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

On MLB page: Our daily writeup on baseball; pitcher, team, trends

Thursday’s 6-pack:
College football spreads for this fall:
— Clemson (-8) vs NC State
— Michigan (-9) vs USC
— Oklahoma (-2) vs Tennessee
— Miami (-7) vs Virginia Tech
— Georgia (-5) vs Alabama
— Florida State (-9) vs SMU

Quote of the Day 
“I am very excited to go home and see them, hug them, talk with them, play with them. I saw them before the game and it’s a totally different feeling. Very cool.”
Phillies P Ranger Suarez, who pitched in front of his wife and two kids for the first time

Thursday’s quiz
Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum was the third pick in the 2017 NBA Draft; who was the first pick?

Wednesday’s quiz
2014 Los Angeles Kings are last NHL team to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0.

Tuesday’s quiz
Paul Pierce was the Celtics’ leading scorer in the last season where they won the NBA title. 

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

— Last year, the NBA’s Detroit Pistons hired Monty Williams as their new coach, giving him $78M for a 6-year contract, then they went 14-68 this year, which included a 28-game losing streak. Pistons are 94-290 (.245) over the last five years, the worst record in the NBA during that time.

After the season, Detroit fired their general manager, then Wednesday, they fired Williams, eating $65M in the process. How much do you have to dislike someone or the job they’re doing to pay them $65M to go away????

NBA Draft is next week; Lakers/Cavaliers are also looking for new coaches. Detroit has the 5th pick in the draft. Will they hire a new coach before the draft?

— Ten years ago, the NHL’s LA Kings played San Jose in the first round of the playoffs; they lost the first two games 6-3/7-2 in San Jose, then lost Game 3 in overtime, 4-3 at home. Things were not looking good, but they swept the last four games against the Sharks, winning all four games by 3+ goals, including a 5-1 win at San Jose in Game 7.

Then they beat Anaheim in seven games, in a series where the road team won five of the seven games. Kings won Game 7 6-2 in Anaheim.

Western Conference final, Kings led Chicago three games to one, then lost Games 5-6, but they won Game 7 in Chicago, beating the Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime.

All of this was extremely unlikely, winning three Game 7’s on the road, but when the Kings beat the Rangers in five games to win the Stanley Cup, with three of their four wins in overtime, they finished one of the most unlikely runs to a championship of any team in any sport, ever.

This was also the last time an NHL team won a series after trailing 3-0, a feat the Edmonton Oilers are trying to pull off this week against Florida.

— Is the NHL the only league that announces trades while their playoffs are still going on?

— Tuesday night in Denver, the Dodgers trailed Colorado 9-4 after eight innings, but they scored seven runs in the top of the 9th to win 11-9, getting a grand slam from Jason Heyward, a 3-run blast by Teoscar Hernandez.

Before that, the Dodgers had lost 1,137 consecutive games when they trailed by 5+ runs in the 9th inning, or later. Their last win in this situation was in 1957, their last year in Brooklyn.

— Tuesday night in Anaheim, Milwaukee led the Angels 6-0 in the 9th inning; they put in a cruddy relief pitcher to wrap the game up, but that didn’t work, so they put their closer in with Taylor Ward up to bat with the score 6-3 and two men on base— tying run at the plate.

Ward hit a ball to deep centerfield that would’ve gone over the fence and tied the game, except Sal Frelick jumped up and caught the ball, robbing Ward of the game-tying homer and ending the game. Best defensive play of the week.

— When Willie Mays got elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, in 1979, there were 23 voters who didn’t put Mays on their ballot. Huh?

Who the BLEEP!!!! didn’t vote for Willie Mays as a Hall of Famer? 

Famous birthdays, June 20th:
Dave Elmendorf, 75
John Goodman, 72
Dickie Thon, 66

Nicole Kidman, 57
Rodney Rogers, 53
Lavar Arrington, 46

Kendrys Morales, 41
Josh Childress, 41
Darko Milicic, 39

Word of the Day: Prudent- Acting with or showing care and thought for the future.

— Braves 7, Tigers 0
Reynaldo Lopez tossed five shutout innings.
Detroit scored total of three runs in their last four games.

— Rays 3, Twins 2 (10)
Tampa Bay is 35-39, but 25-11 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs.
Loss snaps Minnesota’s six-game winning streak.

— Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 3
Boston has won five in a row, 8 of last 10 games.
Toronto made four errors; Red Sox scored two unearned runs.

— A’s 5, Royals 1
A’s win consecutive games for first time since May 4th.
Zack Gelof homered for the second day in a row.

— Astros 4, White Sox 1
This was first time in 5+ years Houston started 9 righty hitters in a game.
Backup C Salazar had two hits, two RBI- he didn’t start.

— Brewers 2, Angels 0
Freddy Peralta tossed six shutout innings.
Angels have been blanked in 21 of their last 22 innings.

— Orioles 7, New York 6 (10)
Baltimore is now 19-7 in its last 26 games.
Gerrit Cole allowed two runs in 4 IP (62 PT) in his first 2024 start. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

— RIP to baseball icon Willie Mays, who passed away at age 93.

He made the All-Star Game 19 years in a row.
He won a World Series ring with the 1954 Giants.

He was NL Rookie of the Year in 1951.
He won 12 Gold Gloves, was MVP of the NL in 1954, 1965. 

He ranks 6th all time in home runs (660),
He ranks 7th in runs scored (2,068),
He ranks 12th in RBI (1,909),
He ranks 13th in hits (3,293).

When you talk about who is the greatest player ever, you can make a strong argument for him.

RIP, sir.

— Was watching Florida State play in the College World Series, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying on TV; all the FSU players were wearing wristbands, like quarterbacks wear. 

Why? What information would be on wristbands for position players?

— New York 1B Anthony Rizzo broke his arm Monday, is out 4-6 weeks; they called up rookie Ben Rice to take his place— he went 1-4 in his MLB debut Tuesday.

Ben Rice has a good commercial opportunity, if they still sell Uncle Ben’s rice; do a commercial with his uncle, seems like it would be good TV.

