Thursday’s Den: Random college football knowledge

— Replacing Nick Saban at Alabama is going to be really difficult; the fanbase is spoiled, the SEC is a really tough league. Very little chance this ends well.

Remember Gene Bartow coaching basketball at UCLA? The guy replaced John Wooden, he went 52-9 in two years, then beat feet to start the program at UAB, because back then, 52-9 at UCLA wasn’t good enough. Kind of like Alabama now.

Kalen DeBoer went 25-3 in two years at Washington, 12-6 in two years at Fresno State and before that, he was 67-3 at an NAIA school. Very good coach.

But Alabama has only 8 of 22 starters back from last year; good luck.

— Georgia scored 40.1 ppg last year; they’ve got nine starters back on offense, but lost four assistant coaches, two of whom became head coaches (Georgia State/Syracuse).

Last time Georgia didn’t play in a bowl: 1996.

— USC is in the Big 18 now; they got a break with their schedule- their three eastern road trips are in September/October. Trojans’ over/under win total is only 7.5, not very high; they’ve got only nine starters back. Who will play QB; last year’s backup, Miller Moss or UNLV transfer Jayden Maiava?

— Oklahoma/Texas are both in the SEC now; Sooners figure to struggle some. 

Oklahoma has a new:
Offensive coordinator
Quarterback
5 new offensive linemen

Sooners open with four straight home games, but Houston/Tennessee are two of those.

— As for Texas, they’ve got 5 starters back on offense, 7 on defense; their QB is back, and so are 4 of their starters on the offensive line, which is good. They’ve got a tough road game September 7 at Michigan.

Last year, Longhorns were #70 in country in 3rd down conversions (38.4%), 120th in country in TD %age in the red zone (50.8%). Those numbers need to improve.

Florida’s November schedule is kind of hard:
November 2- vs Georgia
November 9- @ Texas
November 16- LSU
November 23- Ole Miss
November 30- @ Florida State

No bye weeks in there; not ideal.

Coordinators who changed jobs since last year:
Ohio State OC Chip Kelly was head coach at UCLA last year.

Alabama DC Kane Wommack was the head coach at South Alabama last year.

Arkansas OC Bobby Petrino was head coach at Missouri State last year.

UCLA OC Eric Bieniemy was OC for the Commanders last year.

Boise State OC Dirk Koetter comes out of semi-retirement to revive the Broncos’ offense.

Michigan DC Wink Martindale was the Giants’ DC last year.

Famous birthdays for June 6th:
Max Venable, 67
Cam Neely, 59
Paul Giamatti, 57
Mark Ellis, 47

Anthony Rendon, 34
DeAndre Hopkins, 32
Joey Lucchesi, 31
Kenny Pickett, 26

12-team college football playoff starts with two games each December 20-21. 

Quarterfinals will have two games each December 31-January 1st.

Semi-finals are January 9-10.

National championship game is January 20th.

— Last year, I-A teams went 113-4 vs I-AA teams; it is stupid that these games are played, it is stealing money from fans to watch non-competitive games. This year, there are 121 of these games. Awesome.

I-A teams that lost to a I-AA team last year:
Buffalo, Nevada, Northern Illinois, Stanford.

Michigan QB Jack Tuttle was the 7th-rated QB in the 2018 freshman class; he is still a Wolverine. Here are some other QB’s who were also in that class:

#1- Trevor Lawrence- Was #1 pick in the 2021 draft
#11- Justin Fields- #11 pick in ‘21 draft just got traded to the Steelers.
#25- Zach Wilson- #2 pick in ’21 draft just moved to the Broncos.
#36- Michael Penix- #8 pick in 2024 draft by Atlanta.
#50- Brock Purdy- #262 pick in ’22 draft starts for the 49ers.

Tuttle isn’t the only QB in his 7th year of college football.

Oklahoma State’s Alan Bowman used to play at Texas Tech. 

Utah QB Cam Rising used to play at Texas.

— Clemson won its last five games LY, after starting the season 4-4; six true freshmen started 3+ games last year, and none of them transferred. This year, Tigers play Georgia, Florida State, NC State in their first five games.

Last year was first time in 12 years Clemson didn’t win 10+ games; they’ve only got three starters back on defense, but the offense figures to be improved.

— Coaches on the hot seat, alphabetically by school:
(In reality, every coach who lost his last game is on the hot seat, but still…….)
Arkansas- Sam Pittman- Hired Bobby Petrino to save his offense.
Baylor- Dave Aranda- Bears are 3-10 in last 13 games, with a home loss to Texas State.
BYU- Kalani Sitake- Were 118th in country running ball LY, now they’re in the Big X.
Florida- Billy Napier- He is 11-14 in two years, but has 13 starters back this season.
Pittsburgh- Pat Narduzzi- Pitt was 3-9 LY, then fired the offensive coordinator.

— Top QB’s who transferred this year:
Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma to Oregon)
Cam Ward (Washington State to Miami)
Riley Leonard (Duke to Notre Dame)
DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson to Oregon State to Florida State)
Cam Howard (Kansas State to Ohio State)

— With all the conference shuffling going on, Oregon State/Washington State got screwed over, left behind to fend for themselves, all of which makes Oregon State-Oregon, Washington-Wazzu must watch TV this fall.

Beavers/Coogs are basically playing a Mountain West schedule for now; Oregon State’s coach bolted to Michigan State, and he’s an OSU alum. Not a good sign for the future. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

— There is an excellent 90-minute special on HBO with former NBA player/US Senator Bill Bradley; he talks about his very interesting life and one of the stories he told was especially interesting, at least to me.

Jerry Lucas was a very good ballplayer; he played for the ’73 Knicks championship team, he scored over 14,000 points in his career, but he was also a memory expert- he wrote books with a guy named Harry Lorayne about how to improve your memory.

I bought one of his books when I was in high school, but I forgot where I put it 🙂

Bill Bradley tells this story about how Lucas met the great chess champion Bobby Fischer, and Lucas told Fischer how he memorized pages in a phone book. He could tell you anyone’s phone number in the book; Fischer didn’t believe him.

Fischer picks a page in the phone book, asks Lucas for the phone number of the 10th name on that page, and Lucas rattles it off, no problem.

An amazing skill, but not sure how marketable it was.

— Northwestern’s basketball team is taking a 10-day trip to Italy/Greece August 20-30; trips like those help with team bonding, especially in this transfer portal era, when teams get cobbled together quickly.

— 49ers signed Christian McCaffrey to a 2-year, $38M contract extension; there are only five running backs who are making $10M+ a year.

— Today is June 5th; the baseball trade deadline is eight weeks from tomorrow, so for the next 57 days, writers will guess which players the contending teams will poach from the poor teams before July 31st. No bueno.

All this stuff gives fantasy baseball managers a headache; one of your players gets traded to a smaller ballpark (or a pitcher to a bigger one) that helps. Of course the opposite can also happen; real-life trades will keep us on our toes next month.

— Tuesday was a rough day for my fantasy squad; three of my players went on the IL, one of whom sprained his ankle stumbling on the dugout steps during Sunday’s game. Seriously, a 24-year old pro athlete is out for three weeks because he tripped on the dugout steps.

