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

Daily write-up on baseball is posted, with umpire trends. 

Saturday’s 6-pack
College football spreads for Labor Day weekend
— Fresno State @ Purdue (-6)
— Northern Illinois @ Boston College (-10)
— Boise State @ Washington (-10)
— California (-8) @ North Texas
— Tex-San Antonio @ Houston (-2.5)
— South Alabama @ Tulane (-7)

Quote of the Day
“We expect to win every single game we go out and play.”
Texas Rangers 3B Josh Jung

Saturday’s quiz
How many major league teams play their home games in a domed stadium?  

Friday’s quiz
Bob Welch was the last major league pitcher to win 25+ games in a season; he went 27-6 for the 1990 Oakland A’s. 

Thursday’s quiz
Since 1930, there has been only one inside-the-park home run in a World Series game; Alcides Escobar hit it for the Royals, in 2015.

Saturday’s Den: Random thoughts on a June day……..

— 50 years ago this weekend, a horse named Secretariat won the Triple Crown, won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. I remember that day for a different reason; it was the only time in my life that I’ve ridden a horse.

It was our 8th grade field trip; some genius decided the field trip should be at a dude ranch somewhere up by Lake George or Lake Luzerne, an hour north of here. I remember three things about that day:

The food was really good.
We played tennis, which was fun
We rode horses, which was no fun at all.

I get on this horse and have no clue what to do; I make the mistake of asking the guy in charge what my horse’s name was. 

“Jumper” he replied and my blood pressure went up a little. Probably the horse’s too. 

So we go off on our ride and it turns out the horse likes to eat flowers and plants, ones not near the path we were riding on. He did more eating than running in the beginning. 

Then when all the other horses start to run a little faster, Jumper took off and I hung on for dear life. Couldn’t remember what the guy told me to do when the horse started to run, so I basically just hung on to anything I could and prayed the ride would end soon.

Luckily, Jumper didn’t jump, and we got back to the stables without me getting thrown off the horse, but my back hurt like hell for a while. I promised myself I’d never ride a horse again, and from that point on, always had a lot of respect for jockeys. Wouldn’t want to be riding horses for a living, or for any reason.

— Denver 108, Miami 95
Denver made half its 3-point shots (14-28).
Favorites are 44-37-1 ATS in this year’s playoffs.
Nuggets lead series 3-1; they can win their first NBA title Sunday

— Phillies 5, Dodgers 4
Kyle Schwarber hit a walk-off home run, LA’s third walk-off loss this week.

— Pirates 14, Mets 7
Mets have lost seven games in a row.
New York has been outscored 49-14 in first inning this year.
Ke’Bryan Hayes went 5-5, scored 3 runs, knocked in 4.
Jack Suwinski went 3-4, scored 4 runs, knocked in 2.

— Guardians 10, Astros 9 (14)
Cleveland overcame five different deficits from the 7th inning on.
Will Brennan had the walk-off hit for the Guardians.

— A’s 5, Brewers 2— Oakland has won three in a row for first time this year; they’re 5-4 in their last nine games.

— Arizona 11, Detroit 6— Diamondbacks lead NL West by 2.5 games.

— White Sox 2, Marlins 1— Luis Robert had a walk-off single; Yasmani Grandal hit a solo home run for the Pale Hose.

— Records in series openers (home/away)
Arizona 6-4/6-5……12-9
Atlanta 6-3/9-3……15-6
Cubs 7-3/7-4……14-7
Reds 7-4/4-6……11-10
Rockies 5-6/4-6……9-12
Dodgers 8-2/5-6……13-8
Marlins 6-5/2-8……8-13
Brewers 6-5/3-7……9-12
New York 5-4/6-6……11-10
Phillies 5-5/4-7……9-12
Pirates 8-3/6-4……14-7
St Louis 3-7/2-9……5-16
San Diego 5-6/6-4……11-10
Giants 5-6/5-5……10-11
Nationals 1-11/5-4……6-15

Orioles 6-4/9-2……15-6
Boston 4-6/7-4……11-10
Chi Sox 5-6/4-6……9-12
Cleveland 4-7/5-5……9-12
Detroit 5-5/6-5……11-10
Houston 5-5/7-4……12-9
Royals 2-8/2-9……4-17
Angels 7-4/6-4……13-8
Twins 4-6/6-5……10-11
New York 4-8/4-5……8-13
Oakland 2-8/4-7……6-15
Seattle 4-6/6-5……10-11
Tampa Bay 12-0/5-4……17-4
Rangers 6-4/6-5……12-9
Toronto 6-4/6-5……12-9

— Major league games have been 28 minutes faster so far this season; average runs per game has gone up, from 8.7 to 9.3 runs/game.

— Washington Nationals are 1-11 in first game of a home series; Tampa Bay is 12-0. 

— Mets 1B Pete Alonso is out 3-4 weeks with a hand/wrist injury. 

Friday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here……..

— Florida 3, Vegas 2 OT:
Panthers scored 4:27 into overtime for the win.
Florida tied game with 2:13 left in regulation.
Panthers are 7-0 in overtime in the playoffs.
Vegas leads series, 2-1.

— Skip Schumaker was the bench coach for the Cardinals last year:
St Louis last year: 93-69
St Louis this year: 26-37

Skip Schumaker is the manager of the Miami Marlins this year:
Miami last year: 69-93
Miami this year: 35-28

I’m thinking Skip Schumaker is very good at his job.

— Braves 13, Mets 10 (10)
3:33…….388 pitches, a very interesting game.
Ozzie Albies hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning.
Mets led 8-5 after four innings.
Mets have lost six in a row; they led by 3+ runs in last three, the first time EVER they’ve lost three games in a row, when they led all three by 3+ runs. 

— Guardians 10, Red Sox 3— Jose Ramirez homered three times, knocked in five runs.

— Cincinnati Reds have lot of prospects coming up, but they’re all position players; I’m told that pitching is an important part of baseball. Maybe the Reds should package some of their position players in order to acquire a pitcher or two who can help them.

Dodgers 6, Reds 0— Kershaw tossed seven shutout innings.

— Rays 4, Twins 2— Tampa Bay is 29-6 at home.

— White Sox 6-0, New York 5-3— Why can’t Giarcarlo Stanton play both games of a twinbill? He was 0-3 in the opener with a walk; he batted four times in three hours, and couldn’t play the second game, too? Being a DH isn’t even playing. 