— LA Clippers hired Jeff Van Gundy to be their top assistant coach; he spent this year working with the NBA champion Celtics, after working on ESPN for 16 years as an analyst.

— Brewers P Tobias Myers beat the Angels Tuesday; two years ago, that would’ve seemed very unlikely, seeing how he went 1-15, 7.82 in 22 starts for three different AAA teams. Milwaukee is his 6th organization, and he’s only 25 years old.

— Pirates’ OF Bryan Reynolds has a career batting average of .347 in June, the highest June batting average of any player in the last 50 years.

Famous birthdays, June 19th:
Duane Kuiper, 74
Kathleen Turner, 70
Mike Renfro, 69

Paula Abdul, 62
Poppy Montgomery, 52
Anthony Parker, 49

Dirk Nowitzki, 46
Jacob deGrom, 36
Joe Noteboom, 29

— Edmonton 5, Florida 3
Oilers scored two power play goals, scored 5 times on only 24 shots.
Edmonton also scored a short-handed goal, for second game in a row. 
Teams head back to Alberta with Florida leading the series, 3-2.

— Dodgers 11, Rockies 9
Dodgers scored seven runs in the top of the 9th.
Jason Heyward hit a pinch-hit grand slam, Teoscar Hernandez hit a 3-run blast.
Colorado led 7-2 after five innings. 

— Phillies 4, Padres 3
San Diego led 3-1 in 8th inning, have now lost five games in a row.
Nick Castellanos had the walk-off hit for the Phillies.

— A’s 7, Royals 5
JJ Bleday hit three doubles, as Oakland snapped a 9-game skid.
Hogan Harris pitched 5 innings, allowed one earned run.

— Marlins 9, Cardinals 8 (10)
Marlins snap a 6-game losing skid.
Vidal Brujan had the game-winning hit for Miami.

— White Sox 2, Astros 0
Jonathan Cannon got 26 outs on 106 pitches, for his first MLB win.
1B Andrew Vaughn knocked in both Chicago runs with ground outs.

— Mets 7, Rangers 6
Mets have now won seven games in a row.
Texas led this game 6-2 after five innings. 

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

— Celtics 106, Mavericks 88
Boston wins its 18th NBA title, its first since 2008.
Celtics led 67-46 at halftime. 

Boston went 16-3 in the playoffs this season.

— In 1988, Celtics had the NBA’s biggest payroll, a total of $9,283,833; they went 57-25, lost in the Eastern Conference final.

This season, Celtics had a payroll of $188,000,720; they’ve got six players who make $10M+.

— Lebron James should become player-coach of the Lakers, the way Bill Russell was in the late 60’s, at the end of his great playing career.

Why are they messing around with neophytes like Danny Hurley and JJ Redick, who have never been NBA head coaches? Just hire Lebron, have some veteran assistants to do the prep work, and Lebron can manage the games. It would work.

— NFL teams with the most touchdown plays of more than 20 yards last year:
22- Dolphins
16- Cowboys, Lions, 49ers
15- Browns, Buccaneers
14- Colts, Jaguars

NFL teams with the fewest TD plays of more than 20 yards last year:
3- Panthers
5- Chiefs
6- Patriots
7- Bears

— Teams with most touchdowns scored on their first drive last year:
10- 49ers
7- Ravens
6- Bears, Broncos, Colts, Rams, Eagles, Seahawks

Fewest touchdowns scored on their first drive last year:
0- Panthers, Giants, Buccaneers
1- Patriots, Jets, Saints

— HBO’s Hard Knocks will deal with the four teams in the AFC North this season; it will be the first time the Emmy Award-winning series has covered an entire division.

The show will begin December 3rd, and run thru the playoffs.

— Birmingham Stallions won the UFL Sunday with a 25-0 win over San Antonio; over the last three years, the Stallions went 32-4, won three league titles.

Famous birthdays, June 18th:
Paul McCartney, 72
Isabella Rossellini, 72
Tom Clements, 71

Andrés Galarraga, 63
Sandy Alomar, 58
Alana De La Garza, 58

Jeff Saturday, 49
Antonio Gates, 44
Matt Moore, 35 (Angels’ P)

— Southwest Airlines has re-started non-stop flights between Albany and Las Vegas, which is good news for my future travel plans.

— San Diego P Dylan Cease’s splits this year:
First 8 starts: 5-2, 2.74
Last 7 starts: 1-4, 6.27

— Cardinals 7, Marlins 6 (12)
St Louis is over .500 for first time since April 6th.
Masyn Winn hit a 2-run homer in the 12th inning.

— Mets 14, Rangers 2
Mets won their 6th game in row; they led 7-0 in second inning.
Rangers are 11-22 in their last 33 games.

— Giants 7, Cubs 6
Thairo Estrada hit a 3-run homer in the ninth inning.
Hector Neris has blown four saves in 14 chances this year.

— Phillies 9, Padres 2
Kyle Schwarber homered twice, knocked in four runs.
Alec Bohm went 3-5, with a homer and 3 RBI.

— Pirates 4, Reds 1
Rookie P Skenes is 4-0, 2.29 in seven starts.
Skenes has issued 7 walks, has 53 strikeouts in 39.1 IP. 

Monday’s Den: Major League teams’ records in series……..

