Sunday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

Baseball knowledge is posted every day!!!
NBA stuff is on the Golf page

Sunday’s 6-pack
Leaders in RBI:
31— JD Martinez, Bos
28— Randal Grichuk, Tor
27— Trey Mancini, Balt
26— Shohei Ohtani, LAA
25— Baez, Aguilar, Devers, Walsh, YGurriel, Lowe
24— Haniger
Americans who have died from COVID-19: 580,076
PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.

Quote of the Day
“He really believes — and if he believes I believe — he’s got game left. I’ll be very interested to see if a club sees the fit because they’ll get a very determined Albert.”
Tony La Russa, talking about Albert Pujols

Sunday’s quiz
A’s moved from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968; where did they call home, before they played in Kansas City?

Saturday’s quiz
Russell Westbrook played his college basketball at UCLA.

Friday’s quiz
Lou Piniella was manager of the Cincinnati Reds, last time they won a World Series. 

Sunday’s Den: Random stuff about baseball……..

— Dodgers 14, Angels 11:
Dodgers led 13-0 in the top of the 6th; after seven innings, it was 14-11, but the Angels didn’t get a baserunner in the last two innings, as they fall to 14-18.

— No major league team has ever won a game after trailing by 13+ runs; three teams have won after trailing by 12 runs— those games were in 1911, 1925, and 2001, a Mariners-Indians game in Cleveland.

— Speaking of Cleveland, there have been five no-hitters already this season; Zach Plesac of the Indians was the losing pitcher in two of them.

— To me, the 7-inning no-hitter thrown by Madison Bumgarner counts, since the game was scheduled for seven innings, and he didn’t allow any hits. Put an asterisk next to it in the record book, but its a freakin’ no-hitter.

— Dodgers lost seven of their last nine games; they scored 16-14 runs in the two wins.

— Saturday was May 8th, the 53rd anniversary of the perfect game Catfish Hunter threw in Oakland, the A’s first season there. I was 8 years old back then, in third grade; remember waking up the next morning and seeing a note about the perfect game next to my lunch.

My third grade teacher was probably confused as to why this skinny kid with glasses was babbling about a baseball game 3,000 miles away all day long.

— The perfect game was against Minnesota; Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew. Some good bats in that lineup. He struck out 11 guys in a game that was scoreless after six innings; Catfish also drove in three of Oakland’s four runs that night. The DH was still five years away. 

— Crowd was 6,298 that night; some things never change.

— Rick Monday was the A’s CF that night; 53 years later, he is the Dodgers’ radio announcer.

— You may wonder how I became an A’s fan; or maybe you don’t wonder why, but I’m going to explain it anyway.

I got baseball cards as gifts when I was a kid; I loved baseball cards, and I’d read all of them, front and back. Rookie cards had four prospects from the same team on them; their minor league stats were on the back.

Growing up in upstate New York, 15o miles north of New York City, there weren’t many fans of out-of-town teams here back then. No internet, no ESPN,  just newspapers and once a week, the Sporting News.

When I was five, I’m reading thru my baseball cards, and one card had four guys on it, but one of the guys didn’t have any minor league stats on the back— he had been shot in a hunting accident and never played minor league ball. They also spelled his name wrong on the card.

Walked into the living room and announced to my dad, “This guy is my favorite player, and this is my favorite team” Jim Hunter of the Kansas City A’s; what were the odds that this guy with no minor league stats would become a Hall of Famer? 

At that point, my dad just looked at me like, “You’re a weird kid” He had grown up in Brooklyn, was a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan and then had converted to the Mets. I learned very early never to mention the Los Angeles Dodgers; he wasn’t fond of the O’Malley family, who had bolted out of Brooklyn with the Dodgers, taking them west.

So anyway, baseball has always been a big part of my life; with that in mind, here are some ideas I have about baseball’s future.

— Geographic realignment: Baseball needs more rivalry games, so we re-align geographically. 

— Expansion— To make up the money baseball lost last year, they’re going to add two teams, lets say Nashville and Montreal. Eight teams in a division, four divisions.

Division A: both New York teams, Red Sox, Phillies, Orioles, Nationals, Montreal, Toronto

Division B: both Chicago teams, Reds, Indians, Tigers, Brewers, Twins, Pirates

Division C: Braves, Astros, Royals, Marlins, Nashville, Cardinals, Rays, Rangers

Division D: Diamondbacks, Rockies, Mariners and the five California teams.

— Travel costs would be less, attendance would go up because of more rivalry games

— They could have two All-Star games, pitting the four divisions against each other. More TV money, that usually makes the owners say yes to an idea.

— As far as changes to the actual rules:
a) get rid of 7-inning doubleheaders. Bad idea. 

b) I’ve softened on the extra inning rule; I don’t care either way, as long as the players like it. My preference would be back to the old way of extra innings, but either way would be fine.
c) Universal DH for everyone is a must. No one wants to see pitchers bat.
d) Ban shifts; two infielders on each side of the infield.
e) All four infielders should be on the infield dirt, not in the outfield.

This would create more line drive hits, more action. Action is a good thing.

— I’d suggest a salary cap, but I don’t want to get too crazy. Have a nice day. 

Saturday’s Den: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Reds 3, Indians 0:
— Wade Miley throws the 4th (9-inning) no-hitter of the season.
— Reds scored 3 runs in ninth to break a scoreless tie.
— Last time there were four no-hitters by May 7? Try 1917. 

12) Phillies 12, Braves 2— Philly scored six runs in first inning, with Rhys Hoskins scoring one of them, even though he struck out twice in the inning. You don’t see that a lot.

11) Going into Friday night’s games, teams that led by 3+ runs after 8th inning were 223-2.

10) Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook is 6th in the NBA in rebounding; he is also a 6-3 guard. Let that sink in; a 6-3 guard is 6th in the league in rebounding, while also scoring 21.8 ppg and dishing out 11.4 assists a game.

9) Westbrook’s old team, the Houston Rockets, have now used 28 players this season, tying the all-time record. Rockets are 16-51, not sure their management has a clue what they’re doing.

8) From 2015-2019, only 5% of extra-inning games ended in the 10th inning.

With the new extra inning rules LY, 92% of games ended in either 10 or 11 innings.

7) Giants 5, Padres 4— Padres traded for Blake Snell last winter, but they have a problem with him— he never pitches six innings. Your best pitchers have to eat up innings, to take the strain off your bullpen. Snell has thrown 30.1 innings in seven starts this season- he threw 95 pitches in 4.2 innings in this game. That’s not good enough.

6) Washington’s Kyle Finnegan threw the 102nd immaculate inning in MLB history this week; he struck out three Braves on nine pitches in 6th inning of the Nationals’ 5-3 loss to Atlanta.