Stanton makes $28M a year; stop coddling him. 

— Giants 6, Rockies 4
Giants scored three runs in the ninth inning.
Colorado scored four runs in first, never scored again.
Giants have beaten the Rockies 11 games in a row.

— Blue Jays 3, Astros 2— Yordan Alvarez has an oblique injury now, will be out for a while.

— Diamondbacks-Nationals game was postponed by poor air quality, the third MLB game this week postponed by the smoke drifting down from Canada. This game will be made up June 22. 

NFL notes:
— Minnesota Vikings were 11-0 in the regular season last year, in games decided by 8 or fewer points; all four of their regular season losses were by 11+ points. They lost their playoff game 31-24 to the Giants.

Usually, teams that win a ton of close games regress the next season.

— Over the last four years, under is 19-9 in Week 1 games where one of the coaches is in his first year at that job.

— Over the last 20 years, the Super Bowl loser is 4-16 in Week 1 the following year.

Over last 20 years, the Super Bowl winner is 9-4-3 ATS as a Week 1 favorite the next year.

— Movie of the Day: Rocky (1976)— A small-time Philadelphia boxer gets a rare chance to fight the heavyweight champion of the world in a fight where going the distance was his main goal. 

To this day, there is a Rocky statue in downtown Philadelphia; this classic movie wound up with a lot of sequels, made a lot of money. Rocky even wound up winning the world title at the end of Rocky II.

Burgess Meredith played his trainer; he was also the Penguin in 20 episodes of Batman, the most times any villain appeared in that famous TV series. 

— Kevin Love has played in the NBA for 15 years now; his dad Stan Love played in the NBA for four seasons. His uncle Mike Love is a musician, one of the Beach Boys.

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

— Nuggets 109, Heat 94
Nikola Jokic is first player ever with 30+ points, 20+ rebounds, 10+ assists in an NBA Finals game.
Other than Jimmy Butler (11-24), Miami’s starters were 12-43 from the floor.
Denver leads series, 2-1. Game 4 is Friday. 

— AL Central standings— it is June 8th:
Twins 31-31
Guardians 28-33
Tigers 26-33
White Sox 27-35
Royals 18-44

It is conceivable that the winner of this division will have a losing record.

— Last couple days, it has been weird here in upstate New York; you’ve probably seen pictures of the smoke from hundreds of wildfires in Canada- that smoke drifted south and as a result, New York is facing the worst air quality it has seen in decades with conditions that he characterized as “unprecedented” and “the worst in memory.”

Things are expected to get better early next week, when it is supposed to rain in Canada.

— Chris Andrews runs the sportsbook at South Point Casino in Las Vegas; it is a very good sportsbook. Mr Andrews ran sportsbooks in Reno for 30+ years before coming to the South Point. He posted this on Twitter a few days ago:

“When I first got to the South Point in 2016 I had to fight with my crew every night to get hockey on a few TVs.”

These days, NHL playoffs share the big screens with NBA playoff games, in large part because the Golden Knights have done so well.

— There are 14 major league baseball teams with a payroll of $200M+; there are three teams with a payroll less than $100M.

— Most touchdown plays of more than 20 yards last year:
17— Eagles, Raiders
16— Seahawks, 49ers
15— Bills
12— Bengals, Patriots.

— Fewest touchdown plays of more than 20 yards last year:
2— Steelers
3— Colts
4— Falcons
5— Rams, Buccaneers

Inside the NFL is going to air on the CW this fall, first time it has been on network TV. All the stuff NFL Films does is really good, so this is a good addition for the CW.

— A’s 9, Pirates 5— Oakland split its last eight games, scoring 20 runs the last two games. A’s are 4-6 on Tuesdays, 10-44 the rest of the week.

— Reds 8, Dodgers 6
Benson’s first MLB home run was a walk-off shot.
De La Cruz also hit his first big league homer.
Last three weeks, Dodgers are 1-6 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

— Arizona 6, Washington 2— Diamondbacks have a two-game lead in the NL West.

— Braves 7, Mets 5— Mets and their $375M payroll have lost five in row, are now 30-32

— Giants 5, Colorado 4— Rockies have lost 10 games in a row vs San Francisco.

— Rays 2, Twins 1— Arozarena hit a walk-off homer for Tampa Bay.

— Padres 10, Mariners 3
Wacha threw six shutout innings.
Soto went 5-for-5, knocked in three runs. 

— Baseball injuries:
Bronx put OF Aaron Judge (toe) on the IL

— Movie of the Day— The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)— The lives of two struggling musicians, who are brothers, change drastically when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer; Jeff/Beau Bridges are the two brothers.

Movie was nominated for four Academy Awards, but made only $6.9M over budget at the box office. 

USFL trends, thru eight weeks:
Stallions (6-2)
5-0 allowing 20 or less points; gave up 45-27 in losses.
4-4 ATS (favored in every game)
3-1 in games decided by 7 or less points.
under 3-1 last four games

Gamblers (5-3)
won four of last five games, after an 0-2 start
2-3 ATS as a favorite
last four games stayed under.
5-1 if they allow less than 29 points
Last three games were decided by 6-3-1 points.

Showboats (5-3)
won/covered last four games, after an 0-3 start.
allowed 27-42-30 points in losses; 10-10-0-20-16 in wins
under six of last seven games
5-3 ATS; have been underdog in every game.

Panthers (3-5)
lost five of last six games, after a 2-0 start
3-0 if they score 24+ points, 0-5 if they score less than 24.
3-2 ATS as an underdog.
five of last seven games stayed under total.

Generals (2-6)
lost last five games, by 3-3-6-3-9 points.
Allowed 3-13 points in wins; 0-6 giving up more than 13.
1-4 ATS as a favorite.
Six of eight games stayed under total.

Breakers (5-3)
Last five games were all decided by 7 or less points.
four of last five games stayed under total.
1-3 in last four games, after a 4-0 start. 
4-2 ATS as a favorite

Stars (4-4)
won three of last four games (4-0 ATS)
4-1 in games decided by 6 or less points.
Losses are by 14-8-25-6 points.
3 of last 4 games stayed went over the total.

Maulers (2-6)
0-6 if they give up more than 13 points.
Two wins were 21-13/23-7
under 5-3
0-5 if they score less than 21 points.