Major League teams’ records in series:
Home…….Away……Total

— Diamondbacks 6-6…….3-5-3……9-11-3

— Braves 8-3…….5-4-2……13-7-2

— Cubs 5-5-1…….3-7-2……8-12-3

— Reds 4-6-2…….4-7……8-13-2

— Rockies 3-6-1…….1-11-1……4-17-2

— Dodgers 7-5…….8-4……12-9

— Marlins 3-9…….2-8-1……5-17-1

— Brewers 8-2-1…….6-5-1……14-7-2

— Mets 4-7-2…….5-5-2……9-12-4

— Phillies 7-2-3…….6-4-2……13-6-5

— Pirates 7-4…….6-6……13-10

— Cardinals 6-4-1…….6-6……12-10-1

— Padres 5-5-2…….7-3-2……12-8-4

— Giants 7-5…….4-7……11-12

— Nationals 5-5-1…….5-7……10-12-1

Famous birthdays, June 17th:
Barry Manilow, 81
Dave Concepcion, 76
Mike Milbury, 72

Greg Kinnear, 61
Jason Hanson, 54
Popeye Jones, 54

Venus Williams, 44
Yusei Kikuchi, 33
Amari Cooper, 30

— Orioles 10-2-1…….6-2-2……16-4-3

— Red Sox 6-4-2…….4-5-2……10-9-4

— White Sox 3-6-2…….1-11……4-17-2

— Guardians 8-1-1…….7-5-1……15-6-2

— Tigers 3-6-2…….6-4-2……9-10-4

— Astros 6-5-1…….4-6-1……10-11-2

— Royals 7-5…….4-6-1……11-11-1

— Angels 1-10…….5-6-1……6-16-1

— Twins 7-4…….5-7……12-11

— New York 7-1-2…….10-3……17-4-2

— A’s 4-7…….3-8-1……7-15-1

— Mariners 9-2-1…….4-6-1……13-8-2

— Rays 5-6-2…….5-5……10-11-2

— Rangers 4-6-1…….6-6……10-12-1

— Blue Jays 6-4-1…….3-6-3……9-10-4

Elsewhere in the world……..
— Dodgers had a rough weekend:
Mookie Betts broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch.

P Yoshinobu Yamamoto has a strained rotator cuff, is also on the injured list.

— Phillies SS Trea Turner is getting activated Monday, after a six-week absence,

— Braves CF Michael Harris has a strained hamstring, is on the IL. 

— Cleveland Guardians have the first pick in next month’s MLB amateur draft.

— Red Sox have won the World Series four times since 2004; in three of those four seasons, their manager was in his first year on the job. Terry Francona is the only skipper who won two World Series for Boston in the last 20 years. 

Sunday’s Den: Happy Armadillo Day!!!!!

— Happy Armadillo Day!!!!

23 years ago this week, I started writing this blog. Despite the protests of some, I’m still doing it. Hopefully you enjoy reading it.

In those 23 years, I’ve taken two short breaks; in September 2001, took a week off after 9/11, because there wasn’t anything good to write about, then in 2019 I had retina surgery so I laid on my couch for a week, then started writing again.

(I’d like to thank my two surgeons, Dr Mallick and Dr Lemanski, for fixing my eye).

Hopefully over the next year we’ll all be nicer to each other, more tolerant of each other. I’ll still be here typing late into the night; hopefully you’ll still be reading.

— If you like the NFL and you have the Roku channel on your TV, there is a show on there that you will like, about the NFL Draft this past April.

NFL Films documentary crews are embedded in the draft rooms of five teams, plus on stage and behind the scenes of the actual draft in Detroit. Watched it last night; it was high quality stuff that we’ve come to expect from NFL Films.

— Detroit Lions signed UFL kicker Jake Bates to a 2-year deal. Bates has made three field goals of 60+ yards for the Michigan Panthers this spring; he was a kickoff specialist in college for Texas State (2020-21) and Arkansas (2022).

— Edmonton 8, Florida 1
Oilers led 3-1 in first period; their first goal was shorthanded.
Last time NHL finals ended in a sweep was 1998, when the Red Wings swept Washington.

Even with this game going over the total, if you bet the under in every game Florida goalie Sergei  Bobrovsky started this year, you’d be 47-26-3, good for a $1,789 profit to a $100 bettor.

Last time an NHL goalie finished +$2,000 to the under was Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames, way back in 2005.

— Cubs’ rookie lefty P Shota Imanaga has a 1.31 ERA in seven starts at Wrigley Field.

Famous birthdays for June 16th:
Rick Adelman, 78
Al Cowlings, 77
Frank Corral, 69

Laurie Metcalf, 69
Darrell Griffith, 66
Wally Joyner, 62

Kerry Wood, 47
Austin Blythe, 32
Justin Jefferson, 25 

— Orioles 6, Phillies 2
Anthony Santander homered twice, drove in four runs.

— Nationals 5, Marlins 0
Rookie P Herz struck out 13 batters, allowed one hit in 6 IP
Washington is 7-1 in its last eight games.

— Marlins are 3-22 vs lefty starters this year, 20-25 vs righties.

— Chicago White Sox are 2-21 in series openers this year, 0-12 on the road.

— Rockies 16, Pirates 4
Hunter Goodman homered twice, knocked in five runs.
Pirates had won their previous five games at Coors Field.

— Mariners 7, Rangers 5
Seattle has won six of its last seven games.

— AL Wild Card race:
Orioles, Royals, Twins, followed by…….
2.5 games behind- Boston
4- Detroit, Toronto
5- Texas

— NL Wild Card race:
Braves, Padres, Cardinals, followed by……
half-game behind- Reds, Nationals
1 game behind- Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants
1.5- Pittsburgh

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

— Mavericks 122, Celtics 84
Luka Doncic scored 25 in first half, when Dallas led 61-35.
Loss snaps the Celtics’ 10-game winning streak.
Game 5 is Monday in Boston.

— When Luka Doncic fouled out in Game 3 of that series, it was the first time in his 448 NBA games that he fouled out in regulation time; he has also fouled out of two overtime games.

— Jacksonville Jaguars paid QB Trevor Lawrence this week; he gets $275M for five years, making him (at least for now) the highest-paid player in NFL history.

Lawrence is 21-31 as an NFL starter, 1-1 in playoff games.

— Atlanta Falcons forfeited a 5th round pick in the 2025 Draft, were fined $250,000 because they tampered with three free agents, including QB Kirk Cousins.

— I’m guessing that these “mandatory mini-camps” that NFL teams have are kind of a big deal for teams, as they prepare for the upcoming season. When your starting QB has “an unexcused absence” from the mini-camp, that isn’t a good thing.

