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Fernando Tatis Jr., Dirtball.....
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
--The Mets opened a big 4-game series in Atlanta Monday night and it could not have gone worse. First, starter Carlos Carrasco yielded three runs (including two homers) in the first two innings before a 55-minute rain delay. With a delay that long, it would be common practice to remove Carrasco, but manager Buck Showalter sent him back out because he said Carrasco had been throwing during the rain delay. Carrasco then exited after completing the second, holding his left side – “left-side tightness” as described by the team – and he was getting an MRI Tuesday.
This comes after key infielder Luis Guillorme was placed on the injured list with a “moderate” left groin strain that will keep him out 4-6 weeks, so the rest of the regular season. This one hurts. He’s played outstanding baseball all season.
The Mets ended up losing the game 13-1, though Jeff McNeil went 4-for-4, and first baseman Darrin Ruf threw two innings of shutout ball, one hit, on just 14 pitches. So a little comic relief for the Metsies at the end of a bad night.
The Mets then learned Tuesday morning that Carlos Carrasco would be out 3-4 weeks with an oblique injury, and third baseman Eduardo Escobar may go on the IL with a similar problem. And catcher Tomas Nido was placed on the Covid IL.
On to Tuesday night, and starter Taijuan Walker left after two innings due to back spasms, so suddenly two starters with issues. Atlanta’s Charlie Morton was masterful, striking out 12 in 6 2/3, and the Braves cut the Mets’ lead to 3 ½ with a 5-0 win. The Mets’ bats, like the Yankees’, have gone silent.
The Mets have Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom going back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday, with the weather forecast not favorable, and there is concern in Metsland.
New York is also calling up their second-ranked prospect, third baseman Brett Baty, which should be fun to watch; Baty filling in for Escobar.
--The concern among the Yankee faithful grows stronger. They returned home Monday to face the Rays and the losing continued, the Rays shutting the Yanks out 4-0, once again spoiling a solid effort from Gerrit Cole (six innings, one run), as he falls to 9-5, 3.30.
New York has lost 10 of 12, scoring just eight runs over their last six games, including three shutouts. The Yankee faithful are on the verge of cracking.
The Yanks were 61-23 on July 8, threatening the Mariners’ 2001 mark of 116-46, but have gone 11-21 since to move to 72-44.
While they still have a 10-game lead in the A.L. East, they are now 2 ½ behind Houston for the home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Make the lead nine as the Rays beat the Yanks Tuesday, 3-1. That’s one run in three games. Eleven losses in 13, 11-22 since July 9.
And, the Yankees have now lost five series in a row for the first time since 2005.
--The Dodgers beat the Brewers 4-0 in Milwaukee on Monday, win No. 80 (80-34), as Julio Urias threw five shutout innings and moved to 13-6, 2.40.
But the Dodgers learned right-hander Walker Buehler was out for the season, as he is opting for season-ending elbow surgery, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in mid-June to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
But as he went through his rehab, expecting to be back in September, the pain persisted
Los Angeles also has Clayton Kershaw on the IL with lower back pain, but he is expected to return before the postseason.
But Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Anderson and Urias have more than filled in, going a combined 40-9.
And the Dodgers received some good news…stud Dustin May, coming off Tommy John surgery, is expected to make his season debut Saturday against Miami. May hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 1, 2021. He’s a potential star for 2023, but we’ll see how much he can contribute this year.
That said, losing Buehler, 46-16, 3.02, in his career, is a blow.
Milwaukee beat the Dodgers Tuesday, 5-4 in eleven, as Craig Kimbrel blew the save and took the loss.
--A.L. Cy Young favorites Justin Verlander (Houston) and Dylan Cease (Chicago) hooked up Tuesday night, with both ending up with no decisions, each yielding 3 earned in a 4-3 White Sox victory. Verlander blew a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Cease went just five.
--The Marlins beat the Padres 4-3 last night and this was a biggie…the first time in 17 games Miami had scored more than three runs! Sixteen straight was the longest such streak since the 1979 Cubs.
--The Texas Rangers were expected to contend for the postseason berth after spending $500 million on infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but instead were 51-63 when they decided to pull the trigger and fire manager Chris Woodward on Monday, turning the team over to third-base coach Tony Beasley for the duration of the season.
The Rangers were just 6-24 in one-run games. Texas then went out Monday night and beat the A’s 2-1 in Beasley’s debut.
Woodward was awful in his 3 ½ seasons, 211-287, and Texas, after a terrific run from 2010-2016, deserved better.
So Woodward is the fourth manager to be relieved of his duties this season, the others being Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi, the Angels’ Joe Maddon, and Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo.
--Tiger Woods headed to the BMW Championship to address some of the top players on the PGA Tour and to rally them against the encroachment of LIV Golf.
Woods met with a large number of the top-20 ranked players in the world on Tuesday. There was also a PGA Tour Players Advisory Committee meeting the same day, while Commissioner Jay Monahan has a meeting with Tour players Wednesday.
Back at The Open Championship at St. Andrews, Tiger came to the Tour’s defense against LIV in a press conference prior to the start of the tournament.
“Greg [Norman] has done some things that I don’t think (are) in the best interest of our game, and we’re coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe it’s the right thing.
“I know what the PGA Tour stands for and what we have done and what the Tour has given us, the ability to chase after our careers and to earn what we get and the trophies we have been able to play for and the history that has been a part of this game. I know Greg tried to do this back in the early ‘90s. It didn’t work then, and he’s trying to make it work now.