— Recently, a violinist played for 45 minutes in a New York City subway; a handful of people stopped, a couple clapped, and the violinist managed to raise about $30 in tips.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. In that subway, Joshua played music with a violin worth $3.5M.

Two days before he played in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston and the seats averaged about $100 apiece; it goes to show you, sometimes, you just never know.

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings………

NFL teams can turn down being on HBO’s Hard Knocks, if………
— They have a first-year head coach in place.
— If they made the playoffs in the last two years.
— If they’ve been on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years.

NFL has rules on which teams appear on Hard Knocks; there are four teams who the league can choose to be in this year’s shows, but those four teams all seem reluctant.

Bears, Jets, Saints, Commanders

Teams seem more and more reluctant to be on Hard Knocks, which is too bad, since it is such an interesting show.

— The great comedian/actor Steve Martin won a Grammy Award in 2010, in the category of Best Bluegrass Album for his album The Crow: New Songs For The Five-String Banjo.

Martin first played the banjo when he was 17; he used to take 33 rpm bluegrass records and slow them down to 16 rpm and tune his banjo down, so the notes would sound the same.

The album that won him the Grammy came from his reading a book called The Stuffed Owl, a collection of bad poetry. As a joke, Martin decided to write some bad poetry of his own, then turned the poetry into bluegrass songs, and those songs won him a Grammy.

One of the most talented people ever, whether in comedy, acting or music. I first saw him do stand-up on The Tonight Show when Buddy Hackett was the guest host— I was 11 or 12 years old. Was laughing my head off. What a gift, to be able to make people laugh like that.

— Texas Rangers’ P Jacob deGrom signed a 5-year, $185M contract last winter, but his elbow is screwed up again, and he is heading to his second Tommy John surgery; he is out for the year, and much of next year. The last three seasons combined, he’s thrown 186.2 innings.

— Denver Nuggets are 8-9 this season when Nikola Jokic gets fewer than 8 assists, which helps explain why Miami isn’t double-teaming him as much now

— NFL teams with the worst first quarter scoring margin last year:
minus-38— Giants— finished 9-7-1, 1-1 in playoffs.
minus-34— Houston— 3-13-1
minus-33— Arizona— 4-13
Minus-26— Chargers— 10-7, 0-1 in playoffs (blew 27-0 lead, lost 31-30)

— More hitters are swinging at 3-0 pitches now; at least it seems like it to me.

— Movie of the Day: Let It Ride (1989)— A cab driver gets a hot tip on a race horse and for once, he wins big, but he can’t seem to stop gambling.

If you enjoy going to the racetrack, you’ll definitely like this movie.

Richard Dreyfuss runs amok in this movie; Teri Garr is his overwhelmed wife. Jennifer Tilly is a rich guy’s girlfriend at the track, before we knew that in real life she is a serious poker player.

— Reds 9, Dodgers 8
Reds scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th.
Dodgers led 8-3 in fifth inning.
Cincinnati brought up star prospect, SS Elly De La Cruz; he batted fourth in his MLB debut and

De La Cruz is the youngest player the Reds have had since Jay Bruce in 2008.

— White Sox 3, New York 2— Lucas Giolito is first pitcher since 2015 (Max Scherzer) to not allow a hit in the first six innings of two games in the same season.

— Arizona 10, Nationals 5— Pavin Smith homered, knocked in three runs.

— A’s 11, Pirates 2— Jace Peterson was 5-5 with five RBI; unfortunately, he’s still only hitting .218.

— Braves 6, Mets 4
Atlanta scored four runs in 6th inning, erasing a 4-1 deficit.
Mets and their $375M payroll are now 30-31.

— Rays 7, Twins 0— Zach Eflin tossed 6.2 scoreless innings. Rays are 27-6 at home.

— Red Sox 5, Guardians 4— Boston scored four runs in 8th inning, erasing a 2-1 deficit.

— Phillies 1, Tigers— Schwarber homered in the first inning, the game’s only run.

— Brewers 4, Orioles 3 (10)— Joey Wiemer’s walk-off single was the game-winner.

— In his terrific career, Mike Trout has been intentionally walked 119 times. 

In 2004 alone, Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times.

Tuesday’s Den: Random Lists of 4…….

Best Quarterbacks:
John Elway
Tom Brady
Joe Montana
Roger Staubach (Patrick Mahomes soon to replace him)

Favorite Quarterbacks:
Kurt Warner
Matthew Stafford
Vince Ferragamo
Jared Goff

Best basketball players:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
T2 Michael Jordan
T2 Lebron James
Bill Russell

Las Vegas sportsbooks:
MGM Grand
South Point

Favorite TV shows:
Magnum PI
Law and Order
Odd Couple

Favorite Batman villains:
Riddler (Frank Gorshin)
Egghead (Vincent Price)
Mad Hatter (David Wayne)
Catwoman (Julie Newmar)

Favorite Musicians:
Bob Seger
Billy Joel
Pat Benatar
Van Morrison

Favorite dinners:
Spaghetti and meatballs
Scrambled eggs with bacon
Fried chicken with waffles

Favorite non-sports movies:
A Star is Born (2018 version)
Leap of Faith
Begin Again
Fabulous Baker Boys

Favorite sports movies:
American Underdog
Blue Chips

Favorite gambling movies:
Let It Ride
Molly’s Game
Lucky You

Favorite Kevin Costner movies:
For Love of the Game
The Bodyguard
Message In a Bottle
Bull Durham

Favorite Susan Sarandon movies:
The Client
Bull Durham
Ping Pong Summer
White Palace

Remaining bucket list items:
Rams’ home game at SoFi Stadium
LSU Saturday night home football game
Week at spring training, preferably Arizona
New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas

John Grisham books:
Pelican Brief
The Client
Runaway Jury
A Time to Kill

Favorite TV characters:
Lenny Briscoe, Law and Order
Oscar Madison, Odd Couple
Henry Blake, M*A*S*H
Jack Malone, Without a Trace

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a quiet weekend……..

— Miami 111, Denver 108
Nuggets had a 40-14 run in first half, but still lost.
Miami outscored Denver 36-25 in 4th quarter,
Heat was +22 in 32:00 Vincent played; they were minus-19 in 16:00 he sat out.
Strus was 4-10 on the arc; he was 0-9 in Game 1.
Series is 1-1; Game 3 is Wednesday in Miami.