Oy.

— Phillies 2, Brewers 1 (10)
Alec Bohm tied the game with an 8th inning home run.
Phillies are 43-19, 26-9 at home; they lead NL East by 7 games.

— Pirates 1, Dodgers 0
Jack Suwinski’s home run was the game’s only run.
Jared Jones tossed six shutout inning for Pittsburgh.
Dodgers were 0-12 with runners in scoring position. 

Famous birthdays, June 5th:
Leslie Hendrix, 64
Jeff Garlin, 62
Mark Wahlberg, 53
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 49

Torry Holt, 48
Andrew Heaney, 33
Joe Ryan, 28
Sam Darnold, 27

— Guardians 8, Royals 5
Kansas City led 5-0 in fifth inning; Bobby Witt hit two homers.
Cleveland leads AL Central by 5 games over the Royals.

— Rays 9, Marlins 5
Brandon Lowe hit a 3-run homer, knocked in five runs.
Tampa Bay is 21-4 in its last 25 games against the Marlins.

— Cubs 7, White Sox 6
White Sox led 5-0 in fifth inning, still lost their 12th game in a row.
Cubs won for only third time in their last 12 games.

— Tigers 3, Rangers 1
Jack Flaherty tossed five shutout IP (60 PT), left with back tightness.
Detroit is over .500 for first time since May 18th.

— Astros 8, Cardinals 5
Yanier Diaz homered for the second game in a row.
Alex Bregman scored three runs for Houston.

— Reds 4, Rockies 1
Frankie Montas allowed only one hit in 7 IP. 

Hideo Nomo threw the only no-hitter in Coors Field history, in 1996.

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

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

— Vikings’ WR Justin Jefferson broke the bank Monday, landing a 4-year, $140M deal, with $110 of that money guaranteed, the biggest contract ever for a non-quarterback.

In four seasons with Minnesota, Jefferson has 392 receptions for 5,899 yards, 30 TD’s. 

His problem is that Kirk Cousins lives in Atlanta now, so at some point this fall, the Vikings will be breaking in a rookie QB, which figures to hamper Minnesota’s passing game, at least for a little while.

— Read this Monday and thought it was interesting:

Say there are two NHL players, both of whom earn $3M a year; one plays in Toronto, the other guys plays for Tampa Bay or Florida.

The guy on the Maple Leafs will play roughly $500,000 more in taxes than the guys who call Florida home. Has to hurt the Canadian teams in free agency, right?

— Edmonton beat Dallas 2-1 Sunday night to win the Western Conference; they got outshot 34-10, tied for the fewest shots on goal ever for a team that won a playoff game.

— Tigers 2, Rangers 1
Jake Rogers, Detroit’s #9 batter, hit two homers.
Wonder how many times a team scored two runs, won the game, with both runs coming on home runs hit by the #9 hitter?

— Diamondbacks 4, Giants 2
Pavin Smith hit a 2-run, pinch-hit, walk-off home run for Arizona.
Giants have lost five games in a row.

— Seattle Mariners are 34-27, lead the AL West, but they recently fired their bench coach.

Brant Brown was the bench coach/offensive coordinator; he was the Marlins’ hitting coach LY, when Miami made the playoffs, but this year’s Mariners are 29th in runs/game and have struck out the most of any team. 

Firing a 1st-year assistant coach on a successful team around June 1st? Must be an interesting story there. 

Famous birthdays, June 4th:
Terry Kennedy, 68
Xavier McDaniel, 61
Scott Servais, 57

Noah Wyle, 53
Darin Erstad, 50
Angelina Jolie, 49

Aaron Nola, 31
Freddy Peralta, 28
Skylar Thompson, 26

— Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee, Brewers beat the White Sox 6-3; Freddy Peralta’s line was mediocre, three runs in 5 IP (97 PT) but a deeper dive shows that he threw 43 pitches in the first inning, barely survived that, then needed only 54 pitches to get thru the next four innings and get the win.

When you’re the ace of a staff, part of your job is to eat up innings, to take strain off the bullpen. Getting knocked out in the first inning would’ve screwed up the bullpen for a couple days.

— Reds 13, Rockies 3
Cincinnati is 7-3 in its last ten games.
Spencer Steer is 8-14 in his last three games.

— Astros 7, Cardinals 4
Alex Bregman tied game with an 8th inning home run.
Yainer Diaz hit a 2-run homer later that inning for game-winning runs.

— Angels 2, Padres 1
Angels snapped their 5-game losing streak.
Manny Machado homered for San Diego’s only run.

— Mets 8, Nationals 7
Starling Marte had three hits, scored two runs.
Jose Iglesias had three hits, including the go-ahead single.

— Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Zach Wheeler pitched seven strong innings for the home team.
Rhys Hoskins homered against his old team, his first game back in Philly. 

— Orioles 7, Blue Jays 2
Austin Hays homered twice for Baltimore.
Orioles are 9-2 in their last eleven games.

— Detroit Tigers are going to retire former manager Jim Leyland’s number 10 in a ceremony August 3rd, two weeks after he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. 

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

— Baseball front offices have been overrun by over-educated morons; the new thing is that a marginal starting pitcher is only allowed to face 18 batters, no matter how he is doing. There is evidence that pitchers struggle when they go thru lineups a third time, but for the love of Christ, use some freakin’ common sense. 

Saturday afternoon, Arizona is beating the Mets 4-1 in bottom of the 5th; rookie pitcher Slade Cecconi is pitching. Mets have a man on 2nd, two out- Cecconi got the last two hitters out, but they take him, because he had gone thru the lineup twice. 

How the hell is he supposed to develop into a dependable starting pitcher if he isn’t allowed to finish the 5th inning? He had only thrown 71 pitches. It makes no sense.

— Baltimore Orioles are 37-20, they’re probably going to make the playoffs; they’re 3 games out of first place in the AL East, but they’ve got an 8.5-game lead for a Wild Card slot, so they’re a solid bet to make the playoffs.

Problem is, their starting pitching is banged up; Means/Wells are out for the year, and they’ve got several position player prospects in the minors. It makes sense that between now and July 31 (the trade deadline), Orioles are going to trade for a couple starting pitchers.

— Detroit 8, Boston 4 (10)- Tigers have won five games this year that they trailed in by 3+ runs, more than any American League team.

— Arizona 5, Mets 4- Mets, on the other hand, have lost six games that they led after eight innings. Mets have the 3rd-worst record in the National League. Ketel Marte homered twice; the second one was a 2-run blast in the ninth inning.

— Texas 6, Miami 0- Marlins start out June by getting beat 7-0/6-0. Not ideal.

— Brewers 6, White Sox 3
Chicago has now lost 11 games in a row.
OF Tommy Pham had been a bright spot for Chicago, but he was 2-21 last week.

— Oilers 2, Stars 1
Edmonton is in Stanley Cup finals for first time since 2006.
Oilers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1990.

There is a player on Edmonton, Corey Perry, who is the first player in NHL history to play in the NHL’s Final Four for five different teams. He is 39 now, has been in NHL since 2005; he was on the Anaheim Ducks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

Florida Panthers opened as -125 favorites to win the Stanley Cup final. 

