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Boston Up 1-0
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
World Series Quiz: Name the MVPs in the following Series for the Red Sox, all wins; 2004 (Cardinals 4-0), 2007 (Rockies 4-0), 2013 (Cardinals 4-2). Answer below.
Not a bad opening contest, I think you’d agree. True, the duel between Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw didn’t materialize, both pitchers only going four innings (Sale yielding 3 earned, Kershaw 5), but the bottom line was every time the Dodgers came back, the Red Sox answered.
At a key point, L.A. tied it at 3-3 in the fifth, but in the bottom of the inning, Boston plated two, charged to Kershaw, Rafael Devers with a big hit, and then after the Dodgers got to within 5-4 in the seventh, in the bottom of the inning, Eduardo Nunez hit a 3-run pinch-hit homer off Alex Wood and that was the final, 8-4, Boston’s Nate Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrell closing things out in the eighth and ninth.
J.D. Martinez had two big RBI hits for Boston early.
Boston has now won 13 of its last 15 World Series games, joining the Yankees as the only teams to accomplish the feat.
It should also be noted the Dodgers became the first team to start an all right-handed lineup in a World Series game, only to run out of position players by the seventh inning.
Boston’s Andrew Benintendi became the first Red Sox player to get four hits in a Series game, and it was rather staggering he became just the second left-handed batter to have three hits off Kershaw (regular- or postseason...the other Christian Yelich a few years ago).
As for Kershaw and the playoffs, the man who is 153-69, 2.39 ERA in the regular season, falls to 9-9, 4.28 in the postseason; this year being particularly exasperating for him. Two terrific playoff starts, two poor ones.
And one more...Boston has now driven in 36 runs in just 37 at-bats with runners in scoring position
Game Two tonight, Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. David Price. Which Price (and Ryu) will show up?
Good thing the Series then heads to L.A. because the weather in the northeast will be turning nasty.
--The Angels named Brad Ausmus their new manager, replacing Mike Scioscia. Ausmus had served as a special assistant this past season, but he managed the Tigers for four years, 2014-17, going 314-332, though winning the AL Central in his first season.
Meanwhile, the Reds hired David Bell, who was a minor league manager for the team from 2009-12, the Cubs’ third base coach in 2013, and then a bench coach for the Cardinals for three seasons after a stint as hitting coach there. He was San Francisco’s vice president of player development last season.
Bell and his father, Reds front office executive Buddy, become the fourth father-son duo to serve as major league managers, joining George and Dick Sisler, Bob and Joel Skinner, and Bob and Aaron Boone.
--There is only one huge game in terms of the CFP this weekend and that is 9 Florida at 7 Georgia, though I’m bored just writing this matchup down...like not exactly exciting teams to watch.
There are two games, though, that are more interesting, though without CFP ramifications, those being 18 Iowa at 17 Penn State, and 14 Washington State at 24 Stanford. If Iowa and Washington State are for real, they could move up another few notches with solid road wins.
Perhaps the most intriguing affair, though, is 21 South Florida at Houston (6-1), the Cougars’ lone loss 63-49 to Texas Tech, while their offense has scored 40+ points in all seven games. As Ronald Reagan would have told Nancy at breakfast, while reading the sports page, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
And one more biggie, particularly for the Sun Belt Conference...25 Appalachian State at Georgia Southern (6-1). The Apps need to defend their first-ever top 25 ranking.
--I don’t see a trap game this week...not stretching my success of the past two weeks. 6 Texas will handle Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which otherwise meets the criteria for a trap affair.
--FCS / Div. I-AA Coaches Poll
1. North Dakota State 7-0 (all 26 first-place votes)
2. Kennesaw St. 6-1
3. James Madison 5-2
4. Eastern Washington 5-2
5. Weber State 5-2
6. Elon 5-2
7. Wofford 5-2
8. South Dakota St. 4-2
10. Towson 6-1...lone loss to Wake Forest, and they played us tough
11. Colgate 6-0
17. Princeton 6-0
20. Dartmouth 6-0
--Monday night, the Giants fell to 1-6 with a 23-20 loss to the disappointing 3-4 Falcons in Atlanta, and all the talk after was about Giants coach Pat Shurmur and his inexplicably going for two after a 2-yard Saquon Barkley touchdown run cut Atlanta’s lead to 20-12 with 4:47 to play. Odell Beckham Jr. then proceeded to drop the two-point attempt from Eli Manning and the second-guessing began.
Shurmur had no regrets, saying he went with the same approach used by Doug Pederson and the Eagles two weeks ago against the Vikings.
“I just felt like, we’d discussed internally the math on that,” Shurmur said. ‘I felt like we had a good play, and I liked our two-point play selections, and we just didn’t quite get it done.”
[The Giants made their second two-point at the end of the game, but it was mute, the Falcons having driven for a deciding field goal in between.]
Pederson was criticized for his decision after the Eagles lost to the Vikings but said the decision was backed by analytics.
