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Mets Take Charge!
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
--Mets fans were still buzzing Monday morning over their team’s performance over the weekend against the Braves, taking four of five, capped off by Jacob deGrom’s 5 2/3 of perfect ball in his first start at Citi Field in over a year. DeGrom fanned 12, and together with relievers Joely Rodriguez and Edwin Diaz, Mets pitchers struck out a franchise-tying 19.
And you also had the unreal stat that the first 18 sliders deGrom threw in the game, the Atlanta hitters swung and missed. Almost unfathomable.
With his 1,523 career strikeouts, deGrom passed Yu Darvish (1,517) for the most by a major league pitcher through his first 200 games.
As I write Tuesday, deGrom also seems to have come out of his second start healthy.
The Mets could have suffered a letdown against the Reds who then came into town, but New York has taken the first two of three, 5-1, 6-2, behind more sterling starting pitching and clutch hitting.
So the Metsies are now 7 ahead of the Braves at 72-39.
--The Yankees beat the Mariners in Seattle on Monday night 9-4, snapping a five-game losing streak, but they lost Matt Carpenter to a broken left foot, after fouling a pitch off it, and he’ll be out indefinitely.
The 36-year-old was having a resurgent season with the Yanks, 15 home runs, 37 RBIs, in just 128 at-bats, a front-runner for American League Comeback Player of the Year. All of this coming after he hit just seven homers in 418 at-bats over his previous two seasons with the Cardinals.
It’s hoped Carpenter may only miss a month or so, but we’ll see.
In the game, New York at least got seven strong from Jameson Taillon (3 earned) as he improved to 11-2, 3.95, after getting shelled by the same Mariners team last week.
Aaron Judge hit No. 44, and Josh Donaldson had two doubles and a home run, 3 RBIs.
However, New York lost 1-0 in 13 innings on Tuesday, held to three hits by the Seattle staff and wasting seven scoreless from Gerrit Cole.
But I wanted to go back to the trade deadline deal that sent starter Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals for center-fielder Harrison Bader. I said at the time this was a rather quizzical move given the Yanks recent woes in the rotation.
So I take you back to my June 6 column, where I highlighted the amazing start for the starters.
At the time the Yanks were 39-15, the best start in MLB since the 2001 Mariners…a third of the season over.
Gerrit Cole…5-1, 2.78
Nestor Cortes…5-1, 1.50
Jameson Taillon…6-1, 2.30
Luis Severino…4-1, 2.95
Jordan Montgomery…1-1, 3.02 (9 no-decisions)
After Tuesday’s loss, the Yanks are 71-40…31-25 since June 6….
Severino…5-3, 3.45…but now on 60-day IL
Montgomery…3-3, 3.69…then traded for Bader, wherein Montgomery pitched five shutout innings against the Yanks in a 1-0 win on Saturday to move to 4-3, 3.53
My point at the time of the trade was it made zero sense, especially in light of Severino’s injury. Pitching is everything in the playoffs, as all fans know, and so the Yanks traded for the A’s Frankie Montas, who was 4-9, but with a fine 3.18 ERA, to replace Montgomery, or Severino, but they really have Domingo German as the fifth starter, and he’s got a 5.09 ERA in four starts, allowing one earned in five innings on Saturday.
Montas gave up six runs in three innings in his debut Sunday, but we’ll cut him some slack. He’s had some serious family issues to deal with. But he’s also missed time due to injury this year.
The bottom line is GM Brian Cashman made the team worse in the most critical area, starting pitching.
And I didn’t mention the fact that Nestor Cortes, who has thrown 112 innings, pitched 108 all of last season, after a mere 7 2/3 in the 2020 Covid year, and 106 1/3 in 2019. You get the picture.
--The Dodgers buried the Padres over the weekend, sweeping their 3-game series by a combined 20-4 score, holding San Diego to just 12 hits in the three.
And then L.A. continued to roll, stretching their winning streak to nine with a 10-3 win over the Twins on Tuesday, and they have a stunning 16-game lead over the Padres.
San Diego 62-51…16
--Last night, amidst a miserable season for the Angels, Shohei Ohtani threw six innings of shutout ball in a 5-1 win over the A’s in Oakland, improving to 10-7, 2.68 on the mound. And Ohtani also hit his 25th home run.
And so the legend of Ohtani grows…as he joins Babe Ruth as the only players in major league history to have at least 10 home runs and 10 wins in the same season.
--The White Sox, 56-54 and 1 ½ back in the A.L. Central, suffered a big loss when All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson suffered an injury to his middle finger over the weekend that will keep him out for six weeks.
--The PGA Tour responded to the three LIV golfers who are seeking a temporary restraining order to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin this week, with the tour stating the suspended players (Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford) knew they were breaking the tour’s rules.
The PGA Tour says the three waited nearly two months to seek relief from the court, “fabricating an ‘emergency’ they now maintain requires immediate action.”
“Despite knowing full well that they would breach Tour Regulations and be suspended for doing so, plaintiffs have joined competing golf league LIV Golf, which has paid them tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money supplied by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to procure their breaches,” reads the tour response. “TRO plaintiffs now run into court seeking a mandatory injunction to force their way into the Tour’s season-ending FedEx Cup Playoffs, an action that would harm all Tour members that follow the rules. The antitrust laws do not allow Plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too.”
So then Tuesday afternoon, the Tour picked up a victory as Federal Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled that Gooch, Jones and Swafford will not be granted emergency injunctive relief to be allowed to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“I find the plaintiffs have not established irreparable harm,” Freeman said, citing that the contracts the players signed with LIV took into account money that would be lost by leaving the tour.
This is huge for the Tour, but it’s just the first in what will a long string of legal battles between the two organizations.
Time doesn’t permit me to get into other details of the hearing, but they were scathing, and I’ll get into it next Chat.