“I still don’t see how that’s in the best interests of the game.”
--Cameron Smith is missing the second leg of the playoffs to rehab an ongoing hip ailment, his agent Bud Martin said.
“[Smith] has been dealing with some on and off hip discomfort for several months and thought it best to rest this week in his pursuit of the FedEx Cup,” Martin said in a statement.
Smith, reached by Golf Digest, said that the discomfort began in practice rounds and intensified over the weekend while playing in the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
“My hip flared up yesterday. It seems to happen when there’s softer fairways like there were earlier in the week,” Smith said over the one. “I’ve had a couple f MRIs around it, and I will check with my team to see if we need another one.”
Smith does plan to tee it up at the Tour Championship finale.
--I just have to note that in last weekend’s Korn Ferry Tour regular season finale, Robby Shelton earned his return to the PGA Tour with a win at the Pinnacle Bank Championship.
Twenty-five PGA Tour cards were earned with this one…the top 25 in the points standings.
So now the Korn Ferry Tour has a three-tournament playoff of its own, the top 75 on the KFT as of last week already earning full KFT status for next year, but 25 more PGA Tour cards are up for grabs in these last events, the field including PGA Tour players who finished 126-200 in the FedEx Cup standings…like a Bill Haas.
And we start out this week in beautiful Boise, Idaho, which unlike the Southwest, I think has some water still available, though temps hit 100 this week.
--Patrick Reed filed a lawsuit against Brandel Chamblee and the Golf Channel, seeking $750 million in damages for defamation.
Reed alleges, according to court documents, that Chamblee, a Golf Channel analyst, has “actively” targeted Reed to “destroy his reputation, create hate, and a hostile work environment” for the player.
Reed claims he has been the victim of “calculated, malicious” attacks that have “had a direct effect on his livelihood” for the past nine years.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, accuses Chamblee, the Golf Channel and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan of conspiring to “engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed, misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard for the truth” and “purposely omitting pertinent key material facts to mislead the public.”
Among the many controversies Reed has been involved in was one in 2019, where a camera caught Reed illegally improving his lie in a bunker, to which Chamblee said, “This is going to follow him around like the video of Nixon saying ‘I’m not a crook.’”
--The only preseason ranking that really matters, the AP Poll, was released Monday and guess what? Alabama is No. 1! Can you believe that? smirked the editor.
1. Alabama (54)
2. Ohio State (6)
3. Georgia (3)
5. Notre Dame
6. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
13. N.C. State
14. Southern Cal…I’ve been told the cheerleaders look in midseason form…
15. Michigan State
21. Ole Miss
22. Wake Forest
Here’s the joke. Texas, which was stupidly placed 18th in the Coaches Poll, including with a first-place vote, isn’t even in the AP Top 25 (27th, if you carry out the votes).
Wake Forest, in early polling last winter after the 2021 season had wrapped up, was looking at a No. 15 or so. The Coaches put them at 19, which was pre-Sam Hartman (QB) non-football related medical news, but the AP pollsters had a few days to digest it and I assume a few of the writers penalized us, which you can understand. Nonetheless, our first AP preseason ranking since 2008.
Kentucky is making its first preseason poll appearance since 1978.
Alabama’s No. 1 preseason ranking is its seventh in 15 seasons under Nick Saban.
For Utah, their No. 7 ranking is the best in school history (preseason).
Ohio State is ranked in the preseason for the 34th season, breaking a tie with Nebraska (1970-2002) and Penn State (1968-2000) for the longest such streak in poll history.
--In the NFL, the Jets received the good news they were hoping for…surgery on Zach Wilson’s knee revealed the initial diagnosis of a bone bruise and a slight meniscus tear, but no additional damage to the knee.
So it’s conceivable Wilson will be back for the opener.
--Monday, Liverpool could manage only a draw at home against Crystal Palace (who had a very cool jersey, I must say), so that’s two draws in the Reds’ first two games. Not up to their normal standards.
--But the big story in the PL after less than two weeks is the futility of Manchester United, which next Monday hosts Liverpool after United lost its first two by a 6-1 aggregate to Brighton, including the 4-0 humiliation at Brentford.
Man U’s fan groups have been staging protests against the Glazer family that owns the team, with the Manchester United Supporters Trust branding the American family’s ownership as akin to a “fish that rots from the head.”
A massive protest is planned prior to the Liverpool game by another fan group, The 1958.
Malcolm Glazer (who owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), bought United in 2005 via a leveraged purchase that loaded a considerable debt on the club that 17 years later stands at roughly $600 million. After he died in 2014, members of his family took control (as they did with the Bucs), and the Glazers own 90%, equally split among Malcolm’s six children.
The debt heavily impacts operations, player signings and the like.
--We note the passing of the great college basketball coach, Princeton’s Pete Carril, 92.
As the head men’s coach at Princeton from 1967 to 1996, the Ivy League member couldn’t offer athletic scholarships, and its academic standards were rather high, so Carril’s teams had to outthink the opposition, and athletically superior teams outside the conference, and Carril finished with a 514-261 record with the Tigers, including 13 Ivy titles, 11 appearances in the NCAA championship tournament, two NITs, (winning that in 1975), and only one losing season. Fourteen of his Princeton teams led the nation in defense. In 1997, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
Frank Litsky / New York Times
“(Carril) emphasized a deliberate off-the-ball offense that kept players passing the ball and setting screens until a shooter was open or someone broke free to the basket in a patented backdoor play. The scores were low, and no matter how much opponents prepared, they were frustrated and often lost their poise.