— Pirates 2, Cardinals 1
Ji Hwan Bae hit a 2-run double in first inning; the runs held up.
Pittsburgh won its last five games.
On June 4, Pirates are half-game out of first in NL Central. 

— Phillies 11, Nationals 3— Schwarber, Ellis both homered twice. Washington’s bullpen gave up seven runs in 3.1 IP.

— Braves 8, Arizona 5— Eddie Rosario hit a dramatic, two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning, ending Atlanta’s road trip on a happy note.

— Blue Jays 6, Mets 4— Toronto sweeps three games from the Mets, holding them to five runs.

— Cubs 7, Padres 1– Marcus Stroman is 6-4, 2.39; he’ll be going to the All-Star Game.

— Guardians 2, Twins 1— Triston McKenzie tossed five shutout IP in his first ’23 start. Game was scoreless thru six innings; Joe Ryan allowed only two hits.

— Rangers 12, Mariners 3— Texas scored 28 runs the last two games; Bruce Bochy is letting everyone know he is one of the best managers………ever.

— Movie of the Day: Random Hearts (1999)— A police sergeant and U.S. Representative both lose their spouses in a plane crash, and they soon discover that their spouses were having an affair with each other.

Harrison Ford plays the policeman, Kristin Scott Thomas is the politician; movie is kind of sad, but has some pleasant moments. The two stars had very good chemistry together.

Excellent supporting cast:
Dennis Haysbert (Cerrano in Major League)
S. Epatha Merkerson (Van Buren in Law and Order)
Paul Guilfoyle (Jim Brass in CSI)

— Patrick Mahomes has been in the NFL for six years; he has an 11-3 record in playoff games. That is more playoff wins than these eight franchises:

Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Cincinnati
Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, New Orleans

— Thru eight weeks of the USFL season, South Division is 13-3 SU against teams from the North Division. All eight USFL teams have 2-2 records in divisional games.

— Major League Baseball has taken over the San Diego Padres’ local broadcasts; the company that was doing it went bankrupt. MLB has eliminated territorial rights through various deals, which means that, for local fans who purchase the Padres package, streamed San Diego games will no longer be subject to blackouts, which is a good thing. 

— Joe Namath turned 80 this week; Clint Eastwood turned 93. Time flies, man……..

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Braves-Brewers-Ariz/LA. Wild Cards: Ariz/LA, Pirates, Marlins
AL: Rays-Twins-Rangers. Wild Cards: Orioles, New York, Astros. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

— Rangers 16, Mariners 6— Texas has scored 10+ runs in 15 games this season; no one else has done it more than eight times. Detroit hasn’t done it once yet.

— Astros 9, Angels 6— Alex Bregman is just third player since 1974 to hit a grand slam in a game where he also walked four times.

— Rays 5-4, Red Sox 8-2— AL East rivals split a twinbill; Boston scored six runs in 6th inning of the opener. Rays earned a split, scoring twice in the 9th inning. Tampa Bay leads the AL East by four games over Baltimore.

— Pirates 4, Cardinals 3
Commor Joe’s 6th inning double but the Pirates ahead for good.
Willson Contreras is 2-31 the last two weeks, but he homered in this game.

— Brewers 10, Reds 8— Milwaukee scored all their runs in the first four innings.

— Padres 6, Cubs 0— Yu Darvish tossed seven shutout innings.

— Rockies 6, Royals 4— Kansas City is now 8-23 at home, losing series to the A’s/Rockies.

— Blue Jays 2, Mets 1— The $375M Mets are 30-29; they scored one run the last two games. 

Mets inducted four people into their Hall of Fame Saturday:
Al Leiter, Howard Johnson…….plus TV voice Gary Cohen, radio voice Howie Rose. 

— New York 6, Los Angeles 3— Aaron Judge hit another home run, then made a terrific catch in rightfield, where he crashed into the bullpen door and damn near broke it.

— College sports is getting worse than baseball, as far the rich stealing from the poor; Ole Miss poached a WR this week from Texas-San Antonio- he caught 94 passes for 1,136 yards and 15 TD’s last year. Of course, that was in Conference USA and now he is in the SEC. We’ll see how that works out.

— Buffalo Bills signed DT Ed Oliver to a four-year, $68M contract.

— Vegas 5, Florida 2
Golden Knights outscored Florida 3-0 in third period.
Panthers scored a short-handed goal early in the game.
This is only third time since 2000 that the Stanley Cup final is between two teams that have never won the Stanley Cup.

— NHL will have two outdoor games at Giants Stadium next February:
February 17: Flyers-Devils. February 18: Rangers-Islanders

— NBA stuff:
Phoenix Suns are hiring former Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel as their new coach.
Suns are keeping assistant coach Kevin Young, paying him $2M+ a year,
Milwaukee Bucks hired former Portland coach Terry Stotts as an assistant.

— Movie of the Day: While you’re sleeping and I’m writing this, usually have old movies on, once all the ballgames end. Amazon Prime is the graveyard of old movies; I’m going to mention one I’ve watched every day.

Invincible (2006)— True story of Vince Papale, a 30-year old bartender from Philadelphia who made the Eagles as a non-roster special teams player in 1976, and lasted four years in the NFL.

Mark Wahlberg plays Papale, Greg Kinnear plays coach Dick Vermeil. Michael Rispoli plays the owner of the bar where Papale worked; he lated appeared in Billions. 

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

— Starting in 2024, SEC will have 16 teams, once they add Texas/Oklahoma; their football teams will play only eight conference games— they won’t have divisions.

— Nuggets 104, Heat 93
Denver led 59-42 at halftime of Thursday’s Game 1.
Jokic was 10-12 on foul line; Miami’s whole team was 2-2 on the line.
Miami has won three NBA titles; they lost Game 1 in the Finals all three times.
Game 2 isn’t until Sunday.

— Mets faced Taijuan Walker Thursday, Chris Bassitt Friday; those two led the Mets in innings pitched last year. This is the first time since 1978 a team faced its IP leaders from the previous season in consecutive games.

In ’78, Red Sox faced Ferguson Jenkins/Reggie Cleveland in a doubleheader against Texas, after they led Boston in innings pitched in 1977.

— 11 years ago this week, Johan Santana threw a no-hitter for the Mets; he threw 134 pitches in the game, an 8-0 Mets win.

