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King of Clay Prevails Again
Add-on posted early Wednesday a.m.
--The Colorado Avalanche reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since their 2001 championship on Monday, shredding their reputation of a highly talented team that disappointed in the playoffs.
But I was watching this one, Edmonton taking a lead of 3-1 after two periods and thought it was over…so I packed it in.
Only the Avalanche staged a furious third-period comeback to take a 5-4 lead, Edmonton tied it up, it went into overtime, and Artturi Lehkonen, a trade deadline acquisition, won it in OT to give Colorado a sweep of the series.
--So the Avalanche now get a few days off to sit back and watch the Rangers and Lightning battle it out for the Eastern Conference crown.
Speaking of which, Tuesday was Game 4 down in Tampa, and New York was hoping Ryan Strome and Barclay Goodrow would be available after suffering injuries in Game 3’s bitter 3-2 loss (the Rangers having blown a 2-0 lead).
Goodrow was, Strome wasn’t, and Strome’s absence showed as the Lightning had their way with the Blueshirts, 4-1…the game never in doubt. It was not a good performance and, once again, the Rangers have to get their act together at home, Thursday, Game 5.
--The Bruins announced Monday that they have fired coach Bruce Cassidy, who led the Bruins since Feb. 2017, a run that included an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019. Overall, he was 245-108-46 and reached the playoffs in all five-plus seasons he served at the helm.
But after losing in the first round this year to Carolina, Bruins management just decided a change was in order. No doubt Cassidy will find employment elsewhere this offseason.
--Golden State recovered from its opening 120-108 loss at home to Boston to recover in Game 2, Sunday night in San Francisco, 107-88, thanks in no small part to a 35-14 third quarter shellacking.
Jason Tatum, 28 points, was solid for Boston, but Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford sucked wind.
For Golden State, Steph Curry had 29, but Jordan Poole was key off the bench, 17 points, 5 of 9 from 3-point land, offsetting a dreadful 4-19 shooting performance from Klay Thompson.
So it’s on to Boston for Game 3, Wednesday. Which key players, on both sides, will show up?
--Quin Snyder resigned after guiding the Utah Jazz to six consecutive playoff appearances, deciding this was enough.
Utah, despite a solid 8-year run, overall, never got past the second round in the postseason.
Snyder went 372-264, a rather stellar .585 winning percentage. The decision, though, means Utah will have just its fourth coach in the span of 33 years, most of that time with the team under Jerry Sloan.
Utah stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell had only praise for Snyder. But both now could be trade material and Knicks fans have been praying somehow they can acquire Mitchell if he becomes available. It’s all about management and whether they and the new coach, whoever that may be, are heading in a new direction or looking to build on a solid foundation with these two.
--The Mets, after their stirring 5-4 win in 10 over the Dodgers, Sunday, traveled to San Diego and in the first of three on Monday, Eduardo Escobar, struggling all season but with a key sac fly Sunday, became the first Met since 2012 to hit for the cycle, Escobar 4-for-5, six RBIs, as the Mets blew out the Padres’ 11-5.
New York’s Carlos Carasco is now 7-1, 3.52, after going seven strong, 2 runs, 10 Ks.
But Tuesday night could prove to be disastrous on a number of fronts. Not only did Yu Darvish and Adrian Morejon two-hit the Mets (38-20) as the Padres (34-22) won 7-0, but Darvish hit three of the first five Mets batters of the game. Pete Alonso was hit in the right hand and Starling Marte departed the game in the first with left quadriceps tightness.
Alonso’s initial X-rays were negative, but we’ll learn more on both in the coming hours after they receive imaging. Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t too optimistic post-game on the injuries being minor. Ugh.
--The Yankees (40-15) continued to roll, winning the opener of a series in Minnesota last night, 10-4, as Aaron Judge went deep for No. 22.
--Michael Wacha pitched a three-hit shutout Monday as the Red Sox beat the Angels 1-0 to extend L.A.’s losing streak to 12. The loss matched the longest streak in franchise history, last done to end the 1988 schedule.
Mike Trout had a first-inning single to end an 0-for-26 drought.
L.A. wasted six strong innings by Noah Syndergaard.
Wacha, who hasn’t been dominant since 2015 when he was 17-7 with the Cardinals, is now 4-1, 1.99, in his first season in Boston. [He pitched well in 2018 for the Cards, 8-2, 3.20, but it was in just 15 games due to injury.]
Tuesday, the Angels then fired manager Joe Maddon, for good reason. Maddon, 68, was in his third season, leading the team to a 130-148 record. Bye-bye, goofy one.