Let’s just say for now that LIV, and the players, have lied when it came to their actual earnings. As in, a player’s winnings come out of the signing bonus!!! [At least that is what one of LIV’s attorneys said during the hearing.]
Commissioner Monahan said in a memo to players after the ruling was announced:
“With today’s news, our players, fans and partners can now focus on what really matters over the next three weeks: the best players in the world competing in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, capping off an incredibly compelling season with the crowning of the FedEx Cup champion at the Tour Championship.”
After the ruling Judge Freeman set the timeline for the remainder of the Mickelson vs. PGA Tour lawsuit. The trial, in which LIV Golf asserts antitrust actions by the PGA Tour, is set to begin in September 2023.
--We have the first FedEx Cup Playoff event in Memphis this week, with the weather forecast good, but it’s August, hot and steamy.
Pretty amazing that Rickie Fowler was the last into the field, No. 125, when after missing the cut his chances seemed nil.
For those in the No. 100-125 category, you really need a super week to rise into the top 70 for the next event, after which you reduce to the final 30.
Rookie Max McGreevy did the best work last weekend at the Wyndham, rising from No. 126 to 104 with his T-5 finish.
But the guy who is licking his wounds the most, perhaps, is Matt Wallace, who had the No. 125 slot, but when Joohyung Kim won it, and accepted his Tour membership, that knocked Wallace out, though like Fowler he had missed the cut (both by one stroke).
Kim, 20, who goes by “Tom,” became the second-youngest winner on Tour since World War II – only Jordan Spieth, who won the 2013 John Deere Classic was younger – and the first player born in the 2000s to win on tour.
It’s also amazing to think that Kim opened the tournament with a quadruple bogey 8 on the par-4 first. He’s the third player in the ShotLink era (est. 2003) to make a quadruple bogey or worse on the first hole of a round and go on to card an under-par score.
--The first major poll is out…the USA TODAY / Coaches Poll.
1. Alabama (54 first-place votes)
2. Ohio State (5)
3. Georgia (6)
5. Notre Dame
7. Texas A&M
11. Oklahoma State
13. N.C. State
14. Michigan State
15. Southern California
18. Texas (1…just stupid…they were 5-7 last season)
19. Wake Forest
--The Big Ten is on the cusp of television deals that are expected to pay it in excess of $1 billion and create a college football triple-header featuring Fox, CBS and NBC.
If the agreement goes through, ESPN will be out of the business of Big Ten football and basketball for the first time in 40 years. The deals with all three networks are not finalized.
The Saturday format would likely be Fox with the noon kickoff followed by CBS in the late afternoon and NBC in prime time.
The CBS game will be in lieu of its traditional SEC contest, the SEC moving all its games to ABC/ESPN in a deal that pays the league $330 million for its top football games beginning in 2024. ESPN and the SEC have a separate agreement that encompasses more football and other sports that brings the SEC number to around $700 million.
The Pac-12 would be next up after the above deals are completed, ESPN liking the conference because of its late-night windows.
--NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the league seeks a tougher penalty for Deshaun Watson because the quarterback’s actions were “egregious” and “predatory behavior.”
“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” Goodell said. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”
Goodell said he didn’t know when Peter C. Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general appointed by the NFL to hear their appeal of Watson’s suspension, would make a ruling.
--The Jets’ offensive lineman Mekhi Becton suffered a potential serious knee injury, the same knee that required season-ending surgery in September, but the MRI revealed a “different” injury, possibly his patella (kneecap).
Becton was a 2020 first-round draft pick who has started only 14 out of 33 games sin two seasons, including six games he didn’t because of various injuries.
The Jets have been very unhappy with the lad, who reached 400 pounds after recovering from his surgery, though he was improving thus far in training camp.
And we just learned he could be out for the season.
--There is major trouble in Brooklyn, as not only Kevin Durant, but Kyrie Irving, “hate” Nets management, a source told The New York Post’s Josh Kosman. Kyrie “feels that (coach Steve) Nash is terrible and (GM Sean) Marks is bad.”
Durant, as first reported by The Athletic, told owner Joe Tsai that the Nets head honcho had to choose between the 12-time All-Star or his coach and GM. The face-to-face meeting in London came after Durant requested a trade out of Brooklyn, a year after signing a four-year, $198 million contract extension.
But despite the stars’ feeling on Marks and Nash, Tsai has given his GM and coach a vote of confidence.
Tsai tweeted Monday: “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”
Irving picked up his one-year, $36.5 million player option on June 29, with Durant requesting a trade a day later…and you’ve seen, no trade. Brooklyn engaged with almost every team in the league, but no teams have been able to meet their sky-high asking price.
--Serena Williams posted on Instagram that the pressure of wanting to expand her family, coupled with her outside interests, means that “something’s got to give.”
“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital – although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.”
Williams said she “never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. …Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me….”
Obviously, the U.S. Open is the perfect venue for Serena to bow out.
--We lost Olivia Newton-John on Monday. The four-time Grammy-winning superstar who reigned on pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts with multiple hits, while winning hearts as everyone’s favorite Sandy in the blockbuster film version of “Grease,” was 73.
Newton-John, a longtime resident of Australia whose sales topped 100 million albums, died at her southern California ranch.
From 1973-1983, Newton-John was among the world’s most popular entertainers. She had 15 top 10 singles in the U.S. and starred with John Travolta in “Grease” and with Gene Kelly in “Xanadu.”
