, an infielder who, while playing with the Indians, hit 22 home runs, all on the road, from 1927 to 1931. The streak ended when, after being traded to the White Sox in 1932, his first home run with his new team was hit at Comiskey Park.

Marte + Ramirez and 75 RBIs

Starling Marte knocked in two runs and Aramis Ramirez one, lifting the season total of nullRBIs for each player to 75, in the Pirates’ 6-3 win over the Rockies in Denver.  Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates with 95 RBIs, and though Ramirez has not produced all of his RBIs for the Pirates, Pittsburgh is one of the two National League teams that have at their disposal three players who have 75 RBIs this season. The other such team is Cincinnati, with Todd Frazier (88), Jay Bruce (83) and Joey Votto (75).

nullErvin = Johan

Ervin Santana came through again for the Twins on Tuesday night, holding the Indians to one run over seven innings and earning well-deserved credit for Minnesota’s 3-1 victory. Santana is now 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last five starts, with 39 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Old minor-leaguer clocks home run, sends Mets to defeat

Hector Olivera clocked a three-run, go-ahead homer with two outs in the sixth inning and the Braves went on to defeat the Mets, 6-2. Olivera, a 30-year-old rookie, became the second 30-year-old rookie in the last 11 days to smash a home run against the Mets; on September 12, Olivera’s teammate Adonis Garcia connected. Prior to the last two weeks, only four rookies on the far side of 30 have homered against the Mets over their 54-year existence, the oldest being the Phillies’ Chris Coste, at 33, in 2006.

Thy Cup Runneth Over

No I didn’t. Honest… I ran out of gas! I–I had a flat tire! I didn’t have enough money for cab fare! My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!  The scene from Blues Brothers was eerily similar to the actual events outside of the United Center last night.  Word of Tornadoes, flooding, severe weather, the roof leaking – all of it, delaying Lord Stanley’s Cup.

But it was delivered and it has been delivered to the city of Chicago, on home ice, for the first time since 1934, (1938, they never brought it).  This marks the 3rd time in 6 years the Blackhawks have won the Cup, and who knows if they could have had a three-peat if not for the Game 7 loss last year in the Western Conference Finals – either way the city of Chicago is excited as are Blackhawk fans who had to suffer for decades under Bill Wirtz to witness greatness.  Watch this fan describe how awesome the ‘Hawks are:

Notes I cannot put anywhere else:

  • Crawford’s shutout clinches Cup for Chicago

    With his 2-0 win over the Lightning, Corey Crawford became the fifth goaltender in the last 39 years to record a Stanley Cup-clinching shutout victory. The other goaltenders to do that since 1976 are Pittsburgh Tom Barrasso in 1991 (8-0 at Minnesota), Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 1996 (1-0 at Florida in triple-overtime), New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur in 2003 (3-0 vs. Anaheim) and Boston’s Tim Thomas in 2011 (4-0 at Vancouver).

    nullKeith’s game-winner cements Conn SmytheDuncan Keith scored only one goal in this year’s Stanley Cup Final but it was the game-winning goal in Chicago’s 2-0 series-clinching victory. Keith, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the 2015 playoff MVP, is the eighth player in the NHL’s expansion era whose only goal in a Stanley Cup Final series was the game-winner in the deciding game. The other players to do that since 1968 were J.C. Tremblay (1968 Canadiens), Bobby Orr (1970 Bruins), Ken Linseman (1984 Oilers), Ron Francis (1992 Penguins), Darren McCarty (1997 Red Wings), Mike Rupp (2003 Devils) and Alec Martinez (2014 Kings).

    No player scores three goals in Final

    For the second consecutive year no player on either team scored more than two goals in the Stanley Cup Final. Chicago’s Brandon Saad, Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette, and Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn and Cedric Paquette were the co-leaders with two goals each in this year’s Final, after three Kings and two Rangers shared goal-scoring honors with two goals apiece in the 2014 Final. Before last year, the only best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final in which no player managed to score at least three goals was the 1968 series in which the Montreal Canadiensswept the first-year expansion St. Louis Blues team in four games. The joint leaders with two goals each in that series were Yvon Cournoyer, Henri Richard and Serge Savard of the Canadiens, and Red Berenson of the Blues.

  • I’m also not buying that Bishop played with a torn-right-groin – Sorry, there is no physical way you could do that – a torn groin?!  Just say you had cramps like NBA guys do.

 

One Tree Hill – will also accept: The Joshua Tree

This golf course – Chambers Bay – looks like a course designed on the moon and planted in Scotland – it only has ONE TREE!  I am so enamored with this course, that I can not wait to waste hours watching guys spoiling a good walk.  I’m also gonna play my hand at winning a $1,000,000 with Draft Kings.   That should make it more entertaining to see if I can pick 6 golfers and watch Team Cartwright beat the field.  The golfers may not know it – but they play for me – muwahahahahaha!  You should play too & see if you can do better than us – it’s easy – just sign up here!  Here are some high-end guys you might wanna consider:

Justin Rose
Dustin Johnson
Phil Mickelson 
Henrik Stenson

 


Ty on third by Bill Purdom

Souza walks five times

Rookie Steven Souza walked five times in five plate appearances in the Rays’ 6-1 home win over the Nationals. The last major-league player to draw five bases on balls in a nine-inning game was another Tampa Bay outfielder, Matt Joyce, on April 25, 2014 against the White Sox. The last rookie to work five walks in a game was the Mets’ Mike Baxter, at San Diego on August 4, 2012.

nullCain homers in return to Milwaukee

Lorenzo Cain was 2-for-5 with a two-run home run in the Royals’ 8-5 win at Milwaukee. Cain, who broke into the majors with the Brewers in 2010 and was part of the package Milwaukee sent to Kansas City to acquire Zack Greinke the following winter, was making his first appearance against his former team. He’s the second ex-Brewer this season to homer in his first game after leaving the team, joiningNori Aoki, who connected at Miller Park on May 25. In the previous 15 seasons (2000-2014), only one ex-Milwaukee player did that against his former team: Jim Edmonds in 2010.

null

Sanchez pitches another gem vs. NL

Anibal Sanchez threw a complete-game shutout in the Tigers’ 6-0 home win over the Reds. In his previous outing, Sanchez tossed 7.2 scoreless innings in a win over the Cubs. Since interleague play began in 1997, only two other pitchers have won two straight starts, both against the opposite league, while going more than seven innings and not allowing a run. Greg Maddux (1998) and Mark Mulder (2001) posted back-to-back shutouts in consecutive starts versus interleague opponents.