But then Tuesday night under interim manager Phil Nevin, the Angels lost No. 13, now 27-30, 6-5 to the Red Sox in 10, with Boston suddenly 29-27, winners of six straight.
And it may have gotten even worse for L.A., as Mike Trout, who homered in his first at bat, was taken out after suffering a groin injury while legging out a double in his next time up.
--Brewers closer Josh Hader hadn’t allowed a run in 40 straight appearances, tying him with Houston reliever Ryan Pressly for the longest such streak in MLB history, but that ended last night in Milwaukee.
Hader entered the game in the top of the ninth of a 2-1 game, attempting to get his 33rd consecutive save, but the Phillies’ Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling took Hader deep and the Brewers lost 3-2.
Philadelphia (26-29) is 4-0 under interim manager Rob Thomson (not to be confused with former player Robby Thompson).
--The Reds’ rookie phenom, Hunter Greene, who has shown flashes but, in all honesty has sucked, yielded just a bunt single while striking out 8 in a rain-shortened 7-0 victory over the Diamondbacks.
After Daulton Varsho dropped the bunt onto the infield on Greene’s fifth pitch of the first inning, he retired 20 straight before the game was called after seven innings. Nonetheless, Greene is 3-7, 5.40.
This is a guy who routinely threw over 100 mph but seemed to dial it down a bit Monday night. I’ve followed his games closely and I’m not sure I like the way the Reds are handling him, but we’ll see…and frankly, I have my own problems and really shouldn’t give a damn about the Reds.
--The NCAA Division I college baseball tournament is down to the Sweet 16, the super regionals, from which the eight spots to Omaha will be decided from Friday through Monday.
Notre Dame at 1 Tennessee (all best of three)
Texas at East Carolina
Louisville at Texas A&M
Oklahoma at 4 Virginia Tech
UConn at 2 Stanford
Arkansas at North Carolina
Ole Miss at Southern Miss
Auburn at 3 Oregon State
--It’s all about LIV Golf these days, which is the last thing the PGA Tour wanted to see, not that LIV is going to succeed.
LIV is playing its inaugural event at Centurion Club outside London this week, the 54-hole, 48-player tournament will have a $25 million purse and now Phil Mickelson, who announced he is playing Monday, along with Dustin Johnson and a bunch of largely washed-up Euro has-beens and invisible Americans.
Mickelson said he plans to play all eight LIV Golf series events and that he still expects to be able to compete in the major championships. And Mickelson said he would not be forfeiting his PGA Tour membership.
In a statement, Mickelson said: “I have made mistakes in my career in some of the things I have said and done. Taking time away and self-reflecting has been very humbling. I needed to start prioritizing the people that I love the most and work on becoming a better version of myself.”
Golf Channel reported Lefty was set to receive approximately $200 million for his participation.
Golf Digest asked some of its writers to comment on various issues, such as whether anyone is surprised Phil made the jump?
Dan Rapaport: I am not. Ignore the noise and look at the facts: he has never backed off his stance that the PGA Tour is obnoxiously greedy and that it needs to be challenged. He was involved in the very founding of this league. He’s been in regular contact with Greg Norman. And the apology he issued after his explosive interview read more like a mea culpa directed toward the Saudis, not the PGA Tour. He’s attached to this and has been since the beginning.
Joe Beall: Surprised at Phil? No, he’s long been a carnival barker, and the show he’s selling is himself. As for LIV…boy, he essentially took a flamethrower to the entire operation and almost burned the place down.
Majors aside, has Mickelson made his last PGA Tour start?
Chris Powers: If he’s getting a Dustin Johnson-sized bag to play on the LIV, I think the better question is: Will Phil even want to play on the PGA Tour again? Even without the career grand slam, his golfing legacy is fully intact, despite this questionable late-career move….
Beall: Generously assuming his three-month sabbatical was his decision and his decision alone, I can’t fathom the tour welcoming him back. The comments were one thing; if the Fire Pit Collective’s report is true, Phil is not an associate of LIV Golf, he is its architect. Coupled with going and competing in the events, Mickelson’s potential ban could be for life.
Judging by reports, LIV appears to be struggling to sell tickets. Is Phil enough to draw crowds when the series comes to the United States?
Shane Ryan: He’ll sell some tickets, but I think it’s easy to overstate how badly your average American golf fan will want to go see him at this stage in his career. …Which doesn’t mean they won’t get spectators – people still like to go out and watch professional golf – just that I don’t think Phil’s presence is going to entail some massive spike.