Famous birthdays, June 3rd:
Billy Cunningham, 81
Anderson Cooper, 57
Az-Zahir Hakim, 47
Al Horford, 38
Rafael Nadal, 38
Imogen Poots, 35
Harrison Bader, 30
Luis Gil, 26

Host of The Gong Show, Chuck Barris, was born on June 3, 1929. The Gong Show was one of the funniest game shows ever; it was American Idol without talented contestants.

— Week 10, UFL:
Birmingham 20, Michigan 19
These teams meet again in the playoffs next week.

St Louis 13, San Antonio 12
These teams also meet again in the playoffs next week.

Arlington 32, DC Defenders 31
Arlington drove 41 yards, scored game-winning TD with 2:28 left.

Memphis 19, Houston 12
Houston lost despite outgaining the Roughnecks, 323-203.

Four games decided by total of 10 points in the last week of the regular season.

— Former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel is now an assistant with the Cleveland Browns; I was so hoping Browns-Titans played each other this fall, but they don’t. Vrabel coached under Cleveland DC Jim Schwartz in Tennessee.

— Ever hear of Reese Poffenbarger? Didn’t think so.

Reese Poffenbarger played QB for the I-AA Albany Great Danes, which is where I went to college. Back then, Albany was D-3; they ran the wishbone and usually won. My work-study job in college was doing stats for football/basketball games, a really good work-study job.

These days, Albany is I-AA, and Poffenbarger has thrown for 6,613 yards and 60 TD’s the last two years— he is very good. Good enough to get poached by an ACC team.

Miami’s QB the last three years, Tyler Van Dyke bolted to Wisconsin, so Miami hit the transfer portal and paid Poffenbarger, but then they also hit the portal for Washington State QB Cam Ward, so now Poffenbarger gets paid to run the scout team, unless Ward gets hurt.

— New York 7, Giants 5
Juan Soto homered twice, including the game-winner in the 9th inning. 

Blake Snell left in the 5th inning with a leg injury, is likely headed to the IL.
Snell, who signed a 2-year, $62M deal just before the season, is 0-3, 9.51 in six starts.

— All six division leaders have a 3+ game lead in their division; the three NL leaders have leads of 6.5, 6.5 and 7 games over the second place teams. Good thing the Wild Cards exist.

— Clemson was playing Coastal Carolina in the college baseball tournament, and they actually used the hidden ball trick in the second inning- it worked. Clemson won the game 12-5; college baseball is high-level stuff. How do you fall for the hidden ball trick?

— Early part of the week is going to be quiet; NBA Finals don’t start until Thursday, Stanley Cup Finals start Saturday. 

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

— Chicago Bears will be on this summer’s version of HBO’s Hard Knocks, which should be very interesting, seeing how they have a rookie QB and all. Bears are 16-35 the last three years, have not had a winning season since 2018.

— Last year, Notre Dame poached QB Sam Hartman from Wake Forest, after he started for the Deacons for four years; he probably made a lot of $$$ making the move, but a disturbing lack of loyalty. Wake Forest is in the ACC after all, but then after a 9-3 regular season, Hartman sat out Notre Dame’s bowl game, so he could prepare for the NFL Draft.

Oy.

Problem is, Hartman never got drafted; he will be in the Washington Commanders’ camp as an undrafted free agent. Too bad the Commanders aren’t on Hard Knocks.

— Miami Dolphins inked WR Jaylen Waddle to a 3-year deal worth $84.75M, with $76M of that money guaranteed. He is now the 4th highest-paid WR in the league.

Last year, Waddle caught 72 passes for 1,014 yards, and 4 TD’s; he’s had 1,000+ receiving yards in all three of his years in the NFL.

— Bought my first college football magazine of the year couple days ago; hard to process the shuffling that has gone on  in college sports. 

The Big 10 is now the Big 18
Stanford, Cal and SMU are in the ACC, which makes zero sense.
Oklahoma/Texas are in the SEC.

— Mets retired Darryl Strawberry’s #18 Saturday; Strawberry last played for the Mets in 1990- since then, 19 different players have worn #18 for Mets, but no one else will anymore.

— Sacramento Kings more than doubled coach Mike Brown’s salary; he re-upped with the Kings for $8.5M a year, a deal that runs thru 2027. Sacramento was 94-70 the last two seasons, ending a 16-year playoff drought.

— All four of these guys went to the same college, three of them played QB there:
Jimmy Garoppolo
Sean Payton
Tony Romo
Mike Shanahan

Pretty impressive list; I never would’ve guessed they all went to Eastern Illinois.

Famous birthdays, June 2nd:
Jerry Mathers, 76
Lawrence McCutcheon, 74
Joanna Gleason, 74

Dennis Haysbert, 70
Dana Carvey, 69
Al Wood, 66

Earl Boykins, 48
Nikki Cox, 36
Austin Davis, 35

— Panthers 2, Rangers 1
Florida wins series 4-2, is in Stanley Cup for third time ever, second year in a row. They also made the finals in 1996, their third year in existence.

— Orioles 9, Rays 5
Ryan Mountcastle hit two homers.
Tampa Bay lost nine of its last 12 games.

— A’s 11, Braves 9
Miguel Andujar was 4-5, with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI
Atlanta is 3-8 in its last 11 home games.

— Phillies 6, Cardinals 1
Phillies have won eight in a row at home.
P Ranger Suarez got hit in the hand with a line drive; x-rays came back negative.

— Brewers 4, White Sox 3 (10)
Chicago has lost ten games in a row.
Milwaukee is 5-0 when Robert Gasser pitches.

— Rangers 7, Marlins 0
Michael Lorenzen tossed 6.1 scoreless innings.
Texas has won four of its last five games.

— Some media people have been mumbling about Shohei Ohtani winning MVP this year; can’t see how a DH could ever win MVP- he doesn’t play the field, all he does is hit, plus the Dodgers have Mookie Betts hitting in front of him, Freddie Freeman behind him. Lot of talent there; why would one guy be more valuable than the other two?

— Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson has a deal in his contract where he has to participate in 80% of the Ravens’ offseason workouts to earn a $750,000 bonus, but when you sign a contract worth a total of $260M, $750,000 probably seems like pocket change.

Jackson has missed most of Baltimore’s workouts this spring.

Saturday’s Den: Some college football QB’s who transferred this year……

This is a listing of QB’s who transferred this season; it is NOT a ranking; players are listed alphabetically by their new school’s name.

— Dequan Finn, Baylor- A 3-year starter at Toledo, was MAC Player of the Year LY, throwing for 2,657 yards, 22 TD’s. Also ran for 563 yards, 7 TD’s.

— Maalik Murphy, Duke- A former 5-star recruit, Murphy started twice for Texas LY, but threw only 71 passes all season. Former starter Riley Leonard bolted to Notre Dame.

— DJ Uiagalelei, Florida State- Threw for 2,638 yards and 21 TD’s for Oregon State LY, after starting for two years at Clemson before that. FSU has only 10 starters back, but they added 14 transfers. Uiagalelei needs to be a more accurate passer.