nullGoldy’s bat downs Halos

Paul Goldschmidt singled, doubled, and homered in the Diamondbacks’ 7-3 win over the Angels in Anaheim. It was Goldschmidt’s sixth game this season in which he recorded at least three hits and one home run. That’s the second-highest total in the majors behind Miguel Cabrera (7).

nullOdor raps three hits in return to majors

Rougned Odor, in his first game since returning from the minors, went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in the Rangers’ 4-1 home win over the Dodgers. In his first stint in Texas this season, Odor recorded just one multi-hit game (and no three-hit games) in 25 starts. The only player with at least 20 starts in 2015 who had more than one hit in a lower percentage of them than Odor (4%) was the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley (1 in 41, 2%).

null

Molina finally goes deep

Yadier Molina‘s first home run since June 27, 2014 gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead and St. Louis held on to beat Minnesota, 3-2. Molina’s 342-at bat regular-season homer drought was the longest of his career, nearly 30% longer than his previous longest streak of 267 at bats in 2009.

nullLoMo plays an unconventional position for a leadoff batter

Logan Morrison, leading off and playing first base, was 3-for-5 with a stolen base in the Mariners’ 5-1 win at San Francisco. Only one other starting first baseman in the past 16 seasons has put up three hits and a steal from the top lineup slot: Brock Holt for the Red Sox on June 1, 2014.

nullDietrich scores twice in first start of season

Derek Dietrich, making his first start of the season, homered and scored both Marlins runs in Miami’s 2-1 home win over the Yankees. The last player to score all of his team’s runs in a one-run win while starting his first game of the season in June or later was the Angels’ Shawn Wooten, in a 1-0 win over the Royals on July 11, 2002.

Friday Dregs

Aside from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, MLB has all their games playing tonight, and if you have StrikeZone you’ll get to see all of the action as it happens.  So for today we are going to give you some lineup help.  Here are 4 lineups to consider for tonight, check to see if they are playing and for rain:

#1               #2               #3               #4

P: Odorizzi     Odorizzi      Volquez      Gibson

P: Gibson       Volquez      Will.Perez   Butler

C: Posey         Saltamac    Norris         R.Martin

1: Goldschm   Goldschm  Carter         Teixeira

2: Rendon       Panik         Dozier         DJ Lemahieu

3: Gallo          Tejada        Carpenter   Donaldson

S: Jhonny P    Jhonny P   Tulowitzki    Tulowitzki

O: Rajai D       Pollock       McCutchen  Giancarlo

O: Joc Peder   Pillar          JoeyButler   Bautista

O: Burns         Moss           Springer      Gardner

As for alternate Ideas to consider for tonight here are some candidates to consider by position – remeber to check and see if they are in the lineup and for rain:

C: Saltamacchia/Cervelli/Norris/Posey/Vogt

1:  Goldschmidt/Carter/Freeman/Pujols/Posey

2:  Panik/Dozier/Phillips

3:  Carpenter/Freese/Tejada/Lawrie/Frazier/Donaldson/Arenado/MiguelC

S:  Jh.Peralta/Tulo/Tejada/Xander/Andrus/DiDi

O:  McCutchen/Pillar/Moss/JoeyButler/ShinSoo/Bruce/Deshields/A.Gordon/Pollock/Joc/Souza/Springer/Trout/Bryce Harper


 

Here we go with the recap of the last few two days….

Wednesday Review

NHL

Blackhawks rookie leads unprecedented Game 1 comeback

Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored goals in the last seven minutes of the third period which enabled the Blackhawks to overcome a 1-0 deficit and beat the Lightning, 2-1, at Tampa in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s the first time in NHL history that a team won Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final in regulation time after trailing while being shut out in the third period.

Chicago is also the first road team to record a regulation-time victory with a third-period comeback in the opening game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Three other visiting teams won Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final in overtime after trailing in the third period: the Islanders in 1980 (at Philadelphia), the Canucks in 1994 (at New York Rangers) and the Sabres in 1999 (at Dallas).

Teravainen, who assisted on the winning goal, is the first rookie in NHL history to score two third-period points in the first game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Since 1983, the only rookies before Teravainen to record more than one point in the opening game of a Cup Final wereJaromir Jagr for the Penguins in 1991 (two assists vs. Minnesota) and Ville Leino for the Flyers in 2010 (one goal and one assist at Chicago).

MLB

Gallo making powerful impression

Joey Gallo hit a home run in his major-league debut on Tuesday night and he cleared the fences with a solo shot on Wednesday evening. None of the 53 players in major-league history who hit at least 400 lifetime home runs began their careers by homering in each of their first two games. The player with the most home runs who did go deep in each of his first two big-league games is Todd Helton, who retired with 369 homers, which currently ranks him tied for 78th all time.

Tanaka returns with a win

Masahiro Tanaka made a triumphant return by throwing seven innings in a 3-1 victory at Seattle, improving his record to 16-6 in 25 major-league starts. Prior to Tanaka, the most recent pitchers to win at least 16 of their first 25 career starts–all for the Yankees–were Mel Stottlemyre (who, like Tanaka, was 16-6 through his first 25 starts) and Whitey Ford (17-2).

Astros rookie strikes out 11 with no walks

Lance McCullers, a 21-year old rookie making his fourth career start, struck out 11 Orioles batters and did not issue a walk in a complete-game win for the Astros on Wednesday night.

McCullers, at age 21, is the fourth youngest pitcher in the last 50 seasons with more than 10 strikeouts and no walks in a complete game. The three younger pitchers to do so over that span were Dwight Gooden (twice, at age 19 for the 1984 Mets), Bert Blyleven (at age 20 for the 1971 Twins) and Kerry Wood (at age 20 for the 1998 Cubs, while tying a major-league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game).

Braves surrender another huge lead

There have been only two major-league games this season in which a team was defeated after leading by at least six runs and the Braves have lost both of them. Atlanta surrendered an eight-run advantage in a 13-12 loss to the Nationals at Turner Field on April 28, and allowed a six-run cushion to disappear in Wednesday’s 9-8 setback against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Pirates sweep the defending champs

The Pirates, by virtue of their 5-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco, swept a series of at least three games on the road against the defending World Series champion for only the fifth time in franchise history. Pittsburgh’s other sweeps of at least three games on the home field of the reigning title holders were against the Cubs (in 1909), Giants (1922), Cardinals (1983) and Reds (1991).

