Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……..

13) Today is June 30 but we’re going to hear a lot of stuff about the NBA starting tonight, with free agency starting. NBA’s offseason is often more interesting than the season itself.

12) New York 17, Boston 13— Game was 6-6 after the first inning with neither pitcher getting three outs; this game looked more like beer league softball than major league baseball. 

11) At 2:13 Saturday afternoon, after the 6-6 first inning, Dave Cokin posted on Twitter that in live betting, the total on the New York-Boston game was 23.5 (+$130). It went way over that. 

10) Lot of college basketball coaches are over in Greece for the FIBA u19 World Cup, where there are six uncommitted American 5-star prospects playing, as well as several prospects from Canada and Puerto Rico- the tournament runs thru July 7th.

9) Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway makes $850,000 to manage the Mets, and in reality, he is just a button-pusher who is ordered around by the team’s GM. Not a lot of cash for a manager, and in a big market at that. 

What I’m suggesting is that being the Indians’ pitching coach might be a better job than managing the Mets, seeing how the Indians’ pitching coach probably makes around $250,000 with a hell of a lot less stress and a lot more job security than Callaway has now, and he actually gets to coach the pitchers. 

8) Orioles 13, Indians 0— Over last two days, Baltimore outscored the Tribe 26-0. 

Orioles are 24-58 this season, but 10-6 when Andrew Cashner starts. Cashner should be the O’s representative on the All-Star team. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Cardinals put OF Marcell Ozuna (broken finger) on the IL.
— Cubs DFA’d OF Carlos Gonzalez.
— Red Sox put P Brian Johnson (non-baseball injury) on the IL.
— Twins activated Byron Buxton, Martin Gonzalez from the IL. 

6) Nikola Mirotic signed a contract with Barcelona of the EuroLeague; most people thought he would get an NBA deal for $45-50M, but sounds like he didn’t like the NBA very much. 

5) Hamilton 41, Montreal 10— CFL games don’t often have scoreless first quarters; according to Ralph Michaels on Twitter, this was just the 27th scoreless first quarter in the last 973 CFL tilts. 24 of those 27 games stayed under the total, including this one. 

4) This week is the first time since 2005 that the 54-hole leader at PGA Tour events led by 6+ shots in back/back weeks. Nate Lashley shot a 63 Saturday, is 23-under thru three rounds. 

3) SLS casino in Las Vegas is changing its name back to the Sahara Las Vegas: I stayed there for ten days in 2015. Nice enough casino, small rooms, very tight video poker, good eating places, but no sports book, just a counter in a restaurant to bet on games.

2) Minimum salary for a rookie in the NBA next season: $898,310. 

1) The Mets have won only two World Series:
Jerry Koosman was on mound for the Mets for the last out of the ’69 World Series.

In ’78, he was traded to the Twins for a package including Jesse Orosco.

Jesse Orosco was on the mound for the last out of the ’86 World Series.

Saturday’s List of 13: Mountain West football knowledge

Air Force- Falcons went 5-7 last two years, unusual for them; last three years, they’re 6-17-1 vs spread in Mountain West games- last four years,AF is 10-3-1 vs spread as a road underdog. Flyboys have covered 11 of last 13 non-conference games. 

Boise State-Broncos won 10+ games eight of last ten years, are +24 in turnovers the last two years. Boise’s bowl game in Dallas LY was stopped late in 1st quarter LY because of bad weather and was never resumed. Broncos are 5-14 vs spread in last 19 games as a home favorite. 

Colorado State- Rams slumped to 3-9 LY after five straight winning years; last two years, State is 1-7 vs spread as a home favorite. Rams lost last four bowl games, allowing average of 41.3 ppg; they lost last four games with rival Colorado (0-3-1 vs spread). 

Fresno State- Redford is 22-6 in two years at Fresno; why did Cal ever fire this guy? They’re 12-5-2 vs spread as favorites under Tedford, 6-0 as an underdog, winning bowls 33-27/31-20- they’re +20 in turnovers last two years. 

Hawai’i- Rainbows played in the Sugar Bowl 12 years ago, losing 41-10 to Georgia; since then, all four of their bowls have been at home, with average total of 74.8. Under Rolovich, Hawai’i is 3-9 vs spread as a home favorite, 0-3 as a road favorite. 

Nevada- New QB, four new starters on OL for Wolf Pack this year, who are 8-4 vs spread at home in two years under Norvell; five of their top six rushers, nine of top 10 receivers are back. Last three years, Nevada is 4-9 vs spread in non-league games. 

UNLV- Five straight losing years for Rebels, who move into the Raiders’ new dome next year; they’ve played in one bowl since 2000. Last three years, UNLV is 4-9 vs spread when laying points at home. Rebels’ last bowl win outside of Las Vegas was 1984 (30-13 vs Toledo). 

New Mexico- Bob Davie is in his 8th year with Lobos; they went 3-9 last two years. Last time UNM played in a bowl other than on their home field was a 34-19 loss to Navy in ’04 Emerald Bowl. New Mexico has only two starters back on defense this year. 

San Diego State- Nine straight winning years for Aztecs, who slumped to 7-6 LY; – they were 0-8 vs spread as a favorite, and were blanked by Ohio U in their bowl (27-0). Aztecs have top six rushers back from LY and three starters back on OL. 

San Jose State- Spartans are 3-22 in two years under Brennan; they were +1 in turnovers LY, after going -26 in 2017. Last five years, State is 9-19 as a road underdog, but were 4-2 LY. SJS won last four bowls, but last one was in 2015. 

Utah State- Aggies went 11-2 LY, after three straight losing seasons; their coach moved on, so the new coach is Gary Andersen, who went 26-24 as Aggies’ coach from 2009-12. USU has only two starters back on offense. Since ’16, Aggies are 10-2-1 as home favorites. 