— Cade McNamara, Iowa- Hawkeyes ranked 129th in scoring last year, 127th in passing yardage; fair to say they had the worst offense in the country, but they went 10-4, despite losing their last two games, 26-0/35-0. McNamara was QB for a 12-2 Michigan team in 2021; he had a torn ACL last year. Iowa brought in a new offensive coordinator to try to score some points.

— Tyler Shough, Louisville- Texas Tech transfer threw for 177 yards in Louisville’s spring game; Cardinals coach Brohm is an excellent offensive coach, but Louisville has only two starters back on the offensive line.

— Cam Ward, Miami- Started out at I-AA Incarnate Word, then bolted to Washington State; he threw for 6,963 yards, 48 TD’s in two years at Wazzu. Miami was 1-4 last year in games decided by 7 or fewer points last year. Ward was brought in to reverse that trend.

— Max Johnson, North Carolina- Started 22 games at LSU/Texas A&M; his dad is former NFL QB Brad Johnson, his uncle is Mark Richt, the former Miami coach. Tar Heels started last year 6-0, but then the defense imploded and they finished 8-5. 

Famous birthdays, June 1st:
Morgan Freeman, 87
Brian Cox, 78
Tony Bennett, 55
Teri Polo, 55
Paula Malcomson, 54
Alanis Morrissette, 50
Brandi Carlile, 43
Nick Young, 39
Andrew Abbott, 25

— Grayson McCall, NC State- 3-time Sun Belt Player of the Year at Coastal Carolina, where he threw for over 10,000 yards. Wolfpack has September games against Tennessee/Clemson, so McCall better mesh with his new teammates fairly quickly.

— Riley Leonard, Notre Dame- This is what Notre Dame does now, they just poach QB’s; last year it was Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman (they went 10-3), now it is Leonard, who led Duke to 9-4/8-5 records the last two years. Notre Dame added three transfer WR’s, figures to have a more wide-open offense this season,

— Will Howard, Ohio State- Was a 4-year starter at Kansas State (Wildcats were 31-19 during that time); he is more of a run/pass guy than a deep passer, will be interesting to see how he does under Buckeyes’ new OC, former Oregon/UCLA/Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

Ohio State lost to Michigan the last three years; there is heat on the head coach.

— Alex Bowman, Oklahoma State- Is going into his 7th college season (even I got out of college faster than that); he threw for 3,460 yards LY, with only 15 TD’s, 14 INT’s (RB Gordon ran for 21 TD’s). Cowboys’ entire offensive line returns, so their offense should be stellar.

— Dillon Gabriel, Oregon- Started for two years at UCF, two more years at Oklahoma, now plays for an Oregon team that scored 44.2 points/game LY, with Bo Nix at QB.

Ducks are in the Big 18 now (there are 18 freakin’ teams in this league); November visits to Michigan, Wisconsin will test Gabriel’s skill in cold weather.

— EJ Warner, Rice- Son of Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner, EJ threw for 3,076 yards last year for a 3-9 Temple squad; he is still an Owl, but a Rice Owl now. Warner led the AAC in passing yards the last two years; he figures to help Rice improve on last year’s minus-14 turnover ratio. 

Rice went bowling the last two years, which hasn’t happened a lot for them; they’ve got an experienced team, actually have some expectations this year.

— Will Rogers, Washington- Rogers started for four years at Mississippi State, where he played for the late Mike Leach, but things imploded in Starkville LY, after Leach’s untimely death. He ranks #2 in passing yards in the history of the SEC.

Huskies lost all 11 starters on offense after their head coach bolted to Alabama; they’ve got only one starter back on defense, but new coach Jedd Fisch rebuilt Arizona’s program fairly quickly

This is what college sports are becoming; the rich poaching from the not-so-rich. Not an ideal situation, but it is what it is……..

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 6-14 this year.
Merrill Kelly hasn’t pitched since April 15; Zac Gallen left Thursday’s start with an injury, after throwing only 6 pitches.

— Braves are 5-10 in their last 15 games.
Atlanta is 11-5 vs AL teams, 20-18 vs NL teams.

— Cubs lost seven of their last eight games.
Cubs are 8-2 in Imanaga’s starts, 20-27 with anyone else starting. 

— Since April 26, Reds are 0-10 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.
Cincinnati won five of its last six series openers.

— Rockies won eight of their last ten home games.
Over is 10-4 in Colorado’s last fourteen games.

— Dodgers are 8-2 when James Paxton starts.
Under is 12-5 in their last 17 road games.

— Marlins are 2-18 against lefty starting pitchers, 18-19 vs righties.
Over is 12-3 in their last 15 home games.
Under is 7-1 in their last eight road tilts.

— Brewers are 10-3 in their last 13 home games.
Rookie P Gasser is 2-0, 2.35 in his first four MLB starts.

— Mets are 7-17 in their last 24 games.
Last year, Mets had a $346M payroll, they went 75-87.
This year, Mets have a $323M payroll, they’re 23-33.

— Phillies won 18 of their last 20 home games.
Phillies are 10-1 when Ranger Suarez pitches, 7-0 at home.

— Pittsburgh are 16-9 when Keller, Falter, Skenes start.
Over is 10-1 in Pirates’ last eleven home games. 

— St Louis won 12 of its last 15 games.
Cardinals are 9-15 in day games, 18-12 in night games.

— Padres are 11-4 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.
San Diego is 13-19 at home, 17-10 on road.

— Giants won 10 of their last 13 games.
San Francisco is 16-9 in day games, 13-19 in night games.

— Nationals won seven of last eight series openers.
Washington is 9-2 when Trevor Williams pitches. 

Famous birthdays, May 31st:
Clint Eastwood, 94
Joe Namath, 81
Tom Berenger, 75
Chris Elliott, 64
Lea Thompson, 63
Kenny Lofton, 57
Dave Roberts, 52
Jake Peavy, 43
Nate Robinson, 40
Shane Bieber, 29

— Orioles are 6-1 in their last seven games.
Baltimore is 13-4 vs lefty starters.

— Red Sox lost six of their last eight home games.
Nick Pivetta struck out eight straight Tigers in Thursday’s game.

— White Sox lost 12 of their last 13 games.
Chicago scored total of eight runs in their last five games. 

— Guardians are 16-3 in their last 19 home games.
Cleveland is 10-4 vs lefty starting pitchers, 27-15 vs righties.

— Tigers are 13-9 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.
Over is 10-3 in their last 13 games. 

— Astros’ last six games stayed under the total.
Houston is 6-12 against lefty starting pitchers, 19-20 vs righty starters. 

— Royals are off to a 35-23 start; their last winning season was 2015, when they won the World Series.
Kansas City is 21-8 at home, 14-15 on road.

— Angels are 7-21 at home, 14-14 on foreign soil.
Over is 14-7 in their last 21 home games.

— Twins won seven of their last nine games.
Under is 8-2 in their last ten home games.

— New York won 20 of its last 26 games.
NY scored in first inning in nine of its last 15 games.