Peralta pounds the Brewers

Jhonny Peralta was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Cardinals’ win over the Brewers and he now has 50 hits in 135 career at-bats (.370) versus Milwaukee. That gives Peralta the second-highest lifetime average for any active player against the Brewers (minimum: 100 at-bats), behind Troy Tulowitzki, who has batted .408 against them.

Buehrle throws a 93-pitch shutout

Mark Buehrle threw only 93 pitches in his shutout of the Nationals. That’s the fewest pitches thrown by a pitcher in a nine-inning complete-game performance this season and the second-fewest for Buehrle (again, in a nine-inning complete game) in his major-league career. He authored a shutout against the Indians while throwing just 90 pitches in July 2004, when he was 25 years old and playing for the White Sox.

Heart of the order powers Royals

The heart of the Royals’ order–Lorenzo CainEric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales–produced back-to-back-to-back RBI-doubles in the third inning of Kansas City’s 4-2 win over the Indians. It was the first time since May 2006 that three consecutive Royals batters in one inning each connected for extra-base hits that drove in a run. In that game nine years ago, four straight Kansas City batters did so–Emil BrownTony GraffaninoAngel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Burns clears the bases

Billy Burns‘ bases-loaded triple on the first pitch of his at-bat in the second inning was the key hit in Oakland’s 6-1 win at Detroit. Burns has had a first-pitch hit in each of his last four games, one shy of the longest such streak in the major leagues this season. Kole Calhoun connected for a hit on the first pitch of an at-bat in five consecutive games last month.

Big day for Boston’s middle infielders

Dustin Pedroia (4-for-5) and Xander Bogaerts (3-for-4) helped the Red Sox defeat the Twins in the first game of a doubleheader and became only the second starting keystone combination in more than two years to each register at least three hits for Boston in the same game. Pedroia and Stephen Drew did that on May 6, 2013 in an 11-inning game that was coincidentally also against the Twins at Fenway Park.

Rookie stymies the Red Sox at Fenway

Trevor May threw seven scoreless innings to help the Twins record a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox in the second game of their doubleheader. The only other rookie in the last five seasons to earn a win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park by throwing at least seven shutout innings was Matt Shoemaker in 2014.

Franco takes Chapman deep

Maikel Franco hit a game-tying three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning and the Phillies went on to defeat the Reds in extra innings. Franco launched a game-tying homer on Tuesday night in the eighth inning of a Philadelphia win over Cincinnati. He is the first rookie with a game-tying or go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later of back-to-back games since the Twins’ Bobby Kielty in 2002.

Sale: consecutive starts with 12+ Ks and no runs

Chris Sale struck out 13 batters without allowing a run on Wednesday night, after a 12-K/no-run outing last Thursday. Prior to Sale, the most recent pitchers to make back-to-back starts with at least a dozen strikeouts and no runs allowed in each were Chan Ho Park (2000 Dodgers), Hideo Nomo (1995 Dodgers), Roger Clemens(1987 Red Sox), Nolan Ryan (1978 Angels) and Sandy Koufax (1965 Dodgers).


 

Thursday Review

NBA

Warriors shut down Cavs in OT to win Game 1

The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers, 10-2, in overtime, allowing only an uncontested layup byLeBron James in the closing seconds of their 108-100 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. That matched the lowest point total that any team has allowed in an overtime period of the Finals. The Lakers held the Pistons to two points in OT of Game 2 of the 2004 Finals. Richard Hamilton scored Detroit’s only points in the extra period, hitting a jump shot midway through overtime.

James scores 40-plus vs. Warriors in regular season and playoffs

LeBron James led all players with 44 points in Cleveland’s loss. James scored 42 points in his only game against the Warriors during the regular season. He is the fifth player to score 40 or more points in a regular-season game and then do it again against the same opponent in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The others were George Mikan, Minneapolis vs. Washington (1948-49); Jerry West, Los Angeles vs. Boston (1965-66); Allen Iverson, Philadelphia vs. Lakers (2000-01); and Kobe Bryant, Lakers vs. Orlando (2008-09).

MLB

Jones snaps HR drought with a game-winner

Adam Jones broke a 2-2 tie with a home run off Chad Qualls in the eighth inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 victory at Houston. That blast snapped Jones’ streak of 83 at-bats without a homer, his longest since early last season. It was his 14th game-winning home run in Late-Inning Pressure Situations since joining the Orioles in 2008, tying Miguel Cabrera for the most in the American League during that time. The major-league leader is Alfonso Soriano (15).

Twins overcome early deficit for late win at Fenway

The Twins, who trailed 4-0 early, scored four runs off Koji Uehara in the ninth inning to gain an 8-4 victory at Boston. It was the first time in Uehara’s 314 major-league appearances that he allowed even one run and failed to retire a batter.

This was Minnesota’s 825th game at Fenway Park, including 523 as the Washington Senators from 1912 to 1960. It was only the second of those games in which the Senators or Twins won by at least four runs after the Red Sox had taken a lead of four or more runs. The first was in 2003 and, for what it’s worth, Minnesota faced knuckleballers in both games: Tim Wakefield 12 years ago and Steven Wright yesterday.

A’s day starts well, ends with mixed results

The Athletics took a 6-0 lead over the Tigers on Thursday and held on for a 7-5 win at Detroit. The victim of Oakland’s early assault was Shane Greene, who was charged with six runs and failed to complete five innings. It was the fifth time in 12 starts that Greene allowed more than one run per inning; the last pitcher to do so in at least five of his first 12 starts for the Tigers wasDontrelle Willis (2008-09).

The A’s day didn’t end nearly as well as it began. Stephen Vogt was removed from the game in the ninth inning after pulling up lame while chasing a foul pop-up. Coming into the day, Vogt had the highest Elias Impact Rating of any catcher in the either league (82.8), and he ranked second on his team to Sonny Gray (91.5).

Tigers suffer back-to-back series sweeps

Thursday’s victory completed the A’s three-game sweep of the Tigers after Detroit had lost four straight games to the Angels. It’s the first time that Detroit has been swept in consecutive series (of two or more games, that is), after entering each series above .500, since June 1993, when Sparky Anderson’s team went 0-9 on a road trip of three games each at Baltimore, Boston and New York, knocking the Tigers out of first place.

