Tuesday DiRT

A Hobbled Ben Bishop Is Good Enough

Have the Blackhawks run out of MeauxJeaux?  It seems like maybe they have.  Crawford appears to be too mercurial – that 3rd goal – it was like he didn’t expect anyone to be in front of his net. He made no effort to break up the pass or to get over. I don’t get it.  Every goalie lets up softies, but you rarely see an NHL goalie look like a soccer goalie does when a cross connects to the far side and he has no chance. Maybe it’s because the NHL nets are only 4’ wide.

Why does he stand up instead of just pushing across? He’s still on that post, but standing, as the puck goes in. He must not have known anyone was there, but with that many of his own guys you still have to respect the deflection. That looked lazy or confused. I think at times, he’s very good and underrated/unappreciated, but how easy that goal was, that one confounded me.

At the other end, Bishop was fighting the puck all night, but I think the possible-injury made him keep things simple. As the game went on, he largely let the puck just hit him and then tried to find the rebounds. Early he was aggressive — he had the horrible 2-pad stack on Hossa’s missed net and the attempted glove save where he reached far out in front and tipped it into his own net. Some big athletic goalies are better off when they can keep things simple, and he did that for the last two periods. I would like to find out what the injury is after the series – if there is one.

But…Then again it could be a replay of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013.  You know the one when Boston went up 2-1, after the Blackhawks won Game 1.  Toews did not record a single goal in those first three games, nor did Kane.  It caused plenty of panic in Chi-Town.  This team seems to operate at a different frequency than most.  They almost prefer to save their best hockey for when a series gets later, (see Western Conference Finals).  It typically starts right around Game 4.

Want to know how well the Blackhawks play in late in the series?  In games 1-3, under Quenneville, the ‘Hawks are 30-30.  In games 4-7, the ‘Hawks are 40-14!  But who knows, if you’re a fan of the Blackhawks, you have to worry a little – can’t keep pulling rabbits out of your hat – lose game 4 and it might be over.

Notes I can’t put anywhere else:

  • Cedric Paquette‘s goal with 3:11 remaining in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and earned the Lightning a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. In Game 1, Chicago’s Antoine Vermette scored the go-ahead goal with 4:34 left to play in regulation time which provided the winning margin in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory. This is the third Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took exclusive possession of the trophy in 1927 in which there were two games with a tiebreaking goal scored in the last five minutes of the third period. The others were the Maple Leafs against the Red Wings in 1964 (Toronto’s Bob Pulford in Game 1, Detroit’s Alex Delvecchio in Game 3) and the Hurricanes versus the Oilers in 2006 (Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour in Game 1, Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth in Game 3).
  • The Blackhawks posted a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but the Lightning has won Games 2 and 3 by scores of 4-3 and 3-2. This is only the third time since 1977 that each of the first three games of a Stanley Cup Final series was decided by a one-goal margin. That also happened in 1998 (Red Wings vs. Capitals) and 2010 (Blackhawks vs. Flyers).

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DiRT on Monday

Is there no-one else out there besides Jeff Van Gundy who sees how terrible the refs are in this series, especially last night?  You either look at this series as Cleveland could be up 2-0, or Golden State could be – you could look at it that Golden State had a chance, even with the poor shooting of Steph Curry – and either way you look at it, last night was a game that was so ugly, it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down – but that dumpster-fire was entertaining to watch.  Do you doubt why the league suffers from conspiracy theories?  Watch the Refs in game 2 again, and you’ll see why – none of the calls and non-calls make any sense – how does Lebron not get some of those call towards the end – it was worse than Hack-A-ShaQ?  About the only thing Lebron did not do to win this weekend, was ride American Pharoah.

What I believe to know is that, Lebron is the only guy out there who knows what it takes to win and he is doing everything he can about it.  But can he continue to overcome the obstacles and JR Smith?  Can Golden State stop playing outside-in?  When will Cleveland stop trying to blow it at the end?  I have no real idea on any of it.  Thankfully, this series is turning into an all-timer, Spurs-Clippers-esque.  Hopefully whatever side of the fence you find yourself on, you’re enjoying it as much as we are here.