“ ‘Playing Princeton is kind of like going to the dentist,’ said Jim Valvano, the North Carolina State coach who died in 1993 at 47. ‘You know that down the road it can make you better, but while it’s happening it can be very, very painful.’
“The New York Times sportswriter Bill Pennington wrote: ‘The most unsophisticated basketball fan could admire and understand a Pete Carril team at first glance. The most devoted hoops junkie could be spellbound by a Pete Carril team in motion. It was basketball not of talent, but of team. It may not be the way everybody should play, but it was the way everybody used to try to play.’
“In the NCAA’s annual tournament, Carril’s teams might lose to national powers, but not before unnerving them and threatening an upset. In the first round alone, Princeton lost to Georgetown by 50-49 in 1989*. [Ed. a truly memorable game], Arkansas by 68-64 in 1990 and Villanova by 50-48 in 1991.
“Carril’s final college victory came on March 14, 1996, in Indianapolis, in the first round of the NCAA tournament UCLA, the defending champion. Thirteenth-seeded Princeton, 7 points behind with six minutes left, scored on – what else? – a backdoor with 3.9 seconds left and won. The next day, The Daily Princetonian, the student newspaper, ran this headline across Page 1:
“ ‘David 43, Goliath 41.’
“Carril said he was under no illusions: ‘If we played UCLA 100 times, they would win 99 games.’ (The Tigers went on to defeat, 63-41, in the second round against Mississippi State).
“Around the Princeton campus he was a revered, raspy-voice figure in a well-worn sweater and baggy khakis (or, when he dressed formally, a bow tie). A colleague once described him as ‘a rumpled Lilliputian who would look as out of place in an Armani suit as he would in a Vera Wang gown.’ And during games he was known for an animated coaching style.
“Every year at his first practice session, Carril made the same speech to his players.
“ ‘I know about your academic load,’ he said. ‘I know how tough it is to give up the time to play here, but let’s get one thing straight. In my book, there is no such thing as an Ivy League player. When you come out of that locker room and step across that white line, you are basketball players, period.’
“But he also told his players:
“ ‘Princeton is a special place with some very special professors. It is something special to be taught by one of them. But you are not special just because you happen to go here.’
Carril was born in Bethlehem, Pa., and his father worked at the blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel for 40 years, never missing a day of work, his son would say.
In the 1966-67 season, Carril coached Lehigh to an 11-12 record. Then, Butch van Breda Kolff, who Carril played for at Lafayette and was coaching Princeton, left to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Princeton considered Bobby Knight and Larry Brown as successors. Instead, it took Carril.
After retiring from Princeton, Carrill spent a decade as an assistant coach with Sacramento in the NBA under Coach Rick Adelman.
*Back to the 1989 tournament game against Georgetown, this was the Hoyas team that was the No. 1 seed and featured 6-foot-10 Alonzo Mourning and 7-foot-2 Dikembe Mutombo, both future NBA Hall of Famers.
As John Otis wrote in the Washington Post:
“To simulate their tower presences at practices, Mr. Carril told his assistants to hold up brooms for his much smaller players to shoot over. During pregame warm-ups, ESPN announcer Mike Gorman said Princeton, a 23-point underdog with no players taller than 6-foot-8, looked like a high school team that had stumbled into the wrong gym.
“But Princeton’s zone defense forced the Hoyas to settle for outside shots, while the Tigers ran the backdoor… At halftime, Princeton had a shocking eight-point lead. Georgetown came back in the second half and won by a single point, 50-49, but the game was seen as vindication for small schools and changed the nature of the NCAA tournament.
“Until then, first-round games were relegated to cable TV. But the prospect of more David vs. Goliath barnburners helped persuade CBS to sign a seven-year, $1 billion deal with the NCAA to televise every game of the tournament, transforming college basketball’s March Madness into a cultural phenomenon rivaling the Super Bowl….
“Years later, Mr. Carril admitted that his goal had been far more modest. ‘We were trying not to embarrass ourselves,’ he said.”
One other tidbit…Carril’s father had a maxim that stuck with Pete and reflected his coaching philosophy: “The strong take from the weak, but the smart take from the strong.”
--Greg Poulson, visiting from Utah, set the record for landing the Idaho state-record white sturgeon…10 feet, 4 inches, the other day.
Poulson had a major battle with the monster at C.J. Strike Reservoir, a lake known for crappie and bass.
The white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America and protected in Idaho, which only recognizes catch-and-release records.
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m. A special remembrance of the Massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics…incredibly, 50 years ago.
Add-on posted up top by noon, Wed.
Baseball Quiz: The Nationals’ Patrick Corbin is having an historically awful season, 4-16, 7.02 ERA. Washington skipped his last scheduled start, but he is due to start Tuesday against the Cubs. As in for now, Corbin can still lose 20. 1) Name the last three to lose 20 games in a season. [Hint: One is a Hall of Famer]. 2) Name the last two to lose 24 (both post-1960). Answers below.
--The San Diego Padres and their fans are furious…for good reason. Fernando Tatis Jr., their 23-year-old shortstop with the monster contract…the guy who would be the face of the franchise the next decade, and a face of baseball, was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s PED policy. This is the asshole who had been out all season following an offseason motorcycle injury.
