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[Posted Tues. p.m.]
*Some of you might be wondering what’s going on here at Bar Chat and StocksandNews. Our Dr. Bortrum is not well, and at best will be recovering from a medical situation for at least a month. Since he is also my father, and I’m the primary caregiver, well, many of you know the drill. Nothing more important than his health these days. Tuesday BC’s are likely to be very short.
MLB Quiz: Runs scored is my personal favorite statistical category, so, post-1900, name the only two to score 160 runs in a season. Answer below.
--In games Monday night, a day after hitting his seventh homer to tie for the MLB lead, Shohei Ohtani became the first home run leader to be the starting pitcher for a game since Babe Ruth for the Yankees on June 13, 1921. And after a shaky first inning in which he gave up four runs – walking two and hitting another batter – Ohtani retired 14 of the last 15 he faced, striking out nine in five innings as the Angels beat the Rangers 9-4; Ohtani’s first win since 2018.
And Ohtani had two hits, including a two-run double, to improve to .341 at the plate with the seven home runs and 18 RBIs.
--Dodgers-Reds has a classic all-time feel to it and on Monday, the Reds (10-12) beat the Dodgers (15-8) in LA., 5-3 in ten.
--The Giants are 15-8 after a 12-0 pasting of the Rockies, behind a complete game shutout from Anthony DeSclafani.
--And then you have the Yankees. After losing to the Orioles 4-2 on Monday, they were the worst hitting team in baseball with a .203 batting average, 9-13 overall. Former Met Matt Harvey threw six innings of one-run ball for Baltimore.
Tonight, the Yankees beat the O’s 5-1, Corey Kluber finally with a good start, one run in 6 2/3, while the offense contributed three home runs.
--The Mets lost to the Red Sox (15-9) tonight, 2-1, to fall back to 9-9, as Boston’s Garrett Richards, like Corey Kluber on a big one-year contract ($10 million plus incentives for Richards, $11 million for Kluber), finally earned his keep with seven strong, 10 strikeouts.
Jacob deGrom is on the mound for the Metropolitans on Wednesday.
--After I posted last time, the Padres had a dramatic 8-7 win over the Dodgers in 11 innings, San Diego taking 3 of 4 in the series. The Padres were down 7-1 after six and then scored two in each of the 7th, 8th, and 9th, to send it into extra innings where they won two frames later. [I had to go to bed after ten…it being a school night.]
Fernando Tatis Jr. was a star again for San Diego, with a home run and four runs scored. It was the 158th game of his career and according to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the only player in history with at least 40 homers, 100 RBI and 20 stolen bases through his first 162 games. [Tatis with 46 home runs, 31 stolen bases, 107 RBI, and a .957 OPS.]
But can Tatis keep it together for a full season? His 2019 rookie season was curtailed at the front and back end – a hamstring injury he suffered in the 27th game, and a stress reaction in his back that ended his year in mid-August, after just 84 games.
Tatis did play 59 of 60 games in 2020, but after batting .314 with a 1.068 OPS in his first 43 contests, he tailed off badly, batting .164 over his final 62 plate appearance though he finished with a .933 OPS.
This year, a left shoulder injury put him in a 3 for 18 tailspin coming out of the gate before suffering a subluxation, leading to an injured list stint and worries he may need significant surgery. But in the 10 games since his return, he’s hit six home runs, all against the Dodgers.
Alas, he’s been rather atrocious in the field with a major-league-high nine errors, despite his limited play.
--Madison Bumgarner had a seven-inning no-hitter for the Diamondbacks against the Braves Sunday, winning 7-0, but it wasn’t official. Last year, Elias Sports Bureau sought to ward off confusion by clarifying that a no-hitter thrown in a seven-inning game would not count. It cited a 1991 ruling by a special committee convened by MLB and chaired by then-commissioner Fay Vincent.
The committee determined that in order to be credited with a no-hitter “a pitcher or pitchers had to pitch a complete game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit.” There was no indication that either Elias or MLB intended to reconsider the ruling. It is, though, a complete-game shutout, and a needed performance for a guy who signed a five-year, $85 million contract after 2019 to pitch for Arizona and his ERA in 14 starts, even after Sunday, is 6.42.
With the action commencing Thursday night, it’s all about the quarterbacks, and then the wide receivers, while the best overall player, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, is going to make someone very happy.
A final mock draft, this one from USA TODAY’s experts.
1. Jaguars, QB Trevor Lawrence
2. Jets, QB Zach Wilson
3. 49ers, QB Justin Fields
4. Falcons, TE Kyle Pitts
5. Bengals, WR Ja’Marr Chase
6. Dolphins, WR De’Vonta Smith
7. Lions, OT Penei Sewell
8. Panthers, CB Patrick Surtain
9. Broncos, QB Trey Lance
10. Cowboys, OT Rashawn Slater
11. Giants, WR Jaylen Waddle
12. Eagles, CB Jaycee Horn
13. Chargers, OT Christian Darrisaw
14. Vikings, DE Dwity Paye
15. Patriots, QB Mac Jones
--So I watched the Knicks-Suns game Monday at the Garden and New York led 63-56 at the half, but it was tied 87-87 after three and the Knicks (34-28) did not play well down the stretch, nine-game winning streak over, as Phoenix’ Devon Booker and Chris Paul made one clutch play after another. The Suns, at 43-18, are a game behind the Utah Jazz as I go to post.