That would never happen today; no way a pitcher is allowed to throw 134 pitches in a game, especially an 8-0 game. 

Most pitches anyone has thrown in the majors this season? Justin Verlander threw 117 pitches in six IP vs Toronto Friday night; Kevin Gausman has thrown 115 in two starts this season.

— Nationals 8, Phillies 7
Washington blew a 7-1 lead, scored in bottom of 8th to win it.
Phillies are 3-8 in their last eleven games.

— Brewers 5, Reds 4 (11)— Cincinnati was 1-17 with runners in scoring position.

— Pirates 7, Cardinals 5
St Louis led 5-1 in 7th inning.
Ke’Bryan Hayes went 3-4 with four RBI.

— Arizona 3, Atlanta 2— Diamondbacks won six in row, 10 of last 13 games.

— Rockies 7, Royals 2— Kansas City is 0-12 in Jordan Lyles’ starts; he only allowed one run in 5 IP in this game, but they still lost.

— Texas 2, Seattle 0— Gray out dueled Castillo, tossing seven shutout IP.

—- Astros 6, Angels 2— Valdez threw seven shutout innings.

— Baseball injuries:
Red Sox put P Chris Sale (shoulder) on the IL
San Diego put DH Nelson Cruz (hamstring) on the IL.

— Seattle Mariners are bringing up P Bryan Woo to make his MLB debut in Texas Saturday. Woo is 23; he pitched at Cal Poly. He is 3-2, 2.05 in nine AA starts this season. Marco Gonzales is banged up, which is why the Mariners reached into the minors for a replacement.

— Julio Teheran allowed two runs in 11 IP in his first two starts this year, his first starts since 2021. In his last start, Teheran threw 79 pitches, facing 22 batters, with no walks/strikeouts.

Very unusual that a pitcher would throw six innings, with no walks/strikeouts.

— Noah Syndergaard threw 96 pitches in five IP vs Washington Wednesday, giving up five runs. Nationals swung at 40 of his 96 pitches, whiffed only once, not a good sign for Syndergaard going forward. 

— Random trivia: Burgess Meredith was the Penguin in 20 episodes of the Batman TV series, the most episodes of any Batman villain.

— In case you were wondering, the winning word in the National Spelling Bee was:

psammophile— an organism that thrives in sandy areas.

— Movie of the Day: While you’re sleeping and I’m writing this, usually have old movies on, once all the ballgames end. Amazon Prime is the graveyard of old movies; I’m going to mention one I’ve watched every day.

Cousins (1989)— Ted Danson, William Peterson both wound up playing the head of the crime lab in CSI, but way before that, they were in this movie, where two couples go to a mutual friend’s wedding and end up swapping partners.

Movie ends with Danson and Isabella Rosellini sailing off into the sunset, which I mention because at the end of the last episode of CSI, 26 years later, William Peterson’s character sails off into the sunset with Sara Sidle, almost the same exact ending, which couldn’t be a coincidence. 

Friday’s Den: In a perfect world, where I made all the decisions……..

— Long time ago, the early 70’s, the NBA held a 1-on-1 contest, and aired the games at halftime of regular season NBA telecasts. This was in the early 70’s; I think they had two tournaments, then some of the better players refused to play, and the idea died.

They need to bring back a 1-on-1 tournament; it would be wildly popular.

This should happen in the summer, with each player designating a charity he is playing for. They would make lot of money for various good causes.

64 players; games would be up to 20, have to win by 3 points.

Lot of wagering opportunities, bracket pools, it would be fun.

Each NBA team would have to be represented by one player; the other spots would be determined by fan voting on the Interweb.

— Kids could go right from high school to the NBA. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, none of them went to college. They should put that rule back in.

— Major League Baseball should have a Hard Knocks-type program during spring training; it would give baseball more exposure, which it needs. Spring training has lot of dead time; would be ideal for a Hard Knocks-type show.

— NFL would have an 18-game regular season, only two preseason games; Super Bowl would be Sunday night of Presidents’ Day weekend.

— College football teams wouldn’t play I-AA opponents; SEC teams do this a lot. This year, Alabama is playing Chattanooga. Seriously? Go play a MAC team or a Sun Belt team, at least.

— Online poker would be made legal so the poker companies would advertise on TV and ESPN would start replaying the World Series of Poker again, like they used to. The stuff ESPN puts on in daytime on weekdays is mostly terrible. Mike Greenberg, Stephen A Smith both make around $6M a year, a tremendous waste of money.

Listening to talking heads in contrived arguments is a waste of electricity. Much rather watch people play cards, or replays of games, actual competition.

— I’d scrap Thursday night NFL games, except for Week 1 and Thanksgiving; I’d replace them with Monday night doubleheaders. Football wasn’t meant to be played on three days’ rest. 

— As far as college basketball transfers go, if you poach a transfer from a team, then you have to go play a game in that team’s gym. Most of the teams that poach transfers are way better than the teams they poach from anyway, but they often don’t have the onions to play road games.

VCU has that built into their coaches’ contracts; if the coach leaves for a bigger school, that team has to play a game at VCU. 

— I would take the radios out of NFL players’ helmets; coaches have six days to prepare their teams to play. Gameday should be the players’ day; let the QB’s call their own plays, which would make the game lot more exciting. QB’s calling the plays would make the game more fun.

— I’d eliminate the American/National Leagues and go to geographic realignment, which would reduce travel costs and invigorate regional rivalries. Going to 32 teams (which will happen soon) will make scheduling a lot easier.

— NBA playoff series would be best-of-3, with finals best-of-5. Less games, more drama; it is more interesting when the best team has a chance to lose. Would the NCAA tournament be at all interesting if a 16-seed played a #1-seed best-of-3?

Also, there have been 151 NBA best-of-7 playoff series where a team led 3-0; none of them have lost the series, only four of them played a Game 7. With that in mind, if a series gets to 3-0, it is over; it would make Game 3’s fascinating when one team led 2-0.

— I’d get rid of the Electoral College in our presidential election; whoever gets the most votes wins, just like in all the other elections.

— Would definitely move the NBA Draft Lottery back to a half hour before the actual draft; imagine the drama then? Lot of executives would have to think on their feet.

— You want to make baseball’s All-Star Game more interesting? Make it USA vs the World, and it’ll become a serious game fairly quickly. Probably too serious.