Tyler Kepner / New York Times
“Statues can be made from many different materials: stone, bronze, concrete, wood, and so on. The idea is to use something durable and lasting, something befitting a permanent monument that often serves as a point of price.
“In other words, clay would be a bad choice. That is where the expression feet of clay comes from, connoting a weak foundation, a flaw that could bring down a person of honor. Which bring us to Fernando Tatis Jr.
“When the San Diego Padres signed Tatis to a 14-year, $340 million contract in February 2021, he matched the boldness of their investment with a statement just as audacious: ‘I want the statue.’ Then Tatis led the National League in home runs and nearly won a Most Valuable Player Award, all before his 23rd birthday.
“If it seemed too good to be true, maybe it was. Major League Baseball suspended Tatis for 80 games on Friday, ending his season before it began and casting doubt about the wisdom of the Padres’ commitment to him. Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing drug.
“The suspension ends a troubling season for Tatis, who had wrist surgery in March after injuring himself in the off-season by falling off his motorcycle – more than once, he acknowledged. He began a rehabilitation assignment last week, but his four games with Class AA San Antonio will constitute all of his performance for 2022.
“The Padres had 48 games remaining on their schedule at the time of the announcement, meaning that Tatis’ suspension will bleed well into 2023. The absence of so many games on his ledger will be a testament to the recklessness of a player who had been hailed as a prominent part of baseball’s future.
“ ‘It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,’ Tatis said in a statement issued by the MLB Players’ Association. ‘I should have used the resources available to me in order to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so.’
“He apologized to the Padres, the league and the fans, and while he pointed out that he had never failed a drug test before this, he added that he had ‘no excuse for my error.’ Tatis said he initially appealed the suspension, but dropped it because his carelessness caused the result.
“ ‘I am completely devastated,’ the statement said.
“So are the Padres….”
General Manager A.J. Preller is pissed, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune that the team needs to rebuild trust with Tatis. “Over the course of the last six or seven months, I think that’s been something that we haven’t really been able to have.”
Look at what Preller did, pulling off an historic trade for Juan Soto, along with acquiring Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader. They thought Tatis was finally coming back soon, maybe even this week. Despite getting swept by the Dodgers, the Padres still held one of the three wild-card spots.
But recall, this is a team that went 11-30 down the stretch last season to blow their postseason chances, with Tatis playing mediocre ball in those final 41.
Tatis even got into a dugout argument with veteran Manny Machado, who screamed and cursed at him. “It’s not about you,” Machado scolded Tatis after Tatis had pouted about a called third strike. “You go play baseball,” he added.
Friday night, after hearing Tatis’ statement, GM Preller said, “That’s his story. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it yet. But ultimately, that’s his explanation. I think the biggest thing…is there is a drug policy in place. He failed the drug screen and, ultimately, he’s suspended and he can’t play. That’s the biggest thing. It’s the player’s responsibility to make sure that he’s in compliance. He wasn’t.”
Preller went on: “It’s very disappointing. He’s somebody that from the organization’s standpoint we’ve invested time and money into. When he’s on the field, he’s a difference maker. You have to learn from the situations. We were hoping that from the offseason to now that there would be some maturity, and obviously with the news today, it’s more of a pattern and it’s something that we’ve got to dig a bit more into. …I’m sure he’s very disappointed. But at the end of the day, it’s one thing to say it. You’ve got to start showing by your actions.”
When Tatis was injured in the offseason, the Padres could have taken advantage of clauses in his contract to recoup some of the money, but the decision was made not to do so based on a desire to maintain good relations with a player they consider a cornerstone of the franchise over the next decade-plus.
But Friday, Preller said the organization would “revisit” some of the details from Tatis’ offseason.
“We’ll start digging into the shoulder and wrist; we’ll look a little bit more into that now, because we’ll have some more time to have some conversations there,” Preller said. “I think what we need to get to is a point in time where we trust….
“From our standpoint, obviously he’s a great talent, he’s a guy we have a lot of history with and do believe in. But these things only work when there’s trust both ways. I think that’s going to be something that we’re going to have plenty of conversation and time to talk to Fernando about. That’s something that clearly, if we’re going to have a partnership and a great relationship, we’re going to have to make sure that that’s strong.”
Tatis will be picking up a lot of yearend hardware from Bar Chat.
--The Mets entered an important 3-game series at home with the surging Phillies, the Metropolitans having won 15 of 17, getting sterling starting pitching and scoring 6.2 runs per game.
But Philadelphia was 40-20 under interim manager Rob Thomson, who replaced Joe Girardi after the Phillies got off to a miserable 22-29 start, expectations having been high in the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia has been getting outstanding starting pitching of its own, particularly from the trio of Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez and Zack Wheeler.
Friday, they threw Suarez against Max Scherzer and the two matched each other with seven-inning, one-run stints, the Phillies pulling it out 2-1 in ten. The Mets were held to five hits.
That made Saturday night important and for Philadelphia it was Aaron Nola, who has recently looked like the Nola of 2018, while the Mets put out Jacob deGrom, making his third start after his over one-year absence.
The Mets scratched out a run in the bottom of the first and that was it. Nola was spectacular, eight innings, just the one run on 4 hits, but deGrom, and the Mets’ bullpen, was better, Jake going six scoreless, no walks, striking out ten, yielding just two singles, and your N.L. MVP (more so than Cy Young), closer Edwin Diaz, survived a scary ninth to pick up his 27th save (17 of his last 17 save opportunities).
