YANKEES AND METS...TWO TEAMS GOING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS
The host New York Mets salvaged one game of the three-game series against the New York Yankees with a 2-0 victory Sunday night. To say the least, the Mets really needed the win.
The Yankees and Mets both began this season with new managers.
The Mets got off to an 11-1 start (after a 6-5 win over Milwaukee April 12) – the first New York City team to start 11-1 since the 1955 world champion Brooklyn Dodgers. Mickey Callaway was being hailed as a revelation as a rookie manager.
The Yankees were 6-7 (after a 6-3 loss at Boston April 12). Some fans of the Yankees were – honestly – calling for rookie manager Aaron Boone to be fired.
Since April 12, the Yankees are a baseball-best 36-12 and the Mets are a dismal 17-33.
A New York City baseball columnist last week suggested that the Mets – going nowhere fast and with a relatively weak farm system – should trade Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees for a package of prospects.
Sounds logical to me.
GREAT TRY BY THE KNIGHTHAWKS
The Rochester Knighthawks had a positive National Lacrosse League season despite losing 15-10 to Saskatchewan last Saturday night in the decisive Game 3 of the best-of-three Finals.
The K-hawks rallied to lead 8-7 with 5:18 remaining in the third period Saturday night but ran out of gas against a superior opponent. The Rush -- deeper, faster and far more experienced on offense -- outscored Rochester 8-2 and won going away.
Saskatchewan finished the season 17-5 overall. Rochester, after a 2-6 start, finished 13-10 overall.
The K-hawks were 3-2 versus the Rush. Saskatchewan was 15-2 against the rest of the nine-team league.
What’s next for the K-hawks? Season tickets for 2019 are being sold. That’s a strong clue that there will be a NLL team in Rochester next year. We’ll assume for now that – despite strong rumors to the contrary -- Curt Styres will remain the owner/GM of the team in Rochester.
The K-hawks will have some new faces for next season. There will be an expansion draft July 18 to help stock the incoming Philadelphia Wings and San Diego Seals. Current member teams can each protect 11 players – 10 runners + one goalie or 11 runners. Only five of the protected players can be offensive players. No team can lose more than two players.
So who do the K-hawks protect? Would Styres risk leaving soon-to-be 36-year-old goaltender Matt Vinc unprotected? Which young forwards would be protected?
Philadelphia will have the first pick in the expansion draft and San Diego will have the first pick in September’s entry draft. Saskatchewan will have three first-round picks in both the 2018 and 2019 drafts. Rush GM-coach Derek Keenan is a sharp lacrosse man.
JUSTIFY IS A MOST WORTHY TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPION
Justify became the 13th Triple Crown champion on Saturday with an easy victory in the Belmont Stakes. He’s now 6-for-6 in his career and joined Seattle Slew (1977) as the only Triple Crown champion to remain undefeated after the Belmont Stakes.
Will he race again? A report Sunday said the plan is to race at least once later this year, presumably in the Breeders’ Cup Classic – against older horses for the first time.
I’ll believe it when I see it. Winning the Triple Crown boosted his breeding rights fee to a record $75 million. He is expected to breed 250 times in his first year as a stud. With an average of $150,000 per live foal, he could pay back half of the deal in one year.
So why risk an injury by prolonging his racing career? It would be good for the sport but maybe not so good for Justify and Coolmore Stud. “The only Triple Crown winner to retire undefeated” has a good ring to it.
Justify was favored in the Kentucky Derby (2.90-to-1), the Preakness Stakes (.40-to-1) and the Belmont Stakes (.80-to-1) and won them all by taking the early lead and daring the rest of the horses to catch him. None of them did as Justify won by 2 ½, 2 ½ and 1 ¾ lengths.
His times were good but not spectacular. The track was sloppy for the Derby and Preakness and fast for the Belmont Stakes.
Strictly opinion: Some folks are tweeting (mostly young people) that Justify and 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah are the all-time greatest racehorses. I’d rank them behind Man o’War and Secretariat (tie for first) and maybe Citation and Seattle Slew.
P.S. – This is not intended to belittle Justify’s Triple Crown – just an observation. Audible, a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby, didn’t run in the Preakness – supposedly to rest for the Belmont Stakes. After Justify won the Preakness, Aubible’s owners – WinStar Farm and China Horse Club – who also own Justify, decided not to run Audible in the Belmont Stakes, presumably so not to compromise Justify’s bid for the Triple Crown.
And in the Belmont Stakes, two of the few horses with the early speed to press the pace and put pressure on Justify were Restoring Hope (trained by Bob Baffett, who also trains Justify) and Noble Indy (owned by WinStar Farm, co-owner of Justify). Restoring Hope, ridden by Florent Geroux, settled second behind and ran interference for Justify, forcing other horses extremely wide. He finished eighth. Noble Indy, ridden by Javier Castellano, did not show his customary early foot, was not asked for much and finished last.