5) Random trivia: From 1959-62, there were two baseball All-Star Games per year. The second game was used to raise funds for things like the players’ pension fund.

4) Some significant names went on the IL Friday:
— Cobs OF Ian Happ (ribs)
— Reds 1B Joey Votto (thumb)
— Tigers C Wilson Ramos (back)
— Blue Jays IF Joe Panik (calf)
— Twins OF Byron Buxton (hip)
— Red Sox IF Keke Hernandez (hamstring)
— Giants OF Alex Dickerson (shoulder)

3) Buffalo Bulls of the MAC hired Maurice Linguist as their new football coach, replacing Lance Leipold, who moved on to be the new coach at Kansas.

Linguist had been an assistant coach at Michigan, on the defensive side of the ball.

2) Interesting situation in Anaheim this week, with Angels DFA’ing Albert Pujols, who obviously doesn’t want to retire. Angels don’t want to play him anymore; they want to play Jared Walsh at 1B, Shohei Ohtani at DH. The question becomes; is there a team that wants Pujols?

If the National League had the DH, this might be simpler; Pujols has 667 homers; would a year or two as a DH get him to 700?

1) Early candidate for Bad Beat of the Year: Cavaliers (+12.5) lost by 16 to the Suns the other night, but the loss was in overtime. You’re +12.5 and the game goes to OT, you figure you’re a winner, but not this time. Gambling is hard. 

Friday’s Den: Trends for National League teams

Arizona:
— Arizona is 14-5 if they score 5+ runs, 1-11 if they don’t.
— Diamondbacks are 2-5 vs lefty starters, 13-11 vs righties.
— Arizona is 1-4 in one-run games. 

Atlanta:
— Braves are 7-4 on road if they score 3+ runs.
— Over is 8-2 in their last ten home games.
— Under is 11-6 in their road games.

Chicago:
— Cubs won seven of their last nine home games.
— Cubs are 7-1 vs lefty starters, 8-15 vs righties.
— 7 of their last 8 games went over the total.

Cincinnati:
— Reds are 7-2 in games where winning run scores from 7th inning on.
— Over is 12-3-2 in their home games.
— Reds are 6-11 in day games, 8-4 in night games.

Colorado:
— Rockies won six of their last eight home games.
— Last five games at Coors Field went over the total.
— Over is 7-1 in Colorado’s last eight road games.

Los Angeles:
— Dodgers lost 13 of their last 17 games.
— LA is 4-11 on the road if they score fewer than six runs.
— Over is 11-2 in their last thirteen games.

Miami:
— Marlins are 2-7 in one-run games.
— Miami is 10-2 if they score 5+ runs, 4-14 if they don’t.
— Marlins won six of their last eight home games.

Milwaukee:
— Brewers lost their last five games.
— Milwaukee is 3-8 at home if they score less than six runs.
— Under is 11-5 in their road games.

New York:
— Mets are 11-2 if they score 4+ runs, 2-11 if they do not.
— Under is 8-1-1 in their home games.
— Mets are 5-2 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

Philadelphia:
— Phillies are 13-6 at home, 4-9 on the road.
— Over is 11-5 in their last 16 home games.
— Phillies scored in first inning in 4 of their last 5 games.

Pittsburgh:
— Pirates scored 3 or fewer runs in 10 of their 17 road games.
— Pirates are 4-1 in one-run games.
— Under is 7-1-1 in their last nine road games.

St Louis:
— Cardinals are 15-2 if they score 4+ runs, 3-12 if they don’t.
— Under is 7-2-1 in their last ten home games.
— Cardinals are 7-3 in series openers.

San Diego:
— Padres won five of  their last seven games.
— Under is 9-2 in their last eleven games.
— San Diego is 7-3 in games where winning run scores from 7th inning on.

San Francisco:
— Giants lost five of their last seven road games.
— Giants are 10-1 at home if they score 3+ runs.
— San Francisco’s last five games went over the total.

Washington:
— Nationals scored 3 or fewer runs in 15 of their first 27 games.
— Washington is 3-6 in series openers.
— Under is 10-2 in their last dozen home games. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Orioles 6, Seattle 0:
— John Means threw MLB’s third no-hitter this season.
— Only baserunner reached on a wild pitch after a strikeout
— That is the only time in MLB history the only runner to reach in a no-hitter got on base via a wild pitch after a strikeout.
— Three no-hitters this year; there were no walks, but no perfect games.
— This was Baltimore’s first complete game no-hitter since 1969. 

12) Indians 5, Royals 4:
— Cleveland is in a 3-way toe for first in AL Central
— Indians are 16-13, but they’re 8-17-4 in first 5-inning wagers; Terry Francona is a very good manager, plus they’ve played very well in late innings.

11) Early candidate for Bad Beat of the Year: Cavaliers (+12.5) lost 134-118 to Phoenix Tuesday, in overtime. Getting 12.5 points, they lost by freakin’ 16 in OT!!! No bueno.

10) Baseball’s new rules have created new situations, ones that the best managers aren’t used to. It turns out that Tony LaRussa didn’t know the new extra inning rules.

Wednesday afternoon, scoreless game in 10th inning in Cincinnati, LaRussa’s White Sox start the 10th inning with closer Liam Hendriks on second base— a pinch-hitter made the last four of the ninth inning for Chicago. Guy who makes the last out is the runner next inning. 

Except for one scenario, if that runner would be the pitcher, then the manager can choose the guy bats before the pitcher to be the runner, but LaRussa didn’t know that. Now he does.

Hendriks, by the way, has batted three times in his 11-year career, going 0-2 with a walk— that walk happened six years ago.

9) This game was only fourth time in 18+ years that a game at Great American Ballpark was 0-0 after nine innings.

8) Phillies 5, Brewers 4:
— Game was 5-0 Phillies before they made an out.
— After it was 5-0, Freddy Peralta struck out the next six batters, and only allowed two more runners to reach base in four IP, but the damage had been done.

7) So far this season, Jose Altuve is batting .247; not good.
— He is 16-41 (.390) vs lefties.
— He is 3-36 (.083) vs righty pitchers.

6) Toronto Blue Jays will go back to playing home games in Buffalo June 1st; they’ve been playing home games in Dunedin, FL, at their spring training home. Hopefully before too much longer, they go back home to Toronto.

5) Cubs 6, Dodgers 5 (11)— Anthony Rizzo hit a walk-off single in a game he didn’t start; Cubs sweep LA, which has now lost 13 of its last 17 games.