Sports Illustrated / Morning Read’s Bob Harig interviewed Mickelson:
Why, ultimately, did you decide to do this?
Mickelson: I think that the biggest reason is when I would think about LIV Golf I found myself excited and energized to play and work hard and compete again. I think after doing this for 30 years, I’m excited about something new and this different format. And at this point in my life, just as importantly, it gives some balance in my life for Amy and I. …looking forward to doing things with Amy that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m excited for the opportunities both on the golf course and off.
SI/MR: What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?
Mickelson: Certainly there’s a lot of things I regret. I made a lot of mistakes. I hurt a lot of people and I’m really sorry.
SI/MR: What about the sponsorships you’ve lost? Is there any way back with those companies?
Mickelson: I’ve had some really good conversations with my sponsors because they’re not just my sponsors but my friends, too. I’m very appreciative of the support they’ve shown me throughout this time. I think that the answer, though, will play itself out in due time. I don't think those answers are available right now.
SI/MR: The Saudi involvement through the Public Investment Fund and backing of LIV Golf is a big issue for the series. How do you square that relationship and going forward with this?
Mickelson: I certainly do not condone human rights violations. And addressing what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is awful. But I have seen the good that the game of golf has done throughout history. And I really believe that LIV can be good for the game of golf as well.
SI/MR: What do you expect your status with the PGA Tour to be going forward?
Mickelson: I’m certainly grateful for the 30-plus years that I’ve had with the PGA Tour. The many memories and experiences that I’ve shared. And I’d like to think that I contributed to the PGA Tour over that time. And I have earned a lifetime membership (a minimum of 20 victories and 15 years on the PGA Tour). I’m hopeful that stays the same. I also feel it’s important for any player to have the right to play wherever they want, in addition to me being able to keep my lifetime membership.
[Mickelson said he hadn’t spoken to Commissioner Jay Monahan nor Tiger Woods. He said he had been talking to the organizations that run the major championships and that he hoped to play in the U.S. Open. He also said he had not resigned his PGA tour membership.]
SI/MR: Did anything preclude you from playing in the Masters or the PGA Championship? If not, why did you not play?
Mickelson: I had great conversations with all of the governing bodies. I was under the understanding that I was able to play. But I really needed some time away. This has been really good for me to have this time with Amy and for me to be able to step away and reflect a little bit. I’ve been doing this so long. Easy to get in a bit of a rut. It’s given me a chance to spend time with Amy and create a better balance in m life, so it’s not so focused on just golf.
SI/MR: You’ve had a 30-plus-year run with the PGA Tour with a record that is one of the best in the game’s history. Are you concerned at all about your legacy?
Mickelson: I haven’t put a lot of time into thinking about that. I’ve had so many great memories in the game of golf. …But I haven’t really thought about that too much. [Ed. Bulls---.]
SI/MR: Given the amount of money being offered and certainly what we know the purses are to be, there is a suggestion that you are doing this due to financial difficulties. Can you address that?
Mickelson: My gambling got to a point of being reckless and embarrassing. I had to address it. And I’ve been addressing it for a number of years. And for hundreds of hours of therapy. I feel good where I’m at there. My family and I are and have been financially secure for some time.
Gambling has been part of my life ever since I can remember. But about a decade ago is when I would say it became reckless. It’s embarrassing. I don’t like that people know. The fact is I’ve been dealing with it for some time. Amy has been very supportive of it and with me and the process. We’re at a place after many years where I feel comfortable with where that is. It isn’t a threat to me or my financial security. It was just a number of poor decisions.
SI/MR: What have the last four months been like?
Mickelson: It’s been a tremendous opportunity for me to spend time with Amy and loved ones that I’ve never really had this opportunity to do in my life. I’ve been able to be much more present and engaged when I’m with the people I love. I feel much more health and at peace. I’ve spent a lot of time doing therapy and dealing with issues that I have. But I’ve come away with a balance in my life and a renewed excitement and energy to get back to playing golf.
Ian O’Connor / New York Post
“On one level, Lefty and the Shark deserve each other. They have long been two of the most full-of-you-know-what guys in professional golf.
“But as Mickelson gets pounded yet again for a move he didn’t have to make, it is worth noting that the PGA tour has no moral authority in this fight. By promising to punish and ban players who choose to sample the LIV life, the tour isn’t making any greater stand against human rights violations in Saudi Arabia than it made against human rights violations in China, a longtime business partner.