— A’s lost 10 of their last 11 road games.
Over is 8-4 in their last 12 home games.

— Mariners are 8-1 in home series openers, 3-6 in road series openers.
Seattle is 14-5 in its last 19 home games, overall.

— Rays are 8-5 vs lefty starters, 20-24 vs righty starters.
Tampa Bay is 3-8 in home series openers.

— Texas lost eight of its last nine road games.
Under is 18-5 in Rangers’ last 23 home games.

— Toronto is 7-4 in its last eleven games.
Blue Jays are 3-7 vs lefty starters; LY, they were 20-15.

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

— If you coach your kids in youth basketball, show them that a regulation basketball hoop is exactly two basketballs wide. Kids usually don’t believe that until you show them, but it does make shooting easier when you realize the hoop is bigger than it looks.

— Dodgers 10, Mets 3
In their last seven games, Mets have been outscored 27-8 from the 7th inning on.
Mets are 11-19 at home; they’re 10-25 in their last 35 games overall.
Mets are retiring Darryl Strawberry’s #18 Saturday, when they host Arizona.

Dodgers took P James Paxton out after three IP (50 PT); they said later it was planned, since it was Paxton’s first start on four days’ rest, but they never announced that beforehand.

— Mariners 2, Astros 1 (10)
Seattle has now won four games in a row.
Astros are 10-17 on the road- they need a 1B who can hit.

— Blue Jays 3, White Sox 1
Chicago went 61-101 last year, with a payroll of $181.2M
White Sox are 15-42 this year, with a payroll of $129.1M.

— Rangers 6, Diamondbacks 1
Corey Seager has eight home runs in his last eight games.
Marcus Semien took this game off, ending his streak at 349 consecutive starts.

— Brewers 10, Cubs 6
Shota Imanaga had his worst start in this country, giving up seven runs in 4.1 IP.
Milwaukee leads the NL Central by 4.5 games.

— Royals 6, Twins 1
Seth Lugo pitched 6 innings for the win; he is 9-1, 1.72 this season.

Why don’t the Twins have a domed stadium? The weather is cruddy in Minnesota; they have a dome in Milwaukee, you’d think the Twins would, too.

Famous birthdays, May 30th:
Ruta Lee, 89
Wynonna Judd, 60
Billy Donovan, 59
Manny Ramirez, 52
CeeLo Green, 49
Zach Wheeler, 34
Harrison Barnes, 32

— Bronny James apparently turned down a chance to work out for eight NBA teams, accepted workouts with the Lakers, his dad’s team, and the Phoenix Suns. Bronny James started only six of USC’s 33 games as a freshman last season.

— LA Clippers are going to be paying coach Tyrone Lue $14M a year going forward; Lue is 197-151 in his four years as the Clippers coach, but is only 13-17 in playoff games.

— New Jersey Jets are -150 to make the playoffs this fall; they haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, have a QB coming off an achilles injury.

— Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna has now played only 409 games the last four years, tearing up both his knees. Acuna is on the books for $17M a year thru 2028.

— Cleveland Guardians are 12-4 in games where the winning run scored from the 7th inning on.

— San Diego Padres reliever Jeremiah Estrada recently struck out 13 consecutive batters over a three-game stretch, which is the longest such streak since at least 1961.

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

Wednesday’s Den: A quick note on all 32 NFL teams

AFC East
— Bills- All seven of their losses last year were by 6 or fewer points. 

— Dolphins- Were 11-4 at one point LY, then lost their last three games, scoring 19-14-7 points.

— Patriots- Were held under 300 total yards in six of their last seven games; they scored less than 10 points in six games.

— Jets- Had five games where they were minus-3 or worse in turnovers.

AFC North
— Ravens- Were 3-5 last year in games decided by 7 or fewer points.

— Bengals- Over was 7-2 in their last nine games.

— Browns- Deshaun Watson makes $46M/year; he’s played in 12 games (8-4) the last two years.

— Steelers- Pittsburgh was 7-0 last year when they scored more than 18 points.

AFC South
— Texans- Houston was +12 in turnovers LY; they were 2-7 when they allowed 20+ points.

— Colts- QB Richardson only threw 84 passes LY, before he got hurt; they were 6-3 in last nine games, with Gardner Minshew playing QB.

— Jaguars- Finished 1-5 after an 8-3 start; they ran for less than 90 yards in six of last seven games.

— Titans- Were minus-6 in turnovers; they were outgained by 125+ yards in six games, outgained only one opponent by more than 37 yards.

AFC West
— Broncos- Missed playoffs the last eight years, going 52-79.

— Chiefs- Were minus-11 in turnovers in regular season, still won 2nd straight Super Bowl.

— Raiders- Won Super Bowl after 2002 season; since then, they’re 0-2 in playoff games.

— Chargers- Jim Harbaugh was 49-22-1 coaching the 49ers, from 2011-14.

Famous birthdays, May 29th:
Blue Moon Odom, 79
Annette Bening, 65
Eric Davis, 62
Shaun King, 47
Carmelo Anthony, 40
Tyler Nevin, 27
Puka Nacua, 23
Paul Skenes, 22

NFC East
— Cowboys- Since 1997, Dallas is 4-12 in playoff games, 3-5 at home.

— Giants- Last seven games LY, Giants were +15 in turnovers, were only 4-3 in those games.

— Eagles- Started last year 10-1; from that point on, they went 1-6.

— Commanders- Washington’s last winning season was 2016, when they were 8-7-1.

NFC North
— Bears- Chicago lost Super Bowl after 2006 season; since then, they’re 1-3 in playoff games.

— Lions- Jared Goff is 70-54-1 as an NFL starter; 43-29 with the Rams, 26-24-1 with Detroit.

— Packers- Made playoffs 11 of last 14 years, lost their last four NFC title games.

— Vikings- Eight of their ten losses last year were by 7 or fewer points (4-7).

NFC South
— Falcons- Kirk Cousins is 77-70-2 as an NFL starter, 1-3 in play0ff games.

— Panthers- Dave Canales is Carolina’s 5th head coach in seven years, not counting interim coaches. Panthers won two games LY: 15-13 over Houston, 9-7 over Atlanta.

— Saints- In their history, Saints are 1-7 in road playoff games; they won 26-24 at Philly in 2013.

— Tampa Bay- Baker Mayfield has already played for four teams in six years; he is 40-48 as an NFL starter, 2-2 in playoff games.

NFC West
— Cardinals- Arizona went 13-3 in 2015, lost NFC title game; since then, they’re 0-1 in playoff games.

— Rams- Under Sean McVay, Rams are 77-49, 7-4 in playoff games; before he came to LA, the Rams had 12 consecutive losing seasons.

— 49ers- Since 2012, 49ers have been in playoffs six times; they went WWL all six years.

— Seahawks- Pete Carroll was 181-131-1 coaching Seattle, but since 2017, he was 1-4 in playoff games, so this winter, for better or worse, they changed coaches. 

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

— Basketball icon Bill Walton passed away Monday, at age 71, after a long bout with cancer. He was one of the best college basketball players ever, and also won two NBA championship rings.