Among her Billboard pop chart hits:
#6 Let Me Be There (1973)
#5 If You Love Me (Let Me Know) (1974)
#1 I Honestly Love You (1974)
#1 Have You Neve Been Mellow (1975)
#3 Please Mr. Please (1975)
#1 You’re The One That I Want (with John Travolta in “Grease”) (1978)
#3 Hopelessly Devoted To You (1978)
#5 Summer Nights (with Travolta) (1978)
#3 A Little More Love (1978)
#1 Magic (1980)
#8 Xanadu (1980)
#1 Physical (1981)
#5 Make A Move On Me (1982)
#3 Heart Attack (1983)
#5 Twist Of Fate (1983)
“Physical,” a bouncy, R-rated smash released in 1981, was No. 1 for 10 weeks and was named Billboard’s song of the year despite being banned by some radio stations. An aerobics-friendly promotional clip, filmed in the early years of MTV, won a Grammy for best video.
Both musically and image-wise, Newton-John reinvented herself during those ten big years. “Physical” even made her blush as she told her would-be lover “There’s nothing left to talk about / Unless it’s horizontally” and finally called out “Let’s get Animal! Animal!”
“I recorded it and then suddenly thought, ‘Goodness, maybe I’ve gone too far!’” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2017, recalling how the song had been suggested by manager Roger Davies. “I called Roger and said, ‘We’ve got to pull this song!’ He said, ‘It’s too late. It’s already gone to radio and it’s running up the charts.’ I was horrified!”
A few years after “Physical,” Newton-John’s career waned and she was more likely to make news because of her private life rather than her music. In 1992, as she was preparing for a tour, her father died and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her marriage to actor Matt Lattanzi, with whom she had a daughter, actor-singer Chloe Lattanzi, broke up in 1995 and a years-long relationship with cameraman Patrick McDermott ended mysteriously. McDermott went missing during a 2005 fishing trip in California and his fate remained unknown years later. Numerous reports alleged that he was living in Mexico, with a new girlfriend.
“He was lost at sea, and nobody really knows what happened,” Newton-John told Australia’s “60 Minutes” in 2016. “It’s human to wonder. But you know, those are the things in life you have to accept and let go. Because whenever you go through difficult times, there’s always those concerns.”
While Newton-John’s original hits were crossover country tunes, befitting her love of country music growing up, she wasn’t well accepted in the country music community.
But she had an admirer in John Travolta, who had starred in the stage version of “Grease” and for the planned film thought Newton-John would be the “ultimate” Sandy, the nice girl who gets tough in the final act and gets her man.
Travolta posted a statement on Instagram:
“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”
--The music world also lost Lamont Dozier, a songwriter and producer behind era-defining Motown hits including “Baby Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” He died Monday at the age of 81.
Dozier helped define the sound of the 1960s, and influenced a generation of artists, as one-third of the songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland. Together with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, he worked with Motown’s most successful artists, including Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Isley Brothers, the Four Tops and Marvin Gaye.
The trio churned out hits such as “Stop! In The Name of Love,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” and “Love Is Like A Heat Wave.”
Other Four Tops hits written by the trio included “Bernadette” and “I Can’t Help Myself.”
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
Baseball Quiz: Name the only four in baseball history with 700 at-bats. [Not plate appearances, at-bats.] All modern day. Answer below.
--The Mets had a huge 5-game series at home against the Braves this weekend.
After a stirring 6-4 opening win Thursday night for the Metsies behind three home runs from newcomers Tyler Naquin (2) and Daniel Vogelbach, as well as Pete Alonso’s 29th of the season, and Edwin Diaz’ two-inning save, Atlanta lit up Mets starter Taijuan Walker for eight runs in just one inning on the way to a 9-6 win Friday. New York had cut it to 8-5 and had their chances for a comeback for the ages, but they fell short.
So this set up a huge day/night doubleheader on Saturday, and the Mets swept it, 8-5, 6-2.
Francisco Lindor, finally playing like the All-Star shortstop the Mets signed to the monster contract after a big trade with Cleveland following the 2020 season, had three hits and three RBIs in the opener and Diaz had another save after the Mets’ bullpen leaked oil late.
And in the nightcap, Mets fans got to watch the amazing Max Scherzer pitch us to the sweep.
Scherzer threw seven shutout innings, striking out 11, the Mets getting just enough clutch hitting and terrific fielding (including another gem from Luis Guillorme), and the home fans went nuts.
Max Scherzer walks on water. Once again, he is earning every penny of a mammoth contract, this time 3 years, $130 million. A cool $43 million per. Just as he did with the Nationals, it’s not just that he’s one of the three- to five-best pitchers in the game every year, it’s his amazing leadership abilities. Baseball fans love that as much as the stats.
The Mets are paying him to be clutch and after a lengthy layoff from an oblique injury early this season, he has yielded 7 earned in 46 innings over seven starts (1.36 ERA), one run in 14 innings in two big ones against the Braves. Overall, he’s 8-2, 1.98.
And the standings in the NL East thru Saturday looked like this…
The Mets were 77-85 last season.
As the New York Post’s Larry Brooks put it: “You’re tell me that Buck Showalter couldn’t get back into a major league dugout for three years because teams’ owners and new-age front office personnel thought the old school manager would demand too much authority?”
So on to today and Jacob deGrom’s first start at Citi Field in well over a year, and what does the guy do, throw 5 2/3 of perfect ball, before yielding a walk and a 2-run homer to Dansby Swanson, after which deGrom was taken out. He had 12 strikeouts!
Picture, with a packed house, the best pitcher in baseball when he’s healthy retired the first 17 he faced. He was on a pitch count, we all knew it, and it was special.
Meanwhile, the Mets bats did enough, clutch again, the bullpen was masterful, and the amazing Edwin Diaz closed it out in the ninth…striking out the side. [More on him in my mid-week Add-on.]
Mets take 4 of 5…6 ½-game lead. Massive!!!!
Nineteen strikeouts for Mets pitchers, by the way.