4) Strange situation in the Mets-Cardinals game Wednesday; St Louis sent the interpreter to the mound so pitcher Kwang Hung Kim could confer with his infielders about who was covering which base. Problem is, that’s against the rules— interpreters can’t go on the field without a coach or manager.

Shortly after that, when pitching coach Mike Maddux tried to go to the mound to talk to Kim, there was a lengthy conference with the umpires, since no one seemed to know if the interpreter’s first visit counted as an official mound visit.

3) In his first 90 career at-bats against the Mets, St Louis SS Paul DeJong has 11 doubles, 10 homers and the incredibly high slugging percentage of .822.

2) Kyrie Irving got fined $35,000 by the NBA for repeatedly violating league rules regarding media access.

Really? This guy can just give away money like that?

Can someone please show him some Bill Belichick tapes, or let him watch Bull Durham, when Crash Davis lectures the rookie pitcher on how to use cliches in interviews. It is possible to talk without saying anything, politicians do it every day.

Just be boring, relentlessly boring, but don’t give your damn money away.

I know he is really, really rich (he makes $31M a year, has already banked around $157M in his career), but the money would be better served going to charity. Actually, I think fine money does go to charity, but it still makes no sense.

1) Tuesday night in Cincinnati, Dylan Cease threw six shutout innings for the White Sox, and also had three hits in Chicago’s 9-0 win.

He is the first AL starting pitcher to throw 6+ shutout innings, striking out at 10+ hitters and giving up fewer than three hits, while also getting three hits himself, since Catfish Hunter threw a perfect game for the A’s on May 8, 1968.

From the great researcher Christopher Kamka: Cease is the first White Sox pitcher with 3 hits through the 5th inning of a game since Don Larsen in 1961 at Washington.

Yes, that Don Larsen, the guy who threw a perfect game in the World Series.

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

13) Giants 12-6, Rockies 4-8:
— Brandon Belt had five RBI in the first inning of the opener.
— Rockies scored six runs in the 7th inning of the nightcap.
— Charlie Blackmon hit a walk-off homer to get Colorado the split.

Think about it; it ain’t easy to get five RBI in one inning. 

12) Cubs 7-4, Dodgers 1-3:
— Clayton Kershaw threw 39 pitches, got only three outs in the opener.
— Cubs won nightcap despite going 2-20 with men in scoring position.
— David Bote got the walk-off hit to give Chicago a sweep.

11) Kris Bryant is a third baseman, but he is versatile; this was the 12th game in a row that Bryant played in the outfield, instead of 3B- he also played some at 1B. Going to be really interesting to see if the Cubs trade Bryant this summer, and if so, to whom?

10) Mets fired their two hitting coaches; I had no idea there is also this analytical approach to hitting, where you just try to hit homers all the time, and pull the ball.

Chili Davis, the hitting coach who got fired, is an old-school coach who preached hitting line drives and spraying the ball. That isn’t what the Mets want, though, so a change was made.

Hope the new hitting coaches can fix Dom Smith; he is hitting .222 so far, and isn’t looking like the guy who hit .316 LY, sparking my fantasy team to an unexpectedly good season.

9) This was the first NFL Draft in 80 years where no Michigan State players were taken.

8) Last weekend, the Jets drafted two guys named Michael Carter:
— a North Carolina RB
— a Duke DB

When they turned in the card for the first Michael Carter they drafted, they originally thought they turned in the wrong card, but it wasn’t and they wound up with both of them anyway.

7) Denver Broncos RT Ja’Wuan James tore his achilles while working out on his own, which may turn out to be a very expensive injury. 

Had the injury happened at the Broncos’ facility, the team would’ve been on the hook for the $10M he was supposed to be paid this season. But he was working out on his own, so the team isn’t obligated to pay him this season— he also opted out last year because of COVID.

6) Cubs’ 2B Javier Baez has struck out 40 times this season; 27 of the 40 third strikes were out of the strike zone— he has a tendency to chase pitches when behind in the count.

5) Dodgers lost P Dustin May for the season; he needs Tommy John surgery (elbow)

4) Jacob deGrom was scratched from his start last night because of “right lat inflammation”; he didn’t go on the IL yet. He has an 0.51 ERA in his first five starts.

Christian Yelich (back) went back on the IL again, after one day off the IL.

3) I read on the Interweb yesterday that dogs don’t like salt, which may explain why you never see them eating popcorn.

2) CC Sabathia is retired from baseball, but now his wife has become a player agent.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
— NL: Phillies, Cardinals, Giants, Wild Card: LA or SD @ Milwaukee
— AL: Red Sox, CWS/KC, A’s. Wild Card: Seattle @ CWS or Kansas City

Tuesday’s Den: Trends for American League teams

Orioles
— Baltimore is 4-10 at home, scoring more than 4 runs in only two games.
— Orioles scored 5+ runs in seven of their 15 road games (10-5)
— Orioles are 10-8 vs righty starters, 4-7 vs southpaws.

Red Sox
— Boston is 14-1 when it scores 4+ runs, 3-11 when they do not.
— Red Sox are 7-3 vs lefty starters, 10-9 vs righties.
— Boston is 5-2 in one-run games.

White Sox
— If you like to bet first 5 innings props, you probably know the White Sox are 18-4-5 in the first five innings so far this season.
— Problem is, they’re 15-12 in the standings; they’ve been poor in the late innings.
— Chicago is 11-0 when it scores 5+ runs, 4-12 when it doesn’t.

Indians: In Monday’s game, these hitters started for Cleveland

— Leadoff hitter, batting .194
— #2 hitter, hitting .200
— #8 hitter, batting .136
— #9 hitter, batting .152

Indians are 13-1 when they score 4+ runs, 1-12 when they do not.

Tigers
— Detroit scored 3 or fewer runs in 19 of their first 29 games.
— Tigers led after five innings once in their last 17 games.
— They’ve scored 24 fewer runs than any other American League team. 

Astros
— Houston is 6-0 at home if they score 5+ runs, 1-7 if they don’t.
— Astros are 13-7 vs division rivals, 2-6 vs everyone else.
— Houston is 3-5 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

Royals
— Kansas City is 6-1 in one-run games.
— Royals’ last five games went over the total.
— Kansas City is 4-1 in 2nd game of a series, if they lost the opener.

Angels
— Halos are 10-1 if they score 5+ runs, 3-13 if they don’t.
— Angels are 6-9 vs AL West rivals, 7-5 vs everyone else.
— Angels are 12-10 vs righty starters, 1-4 vs lefties.

Twins
— Minnesota is 4-1 in home series openers, 1-4 in road series openers.
— Twins’ last six games went over the total.
— Minnesota is 7-2 if it scores 6+ runs, 4-14 if they don’t.