Aaron Rodgers signed a 4-year contract with the Jets last year, paying him $33,500,000 a year; he lasted four plays in the season opener before he tore his achilles tendon. Now he is an “unexcused absentee” from mini-camp. I’m sure that’s going over well.

— Since 2010, no Super Bowl has had a pointspread of more than 5 points.

— Kudos to pro golfer Sam Bairstow, who shot an 84 Thursday in the first round of the US Open, but then rallied on Friday to shoot a 67.

The 17-shot improvement matches the biggest turnaround in U.S. Open history over the last 40 years; Scott Gregory shot 92-75 six years ago.

Famous birthdays for June 15th:
Billy Williams, 86
Dusty Baker, 75
Jim Belushi, 70

Wade Boggs, 66
Helen Hunt, 61
Courteney Cox, 60

Tim Lincecum, 40
Cooper Kupp, 31
Dominic Smith, 29

Happy birthday to the Big Dawg, who also celebrates a birthday today!!!

— They change the bases during major league games, in some stadiums, the old bases go to a store in the stadium, where you can buy them, as well as game-used baseballs and broken bats.

— Houston Astros released 1B Jose Abreu halfway thru his 3-year contract; Astros are eating around $30M in salary. 37-year old Abreu is hitting .124 this season.

— Miami Marlins are 23-47, they’re a bad team, and they also have have the lowest walk rate of any major league team since the 1966 St Louis Cardinals.

— Phillies 5, Orioles 3 (11)
Alec Bohm had the game-winning double after a rain delay in extra innings.
Ranger Suarez lowered his ERA to 1.77.

— Astros 4, Tigers 0
Game was scoreless after five innings.
Mauricio Dubon homered in this third game this year playing first base.

— Reds 6, Brewers 5
Cincinnati wins despite making five errors, three by SS De La Cruz.
Milwaukee was 1-16 with runners in scoring position. 

— Cardinals 3, Cubs 0
Kyle Gibson allowed two hits in 7 IP.
Backup C Pages broke up a scoreless tie with an 8th inning home run. 

Friday’s Den: Trends for all 30 major league teams……

Trends for all 30 MLB teams…….

— Arizona was 28-21 LY vs lefty starting pitchers; they’re 11-14 this year, but they won their last five games vs lefties.
Diamondbacks are 2-9 in road series openers.

— Braves are 10-17 in their last 27 games.
Reynaldo Lopez is 2-1, 1.83 in his last seven starts.

— Cubs are 8-15 vs NL Central rivals, 25-21 vs everyone else.
Cubs’ last six games stayed under the total.

— Cincinnati won eight of its last ten games.
Reds are 24-22 vs righty starters, 9-13 vs lefties.

— Rockies are 3-9 in their last 12 games.
Colorado is 5-4 in home series openers.

— Over is 5-2 in Dodgers’ last seven road games.
In his last eight starts, Gavin Stone is 6-1, 2.17.

— Marlins are 3-20 against lefty starting pitchers, 20-25 vs righties.
Over is 16-7 in their last 23 home games.
Under is 9-2 in their last eleven road tilts.

— Brewers lost five of last seven road games, scoring 20 runs.
Milwaukee is 15-4 in its last 19 home games.

— Mets are 6-2 in their last eight games.
Mets are 14-9 in one-run games; last year, they were 25-28.

— Phillies won 23 of their last 26 home games.
Phillies are 18-3 in their last 21 series openers.

— Rookie P Skenes is 3-0, 2.43 in six starts, with 46 strikeouts in 33.1 IP.
Over is 13-4 in Pirates’ last 17 home games.

— St Louis is 9-3 in its last 12 home games.
Under is 13-4 in their last 17 games.

— Padres won five of their last six games.
San Diego is 11-13 vs lefty starters; last year, they were 28-13.

— Giants are 4-9 in their last 13 games.
San Francisco is 19-11 in day games, 15-24 in night games.

— Nationals won five of their last six games.
Washington won World Series in 2019; since then, they’re 249-364 (40.6%)

Famous birthdays for June 14th:
Vince Evans, 69
Sam Perkins, 63
Eric Murdock, 56
Steffi Graf, 55

Bruce Bowen, 53
David Gamble, 43
Sammy Watkins, 31
Bobby Witt Jr, 24

— Orioles are 16-6 in series openers.
Baltimore is 14-5 vs lefty starters.

— Red Sox are 7-12 vs lefty starters; last two years, they were 47-31.
Boston is 1-10 in home series openers.

— White Sox are 3-18 in their last 21 games.
Chicago is 5-22 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

— Guardians are 19-5 in their last 24 home games.
Cleveland is 14-6 vs lefty starting pitchers; LY, they were 24-35.

— Tigers are 2-5 in their last seven games.
Over is 10-3 in their last 13 road games.

— Under is 14-4 in Astros’ last 18 games.
Last 2 years, Houston was 70-33 vs lefty starters; this year, they’re 7-14

— Royals are 5-11 in their last 16 games.
Kansas City is 25-14 at home, 15-16 on road.

— Angels are 1-5 in their last six road games.
Under is 7-2 in their last nine home games.

— Minnesota won four of its last five games.
Under is 10-4 in their last 14 home games.

— New York won 13 of its last 15 games.
NY scored in first inning in 15 of its last 28 games.

— A’s lost 12 of their last 15 games.
Under is 9-2 in their last 11 games.

— Mariners are 10-1 in home series openers, 4-7 in road series openers.
Seattle is 20-6 in its last 26 home games, overall.

— Rays are 12-6 vs lefty starters, 21-30 vs righty starters.
Tampa Bay is 4-9 in home series openers.

— Texas is 2-10 in its last 12 series openers.
Under is 20-6 in Rangers’ last 26 home games.

— Toronto is 7-11 in one-run games, but 3-1 in extra inning tilts.
Under is 5-2 in their last seven road games.  

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

— RIP to basketball icon Jerry West, who passed away at age 86. 

He was a 14-time All-Star, scoring 25,192 regular season points.
He won nine NBA championship rings, as a player/executive.

He was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1959 Final Four.
He was on the first team All-Defensive team four times.