Wyoming- After going +24 in turnovers in ’17 with a 8-5 record, Cowboys were 6-6 LY with a +4 TO ratio. Last three years, Cowboys are 6-2 as home favorites, 8-4 as home dogs- last four years, they’re 19-13 vs spread as an underdog. 

Friday’s List of 13; Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Over the last year, state of Nevada turned a $310M booking sports bets. 

During that same time, they’ve made a $3.3B profit on penny slots. Thats billion, with a B.

12) Speaking of which, May 2019 was the first month ever where more money was legally bet on sports in New Jersey ($318.9M) than in Nevada ($317.4M).

11) Ralph Michaels posted some great knowledge on Twitter Thursday:

Since 2011 there have been 74 games with a line of -330 or higher; the favorite went 61-13 in those games. Of the 13 teams that lost (Red Sox were #13 Wednesday), those teams went 5-7 in their next game after the loss, with an average line of -$199. 

Oddity here is that the Red Sox don’t play again until Saturday in London. 

10) Rays 5, Twins 2 (18)
— 2nd time in ten days Minnesota played a 17+-inning game.
— Twins scored twice in first inning, never scored again.
— Ji-Man Choi is first major leaguer since 1992 (Daryl Boston) to enter a game in extra innings, then walk 3+ times in that game.
— 19 pitchers worked in this game.
— Five players went 0-7 in same game for first time since 1901.

9) Only other teams in the last 40 years that played a 17-inning game and a longer game within ten days of each other:

2013 BlueJays – lost their next two before going on an 11-game winning streak.
1980 Padres – went 4-7 and then went on a 7-game winning streak.

8) The out-of-business AAF spent $40M to develop its in-game betting app; MGM wound up paying $5,125,000 to acquire the app. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Twins put C Willians Astudillo (oblique) on IL.
— Cubs activated P Craig Kimbrel
— Detroit P Spencer Turnbull left after two innings Thursday
— White Sox DFA’d 1B Yonder Alonso, three days before his charity bowling event, which also benefits White Sox charities- awkward.
— Brewers optioned 3B Travis Shaw to AAA. 

6) Phillies 6, Mets 3— Juan Segura hit a walk-off HR for Philly, which swept the Mets despite trailing by 2+ runs in all four games. Edwin Diaz gave up five runs in an ugly ninth inning. 

Gambling is hard; total on this game was 9; Phillies led 1-0 after the 8th inning. 

5) Last time the Phillies swept a 4-game series despite trailing in the 5th inning or later in every game was September 24-26, 1929. Nineteen. Twenty. Nine. 

4) College basketball transfer portal:
— Quentin Grimes transfers from Kansas to Houston. 

3) Cubs 9, Braves 7— Craig Kimbrel gets a save in his first appearance as a Cub. 

2) Dodgers 12, Rockies 8— Colorado’s bullpen has allowed 25 runs in 27 IP vs LA this season- they’ve won 12 games in a row against the Rockies. 

1) Lakers re-did the Anthony Davis trade and sent the Washington Wizards three scrubs and a 2nd-round draft pick to clear enough salary cap space to go after a max-contract-level free agent, or multiple lesser players.

Washington sent the Pelicans cash to complete what is now a 3-team trade.

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) When you’re a college basketball coach trying to win, you do all kinds of stuff to get players: 

Oklahoma State hired the older brother of top prospect Cade Cunningham as its new assistant coach; this is perfectly legit, has been done many times, usually with a father- that is how Kansas got Danny Manning back in the 80’s, they hired his father as an assistant. Ed Manning played in the NBA, but was a truck driver when Kansas hired him. 

Cannen Cunningham played at SMU from 2011-15 and spent last season at Tulane as the associate director of video operations under Mike Dunleavy Sr. 

12) What happens if the Cunningham kid goes somewhere other than Oklahoma State? Does Oklahoma State tell the brother to take a hike? Chances are strong the kid is going to OSU. 

11) The last few weeks, I’ve heard five different Bronx baseball fans refer to DJ LeMahieu as “this kid LeMahieu” as if they had never heard of him before this year. Oy. 

LeMahieu will be 31 on July 13; this is his ninth year in the major leagues, he has 1,125 hits and a career on-base %age of .353. Two All-Star games, three Golden Gloves; he’s been a really good player for several years, but since a lot of the Bronx fanbase just follows their own team and not the whole sport, they just don’t know. 

10) Blake Snell’s last three starts for Tampa Bay: 

7 IP, 18 hits, 17 runs (16 earned), 9 walks, 7 strikeouts. 

When you’re using an opener 60% of the time, you need your two aces to give the bullpen lot of rest and that isn’t happening for the Rays right now. 

9) Kerry Blackshear transfers from Virginia Tech to Florida, big pickup for the Gators- some pundits have now put Florida in the preseason top 10 for college hoop. 

8) Middle of the night a few nights ago, Moneyball appeared on TV, which was fine with me; hadn’t seen it in a while. I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how many times I’ve seen it, but couple of thoughts popped up in my head while watching it this time:

— Bill James should be in the Hall of Fame, as a contributor; he certainly changed the game.
— There must be some great discussions/arguments behind the scenes now, with the old school baseball guys taking on the numbers guys, as far as strategy goes. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Bronx put Giancarlo Stanton (knee) back on the IL.
— Detroit recalled 3B Jeimer Candelario from AAA.
— Angels recalled P’s Jaime Barria, Trevor Cahill
— Twins’ OF Eddie Rosario (hamstring) left Wednesday’s game early

6) Kevin Durant declined his $31.5M player option and will be an unrestricted free agent; will be interesting to see what kind of contract a 31-year old guy (he turns 31 in September) with a torn achilles gets. History tells us achilles injuries aren’t kind to basketball players. 