— Would like to make people happier; nowadays, there is so much anger in the world. There is a lot less tolerance of others than there used to be. You be you, and let others do what they do. Cheer the bleep up!!!!

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

— We start today with some very good news:

Last weekend, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris saved a kid from drowning in a Las Vegas pool at the Encore Hotel; the boy was three years old and had no pulse when Morris got involved to try and help save his life.

The boy was discharged from the hospital 24 hours later. Very good news.

— Mets 4, Phillies 1
Phillies are 5-11 in their last 16 games; they scored 7 runs in their last four games.
Kyle Schwarber went 10-87 (.115) in May; seven of the 10 hits were home runs.

— Mariners 1, New York 0 (10)
New York scored 10 runs in each of its last three games, before this.
Cal Raleigh had the walk-off single for Seattle.
Mariners improve to 7-12 in one-run games.

— Nationals 10, Dodgers 6
Garcia’s 3-run homer in the 8th inning was the game-winner.
Keibert Ruiz homered twice for Washington.

— Marlins 2, Padres 1
Miami scored twice in ninth inning for the win.
Backup C Fortes had the walk-off single.
Snell pitched six shutout innings for San Diego.

— Arizona 6, Colorado 0
Tommy Henry tossed six shutout IP.
Bryant/Profar didn’t play; Blackmon is away from the team. Rockies looked like a dead team.

— Angels 12, White Sox 5
Ohtani homered twice, knocked in four runs; less than two months until the trade deadline. Will the Angels keep him or deal him at the deadline? He is a free agent this winter.

— Reds 5, Red Sox 4— Cincinnati is 5-0 on this road trip.

— Tampa Bay Rays win a lot despite spending a lot less money, so they obviously know what they’re doing. Just wish I knew the rationale behind the opener, using a lesser pitcher to start a game against the top of your opponent’s batting order.

Basically, the six best pitchers on just about all teams are the five starters and the closer; why would you start a game with someone other than those people?

Lot of teams have toyed with the opener; not many teams have dome it in a playoff game, which tells me they really don’t believe in it. “Hey, Tony LaRussa used to do it, we should, too”

Tampa Bay people don’t broadcast their philosophies, which is smart.

— There is a college football bowl game played in Orlando called the Cheez-It Bowl; apparently, they’re changing the name to the Pop Tarts Bowl, with an ACC team playing a Big 12 team.

I freakin’ love Pop Tarts; best kinds are blueberry and red velvet.

— Houston Astros’ hitting Alex Cintron got tossed from Tuesday’s game in the third inning, after the home plate umpire got into it with Astros’ SS Jeremy Pena; as a result, Cintron was fined $500.

Astros players stepped up and paid the fine for Cintron. 

— To me, it is weird when a DH bats 9th; why would the worst hitter in your lineup be a designated hitter?

— Jake Marisnick played for Detroit Wednesday; the man must know how to pack:

2013-14— Marlins
2014-19— Astros
2020— 16 games with the Mets
2021— 65 games with the Cubs
2021— 34 games with San Diego
2022— 31 games with the Pirates
2023— 9 games with the White Sox
2023— One game with Detroit.

— Las Vegas blackjack players lost more than $1B last year, 2nd-highest amount ever. That is billion, with a B.

More casinos have changed payouts on getting dealt 21 from 3-2 to 6-5, which obviously makes it a lot more difficult to turn a profit.

— As of now, Kentucky Wildcats’ basketball team has only seven players; five freshmen and two sophomores. The transfer portal still has some good players in it, but coach Calipari has some work to do this summer if Kentucky is going to have another winning season. 

— Purdue’s basketball got great news Wednesday; big man Zach Edey announced he’ll be back with the Boilermakers next season.

— A’s pitcher JP Sears in May:
5 starts— 3.25 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, An excellent month. 

Wednesday’s Den: USFL trends, and other random stuff……..

— Cardinals/Royals are both scheduled off today/Thursday; can’t remember a major league team having two scheduled off days in a row, other than the All-Star break.

— Mets 2, Phillies 0— Kodai Senga’s home/away splits:
Home:  3-1, 1.20 in five home starts.
Away: 2-2, 6.12 in five road starts

This was the first game in seven years where the Phillies didn’t have a runner reach second base; Brandon Nimmo robbed Castellanos of a home run with a great catch in the 4th inning. 

— Padres 9, Marlins 4— Sandy Alcantara is having an off year; he led this game 4-2 after six innings, but walked San Diego’s #8/#9 hitters leading off the 7th- they both scored. All four runs Alcantara gave up reached base via a walk, including the #9 hitter twice.

San Diego scored five runs in the ninth inning for the win. 

— Arizona 5, Colorado 1— Zac Gallen tossed six shutout innings against a dreadful Colorado team that is 9-18 on the road. 

— Reds 9, Red Sox 8— Cincinnati led 3-0 after six innings; if you bet the under, no bueno. Lively threw 5.2 scoreless IP for the Reds. Barreto hit a 7th inning grand slam. 

— Cubs 2, Rays 1— Tampa Bay scored once in its last 19 innings; they’re 13-12 on the road, their lead in the AL East is down to 3 games over Baltimore.

— Odds on NBA Finals: Denver -360, Miami +270.

— Bob Myers is quitting as Golden State Warriors’ president/GM; could this be the beginning of the end of Golden State’s great run? Myers is only 48, surprising to see him leave Golden State.

Warriors are approaching some decisions with a payroll/luxury tax that could approach $500M in 2023-2024- Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, two cornerstones of their great run, have contracts ending soon.

— If you’re a fan of the NBA, I highly recommend a visit to Las Vegas for NBA Summer League, which takes place July 7-17 at UNLV. Every team is represented; you can sit there all day and watch 4-5 high-quality games, all in air conditioned comfort. 

You’ll see lot of NBA celebrities there; all the coaches/GM’s, some former players who do TV work now. Two games happen at once, one in Cox Pavilion, one in the Thomas & Mack Center- they’re a short walk apart.

The games are highly competitive, because everyone playing is fighting for a job; just be careful betting on the games. Not every team plays its best players every game; they give a look to some of their bench players, so caution is advised when wagering.

— College basketball star Caleb Love is transferring from North Carolina to Arizona; originally he was going to transfer to Michigan, but they wouldn’t accept all his credits from UNC, so now he is off to Tucson, where he will be much warmer. 