He led the NBA scoring in 1970.
Two years later, he led the NBA in assists.

He was on the Olympic team that won the 1960 gold medal.
He was voted one of the top 75 players in NBA history. 

His silhouette is the NBA’s logo.

RIP, sir.

— Celtics 106, Mavericks 99
Celtics outscored Dallas 35-19 in third quarter.
Boston has won 10 games in a row, and 14 of last 15.

In the history of NBA, teams that trail 3-0 in a playoff series are 0-156 in those series.

— Celtics were an underdog in Game 3, just the 4th time in 99 games this season (2-2) they’ve been an underdog.

— Was looking thru some stuff yesterday, was surprised to see that the LA Clippers have had 13 consecutive winning seasons, though 2021 was only year during that stretch where they made the Western Conference finals.

In those 13 winning seasons, Clippers were 46-60 in playoff games.

— I’m told that Hulu has a series about the Clippers in the Donald Sterling era; my friend said that it is very entertaining.

It is called Clipped, with Ed O’Neill as Sterling, Laurence Fishburne as Doc Rivers; when I get a chance to see it, I’ll weigh in with my opinion.

Famous birthdays for June 13th:
Marcel Lachemann, 83
Malcolm McDowell, 79
Happy Feller, 75 (seriously, he kicked for Eagles/Saints)

Richard Thomas, 73
Ally Sheedy, 62
Šarūnas Marčiulionis, 60

Steve Novak, 41
Jonathan Lucroy, 38
James McCann, 34

— Rangers 3, Dodgers 1
Corey Seager hit a 3-run homer against his old team.
Rangers threw tying run out at the plate to end the game, after a double to right-center.

— Dodgers acquired utility guy Cavan Biggio from Toronto; the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, Cavan Biggio hit .227 in 5+ seasons with the Blue Jays.
He went 1-3 in his Dodger debut, playing third base.

— Reds 4, Guardians 2
Jeimer Candelario homered twice for Cincinnati.
There was a sellout crowd of 42,427 on Elly De La Cruz bobblehead night.

— Orioles 4, Braves 2
Baltimore has won six games in a row.
Braves have lost five in a row, for first time since 2017.

— Brewers 5, Blue Jays 4
Milwaukee scored all of its runs in the sixth inning.
Total was 8.5; Toronto scored three runs in top of the 9th.

— Mariners 2, White Sox 1 (10)
Luis Robert tied game with a 9th inning homer.
White Sox are 4-22 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

— Angels 8, Diamondbacks 3
Jose Soriano pitched eight strong innings for the win.
Jo Adell hit a 3-run homer for the Halos.

— Cubs 4, Rays 3
Cody Bellinger hit a 3-run homer in 7th inning.
Cubs won for only 6th time in their last 19 games.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Braves, Padres, Giants.
AL: New York, Guardians, Mariners. Wild Cards: Orioles, Royals, Twins. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings………

— Professional eater Joey Chestnut is out of this year’s Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, an event he has won every year since 2016, because he signed a deal to represent a different weiner brand that is in direct competition to Nathan’s.

Apparently there is very little chance of the two sides settling their beef.

The hot dog eating contest is every July 4th on Coney Island (Brooklyn); I relish watching it, but if I miss it, I can always ketchup by watching a replay.

— I’m thinking that baseball is heading to an era where teams will use 6-man starting pitching rotations, with the very best pitchers staying on their normal schedules but other starters getting pushed back some.

Teams are pushing back starters now if they throw 100+ pitches in a game, giving them more time to regroup. Teams in Asian baseball routinely use 6-man rotations.

— Pirates 2, Cardinals 1
Game was scoreless after eight innings.
Pirates are 5-1 when rookie P Skenes is the starter.

— Rays 5, Cubs 2
Brandon Lowe hit a 3-run homer to walk it off.
Cubs are 5-13 in their last 18 games.

— Rockies 5, Twins 4
Cal Quantrill tossed six scoreless IP.
Ezequiel Tovar broke up a scoreless tie with a 3-run homer.

— Padres 4, A’s 3
Kyle Higashioka hit a walk-off homer to make my night a little less pleasant.
Padres lost LF Jurickson Profar to a knee injury.

— Phillies 4, Red Sox 1
Kyle Schwarber hit two homers in his return to Fenway Park.
Phillies lead the NL East by a whopping 10 games.

Famous birthdays for June 12th:
Timothy Busfield, 67
Rick Hoffman, 54
Ryan Klesko, 53

Antawn Jamison, 48
Dallas Clark, 45
Andre Davis, 45

Earl Watson, 45
Jrue Holliday, 34
Aaron Civale, 29

— 11 of the 15 MLB matchups during the week this week are interleague matchups. Lot of games where the teams rarely play each other.

— College World Series has four ACC teams, four SEC teams; this is the only time since 1950 that only two leagues have been represented in the 8-team event.

— Phillies C JT Realmuto is having knee surgery, is expected to miss a month or so.

— Detroit P Reese Olson has started five games at home this season; Tigers have been shut out in four of the five games, scored two runs in the other one.

— Baseball’s trade deadline this year is July 30, which is a Tuesday.

— UFL championship game is Sunday in St Louis; Birmingham Stallions against the San Antonio Brahmas.

Stallions lost 18-9 in the Alamo Dome three weeks ago; San Antonio’s first TD came on a pick-6 in the first quarter.

— Good news on the network TV front: CBS is bringing back Hollywood Squares back to a Wednesday 10pm time slot. It will be hosted by former NFL WR Nate Burleson.

I’d rather gameshows would be on during the day, like they used to be, but Hollywood Squares will also air on Paramount +, so we can watch it whenever we like.  

Tuesday’s Den: How college hoop coaches have fared in the NBA…….

Much ado about nothing.

Danny Hurley turned down the Lakers Monday; apparently they offered him a $70M, six-year contract, but he is staying at UConn. His accountant might not be happy, but staying at a place where he is the king is probably a good thing.

Here is how college coaches have fared in the NBA:
— Rick Pitino was the first coach to lead three different schools — Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville — to the Final Four- he is 854-306 as a college coach.