--The other team in New York, the once raging hot Yankees, are in trouble. After losing to the Cardinals and former teammate Jordan Montgomery 1-0 on Saturday in St. Louis, the Yanks have lost four straight and are 9-15 over their last 24. From 61-23 to 70-38…critical home-field advantage in the playoffs at stake, the Astros at 70-39 after a 4-1 loss to the Guardians Saturday night.
Saturday night was sweet revenge for Montgomery, who threw five scoreless against the team that stupidly traded him when it was clear the Yanks’ starting rotation has been struggling. It didn’t help when on Friday, closer Clay Holmes struggled for a second straight appearance and blew a save, while giving up a winning two-run, go-ahead double to Paul DeJong, in a 4-3 loss.
Just a little while ago, Holmes was untouchable, a 0.46 ERA, as he embraced the closer role after Aroldis Chapman was put on the injured list and then was ineffective in his return.
Now Holmes has three awful performances in the past few weeks, his ERA up to 2.12.
Two other items. Outfielder Aaron Hicks is on a 0-for-32 streak at the plate, batting .218, and the Yanks are on the hook for $30.4 million the next three years with the stiff.
And Andrew Benintendi, their big trade deadline addition for the outfield is 2 for his first 25.
Sunday, the Yanks lost again, 12-9. Newbie Frankie Montas, who was 4-9 but with a 3.18 ERA with Oakland, making his first start in pinstripes and sucking wind…6 runs in three innings.
Yeah, Aaron Hicks went 3-for-4, Benintendi 2-for-5, to break their skids, but Yankees fans couldn’t give a damn.
Another newbie for New York, reliever Scott Effross, gave up 3 runs in his inning of work.
--Back to the Astros, Houston acquired outfielder Trey Mancini from Baltimore to provide some pop and his first three hits in his new uniform were home runs, including two (one of which was his first career grand slam) in a 9-3 win at Cleveland Friday.
But Houston lost again today, 1-0, after the aforementioned 4-1 defeat Saturday, to fall to 70-40.
The Yanks are 70-39. This is the race to watch.
--After the trade deadline historic blockbuster deal that sent Juan Soto to the Padres, along with Josh Bell, while San Diego separately picked up slugger Brandon Drury, it seemed like the narrative had turned in the NL West and before long, the Padres would be breathing down the Dodgers’ back.
Wednesday, in his first game, Drury hit a grand slam as the Padres blasted Colorado 9-1 and the San Diego fans went nuts when Soto, playing in his first game, was introduced.
But the Padres lost to the Rockies Thursday, 7-3, and then traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in a critical 3-game series.
Let’s say the first two nights it didn’t go well for the Pads…losing 8-1, Friday, and 8-3, Saturday.
Friday, San Diego starter Sean Manaea gave up the eight runs in four innings as he fell to 6-6, 4.74; Tony Gonsolin improving to 13-1, 2.30, with five shutout innings for L.A.
Saturday, Will Smith and Max Muncy homered off San Diego starter Max Clevinger (3-4, 3.60), who gave up five runs in 4 2/3.
Soto is 5-for-14, zero RBI, in his first four as a Padre.
Los Angeles 74-33
San Diego 61-49…14.5
Face! As my friend and Padres’ fan Bobby C., said after I congratulated him on the big moves at the deadline, “Yeah, but they still have to pitch, hit, run, field…”
The Dodgers entered Sunday 7-2 against the Padres this year and have won 16 of the last 18 meetings dating to last year.
But on Thursday, Clayton Kershaw had to exit after four innings in a 5-3 win over the Giants with lower back pain and he was placed on the 15-day IL, though an MRI revealed nothing.
So once again, huge question marks, not only with Kershaw but the Dodgers’ overall rotation.
RHP Walker Buehler has been out since June 10 with a forearm injury and could return in September.
LHP Andrew Heaney, healthy now, but limited to five starts by shoulder trouble this year.
So it’s currently LHP Julio Urias, RHP Gonsolin, LHP Tyler Anderson, Heaney and RHP Ryan Pepiot (who is 9 2/3 innings away from his previous career high).
For 24 or so teams, the above rotation, without Buehler and Kershaw, is just fine…you would probably make it as a wild card.
But when you’re the Dodgers, and expected to win a World Series, it’s fragile come, say, NLCS time, especially if Jacob deGrom is really back for the Mets.
--The Dodgers had a wonderful pre-game ceremony for Vin Scully Friday. Twenty-one-year-old fan, Tiffany Morales, summed it up well.
“Generations of my family, that’s how we became Dodgers fans, listening to the broadcast. He was like a grandpa to us.”
Others talked of “the way he painted a picture.”
And the New York Times’ George Vecsey reminded us, after the 1957 baseball season, Brooklyn Dodgers management “packed up for a long-threatened move across the continent.”
New York baseball fans were furious, the Giants heading West as well…
“But nothing or nobody in the latter-day covered wagons would transport and transplant baseball to the Left Coast better than a young man not long removed from the Fordham campus in the Bronx and the broadcasting booth in Brooklyn named Vin Scully.
“More than anybody or anything, Vin Scully sent baseball floating into the ozone – first from the ill-shaped Coliseum, and then, starting in 1962, from the pastel oasis on a former Mexican camp nestled into Chavez Ravine.
“Scully was the warm voice wafting out into a warm climate, instructing the locals in the fine points of big-league baseball….
“Scully’s dulcet voice floated on stereophonic waves from new gadgets called ‘transistor radios,’ easy to carry into the ballpark….
“His mellow, pull-up-a-chair approach was like having a beloved elder explain the game unfolding on the field. In 1958, only 30, Vin Scully was the repository for the history of a franchise beloved in another world.”
Peter O’Malley, the son of the former owner Walter O’Malley, explained to the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin in mid-July:
“It was Vinny who introduced the team. There was no one who could have done it better. When you pause to understand the impact that he had then, as well as today, it’s extraordinary.”