— Last five College World Series were won by Oregon State and four different SEC teams. In the last five title games in the CWS, seven of the ten teams came from the SEC. 

— Eight teams from North Carolina are in this year’s College World Series.

USFL trends, thru seven weeks:
All four games last week were decided by 6 or less points.
Last three weeks, under is 9-3 in USFL games.

Stallions (5-2)
5-0 allowing 20 or less points; gave up 45-27 in losses.
4-3 ATS (favored in every game)
2-1 in games decided by 7 or less points.
under 5-2

Gamblers (4-3)
won four of last five games, after an 0-2 start
2-2 ATS as a favorite
last three games stayed under.
4-1 if they allow less than 29 points
losses were 29-13/38-31/23-20

Showboats (4-3)
won/covered last four games, after an 0-3 start.
allowed 27-42-30 points in losses; 10-10-0-20 in wins
under five of last six games
4-3 ATS; have been underdog in every game.

Panthers (3-4)
lost four of last four games, after a 2-0 start
scored 13 or fewer points in all four losses.
3-1 ATS as an underdog.
five of last six games stayed under total.

Generals (2-5)
lost last four games, by 3-3-6-3 points.
Allowed 3-13 points in wins; 0-5 giving up more than 13.
1-3 ATS as a favorite.
Five of seven games stayed under total.

Breakers (4-3)
lost last two games (10-17/10-16/20-24) after 4-0 start
last four games stayed under total.
6 of 7 games decided by 7 or less points.
3-2 ATS as a favorite

Stars (4-3)
won/covered last three games, after a 1-3 start.
4-0 in games decided by 6 or less points.
Losses are by 14-8-25 points.
4 of last 6 games stayed under total.

Maulers (2-5)
0-5 if they give up more than 13 points.
Two wins were 21-13/23-7
under 4-3
0-4 if they score less than 21 points.

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

— Heat 103, Celtics 84
Miami shot 14-28 on the arc, Boston 9-42.
There were only 19 foul shots taken in this game, total.

Caleb Martin scored 26 points for Miami; on August 7, 2021, the Charlotte Hornets waived Martin, just cut him. No bueno.

Heat was +17 in 20:00 with Duncan Robinson on the floor. Duncan Robinson started his college career at Williams College, a Division III school. Shooting is marketable.

— There have been 151 NBA playoff series where a team led 3 games to none; there have been only four Game 7’s in those 151 series. The team leading 3-0 won all four Game 7’s.

Because of this, I’m suggesting a rule change that will never become a rule, but maybe it should.

New rule suggestion: Any NBA best-of-7 playoff series ends if a team goes ahead three games to none. This would make Game 3’s highly dramatic when a team led 2-0; either they clinch the series or it becomes 2-1 and a highly competitive series.

The new rule would eliminate games, which would reduce revenue which is why it’ll never happen, but it might also increase TV ratings for Game 3’s. Higher TV ratings equal more money.

— Golden Knights 6, Stars 0— Vegas wins this series in six games, makes it to the Stanley Cup finals for second time in their six years of existence.

— So far this baseball season, there have been 75 games in April/May where a starting pitcher gave up 7+ earned runs.

2019— 71 such games
2020— there was no baseball in April/May
2021— 49
2022— 46
2023— 75

Starting pitchers are getting roughed up a lot more this season.

— Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett’s car was stolen from a dealership, with his Steelers’ playbook inside. The genius who stole the car left his own car at the dealership. Not good, except for the cops who arrested the genius.

— Great news tonight in Chicago; White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks pitched Monday, five months after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Good to see him pitch again.

— In the Angels-White Sox game, the player who made it to the majors first from every amateur draft from 2019-22 were in uniform:

2019— Andrew Vaughn
2020— Garrett Crochet
2021— Sam Bachman
2022— Zach Neto

— A’s 7, Braves 2— Oakland snaps its 11-game losing skid; Lucas Erceg tossed three scoreless innings in relief, Ryan Noda hit a 3-run homer.

— Cubs 1, Rays 0— Marcus Stroman throws a 105-pitch complete game shutout; he allowed only two baserunners.

— Twins 7, Astros 5 (10)
Altuve’s grand slam gave Houston a 5-4 lead in 7th inning
Royce Lewis tied the game with a 9th inning single.
Ryan Jeffers’ 2-run homer in the 10th inning was the game-winner.

— Random fact: Dave Kingman hit 442 home runs in his career, the most ever of any player from Oregon.

— Philadelphia 76ers named former Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse their new coach. Nurse was 252-179 in five years coaching Toronto, 25-16 in playoff games. Raptors won the NBA title in Nurse’s first year coaching the Raptors, 2018-19.

— 85 college basketball teams are scheduled to take foreign trips this summer; NCAA rules let a team take a foreign trip once every four years. Trips like that help team bonding, give players experience working together, gives teams a head start on the upcoming season.

— One of the advantages of having Amazon Prime on my TV is that it is basically the graveyard for most every movie ever made. Late at night, can find lot of older movies I enjoyed watching, and still like watching.

Stumbled across the 1988 movie Beaches the other night, with Bette Midler/Barbara Hershey. Saw this movie in the theater with my future ex-wife 35 years ago; it was a unique experience.

Very sad movie; Barbara Hershey’s character dies young because of a heart problem. Her best friend, who is a famous singer, tries to care for her and her young daughter. When we saw the movie in the theater, at the end of the movie, everyone in the crowded theater was in tears, it was that sad. You could hear dozens of people openly sobbing.

Never saw/heard anything like that, before or after. 35 years later, the movie still holds up. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Sunday……..

— Happy 85th birthday to Jerry West, one of the best basketball players of all time, and also one of the best NBA executives ever.

West was a 14-time All-Star; he won a title with the 1972 Lakers, then won eight more rings as an executive. He is also part of the NBA’s logo, quite an honor.

Happy birthday, sir. 

— It turns out Raiders’ new QB Jimmy Garoppolo was slow signing his contract with Las Vegas because he underwent surgery on his injured foot in March. Bottom line is that the Raiders can get out from Garoppolo’s contract if this injury continues to be an issue.

His signing bonus becomes part of his salary, which means if the contract gets voided because of the injury, Garoppolo gets bupkis. He had previously agreed to an $11.25M signing bonus. Now his salary is $22.5M, but he has to stay in one piece to get it.