A first for Mayberry

John Mayberry went 4-for-5 with a home run in the Mets’ 6-2 win at Arizona. It was the first four-hit game of Mayberry’s career and it came in his 313th start. Only seven other active players have made at least 300 starts and never had more than three hits in one game: Luis Valbuena (535 starts), Mitch Moreland (457),Travis Snider (409), Brett Lawrie (397), John Jaso (374), Eric Young Jr. (329), andAaron Harang (314).

Reds show no favor to an old friend

The Reds faced a former teammate on Thursday night, defeating Aaron Harang and the Phillies, 6-4. Harang, who led the Reds with 75 wins during his eight seasons with the team (2003-10), came into the game with a 2.02 ERA that ranked fifth in the National League, but allowed a season-high six runs to suffer his sixth loss of the season.

Here’s an odd twist: It was Harang’s sixth appearance against Cincinnati, each for a different team. The others were with the Athletics (2002), Dodgers (2012), Mariners (2013), Mets (2013), and Braves (2014).

Choo delivers in the clutch

Shin-Soo Choo singled in the 11th inning to deliver Leonys Martin with the winning run in the Rangers’ 2-1 victory over the White Sox. It was the seventh time Choo has produced a walkoff win, five of them in the last three seasons. The only player with more walkoff plate appearances since 2013 is Josh Donaldson (8).

Bauer continues his string of strong starts

Trevor Bauer allowed two runs in six-and-two-thirds innings to earn the victory in the Indians’ rain-shortened 6-2 win at Kansas City. It was the fifth consecutive start in which Bauer held his opponents to two or fewer runs. His ERA for those five starts is 1.75, compared to a 4.40 career mark prior to that.

Weekend Sediment

Before we get to the weekend recap – there is a tragic news story coming out of Florida – It seems an owner of a major-league-fantasy sports team decided to hold his wedding during the baseball season and subsequently neglected his team for a honeymoon destination without wifi.  His reckless decisions have placed his teams chances for a title in serious jeopardy that they may never recover from.  If this sounds like something you might do, then stop and think of your players.  Of course you can avoid any of these scenarios by playing Daily Fantasy with us and never have to worry about taking a vacation and ruining your teams chances, because each day is a new chance to earn some fresh lettuce.  We have developed a baseball solution based on avoiding zeroes and increasing your chances to cash 75% of the lineups you enter.  So, look for our information by 2p each day based on the amount of games being played in our BASEBALL page.  Now on with the recap!


Lightning strikes

From Elias: Ben Bishop became the first goaltender in NHL history to send his team into the Stanley Cup Final with a road shutout in a Game Seven, as he lifted the Lightning into the Final by blanking the Rangers, 2-0. For Bishop, it was his second Game Seven shutout of the 2015 playoffs; he had blanked the Red Wings, 2-0, in the seventh game of Tampa Bay’s first-round series. Bishop is the third goaltender in NHL history to earn a pair of Game Seven shutouts in one playoff year. The others were Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 2002 (vs. Los Angeles and San Jose) and Boston’s Tim Thomas in 2011 (vs. Tampa Bay and Vancouver). (For Bishop, unlike Roy and Thomas, the shutouts came in the first two Game Sevens of his NHL career.)

Bishop, who recorded an assist in his Game Seven win versus Detroit, did the same in Friday’s victory against the Rangers. The only other NHL goaltenders with even one career assist in a Game Seven shutout are Pittsburgh’s Frank Pietrangelo in 1991 (vs. New Jersey) and Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 2002 (vs. Los Angeles).

Bishop shut out the Rangers not only in Game Seven, but also in Game Five. No other goaltender had ever pitched a road shutout in a winner-take-all road game after also having earned a shutout in his previous game on the same ice.

The Lightning’s victory, on the heels of a 7-3 loss in Game Six on Tuesday, marked the first time in NHL history that a team had won a series by means of a Game Seven road shutout after having allowed at least five goals in the previous game.

Toews puts Chicago on path to victory

From Elias: The Blackhawks, on a pair of goals by Jonathan Toews, outscored the Ducks, 2-0, in the first period of Game 7 in the Western Conference Final at Anaheim. Toews is the third player in NHL history to score two first-period goals for the road team in the seventh game of a playoff series. The other players to do that were the Maple Leafs’ Dave Keon at Montreal in a 1964 Semi-Final series, and the Kings’ Ted Irvine at Oakland in a first-round series in 1969. The last NHL player to score two first-period goals for the home side in Game 7 was the Bruins’ Milan Lucic in a second-round matchup versus the Flyers in 2010.

Kane helps on three goals

From Elias: Patrick Kane assisted on three of the Blackhawks five goals in their win over the Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. In the NHL’s expansion era (1968 to date) the only other players to record three assists in the seventh game of a Semi-Final or Conference Final series are Boston’s Jean Ratelle at Montreal in 1979 and Toronto’s Doug Gilmour versus Los Angeles in 1993, though each of them did so in a game their team lost.

Blackhawks offense comes alive in last two games of Conference Final

From Elias: The Blackhawks won 5-3 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, after posting a 5-2 victory in Game 6. It’s the seventh time in NHL history that a team won Game 6 and Game 7 of a playoff series while scoring at least five goals in each game, but it’s only the second time it has happened after the first round. The only previous instance of an NHL team winning a series in that fashion after the opening round was when Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings posted 5-4 wins over the Maple Leafs in Games 6 and 7 of the 1993 Campbell Conference Final.


Think of the Central time zone and the 4 teams that are .600 or better as the dog days begin – St. Louis Cardinals (33-17), Minnesota Twins (30-19), Houston Fir-stros (31-20) and the Kansas City Royals (29-19).  Maybe the Royals and the Cardinals are so much as a surprise as the Twins and Astros are – but no one saw this…

FRIDAY

Norris caps one-of-a-kind night with walk-off grand-slam

From Elias: Derek Norris, who had struck out in each of his four previous trips to the plate, hit a two-out, grand-slam walkoff homer in the ninth inning to propel the Padres to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates. It was the first game-ending grand-slam homer in the majors this season and the sixth such blow in Padres history, the last coming off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez five years ago. But fans at Petco Park on Friday night saw something never previously done in the history of major-league baseball: Norris became the first player to hit a walkoff grand-slam home run in a game in which he has previously struck out as many as four times.