DeGrom in his three starts, the Mets gradually stretching him out, has gone 16 2/3, giving up 3 earned (1.62 ERA), while walking one and striking out 28. Amazing. After being out of the major leagues for about 390 days.
As for Diaz, he entered the game on a run for the ages. In his prior 27 2/3, he had given up one earned, with 59 strikeouts. In his 16 save opportunities since early June, he had walked two and struck out 55.
Saturday, he proved to be human, walking two but getting out of a runners on 2nd and 3rd jam.
Overall, Diaz has thrown 47 1/3, giving up 7 earned (1.33 ERA), 14 walks and 94 strikeouts. Insane.
So in the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon, the Mets won it, 6-0, as they beat up Philly ace Zack Wheeler, six earned in six innings, Wheeler falling to 11-6, 2.92.
Mets starter Chris Bassitt was limited to five scoreless, now 10-7, 3.21.
New York held the powerful Phils lineup to just two runs in the three games.
The Mets now head to Atlanta for another big, 4-game series with the Braves, who completed a sweep against the Marlins today, 3-1, and have won six straight.
Miami, by the way, has a staggering streak going…15 straight games without scoring more than 3 runs. They’ve lost 12 of the 15, the only three wins all by a 3-0 score.
--The Yankees’ issues continue…as closer Clay Holmes choked again, blowing a 2-1 ninth-inning lead in Boston Friday night, New York then losing 3-2 in 10.
Holmes has yielded 11 earned in 10 1/3 over his last 12 appearances.
Saturday, New York flipped the script and won 3-2, as shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa was the surprise hero at the plate, driving in all three on three hits, including his first home run of the season. Frankie Montas recovered from his poor Yankee debut to go five innings, 2 runs.
Scott Effross, not Holmes, closed it out.
Entering tonight’s traditional ESPN Sunday night game (ugh), the Yankees were 72-42, the lead down to ten over the Blue Jays.
--Friday night, the Dodgers stretched their winning streak to 11 with an 8-3 victory over the Royals in Kansas City.
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh. He ended up allowing one run on two hits in 6 2/3 in improving to a stupendous 14-1, 2.24.
The streak became 12, Saturday, as L.A. crushed K.C. 13-3. The Dodgers hit six home runs, including back-to-back by Joey Gallo and Cody Bellinger (.167 and .210 batting averages, respectively).
The franchise record win streak is 15, set in 1924 when the team was called the Brooklyn Robins.
At 79-33, L.A.’s lead thru Saturday was 17 games over San Diego in the NL West.
So the Dodgers sent Tyler Anderson (13-1) to the mound today for the series finale. Thirteen consecutive wins was last accomplished by the team in 1962 and 1965.
By the way, the 15 consecutive wins in 1924 had a quirk…the last 10 victories were played in six days to compensate for postponed games.
The MLB record is 26 wins in a row by the New York Giants in 1916, and the more modern-day mark is 22 by Cleveland in 2017.
L.A.’s 79-33 record puts them on pace to finish 114-48, which would be shy of the 116 wins by the 2001 Mariners (and 1906 Cubs).
But stop the presses…L.A. is now 79-34 as four Royals pitchers combined to 2-hit the Dodgers, 4-0, Anderson giving up 3 earned, now 13-2, 2.81.
--Juan Soto returned to Washington Friday night and received a standing ovation. He had two hits in the Padres’ 10-5 win. But then the Nats won 4-3 on Saturday, with each game important down the stretch for San Diego.
The Padres did win 6-0 today.
--The Cardinals took 2 of 3 in a critical NL Central series with the Brewers, including 6-3 today behind Albert Pujols’ two home runs, giving him 689.
--Tampa Bay’s Drew Rasmussen was perfect through eight innings this afternoon against the Orioles and had thrown only 77 pitches. Could he do it? No. Baltimore’s Jorge Mateo led off the ninth with a double, there was a ground out, but then Rasmussen threw a wild pitch to bring in a run, the Rays eventually winning 4-1, Rasmussen 7-4, 2.80.
The last time there was a perfect game was 2012, when there were three…by Philip Humber, Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez (the last one).
--Victor Mather / New York Times
“The concept of a cycle is familiar to most fans, even if the event is not particularly common: A player collects a single, double, triple and homer in the same game.
“But have you heard of a home run cycle? There’s no shame if you haven’t. Before Wednesday night, it had happened, as far as historians can tell, only once in modern professional baseball history at the affiliated level.
“Now it has happened twice. Chandler Redmond of the Springfield (Mo.) Cardinals, St. Louis’ Class AA affiliate, hit four home runs in a single game on Wednesday, an epic feat in itself. But making it even rarer, his day included a solo shot, two-run and three-run homers and a grand slam. The home run cycle.
“According to Major League Baseball, the only other time a player hit for a home run cycle was in 1998, when Tyrone Horne of the Arkansas Travelers, also a Class AA affiliate of the Cardinals at the time, did it in a road game against San Antonio.”
Redmond also had a run-scoring single, making him 5-for-6 on the night. Yes, the Cards won the game, beating the host Amarillo Sod Poodles, 21-4, behind Redmond’s 11 RBIs.
Redmond said he was fully aware of the cycle…the last the three-run shot. He said he told himself to stay calm and look for a pitch to hammer.