New York
— New York is 10-1 when they score 5+ runs, 4-13 when they do not.
— New York is 3-5 in games when winning run scores from 7th inning on.
— Six of their last seven road games stayed under the total.

A’s
— A’s are 8-3 vs lefty starters, 10-9 vs righties.
— Oakland is 7-0 in games when winning run scores from 7th inning on.
— Six of their last seven road games stayed under the total.

Mariners
— Seattle is 7-4 in one-run games, 3-0 in extra innings.
— Mariners are 7-2 at home if they score 4+ runs, 1-5 if they don’t.
— Seattle is 4-2 in home series openers.

Rays
— Rays are 8-5 on the road, 7-10 at home.
— Tampa Bay went 4-6 on its last homestand; they led one game after five innings.
— Under is 7-3 in their last ten games.

Rangers
— Texas is 2-8 in series openers.
— Rangers are 10-3 if they score 5+ runs, 3-14 if they don’t.
— Under is 12-4 in their home games.

Blue Jays
— Toronto won six of its last seven home games (in Florida).
— Blue Jays are 8-3 at home, 6-10 on the road.
— Toronto is 1-4 in second game of a series, if they won the opener. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Sunday

13) Oy.

A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo has a hairline fracture in his left (throwing hand) pinkie; apparently Luzardo was playing a video game before his start Saturday and bumped his hand on a desk, and broke his finger, which explains why he pitched badly against the Orioles. 

12) Reds 13, Cubs 12:
— Cincy 3B Mike Moustakas homered, doubled, got hit by a pitch and grounded into two double plays- you don’t see that every day.

It is possible that Cubs’ manager David Ross is overmatched in this job; Reds had winning run on third with no one out in 10th inning, and Nick Castellanos up— he was already 4-5 for the game, with two homers.

Castellanos up, Votto on deck, you have to walk both of them, create a force at the plate and bring up Moustakas, who had already grounded into two double plays. But no, they pitch to the red-hot Castellanos, he singles to center, game over.

Both teams hit five homers in this game.

11) Mets 8, Phillies 7:
— Bryce Harper hurt his wrist late in this game (check status)
— Rhys Hoskins appeared to hit a game-tying 3-run homer in 9th inning, but replays showed the ball hit the top of the fence, so Hoskins got a double.
— Two bullpens gave up 12 runs in seven IP; the starters were pretty good.

10) Braves’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud tore ligaments in his thumb, will have surgery and is on the 60-day disabled list, big loss for Atlanta.

9) Giants 7, Padres 1— In four starts since his no-hitter, Joe Musgrove is 0-3, 5.21.

8) Cleveland P Triston McKenzie threw 57 pitches Saturday; only one fair ball was hit. He walked four, struck out six hitters, gave up five runs in two IP.

7) A’s 7, Orioles 5— Oakland CF Ramon Laureano had a great 8th inning; with the score 5-5, he robbed DJ Stewart of extra bases with a great catch against the CF fence to end the top of the inning, then he hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th to send everyone home happy.

Oakland is 7-0 this season in games where winning run scores from the 7th inning on.

6) Watching games all day Sunday on DirecTV, following the progress of guys on my fantasy team, the CBSSports.com fantasy website is faster than my satellite dish.

Results of plays would pop up on my screen before the pitcher threw the ball on my TV— has to be a 2-second delay.

5) Heading into Sunday’s games, these teams had the worst bullpen ERA’s:
6.68— Detroit
5.51— Cincinnati
5.11— Colorado

4) Dodgers 16, Milwaukee 4— AJ Pollock knocked in 8 runs, Matt Beaty knocked in 7 runs, as Dodgers took out the frustrations from their recent skid out on a tired Brewer pitching staff.

3) Of the seven teams in first place or tied for first place, five of them have given up more runs than they’ve scored, which is kind of weird.

2) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
— NL: Wash/NYM, Brewers, Giants, Wild Card: Cardinals @ Dodgers
— AL: Red Sox, Royals, A’s. Wild Card: Mariners @ White Sox

1) 65 SEC players were taken in the NFL Draft, the most of any league. 8 of the first 38 players taken came from Alabama; that has to help their recruiting, not that it needs a lot of help. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) There is a young man named Jamie Newman who was a QB at Wake Forest for three years:
— He backed up John Wolford one year, the guy who was the Rams’ backup LY
— Newman split time as a starter his second year.
— He threw for 2,868 yards his third year with the Deacons. Pretty good season.

Then he decided to bolt to greener pastures and transferred to Georgia before the 2020 season, hoping to raise his NFL Draft profile, but then opted out of that season, because of COVID/injury concerns. He figured, or his people figured, that his draft value would be enhanced somehow by his sitting out- they were wrong.

Newman wasn’t drafted this weekend; he signed on with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent. Had he played at Georgia last year, he undoubtedly would’ve been drafted, but now he has to make the NFL the hard way. Cost him a lot of money, at least for now.

Sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side. 

12) Mel Kiper Jr is an NFL Draft expert: here is how he thinks some teams did:
Teams he gave an A grade to:
— Los Angeles Chargers
— Miami Dolphins
— New Jersey Jets got an A-minus.

Teams who got his lowest grades:
— Pittsburgh Steelers got a C+
— New Orleans Saints got a C+
— Indianapolis Colts got a C+

11) NFL Draft is a fascinating process; like I’ve said before, the average NFL team is worth $3B, yet teams approach the draft in many different ways. Some are obviously smarter than others.

No one KNOWS who did the best this weekend; part of it is having coaches who will get the most out of the talent that the GM assembles. It’ll be a few years before we really know who did the best drafting this weekend.

10) NFL changed things up some for Day 3 of the draft; they had some coaches/owners announce their team’s picks, which was a good idea.

Jerry Jones announced one of the Cowboys’ picks with his teenage grandson; must be fun having a grandfather who owns an NFL team.

Dallas used its first six draft picks on defensive players, by the way.

9) The Aaron Rodgers soap opera is becoming tiresome; now the Interweb says he wants the Green Bay GM fired. The weird thing about the Packers is that they’re publicly owned, so who does he air his complaints to?

There are 360,760 people who are Packers stockholders. There is a small executive committee that actually runs the team.

Packers went 26-6 the last two years; hard to imagine the GM getting fired.

8) Rams haven’t had a first round pick since 2016, won’t have another one until at least 2024, but Mel Kiper gave them a B+ grade. Les Snead is a really good GM who would rather trade for proven players than draft rookies.

7) Madison Bumgarner started the season by going 0-2, 11.19 in his first three starts. Since then, he’s gone 3-0, 1.06 in his last three starts. Go figure.