5) New York City is made up of five boroughs; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island and Queens- the borough of Queens, by itself, has more people than 16 states. 

4) I’ll say this once and only once: I don’t give a rat’s ass who wins the MVP in any league, ever, in any sport. Some days, it is all ESPN talks about. Individual awards? They. do. not. matter.

3) White Sox 8, Red Sox 7— Jose Abreu homered in the ninth inning for the win. 

2) San Diego 10, Baltimore 5— Orioles have allowed 165 home runs n 80 games; not good. 

1) Bob Ley is retiring after 40 years at ESPN; he joined ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor in 1979, on the third day ESPN was on the air. In 1980, he hosted the first NCAA selection show and live broadcast of the NFL draft and continued in that role for the next nine years.

In a modern age when every TV studio person has to have their own shtick, Ley had no shtick, he was just really good at his job, and he will be missed. 

Wednesday’s Den: Big 14 football knowledge…….

Illinois— Lovie Smith is 9-27 SU at Illinois, 4-10 vs spread as a home underdog; with 17 of 22 starters back this year, if they don’t show improvement this year, then what? Illini is 9-18 vs spread as an underdog under Smith; their last bowl was in 2014, last bowl win in 2011. 

Indiana— Under Allen, Hoosiers are 5-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 2-5 as a home dog; they’ve got seven starters back on both sides of the ball this year. Indiana has two new coordinators this season, with their new OC coming in from Fresno State. 

Iowa— Last four years, Iowa is 37-16 SU, with a +33 turnover margin; they won their last couple bowls. Since 2013, Hawkeyes are 15-2-1 vs spread as a road favorite. Iowa has only four starters back on defense this year. 

Maryland— Mike Locksley went 3-31 as HC of New Mexico from 2009-11, somehow got this job. Terps lost their last three bowls; their last bowl win was in 2010. Last five years, Maryland is 5-19 vs spread coming off a win. 

Michigan— Under Harbaugh, Wolverines are 7-12 vs spread on road, 4-7 vs spread coming off a loss- they lost last three bowls, giving up 33.3 ppg. Michigan has a senior QB (23 starts) and a new OC who ran a no-huddle offense at his last stop. 

Michigan State— Last four years, Spartans are 8-13 vs spread as a home favorite; they’ve got 17 of 22 starters back this year, with a senior QB (25 starts). In their last four bowls, MSU scored 42-0-42-6 points. TO margin from 2013-15: +46. From 2016-18: -1. 

Minnesota— Gophers have 9 starters back on offense this year; both soph QB’s (split time LY) are also back. Minnesota won its last three bowls, allowing 14-12-10 points. Under Fleck, Minnesota is 6-1 vs spread in non-conference games. 

Nebraska— From 2009-14, Nebraska was 57-24, but Cornhuskers had losing seasons three of last four years; since 2013, they’re 13-20-1 vs spread as a home favorite, but last two years, they’re 7-2 as road underdogs. Last seven years, Nebraska’s turnover ratio: minus-41. 

Northwestern— Wildcats are 3-2 in last five bowls; they were underdog in four of those five games- they’ve had a plus TO ratio the last seven years (+45 total). New QB this year, with one candidate a transfer from Clemson. 

Ohio State— Day is the new HC; over last decade, Buckeyes are 10-1 vs spread as an underdog. OSU has only 4 starters back on offense; QB Fields is a transfer from Georgia. Since 2015, Buckeyes are 11-16 vs spread as a home favorite. 

Penn State— Under Franklin, Nittany Lions are 17-11-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 7-8 as road favorite, 5-8 as an underdog, 4-13 coming off a loss. Average total in their last three bowls: 75.0. PSU will have a new starting QB this fall. 

Purdue— Last five years, Boilermakers are 14-4 as road underdogs; they were favored in all their road games LY. Purdue is 8-3 vs spread in last 11 non-league games. Split bowls last two years, with totals of 73-77, their first bowls since 2012. 

Rutgers— Scarlet Knights’ last bowl was 2014; under Ash, they’re 7-29 SU. Rutgers had a -14 turnover ratio LY; their last positive TO ratio was in 2012. Last two years, Knights are 7-4 vs spread as a home underdog. 

Wisconsin— Badgers are 5-0 in bowls the last five years; they were underdog in three of the five games. Over last decade, they’re 11-5 vs spread as an underdog. Under Chryst, Wisconsin is 11-3 vs spread as a road favorite. 

MLB teams’ records in series this season

Records in 2019 series

Team (road-home-total)- thru 6/24
Ariz     7-4-2……4-7-1…….11-11-3
Atl        8-4……..8-3-2……16-7-2
Cubs    4-8………9-1-4…..13-9-4
Reds    3-5-6……4-4-3…..7-9-9
Colo     4-6-3……7-3-2…..11-9-5
LA        7-4-1……11-1-1…..18-5-2
Mia       4-6-2…..3-8-2…..7-14-4
Milw     5-6-2…..6-3-3…..11-9-5
Mets     2-9-3…..6-3-2……8-12-5
Philly    5-5-2…..7-5-1……12-10-3
Pitt        6-5-2…..6-4-2……12-9-4
StL        4-7-1…..6-4-3…….10-11-4
SD         5-6-1……5-7-1…….10-13-2
SF          4-7-2……4-7-1…….8-14-3
Wash    4-5-3……6-6-1……,10-11-4

Orioles  2-10-1…..1-10-1……3-20-2
Boston   7-6……….2-5-5…….9-11-5
W Sox    3-6-4…….5-3-4…….8-9-8
Clev        4-4-4…….6-3-4……10-7-8
Det          2-6-5…….3-9……….5-15-5
Astros     6-6-1…..9-0-3………15-6-4
KC           1-10-1…..3-8-2……..4-18-3
Angels     6-7-2……6-5……….12-12-2
Twins      7-4-2……8-2-2……..15-6-4
NYY         6-4-1……10-3-1……16-7-2
A’s            5-7-2…….7-4-2……12-11-4
Sea           6-7……….4-8-1…….10-15-1
TB            9-2-2…..6-4-2……..15-6-4
Texas       3-4-4…..10-1-3…….13-5-7
Toronto   4-6-3……2-9-1…….6-15-4

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

13) Long time ago when I was in college, had a summer job for New York State; I worked in an office, had to dress like an adult— think I was 18. Six of us were hired for the summer. 