Walton’s UCLA teams went 86-4, winning two national titles.
He shot 21-22 from the floor in the 1973 national title game, as UCLA beat Memphis.
 
He led the Trailblazers to the 1977 NBA title, was a sub on Boston’s 1985 title team.
Walton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

He was hurt a lot (feet/back) in the NBA, playing in only 468 games. 

After his playing days, Walton became an announcer; he overcame a stuttering problem he had earlier in his life, and boy what an announcer he was. He worked hard at research before games; I always learned stuff listening to him, and it usually had very little to do with basketball.

He had a positive voice on TV, he made you laugh, he made you think. He will be missed.

RIP, sir.

— Celtics 105, Pacers 102
Boston outscored Indiana 25-19 in 4th quarter.
Celtics sweep the series, 4-0.
Boston was 14-44 on the arc, 26-45 inside the arc.
Bad news for the NBA; the Finals don’t start until June 6th.

— I still can’t process that John Calipari is now the basketball coach at Arkansas; why wouldn’t Kentucky want the guy to be their coach? 

410-123 record, three Final Fours, a national title.

Granted, the last four years Kentucky was 1-3 in NCAA Tourney games; people get spoiled. It won’t be long before they wish they had him back in Lexington.

— Nationals 8, Braves 4
Rookie lefty Parker allowed only five baserunners in 6.1 IP.
Atlanta is 4-8 in its last 12 games.

— Padres 2, Marlins 1
San Diego scored the winning run on a bases loaded walk in the 7th inning, about Miami had made two errors earlier in that inning.

— Orioles 11, Red Sox 3
Kyle Stowers went 3-4, had four RBI.
Cole Irvin tossed five shutout IP.

— Famous birthdays for May 28th:
Jerry West, 86
Bill Doran, 66
Brandon Cruz, 62
Glen Rice, 57
Michael Oher, 38
Craig Kimbrel, 36

— Some good news; umpire Angel Hernandez is “retiring” effective immediately, which is good for baseball, since he was a terrible umpire.

When a guy umpires for 32 years and isn’t a crew chief, that says a lot; he once had three calls overturned by replay in the first four innings of a 2018 playoff game. Good riddance.

— On May 26, 1973, White Sox had a game with Cleveland suspended; when they resumed the game on the 28th, lefty Wilbur Wood pitched the last five innings for Chicago, then he tossed a 4-hit shutout in the regularly scheduled game.

From 1972-75, Wood started 182 games (45.5/year); he was 24-20 in 1973, throwing his knuckleball. He once started both ends of a doubleheader.

Nowadays, 32 starts is pretty much the maximum for any starter; Wilbur Wood carried a huge load for some good White Sox teams.

— There were nine no-hitters thrown in 2021, the most in any season; there were eight thrown in 1884. Three of those nine no-hitters in 2021 were against the Cleveland Indians.

— All-time leaders for walks:
2,558- Barry Bonds
2,190- Rickey Henderson
2,062- Babe Ruth
2,021- Ted Williams

— Reds 3, Cardinals 1
Cincinnati won a season-high fourth straight game.
Nick Lodolo allowed a run in 5.1 IP, giving up 5 hits.

— Rockies 8, Guardians 6
Colorado ends the Guardians’ 9-game winning streak.
Charlie Blackmon was 3-4 with four RBI.

— Giants 8, Phillies 4
Teams are now 1-6 in their first game after a series in Denver.
Giants #7-8-9 hitters all had two RBI each.

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

— Braves 8, Pirates 1
Ronald Acuna blew out his knee, is gone for the season.
Chris Sale won his 7th start in a row.

— Orioles 4, White Sox 1
Kyle Bradish struck out 11, threw seven no-hit IP (103 PT).
Baltimore sweeps this series, after getting swept in St Louis.

If you’re in a weekly fantasy league, the Bradish start was unexpected; he pitched Tuesday, and wasn’t supposed to pitch again until Monday, but when Dean Kremer came up lame after his start last Monday, Bradish’s start got pushed up a day.

— Last year when MLB banned infield shifts, TV people league-wide all said the same stuff, using the same words, so much so that it seemed obvious that they had been coached to sell the changes to TV viewers and it worked. Banning the shift has generally been accepted.

This year, the baseballs seem to be a little dead; I’ve seen Pete Alonso and other hitters hit a few balls to the warning track, but the ball doesn’t seem to be carrying as well. Scoring is down, but I haven’t heard a peep from TV analysts.

The Mets’ booth started talking about it Sunday, but they stopped mid-sentence. Go figure.

— So far this season, teams that played a series at Coors Field in Denver are 1-5 in the first game of their next series; we’ll keep tracking that stat as the season progresses.

— Dallas 116, Minnesota 107
Doncic/Irving both scored 33 points.
Mavericks lead series 3-0; both conference finals are 3-0.
No NBA team has ever won a playoff series after trailing 3-0.

— DC Defenders 36, Memphis 21
Defenders led 22-7 at halftime.
DC outgained the Showboats, 431-231.

Michigan 26, Houston 22
Panthers outscored Houston 14-0 in fourth quarter.
Former NFL QB Bryce Perkins led the two 4th quarter TD drives.

— In case you were wondering, there have been 38 Australian pitchers who’ve made it to the major leagues; Jack O’Loughlin became the 38th Sunday, pitching three scoreless innings for the A’s, in his major league debut.

— Famous birthdays for May 27th:
Jackie Slater, 70
Nick Lowery, 68
John Jaha, 58
Frank Thomas, 56
Jeff Bagwell, 56
Jose Berrios, 30
Yoan Moncada, 29
Daniel Jones, 27

— Random obscure trivia:
In 1954, a Cleveland OF Dale Mitchell made the last out in game 4 of the World Series, as the Indians got swept by the Giants.

Two years later, while playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Mitchell was the last out in Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series.

Mitchell was a good ballplayer; he had a .312 career batting average in his 11-year career, making two All-Star games.

— Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 1
Ryan Weathers tossed six scoreless innings.
Marlins are 9-4 in their last 13 games, after starting the season 10-31.

— Tigers 14, Blue Jays 11
Matt Vierling was 4-6 with two homers, six RBI.
In their last six games, Detroit scored a total of 18 runs.
Tigers led 8-3 after the fifth inning.

— Reds 4, Dodgers 1
Nick Martinez allowed one hit in 4.1 IP as the bulk reliever.
Dodgers have lost five games in a row.

— Rangers 6, Twins 2
Corey Seager hit two homers, knocked in three runs.
Texas won only the third time in their last 15 games.

— Cardinals 4, Cubs 3
Paul Goldschmidt homered twice, in a game that started 2.5 hours late.
Cardinals won 10 of their last 12 games.
Both teams have day games in other cities Monday.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL- Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Braves, Cubs, SD/SF
AL- New York, Guardians, Mariners. Wild Cards: Orioles, Royals, Twins

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

— Only three quarterbacks EVER have won a Super Bowl after they lost their first appearance in a Super Bowl: Len Dawson, Bob Greise, John Elway.

— Awkward moment Friday night on the Mets’ telecast, when Mets’ president of baseball operations David Stearns was on TV in the bottom of the third inning with the Mets’ TV crew. 