Right now, the Raiders’ other QB’s are:
Brian Hoyer, Aidan O’Connell, Chase Garbers— Garoppolo’s foot better stay healthy. 

— NFL teams with no primetime games this season:
Arizona, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis

— Since 2016, there have been fifteen Week 1 NFL games with a total of 50+

Over in those fifteen games was 9-5-1.

Right now, there are two Week 1 games with a total of 50+:
Lions-Chiefs, and Dolphins-Chargers.

— A’s CF Esteury Ruiz leads the major leagues with 27 stolen bases, so despite how horrible a team Oakland has been so far, they do lead the league in something good.

— Astros 10, A’s 1— Jose Abreu hit his first home run this season, in Houston’s 52nd game.

— Brewers 7, Giants 5— Giants’ OF Mike Yastrzemski hit a home run in Milwaukee Sunday that would’ve been a home run in 29 of 30 major league ballparks; the one park where it would not have been a home run was San Francisco, Yastrzemski’s home park.

— Guardians 4, Cardinals 3— Cleveland is now 11-14 in one-run games this season; no one else in the majors has played more than 20 one-run games (Reds are 8-12).

— Braves 11, Phillies 4— Lousy Sunday night game; Atlanta scored seven runs in the first inning, knocking Dylan Covey out in his first start for the Phillies.

Michael Harris made a great catch in centerfield, robbing Kyle Schwarber of a home run.

— Was watching the White Sox-Tigers game Sunday; Detroit TV guys were explaining how Tigers’ P Michael Lorenzen watches video of opposing hitters in the clubhouse in between innings when he is pitching. Lorenzen is 2-2, 3.50 in eight starts this season.

— Rockies 11, Mets 10— Colorado scored 21 runs the last two days, wins 2 of 3 in series. Ryan McMahon tied a career high with five RBI in this game.

— Tigers 6, White Sox 5 (10)— Detroit has won five of its last seven games, is now only a game out of first place in AL Central, despite its 25-26 record.

— Marlins 2, Angels 0— Miami sweeps the Halos in Anaheim, not a good weekend for a team trying to keep one of its two stars from bolting in free agency.

— Rays 11, Dodgers 10— LA starter Gavin Stone gave up seven runs in two innings; he got 15 whiffs on 40 Tampa Bay swings, which is good, but the Rays put 13 balls in play, and got 10 hits, which is really bad. Dodgers are hurting for starting pitching right now. 

— Remember Bob Denver, the star of Gilligan’s Island? Turns out that after Gilligan’s Island was cancelled back in the 60’s, the actor bought a 14-foot sailboat and moved into a house overlooking the water north of Malibu.

Hopefully he didn’t take the sailboat on any three-hour tours.

— Sunday was the halfway point of the NFL’s offseason; the Super Bowl was 15 weeks ago, and Week 1 is 15 weeks ahead of us. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

— Celtics 104, Heat 103
Derrick White put in an offensive rebound at the buzzer to force Game 7.
Boston won despite shooting 7-35 on the arc.
Game 7 is Monday night in Boston.

If you see a replay of the last shot, watch Derrick White inbound the ball, then cut to the corner, where he was wide open but didn’t get the ball, but he pounded the boards and put the missed shot back in to win the game.

White didn’t get any Division I offers when he was in high school; he played D-2 ball for a few years, then transferred to Colorado, and worked his way into the NBA. Hard work pays off.

This is the 151st NBA playoff series where a team led 3-0; it is only the fourth time there will be a Game 7- the others:

1951 Knicks
1994 Nuggets
2003 Trailblazers
2023 Celtics

The other three teams all played Game 7 on the road, and they all lost.

— Milwaukee Bucks are hiring Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin as its new head coach, replacing Mike Budenholzer, who went 271-120 as coach of the Bucks, 39-26 in playoff games— he won the 2021 NBA title, but new ownership changed coaches.

Griffin has never been a head coach; he played in the NBA for nine years— his son plays for the Atlanta Hawks.

— Twins 9, Blue Jays 7
Minnesota hit home runs to centerfield on consecutive pitches in the 5th inning; Toronto CF Daulton Varsho had his glove on both balls, but couldn’t bring either one in.

— AL Central standings:
Twins 27-25
Tigers 24-26
Guardians 22-29
White Sox 22-32
Royals 15-38

By way of contrast, Toronto is 27-26, only a half-game worse than Minnesota, but the Blue Jays are in last place in the AL East.

— In six years with the Angels, Shohei Ohtani has played only seven games in the outfield; will the Angels trade him in July, or risk losing him for nothing next winter?

— White Sox SS Tim Anderson has had 15 4-hit games in his career; eight of them have been against the Detroit Tigers.

— Playing fantasy baseball is fun, it is fascinating, but it can also by mystifying; how else do you explain how some players come out of nowhere to have great/lousy seasons?

Marlins’ OF Jorge Soler is in his 10th year in the major leagues; he hit 48 homers for Kansas City four years ago, after hitting a total of 38 in his first five seasons. He’s hit more than 17 homers in only one other season (he hit 27 in 2021).

He hit his 17th home run Saturday night; that’s the 3rd-most homers he’s ever hit in a season, and now he’s homered in five straight games for the spunky Marlins.

— Cardinals 2, Guardians 1 (10)— St Louis had only two hits; the winning run scored on a passed ball. Brendan Donovan homered for the Redbirds.

— Phillies 2, Braves 1
Phillies’ starter Wheeler induced 22 whiffs on 53 swings. 
Braves’ starter Morton induced 22 whiffs on 45 swings.

That doesn’t happen very much, m both starting pitchers inducing 20+ whiffs in a game.

— Mariners 5, Pirates 0— Pittsburgh hit 7 home runs Friday night; they had two hits in this game, one of them a double by Marcano leading off the game. Luis Castillo tossed six shutout innings for the second time this week.

— Rockies 10, Mets 7— Colorado blew a 6-0 lead, but they scored two runs in 7th, two more in 8th to avoid a hideous loss.

— South Florida’s football team has won a total of four games the last three years; their new coach has brought in 41 new scholarship players this season. You can only have 85 players on scholarship, so they’ve turned over half the team since last season.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t)
NL— Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Arizona-Giants-Pirates
AL— Rays, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards: Orioles-Astros-New York