One of the other guys played college hockey; at the end of the summer, we all had to write a letter of resignation that they put in the file- for some reason this guy didn’t do that, so in the last hour of the last day we’re there, someone tells him he has to write the letter- the rest of us had all handed in typed letters of resignation. 

He takes a notebook, rips out a piece of paper, and with a magic marker writes “I QUIT!!!!” on it and signs the bottom and hands it in to the boss and walks out, so to this day, somewhere in the archives, there is this letter. 

Not sure what reminded me of that today, but it was funny as hell when it happened. 

12) Former NBA star Stephon Marbury said Monday that he’s been named head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters, a Chinese Basketball Association team. Marbury is 42 now; he retired as a player last year. 

11) Mets had a news conference Monday afternoon where manager Mickey Callaway didn’t apologize for cursing out a Newsday reporter Sunday; couple hours later, they had another news conference, where Callaway apologized for not apologizing the first time. Not sure if he actually apologized for cursing out the writer, but he did apologize for something. What a mess. 

10) Right now, the Lakers’ over/under win total for next year is 53.5; how do you bet on this either way, without knowing who the hell is going to be playing for them? As the roster stands right now, they’re not a 54-win team. 

9) Fantasy baseball tip: I’m in a Monday-Sunday head-head league; we get four pickups a month and I was down to my last pick-up this month, needing to find a shortstop for the next two weeks (Story/Seager are both on IL).

Was deciding between Brock Holt/Chris Taylor Friday night, but in a rare fit of wisdom, decided to wait until Sunday night to make the call. Good thing; Holt hurt his hamstring Saturday, which made it unnecessary to make the decision. Hope Taylor has a hot couple of weeks. 

8) With Marlins’ C Jorge Alfaro on the IL, 35-year old Wilkin Castillo was brought up from AAA and he had a big hit in Saturday’s 5-3 win in Philly. 

Castillo hadn’t been in the major leagues since batting three times in four games for the ’09 Reds. Imagine what he must’ve felt like, being back in The Show for the first time in a decade? 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Minnesota signed P Cody Allen to a free agent contract.
— Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks (torn UCL) is on the IL.
— Astros activated OF George Springer, P Collin McHugh from the IL. 

6) Phoenix Suns declined Jimmer Fredette’s team option, Warriors say he’ll join them in summer league, so summer league just got a little more interesting. Summer league starts at the end of next week; if you like the NBA, do yourself a favor and go watch it in person some time. 

Its in Las Vegas, so even if you wind up hating summer league, chances are you’ll find something to occupy your time, of that I am not uncertain. 

5) Portland Traiblazers are trading Evan Turner to Atlanta for Kent Bazemore. 

4) NBA fined the New York Knicks $50,000 for refusing to credential the New York Daily News for a press conference last week. Tough week for the media in the Big Apple. 

3) Steven Matz’s first inning ERA this season is 10.93; in 15 starts, he’s allowed 10 first inning home runs. No bueno. 

2) There have already been seven games this season where both sides hit 4+ homers; all of last season, there were only three games like that. 

1) Mike Conley won both the 2018-19 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and NBA Sportsmanship Award, right after he gets traded to Utah. Wonder what the fans in Memphis are thinking when such a good guy/popular player (12 years with Grizzlies) gets traded away? 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend……..

13) Say you’re sitting in the outfield bleachers at a major league game; Mike Trout or Cody Bellinger hits a homer and you catch it, but they play for the visiting team. Do you listen to the nitwits around you and throw the ball back on the field? 

If it is me, I keep the ball, even if it means leaving my seat for the day. If you have a home run ball hit by a future Hall of Famer, you’re holding money in your hand. Find someone with the visiting team, get the ball signed, then put it in your living room. 

12) Marlins 6, Phillies 4— Miami sweeps in Philly for the first time since 2009; Phils are 6-16 in their last 22 games. I’d guess the manager is on the hot seat. 

11) There are 353 Division I college basketball teams; 59 of them changed head coaches since the end of last season. Holy Cross is the only current head coaching opening in D-I. 

10) Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton offered a man $1,500 to switch seats with him on a 10-hour flight from Paris on Friday, so he could have more leg room- the guy said no. 

9) Brewers 7, Reds 5— Baseball can be strange sometimes. Anthony DeSclafani struck out the first six Milwaukee batters Sunday, then got ripped for five runs in the third inning. 

8) Fernando Tatis Jr scored from third base Sunday on a pop-up that was about five feet on the outfield grass behind 2B; he caught the second baseman napping, and got Hunter Renfroe an RBI he didn’t deserve. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Nationals released P Trevor Rosenthal, who cost them $7M this year.
— Braves P Mike Soroka left after two innings after being HBP on the forearm.
— Dodgers put 3B David Freeze (hamstring) on IL. 

6) How important is it that Las Vegas has no state income tax? 

On a $5.9M/yr deal William Karlsson will take home an estimated $3.75M after taxes in Vegas. If he signed the same deal in other NHL cities this is what he’d bring home: 

Toronto/Montreal: $2.77M
Los Angeles/Anaheim/San Jose: $2.99M
New York: $3.02M 

5) In the 4th inning Sunday, Pete Alonso hit a homer on an 0-2 pitch off of Cole Hamels; it was the first homer Hamels allowed on an 0-2 pitch since 2014. 