So the decision at 20-12 was rightly criticized (though Shurmur had his defenders), but then with 45 seconds remaining, the Giants had the ball at Atlanta’s 1-yard line, when Shurmur’s play-calling came into play. Eli Manning ran a quarterback sneak and was stuffed on first down. Second down was a repeat, the clock running down. Finally on third down, Manning connected with Beckham for a touchdown, but only five seconds remained.
Shurmur, when questioned about this, said he did not prefer a pass to protect from getting stuffed and the clock ticking down.
“No, that’s a defeatist deal,” he said. “You should be able to convert on a sneak.”
Meanwhile, Eli had a very good game, stats-wise, 27/38, 399, 1-0, 113.8, with Beckham having eight receptions for 143 and the late TD, while Sterling Shepard caught five for 167.
But the numbers are highly deceiving. After all, the Giants had just six points with under five minutes remaining.
ESPN analyst Booger McFarland summed it up well on the postgame show, “Can Eli still get it done? Yeah. But he needs everything perfect around him. And it’s not.” [Mark Maske / Washington Post]
The questions for Giants management will continue to intensify. There is no quarterback-in-waiting for Eli.
Paul Schwartz / New York Post
“We now come to the portion of the season for the Giants when pleading is the only hope for Eli Manning and his truly pathetic offense.
“It is as if the end zone is the forbidden zone, as if the Giants fear an allergic reaction if they score a touchdown. There is no end to their ineptitude, no play they cannot mess up, no good situation safe from turning bad.
“You could see coach Pat Shurmur looking on in horror on the sideline in the third quarter...It was fourth down on the Atlanta 1-yard line, but these Giants can turn 1 yard into an acre of impenetrable terrain. Manning rolled to his right and could have tossed it to Odell Beckham Jr., running to the right corner of the end zone. Instead, Manning threw back across his body in the direction of little-used tight end Scott Simonson, surrounded by three defenders, a pass with little chance to hit the intended target. The ball fell to the turf, of course, and the camera caught Shurmur, aghast, saying, ‘What? Throw it to Odell.’ His look was one of disbelief.”
The Giants are now 4-19 in their past 23 regular-season games.
Mike Vaccaro / New York Post
“This one falls on Shurmur. Bad choices all night. And, at the end, this remarkably tone-deaf defense of his team: ‘Did our guys not play hard? Did our guys not play to the end?’
“Time was, a Giants head coach was known to say, ‘There are no medals for trying.’ Shurmur should try putting that one on for size starting right now.”
--Separately, the Giants traded cornerback Eli Apple to the Saints for a fourth- and seventh-round pick, the former pick in 2019, the latter in 2020.
Apple, just 23, was a first-round selection for the Giants out of Ohio State who has had a troubled, and injury-ridden first few years, but clearly still has potential.
But this means that in just the past few weeks, the Giants have gotten rid of two first-rounders, the other being offensive lineman Ereck Flowers (2015), who was waived recently.
--Dallas traded their 2019 first-round draft pick to Oakland for wide receiver Amari Cooper, a big gamble, Cooper being only so-so the last 1 ½ seasons, including this year, after a strong start to his career, but he’s only 24.
Oakland now has three first-round picks in 2019.
--Andrew Beaton / Wall Street Journal
“When President Trump eviscerated the NFL and its players who protest during the national anthem at a rally in Huntsville, Ala., last year, the debate surrounding the controversial demonstrations roared back to life.
“Fueling the outrage: Russian trolls on Twitter.
“In the wake of Trump’s Sept. 22, 2017, speech, tweets about the NFL and the national anthem surged from accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, the Russian and Kremlin-backed company accused of attempting to sow discord in the U.S.
“On Sept. 23, 24 accounts almost simultaneously tweeted: ‘VIDEO: Trump SHREDS NFL Anthem Protesters!’
“About eight hours later, the same 24 accounts wrote: ‘Trump Supporters SACK NFL Commish Roger Goodell For Attacking Trump.’
“The same accounts, and others connected to the IRA, continued to blast out tweets on the subject – predominantly criticizing the protests – with thousands of tweets in the days that followed.
“In total, over the final months of 2014 through the middle of this year, 491 accounts linked to the IRA sent more than 12,000 tweets about the NFL or the anthem. Researchers from Clemson University provided The Wall Street Journal with the tweets, which come from accounts shut down by Twitter after congressional investigations revealed their connection to the IRA.”
--Des Bieler of the Washington Post had a funny piece on Sunday night’s 45-10 Kansas City blow out of Cincinnati and how NBC’s Al Michaels once again brought up the betting line on a game...in this case the over/under, which at game time was 56.5.
With the score 45-10 and 4:21 left, Kansas City was driving again, but they found themselves with fourth-and-four from the Cincinnati 5. Clearly, had it been earlier, the Chiefs would have opted for the field goal, but with so little time left, Chiefs Coach Andy Reid opted to take a more sporting approach, kept his offense on the field, and ran a sweep that was easily stopped.
But noting that the fans in K.C. were roaring at the sight of the offense staying on the field, Michaels began to say, “And the crowd...” before analyst Cris Collinsworth interjected with, “...Wants blood.”