Notes I cannot put anywhere else:

  • LeBron James produced game-high totals of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Cavaliers to a 95-93 overtime victory over the Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, knotting the series at one win each. James joined Jerry West as the only players in the history of the NBA Finals to achieve a triple-double with as many as 39 points. West scored 42 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out 12 assists for the Lakers in their Game 7 loss to the Celtics in 1969.
  • James became the second player to produce outright game highs of points, rebounds and assists during the NBA Finals, joining Shaquille O’Neal, who did so at Los Angeles in the Lakers’ Game 2 victory over the Nets in 2002 (40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists).
  • Stephen Curry scored 19 points in the Warriors’ loss on Sunday while making only two of his 15 attempts from beyond the arc. It was the first game of Curry’s NBA career, regular season or postseason, in which he missed as many 13 three-point field-goal attempts. His previous high was 11 missed three-pointers, done three times, twice during the regular season in the 2013 calendar year and once earlier in this year’s playoffs (7-for-18 against the Pelicans in Game 3 of the first round). The only other player in the history of the NBA Finals who missed as many as ten three-point field-goal attempts in one game is John Starks, who went 2-for-18 from the field, including 0-for-11 from three-point range, in the Knicks’ Game 7 loss at Houston in 1994.
  • The Cavaliers-Warriors series is the first in the history of the NBA Finals in which the first two games each required overtime and it’s the first series in any round of the NBA playoffs in which Games 1 and 2 both went to overtime since the Mavericks and Trail Blazers split the first two games of their best-of-five first-round series in 1985, both at Dallas, with the first game going to double-overtime and the second game decided in one extra period. It’s only the second time that two consecutive games of an NBA Finals went to overtime at any point during a series. The Knicks won Game 3 of the 1970 Finals and the Lakers won Game 4 of that series, both requiring overtime at Los Angeles.
  • Draymond Green blocked three field-goal attempts by LeBron James in Game 2, including two in overtime. The only other player who has rejected three of James’s field-goal attempts in one playoff game is Serge Ibaka, who did it for the Thunder in a Game 2 loss to the Heat in the 2012 Finals

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?  The same parable works for Horse Racing.  A triple crown winner has finally occurred after 37 years – will it save Horse-Racing?  Does it change the average persons viewpoint on the ponies?  Did you actually watch the race?  I mean before you told people on Facebook how awesome it was that it happened?  So what have we learned from an Egyptian of Jewish decent who’s horse was Grand-Sired by Empire Maker – the same horse that ruined Funny Cide’s Triple Crown in 2003 at the Belmont – you might have learned that the Triple Crown is hard in baseball and in horse racing – it’s the 12th time for horse Racing and Miguel Cabrera in 2012, was the 17th in baseball – the drought being 10 years longer in baseball.

So does this reinvigorate horse racing?  Not likely, but there is a cool stat to come out of it all – Miguel Cabrera, hit a two-run home run to give the Tigers the lead for good in their 7-1 win over the White Sox in Chicago Saturday.  The only other baseball player with a Triple Crown to his credit to hit a home run on the same day that horse racing welcomed a new member to its most elite club was Lou Gehrig. Gehrig, who led the American League in batting average, home runs, and RBIs in 1934, hit a homer on June 8, 1935, the day that Omaha won the Belmont Stakes, and two more on June 5, 1937, when War Admiral gained racing immortality.  Home Runs and Triple Crowns are hard – both on the same day is harder still.

Not sure why Bishop left in the third period, maybe he had to poop, but Vasilevskiy did just fine in stoning the Blackhawks.  In fact, the victory he earned in Game 2 is only the 4th time in NHL history that a goalie recorded a win in a Stanley Cup Final game, that he did not start.  The first time was in 1928 – one of the most famous in ‘Ockey ‘Istory – when Lester Patrick, the Rangers 44yr old coach, put himself in goal after Lorne Chabot was injured in game 2.  The “Silver Fox”, as he was known, helped the Rangers win 2-1 in overtime over the Montreal Maroons.  Vasilevskiy’s win was the first of his playoff career, making him the fourth goalie in 77 years to record their first playoff victory in a Stanley Cup Final game – the others:  Al Rollins, Toronto (’51), Hank Bassen, Detroit (’61), Jussi Markkanen, Edmonton (’06), and Patrick Roy, Montreal (’86).

 

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.

I went to law school – I got a football scholarship!