“The tour is merely trying to protect its bottom line. This is a money game to commissioner Jay Monahan, just like it’s a money game to Mickelson. Don’t let any of golf’s guardians fool you. The PGA tour sees LIV Golf the way the NFL once saw the USFL:
“LIV Golf reportedly offered Jack Nicklaus more than $100 million to run the operation (Nicklaus passed), reportedly offered Dustin Johnson $125 million to play (DJ didn’t pass) and, according to one Golf Channel report, paid Mickelson an astounding $200 million to sign up. Lord knows how much the Saudis were willing to pay Tiger Woods to rock the sports world to its core, break from the tour, and hobble around a few LIV events.
“Sergio Garcia? Lee Westwood? Louis Oosthuizen? Ian Poulter? Kevin Na?
“No, after Mickelson and Johnson, the headliners aren’t exactly Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Jon Rahm. LIV’s first tournament out of the gate is largely headlined by fading stars.
“On the other hand, Norman and friends have defied the doubters who predicted LIV would open as a clown show littered with anonymous hacks. ‘It’s dead in the water in my opinion,’ McIlroy said in February.
“The Shark needed one whale, and landed two in Lefty and DJ, among the top three all-time PGA Tour money winners (behind Woods, of course). If the London no-cut field of 48 lacks high-powered talents in their prime, it does have legit name recognition, and a few entrants with a history of selling tickets….
“This isn’t Aaron Judge breaking his guaranteed Yankees contract in the middle of a season to play a few weekend series in a rival league. The Tigers and Phils and Rorys are independent contractors who are guaranteed nothing at the start of a season, or at the start of a tournament. In its play-for-pay arena, the PGA Tour has forever prioritized the middle- and lower-class player, the faceless pro who doesn’t drive sponsor investment and who doesn’t persuade any family of four to spend a day at the golf course buying food, drinks and merch.
“At 51, old enough to know that last year’s PGA Championship would likely stand as his final victory, and tired of screaming about the tour’s stranglehold on media rights, Mickelson took the blood money and ran.”
For his part, Greg Norman, in a story in the Washington Post, criticized Rory McIlroy and others, suggesting they’ve been “brainwashed” against the LIV movement. McIlroy has been vocal in speaking out in favor of the PGA Tour. Norman also called Jack Nicklaus a “hypocrite,” saying that while Nicklaus has said he told LIV on two occasions he wasn’t interested, Norman claims that “Nicklaus attended a LIV presentation and later wrote in an email that the new tour had his blessing.”
--If you’re wondering how you can see this week’s LIV tournament (I’ll be rearranging my sock drawer during this time), it will be on LIVGolf.com, YouTube and Facebook. [Actually, I might look in just to see the crowd size and reaction.]
Arlo White, who has done play-by-play on NBC’s Premier League coverage, is going to be the lead broadcaster.
--Well, after I wrote all of the above Tuesday morning, we learned that the USGA is allowing Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to play in the U.S. Open next week at The Country Club outside Boston. Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na and Louis Oosthuizen could also be there.
“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question – should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not,” the USGA said.
The second-oldest championship in golf takes pride in the open nature of its 156-man field, with none of the other four majors having criteria in place that forces roughly half the field to go through 36-hole qualifying.
Johnson earned a 10-year exemption from his 2016 U.S. Open win, while Mickelson has a five-year exemption from winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah. Others, such as Na and Talor Gooch (another LIV participant) are among the top 60 in the world.
The U.S. Open is run exclusively by the USGA and has nothing to do with the PGA Tour.
Johnson also announced Tuesday that he resigned from the tour.
“Obviously at this time it’s hard to speak on what the consequences will be, but for right now I resigned my membership from the tour,” Johnson said at a news conference in London. “I’m going to play here for now and that’s the plan. What the consequences are going to be, obviously I can’t comment on how the tour is going to handle (it).”
Garcia, Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Brace also resigned from the PGA Tour. Good riddance.
Finally, Tiger Woods pulled out, as I thought would be the case, to give his body more time to recover and rehab for the Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland in July.
--Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, the RBC Canadian Open returns for the first time since 2019, the last two years wiped out due to Canada’s stringent Covid-19 travel restrictions.
--I forgot to mention last time that in winning the U.S. Women’s Open on Sunday, Minjee Lee earned $1.8 million, the largest payout in the history of women’s golf.
Lee’s winnings came from a record $10 million purse.
--Rams fans were wondering if All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald was going to retire, as he spoke of this offseason, but the Rams reworked his contract and made him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL; L.A. giving him a $40 million raise over the last three years of his existing deal. The total value of Donald’s contract is now $95 million over three years; $65 million guaranteed in the first two years and the deal is structured in such a way that Donald can either retire or return for the 2024 season for an additional $30 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.