--Locally, the Massapequa, Long Island, Little League team garnered a lot of publicity for clinching its first-ever World Series berth with a 4-0 victory over longtime powerhouse Toms River (N.J.) East in the Metro Region finals in Bristol, Conn., on Friday night.
Joey Lionetti threw a no-hitter, walking one, striking out nine, though hitting three batters.
--The first leg of the playoffs was held this week, the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., and the tour was faced with a potential nightmare. Cameron Smith was in contention (and rumored to be LIV Golf bound after the playoffs). More on his situation below.
As for the play…after three rounds…
J.J. Spaun -13
Sepp Straka -12
Will Zalatoris -11
Trey Mullinax -11
Cam Smith -11
Tyler Duncan -10
Troy Merritt -10
And nine tied at -9, including Tony Finau, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, and Sungjae Im.
Zalatoris, still looking for that elusive first win, opened with 71 and then stormed back, 63-65.
But then Sunday morning we learned Cam Smith had been hit with a two-stroke penalty for playing his ball from the improper spot on the fourth hole during Saturday’s round.
After hitting his ball into the water, he took a drop from the improper spot, so he started the fourth round four strokes back, not two.
Paul Azinger, at the start of Sunday’s coverage, said it was the kind of mistake no pro should make, hitting from the red line.
Smith handled it well, and got off to a decent start today, but ended up even-par for the round, way back at T-13.
So it became the Sepp Straka, Will Zalatoris affair, the two tied at -15 thru 16. Zalatoris parred 17. Straka, in the group behind, parred it.
Both head to No. 18, tied.
Zalatoris hit his tee shot on the 450-yard par-4, water left up at the green, in a fairway bunker and then hit his second into the rough, his third about 10-feet for par.
Straka hit his drive way right in the rough.
Zalatoris makes the clutch putt for par, in at -15!
But Straka hits a terrific approach from 194 and has a shot to win it, but his 22-foot birdie putt goes just wide, he completes the par and we’re off to a playoff, and back to No. 18.
Straka, who looked so glad in winning the Honda Classic earlier in the year, had missed six cuts coming into this week.
Zalatoris had won a record $6.7 million without winning a tournament this year.
Both then hit solid drives on the first playoff hole, Zalatoris up first for his approach and he hits a poor wedge shot, faraway from the hole. Straka’s shot is much better.
Zalatoris then hits a terrific lag putt and gets his par. Straka blows his birdie attempt well past but makes a huge comebacker and we move on.
So it was back to No. 18 and Zalatoris bombs his drive way right, nearly out of bounds. Straka, just needing to put it in the fairway, barely misses the water left.
Zalatoris’ chips it into the fairway, but Straka had zero stance, and took a penalty. Both now hitting three and Straka nails his approach…within five feet! Zalatoris hits a fine approach but he’s five feet beyond Straka and will be giving the Austrian a read.
So both need to make it to extend it to a third playoff hole.
Wow! Zalatoris makes his. Straka cooly strokes his in.
On to a third hole. The par-3, 11th. Just 151 yards. I can’t even describe Zalatoris’ tee shot. It’s an impossible lie, wedged against the rocks, somehow avoiding the water. And then Straka puts his ball in the water! Straka then hits from the drop zone and puts it in the bunker. He hits a good shot out of it and has a chance for five.
What will Zalatoris do? He could easily hit the lip next to the rocks and put it in the water. It’s a shot no one gets.
And so he takes it back to the drop zone, with the penalty. Ninety-two yards away, up and down for the win. And he puts it seven-feet away…and nails it!
Win No. 1 for Will Zalatoris!!!!!
Hey, LIV Golf….take your act and shove it up your ass! You will never, ever match this!
--Among those making the cut for the next event, the BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware, were Lucas Glover, whose T-3 moved him from No. 121 to 34, and Adam Scott, who moved from 77 to 45 with a T-5.
--Among those missing the cut, but nonetheless moving on to round two, were Billy Horschel, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Scottie Scheffler.
--A lot of the talk this week indeed centered around the world’s No. 2, Cam Smith, who is reportedly set to leave the Tour for LIV Golf, which would be a huge loss for the sport.
Fellow Australian pro Cameron Percy didn’t help Smith avoid the rumors when Percy told hosts on an Australian radio program that both Smith and countryman Marc Leishman were heading to LIV.
“Unfortunate, yeah, they’re gone,” he said, sparking a media furor and eliciting a phone call from Andy Pazder, PGA Tour chief tournaments and competitions officer. Later, speaking to Australian Golf Digest, Percy said, “Look, I was just conveying what was said in the locker room during the many rain delays we’ve had on tour the past few weeks.”
Tuesday, at TPS Southwind, Smith said in his press conference, addressing the rumors, “If there’s something I need to say regarding the PGA Tour or LIV, it will come from Cameron Smith, not Cameron Percy. I’m a man of my word and whenever you guys need to know anything, it’ll be said by me.”
No one will ever care what the 28-year-old budding superstar does with Greg Norman’s crew.
For now, though, he’s a favorite to win the Tour Championship and its $18 million reward.
Cameron Young has also been tied to LIV, which would be nuts.
The PGA Tour hasn’t suspended Smith from the playoffs because Commissioner Jay Monahan had long promised that any tour member who competes in a tournament on a rival league without a conflicting-event release would face disciplinary measures from the tour. And he has kept his word, only suspending players who have actually hit a shot in LIV competition in that.