Dodgers bring drought on the road with them

From Elias: When the Dodgers play in Los Angeles, they have to deal with water restrictions necessitated by the California drought. But now on the road, the Dodgers have experienced a scoring drought, one that reached a remarkable total of 37 consecutive road innings without a run as they fell, 3-0, to John Lackey and the Cardinals on Friday night. That total represents the second-longest streak of consecutive scoreless innings in road games since the Dodgers joined the National League in 1890. The one longer streak was fashioned during the Roosevelt administrationthat’s Teddy Rooseveltin August of 1908. In the midst of a 22-game road trip through six National League cities, the Dodgers went 41 straight innings without scoring in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The 2015 Dodgers had lost three straight shutouts at San Francisco, May 19 to May 21, in their last road games before Friday’s contest in St. Louis. They have been shut out in four straight road games for the first time in franchise history.

Buehrle’s 204th win is unlike any of the others

From Elias: The Twins ended Mark Buehrle‘s streak of 35 consecutive innings without allowing Minnesota an earned run early and with emphasis, scoring four runs, all earned, in the first inning. But then Buehrle slipped back into form, the Blue Jays pecked away and the veteran left-hander wound up going the distance to earn a 6-4 victory. Only two major-league pitchers over the last 30 years have earned a complete-game win, going nine or more innings, after having allowed four or more runs in the first inningand even they were long ago. In 1995, Seattle’s Tim Belcher downed Cleveland, 11-5, after allowing four in the first, and in 1986, Fernando Valenzuela went the route after yielding four in the first to help the Dodgers top the Phillies, 11-4.

Buehrle’s streak, crafted over five games dating back to 2011, was the longest by any big-league pitcher against an opposing team since Zack Greinke held Seattle without an earned run over 38 innings from 2008 to 2010. It was the longest such streak crafted by a starting pitcher against the Twins since Sudden Sam McDowell sailed through 48 innings without allowing the Twins an earned run over 1968 and 1969.

Hamilton hits two in second home game of season

From Elias: Josh Hamilton homered on each of his first two trips to the plate off Boston’s Steven Wright and the Rangers took it from there, repelling the Red Sox, 7-4. Each of Hamilton’s home runs gave the Rangers a lead (1-0 and then 3-2), and they came in his second home game after re-joining the Rangers while the team was on the road earlier this week. The home runs were the 84th and 85th that Hamilton has hit in a Rangers uniform in what is now known as Globe Life Park in Arlington. He hit only one home run there in 62 at-bats over 16 games while with the Angels over the past two seasons.

Bettis and Tulo have their way in Philly

From Elias: Chad Bettis threw seven and one-third hitless inningsthe second-longest no-hit effort in the 3,548-game history of the Rockies, second only toUbaldo Jimenez‘s complete-game no-hitter at Atlanta five years agoonly to see his bid spoiled when Cody Asche‘s soft grounder to the shortstop position rolled through to the outfield because Troy Tulowitzki was overshifted onto the right side of the infield. Bettis, against whom opponents had fashioned a collective .320 batting average in his 40 previous major-league games, allowed another hit later in the inning and earned credit for Colorado’s 4-1 victory at Philadelphia.

Tulowitzki did his best work with the stick in his hands, going 4-for-4, and reaching Cole Hamels for a pair of home runs. It was the second game in his career in which Tulowitzki produced at least four hits, including multiple homers, while batting 1.000; he went 5-for-5 with two circuit clouts in a game at Cincinnati two years back. Hamels is the fourth pitcher against whom Tolo has homered twice in a game; he had previously homered twice in the same game off Sean O’SullivanBronson Arroyo and John Ely.

Bettis, by the way, did keep a couple of other no-hit streaks intact: He went 0-for-2 at the plate, and is now 0-for-23 in his big-league career. Rockies pitchers as a whole are now hitless in their last 34 at-bats.

Another short start for Strasburg

From Elias: Stephen Strasburg left the mound due to an apparent stiff neck in the second inning of the Nationals’ game at Cincinnati, and the Reds later came from behind to take a 5-2 decision. Strasburg has had major problems with length in recent weeks: including his one-inning effort on Friday night, he has now thrown a total of 16 innings over his last five starts combined. That matches the fewest innings that any big-leaguer accumulated over a five-start span (with no relief appearances sprinkled in) all of last season; the Angels’ Cory Rasmus was the lone pitcher last season who amassed just 16 innings over five straight starts.

SATURDAY

Dodgers finally score on the road

From Elias: Howie Kendrick‘s sixth-inning single scored Justin Turner and ended the Dodgers’ road scoreless streak at 42 innings. That surpassed by one inning the franchise record streak of 41, set in August 1908. No major-league team had failed to score in 42 consecutive innings in road games in 30 years, since the Braves posted a 46-inning streak in May 1985.

Grandal shows power with runners on

From Elias: Yasmani Grandal‘s three-run home run gave the Dodgers the lead for good in their 5-1 win at St. Louis. Grandal’s last two home runs were also of the three-run variety, both on May 7 at Milwaukee. The last Dodgers player to drive in at least three runs on three straight homers within one season was Adrian Beltre in 2003.

Keuchel White-washes Sox

From Elias: Dallas Keuchel struck out 11 without walking a batter in a complete-game 3-0 home win for the Astros over the White Sox. No Houston pitcher had struck out more than 10 batters without issuing a walk in a complete-game shutout since Randy Johnson fanned 16 Pirates at the Astrodome on August 28, 1998.

Stanton feels at home in Queens

From Elias: Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs in the Marlins’ 9-5 win over the Mets in New York. It was Stanton’s third career-multi-homer game at Citi Field. That’s the third-highest total by any player behind current Mets slugger Lucas Duda(6), and former New York first baseman Ike Davis (4).

Paulsen homers off Garcia again

From Elias: For the second straight day, Ben Paulsen homered off Luis Garcia as the Rockies won at Philadelphia. Only two other rookies in the last 20 years have hit home runs in two consecutive games off the same pitcher: the Phillies’ Pat Burrell against the Mets’ Armando Benitez in June 2000, and the Braves’ Brooks Conrad off the Brewers’ Carlos Villanueva in May 2010.