--The Nets are 42-20 after a 116-103 win over the Raptors tonight, pulling away with a 36-20 fourth quarter.
--The incredible asset bubble in trading cards continues. A 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection RPA (rookie patch autograph) parallel LeBron James card, numbered out of 23, was sold privately for $5.2 million with PWCC Marketplace. The Beckett Grading Services-graded 9 card (with a perfect 10 signature) claims the throne for most expensive basketball card, knocking off the $4.6 million one-of-one 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Luka Doncic Logoman RPA sold in March. [I don’t remember seeing anything on this one, frankly.]
The sale ties the all-time record for any card with the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card purchased by Rob Gough this past January, also through PWCC.
Meanwhile, collector Aaron Davis has two super valuable James cards: a one-of-one 2003-04 Ultimate Collection LeBron Logoman RPA, and a 9.5 BGS-graded version of the James record-breaking card.
Davis has “no immediate plans to sell” the James one-of-one.
Jesse Craig, PWCC’s director of business development, offered: “And let’s be clear: There are three Mantle PSA 10s that, whenever they transact, will break every record there is. But as a market, there are so many desirable cards that haven’t sold yet publicly.” [Dan Hajducky / ESPN.com]
--I have to admit that with everything else going on at StocksandNews these days, I totally forgot the Kentucky Derby is this Saturday! I normally follow the prep races closely but I haven’t this year, because a Triple Crown season that appeared to be all about Bob Baffert’s horses last fall has kind of flamed out, if you’re a Baffert supporter like moi.
As in Essential Quality is the morning-line favorite, the reigning 2-year-old champion trained by Brad Cox who is 5-0. Cox is a local boy, having grown up near Churchill Downs.
Rock Your World, trained by John Sadler, is the second choice. Known Agenda (Todd Pletcher) is the third pick.
As for Baffert, instead of four horses, as thought last fall, he only has one, Medina Spirit, a 15-1 shot.
‘Money Mike’ Smith is aboard Steve Asmussen’s Midnight Bourbon (20-1). So I’ll go with this one, while drinking a Coors Light, not bourbon.
--Going back to Sunday’s finale of the Zurich Classic, the team event on the PGA Tour, won by Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, it was the third career victory for Smith – second at the Zurich – and sixth for Leishman. Even though it’s a team event, it counts the same as any other.
Smith has rocketed to third in the FedEx Cup standings.
--Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris is on fire these days. His professional career has taken off like a rocket ship, with his second-place finish at the Masters, and now he is engaged to his college sweetheart, Caitlin Sellers.
While Zalatoris was struggling to establish himself until 2020, his fiancée was getting her MBA at the University of Texas. Pretty, pretty good.
--The NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship is finally being held beginning with first-round games on Thursday, including Johnny Mac’s St. Francis of Brooklyn, which plays Milwaukee.
Most of the soccer powers had partial fall seasons and then picked things up this spring.
The top four seeds, with byes, are 1 Clemson, 2 Pitt, 3 Indiana and 4 Stanford.
Wake Forest is the 5-seed and takes on Coastal Carolina (J. Mac’s adopted team) on Sunday.
So J. Mac hopes to be drinking premium for four days.
--NASCAR drivers and crew have been reluctant to get vaccinated and president Steve Phelps said that making it a requirement would be a “slippery slope.”
Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin are among the very few NASCAR drivers who have publicized receiving their shots. Conversely, reigning Cup Series champion and most popular driver Chase Elliott said the decision to be vaccinated is a personal choice he would not discuss publicly. Other drivers have taken a similar stance.
Top 3 songs for the week 4/30/77: #1 “Southern Nights” #2 “Hotel California” (Eagles) #3 “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston)…and…#4 “When I Need You” (Leo Sayer) #5 “I’ve Got Love On My Mind” (Natalie Cole) #6 “Don’t Give Up On Us” (David Soul) #7 “So In To You” (Atlanta Rhythm Section…was a very unique sound for that time…solid group…) #8 “Right Time Of The Night” (Jennifer Warnes…lots of schmaltzy tunes this week, as I’m finishing up my freshman year at Wake Forest…highlighted by beer, women and song…err, beer and song…) #9 “Sir Duke” (Stevie Wonder) #10 “Tryin’ To Love Two” (William Bell… ‘B week’…)
MLB Quiz Answer: Only two players to score 160 runs in a season, post-1900, are…
Babe Ruth, 177 (1921)
Lou Gehrig, 167 (1936)
Ruth, 163, (1931)
Gehrig, 163, (1928)
Chuck Klein is next with 158 in 1930 with the Phillies….one of the 4 or 5 biggest single seasons in baseball history.
Klein batted .386, 250 hits, 59 doubles, 8 triples, 40 home runs (ergo, 107 extra-base hits)*, 170 RBIs, 1.123 OPS.
*Tied for third all-time with Barry Bonds. Ruth had 119 in 1921, Gehrig 117 in 1927.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be able to do a full one.