6) Cincinnati Reds’ 1B Joey Votto hit his 300th home run this weekend; he’ll be an interesting case when his Hall of Fame voting happens.

Votto has a career .418 on-base percentage, which is tremendous; made six All-Star Games, finished in top three of the MVP voting three times, winning once. I’m guessing he’ll make it.

5) Orioles 8, A’s 4:
— Oakland started this season 1-7
— A’s then won their next 13 games.
— Now they’ve lost five of their last seven games.

Very strange.

4) Major league teams now script off days for their players; Bronx TV announcer Michael Kay was talking about this Saturday, how Giancarlo Stanton didn’t play Saturday, even though he was 11-20 in his last four games.

Kay acknowledged that fans get ticked off about stars getting “days off”; hell, Stanton is a DH, why does he need a day off, especially when his bat is red hot?

I only care because he’s on my fantasy team, but Stanton looks like an NFL tight end; it is ludicrous that he hasn’t played in the field yet this season. Who is making these decisions? Doubt it is the manager; am guessing the GM/analytics people call the shots.

3) Brewers 6, Dodgers 5 (11)— Dodgers are struggling; they’ve lost 10 of their last 13 games, and now P Dustin May is hurt. They need injured OF Cody Bellinger back in the lineup.

2) Mets 5, Phillies 4— There was a really, really terrible call made in this game at 2nd base, an out-of-baseline call against Andrew McCutchen— I saw the replay and laughed, it was so bad.

Calls like this need to be reviewable; this would’ve taken 15 seconds to correct. A young umpire named Jose Navas made the call. Bryce Harper got thrown out because he was arguing from the dugout. Phillies would’ve had go-ahead run on 2nd base in the 8th inning; game was tied at the time. Michael Conforto hit the winning home run a few minutes later. 

1) Minor league baseball makes its return on Tuesday; someone said on TV the other night that teams will play Tuesday-Sunday each week, playing six-game series, to lessen travel. It’ll be fun to check the minor league boxscores again, this I know. 

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy Friday

— First things first, get well soon to Rams’ GM Les Snead, who tested positive for COVID this week; he is running the Rams’ draft from his garage— looks like a pretty nice garage.

— Houston Texans took Stanford QB Davis Mills in the 3rd round, raising even more ?s about the status of Deshaun Watson.

Mills only started 11 games at Stanford; he is a developmental project.
Texans have Tyrod Taylor, who was in Buffalo when they drafted Josh Allen, in LA when the Chargers drafted Justin Herbert.

Will Watson get traded, suspended or both? The TV guys seemed unanimous that no matter what, he’s played his last game for the Texans.

— This was the first time ever Northwestern had two players drafted in the first round.

— Chicago Bears drafted QB Justin Fields; they also have Andy Dalton/Nick Foles. Foles is guaranteed $9M over the next two years; going to be difficult to trade him.

— Dodgers lost nine of their last 12 games; they’ve scored total of 10 runs in their last six road games.

— Aaron Rodgers threw 48 TD passes last year; Green Bay punted 47 times. They really going to trade him? Hell, they drafted a WR Friday whose name is A. Rodgers (Amari Rodgers)

— Celtics 143, Spurs 140:
Spurs led by 32 points in the 2nd quarter.
Jayson Tatum scored 60 points for Boston.

— Phillies are 13-13, which doesn’t sound too impressive, but they’re in first place in NL East.

— Francisco Lindor is hitting .189, he is 4 for his last 29 and the Mets are 9-11. Not exactly what the new billionaire owner had in mind when he signed Lindor to a 10-year, $341M contract this winter.

— No Big X players were taken in the first round of the draft; six guys from Alabama were taken in the first round, and 8 of the first 38 choices were Crimson Tide alums.

— This is the first year since 1999 where QB’s were the first three picks in the NFL Draft; that year, it was Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith. Drafting is an inexact science, no matter how much money they throw at it.

— Seattle Mariners lost 19 of their last 21 games in Houston.

— What week does Trevor Lawrence start at QB for Jacksonville? Gardnew Minshew could start the season under center, but Lawrence has to play at some point in 2021, right?

— Patrick Mahomes didn’t play until the last game of his rookie season; I’m not saying Lawrence wouldn’t be better off watching for a year, but that hasn’t been the recent trend in the NFL.

— Nationals 2, Marlins 1 (10)— Kyle Schwarber hit a walk-off homer. Game was 0-0 after nine.

— NFL Network ran a great segment, a chalkboard session with former coach Steve Mariucci and Florida QB Kyle Trask, who wound up getting picked by Tampa Bay.

I enjoy those 1-on-1 segments, where the coach challenges the player’s football IQ by showing him some X’s-and-O’s, then changing the subject for a few minutes, before asking the player to regurgitate the X’s-and O’s he was just shown. Trask did it very well. 

Trask is an unusual case; he didn’t even start in high school, playing behind D’Eriq King, who now plays at Miami FL. Trask did start for the Florida Gators for two years.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL— Phillies, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: Padres @ Dodgers
AL— Red Sox, Royals, A’s. Wild Card: Mariners @ White Sox

Friday’s Den: Wrapping up the first 20 picks of the NFL Draft

— First job tonight was to decide which channel to watch the draft on; NFL Network had a concert on, ESPN had four or five commercials for the NBA. No bueno; back to the Extra Innings package until they start picking players.

— There were reports this afternoon that Aaron Rodgers wants the Packers to trade him, which would be tumultuous. 

— Quick reminder that the NFL season is now 17 games long.

— There are tons of people outside on a rainy night in Cleveland to watch all this draft stuff happen; having the draft in Las Vegas seems like a much better idea.

— Well, ESPN made the decision for me; they have Mike Greenberg hosting their coverage, so it is off to the NFL Network.

— It is 8:10 and there is still a damn band playing in Cleveland; start the draft!!! In happier news, Kris Bryant just doubled for the Cubs/Armadillos. Cubs lead 4-0 in the third.

— Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock; Urban Meyer is their new coach. You get the feeling this is an all-or-nothing deal for Meyer, he’ll either win really big or he won’t finish his first season. Whatever, thanks for the Jaguars for getting him off of TV, where he was terrible- zero personality.

— Why is Jacksonville taking the whole 10:00 to make their pick?

— Eric Lauer is pitching for Milwaukee tonight, his first start of the year. Lauer is 14-19, 4.75 in 57 career games (54 starts), but he is 5-0, 2.11 in seven starts against the Dodgers, which makes no sense.

— Daniel Jeremiah just said that when the Jets upset the Rams last year, which put the Jaguars in position to pick first in this draft, that Jacksonville sold a ton of season tickets right after. Its the least the Rams could do for Jacksonville- they traded star CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams.