--Seeing as this was the first of the three big playoff events bringing the best of the game together, it was yet another opportunity for some of the PGA Tour leaders to sound off on LIV, especially in light of the antitrust suit that was filed by the latter.
Billy Horschel: “I think they’ve been brainwashed. The way they feel so adamant that they’re going to be back on the PGA Tour,” he told Golf Channel.
Rory McIlroy: “I think where the resentment comes from with members of this Tour is the fact that they (golfers participating in LIV Golf) want to try to get their way back in here with no consequences. Anyone that’s read the PGA Tour handbook or abided by the rules and regulations, that would feel very unfair to them.”
Addressing the matter of the U.S. District Court judge refusing to grant a temporary restraining order that would have allowed three golfers suspended by the tour for jumping to LIV to play in the playoffs, McIlroy said:
“From my vantage point, common sense prevailed. I thought it was the right decision, and now that that has happened, I think it just lets us focus on the important stuff, which is the golf. And we can all move forward and not sort of have that sideshow going on for the next few weeks. …It was a good day for the tour and for the majority of the membership yesterday.”
[With Smith in the mix, however, LIV remains top of mind, Rory.]
Justin Thomas was asked when the drama of the LIV saga became “personal.”
“It was personal to me from the beginning, but I would say it’s just getting more and more in depth. It’s kind of like I said from the start, those guys were given an opportunity to go play, and just go play. You can have your cake, but you don’t need to eat it, too. And they got their fair share of a large, large amount of cake and go eat it on your own means. You don’t need to bring it onto our tour.”
Both Rory and J.T. are tired of addressing the LIV issue and Rory isn’t reading too much into the initial court victory.
“It’s like you birdied the first hole,” he said, “but you’ve still got 17 holes to go.”
--As we know, it’s all about avoiding injuries in the preseason, and Jets fans had an ‘oh s---’ moment Friday night against the Eagles, as quarterback Zack Wilson went down with a knee injury.
But Saturday we received good news. Wilson should only be out 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair a meniscus tear, but not a full tear.
So if not the opener, he should be available for Week 2. And at least this year they have a veteran in Joe Flacco available from the start to fill in.
However, this is two injuries to the same right knee in 10 months. Wilson suffered a sprained PCL last season in Week 7, which cost him four games. He didn’t have surgery and played the remainder of his games with a brace.
Also in the game, Jets linebacker Quincy Williams leveled a cheap shot on Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, out of bounds.
Hurts scrambled out of bounds on a third-and-5 at the Jets’ 35-yard line, was clearly out of bounds, when Williams drilled him, drawing the ire of Eagles coach Nick Siriani. Thankfully, Hurts was not injured and continued to play, later throwing a touchdown pass on the drive.
But Jets coach Robert Saleh was not pleased with his linebacker and said he spoke to Siriani after the game, a meaningless Jets win.
“Egregiously awful by Quincy,” Saleh said. “He knows that. He knows better. Those are the plays Quincy has to get out of his game if he wants to become the linebacker that we all think he can be.”
--Dirtball Deshaun Watson apologized before his preseason debut with the Browns and then got an earful from opposing fans in Jacksonville.
Watson apologized Friday “to all the women I have impacted” after being accused by two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.
While Watson was suspended for six games, he can play in preseason games and the NFL has appealed the suspension, seeking a greater penalty. He was only 1 of 5 for 7 yards in his first game action since Jan. 3, 2021, with Houston.
--Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders said that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is inducting too many players and becoming a “free-for-all.”
In a video posted days after the HOF induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, Sanders said the Hall is meant for people who “changed the game.” He also said some of those who make the Hall of Fame should be distinguished from others like himself who were game changers.
“My (Hall of Fame) jacket got to be a different color,” Sanders said. “There needs to be a starting 11, there needs to be an upper room. My head don’t belong with some of these other heads that’s in the Hall of Fame.”
In the video, Sanders does not name any players who do not belong in the Hall of Fame or not in the “upper room.”
The 2022 class inducted Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, Art McNally, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Dick Vermeil, Bryant Young and LeRoy Butler.
I didn’t even mention the induction in my Chat because I was so underwhelmed.
--In College Football, Wake Forest fans received a shock when on Wednesday, the school announced star quarterback Sam Hartman, a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, would be out for “an extended period of time” due to a non-football (non-Covid) related issue.
After workouts on Tuesday, Hartman sought medical attention for a condition unrelated to football, and after tests were taken, there was a medical procedure performed that evening. He was then with the team the following day, but he’s out…and I haven’t seen what the issue is.
Hartman just said he needs to undergo rehab, while coach Dave Clawson made it sound like Hartman could be back soon.
--It’s early, but some of the matchups are important. Among the Big Six this weekend, Arsenal beat Leicester 4-2; Manchester City rolled over Bournemouth, 4-0, even as Erling Haaland was held in check (it helps to have Kevin De Bruyne on your team); and if you are a Manchester United fan, good luck this season because your boys were humiliated on the road by Brentford, 4-0, as the hosts scored their four in the first 35 minutes!
Today, we had one of those Big Six matchups that can be difference makers come season end, and holy [Toledo], we had high-drama and for Tottenham fans, a finish for the ages as the great Harry Kane nailed a header with seconds remaining in extra time to pull off a 2-2 draw, on the road at Chelsea, when it looked as if the Blues had the three points in the bag.