He was 94-74 coaching the Knicks, but his tenure with the Celtics (98-144) wasn’t good.

— Larry Brown was 262-100 as a college coach, winning the 1988 national title with Kansas.

He was 1,098-904 as an NBA coach, winning the 2004 title with the Pistons. He is the only coach to win a title in college and in the NBA.

— Brad Stevens was 166-49 as a college coach; he got Butler to a Final Four, when they were in the freakin’ Horizon League.

He was 354-282 in the NBA, then stopped coaching and started running the Celtics’ franchise; they’re two wins away from the NBA title.

— Billy Donovan was 502-206 as a college coach, winning consecutive national titles at Florida.

He is 399-319 as an NBA head coach, with Thunder/Bulls.

— Quin Snyder went 128-96 in seven years at Missouri.
He is 418-321 as an NBA coach, mostly with the Utah Jazz.

— John Calipari is 855-262 as a college coach.
He was 72-112 in 2+ years coaching the Nets.

— Fred Hoiberg is 178-150 as a college coach.
In between his Iowa State/Nebraska gigs, he was 115-155 with Chicago.

— Mike Montgomery was 676-318 in college, getting Stanford to a Final Four.
He was 68-96 in two years coaching the Warriors.

— John Beilein was 571-325 as a college coach.
He went 14-40 in one unfortunate season with Cleveland.

— Tim Floyd was 465-280 as a college coach.
He replaced Phil Jackson with the Bulls; it didn’t go well (93-235)

— Jerry Tarkanian was one of the best college hoop coaches ever, but he lasted only 20 games with the San Antonio Spurs, going 9-11 before he walked away from it.

Winning is more fun than losing; besides, the NBA is a player-run thing; college basketball was always a coach-driven thing, 

Famous birthdays for June 11th:
Adrienne Barbeau, 79
Gary Fencik, 70
Joe Montana, 68
Hugh Laurie, 65
Jose Reyes, 41
Brock Holt, 36

— If you’re scoring at home, so far this season, American League leads National League 138-128 in interleague games.

— Orioles 5, Rays 2
Baltimore is 15-0-6 in their last 21 series against divisional rivals.
Gunnar Henderson was 3-5 with three runs scored.

— Mariners 8, White Sox 4
Cal Raleigh hit a walk-off grand slam.
White Sox are 17-50, a terrible team, but if you bet them in the first five innings every game, the White Sox are 28-30-9, which is respectable- they’ve been awful in the late innings.

Baseball injuries:
Seattle 1B Ty France has a hairline fracture in his right heel.

Royals OF Hunter Renfroe had a 12-pitch at bat Monday, fouling two balls off his left foot. Turns over he broke the big toe on his left foot, is headed to the IL.

— Pittsburgh Steelers signed coach Mike Tomlin to a 3-year contract extension that will keep him in the Steel City thru 2027.

Tomlin is 181-110 as Steelers’ coach, winning a Super Bowl in his 2nd year; he’s never had a losing season in 17 years, but the last seven years, Pittsburgh is 0-4 in playoff games.

— Former Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa, younger brother of Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa, signed with the  CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats practice squad.

Hamilton lost their opener 32-24 to Calgary last week; Tagovailoa wasn’t drafted by the NFL, despite being tied for Maryland’s single-season touchdown mark with current Hamilton head coach Scott Milanovich.

— Back in 1991, Washington Redskins started the season 5-0, shutting out three of their first five opponents- they went on to win the Super Bowl. Since then, Washington doesn’t have a shutout; they’re the only NFL team without a shutout in the last 30 years. 

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

— Mets 6, Phillies 5
Mets scored three runs in 9th inning to split the 2-game series in London.
Phillies have outscored opponents 49-20 in first inning this year.
Attendance was 55,074- MLB made a lot of $$$ this weekend.

— Former Phillies’ 2B Chase Utley was on the TV broadcast for a while; he lives in England now, working as an ambassador for MLB, trying to promote the sport there, and in Europe.

— Random trivial trivia: The son of ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian was Otto the Orange, the Syracuse mascot, during his time as a college student in central New York.

— Celtics 105, Mavericks 98
Jrue Holiday was 11-14 from floor, scored 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds.
Boston was +12 in the 23:00 that Kristaps Porzingis was on the floor.
Celtics lead series, 2-0

— You can bet on most anything these days- Luka Doncic’s props for Game 2:
points: 31.5- over
rebounds: 9.5- over
assists: 7.5- over

I’d be sketchy with betting on assist props; they are subjective. When I did analytics for teams, I gave out more assists than most people.

— ABC/ESPN sold out all its commercials for Games 1-5 of the Stanley Cup finals; of the 80 companies who bought commercial time, 51 are advertising on the Stanley Cup finals for the first time.

— This week was the last French Open on NBC; next year, TNT takes over- they paid $650M for a 10-year deal to broadcast the clay court tennis tournament.

Famous birthdays for June 10th:
Jon McGlocklin, 81
Randee Heller, 77
Ken Singleton, 77

Larry Brooks, 74
Elias Sosa, 74
Dan Fouts, 73

Gina Gershon, 62
Brent Sutter, 62
Kate Upton, 32

— Saturday was Dick Vitale’s 85th birthday; the former college basketball coach has raised over $100M to battle cancer. Vitale was 78-30 in four years coaching at Detroit Mercy in the 70’s, then coached the NBA’s Pistons for a couple years. He is an amazing person; what energy!!!!

Happy birthday, coach.

— Four NFL teams start 2024 with road games in Weeks 1-2:
Raiders, Rams, Jets, Steelers.

Since 1980, teams that played on the road in Weeks 1-2 were 56-80 ATS in their Week 3 home opener.

— Eagles play four of their last five games at home; last time they did that was 1951.

— Bears/Steelers don’t play a divisional game until Week 11, latest ever.

— The last 2.5 years, since the start of the 2022 season, Atlanta Braves have only three sacrifice bunts, none this season.