“Well, yeah,” Michaels continued, “but I’m trying to do a little math here.” After Collinsworth replied, “Which is always dangerous,” Michaels said, “You kind of know what I’m thinking about. 56 and a half is a number that a lot of the fans are thinking about right now.”
But after Michaels watched Patrick Mahomes hand the ball off, the play easily handled by Cincy, Michaels goes “hunh,” tisked, drew a breath and offered another “hunh.”
--Finally, we note the passing of NFL great, defensive lineman Dick Modzelewski, 87.
Richard Goldstein / New York Times
“Modzelewski, the winner of the 1952 Outland Trophy as college football’s best interior lineman, playing for the University of Maryland, was obtained by the Giants in a trade before the 1956 season. Soon, chants of ‘Dee-fense!’ resounded at Yankee Stadium as Modzelewski at left tackle, Jim Katcavage at left end, Andy Robustelli at right end – all in their first season as Giants – and Rosey Grier at right tackle formed the first NFL defensive line to be celebrated as a unit.
The Giants routed the Chicago Bears, 47-7, to win the 1956 NFL championship and captured five more Eastern Conference titles in the next seven years with that defensive line virtually intact.
“Modzelewski was described by Gay Talese in The New York Times in October 1957 as ‘260 pounds of tough tenderloin with shoulders so broad that he often has to pass through doors sideways.’”
--Right after I posted last time, we learned of the suspensions of Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram and Chris Paul for the fight in the recent Rockets-Lakers game. Rondo got three games, Ingram four, and Paul was suspended for two.
But I love what Rondo said on Tuesday, as the fallout from #Spitgate continued. Rajon claimed he got a longer suspension than Chris Paul because of a false impression that the Rockets star is a “good guy.”
Hell, I’ve been telling you that in these pages since Paul was playing for Wake Forest!
Rondo told ESPN: “Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy. They don’t know he’s a horrible teammate. They don’t know how he treats people.”
Rondo also explained to ESPN that he did not spit at Paul, as the latter claimed, and some video angles appear to show. “I had a mouthpiece in my mouth and I exasperated because I was about to tell him to ‘get the [expletive] out of here.’” [Rondo probably meant to say “expectorated,” but I agree with him.]
Personally, I can’t stand Rondo either...BUT...they say he’s a helluva teammate and he’s been one of the more unselfish stars (at his best) in the game.
--Detroit is off to a 3-0 start, with Blake Griffin scoring 50 points for the first time in his career on Tuesday night in a 133-132 overtime win over Philadelphia.
Griffin said after he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder and he’s motivated.
“You know, the past two, three years, all I hear about is how bad I am, and I’ve been hurt, I’ve had game games....(but) this summer, being able to work out for the first time in three summers is huge, you know. The last three summers I was fighting and working as hard as I could just to get healthy to be able to play.”
It was the first Pistons 50-point game since Rip Hamilton’s 51 in 2006 (against the Knicks, of course).
--I can’t help but note Monday night’s game in Los Angeles, the Lakers falling to 0-3, after a 143-142 loss in overtime to San Antonio, as it was all LeBron, good and bad.
James tied it in regulation with a big three and just 2.4 seconds left, but then in overtime, he missed two free throws and then a step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer; James finishing with 32 points, 8 rebounds and 14 assists.
Down to the final four races, and eight drivers, in the Chase for the Cup...Martinsville, Texas, and then Phoenix, before the finale at Homestead.
The eight left: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola.
So these eight are fighting the next three races to be one of the final four racing for the Cup at Homestead.
--NCAA Men’s Division I Soccer Rankings....thru Mon.
1. Wake Forest (24) 15-1-0
2. Indiana (2) 13-2-0
3. Kentucky (1) 12-1-1
4. Saint Mary’s (CA) (1) 14-0-0
5. North Carolina 11-2-1
6. Virginia 9-2-2
7. Portland 10-0-3
8. Air Force 14-2-0
9. Stanford 8-2-4...Wake’s playoff nemesis
10. UNC-Wilmington 11-2-2...cool
Top 3 songs for the week 10/24/64: #1 “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (Manfred Mann) #2 “Dancing In The Street” (Martha & The Vandellas) #3 “Last Kiss” (J. Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers) ...and...#4 “We’ll Sing In The Sunshine” (Gale Garnett...amazingly depressing tune...) #5 “Oh, Pretty Woman” (Roy Orbison) #6 “Baby Love” (The Supremes) #7 “A Summer Song” (Chad and Jeremy) #8 “Let It Be Me” (Betty & Jerry Butler...terrific song...) #9 “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)” (The Beach Boys...one of my three favorites of theirs...) #10 “Have I The Right?” (The Honeycombs... Beatles were taking a little break and would come roaring back two months later...)
World Series Quiz Answer: Red Sox Series MVPs: 2004, Manny Ramirez; 2007, Mike Lowell; 2013, David Ortiz.
I forgot how good Lowell was for a stretch, with three 100-RBI seasons, including 120 in 2007.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.