Donald is one of three defensive players since the 1970 merger to earn a Pro Bowl selection in each of their first eight NFL seasons, alongside Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas.
Donald has 98 sacks in eight seasons, including six with at least 10 sacks – the second most by a primary interior lineman since sacks became official in 1982, trailing only John Randle, who had nine such seasons.
Forget the Pro Bowl, Donald has been a first-team All-Pro selection seven times.
--Rob Walton, the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is poised to become the new owner of the Denver Broncos, after the team entered into a purchase agreement with him, his daughter and son-in-law for a reported $4.65 billion, more than double the most recent sale price for an NFL team. The $4.65bn also establishes a record for an American sports franchise.
--The Belmont Stakes is Saturday, and we’ll get to see Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike again, after the colt skipped the Preakness Stakes. Preakness winner Early Voting is skipping the Belmont to prepare for the summer campaign at Saratoga. Epicenter, the runner-up in the Derby and the Preakness, is also sitting out the Belmont for Saratoga, and beyond. We the People, not Rich Strike, is the morning line favorite.
--The rapper Trouble, an accomplished artist from Atlanta who has collaborated with the likes of Drake and Fetty Wap, was fatally shot in Georgia early Monday morning (3:00 a.m.). A suspect was identified, and officials said Trouble was apparently shot at an apartment complex, with the suspect knowing the woman Trouble was “visiting.”
Well, you know what they say. It’s nothing but trouble when you are visiting someone else’s girlfriend at 3:00 a.m.
--I won’t tell you who, but my group of friends and I at the Jersey Shore this past weekend were supposed to meet one of the founders of Bon Jovi, who knows my friend that was hosting us all, but he didn’t show.
I then saw that Jon Bon Jovi announced the death of John Such, the band’s bassist from 1983 to 1994, on Sunday. No details were available.
“He was an original,” Bon Jovi wrote in a post on Twitter. “As a founding member of Bon Jovi, Alec was integral to the formation of the band.”
Bon Jovi credited John Such for bringing the band together, noting that he was a childhood friend of drummer Tico Torres and brought guitarist and songwriter Richie Sambora to see the band perform. Such had played in a band called the Message with Sambora.
Such then played with Bon Jovi through the group’s heyday in the ‘80s.
I’m assuming our failure to connect with the other member of the band had something to do with Such’s death. He was 70.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted Sunday p.m., prior to Celts-Warriors and other late sports stories.]
Note: I’ve been out of town the last three days, unwinding with old friends, and really didn’t follow the sports world as actively as I normally do, save for watching Celtics-Warriors and Rangers-Lighting. So this will be abbreviated, and I’ll probably catch up on a few things Wed.
Boston Red Sox Quiz: Name the top ten in career home runs as a Red Sox player. [No. 10 had 210]. Answer below.
--Rafael Nadal did it again, winning the French Open final today over 8-seed Casper Ruud of Norway in a blowout…6-3, 6-3, 6-0. Win No. 14 at Roland Garros for the 36-year-old (his birthday last Friday) as he also increased his men’s record haul of Grand Slam titles to 22, compared with the 20 shared by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Nadal also became the oldest man in history to win the French Open as he improved to a stupendous 112-3 at the event.
After Nadal had beaten 1-seed Novak Djokovic in a quarterfinal for the ages on Tuesday, he was the beneficiary of 3 Alexander Zverez having to withdraw in the semifinals, Nadal having taken the first set 7-6, with Zverez bowing out at 6-6 in the second so we’ll never know what might have happened. [Zverez tore several ligaments in his ankle following a fall.]
Rafa has been playing with chronic pain in his left foot for years and it limits his schedule, so he might skip Wimbledon, or he could retire.
--On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek easily handled Coco Gauff in the final on Saturday, 6-1, 6-3, pushing the No. 1-ranked Swiatek’s winning streak to 35 matches with her second French Open title. Swiatek, 23, is the only player from Poland to win a Grand Slam singles title, and she teared up on hearing the Polish national anthem. During her post-match comments from center court, she offered support for Ukraine.
“Stay strong, because the world is still there,” Swiatek told the Ukrainians in the stands, and around the world.
For Gauff, it was the 18-year-old’s first major final, just weeks after celebrating her high school graduation.
Swiatek’s win streak equals one by Venus Williams in 2000 as the longest this century.