RIP: Patrick Swayze sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 2009

Word is someone got drunk recently and thought it was a good idea to remake this movie.  Not a continuation that could have had a guest appearance by Keanu, ya know, helping with clues on how he stopped the “Ex” Presidents, blah blah – No a full-on reboot!  The remake we neither wanted nor needed, and wait until you see this trailer – should have called it something else besides “Point Break”!  Called it something else like, Jason Bourne’s Fast and Furious Twilight Adventure 10.  They took something that was simple and fun and made it moody.  I’m gonna stick up for younger me and boycott this movie purely based on principle.  How do you replace the magic of Swayze, the awkwardness of Keanu and the bat-shit-craziness of Busey?  What’s next a remake of Roadhouse?  Is someone out there intentionally trying to ruin titular movies of our youth, just for CGI cash-grabs?  This movie fails to have the gang wear the ex-presidents masks, and it is also not centered around surfing, like the original – it’s more nonsense about international markets and youth soccer – than some bruddahs searching for sum toasty-tubular waves looking out for 50yr-storms.  Even the catch-phrase: do you know how many laws you broke? Gravity? Are you serious?!  This is just cookie-cutter junk – Delroy Lindo being the stereo-typical police-chief – throw in some stunts and let the story fill itself out – just like The Last Action Hero (except that was making fun of itself).  Is Hollywood all out of ideas?  I’m so angry that I need to watch the original a few times, just to get the taste out of my mouth, because I might have thrown up a little.


NBA

James does it again

LeBron James finished the Cavaliers’ four-game sweep over the Hawks averaging 30.3 points, 11 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game. James is the first player in NBA history to average 30/10/9 in a playoff series of any length. Honorable mention to Oscar Robertson who averaged 33.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.6 assists for Cincinnati against Boston in a seven-game series in 1963.

Another Atlanta Choke-job

The Cavaliers swept the number one seed Hawks in the Conference Finals. Cleveland is only the third team under the current payoff format (since 1983-84) to sweep a playoff series against the top seed from its own conference. The Lakers swept the Spurs in 2001 and the Nets Swept the Pistons in 2003.

NHL

Brassard Hat-trick gives Rangers another Game 7

Derick Brassard scored three goals and added two assists as the Rangers avoided elimination with a 7-3 win over the Lightning. Brassard is only the third player in NHL history to record a hat trick and at least five points in a road game in which his team faced playoff elimination. Lanny McDonald (three goals, two assists) did it in 1977 for the Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh in the final game of a three-game series won by Toronto. McDonald scored or assisted on all five goals scored by the Leafs in a 5-2 win. Greg Paslawski did it for the Blues at Minnesota in 1986 (three goals, two assists).

Brassard is the fourth player in Rangers history to record a hat trick in a game in which the Blueshirts faced playoff elimination. Frank Boucher did it against Toronto in the 1932 Stanley Cup Final, Ron Duguay against Philadelphia in 1980 and Mark Messier in the “guarantee” game against New Jersey in 1994

MLB

nullKershaw, loves Chavez Ravine

Clayton Kershaw has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last 29 starts at home, the second-longest streak of that kind in major-league history. Doc White had a 32-start streak of that kind for the White Sox spanning the 1905 and 1906 seasons, when the team played at South Side Park. (Comiskey Park didn’t open until 1910.) The third-longest streak is by Adam Wainwright, who allowed no more than three runs in each of 28 straight home starts spanning 2009 and 2010 at Busch Stadium.

nullFielder en fuego

Prince Fielder had another three hits and three RBIs for the Rangers on Tuesday night (26pts-DK) giving him 14 hits and 15 runs batted in over his last five games. Over the last dozen seasons the only other major-league player with at least 14 hits and 14 runs batted in over a five-game span is Alfonso Soriano for the Yankees in August 2013 (15 hits, 18 RBI).

nullDonaldson a 48 on DraftKings

Josh Donaldson went 4-for-4 with two homers, four runs batted in and five runs scored. Donaldson is the second player in Blue Jays history to go 4-for-4 or better with at least four RBIs, four runs scored and two homers. Carlos Delgado did it against Tampa Bay on September 25, 2003 (4-for-4, 4 runs, 6 RBI, 4 HR).

One of Donaldson’s homers was in the first inning and the other was a three-run walkoff blast. Only two other Blue Jays hit a first-inning homer and a walkoff homer in the same game: Otto Velez on May 4, 1980 and Reed Johnson on June 15, 2003.

nullYankees drop a deuce in the first inning

Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run in the first inning and the Yankees cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Royals. The Yankees have scored two-or-more first-inning runs 14 times this season, four more such first-innings than any other major-league team. The Bronx Bombers are 10-4 in those 14 games.

nullPirates’ are shivering timbers

Jeff Locke did not allow a run in 5.2 innings pitched continuing a recent trend of excellent starting pitching for the Bucs. Pittsburgh’s starting pitchers are 5-0 with a 1.06 earned-run average over the last five games. The last time the Pirates’ starting pitchers went 5-0 with an ERA that low over a five-game span was in August of 1977 (5-0, 0.69 ERA). The Pirates starters in those five games were John Candelaria (twice), Bruce Kison, Jerry Reuss and Jim Rooker.