Stearns was brought in from Milwaukee last winter after the Mets went 75-87 in 2023, despite having the biggest payroll in baseball history. Mets are owned by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who is an avid fan and wants to win, but really, really rich people aren’t patient, so there was tension in Stearns’ voice as he talked on TV. 

Mets are 3-12 in their last 15 games; am curious to see how they approach the next few weeks.

— Pirates 4, Braves 1
Mitch Keller won his 4th consecutive start.
Atlanta is 5-9 in its last 14 road games.

— Royals 7, Rays 4 (11)
Kansas City has won eight games in a row.
Nelson Velasquez knocked in two runs, scored two.

— AL West standings (the division is having a bad year)
Mariners 27-26
Rangers 24-29- won World Series last year.
Astros 23-29- won World Series in 2022.
A’s 22-32
Angels 20-32

— Cardinals 7, Cubs 6
St Louis scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Cardinals have won nine of last 11 games.

— A’s 3, Astros 1
JP Sears allowed an unearned run in six IP.
Mason Miller struck out the side in the 9th for his 10th save.

Mason Miller is a really good closer who is under team control for a few more years; there are nitwits on TV saying the A’s might deal him for prospects before the trade deadline. If that happens, someone in Oakland is getting a phone call.

The people in Las Vegas should also be paying attention; why would they want a team that doesn’t try to win? Guys like Miller are keepers; they help you win games.

— Guardians 4, Angels 3
Cleveland is a surprising 35-17, atop the AL Central.
Angels are a horrendous 6-18 at home.

— Famous birthdays for May 26th:
Lee Meriwether, 89
Darrell Evans, 77
Dan Pastorini, 75
Richard Schiff, 69
David Greenwood, 67
Peri Gilpin, 63
Greg Lloyd, 59
Doug West, 57
Ben Zobrist, 43

— Celtics 114, Pacers 111
Jayson Tatum scored 36 points, has 8 assists, 10 rebounds.
Celtics were +12 in the 13:00 Xavier Tillman played.
Boston leads series, 3-0; no NBA team has ever won a series after trailing, 3-0.

— Chicago Bulls’ G Lonzo Ball had a meniscus transplant in his knee, so that he can get back to playing ball next season.

Ball has played five years in the NBA, but hasn’t played in two years; he never played more than 63 games in a season.

— Cleveland Cavaliers fired coach JB Bickerstaff after the Cavs went 48-34 this year, losing in the second round of the playoffs. Cleveland was 51-31 last year, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Losing early in the playoffs can get you fired.

— This week, the Mets became the fifth team ever to lose three games in a row, when they hit 3+ home runs in all three games.

— Arlington 36, St Louis 22
Arlington QB Perez threw for 259 yards, 3 TD’s.
St Louis played their backup QB; they ran ball for 159 yards.

— San Antonio 18, Birmingham 9
First loss of the season for Stallions; they had won 15 games in a row, dating back to last year.
San Antonio improves to 7-2; they lead the XFL division by a game.

— Sunday’s Dodgers-Reds game was moved up 90 minutes to 12:10, because of cruddy weather forecast for the Cincinnati area. 

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

— TV game analysts/studio analysts should be former coaches/players, people who have been in the arena and can tell us what it was like.

TNT has Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith on their NBA show.
TNT has Wayne Gretzky, Henrik Lundqvist (and others) on their NHL show.
ESPN has Mark Messier, PK Subban on their NHL show.
This is the way it is supposed to be.

Then there is ESPN’s NBA show, which for some regrettable reason, has Stephen A Smith and Michael Wilbon it; they’ve played/coached in the NBA as much as I have. 

Former Warriors GM Bob Myers is good, having Chris Paul/Draymond Green is good; they can tell us what being in the playoffs are like. 

I listen to games so I can learn stuff; if you have overpaid nitwits spouting palaver at halftime, I quickly hit the mute button, or change the channel.

— There are only 11 major league games on Memorial Day; you’d think on a national holiday, everyone would play, maybe even play a doubleheader.

— If TNT loses rights to NBA broadcasts after next season, and it looks like they will, it is said they’ll lose $500M a year in advertising revenue. No bueno.

— NBA needs to re-calibrate how they track assists:
They should count how many points a player assists to teammates.
— An assist on a 3-point basket would obviously be 3 points.
— An assist that leads to free throws should also count.

This would be a more telling stat than the way they do it now.

— Giants 8, Mets 7
Giants are the first team since 1999 to win three straight games when trailing by 4+ runs; they’re the first team to do it on the road since 1932.

— Brothers who have homered for the same team, in the same inning:
Hank/Tommy Aaron
Cal/Bill Ripken
Josh/Bo Naylor- Cleveland, this year

— Kansas City Royals are only team with an extra-base hit in every game this season.

— Relief pitcher for the Twins came into a game this week in Washington on the Nationals’ bullpen cart; when he got out of the cart, he tipped the driver $5.

— 2025 NFL Draft will be in Green Bay, 2026 draft will be in Pittsburgh.

— Famous birthdays for May 25th:
Leslie Uggams, 81
Bob Knepper, 70
Mike Myers, 61
Kendall Gill, 56
Todd Walker, 51
Molly Sims, 51
Miguel Tejada, 50
Brian Uhrlacher, 46
Kevin O’Connell, 39

— Notes on NFL season win totals:
Last eight years, Broncos are under 7-0-1 against their win total.
Last five years, Bears/Chargers are both under 4-0-1.
Last five years, Dolphins are over 4-0-1 against their win total.
Last four years, Steelers are over 4-0.

— Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa missed a day of Miami’s organized team activities because he was playing in Nick Saban’s charity golf tournament; he has missed some other days, maybe because his people are negotiating a new contract with the Dolphins. 

Last year (his 4th NFL season) was first time Tagovailoa played in all 17 games; he threw for 4,624 yards, completing 69% of his passes, with 29 TD passes.

— Utility guy Joey Wendle went 8-36 in 18 games with the Mets; they told him to take a hike, and now the Braves have stopped him up, which is probably bad news for Zach Short.

— Marlins 3, Arizona 0
Braxton Garrett threw a 95-pitch complete game shutout.
Marlins have five shutout wins in their last nine games.

— Sacramento State basketball coach David Patrick quit to become the associate head coach at LSU; Sac State was 14-18/10-24 in Patrick’s two seasons. It is the second time Patrick has quit being a head coach (Cal-Riverside) to become a D-I assistant. He had previously been at LSU as an assistant coach, from 2012-16.

— Phillies 2, Rockies 1
Bryce Harper struck out in the top of the first, and got tossed from the game; the last time Harper got thrown out of a game was last year, the last time the Phillies played in Denver.