Stanley Cup Playoffs
--Colorado took a 3-0 lead over Edmonton with a 4-2 win on Saturday night, but lost star Nazem Kadri for the series, and probably longer, after he was hit by Edmonton’s Evander Kane.
Only four NHL teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.
--The Rangers took care of business at home in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals at the Garden, Wednesday and Friday nights, 6-2 and 3-2. It’s an entirely different vibe for the team that has proved rather resilient after being down 3-1 to the Penguins in the first round before terrific comebacks against both the Penguins and then the Carolina Hurricanes.
They’ve also been beating arguably the league’s best goalie the last few games, the Lightning’s Adrej Vasilevskiy.
So they were down in Tampa for Game 3 this afternoon…and New York blew a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2, series now 2-1, with the Rangers giving up the deciding goal with just 42 seconds left in the third, Ondrej Palat the game-winner for the Lightning. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored for New York.
--Boston was trailing Golden State in Game 1 Thursday in San Francisco 92-80 after three, but then blitzed the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter for a 120-108 win…Al Horford with 26, including 6 of 8 from three.
Must win for Golden State tonight.
--The Yankees (39-15…the best start in MLB since 2001 Mariners after a third of the season) are on a huge roll, led by their starting staff which has performed brilliantly thus far, including the last five games with the pitchers giving up just three runs, total, including back-to-back shutouts Friday and Saturday.
Saturday, Luis Severino combined with two relievers on a one-hitter, the Yanks winning 3-0.
Friday, Gerrit Cole set down the first 20 batters, in a 13-0 shutout of Detroit.
Thursday, Jameson Tailllon retired the first 21 hitters, on his way to a one-run, 2-hit performance, in a 2-1 win over the Angels in the nightcap of a day/night doubleheader.
In the opener, Thursday, Nestor Cortes threw seven shutout innings as New York beat L.A. 6-1.
In fact entering Sunday’s game, a Yankee starter had pitched at least six innings nine straight games, the longest such streak since May 18-27, 2016. It was also the MLB-best 13th time a New York starter finished at least seven innings, one ahead of San Diego.
Well make that ten, as Jordan Montgomery went 6 1/3, allowing two runs, but ended up with another no-decision in New York’s 5-4 win in ten innings.
Just look at the starting staff thru today’s game….
Cole 5-1, 2.78
Cortes 5-1, 1.50
Taillon 6-1, 2.30
Severino 4-1, 2.95
Jordan Montgomery 1-1, 3.02 (9 no-decisions in 11 starts)
Back to Saturday’s contest, Aaron Judge hit his MLB-leading 21st homer and in doing so, he became just the fourth player in franchise history to hit at least that many home runs through the team’s first 53 games of the season. Only Ruth, Mantle and Luke Voit accomplished the feat prior to Judge.
--The Mets lost their first two of a 4-game series in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers’ terrific starting staff shut New York down, 2-0 and 6-1, behind Tony Gonsolin (6-0, 1.59) and Tyler Anderson (7-0, 2.59).
The 32-year-old Anderson has been a total journeyman and his performance this season is out of left field.
But after dropping two, with fears of a sweep foremost on Mets fans’ minds, seeing as the team hasn’t had a winning June since 2012, New York rode the bat of Pete Alonso, who homered twice and drove in five in a 9-4 win over Walker Buehler, Saturday. It was the shortest stint of Buehler’s career, five runs in 2 1/3, as he fell to 6-2, 3.84
The Mets (36-19) entered play today 8 ½ ahead of the Braves, not having lost three straight yet this season. [L.A. is 35-18, 3 games ahead of San Diego thru Saturday.]
The Mets also received some good news Saturday. Jacob deGrom is throwing off a mound and could be returning sometime in July, with Max Scherzer also slated to return from his oblique injury around the time of the All-Star break.
--The Angels got off to a terrific 24-13 start to the season, but after falling to the Phillies in Philadelphia 7-2 on Saturday, L.A. had lost ten in a row to fall back to .500, 27-27.
Mike Trout is one of the reasons why, as an 0-for-4 yesterday extended his hitless streak to a career-worst 0-for-23. His previous worst was 0-for-21 in May 2018, plus he struck out three times in a game for the fifth time this season.
It hasn’t helped that Shohei Ohtani also hasn’t been his usual stellar self, either on the mound or at the plate, having been shelled Thursday in New York, 4 runs in 3 innings, including three home runs, Ohtani’s record a pedestrian 3-4, 3.99 ERA.