Cincinnati OF Michael Siani has seven sac bunts, just this season.

— Angels 9, Astros 7
Logan O’Hoppe had four hits, including a walk-off homer.
Jose Altuve was 4-5, with 3 RBI

— Mariners 6, Royals 5 (10)
Game was 1-1 after six innings; bad beat for under bettors.
Seattle avoids getting swept for first time this season.

— Nationals 8, Braves 5
Keibert Ruiz homered, knocked in four runs.
Braves are 9-15 in their last 24 games; they miss Ronald Acuna.

— Twins 11, Pirates 5 (10)
Minnesota scored seven runs in top of the 10th.
Twins didn’t score Friday/Saturday; they snapped a 5-game skid.

— Red Sox 6, White Sox 4 (10)
Red Sox tied game in 9th on a Reese McGuire sac fly.
Paul DeJong hit a 3-run homer and also doubled for Chicago. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……

— Scoring is down some in baseball this year; last year, there were 9.24 runs per game. This year so far, there have been 8.64 runs per game. 

Any special reason? My first theory was that the baseballs night be a little less lively this year, but that’s hard to prove. I think its true, but don’t know for sure. 

My second theory I’m beginning to believe more and more; given the commissioner’s obsession with having shorter games, it appears that umpires are calling way more marginal strikes than they used to, especially younger umpires.

Something to follow as the season moves towards the halfway point.

— Phillies 7, Mets 2
Ranger Suarez is the first 10-game winner this season.
Phillies have won seven of last eight games.
Announced attendance in London: 53,882

— Nationals 7, Braves 3
Atlanta is 9-14 in its last 23 games.
Braves scored 3 or fewer runs in 13 of the 23 games.

— Reds 4, Cubs 3
Cincinnati has won seven games in a row.
Attendance at Reds’ home games is up 18% over last year; fans are excited.

— Pirates 4, Twins 0
Minnesota gets shut out for second day in a row.
Rowdy Tellez’ 7th inning home run snapped a scoreless tie.

— Orioles 5, Rays 0
Kyle Bradish allowed one hit in 6 IP.
Gunnar Henderson hit his 20th home run of the season.

— Giants 3, Rangers 1
Matt Chapman has now reached base in 25 consecutive games.
Texas scored one run in three of their last five games.

Famous birthdays for June 9th:
Dave Parker, 73
Michael J Fox, 63
Aaron Sorkin, 63

Johnny Depp, 61
Wayman Tisdale, 60
Gloria Reuben, 60

D’Marco Farr, 53
Peja Stojaković, 47
Yuli Gurriel, 40

— Birmingham 31, Michigan 18
Stallions outscored Michigan 19-0 in second half.
Both teams turned ball over four times.
Birmingham advances to the UFL title game next week in St Louis.

— Florida 3, Edmonton 0
Panthers win Game 1 of Stanley Cup finals.
Florida scored one goal in each period.
Panthers won face-offs, 34-23.

— NHL has the right idea; teams have a salary cap, and a salary floor, so teams HAVE TO spend a certain amount of $$$ on salaries. Even the cheapskate teams.

Next year, the salary floor is $65M, the salary cap is $88M.
Maybe baseball should try something like that.

— Surprising fact: San Francisco 49ers are the NFL team that has gone the longest since the last time they had a QB throw for 5 TD’s in a game— 1990. Buffalo/Washington haven’t had a QB throw for 5+ TD’s in a game since 1991.

— Guy on The Price Is Right Friday bid $39,500 on his showcase; the actual retail price was $39,501— he only missed by a freakin’ dollar!!! Amazing……

Would’ve been sad if he went over by a dollar, then he wouldn’t have won.

— If the baseball play-offs started today (they don’t):

NL: Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Braves, Padres, SF/Cin
AL: New York, Guardians, Mariners. Wild Cards: Orioles, Royals, Twins

— Hey, I got two e-mails from George Clooney Saturday; I’m a big fan of his movies, but I was wondering how he got my e-mail address. Then I found out.

Turns out Mr Clooney wants me to donate $$$ to political candidates.

Oy.

In the future, no matter who you are, please don’t ask me for $$$, for anything…….

— $19 a month for deserted animals
— $25 or more for a politician (both parties)
— $45 for people in Israel (seriously, they asked)

Thanks, but no thanks. 

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

— Royals 10, Mariners 9
Seattle led 7-0 in top of the first inning…….but lost.
MJ Melendez hit a grand slam for the Royals.

— New York Mets have played nine extra inning games this year; they haven’t scored a run in the 10th inning in any of the games, even though every half-inning starts with a runner on second base. Astros have played five extra inning games, also don’t have a 10th inning run.

— Mets cut Omar Narvaez/Jorge Lopez this week, which raises their dead $$$ count to $76M this season- they’re paying $76M this season to players who aren’t in their organization.

By way of comparison, the Oakland A’s ENTIRE payroll for this year: $63M.

— Congrats to Justin Turner, who got his 1,500th career hit this week; Turner was mostly a stiff in his first five big league seasons, with Orioles/Mets. He went to the Dodgers and pretty quickly became a star, with an .865 OPS in nine years. 1,088 of his hits were with the Dodgers.

— UConn basketball coach Danny Hurley apparently met with the LA Lakers Friday; if he takes the Lakers’ head coaching job, there will be an interesting domino effect of other people changing jobs, and maybe UConn players bolting to other schools.

— West Virginia’s basketball team is off to Italy for 10 days in August, another one of those foreign trips that help team bonding.

— Celtics beat Dallas in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday; Game 2 isn’t until Sunday; I understand that TV ratings/TV $$$ drive all these decisions, but there were eight days in between the semi-finals and Game 1 of the Finals, now three more days until Game 2.

They’re not exactly capturing the attention of their target audience, or any audience.

— I went to the horse races at Saratoga Thursday, hung out with friends and got some fresh air; they have races in Saratoga for four days this weekend, with the Belmont Stakes Saturday (Belmont is being refurbished). The regular Saratoga meet doesn’t start until next month.