Goldschmidt homers off Lohse in two straight innings

From Elias: Paul Goldschmidt hit two home runs, a solo shot off Kyle Lohse in the third inning and a two-run blast off Lohse in the fourth, in the Diamondbacks’ 7-3 win it Milwaukee. It was the third time that Goldschmidt has homered in consecutive innings, having done so against the Reds in 2013 and versus the Dodgers in 2014. But the last Arizona player to go deep in consecutive innings off the same pitcher was Aaron Hill against Madison Bumgarner at Chase Field on April 7, 2012.

SUNDAY

Hamilton gives the Rangers a dramatic win

Josh Hamilton‘s pinch-hit, two-run double off Koji Uehara with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Rangers’ a 4-3 triumph over the Red Sox. It was the eighth game of Hamilton’s major-league career in which he produced a walkoff RBI, and in four of those games (all for the Rangers) his game-ender turned a deficit into a victory, three of which came in two-out situations. Sunday’s walkoff by Hamilton was the first for a Rangers pinch-hitter with the team trailing and down to its final out since June 2, 1995, when Rusty Greer‘s pinch-hit, two-run homer off Rick Aguilera with two outs in the bottom of the ninth gave Texas a 6-5 win over the Twins.

Colorado bullpen bails out injured Lyles for Philly sweep

Jordan Lyles lasted only 1.1 innings before his reoccurring toe injury forced him out of the game, but none of the four Colorado relievers who followed him to the mound was charged with a run in the Rockies’ 4-1 triumph in Philadelphia. Chris Rusin, who relieved Lyles in the second inning, tossed 4.2 innings and was credited with the victory. It was the 38th game in franchise history in which the Rockies’ starting pitcher recorded fewer than five outs, but it was the first of those games in which Colorado’s bullpen was not charged with a run.

Ten-hit shutout for Danks

John Danks answered Saturday’s shutout by Dallas Keuchel with one of his own on Sunday, as he scattered ten hits while the White Sox downed the Astros, 6-0. Danks became the first major-league pitcher since Minnesota’s Carlos Silva (11 hits) blanked the Angels on August 3, 2004 to toss a shutout in a game in which he allowed ten or more hits. The only other White Sox pitcher who did that in the post-WWII era is Stan Bahnsen, with a 12-hit shutout of the Athletics on June 21, 1973.

Frazier leads Reds in sweep of Nationals

Todd Frazier went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs as the Reds completed their three-game series sweep of the Nationals. It capped a four-game span for Frazier during which time he went 10-for-15 with four doubles and three home runs. In baseball’s modern era (1900 to date), the only other Reds players who produced ten or more hits over a four-game period, including seven for extra bases and a batting average as high as Frazier’s (.667) are George Crowe in 1957, George Foster in 1980, Kevin Mitchell in 1993 (two overlapping four-game spans) and Barry Larkin in 1995.

Maldonado had enough

After playing the entire game behind the plate, Martin Maldonado put an end to his long day of squatting with a game-ending home run that gave the Brewers a 7-6 victory over the Diamondbacks in 17 innings. Maldonado is the first player in major-league history who ended a game of at least 17 innings with a home run after playing a complete game in the field as a catcher.

A late comeback for the Braves

The Braves erased a two-run deficit with a four-run ninth inning that was capped by Jace Peterson‘s bases-loaded triple in their 7-5 victory at San Francisco. The Braves had lost the previous 70 games in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later (since a come-from-behind win against the Mets on June 30, 2014). That was the longest current losing streak of its kind for any major-league team entering play on Sunday (a distinction that now belongs to the Marlins, who have lost the last 40 games in which they were in that predicament) and it was the longest losing streak of that nature for the Braves since the Boston version of the franchise lost 108 consecutive games in which it trailed in the eighth inning or later from 1904 to 1905.

Kipnis reached base more often than not during May

Jason Kipnis went 2-for-5 with a walk in the Indians’ 12-inning win at Seattle and he posted an on-base percentage of .511 during May, with 51 hits, 16 walks and five hit-by-pitches. Kipnis is the first Indians player to reach base safely at least 70 times in one calendar month (via hits, walks and HBP) since Earl Averill did it 74 times in July 1934 (38 hits, 35 walks, one hit-by-pitch).

Angels win four against the mighty Tigers

Johnny Giavotella‘s infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning plated two runs to snap a 2-2 tie in the Angels’ 4-2 win that completed their four-game series sweep of the Tigers. It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Angels swept a four-game series from a team that entered the series with a winning percentage as high as Detroit’s (.583 at the time of Thursday’s series opener). The Angels’ previous sweeps of that kind came against the Indians in both 1965 and 1967 and versus the Athletics last August.

Flores takes his place among young power-hitting shortstops

Wilmer Flores, at age 23, slammed his eighth home run of the season to help Bartolo Colon and the Mets defeat the Marlins in New York. Flores’s eight homers match the major-leagues’ fourth-highest single-season total by the end of May for a shortstop under the age of 24. The only higher totals belong to Alex Rodriguez, who did it twice (ten in 1996 at age 20; 20 in 1998 at age 22), and Cal Ripken (11 in 1984 at age 23). Four other under-24 players had exactly eight homers form the shortstop position by the end of May: Arky Vaughan (1935 Pirates), Rico Petrocelli (1966 Red Sox), A-

Rod (1999 Mariners) and Jean Segura (2013 Brewers).

Rookie home-run streaks

Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza (at Baltimore) and Miami’s Justin Bour (at New York) each homered for a third consecutive game on Sunday, tying them with the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (April 29-May 2) for the longest home-run streaks by major-league rookies this season. Souza became the third Tampa Bay rookie to homer in three consecutive games, joining Evan Longoria (two such streaks in 2008) and Kevin Kiermaier (last season). Bour joined a surprisingly long list of Marlins rookies with three-game home-run streaks, including Kurt Abbott (1994), who is the only one of them who homered in four straight games. The other Marlins rookies with three-game home-run streaks are Charles Johnson (1995), Derrek Lee (1998), Hanley Ramirez (2006), Josh Willingham (twice in 2006) and Giancarlo Stanton (twice in 2010).