And the streak is now 11 after this afternoon’s performance. The Angels were up 6-2, bottom of the 8th, and the bullpen blew it, 9-7 the final on a 3-run walk-off homer by Bryson Stott, who was hitting like .157 coming into the game. Bryce Harper hit a grand slam in the 8th to tie it.
Trout went 0-for-3, Ohtani 1-for-5. Ugh.
As for the Phillies, 25-29, they fired manager Joe Girardi on Friday, with bench coach Rob Thompson taking over as interim manager, though probably for the rest of the season.
Girardi was hired prior to the Covid-shortened 2020 season, and went a disappointing 82-80 last year, before a poor start to 2022.
--With regional play wrapping up Monday in the NCAA Baseball Championship, I’ll have the super-regional matchups in my Add-on, but it was kind of depressing to see Wake Forest flame out today, blowing a 5-3 lead after seven to fall to Maryland, 10-5, after Wake had lost to UConn and beat LIU.
But Ken P. alerted me to Oklahoma State vs. Missouri State this afternoon…Missouri State up 12-0 after three innings, only to lose 29-15! Good gawd!
--As we entered the final round today at The Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus’ place in Dublin, Ohio, we had….
Billy Horschel -13
Aaron Wise -8
Cam Smith -8
Daniel Berger -7
Francesco Molinari -7
Jhonattan Vegas -7
And Horschel closed the deal with an even-par 72, four shots ahead of Wise, the seventh win on the PGA Tour for Billy. That’s a very nice career, including a FedEx Cup Championship.
--Despite The Memorial being one of the 3 or 4 top non-major events on the tour, talk this week largely centered on the upcoming first LIV Golf event, which starts Thursday at Centurion Club outside London.
Saturday, Kevin Na, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, announced he has resigned from the tour, doing so rather than face potential discipline and/or legal action for playing in the LIV Golf series. He is believed to be the first player to resign from the PGA Tour because of the tour’s position on players competing in the rival series.
Na, a 19-year veteran of the tour, said he wanted the “freedom to play wherever I want and exercising my right as a free agent gives that opportunity.”
“However, to remain a PGA Tour player, I must give up my right to make these choices about my career,” Na wrote. “If I exercise my right to choose where and when I play golf, then I cannot remain a PGA Tour player without facing disciplinary proceedings and legal action from the PGA Tour.
“I am sad to share that I have chosen to resign… This has not been an easy decision and not one taken lightly. I hope the current policies change and I’ll be able to play on the PGA Tour again.”
Na, 38, was one of 13 PGA Tour players listed as being included in the field for the first LIV event.
It was on May 11 that the tour denied conflicting-event releases for players who requested a release to play in the London tournament, which coincides with the RBC Canadian Open.
According to reports, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told player agents this week that players had to choose whether they’re going to play on the PGA Tour or in the LIV Golf series and that they couldn’t play in both.
The Tour then issued a statement on Wednesday reiterating that Tour “members who violate the Tournament Regulations are subject to disciplinary action.”
But as I go to post, no action has been taken against the golfers who are playing in London.
But RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) became the first sponsor to publicly pull its support from LIV Golf participants, ending its relationship with Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell.
RBC also sponsors the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Na wrote: “For now, please keep an eye out for LIV Golf. It is an exciting new product and I hope you will enjoy the buzz it brings to golf. I am thrilled to begin the next chapter in my career, starting next week at the inaugural LIV Invitational series event in London. I hope you’ll continue to support me.”
NFW, Kevin. Why would I?
As to the players’ reaction at the Memorial, they can kind of see why Na did what he did in resigning if it’s true Jay Monahan said players have to “pick a side.”
“It’s a shame that guys feel they have to be on one side or the other,” Aaron Wise said. “I feel like the tour has pushed that in a hard way, that you’re picking one side or the other, and I don’t know if Kevin was trying to make a point or taking a stance in what he believes and making a statement, but he obviously felt this is what he had to do.”
“I guess maybe he’s protecting himself down the road. Maybe some legal issue. He obviously sees the LIV Golf tour is the place he’s going to play on going forward,” said Rory McIlroy, a member of the PGA Tour Policy Board, in trying to guess Na’s motivation for taking such a drastic step. “Look, I get it for Kevin. He’s never been…he’s qualified for the Open Championship a few times and not gone over. He likes to do what he likes to do, and he’s his own person. No, I’m not surprised.”
But Rory added: “I really don’t understand the decision at this point.”
Patrick Cantlay said: “I think life is a really long time, so it seems silly to me sometimes when people say that they want to resign from something or they pledge their fealty or whatever it is. You don’t know what’s going to happen next week, let alone five or 10 years from now.”