4) In late January, Indiana Pacers’ star Victor Oladipo ruptured a quadriceps tendon in his right knee; he might not be back playing until Christmas. 

3) College basketball transfer portal:
— Gonzaga poaches PG Ryan Woolridge from North Texas

2) Mets led the Cubs 3-2 after five innings Sunday, just 9th time in Jacob deGrom’s last 42 starts that the first five innings total went over. 

1) Pete Maravich would have turned 72 years old this weekend; he was great fun to watch, who in the ESPN era would’ve been an even bigger star than he was.

Great passer who was also flashy, outstanding scorer— he hung 69 points on the Knicks one night and that was before the 3-point line.

Sunday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) UConn is expected to leave the AAC and go back to the Big East for the 2020-21 season; not sure what this does to their football program, since the Big East isn’t a football league. 

Huskies have made the NCAA basketball tournament only once in the last five years. 

UConn leaving the AAC raises the question: who replaces the Huskies in the AAC? 

12) NHL does their draft better than any other league; the whole league is under one roof, all the coaches/GM’s, and they move the draft around North America every year- they did that before the NFL started doing it. 

Philadelphia Flyers drafted a kid who went to Florida on a golf scholarship, then thought better of it and transferred to Minnesota, where he walked on to the hockey team. Not a lot of guys in the NHL went to college on a golf scholarship. 

11) San Francisco Giants are thinking about taking their bullpens off the field and putting them under the stands in right-center field, which would mean the fences in “Triples Alley” would have to come in, making the dimensions much more hitter-friendly. 

10) Twice in the last week, Cardinals’ pitcher John Flaherty was used as a pinch-runner in the last inning; one time he was thrown out at the plate to end the game, Thursday he got picked off second to end the game. His pinch-running career might be over. 

9) Former Angels’ OF Tim Salmon has the most home runs (299) by anyone who never made an All-Star team. 

8) Talked last week about the Angels DFA’ing OF Carlos Puello; he quickly found a home with the Miami Marlins, where he is now their rightfielder. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Indians put P Mike Clevinger (ankle) on IL.
— MLB suspended Texas 3B Asdrubel Cabrera for four games. 

— MLB suspended Oakland P Frankie Montas for 80 games (PEDs)

6) New York Daily News was not invited to a Friday press conference for Knicks’ draft picks RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis, but every other NYC outlet covering the team was. Owner James Dolan doesn’t like the paper’s coverage and has effectively banned them from covering the team.

Dolan is one of the worst owners in sports, if not the worst. 

5) In his last three starts, Jacob deGrom threw 112-116-113 pitches, which is indicative of teams starting to stretch their better starting pitchers out a little more.

Stats show that with relievers pitching more and more innings, their ERA’s are going higher and higher, so this is the result of that. 

4) Yu Darvish didn’t get a decision in any of his last ten starts, which ties a big league record that was last done in 1977 (Lerch, D’Acquisto), and has only been done four times ever. 

3) Michigan-Vanderbilt will play a best-of-3 series for the College World Series title starting Monday. 

2) Dodgers 5, Rockies 4— Alex Verdugo hit a walk-off homer for LA- they walked off Colorado Friday night, too. 

1) If the baseball playoffs started today…….
NL: Atlanta-Chicago-Los Angeles. Wild Cards: Cardinals @ Brewers
AL: New York-Minnesota-Houston. Wild Cards: Bos/Clev @ Rays 

Saturday’s Den: Looking at some Pac-12 football trends…….

Arizona— Wildcats are 22-28 SU last four years; since ’13, they’re 5-16 ATS as road underdogs. Average total in their last five bowls (3-2) is 76.2. Senior QB Tate has 20 career starts; they don’t play Washington State this year- they lost 69-28 to the Coogs LY. 

Arizona State— Sun Devils lost four of last five bowls, giving up 38.8 ppg; they’re 10-4-1 in last 15 games as an underdog. Last two years, ASU is 7-2-1 vs spread coming off a loss; they’ll have a new QB this year, playing behind an experienced OL. 

California— Golden Bears made only 2nd bowl since 2011 LY; they’ve got only 4 starters back on offense this year. Cal lost to arch-rival Stanford last five years, by average score of 32-19 (1-4 vs spread). Under Wilcox, Cal is 11-5 ATS as an underdog, 2-5-1 as a favorite. 

Colorado— Last year’s 5-0 start turned into an injury-riddled 5-7 debacle that cost MacIntyre his job. Buffs have been to one bowl since 2007; their last bowl win was 33-28 over UTEP in the 2004 Houston Bowl. Mel Tucker is a long-time DC; this is his first head coaching job. 

Oregon— This is first time since 2016 that Ducks have same HC two years in row; they lost three of last four bowls, winning LY’s bowl 7-6 over Michigan State. Last three years, under three HCs, Oregon is 1-7-1 ATS as a road underdog. 

Oregon State— Last four years, Beavers are 9-39 SU, 6-11 ATS as a home underdog, 9-13-1 as a road dog- their last bowl was in 2013, when Mike Riley was HC. In their last 25 games, OSU is -24 in turnovers; they’re very experienced this year, should show improvement. 

USC— Trojans were 5-7 LY; they’re 3-9 vs spread in last 12 games as a home favorite. USC is 3-2 in its last five bowls, scoring 45-45-52 in the wins, 21-7 in losses. Since 2012, Trojans are 3-12 as a road underdog. 

Stanford— Won 8+ games every year for last decade; their last three bowls (2-1) were decided by total of five points. Cardinal is 8-3 in last 11 games as a road favorite; over last decade, they’re 5-0 ATS as a home underdog. 