Martinez extends his streak of scoreless innings

Carlos Martinez allowed only one hit during seven shutout innings as he and the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers, 3-1. Martinez extended his scoreless streak to 20.1 consecutive innings, which is the longest for any major-league starting pitcher this season. The only other Cardinals starter who fashioned a streak of consecutive shutout innings as long as Martinez’s in any of the last four seasons is Adam Wainwright, who had two such streaks last year (25 innings and 21 innings).

Game 7’s are DiRTy

NHL

Two Game 7s in the NHL Conference Finals

The Blackhawks forced a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference Final with their 5-2 win over the Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday, after the Rangers did the same in the Eastern Conference Final with their Game 6 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday. This will be the third time in NHL history that both Semi-Final or Conference Final series in one playoff year went seven games, It happened first in 1964, when Toronto beat Montreal and Detroit topped Chicago in seven-game Semi-Finals, and again in 2000 when New Jersey edged Philadelphia and Dallas got by Colorado in the Conference Finals.

nullKeith notches three assists in the second period

Duncan Keith assisted on all three of the Blackhawks’ second-period goals in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Keith is the fourth player in Blackhawks history to register three assists in one period of a playoff game. The other Chicago players to do that are Pat Stapleton in 1973 (Game 1 of the Stanly Cup Final at Montreal, first period), Chris Chelios in 1992 (Game 2 of Conference Final vs. Edmonton, third period) and Patrick Kane in 2014 (Game 5 of Conference Final vs. Los Angeles, first period). Kane was the last player on any NHL team to accomplish that feat before Keith.


 

NBA

40 year Drought is over

Stephen Curry registered 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals in the Warriors’ series clinching win over the Rockets on Wednesday night. The only other players to produce at least 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals in a playoff series clinching win are Michael Jordan (1990 vs. Philadelphia),Hersey Hawkins (1991 vs. Milwaukee) and Scottie Pippen (1991 vs. the Lakers).

Both NBA Conference Finals end in five or less

The Warriors ended the Western Conference Final series in five games with a win over the Rockets on Wednesday night, a day after the Cavaliers completed a sweep of the Eastern Conference Finals with a victory over the Hawks. This marks only the second time in the last 29 years that both NBA Conference Finals series ended in five or fewer games. The only other time that happened over that span was in 2011.


 

MLB

nullThor and the Mets

Noah Syndergaard did not allow a run while pitching one out into the eighth inning and had a big day at the plate going 3-for-3 with a home run in the Mets’ 7-0 blanking of the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. The only other rookies to hurl at least seven shutout innings while lashing out three or more hits including a home run are Colorado’s Jason Jennings, who pitched a shutout and had three hits and a homer against the Mets on August 23, 2001 and the Dodgers’ Larry Sherry, who did not allow a run over 8.2 innings and recorded three hits and a long ball against the Cardinals on August 15, 1959.

nullThe Yankee nightmare continues as A-Rod passes Gehrig…..and Thome

Alex Rodriguez hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth inning in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Royals on Wednesday afternoon. Rodriguez’s blast, the 50th of his career against Kansas City, not only allowed him to break Lou Gehrig’s American League record for career RBIs, it also set the mark for most career home runs hit against the Royals, a record he shared with Jim Thome entering Wednesday’s action.

nullCruz goes the dynamite

Nelson Cruz broke a scoreless tie with a two-out, three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning in Seattle’s 3-0 win over the Rays in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon. Cruz became only the second player in Mariners’ history to break a scoreless with a two-out home run in the ninth inning or later, joining Logan Morrison who went deep with two out and two-men on in the top of the ninth against the Angels in a 3-1 Seattle win on September 18, 2014.

Pirate pitching stifle another opponent

The Pirates defeated the Marlins by a score of 5-2 on Wednesday extending their winning streak to six games. Pittsburgh has allowed two or fewer runs in each of the six wins during its streak. The only other time the Pirates have won six consecutive games, while allowing two or fewer runs in each game, over the last 38 seasons was in 1992, when Pittsburgh had a nine-game streak of that kind.

nullKipnis loves batting first

Jason Kipnis went 3-for-5 in the Indians’ 12-3 win over the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the eighth time that Kipnis has had three hits in a game in this month. Prior to Kipnis, the last Indians player to record at least eight three-hit games in a calendar month was Kenny Lofton, who had eight in August of 1995. It is also the highest total in a calendar month by a second baseman since San Francisco’s Jeff Kent had eight games with at least three hits in June 2002.

nullLaRoche in extra innings

Adam LaRoche singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning leading the White Sox to a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon. LaRoche’s 855 career RBIs ranks 20th among active major league players, but his 26 RBIs in extra-innings are tied with Carlos Beltran for the fifth most among current players behind Albert Pujols (35), Alex Rodriguez (33), Ryan Howard (29) and Matt Kemp(27).

nullAnother Arenado

Nolan Arenado drove in three runs in the Rockies’ 6-4 win over the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the sixth time that Arenado has had at least three RBIs in a game this season, tied with Paul Goldschmidt for the major-league lead in that category. Prior to this season, Arenado drove in at least three runs in a game only five times in the 244 major-league games he had played in during his career.

nullPanik at the Disco

Joe Panik hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning giving the Giants a 2-1 lead in a game they would go on to win 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first time Panik had multiple RBIs in a game this season. He entered Wednesday’s action with the most games played (44) among players that did not have a multiple-RBI game this season.

nullFinally Hicks

Aaron Hicks hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning in the Twins’ 6-4 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon. Hicks entered the contest on a streak of 71 consecutive plate appearances without driving in a run, which was the third longest current streak for any major-league position player entering Wednesday’s action, behind Mike Baxter (103) and Coco Crisp (72).

A’s struggle in close game again at home

The A’s dropped a 3-2 decision to the Tigers in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon. Oakland has now lost each of its last 12 home games that were decided by one run dating back to last season. It’s the longest such streak since 1894, when the Cubs had a 12-game streak of that kind and the National League Louisville club (spanning 1893-1894) had a 13-game streak.

nullScherzer loves the Nat’l League

Max Scherzer hurled seven shutout innings and struck out 13 in the Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday. The only other visiting pitchers to not allow a run while registering at least 13 strikeouts at Wrigley Field are Cincinnati’s Ewell Blackwell (1948), the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax (1961), Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney (1963), Atlanta’s John Smoltz (1996), San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt(2004) and Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers (2014).

nullHeyward homers

Jason Heyward led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a game-tying home run and the Cardinals scored another run later in the inning to defeat the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night. It was Heyward’s 89th career home run but only the third of which came in the ninth inning or later with his team trailing and either tied the game or put his team ahead. The only other times he did that were on April 20, 2010 and August 17, 2013.