Colorado rookie OF Jordan Beck had 80 plate appearances without drawing a walk, a little bit of a red flag; he finally walked Friday night, but it was an intentional walk in th 

— Dallas Stars’ coach Peter DeBoer has coached in the NHL’s Final Four 5 of the last 6 years, but with three different teams:
2018-19- San Jose 46-27-9, 10-10 in playoffs
2019-20- San Jose 15-16-2, got fired during season

Las Vegas hired him, he was 15-5-2, 12-8 in playoffs.
2020-21- Las Vegas 40-14-2, 10-9 in playoffs.
2021-22- Las Vegas 43-31-8, missed playoffs

2022-23- Dallas 47-21-14, 10-9 in playoffs.
2023-24- Dallas 52-21-9, 8-6 playoffs.

Coach DeBoer has had lot of success, coaching in Stanley Cup finals twice, but he’s on his fifth team in 15 years. It doesn’t make much sense. 

Friday’s Den: Trends for every MLB team……..

Trends for all 30 MLB teams…….

— Arizona is 7-3 in its last ten road games.
Over is 9-5 in their last 14 games. 

— Braves are 5-7 in their last 12 road games.
Under is 23-4 in their last 27 games.

— Cubs lost seven of their last ten games.
Cubs are 23-18 vs righty starting pitchers, 4-6 vs lefties.

— Cincinnati is 5-18 in its last 23 games.
Since April 26, Reds are 0-10 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

— Rockies lost five of their last six games.
Over is 6-2 in Colorado’s last eight games.

— Dodgers are 7-6 in their last 13 games.
Under is 8-3 in their last eleven road games.

— Marlins are 1-17 against lefty starting pitchers, 16-17 vs righties.
Over is 12-3 in their last 15 home games.

— Brewers lost eight of their last 11 road games.
Milwaukee is 10-4 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.

— Mets are 3-10 in their last 13 games.
Last year, Mets had a $346M payroll, they went 75-87.
This year, Mets have a $323M payroll, they’re 21-28.

— Phillies won 22 of their last 26 games.
Phillies are 10-0 when Ranger Suarez pitches.

— Pirates lost six of their last eight home games.
Rookie P Skenes is 1-0, 2.25 in his first three MLB starts.

— Cardinals are 8-14 in day games, 15-12 in night games.
St Louis hasn’t scored in first inning in its last 13 games.

— Padres are 10-4 in games where winning run scored from 7th inning on.
San Diego is 10-16 at home, 17-10 on road.

— Giants won six of last seven games, scoring 54 runs.
San Francisco is 14-7 in day games, 11-19 in night games.

— Nationals lost eight of their last ten games.
Washington is 14-20 vs righty starters, 7-7 vs lefties.

— Famous birthdays for May 24h:
Bob Dylan, 83
Gary Burghoff, 81
Mitch Kupchak, 70
Kristin Scott Thomas, 64
Pete Metzelaars, 64
Joe Dumars, 61
John C Reilly, 59
Bartolo Colon, 51
Tracy McGrady, 45

— Orioles are 9-3 in their last 12 games.
C Adley Rutschman is hitting .299, with an .809 OPS.

— Red Sox won their last four games, scoring 29 runs.
Boston is 1-6 in home series openers.

— White Sox started season 3-22; they’re 12-14 since then.
Chicago lost seven of its last nine road games. 

— Guardians are 16-3 in their last 19 home games.
Cleveland is 8-2 vs lefty starting pitchers, 25-15 vs righties.

— Tigers lost 14 of their last 19 games.
Detroit is 10-9 in divisional games, 14-18 vs everyone else.

— Astros are 10-4 in their last 14 games.
Houston is 6-11 against lefty starting pitchers, 16-17 vs righty starters. 

— Royals are off to a 32-19 start; their last winning season was 2015, when they won the World Series.
Over is 6-2 in their last eight home games.

— Angels lost 14 of their last 18 home games.
Over is 11-4 in their last 15 home games.

— Twins lost seven of their last nine games.
Max Kepler is hitting .311, with a .912 OPS

— New York won 15 of its last 19 games.
Under is 12-4 in their series openers.

— A’s lost their last eight road games.
Over is 7-2 in their last nine home games.

— Mariners are 7-1 in home series openers, 3-5 in road series openers.
Seattle is 11-4 in its last 15 home games, overall.

— Rays are 1-6 in their last seven home games.
Under is 10-4 in their last fourteen games.

— Texas lost 10 of its last 12 games.
Under is 16-5 in Rangers’ last 21 home games.

— Blue Jays are 3-7 in their last ten road games.
Toronto is 3-7 vs lefty starting pitchers, 20-19 vs righty starters. 

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

— Dallas 108, Minnesota 105
Luka Doncic scored 15 points in 4th quarter.
Dallas was +19 in 27:00 that Lively played off bench.
Mavericks lead series, 1-0

— Cardinals 3-5, Orioles 1-4
Orioles hadn’t been swept in their last 106 series, over two years.
St Louis swept a series for first time this season.

— Arizona 6, Dodgers 0
Ryne Nelson threw 5 shutout IP as a bulk reliever.
Dodgers were 0-8 with runners in scoring position.

— Guardians 6, Mets 3
Johnathan Rodriguez knocked in go-ahead run with his first MLB hit.
Mets led 3-0 in sixth inning.
New York is 3-10 in its last thirteen games.

— Giants 9, Pirates 5 (10)
Pirates led 5-0 after four innings.
Lamonte Wade was 3-3, with three walks.

— Royals 8, Tigers 3
Ragans allowed only one hit in 6 IP, striking out 12 Tigers.
Kansas City has won six games in a row.

— Twins 3, Nationals 2
Twins P Woods-Richardson was leading 1-0 in 5th inning, with two outs and no one on, but Minnesota took him out, despite him throwing only 77 pitches. He had faced 18 batters and in today’s game,  some teams don’t want a pitcher facing hitters three times. Oy.

— Marlins 1, Brewers 0
Jazz Chisholm led off the bottom of the first with a home run, the game’s only run.
Jesus Luzardo allowed three hits in 8 scoreless IP.

Famous birthdays for May 23rd:
Joan Collins, 91
Rod Thorn, 83
Drew Carey, 66
Rich Karlis, 65
Jay Feely, 48
Kirk Saarloos, 45
Aaron Donald, 33

— NFL teams favored in most games this coming season:
17- 49ers
15- Chiefs
14- Falcons, Ravens, Cowboys, Jets
12- Bengals, Lions, Eagles

— Thats the most games the Jets have ever been favored in in one season.

— Patriots/Panthers are only two teams that aren’t favored in any games right now. This is first time in their history that New England hasn’t been favored in a game; they were favored once in four seasons (1970-72, 1990).

— Longest active playoff droughts:
2010- Jets
2015- Broncos
2017- Falcons, Panthers
2020- Bears, Colts, Saints, Commanders

— Denver Broncos are favored in only two games, against Raiders/Panthers.

— Minnesota Vikings are favored in only three games, the fewest games they’ve been favored in since 1984.

— Toughest part of the Ravens’ schedule is September; they’re underdog in three of their first five games, then are favored in their last 12 games.

— Teams traveling the most miles this season:
26,803- Chargers
25,869- Dolphins
25,797- Seahawks
25,071- Patriots
24,575- 49ers

— Teams traveling the fewest miles this season:
10,550- Commanders
10,611- Bengals
11,497- Colts
12,047- Steelers
12,416- Falcons