UCLA— Bruins are 13-24 SU the last three years; since 2014, they’re 8-15 as a home favorite. Over last decade, they’re 39-53 ATS (42.4%) in Pac-12 games. In their last three bowls, UCLA allayed 35-37-35 points, losing two of three. 

Utah— Last two years, Utes are 8-2 vs spread as home favorites; since 2014, they’re 11-2 as a road underdog. Whittingham is 11-2 SU in his career in bowl games. Senior QB Huntley has 19 career starts. 

Washington— Huskies are 32-9 SU last three years, but went 0-3 in bowls; they’ll have a new QB this year (Georgia transfer Eason- 13 starts for Dawgs). Washington has + turnover ratio the last seven years, going +51 the last five years. 

Washington State— From 2009-14, Coogs were 19-54; from 2015-18, they’re 37-15; Mike Leach is a damn good coach. Since 2013, WSU is 16-5 ATS as a road underdog. This year’s QB is Gage Gubrud, a grad transfer from I-AA Eastern Washington. 

Friday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a busy Thursday……..

13) I’m not fond of how the NBA runs it draft; when a pick gets traded (the #4 pick got traded twice), they still have the team who originally had the pick posted as the team making that pick. It is nonsensical. 

Lakers had the #4 pick; they traded it to New Orleans, who traded it to Atlanta; everyone in the damn country knows this, so post it on your graphics and announce it as Atlanta’s pick— how freaking difficult can that be? 

12) One of the most interesting teams in the NBA next season will be Cleveland, since 66-year old John Beilein will be a rookie NBA coach, after having been a great college coach. 

Cavaliers took PG Darius Garland with the #5 pick; he only played four college games at Vandy before getting hurt, which wound up costing his college coach his job, since the team went in the ashcan without their point guard. 

Cleveland already has Collin Sexton, so maybe they foresee a backcourt like Portland’s, with McCollum, Lillard.

11) Miami Heat traded three 2nd-round picks to Indiana for the 32nd pick, then took 6-10 KZ Okpala from Stanford; this from a scout: “Didn’t always have the defensive impact you might expect, particularly off the ball. Lacks a degree of physicality and toughness at times.”

Three 2nd round picks is a high price, so Miami must see a lot of potential.

10) New Orleans Pelicans traded the #4 pick, the #57 pick and Solomon Hill to Atlanta for the #8 and #17 picks, giving the Pelicans three first round picks. 

With the #4 pick, the Hawks took De’Andre Hunter, who helped lead Virginia to the national title this past spring. 

New Orleans took big guy Jaxson Hayes (Texas) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech) with the picks they got in the deal. 

9) Oklahoma City took Chuma Okeke with the 16th pick; this is the kid from Auburn who tore his ACL during the NCAA tournament, so he won’t be any help this coming season, but Thunder must figure the knee will be fine. This pick was largely panned by the TV experts. 

8) Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke both got taken in the first 21 picks, first time ever the Zags have had two first round draft picks in the same year. 

7) You feel bad for kids who show up in Brooklyn for the draft and then slide down the draft board; has to be humbling. Oregon’s 7-3 C Bol Bol sat there for four hours before he wound up with the Denver Nuggets, the 44th player taken.

Bol is 7-foot-3 with a standing reach of 9’7.5, shot 52% from the arc, is an elite rim protector, averaged 21.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg in nine games. Doesn’t turn 20 until November, but teams have questions whether he really loves basketball, which would be a serious problem. 

6) Former Today Show host Matt Lauer put his Hamptons mansion on Long Island up for sale for about $44M, now that his divorce is final. 

People say athletes are overpaid, and most are, but a guy hosting a 7am news show owning an estate worth $44M? Damn. Just for the record, Lauer bought the estate from Richard Gere for $36.5M in 2016. 

5) Mets fired their pitching coach/bullpen coach Thursday; not sure what the bullpen coach did to get fired, unless he doesn’t answer the bullpen phone fast enough. 

The new bullpen coach is Ricky Bones, who was bullpen coach last year but got the boot after the season.

4) Your tax dollars at work in the Tar Heel State: 

Pinecrest HS in North Carolina lost the ACT test answer sheets for their entire junior class — that’s everyone who took the ACT on February 20 and March 13. All 440 answer sheets. 

School administrators “have no idea” where the answer sheets are; kids will get re-tested when they go back to school this fall. Not good!!!!

3) Baseball stuff:
— Rockies put SS Trevor Story (thumb) on the IL.
— Rockies’ 3B Nolan Arenado (foot) left Thursday’s game early.

2) An executive with the New England Patriots decided to leave the team after owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting this past winter; the guy moved on to a similar job with Houston, then created a mess when he tried to recruit Nick Caserio to join him with the Texans. That is tampering, so Caserio remains in Foxboro.

How much will all this affect Caserio’s work this season? His contract is up after the 2020 draft; will he move on to Houston then? 

1) Tampa Bay Rays got permission from MLB to explore splitting their home games between St Petersburg and Montreal; the mayor of St Pete wasn’t pleased. 

“I believe this is getting a bit silly. After 12 years of indecision… I am tired of the games that are being played related to getting a new stadium built.”

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Nationals 2, Phillies 0— Max Scherzer broke his nose Tuesday during bunting practice, but he pitched the nightcap of this twinbill a day later, though he looked like Rocky Balboa, with a blackened right eye. 

Throwing seven shutout innings the day after you break your nose is excellent. 

12) Newly-signed P Dallas Keuchel will make his 2019 debut for the Braves Friday night against Washington. 

11) San Diego’s Manny Machado hit a high infield pop-up Wednesday; four Brewers stared at each other and the ball fell harmlessly to the ground between the mound and the first base line. No one touched it, so it was called a single, which drives me nuts. 

How the bleep can the pitcher be penalized for that? Next guy walked, next guy hit a home run and he gets nailed for three earned runs? That rule has to change; just plain stupid.