--Back to the Phillies, they have been on fire, 9 of 10 after an 11-5 win at Citizens Bank Park yesterday, Philadelphia in the third wild card spot entering Sunday’s play.
And then they won today 13-1.
But I have to bring up Washington starter Patrick Corbin, who Saturday lasted but 2/3s of an inning, giving up six runs on two homers, a triple and two singles. For the second time in three outings, Corbin failed to reach the second inning.
The 33-year-old lefty’s ERA jumped to 7.02. He is 4-16!
After signing a six-year, $140 million deal in 2019, Corbin helped lead the Nats to the World Series title, going 14-7, 3.25.
Throw away the 2020 Covid season, for virtually everyone, but then he went 9-16, 5.82 in 2021, and now this.
The Nats actually owe the guy $60 million of the $140m in 2023 and 2024!
You can’t trade him. You have to eat the contract. As Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty put it, one of the big issues with trotting this guy out every five or six days is he remains “a full-on injury risk for Washington’s bullpen.” And some of the members of the Nats’ pen, despite the hideous record this year, have talent.
--How pathetic are the Angels (46-62)? They tied a major league record with seven solo home runs Thursday night, including two from Shohei Ohtani, and still lost, 8-7 to the A’s.
L.A. is the first team in the majors to hit seven solo homers and score no other runs in a game. They were the sixth team to hit seven homers and lose.
--So I heard the Mets broadcasters talking about White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease, as Friday night, in a 2-1 win over Texas, not only did Cease improve to 12-4, 1.98 ERA, but it was the 13th consecutive start in which he allowed one or no earned runs. The first in baseball history to do so.
Well, I had to note this in Bar Chat today, and in doing my research before doing so, for the casual fan who doesn’t follow the White Sox, did you know what a totally bogus mark this is?
I looked up his game log expecting to see 13 straight, six-inning plus efforts, the definition of a quality start (six innings and three or fewer runs), and among the 13 starts, we have 5 2/3, 5, 5, 4 2/3, 4 2/3 innings.
Five starts under six innings. One of them he yielded six runs, but none were earned. Prior to this stretch, Cease had a 4.24 ERA his first nine starts of the year.
Cease, 26, broke through last season, 13-7, 3.91, 226 Ks in 165 2/3.
And the guy has 166 strikeouts in 122 2/3 this season, but I’m sorry, someone 10-20 years from now will hear about this record and think, ‘Wow,’ that was an awesome stretch.
No…it was good…but not awesome.
That said, he deserves kudos for being American League pitcher of the month for June and July.
--Another T206 Honus Wagner card has the new record baseball card sale (until the Mickey Mantle rookie card auction I wrote of recently is completed).
The card, produced by American Tobacco Co. between 1909-11, went for $7.25 million in a private sale. The buyer and seller remain anonymous.
The previous record was $6.6 million for a different SGC 3-graded T206 Wagner that sold a year ago.
This card and the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle remain the two holy-grail baseball cards because of how few exist and the popularity of the players.
Those of you with 42 Andy Etchebarren and Julio Gotay cards in your shoe boxes really should just toss them. Actually, they say hamsters and gerbils like ‘em. After all, you give them toilet paper rolls to eat.
--And Bobby Bonilla’s infamous contract with the Mets, the addendum to it that addressed his deferred compensation agreement that has been paying him $1,193,248 every July 1 – known throughout the sports world as “Bobby Bonilla Day,” just sold for $180,000 via collectibles marketplace Goldin.
The payoff for Bobby Bo is through 2035.
The auction winner also receives 30-minute Zoom calls with Bonilla and, separately, Dennis Gilbert, the agent who brokered Bonilla’s deferment deal. And he receives a signed baseball, a game-used bat from Bonilla’s personal collection and a 1-of-1 Bobby Bonilla contract NFT.
But wait, there’s more! The winner also gets to spend a day with Bonilla in New York, including breakfast, a trip to Citi Field for a batting practice viewing and Mets game and dinner.
The lot for the contract started out at $22,800 and fifty minutes and 15 bids later, the Bonilla-ganza reached six figures.
The contract has been in Gilbert’s possession since signing. There are all kinds of letters of provenance and a letter of authenticity from Beckett Authentication.
I love the prize package, don’t you? The conversation with Gilbert would be terrific, as I’m sure the buyer is highly sophisticated and knows the issues confronting the Mets at that time, general economic issues Gilbert was thinking of in crafting his client’s future…that kind of thing.
--A record 87 players made the cut this weekend at the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. The last chance to get in the final 125 (which is in a bit of a state of flux because of the LIV issue…the bastards).
After an extensive weather delay Saturday, they finished the third round Sunday morning and heading into the final 18 we had…..
Sungjae Im -13
John Huh -12
Brandon Wu -11
Joohyung Kim -11
[Johnny Mac noted there was a helluva Abbott and Costello act in the lineup of Im, Huh and Wu. “Im in first place.” “How can you be in first place?” “Wu? He’s in second.” “Huh?” “Oh, he’s in third.” We need 90 minutes more material before we can take our act on the road….me being straight man.]
Sungjae, still just 24 but seemingly 44, has two wins in his four years on tour. The “Iron Man,” who played 35 events in each of 2018-19 and 2020-21, has been in the top 20 in the final FedEx Cup standings all four years in his career. Pretty, pretty good.
But who is Joohyung Kim? Like Im, the 20-year-old is from South Korea and all he did in the fourth round is start out -8 on the front nine…a 27*! He then had a four-shot lead over Im and Huh.
*Corey Pavin has the tour record with a 26 at the Milwaukee Open.
And Kim won it…a final round 61. Five clear of Im and Huh. [J. Mac, work on the next 90 minutes.]
The kid is the second-youngest winner since 1932! You always say with a young first-time winner, “It’s no fluke,” and then a lot of them prove to be so. But the way he carries himself, he’s no fluke!