Joel Dahman: “(Na) has been in the Tour Championship for like the last couple of years. I would think the tour has been pretty good to him over 19-20 years… I don’t understand how you resign. That’s a bold statement. What if the LIV folds in a year? I mean, can he resign his resignment? I don’t know. Do whatever you want, but I don’t think you have to resign from the tour to do this.”
As for Dustin Johnson and his playing in London this coming week, Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan had the following thoughts:
“If nothing, (DJ) normalizes the jump slightly. It’s no secret that many other top-tier players are interested in collecting the paycheck, but are leery of potential discipline. Maybe DJ gives a few the courage to take a similar leap (especially those who aren’t fond of the tour in the first place), but I think what it does more is to provide a test case. Now, interested players can sit back and watch how the tour handles this situation, how any lawsuits play out, and whether the tour has real teeth in imposing discipline. DJ’s a stalking horse for all these other guys.”
It wouldn’t be easy for Monahan to suspend Johnson.
Eamon Lynch / Golfweek
“The reaction in the 48 hours since the LIV field was announced helps explain how a blatant sportswashing scheme has made it this far, and why so many players are comfortable committing to it. Slavish sycophants claim someone who has earned over $100 million on the PGA Tour is motivated solely by concern for his family’s future (thus DJ is recast as a model family man!). Keyboard commandos insist everyone has their price but won’t admit to it, unable to conceive that others might value human rights over money. Contrarians hint that criticism of LIV Golf is tantamount to carrying water for the PGA Tour, as though opposing golf being hijacked by a regime that beheads its critics isn’t a position one could arrive at without a bribe from Jay Monahan’s slush fund. Dullards declare any hostility toward Saudi ambitions is illegitimate if the regime is an ally of the country in which one lives, or has invested in any company with which one has ever come into contact….
“After years of speculation in private, sides have finally been chosen in public. Everything else is now just theater, as the lawyers saddle up.”
Adam Kilgore / Washington
“Internally, the PGA Tour recognizes it is a matter of time before a player, with the backing of LIV Golf’s lawyers, sues it for anti-competitive business practices. Monahan has expressed confidence that his side will prevail in any legal battle. LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman has insisted his side will win, too.
“Lawsuits will determine the outcome, but for now it’s possible Johnson has played in some of golf’s biggest events for the last time. After last fall’s Ryder Cup, Johnson basked with his teammates at a news conference. A reporter asked Johnson whether he could keep up with his younger teammates during their victory party.
“ ‘Ab-so…lutely,’ Johnson replied, pausing before he uttered the left-out expletive and then grinning, cocktail in hand. The teammates around him laughed like kids who finally got old enough to hang out with their big brother.
“Johnson soon will have a lot more money, even more than he already has. He may not have many more memories like those.”
--They played the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C., and as I go to post, Australian Minjee Lee is running away with it, six up, four to go.
Michelle Wie West, who had announced prior to the event that she was taking an indefinite leave from playing competitively after this one, which she won at Pinehurst in 2014, missed the cut, as did 51-year-old Annika Sorenstam, who won the Open at Pine Needles in 1996.
--Going back to last Wednesday, Texas won the men’s D1 Golf Championship, beating Arizona State 3-2 in the title match at Grayhawk Golf Club.
It was Texas’ fourth national title and first since 2012, when Jordan Spieth was on the team.
World Cup Qualifying
Ukraine’s dream of playing in the World Cup ended Sunday at Cardiff City as in a qualifying match it lost to Wales 1-0, days after defeating Scotland 3-1.
For Wales, it will be their first World Cup since 1958.
Top 3 songs for the week 6/6/81: #1 “Bette Davis Eyes” (Kim Carnes…godawful…) #2 “Being With You” (Smokey Robinson) #3 “Medley” (Stars on 45…see #1…)…and…#4 “Sukiyaki” (A Taste Of Honey) #5 “Take It On The Run” (REO Speedwagon) #6 “Living Inside Myself” (Gino Vannelli) #7 “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” (Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio) #8 “Just The Two Of Us” (Grover Washington, Jr., with Bill Withers) #9 “America” (Neil Diamond) #10 “Sweetheart” (Frankie & The Knockouts…D- week…back to the 60s…)
Boston Red Sox Quiz Answer: Top ten in homers….
Ted Williams 521
David Ortiz 483
Carl Yastrzemski 452
Jim Rice 382
Dwight Evans 379
Manny Ramirez 274
Mo Vaughn 230
Bobby Doerr 223
Jimmie Foxx 222
Rico Petrocelli 210
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.