Diamonds in the DiRT

It was April 2nd, 1996 and a peppy kid dreamed to be exactly where he was now – except no one really dreams of being in Cleveland.  The city by the lake isn’t the kind of place where dreams come true in sports – hell, nothing good in Cleveland has occurred in the form of championship recognition since the 50’s with Jim Brown and Otto Graham winning titles.  Sure Cleveland’s had its moments. The Indians were good for a stretch in the 90’s, the Browns in the 80’s – they had and lost LeBron, only to get him back – but still the bridesmaid, never the bride and their hopes were always creatively ripped out of their chest only to be shown their still beating heart – Kali-Mah!

But on this Opening Day in 1996, new beginnings and hope belonged to the visiting team.  It was a sunny, brisk 38 degrees, with the wind blowing out to centerfield at a cheery draft.  Jacob’s Field, the epicenter of tribe fans wearing red, white and blue – a bunch of wahoos.  Long sufferring baseball fans in Cleveland had witnessed the eclipse of the dark-ages of baseball in their city, no longer made fun of by Hollywood and each season was a year long celebration that few players/fans ever experienced.  The Tribe was loaded and fresh off a 100-win season and their first World Series appearance since 1954 – they would win 99 games in 1996 and again have the best record in baseball.  Do you remember Kenny Lofton, Julio Franco, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, age less Eddie Murray, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Sandy Alomar, Omar Visquel – this was Cleveland’s Steel Curtain of baseball – the crowd was like a pack of crazed jackals and into town come the Yankees to start the season and another frenzied march to glory, to finally capture a title – all the Yankees brought with them was a new manager and a new shortstop.  “It’s our year!” – Cleveland fans shouted.

Game 1 of the season is rarely a hitchhiker’s guide to the future, but on this day – the God’s of baseball anointed a team, a manager and a shortstop for the next decade.  The Yankees would go on to win their first division title since 1981 and their first World Series since 1978.  Joe Torre would win the first of his 1,173 victories as manager of the Yankees – establishing during his 12 year tenure, 12 straight post-season appearances, winning 10 AL East crowns, 6 AL Pennants and 4 World Series Championships.

For the 22 year old shortstop, thrown to the wolves in Cleveland, all he did was become the first rookie shortstop to start the season for the Yankees, since 1962 – record his first-ever hit off El Presidente-Dennis Martinez, for a home run – building a resume for dramatic moments the rest of his career.  Career-In Memoriam, we do not get to watch Derek Jeter play shortstop for the Yankees anymore and it’s amazing to think back to that brisk April day in Cleveland where the legend began.

 

With Opening Day approaching, a time where we move past the winter of last year’s struggles to blossom once again on what might be.  A time to share a hot dog and a beer with someone special, a time to return to your youth, looking forward to it like a birthday party.  Baseball is seductive to anyone with an enduring interest, knowing exactly how it should be played, secretly believing they could do it – if only the good lord saw fit to make them less inept.  At least Fantasy Baseball let’s you prove your GM skills.  So you weren’t successful today, like baseball, there’s always tomorrow’s lineup.  In honor of the approaching National Holiday here are some alternate position examinations:

Yogi

Catcher

Matt Wieters – had Tommy John surgery so his issue becomes how many at-bats can he get to, but if he can reach at least 400 of them, he should bounce back.

The Beast, Double X

First Base

Aside from Goldschmidt and Miggy there are several other 1st basemen to consider.  Like Adam Lind for the Brewers who gets a shot to start full time and should hit in the 5 hole were he could hit 20+HR’s.  Someone who was productive last year that should see a regression this year is Chris Carter.

Jackie

Second Base

Chase Utley – the Phillies could be terrible but Chase will bat 3rd and will have a chance to provide a surprising rebound – not sure what kind of dead-cat rebound it’ll be, but it could be considerable, for stretches at a time.

Cal Ripken Jr

Shortstop

Stay away from Xander Bogaerts and Jean Segura as both are slotted to bat 8th.  For Xander, batting 8th in what might be the best offense is bad news – batting 8th is never a positive for your lineup.  For Segura and Bogaerts potential on the field does not equate fantasy value consistent enough.

Brooks Robinson

Third Base

Kris Bryant – whenever he gets called up, he has the potential to be a dominate player and another in a growing list of young talent in the game.  But the questions remain, relating to his strikeout rate – almost 30% last year in Triple A.  What does that mean for daily leagues?  It means that you should watch his Batting-Average-Balls-In-Play, because if that doesn’t negate the strikeout rate then he will be a consistent hit-or-miss play.  Either way he will be fun to watch.

Clemente, Mays and Aaron

Outfield

Christian Yellich – is getting a lot of press and is part of one the best outfields in the NL – however consider how often he hits fly-balls – less than 20% of the time.  If you believe he gets 600 plate appearances this year, only 120 of those will generate fly-balls – then multiply that by his Home-run/Fly-ball rate which was 15% last year (3.5% higher than his average) – that is 18 HR’s and he is batting second and likely will not steal as often in front Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton.

Michael Cuddyer – has only recorded 500+ plate appearances once in the last 3 years and now that he is with the Mets and still batting 5th, there is not much to suggest that he has much value left in the tank – or the health to sustain solid numbers.

Corey Dickerson – has the batting average talent, but struggles against lefties and until you see that change you have to pay attention to that matchup.  However if he gets 600 plate appearances he could be a top 5 outfielder with a healthy Tulo and CarGo.

Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Warren Spahn

Pitchers

You have to look at how many innings they pitched last year.  Example being Bumgarner pitched 270+ innings in 2014 and so expect him to have rest and lightened workloads to save him – plus the Giants only win in even years.  Too many innings is the result we see from all those pitchers breaking down – it has the Tigers worried for Verlander and Wainwright is 700 innings removed from Tommy John Surgery.  Think of it like this – pitchers usually are in the 25-30% risk for injury category and Wainwright is more like 40%.  So look for those new young guys that have the promise for consistency like Jake Arrieta, Jacob DeGrom and Carlos Rondon.

 

As they said in Bull Durham: “it’s an easy game, you catch the ball, you hit the ball, you throw the ball…and sometimes it rains