Compounding the drama, the two managers, Chelsea’s Teuchel and the Spurs’ Conte, almost came to blows when Teuchel seemed to pull Conte’s arm during the handshake, befitting the immense tension in this critical contest.
A draw at Chelsea is a win for Tottenham, just like a draw for Chelsea at Tottenham down the road would be a win.
Finally, congratulations to newbie Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 over West Ham. It’s easy to root for these guys. Cool story…and many pints being consumed by the Forest fans tonight.
The races on Sunday have been ending after I post and I do have to go back to last weekend and Kevin Harvick’s win at Michigan International Speedway (sixth career at the track), snapping a 65-start winless streak and punching his ticket into the NASCAR Cup playoffs, which start in three weeks, Sept. 4, at Darlington.
The thing is, including today at Richmond, there are just three races left to qualify for the 10-race playoffs.
There are sixteen spots available for the ‘postseason,’ and it’s always been win and you’re in, but there have been 15 winners this season (Ryan Blaney the exception, but in on points thus far), and you have a situation where there could be, say, 17 winners by the last race Aug. 27, at Daytona, and then it goes to the points standings.
Since the current playoff format was implemented in 2014, there have not been more than 16 different winners during the regular season.
Right now, Martin Truex Jr. is No. 17, and needs a win to get in.
So what happens today at Richmond? Kevin Harvick goes back-to-back, career win No. 60.
--The NBA did a great thing Thursday, announcing that Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey will be retired for all 30 teams. He becomes the first player in NBA history to have his jersey so honored leaguewide.
Additionally, all NBA players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder during the 2022-23 season, and every court will display a shamrock-shaped logo with Russell’s No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table.
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
Starting with the 2022-23 season, no NBA team will be allowed to issue No. 6 to any player. Players who currently wear No. 6 – such as LeBron James – may continue to do so.
The Celtics are honoring Russell separately at a later date.
Well, I told you when Russell died that the NBA’s tradition on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, of honoring Dr. King during its multitude of games that day, would be expanded to include Russell and you can see how it will be, not that the NBA has officially said this.
--I forgot to note this last time, but a British marathon champion ran the width of Ireland in less than 24 hours, seemingly becoming the first person to accomplish the feat.
Robert Pope ran from Galway City on Ireland’s west coast to the capital Dublin in just 23 hours and 39 minutes.
The 44-year-old took on the 131-mile run after a pint of Guinness in Galway.
Speaking afterwards, he was in high spirits – if slightly worse for wear, joking he thought he could still struggle up the stairs of his hotel.
Pope, from Liverpool, decided to tackle the mammoth route on something of a whim a little over two months ago, before deciding to use the opportunity to raise funds for the World Wildlife Foundation.
He meant to do an eight-week training program, but he said he got involved in the Glastonbury music festival and it became just five weeks. But this is an established marathoner.
--An elderly renowned snake enthusiast died after he was bitten by a rattlesnake in West Virginia last week, his family said.
William “Marty” Martin, 80, was killed on Aug. 3 after he was bitten by a timber rattler on his property in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, according to his wife.
Despite his age, Martin would regularly make the arduous trek up local mountains to document the snake populations at remote sites.
[Harpers Ferry is a very cool, beautiful spot.]
Martin was perhaps the country’s leading expert on timber rattlers – a notoriously hard to find species, so they say, your editor not in the habit of looking for them.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that snake bites account for about five deaths annually in the U.S.
Rattlesnakes can be more dangerous if they grow to a size that allows them to inject more venom, and a person’s age affects their susceptibility, said toxicology professor Dan Keyler of the University of Minnesota.
Top 3 songs for the week 8/19/72: #1 “Alone Again (Naturally)” (Gilbert O’Sullivan…one of the most depressing songs ever…) #2 “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” (Looking Glass) #3 “Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)” (The Hollies)…and…#4 “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” (Luther Ingram) #5 “I’m Still In Love With You” (Al Green) #6 “Where Is The Love” (Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway…brilliant…) #7 “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” (Wayne Newton) #8 “Hold Your Head Up” (Argent) #9 “Coconut” (Nilsson) #10 “Goodbye To Love” (Carpenters…B week…)
Baseball Quiz Answer: 1) Last three to lose 20…Mike Maroth, 9-21, Detroit, 2003; Brian Kingman, 8-20, Oakland, 1980; Phil Niekro, 21-20, Atlanta, 1979 (44 starts, 3.39 ERA). 2) Mets fans should have known the last two to lose 24…Roger Craig, 10-24, Mets, 1962; and my man “Fat Jack” Fisher, 8-24, 1965.
Craig had a miserable season, 4.51 ERA, as did just about everyone else on the 40-120 ’62 Metsies*, but in defense of Fisher, he had a 3.97 ERA, yielding 252 hits in 253 2/3. Today, he’d be earning $10 million on a one-year contract, or $30 million over three.
*Not one Mets pitcher who threw at least 20 innings in 1962 had an ERA under 4.00, though Al Jackson, 8-20, 4.40, threw the team’s only four shutouts.
Back to Corbin, Sports Illustrated asked the question the other day if Corbin’s season, 161 hits over 110 1/3, with that 7.02 ERA, is the worst ever, citing the 1930 Phillies’ Les Sweetland, who went 7-15, while giving up 271 hits over 167 innings. He had a 7.71 ERA. Eegads.
Sweetland was 33-58 over his five-year career, 6.10 ERA.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.