--Jason Day had to withdraw after a fine opening 67 due to an illness. One story I read had Day 115th in the FedEx Cup standings coming in, but the leaderboard had him at 106. So another example of how the dozen or so players eliminated from the standings played into things this weekend. It’s critical as those making the top 125 secure their PGA Tour cards for next season. [Day is OK on this front through 2024 due to his Players Championship win in 2016.]
But Rickie Fowler did not make the weekend and his top 125 hopes appeared to be shattered.
However, as I write, Fowler is 124!
I’m sorry, it’s confusing….not sure how LIV impacts this later in the week, if at all.
Webb Simpson is another who appears to be in when it was kind of shaky.
--On the LIV Golf front, according to an antitrust lawsuit filed by 11 LIV golfers on Wednesday against the PGA Tour, Augusta National and chairman Fred Ridley, “Augusta National, the promoter of The Masters, has taken multiple actions to indicate its alignment with the PGA Tour, thus sowing doubt among top professional golfers whether they would be banned from future Masters Tournaments.
“As an initial matter, the links between the PGA Tour and Augusta National run deep. The actions by Augusta National indicate that the PGA Tour has used these channels to pressure Augusta National to do its bidding. For example, in February 2022 Augusta National representatives threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf.”
“The threat of exclusion from the Masters is a powerful weapon in the Tour’s arsenal to deter players from joining LIV Golf,” the suit claims.
The suit also alleges that Fred Ridley has been working behind the scenes against LIV.
“Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley personally instructed a number of participants in the 2022 Masters not to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Plainly, these threats to top players served no beneficial purpose, as they would only serve to weaken the field in the Masters,” the lawsuit says.
And it adds Ridley declined a request for a meeting with Greg Norman.
Why would he meet with Norman?
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was ready with a statement to Tour members:
“We have been preparing to protect our membership and contest this latest attempt to disrupt our TOUR, and you should be confident in the legal merits of our position. Fundamentally, these suspended players – who are now Saudi Golf League employees – have walked away from the TOUR and now want back in. With the Saudi Golf League on hiatus, they’re trying to use lawyers to force their way into competition alongside our members in good standing.
“It’s an attempt to use the TOUR platform to promote themselves and to freeride on your benefits and efforts. To allow reentry into our events compromises the TOUR and the competition, to the detriment of our organization, our players, our partners and our fans. The lawsuit they have filed somehow expects us to believe the opposite, which is why we intend to make our case clearly and vigorously.
“Let me be clear: we will continue to defend the members who abide by the regulations written by and for the players.”
--You know who has this whole LIV-PGA Tour debate right? None other than Paige Spiranac, every male golfer’s dream to fill out a foursome. Cough cough…cough…
Weighing in on the lawsuit filed by LIV golfers:
“LIV players – We want to play less golf,” the golfer-turned-influencer, 29, tweeted Wednesday. “Also LIV players – We are suing so we can play more golf.”
[LIV’s Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford requested a temporary restraining order that would enable them to participate in the FedEx Cup playoffs, and there is a good chance a San Francisco judge will grant them the injunction sought that would allow them to compete. But the antitrust claim will take years to decide.]
Spiranac, who previously called out LIV golfers over their lack of transparency in regard to joining the league, later elaborated on her stance in a separate message.
“I don’t have a dog in the fight. I’m pro golf and just want the best for the game….
“I will say I don’t like how some of the guys aren’t transparent on why they switched over and now still want to play on the PGA. You took the money now stay there if you’re so happy.”
Back in June, Spiranac expressed how she wished athletes would vocalize how much financial aspects may have played into their decision-making.
“These elaborate statements are annoying. No one going to the LIV tour actually cares about the progression of the game. I wish they just said ‘because it’s a shit ton of money.’”
--Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch talked about the “fraught emotion” on tour these days in the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV golfers.
As an example, Billy Horschel, on the injunction request: “Their vision is cherry-picking what events they want to play on the PGA Tour. Obviously, that would be the higher world ranking events and bigger purses. It’s frustrating. They made a decision to leave and they should go follow their employer. I know there are guys a lot more angry and frustrated about it than me.”
“What they’re doing by going over there is detrimental to our Tour. You can’t have it both ways,” said Will Zalatoris. “A lot of guys will be pretty frustrated if they’re allowed to do both.”
“Please stay away in your fantasy land,” Joel Dahmen tweeted.
“The increasing fractiousness is unsurprising. It’s tough to remain pals with the roommate who moved to a sumptuous new mansion but returned to burglarize and then torch the house you’re still living in….
“The only certainty is that lawyers will earn more than many members of either tour. That won’t mean much to the plaintiffs for LIV, who are being bankrolled by a foreign government and have no personal skin in the game, save the reputations they have already squandered. It’s considerably more personal for those on the other side who will ultimately cover the PGA Tour’s costs in defending itself, a sentiment that will only sour further if a precedent is established that permits LIV players to compete in PGA Tour events as the antitrust case winds its way through the courts.
“Greg Norman vowed to reshape golf. He’s already accomplished that in the locker room, though sadly he has remade things in his own resentful, discordant image. Life on the PGA Tour won’t be the same again.”
--Back to Will Zalatoris, he’s been struggling, with a Cut at the Scottish Open, a T28 at The Open Championship, and a T20 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic coming into this week.
Struggling for Will Zalatoris, that is, and so after his second round Friday he fired caddie Ryan Goble, calling it “the toughest decision I’ve had to make in my golf career.” He then employed coach Josh Gregory as his caddie on Saturday and shot a 66, T15, in getting his round in before all the weather.
Zalatoris, 25, said Goble has been his only caddie on a sanctioned professional tour, and said “he’s basically been my best friend for the last three years.” But he added, “it was just getting a little unhealthy for both of us and obviously it hurts” about their relationship.