— OK, now that Trevor Lawrence is a Jaguar, how long before he starts?

— Jets have a new coach, they traded their QB, they have the #2 pick. Everyone in their draft room has a suit jacket on; things in Jacksonville were way more casual.

With the #2 pick, Gang Green selects Zach Wilson; going from BYU to New Jersey qualifies as worlds colliding.

Someone just called Wilson “…….borderline cocky” Hmmmmm

There is a woman in a Jets sweatshirt sitting in an easy chair behind Roger Goodell’s pedestal.

— It irritates me when I hear an analyst say “He’s a winner” because for every winner, there has to be a loser, and I don’t think anyone is pre-ordained to be a loser.

— 49ers have the third pick in the draft; they take QB Trey Lance, who started 17 games for a I-AA team, playing only one game last year for North Dakota State. Carson Wentz also played for the Bison; what does this mean for Jimmy Garoppolo?

North Dakota State has a third QB in the NFL, Easton Stick, who is a backup with the Chargers, or at least he was before they got Chase Daniel. Must be a fun time to recruit quarterbacks at North Dakota State.

— Great stat they just said on TV; last ten QB’s to win the Super Bowl all threw 1,200+ passes in college; Trey Lance threw 318.

— Atlanta Falcons take TE Kyle Pitts with the 4th pick; his college coach Dan Mullen is sitting there in the draft room with him, getting some free TV time. Matt Ryan must like this pick. 

Pitts is the highest drafted tight end ever.

— Bengals take Ja’Marr Chase, the LSU WR who didn’t play last year; he is reunited with his old LSU QB Joe Burrow. Explosive receiver; opting out of last year didn’t cost him any money.

— When was last time the first five picks all went to players on the offensive side of the ball?

— Miami has the 6th pick; they take WR Jaylen Waddle from Alabama, the second WR in row who was wearing sunglasses backstage. Chase took his shades off when he went on stage; Waddle kept his on. Six offensive players in a row, which ties the all-time record.

We are told that Waddle is very fast, a good feature for a WR. Are there slow WR’s?

— Detroit Lions are on the clock; they have a new everything- coach, GM, QB. They’ve won one playoff game in the Super Bowl era; that’s 55 years.

Lions were very good in the 1950’s; they won three titles back then, before I was alive.

People in Detroit’s draft room are hugging each other like they just won the Super Bowl, so they got someone they didn’t think they’d get- OT Penei Sewell from Oregon, which has to make Jared Goff a happier guy. Quarterbacks need their blind side protected.

— Carolina Panthers take CB Jaycee Horn with the 8th pick, the first defensive player taken; he is described as “chippy, competitive; talks a lot on the field”

— 87-year old Bob Uecker still does commercials on Brewers’ TV in Milwaukee for Usinger’s, a sausage company; he is an amazing guy, so funny. Still does Brewers’ home games on the radio.

— Denver Broncos are up next; they take a CB from Alabama whose dad also played in the NFL. Guess they’re serious about starting Teddy Bridgewater at QB this fall, though I also just read a thing on the Interweb about Denver trading for Aaron Rodgers.

They just showed Justin Fields’ family on TV, sitting at home; his parents don’t look happy. Someone needs to tell them that there were six QB’s taken in the 1983 Draft, and Dan Marino was #6 of the six, so you never know what the future will hold.

Yup, Dan Marino was 27th pick in the draft, which is why this is a fascinating process.

They also showed Alabama QB Mac Jones, sitting by himself in the draft room with his phone, probably wondering “Who the bleep told me to come here?!?!?!”

— Dallas Cowboys are on the clock; they traded the pick to Philadelphia, who take DeVonta Smith, the Alabama WR who is also reunited with his college QB, Jalen Hurts.

Not often two division rivals make a trade like that; Eagles only moved up two slots, but they bypassed the Giants, who may have wanted Smith.

— Cowboys got a third round pick to drop back two slots.

— Giants traded the #11 pick to Chicago, which takes Ohio State QB Justin Fields, bad news for Andy Dalton/Nick Foles.

— Dallas finally gets to pick; they take a LB from Penn State, which means Stephen Jones made the pick, not his father, who prefers flashier choices.

— Damn, to drop back nine slots in the draft, Giants got:

— 5th round pick (164th overall) in this draft.

— Bears 4th round pick 2022.

— Bears’ first round pick in 2022.

Seems like a pretty good haul, if they connect with those picks.

— Chargers have a new coach and a young QB; they took a tackle from Northwestern; when you have a good, young QB, you make sure he is well-protected.

— Lot of trades; Jets traded with Minnesota to move up from #23 to #14- they took Alijah Vera-Tucker, a guard from USC. You draft a young QB, you make sure he is well-protected.

— Patriots take QB Mac Jones from Alabama, who was expected to go a lot higher. Belichick and Nick Saban are good friends, so this makes sense.

— With the 16th pick, Arizona Cardinals take Zaven Collins, a LB from Tulsa.

— This is the first time I can remember where the draft was held before the schedule for next year was released- that comes out May 12. Seriously, for like an hour, I put everything aside as soon as the schedule comes out. 

I get my second vaccination May 14; when I get home from that, I’ll be looking online for flights and hotel rooms for my first vacation in two years. Have to pick a good NFL weekend, or maybe even two weekends; we’ll see. Football weekends in Las Vegas are lot of fun.

— Las Vegas Raiders took a tackle from Alabama; lot of Crimson Tide guys getting picked.

— Miami Dolphins are picking again; they take a defensive end from Miami FL, who apparently returned punts for his high school team. Must be a very good athlete. 

Last year, only 34% of players in the NFL were guys drafted in Rounds 1-3; the GM/scouts are so important in pro football. Thats why Saturday is a very important day- you can find diamonds in the rough at the end of the draft, guys who make a big difference.

— Washington takes a LB from Kentucky; they had taken a defensive lineman in the first round the previous four years, so at least they change things up some.

Washington needs to come up with a nickname, an actual mascot. It can’t be that difficult; as a matter of fact, I’ll do it for them— Washington RedTails, honoring pilots from World War II.

They made a movie about the RedTails; they could keep everything pretty much the same, the team song, the colors, all that. Simple stuff.

— Last item of the night, then I’m off to write the baseball article; with the #20 pick, Giants take Kadarius Toney, a WR from Florida. Graphic says “inconsistent hands” always a solid quality for a receiver.

Oy.

I’ll be back tomorrow, with more of this jocularity. Guy I used to know made fun of me because I like watching the draft; it was freakin’ rude, because we all like different stuff, and that’s what makes life interesting. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……..