10) Milwaukee TV analyst Bill Schroeder, who is very good, ripped Machado for not being on second base when the ball fell, which ignites a different debate. 

That ball gets caught 99 times out of 100; do you want your players sprinting when there is a 1% chance of  getting an extra base, as opposed to a higher chance of pulling a muscle? I can see both sides of this argument.

9) Memphis Grizzlies traded PG Mike Conley to Utah for Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and Grayson Allen, as well as two draft picks. Conley scored 21.1 ppg LY; he played the first 12 years of his NBA career with the Grizzlies. 

8) Braves 7, Mets 2— Nick Markakis had played in 240 consecutive games, longest active streak in the major leagues; he didn’t start this game, but had a 2-run pinch single in the 8th inning to extend his streak to 241. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Braves put P Sean Newcomb on 7-day concussion IL.
— Tampa Bay put 3B Yandy Diaz (hamstring) on IL. 

6) Random movie/TV trivia: actress Shera Danese, who played Vicky, the 2nd hooker in Risky Business, was married to Peter Falk (Columbo) for 34 years until he died in 2011. She appeared in six of the Columbo movies, from 1976-97. 

5) College basketball transfer portal:
— F Karrington Davis bolts from Nebraska to Southern Illinois. 

4) Alex Meruelo, who owns the SLS Las Vegas hotel/casino, was approved to become the owner of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. SLS has the smallest rooms I’ve ever stayed in in Las Vegas, but it was a cool place. Good food places there. 

3) Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford played last season despite “tiny fractures in his back”; he was listed as questionable in Weeks 14-16, but started all three games.

2) Lakers and Pelicans are reportedly set to complete the Anthony Davis trade July 6; had they waited until July 30 to make the deal, LA would’ve saved $9M in cap space, and that difference could prevent them from pursuing another free agent for a max contract. No bueno. 

1) Told you few days ago about this terrific new book “Then One Day” that I am reading now. Written by Chris Andrews, who runs the sportsbook at SouthPoint in Las Vegas, it is filled with stories from the gambling world over the last 40 years. An example……..

Have you ever played Keno in a casino? Keno is Chinese in origin; the guy who introduced it in Nevada casinos a long, long time ago got the idea by talking to Chinese immigrants who were working on the railroad in Montana, where the guy lived at the time.

I’ve never played Keno myself, but you always see people playing it in casinos. Knowing how it became a thing in Nevada, coming from China, is pretty interesting. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) Washington’s best pitcher Max Scherzer broke his nose while working on his bunting during batting practice Tuesday night; he is supposed to pitch for the Nationals today, As I type this, it is unclear whether Scherzer is going to pitch or not. 

Phillies-Nationals got rained out for second night in a row, so now Scherzer won’t have to pitch Wednesday so his nose can heal a little bit. 

12) The resume of Toronto Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse:
1989-90: Northern Iowa (assistant)
1990-91:  Derby Rams (player/coach)
1991-93: Grand View
1993-95: South Dakota (assistant)
1995-97: Birmingham Bullets
1998: Telindus Oolinde
1998-200: Manchester Giants
2000-01: London Towers
2001: Oklahoma Storm (assistant)
2001-06: Brighton Bears
2005: Oklahoma Storm (assistant)
2007-11: Iowa Energy
2011-13: Rio Grande Valley Vipers
2013-18: Toronto Raptors (assistant)
2018-19: Toronto Raptors (head coach)- NBA champs

The man has paid his dues. 

11) Josh McCown threw passes for seven different NFL teams in his 17-year career, going 23-53 as a starter; he retired this week, but should have an excellent career, either as a coach or on TV- he also signed with ESPN this week. 

Only six other QB’s have thrown a pass for seven NFL teams; this fall, Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to become the first QB to throw a pass for eight NFL teams. 

Playing QB in the NFL is profitable, even if you’re a backup; McCown earned $49,668,000 in his playing career, pretty good cash for a guy who won 23 games in 17 years.

10) Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball figure to be teammates with the Pelicans next season; it was July 2017 that I saw Zion’s AAU team play Lavar Ball’s team at an adidas tournament in Las Vegas. Lonzo was sitting in the front row, watching his younger brother play. 

That was the night there were so many people in the Cashman Center, when Lebron James pulled up to watch the games, the Las Vegas police told him that he could go in the building, but they couldn’t guarantee his safety in there, so Lebron left. 

9) Toronto Raptors had their championship parade Monday; thousands of people jammed the streets to celebrate Canada’s first NBA championship. It was estimated that 2,000,000 people jammed the parade route. 

8) US Open golf champion Gary Woodland originally went to Division II Washburn on a basketball scholarship, but transferred to Kansas after his freshman year and got a golf scholarship from the Jayhawks. 

7) Angels DFA’d Cesar Puello this week; the guy hit .390 in 12 games (50 PA) and he got freakin’ DFA’d. Hopefully someone will trade for him or pick him up when he becomes a free agent. He is only 28 years old. 

6) College basketball transfer portal:
— Derryck Thornton bolts from USC to Boston College; he had previously played for Duke. If kids could transfer during a TV timeout, he would be a strong candidate to do it. 

5) San Francisco Giants are struggling at 31-40, but they’re 17-6 in one-run games, 14-34 in all their other games. In other words, they could be a whole lot worse than 31-40. 

4) Last night, my TV informed me that the batteries were low in my remote control. No idea how my TV knew that, but I paid attention and changed the batteries. Thanks, TV!!!

3) Bellarmine College in Louisville is going D-I in basketball, starting in 2020-21; the Knights will play in the Atlantic Sun Conference. 

2) It must be fun to be a good player in the NBA:
— Al Horford turned down his $30.1M option from the Celtics.
— Harrison Barnes turned down his $25.1M option from the Kings.