“We’ve kind of had a rough month together and it was starting to affect our relationship,” he said. “I know guys say that when they split, but it really was. We were guys that we would love to have dinner together and hang out and what was happening on the course was starting to bleed off the course and that’s not what you want.”
I can easily see how this would happen. Zalatoris is making gobs of money at an early age, with Goble getting a nice percentage of it, and Goble forgot the difference between the player responsible for his nice lifestyle, and his role.
It’s like any employee/employer relationship. You can’t let it get too close. I know when I was on Wall Street, I loved the kids working under me, and we had fun, but at the same time I kept a distance.
Zalatoris said Joel Stock will caddie for him in the playoffs.
--Tony Finau not only has consecutive victories on the tour, but he topped the 2022 Golf Digest Nice Guys Ranking, joining past winners Steve Stricker (2013), Jordan Spieth (2017) and Rickie Fowler (2019). For this survey, senior writer Joel Beall oversaw the interviewing and surveying of more than 120 current pros, caddies, media members, golf executives, locker-room attendants and tournament volunteers.
While “nice” is hard to define, Beall writes, “if you’re looking for a through line on the players [who made our list], it is this: the inclination and consistency of treating people – no matter their station – with respect and civility.”
Peter Malnati was No. 2, Spieth 3, Rory McIlroy 4, and Fowler 5.
--This week’s Wyndham Championship marked the end of Nick Faldo’s broadcasting career at CBS. I caught the end, and his sign-off, and he couldn’t hold it together, and I shed a tear over the human emotion.
I liked the guy. But in that business you move on. Trevor Immelman is next up with Jim Nantz.
I truly hope that Nantz is there at least another five years. The best-ever in that role.
Remember, I want him to do my obituary, camera pointed to the sky.
“And we remember the editor of Bar Chat…chronicler of sports, music, and shark attacks. An original…drinker of massive amounts of Coors Light.”
Well, he doesn’t have to put that last bit in, but I can die with it.
--Boy, the 2022-23 Premier League season snuck up on me. For some reason I thought next weekend was the first, but nooo….it was this weekend, and I broke down and paid $4.99 a month for Peacock, since so many of the games are on it these days…which sucks, but as Tony Soprano would have said, ‘Whaddya gonna do…’
The BBC’s Phil McNulty has the following top six for the new season:
1. Man City
6. Man U
The Athletic’s board of writers has:
1. Man City
6. Man U
And therein is the ongoing problem for many…that it’s the same Big Six at the top every year, the rich getting richer.
Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest were promoted this season. Burnley, Watford, and Norwich City having been relegated.
--In the season opener Friday, Arsenal, with high hopes, beat Crystal Palace 2-0.
In Saturday’s action, newly promoted Fulham pulled off a big upset of sorts with a 2-2 draw at home against mighty Liverpool, the Reds twice coming from behind to avoid total embarrassment.
What was kind of ironic about this is the New York Times’ Rory Smith had a big piece on Fulham, being an example of the many teams that bounce back and forth from the Premier League to the Championship League, and then earn their way back to the PL, and then get relegated and then….
Fulham was relegated in 2019, promoted in 2020, relegated again, promoted again.
Two of the teams relegated after last season, Norwich and Watford, are in the same patter. Norwich was promoted in 2019 and 2021, relegated in 2020 and 2022. Watford was relegated in 2020 and 2022, promoted in between, and Bournemouth, relegated in 2020, promoted this spring.
Phil McNulty has Forest, Fulham and Bournemouth being relegated next spring. The Athletic says it will be Southampton, Fulham, and Bournemouth.
--Us Tottenham fans have bigtime hopes and dreams, and manager Antonio Conte is going to drive his guys hard, with some new faces.
So the Spurs fell behind at home to Southampton Saturday and then ran away with it, 4-1.
--In other games of note, Chelsea beat Everton 1-0. And Brighton defeated Man U at Old Trafford 2-1, as United is a shitshow, even as they got Cristiano Ronaldo to stick around (for better or worse in terms of the team). There were major protests before the game against United’s owners. I would not have put Man U in my top six for the season*.
But here’s a name you will hear endlessly this season…22-year-old Norwegian phenom Erling Haaland. The guy was the Premier League’s big acquisition in the offseason, signing with Manchester City, and Haaland got off to a brilliant start today, scoring the two goals in City’s 2-0 opener against West Ham.
*City will run away with another title, though Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham will keep it interesting into March.
--I noted before, with the World Cup being played late this year, Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, all of the professional leagues’ schedules are condensed. As in no Premier League games will be played Nov. 13 through Dec. 25.
But that means major congestion in the league schedules early on, and then after, and for those clubs with lots of players who will be in Qatar, that’s a huge factor. How do you manage their playing time and avoid injury?
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is bitching up a storm on the topic, saying it is an issue football’s leaders haven’t acted upon.
“The problem is the players that play in the World Cup. It’s just not OK,” Klopp says.
“If you reach the semi-finals then you are already quite busy and then the rest starts a week later.
“My problem is that as much as everyone knows that it is not right, nobody talks often enough about it that it will be changed. Something has to change.”
--There is very little news at NFL training camps these days, compared to years ago when there was far more contact early on. I mean in my case, I know Zach Wilson, whether he plays well in camp or not is going to be the starting quarterback and I’m just waiting for Week One. The only thing fans care about is that everyone stays healthy, and the Giants, for example, lost their fifth-round draft pick, an offensive lineman, to a torn ACL the other day…out for the season.
But for now, it’s about the Deshaun Watson case and after former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, who the NFL and the NFLPA agreed upon to levy a judgement on Watson, suspended him for just six games, the NFL decided to appeal the suspension.