13) NFL Draft will happen in Cleveland Thursday-Saturday; six years ago, the NFL pushed back its draft to help promote the movie Draft Day, but Radio City Music Hall wasn’t available for the later date, so they took the NHL’s lead and moved the draft to Chicago that year.

They quickly realized they had stumbled upon a great idea, moving the draft around the country, mostly to cities that will never host a Super Bowl. It is good for the league. 

12) Thursday is just the first round; Rams haven’t had a first round pick since 2016, so my laptop will be doing double duty- there are five baseball games tonight, too.

11) Carolina Panthers are switching to FieldTurf in their home stadium this year, leaving the NFL with 14 artificial turf fields, 16 grass fields (two stadiums are shared by teams).

10) Carolina traded QB Teddy Bridgewater to Denver Thursday, getting a 6th-round pick from the Broncos. Panthers acquired Sam Darnold from the Jets, making Bridgewater expendable.

Someone posted a betting ticket on Twitter, where a guy wagered $1,000 at 20-1 odds a few weeks ago, that Bridegwater would take the Broncos’ first snap from center in September. He is either really smart, really lucky or he had some inside knowledge.

9) Suns 109, Clippers 101— Phoenix clinches its first playoff appearance in 11 years; Monty Williams has to be NBA Coach of the Year, right?

8) Chicago White Sox are 12-10 so far this year, but if you bet them in first 5 innings play, then they’re 15-2-5; they’ve trailed only two of 22 games after the 5th inning. Their bullpen hasn’t been good. Chicago is 2-7 in games where the winning run scored from the 7th inning on.

7) I am convinced that major league umpires have been schooled to call more strikes on check swings this season, probably to quicken pace of play. MLB wants quicker games, but they also want more scoring; can’t have both of those things, fellas.

6) Nolan Ryan struck out seven guys late in his career, whose fathers he had struck out earlier in his career.

5) Braves 10, Cubs 0— Chicago used three position players to pitch in this game; they’re 10-14 and in last place in the NL Central. Maybe I’m just a miserable older person, but if my team was losing 10-0, I wouldn’t be yukking it up while the first baseman pitched. I understand that it is a long season and all, but the Cubs don’t look like a team that cares a whole lot.

4) Red Sox 1, Mets 0— Mets scored one run the last two nights; they’ve scored a total of 13 runs in Jacob deGrom’s five starts, and he knocked in a couple of those himself.

Fans are booing Francisco Lindor already; who is going to be the first guy who gets booed who says he misses last year’s cardboard cutouts?

3) Ole Miss fired offensive line coach/running game coordinator Randy Clements, three days after its spring football game. The firing was for football reasons and not related to any off-the-field issues, but Ole Miss led the SEC in rushing yardage last year.

Must be an interesting story tucked away in there somewhere.

2) End of this month meant scouring the Extra Innings Package, trying to find a decent pitcher to add to my fantasy squad. You never have pitching in keeper leagues, especially this year, when younger pitchers might hit an innings limit later on and get shut down for the year.

Long time ago, maybe 10-12 years ago, I had this guy pitching for the Padres; my pitching staff had fallen apart and I was clutching at straws trying to find capable pitchers. It wasn’t going well; this guy was pitching against Arizona and Tom Candiotti was the TV analyst.

Candiotti spent about two innings explaining why this guy would never be an effective starting pitcher in the majors; I went to my computer and cut the guy, while he was still pitching in the game. Candiotti was right; the guy wound up going 4-10 for San Diego that year.

1) Haven’t decided yet what format tomorrow’s den will take; there will be a ton of info to go thru, as all four team sports, plus golf are going on. If I do a running diary, it is more likely to be Friday than tonight.

It is good to be getting back to normal, that’s for sure. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings

13) Julius Erving listed his top two all-time NBA teams; they raised some eyebrows.
1st team:
— Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain

2nd team:
— Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Again, this is Julius Erving saying this, not me. We all have our own opinions. 

12) Indians 7, Twins 4:
— Minnesota was 36-24 last year; they’re 7-15 this year.
— Twins are 0-7 in one-run games, 0-5 in extra innings.
— Franmil Reyes hit two homers for Cleveland.

11) Dodgers’ 1B Max Muncy had a stretch over the weekend where he reached base nine out of ten times, but problem is, he didn’t have any hits in that span, just 8 walks and a HBP.

In his last nine games, Muncy is 1-26, with 12 walks.

10) These Kentucky Derby notes are from ESPN’s Chris Fallica:
— Last time a horse won the Kentucky Derby from the #14 post? 1961 (Carry Back)
— Since then, eight horses from the 14-post have been top three betting choices.
— Last five years, the 14-post has been a top-4 betting choice all five years, but only one of those horses cracked the trifecta.

9) Dallas 133, Golden State 103
— Mavericks ended the first quarter on a 25-0 run.
— Dallas made 18-35 shots behind the arc.
— Apparently Golden State had been playing better since they stopped practicing; their last practice was April 8, but they got squashed in this game.

8) 38-year old Arthur Smith is the Atlanta Falcons’ new head coach; his father is the guy who founded FedEx. The younger Smith played college football at North Carolina, was recently the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.

7) Blue Jays 9, Nationals 5:
— Vladimir Guerrero Jr becomes youngest player in MLB history with a 3-HR, 7 RBI game.

6) Baseball stuff:
— Bronx Bombers acquired LHP Wandy Peralta and a player to be named later from San Francisco Giants in exchange for OF Mike Tauchman.
— Reliever Jerry Blevins retired after a 13-year career, spent with four teams.

5) 29-year old Drew Valentine is the new basketball coach at Loyola Chi, replacing Porter Moser, who bolted to Oklahoma. Valentine graduated from college only eight years ago.

4) NHL is going to get a lot more exposure, with NBC Sports Network going off the air this summer. NHL has new deals with ESPN/Turner; will Charles Barkley give his hockey picks before games?

3) 529 different players have played in at least one NBA game this season.

2) There is going to be a 6-team baseball draft league, leading up to July’s amateur draft, with all six managers being former major league players. Amateur players who are hoping to be drafted will play ball; I’m assuming they’ll use wooden bats, which they don’t use in college.

Baseball draft has traditionally been the first week in June, with the short season leagues getting underway couple weeks later, but those leagues are out of business now, as MLB took over the minor leagues, starting this season.

1) If you’ve hit more sacrifice flies than you’ve been walked/hit bye pitch, then your on-base %age will actually be lower than your batting average. Sacrifice bunts don’t count as at-bats, but sacrifice flies do.