Two total strangers made fun of my hair (they said it is too long, and I had a hat on), I paid $6.42 for a 20-ounce Coke, but other than that, it was a very good day.

Famous birthdays for June 8th:
Bob Tucker, 79
Sonia Braga, 74
Julianna Margulies, 58
Tom Nutten, 53

Mark Feuerstein, 53
Bryant Reeves, 51
Connor Norby, 24
Tyson Bagent, 24

— Brewers 10, Tigers 0
Blake Perkins hit two triples, his first two triples in the big leagues.
Tobias Myers tossed eight scoreless IP for Milwaukee.

This was the Brewers’ 9th game this year with 10+ runs, most in the major leagues.

— Random stat: Last major leaguer with three triples in a game: Yasiel Puig, who hit three triples against the Giants on July 25, 2014, in an 8-1 Dodger win.

— A’s 2, Blue Jays 1
JJ Bleday hit a walk-off homer for the A’s;
Hogan Harris tossed six shutout IP for Oakland.

— Blue Jays haven’t scored a first-inning run in their last 29 games.

By way of comparison, Angels’ P Griffin Canning has allowed 15 first inning runs in his 13 starts.

— White Sox 7, Red Sox 2
Chicago ends its 14-game losing streak.
Garrett Crochet is 6-5, 3.33 and is headed to the All-Star Game.

— Pirates 3, Twins 0
Mitch Keller won his sixth straight start, first Pirate to do that since 2015.
Minnesota was shut out for the fourth time this season.

— Nationals 2, Braves 1
Jake Irvin tossed six shutout IP for Washington.
Chris Sale lost for the first time since April 13.

— Reds 3, Cubs 2
Cincinnati won its sixth game in a row.
Nick Lodolo allowed one run in 6 IP.

— Pat Sajak signed off as host of Wheel of Fortune Friday, ending his 41-year run on the show. Imagine having a job that is so much fun that you do it for 41 years, and he did it very well.

We need more game shows on TV, of that I am sure. 

Friday’s Den: Trends for all 30 MLB teams……..

Trends for all 30 MLB teams…….
— Arizona was 28-21 LY vs lefty starting pitchers; they’re 10-14 this year, but they won their last four games vs lefties.
Diamondbacks are 2-9 in road series openers.

— Braves are 7-10 in their last 17 road games.
Reynaldo Lopez is 3-2, 1.85 in 11 starts, with a 1.09 WHIP

— Cubs lost eight of their last ten road games.
Imanaga gave up 12 runs in 8.2 IP in last two starts; he was 5-0, 1.17 in first nine starts.

— Cincinnati won its last seven series openers.
Hunter Greene has thrown 100+ pitches in each of his last five starts.

— Rockies are 3-19 in their last 22 road games.
In three years with Colorado, Kris Bryant has played in 146 of possible 386 games (37.8%).

— Dodgers are 6-8 in their last 14 games.
In his last six starts, Gavin Stone is 4-1, 1.85.

— Marlins are 2-19 against lefty starting pitchers, 19-22 vs righties.
Over is 15-5 in their last 20 home games.
Under is 7-1 in their last eight road tilts.

— Brewers lost last four road games, scoring total of three runs.
Under is 8-1 in their last nine road games.

— Mets are 5-2 in their last seven games.
Last year, Mets had a $346M payroll, they went 75-87.
This year, Mets have a $323M payroll, they’re 27-35.

— Phillies won 23 of their last 26 home games.
On May 1st, Alec Bohm was hitting .366, with a 1.036 OPS
Since May 1st, Bohm is hitting .243, with a .643 OPS.

— Rookie P Skenes is 3-0, 3.00 in five starts, with 38 strikeouts in 27 IP.
Over is 12-2 in Pirates’ last 14 home games.

— St Louis lost five of its last seven games.
Cardinals are 10-16 in day games, 19-16 in night games.

— Padres lost their last five games, scoring total of 11 runs.
San Diego is 9-13 vs lefty starters; last year, they were 28-13. 

— Giants lost six of their last seven games.
San Francisco is 17-11 in day games, 13-22 in night games.

— Nationals lost six of their last seven games,
Rookie P Parker is 4-3, 3.47 in his first 10 MLB starts.

Famous birthdays for June 7th:
Cazzie Russell, 80
Don Money, 77
Terrell Buckley, 53
Allen Iverson, 49
Anna Kournikova, 43
Kellen Clemens, 41
Christian McCaffrey, 28

— Orioles are 14-6 in series openers.
Baltimore is 13-5 vs lefty starters.

— Red Sox are 6-11 vs lefty starters; last two years, they were 47-31.
Boston is 1-9 in home series openers.

— White Sox have 14 games in a row.
Lefty P Garrett Crochet is 4-1, 1.03 in his last six starts.

— Guardians are 19-5 in their last 24 home games.
Cleveland is 12-4 vs lefty starting pitchers; LY, they were 24-35.

— Tigers are 8-4 in their last 12 games.
Over is 10-3 in their last 13 road games.

— Under is 11-3 in Astros’ last 14 games.
Last 2 years, Houston was 70-33 vs lefty starters; this year, they’re 6-12

— Royals are 3-7 in their last ten games.
Kansas City is 22-10 at home, 15-16 on road.

— Angels won three games in row for first time since April 3rd.
Under is 5-1 in their last six home games.

— Under is 8-2 in their last ten home games.
Since 2002, Twins are 44-123 against New York.

— New York won 26 of its last 32 games.
NY scored in first inning in 12 of its last 21 games.

— A’s lost 12 of their last 14 road games.
Under is 9-2 in their last 11 games.

— Mariners are 9-1 in home series openers, 4-6 in road series openers.
Seattle is 17-5 in its last 22 home games, overall.

— Rays are 11-5 vs lefty starters, 20-26 vs righty starters.
Tampa Bay is 3-8 in home series openers.

— Texas lost nine of its last 12 road games.
Under is 20-6 in Rangers’ last 26 home games.

— Toronto is 7-3 in its last ten games.
Blue Jays are 7-3 in road series openers.