AT HOME THESE ARE THE ROCHESTER WEAK WINGS
The Rochester Red Wings begin a nine-game trip at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday night. That’s probably a good thing.
The Red Wings have lost eight straight home games (outscored 45-8) and 10 of the last 11 home games. They’re a brutal 10-21 at Frontier Field and were outscored 113-86 in the process.
On the other hand, the Red Wings have been terrific on the road. They’re 18-9 and have outscored opponents 109-98 in away games.
Rochester continues to have respectable pitching, with a 3.49 ERA. It’s slipping but still is third-lowest in the 14-team International League.
The glaring problem continues to be hitting and I don’t know why. The Red Wings are loaded with proven Triple-A hitters. Collectively, they’ve performed – at home at least – far below expectations.
Rochester ranks last in the IL in batting average (.231), runs (195), slugging percentage (342) and OPS (.656; on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). The Red Wings have been outhomered 46-37.
This is one of the most baffling Red Wings teams I’ve ever seen. I’m starting to wonder if they’ll ever hit.
BASEBALL HITS AND MISSES
The surprising Seattle Mariners are leading the AL West with a 41-24 record, including 17-5 in their last 22 games. They’re 21-9 in one-run games. According to baseballreference.com, the Mariners are the first MLB team to have 21 one-run wins in their first 65 games since at least 1908. Seattle also was a MLB-best 26-15 in one-run games last season.
Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer is scheduled to start a rehab stint with the Red Wings on Tuesday in Moosic, Pa. In his previous rehab assignment with Rochester, 5 games in 2004, he hit .316 (6-for-19) with 3 doubles, 2 RBI, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts.
Gary Sanchez (Yankees) is hitting .194 and has one extra-base hit in his last 14 games...The Yankees in Sunday night’s 2-0 loss to the Mets became the last team in MLB to be shut out this season...The Yankes are on pace for 269 HRs. The MLB record is 264 by Seattle in 1997.
Paul Goldshmidt (Aruzona), off to a sluggish start this season, is 15-fcor-22, with 11 extra-base hits in the last 5 games and boosted his OPS from .723 to .873.
Jake Cave, fresh up from the Red Wings, was 3-for-4, with a double, HR and 3 RBI in Sunday’s 7-5 Minnesota home win over the Los Angeles Angels. He played CF and, for one game at least, was better than Mike Trout.
Slugger Byung Ho Park, who took a pay cut to return to South Korea after spending the 20-6-2017 seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Rochester Red Wings, is hitting well for his old Nexen Heroes in the Korean Baseball Organization: .322 batting average (37-for-110), 1 double, 10 HRs, 27 RBI in 37 games.
COULD THE YANKEES HAVE RARE 1-2 TOP ROOKIES?
The ominous elbow situation for Los Angeles Angels pitcher-hitter phenom Shohei Ohtani means the American League Rookie of the Year is shaping up as a two-man race between New York Yankees teammates third baseman Miguel Andujar and second baseman Gleyber Torres (stats before Sunday night):
Andujar – 51 games; .301 batting average (59-for-196); 21 doubles; 2 triples; 7 HRs; 26 RBI; 9 walks; 37 strikeouts
Torres – 40 games; .302 batting average (42-for-139); 5 doubles; 10 HRs; 28 RBI; 10 walks; 38 strikeouts.
How rare are teammates finishing 1-2 for Rookie of the Year?:
AL (four times) – Ron Hansen/Chuck Estrada/Jim Gentile finished 1-2-3 with 1960 Baltimore...Gary Peters/Pete Ward with 1963 White Sox...Fred Lynn/Jim Rice with 1975 Boston...Alvin Davis/Mark Langston with for 1984 Seattle.
NL (three times) – Jack Sanford/Ed Bouchee with 1957 Philadelphia...Jerome Walton/Dwight Smith for 1989 Cubs...Craig Kimbrel/Freddie Freeman with 2011 Atlanta.
The Yankees have had nine AL Rookies of Year: 2B/3B Gil McDougald 1951...RHP Bob Grim 1954...SS Tony Kubek 1957...OF Tom Tresh 1962...RHP Stan Bahnsen 1968...C Thurman Munson 1970...LHP Dave Righetti 1981...SS Derek Jeter 1996...OF Aaron Judge 2017.
WE’VE SEEN BETTER NHL-NBA FINALS
There wasn’t much suspense in the 2018 NHL and NBA Finals.
The Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights in five games and the Golden State Warriors swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. Total: 9 games.
Since 1947, when the NBA began, the NHL and NBA Finals both were sweeps only twice – in 1983 and 1995.
Here’s how long the Finals lasted:
Four-game sweeps – NBA 9 times...NHL 20 times. Why is the NHL so much more likely to have sweeps in the Finals?
Five games – NBA 18 times...NHL 19 times.
Six games – NBA 26 times...NHL 24 times
Seven-game maximum – NBA 19 times...NHL 16 times.
WORLD CUP ODDS COURTESY OF BOVADA
The 21st FIFA World Cup begins Thursday in Russia.