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) Giants 12, Rockies 0— Rough day for the Colorado franchise; their GM jumped/got pushed, then they went out and trailed 9-0 in the 2nd inning in San Francisco.

Will the next GM decide whether or not to trade Trevor Story, or is the owner deciding that? Right now, the franchise appears to be a mess. 

12) Texas Longhorns have already poached four basketball players from other schools:
— Creighton, Kentucky, Utah, Vanderbilt.

Or, as Jerry Tarkanian famously said, “I prefer transfers; their cars are already paid for”

Thats the new thing in college basketball; don’t recruit freshmen, steal other team’s players.

11) Sometimes great things happen by accident.

Week 8 of the 1984 NFL season, 49ers are in Houston to play the Oilers; coach Bill Walsh is bored the night before the game, is watching the local Houston news in his hotel room, when he sees the highlights of a small college football game played that day.

Thats where Walsh discovered Jerry Rice, watching the local news in his hotel room.

10) One of the best ongoing arguments is debating which quarterback was better than all the others, because everyone uses different criteria to decide.

I’ve had this debate with several different people; it is always fun.

9) Atlanta Braves won the last 60 times they’ve led after 8 innings, the longest active streak in the major leagues.

8) Back in 1985, Michael Jordan’s contract with Nike said that if Nike didn’t sell $4M in Air Jordans by Michael’s third year in the NBA, Nike could end the deal. 

In the first month Air Jordans were on sale, in six test markets, Nike sold $29M worth of Air Jordans.

7) So far this young season, teams have stolen 28 bases against the Dodgers; no other team has given up more than 15 stolen bases.

6) This week in 1904, Jack Chesbro won his first game of the season; he went on to go 41-12 that year, starting 51 of the 55 games he appeared in. 41 wins is definitely a record that will never, ever be broken.

5) Bill Fralic was an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons in the 80’s; he was the second pick in the 1985 draft. As part of his contract, Fralic was paid $150,000 a year for the rest of his life, which was a good deal.

4) Ryan Griffin has been the Tampa Bay Bucs’ backup QB the last six years, winning a Super Bowl ring last year, making into Hard Knocks a few years ago. This fall, Griffin will be the first QB ever to be on the Buccaneers’ roster seven years in a row.

Here’s the thing; in these last six years, Griffin threw a total of four passes.

3) Happy birthday this week to a couple of legends; Al Pacino turned 81 years old, Carol Burnett turned 88.

2) Shohei Ohtani is hitting .300 in his first 80 at-bats this season; he is also 1-0, 3.29 in three starts pitching, making him a very unique two-way player.

Monday night in Arlington, Ohtani went 2-3, scored three runs, knocked in two, and pitched five innings as the Angels beat Texas 9-4. When Ohtani pitches and bats, the Angels can’t have a DH, so when Ohtani gave up four runs in the first inning, Joe Maddon had to be a little queasy.

But Ohtani blanked Texas out in innings 2-5; he is an interesting player.

1) NFL Network has run some half-hour shows this week, dealing with each year’s draft; I hadn’t seen all of them before, but they’re very well done and worth watching, a history of the league, lot of good nuggets, some of which will undoubtedly make it into this space. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports weekend

13) Hitting is more difficult now because batters seldom face the same pitcher three times in a game; after the 5th inning, they generally see a different pitcher in every at-bat.

In his Hall of Fame career, Mickey Mantle faced the same pitchers a lot more than guys do these days. Fewer teams, no interleague play, and starting pitchers lasted longer in games.

Mantle faced these four pitchers the most:
198 times— Billy Pierce
161— Early Wynn
138— Frank Lary
128— Camilo Pascual

By way of comparison, in his 10-year career, Manny Machado has faced these pitchers the most:
56— CC Sabathia
52— Chris Archer
48— Jake Odorizzi
41— David Price

See what I mean?

12) Arizona 5-7, Atlanta 0-0:
— Tough day for the Braves, who got one hit in 14 innings.
— Madison Bumgarner threw a 7-inning no-hitter; the only runner reached on an error.

Three no-hitters already this season; there were no walks in those no-hitters. 

11) Padres 8, Dodgers 7 (11):
— LA led this game 7-1 after six innings; over the last 50 years, teams that trailed by 6+ runs from the 7th inning on are 11-13,547. Seriously, 11 wins, 13,547 losses.
— Max Muncy walked five times, first Dodger to do that since Greg Brock in 1983.

10) In his three starts since tossing a no-hitter, San Diego’s Joe Musgrove has pitched only 14 innings. Padres need more innings out of their starting pitchers.

9) There were 68 extra inning games last year, under the new extra-inning rule; 47 of the 68 games ended in the 10th inning, which is what MLB wants.

8) Fernando Tatis Jr hit five homers in his last three games; I was playing against him in our fantasy league, so that made me queasy, but the good guys won. Tatis is hitting .246 with 7 homers, but he was explosive this weekend, for sure.

Obscure trivia: Last major leaguer to hit 2+ homers in three consecutive games was Jeff DaVanon of the Angels, in 2003.

Weird thing is, he hit only 33 career homers in eight years.

7) Read something on the Interweb this weekend where David Wells said that throwing a no-hitter was a profitable thing, even after he retired.

Wells said that he banked $300,000 or so a year, doing appearances with Don Larsen and David Cone, other New York pitchers who threw no-hitters. That dried up after 15 years or so, but still a pretty good deal.

6) White Sox TV guys have been raving over hitting sensation Yermin Mercedes, who is batting .414 in 19 games this season, but they were stressing out Sunday over Mercedes’ tendency to slide head-first into first base, converged that he’s going to hurt one of his hands.

5) Tampa Bay TV guys were laughing on air about the unpredictability of how the Rays handle their pitchers.

Sunday, 21-year old sensation Luis Patino looked great in his MLB debut, but was removed after 42 pitches- looks like they’re going to let him go thru the lineup once, then take him out.

Then they put Josh Fleming in; he gets two turns thru the lineup, no matter how well he is doing. Tampa Bay wins a lot of games on a short budget and they do it in a unique way, but it is a little funny that their own TV guys can’t figure it out beforehand.

4) Penn State poached PG Jalen Pickett away from Siena; Pickett played 76 games in three years for Siena, which went 38-16 in MAAC games during that time, but there is a pretty big leap from the MAAC to the Big 14. We’ll see how this works out for him.

3) Sign of the times; You can buy a Dr Fauci action figure online, for $20.

2) Wizards 119, Cavaliers 110— Washington has won eight games in a row, is now the #10 seed in the Eastern Conference. They could be a tough out in the playoffs.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Mets, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Card: Padres @ Giants
AL: Red Sox, Royals, A’s. Wild Card: White Sox @ Mariners