nullSeager hits two late homers – scores 39 in Draftkings

Kyle Seager hit a grand slam in the eighth inning and a game-winning homer in the tenth inning in the Mariners’ win over the Rays. Seager is the sixth player in Mariners history to hit two homers in the eighth inning or later in the same game. Donnie Scott (1985), Jim Presley (1986), Jay Buhner (1992), Russ Davis (1999) and Michael Saunders (2012) also did it.

nullSchumaker likes pinch-hit doubles

Skip Schumaker‘s pinch-hit double in the ninth inning drove in the winning run in the Reds’ win over the Rockies. Shumaker has doubled in four of his last five pinch-hit appearances. The last Reds player to have four extra-base hits over five plate appearances as a pinch-hitter was Tony Perez in 1976. Perez had a double, home run, home run, fly out and double over five pinch-hit appearances.

nullHolliday extends streak early

Matt Holliday‘s RBI-single in the first inning extended his reach-base-safely streak to 42 games tying the modern franchise record to open a season which was set byAlbert Pujols in 2008. It was the 20th time this season that Holiday extended his streak in his first plate appearance of the game.

Tigers beat Oakland, 1-0

The Tigers beat the A’s, 1-0, in Oakland on Tuesday night. It was the first 1-0 win the Tigers have ever had in a game played in Oakland. Tuesday night’s game was the 257th between these two teams in Oakland, including the playoffs.

nullCastro finally has clutch hit, leads Astros

Jason Castro‘s two-out double in the seventh inning broke a 1-1 tie in the Astros’ 4-1 win over the Orioles. Castro entered the at-bat with a .138 batting average with two outs and runners on base this season (4-for-29).

nullIt’s May-tober

Madison Bumgarner improved his record to 9-1 in games played in May over the last two seasons. That’s two more May wins than any other pitcher over that span.

–Elias with the assist

Tuesday Dregs

Did you know LeBron James finished with 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, and scored game 3’s last five points over the final 40 seconds as the Cavaliers moved out to a three-games-to none series lead with a 114-111 overtime win over the Hawks on Sunday? No other player has ever reached all of those totals (37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists) in an NBA playoff game.

James earned the 12th triple-double of his playoff career, surpassing Jason Kidd’s total of 11 and moving into second place all-time, behind Magic Johnson, who had 30. James achieved the triple-double with his tenth assist with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. No NBA player had produced a triple-double within the first three quarters of a playoff game since Chris Paul, playing for the New Orleans Hornets against the Lakers, did that in 2011. No NBA player had earned a triple-double so early in a game since 2009, when Rajon Rondo achieved it with 6:15 to play in the third quarter, playing for the Celtics against the Bulls.

James finished with 37 field-goal attempts, the most he has ever taken in any NBA game, during either the regular season or the playoffs. He missed all nine of his first-quarter field-goal attempts, becoming the first player to take that many shots in the first quarter of a playoff game and to miss them all since Tim Duncan went 0-for-10 from the field in the first quarter of Game 1 of a Western Conference Semifinal series against the Lakers in 2002. LeBron also missed his first shot in the second quarter, becoming the second player in this year’s playoffs to miss his first 10 field-goal attempts of a game. (Isaiah Thomas missed his first 10 shots from the floor in Game 4 of a first-round series against Cleveland.) Among other players who have started past playoff games with double-digit streak of misses: Duncan (twice), Carmelo Anthony (twice), Ray Allen and Tony Parker.

James Harden scored 45 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists as the Rockets avoided a sweep with a 128-112 victory over the Warriors. The 45 points is the third-most ever scored by a player for a team that was down, three-games-to-none, in a playoff series, behind the 51 points scored by the Warriors’ Sleepy Floyd in 1987 against the Lakers and the 46 points scored by Miami’s Dwyane Wade against the Celtics in 2010.

Only one other player scored at least 40 points, grabbed at least nine rebounds and handed out at least five assists in a game for a team that was down, three-games-to-none, in a playoff series: Tom Chambers for the Suns against the Lakers in 1989 (41 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists).

The Warriors (20-for-46) and Rockets (17-for-32) combined for 37 three-point field goals made and 78 three-pointers attempted. The 37 three-pointers made were the most ever in an NBA playoff game, breaking the record of 33 set by the Seattle (20) and Houston (13) in Game 2 in 1996; and the 78 shots from beyond the arc were also the most ever in an NBA playoff game, breaking the mark of 70 by Oklahoma City (35) and Houston (35) in Game 2 in 2013.