Can you imagine turning down that kind of money? I’d be afraid to walk across the street until I signed a new contract. Guys dislike playing on a team so much that they turn down $25M to go elsewhere. Wow. 

1) There is a photographer named Tom Fox who was in Dallas Monday to cover a trial; when he got to the courthouse, he saw a gunman and the gunman saw him and the police/gunman wound up in a shootout, with bullets flying over the photographer’s head (he was hiding behind a column). Mercifully, he didn’t get hit. 

The photographer got a great picture of the gunman, the gunman wound up getting killed. Sad way to start the week; imagine having the onions to snap a picture of a guy with an assault rifle who can see you and isn’t that far away? Amazing.

Tuesday’s Den: Some early notes for SEC college football……

14) Vanderbilt— Vandy has new QB this year but grad transfer Neal started 23 games at Ball State. Commodores have won three straight over Tennessee for first time since 1926. 

13) Texas A&M— Jimbo Fisher is 6-2 in bowl games; Aggies scored 52-52 points in their last two bowls, are 8-1-1 vs spread in last 10 non-league games. A&M has only 4 starters back on defense. 

12) Tennessee— Volunteers haven’t gone bowling since 2016; they won last three bowls, scoring 42.7 ppg. Last two years, Vols are 3-11 vs spread at Neyland Stadium. Their offensive line is expected to be much better this year. 

11) South Carolina— Senior QB Bentley has already started 32 games; last two years. Gamecocks are 6-0 vs spread as a road dog. Carolina last four games with Georgia, by 32-14-14-24 points. 

10) Missouri— Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant takes over at QB for Drew Lock; under Odom, Mizzou is 10-7 vs spread as a HF. Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is the Tigers’ OC. 

9) Mississippi State— Last seven times Bulldogs were an underdog, the home team covered the spread; last two years, State is 8-3 vs spread as a home favorite. New QB for MSU this season. 

8) Ole Miss— Under Luke, Rebels are 3-9 vs spread as an underdog, 0-5 at home; they were 0-8 vs spread in SEC games last year. Ole Miss won four of its last five bowl games (last one in ’15). 

7) LSU— Under Orgeron, Tigers covered six of seven games as an underdog, but he is 0-3 vs Alabama, outscored 63-10 in those games. Tigers are 7-9 as a favorite under Coach O. 

6) Kentucky— Wildcats won 10 games LY for first time since 1977; they have only 10 returning starters this year. Last two years, Wildcats are 0-9 vs spread as a home favorite. 

5) Georgia— Dawgs won 10+ games five of last seven years; they’re 13-6 vs spread in last 19 SEC games. This is first time since 1995 that Georgia opens season with an SEC game (Vanderbilt). 

4) Florida— Gators have only one returning starter back on OL (24 career starts). Mullen is 6-2 in bowl games, winning last four. Florida plays Miami this year for first time since 2013. 

3) Auburn— Last five years, Tigers are 9-20-1 vs spread as home favorites; LY they were 0-7 vs spread in game following a win, 4-1 after a loss. New quarterback this season for Auburn. 

2) Arkansas— Razorbacks are 6-18 SU the last two years, 1-15 in SEC games (beat Ole Miss 38-37 in ’17). Arkansas brought in pair of grad transfer QB’s this year, figure to improve there. 

1) Alabama— Crimson Tide is +40 in turnovers the last four years; they’re 41-1 SU at home the last six years, and covered 10 of last 15 games as a road favorite. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….

13) Once, just once, I want to hear a prominent pro athlete say:

“You know, I make $20 million a year; I’ll be happy no matter where I play.”

Because if you ain’t happy making an 8-figure salary, not sure what’ll do it. 

12) Charlie Blackmon’s week for Colorado:
Seven games: 21-37, 14 runs, 13 RBI, three doubles, a triple and five homers. Not bad. 

11) Colorado scored 44 runs in their last three games, but lost two of the three.

Sunday’s game at Coors Field was especially bizarre: San Diego scored four runs in the 9th to take the lead, the 4th run coming when pinch-hitter Schram (a pitcher) was walked with the bases loaded by Jon Gray, normally a starting pitcher. 

10) San Diego’s Eric Lauer has started three games at Coors Field: Total of 8.2 IP, 24 hits, 8 walks, 20 runs (0-3, 19.73)

Might want to skip his turn next time the Padres go to Denver.

9) In his long, great career, Nolan Ryan struck out nine guys whose fathers he had previously struck out. 

8) Was watching re-run of Michigan-Texas Tech game from College World Series; they were talking about this kid on Tech who would keep a journal with him in the dugout, and would write in it after each at-bat, to the point where he was ignoring the action on the field. 

Finally they asked him to stop writing in the journal until after the game; was an interesting discussion about how different kids approach the game differently from a mental standpoint. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Mets put P Noah Syndergaard (hamstring) on IL.
— Orioles put OF Dwight Smith (concussion) on the IL. 
— Nationals put P Kyle Barraclough (radial nerve) on the IL

6) 45% of players on major league rosters on Opening Day this year went to a 4-year college; 25% are international players. 

5) Healthy advice I saw on the Interweb this week: “Find three hobbies: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to keep you creative.”

4) Indians, Brewers, Cardinals are only teams without a grand slam this season. 

3) Seattle Mariners began their salary dump, trading Edwin Encarnacion to Bronx for 19-year old pitcher Juan Then, who is 2-5, 2.67 in two seasons of Class A ball (24 starts)- he hasn’t pitched at all yet this season. 

2) Braves 15, Phillies 1— Atlanta scored 78 runs in winning nine of its last ten games, their best 10-game stretch of scoring runs since 2007. 

1) Writer from Atlanta suggested this Saturday night, and it makes sense; if the Cubs do put a sportsbook in Wrigley Field, shouldn’t Pete Rose finally be allowed on the Hall of Fame ballot?