Here are the odds for the 32 nations – don’t look for USA. We failed to qualify:
Germany 9-to-2...Brazil 5-to-1...France 11-to-2...Spain 7-to-1...Argentina 8-to-1...Belgium 10-to-1...England 16-to-1...Portugal 25-to-1...Uruguay 28-to-1...Colombia 33-to-1...host Russia 33-to-1...Croatia 40-to-1...Poland 50-to-1...Denmark 8-to-1...Mexico 80-to-1...Switzerland 80-to-1...Sweden 100-to-1...Senegal 125-to-1...Egypt 150-to-1...Iceland 150-to-1...Serbia 150-to-1...Japan 200-to-1...Nigeria 200-to-1...Peru 200-to-1...Costa Rica 250-to-1...Australia 300-to-1...Iran 300-to-1...Morocco 300-to-1...South Korea 400-to-1...Tunisia 500-to-1...Panama 1,000-to-1...Saudi Arabia 1,000-to-1.
Lowest world-ranked teams by FIFA/Coca-Cola June 7 – Russia (70)...Saudi Arabia (67)...Japan (61)...Korea Republic (57).
Highest world-ranked teams by FIFA/Coca-Cola June 7 – Chile (9)...Netherlands (17)...Wales (18)...Italy (19)...USA (25)...Austria (26)...Slovakia (28)...Northern Ireland (29)...Romania (30).
SU/CORNELL HOPING TO ADD FACEOFF ACE TD IERLAN
Victor product TD Ierlan, the best faceoff man in college lacrosse, is leaving the Albany Great Danes and will be eligible to play immediately at his next school. Cornell and Syracuse reportedly are his most likely destinations.
Ierlan led the nation in faceoff win percentage (.791; 359-for-454) and ground balls (254) last season. In a season-opening 15-3 victory Feb. 17 at Syracuse, he was 16-for-21 on faceoffs. In an 11-9 victory over Cornell at Albany Match 4, he was an incredible 24-for-24 on faceoffs.
Cornell could have the inside track. His younger brother, Chayse, is the super hockey/lacrosse senior goalie for Victor and headed for Cornell.
Cheers to 2017 Rochester Red Wing/2018 Detroit Tiger Niko Goodrum for purchasing 1,440 cases of bottled water and delivering them to Flint, Michigan. Will management and teammates follow his example?
Trump fans didn’t fare well playing a hunch in the sixth race Saturday at Finger Lakes Race Track. The horse Trump Man went off as a 17-to-1 long shot in the eight-horse field, set the pace, got collared at the top of the stretch and finished last, beaten by more than 30 lengths. The winner was 6.20-to-1 I’m Not Funny Now.
Former WNY Flash favorite McCall Zerboni of the undefeated NWSL North Carolina Courage made her first start for the U.S. women’s national team last Thursday night and was voted Player of the Match in a 1-0 victory over China PR in Sandy, Utah. Another former WNY Flash star, Alex Morgan, scored the only goal of the match.
Social note: Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban and skier Lindsey Vonn are dating.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO:
Monday, June 11
Brock Holt (30)...Jose Reyes (35)...Diana Taurasi (36)...Odalis Perez (40)...Brock Marion (48)...Scott Mellanby (52)...Joe Montana (62). Shia LeBeouf (32) is invited to the birthday party.
Tuesday, June 12
Arisail Garcia (27)...Jrue Holiday (28)...Christine Sinclair (35)...Larry Foote (38)...Antawn Jamison (42)...Hideki Matsui (44)...Mark Henry (47)...Damon Buford (48)...Marv Albert (77). President George H.W. Bush (94) is invited to the birthday party.
ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...
107 years ago (1911), the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 16-15 after trailing 13-1...99 years ago (1919), Rochester’s Walter Haden won the 23rd U.S. Open...91 years ago (1927), Babe Ruth hit his 19th and 20th of 60 HRs for the season...63 years ago)1955), Eddie Arcaro rode Nashua to victory in the 87th Belmont Stakes...63 years ago (1955), a car accident at Le Mans killed 83 spectators...59 years ago (1959), Charlie Sifford became the first African-American to play in the U.S. Open...57 years ago (1961), Roger Maris hit his 19th and 20th of 61 HRs for the season...41 years ago (1977), Seattle Slew won the 109th Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown...40 years ago (1978), Nancy Lopez won the 24th LPGA Championship...18 years ago (1990), Nolan Ryan pitched his sixth no-hitter.
98 years ago (1920), Man o’War won the 52nd Belmont Stakes...88 years ago (1930), Bobby Jones won the 34th U.S. Open...79 years ago (1939), the National Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown...70 years ago (1948), Citation won the 89th Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown...37 years ago (1981), Major League Baseball players began a 50-day strike...35 years ago (1983), Patty Sheehan won the 29th LPGA Championship...27 years ago (1991), the Chicago Bulls beat the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 for the 45th NBA Championship...21 years ago (1997), the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 in Major League Baseball’s first inter-league game.