The Warriors are only the second team, regular season or playoffs, to lose a game in which they made 20 three-pointers. The Nets lost to the Nuggets on Jan. 11, 2012 despite making 20 shots from beyond the arc. NBA teams that made 20 or more three-pointers are 15-1 in the regular season and now 2-1 in the playoffs.


Ben Bishop posted a 2-0 win over the Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, after giving up five goals in both Game 3 (a 6-5 overtime victory) and Game 4 (a 5-1 loss). Bishop is the only the third goaltender in NHL history to record a playoff shutout after allowing at least five goals in each of the previous two games of the same series. The other goaltenders to do that were the Quebec Nordiques’ Dan Bouchard against the Flyers in 1981 (Game 3) and the Canadiens’Carey Price versus the Bruins in 2008 (Game 7).

Toews heroics are not enough

Jonathan Toews scored a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the third period to tie the score at 4-4 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, but the Blackhawks’ late comeback proved to be in vain as Matt Beleskey scored 45 seconds into overtime to win the game for the Ducks. It was the fifth time in NHL playoff history that a team tied a game after trailing by two goals in the last two minutes of regulation time, and Toews is the first player to score both the tying goal and the one before that. The last team before Chicago to stage a two-goal tying rally in the final two minutes of the third period was the Bruins in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Maple Leafs in 2013. Milan Lucic scored to get the Bruins within one goal, and Patrice Bergeron netted both the tying goal in regulation and the series-winner in overtime.


Never Before

Francisco Liriano struck out 12 batters and earned the win as the Pirates completed their three-game series sweep of the Mets. Gerrit Cole struck out ten batters in his series-opening win on Friday, as did A.J. Burnett in his victory on Saturday. It is the only time in modern major-league history (1900 to date) that a team’s starting pitchers won three straight games within one series while recording a double-digit strikeout total in each game.

Big Game James? 

The Padres averted being swept in their three-game series at Dodger Stadium behind the pitching of James Shields, who improved his record to 6-0 this season. Shields is the only pitcher who has won as many as six games for his new club after switching major-league teams during the past offseason. Since 2010, spanning his time with the Rays, Royals and Padres, Shields is 7-0 in 11 regular-season starts in games in which his team was in danger of being swept in a series, and each of those seven wins came on the road.

Historic Failure

Jeremy Guthrie gave up four homers and allowed 11 runs while getting only three outs against the Yankees on Monday. Guthrie is the first starting pitcher in major league history to give up at least four homers and allow 11 or more runs in a game in which he recorded no more than three outs.

Still doesn’t play on Sundays

Andre Ethier‘s solo home run in the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and the Dodgers went on to beat the Braves, 6-3, on Monday night. It was career home run #151 for Ethier, 14 of which have been go-ahead homers in the eighth inning or later (9.3 percent).

The only active players with more go-ahead homers than Ethier in the eighth inning or later since 2006 are Albert Pujols (17), Miguel Cabrera (16), Prince Fielder(16) and Chris Young (15). Jose BautistaJustin Morneau and David Ortiz also have 14 such homers since 2006.

Not since…

Prince Fielder went 3-for-5 with a home run in the Rangers’ win over the Indians. Fielder is now batting .365 with nine home runs in 45 games this season. The last Rangers player to have at least nine homers and a batting average of .360 or better over his first 45 games of a season was Josh Hamilton in 2012 (.368 with 20 homers).

Fielder has 11 hits and 12 runs batted in over his last four games. The only other player in Rangers franchise history with that many hits and RBIs over a four-game span is Ivan Rodriguez from July 30 to August 2, 1999. Pudge had 13 hits and 12 RBIs over that four-game span.

Miss me Milwaukee?

Giants’ leadoff batter, Nori Aoki, went 4-for-4 with a home run in their win over the Brewers. Aoki is the fourth Giants player over the last 60 years to go 4-for-4 or better with a home run from the leadoff spot in the batting order. Bobby Bonds, who did it three times (once each in 1971, 1972 and 1973), Marvin Benard (1998) and Randy Winn (twice in 2005) were the other Giants players to do it over that span.

Arenado times two

Nolan Arenado has seven hits and knocked in seven runs over his last two games. Arenado is the first major-league player this season to have that many hits and RBIs over a two-game span and he’s the first Rockies player to do it since Carlos Gonzalez had exactly seven hits and seven RBIs over two games in May 2012.  That is about how long it has been since we have seen anything from CarGo.

Elias Sports Bureau with the assist…