The NFLPA had agreed right away not to appeal, and then days later, Commissioner Roger Goodell said either he or someone he designates authority to will impose a stiffer penalty.
Robinson’s punishment – in her first case since being jointly appointed by the league and the NFLPA – fell well short of the indefinite suspension of at least one year sought by the league.
So the NFL exercised its right to appeal, per the collective bargaining agreement.
As Mike Florio wrote for Yahoo Sports, “In the aftermath of the 2020 (CBA), things were as good as they’ve been in years between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. All good things, however, come to an end….
“The relationship has soured, significantly, because of the NFL’s decision to appeal the ruling entered four days ago by the jointly-hired disciplinary officer under the Personal Conduct Policy….
“The union shouldn’t be surprised that it’s gone this way. The 2020 CBA changed the disciplinary procedure, but it allowed the league to retain full authority over the appeal process. Did the union actually think the league would choose not to exercise the power for which it bargained?...
“Bottom line? The NFLPA let the league keep control over the appeal process. It would be foolish for the union to think the league was just going to voluntarily throw it away – especially in a case like this one.”
--College Football is approaching. Us Wake Forest fans are eagerly awaiting the first polls, as we should be solidly in the top 20, which would be huge, and historic, for us.
BetMGM has Alabama as a clear favorite for the title, followed by Ohio State and Georgia.
Clemson is the fourth playoff favorite.
Reminder…the CFP semis are New Year’s Eve. Perfect.
--After nine hellacious months, Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson have called it quits due to their contrasting busy schedules. Davidson, 28, has been filming a movie in Australia while Kardashian, 41, has been co-parenting her four children with ex Kanye.
Don’t believe the stories that have my people talking to Kim’s people. I don’t know how these things start.
--This is the big week of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. Knowing what this is like, I feel sorry for all the innocent families planning a vacation to the Black Hills at this time not knowing that the rally is taking place. Just a mass of humanity, all on bikes, taking over the camping grounds, riding roughshod on the mountain roads (more than a few dying on same every year).
I prefer the Black Hills in October, sans crowds.
Anyway, the Rally is a massive party with concerts every night, almost exclusively heavy metal and country acts, but they do have one night for rappers.
Snoop Dogg was to be the performer, with others, on Saturday and at the last minute he canceled. Rod Woodruff, president of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip (the theater complex, highlighted by the Wolfman Jack Stage), said: “We were provided no information or excuse other than that Snoop was said to have decided that he would no longer do any touring and has canceled all appearances, including a European tour.”
So the promoters had to scramble and guess who took Snoop’s place? None other than my elementary school classmate Ice-T, along with Bone Thugs-N—Harmony.
If anyone can handle a heckling crowd, it’s Ice-T. Ever read his Twitter feed?
So I checked Tracy Marrow’s, err, Ice-T’s feed and he said, “Killed STURGIS last night. Always a sick crowd!” Yup, it is.
--I feel like an idiot. I thought The Seekers were a British folk group. But they were Australian and we note the passing of lead singer Judith Durham, 79.
The Seekers had two monster hits that have stood the test of the time…the 1965 #4 “I’ll Never Find Another You” (which I’ve had on my brain all day…and that’s OK) and the 1966 #2 “Georgy Girl.”
The Seekers disbanded in 1969 and they were replaced by The New Seekers, who had the 1970 #14 “Look What They’ve Done To My Song Ma” (written by Melanie) and the 1971 #7 “I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony),” which was appropriated by Coca-Cola for its ads. I wonder what the New Seekers made off that, because it was one of the more popular advertisements of all time, and at a chaotic time in our nation it was soothing.
Back to Judith Durham, she left the Seekers in 1968 to pursue a solo career.
Anthony Albanese, Australia’s prime minister, paid tribute to Durham, calling her a “national treasure.”
“Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Aussie artists,” he wrote on social media. “Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
She won all kinds of awards in the land Down Under.
Top 3 songs for the week of 8/7/71: #1 “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” (The Bee Gees…before they went disco…) #2 “Indian Reservation” (Raiders) #3 “You’ve Got A Friend” (James Taylor)…and…#4 “Mr. Big Stuff” (Jean Knight) #5 “Draggin’ The Line” (Tommy James) #6 “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (John Denver…love this one…) #7 “It’s Too Late” (Carole King) #8 “Beginnings/Colour My World” (Chicago) #9 “What The World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John” (Tom Clay…a DJ who turned a remix into a social commentary surprise hit…) #10 “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” (Marvin Gaye…brilliant…A- week…)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Four with 700 at-bats.
Jimmy Rollins, 716 (2007)
Willie Wilson, 705 (1980)
Ichiro Suzuki, 704 (2004)
Juan Samuel, 701 (1984)
Dave Cash, 699 (1975)
Juan Pierre, 699 (2006)
Matty Alou, 698 (1969)
The only player pre-162 game schedule that was close was Pittsburgh’s Woody Jensen, 1936. In 153 games, Jenson had 696 ABs, with 16 walks and 19 strikeouts.
As for plate appearances, Rollins has that record too with 778 the same season.
He was league MVP for the Phillies in 2007…139 runs, 212 hits, 20 triples, 30 home runs, 94 RBIs…88 extra-base hits.
No. 2 in plate appearances is Lenny Dykstra, 773 in 1993. All Dykstra did that year in finishing second in the MVP vote was score 143 runs, knock out 194 hits, 44 doubles, 19 home runs, 37 steals, 129 walks and a .902 OPS. He also starred in the playoffs, but the Phillies lost the World Series to Toronto (the Game 6, ninth-inning 3-run homer by Joe Carter off Mitch Williams leading to nightmares for Philadelphia fans, and Williams, for years, until they won it all in 2008).
Add-on up top by noon, Wed. A deep-dive on the downfall of the Yankees’ rotation and how Brian Cashman became an idiot.