Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sports Chowdah Update- Greek God of Walks Walks Away to Chicago; Verdict Reached in Sandusky Trial; Bruins Pick Malcom in the Middle

RED SOX- Sunday afternoon was one that wouldn't soon be forgotten at Fenway Park anytime soon and the series finale against the Atlanta Braves was almost an afterthought.

The day started off with news that Clay Buchholz was hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital with intestinal bleeding, meaning he was unable to make his scheduled start on Sunday. Buchholz had gone 5-1 with a 3.35 ERA in his last eight starts and the Red Sox are hoping that he won't miss any more than 2 weeks worth and will be back in time for a July 6 start against the Yankees at Fenway.

In the meantime, reliever Aaron Cook was slotted for a spot start against the Braves for the interleague finale against the Braves. Cook was cruising along and doing fairly well through the first 4 innings, getting some run support in the bottom of the 4th thanks to a 3-run Cody Ross homer and solo home run from Adrian Gonzalez to out Boston up 4-0.

However, in the top of the 5th, Cook struggled mightily after giving up back to back singles and then having former Red Sox Eric Hinske bring them home on a 2 RBI triple. Hinske then came home on a wild throw by Cook to cut the Boston lead down to 4-3. In the home half of the 5th, the inning started off with C Kelly Shoppach reaching on a throwing error followed up by a Daniel Nava single. Shoppach came home on a Middlebrooks sac-fly to make it 5-3 Boston. Then, Cody Ross belted his second homer of the game- a mammoth 2-run blast that likely landed somewhere in Coos county, New Hampshire to give the Red Sox a 7-3 lead.

The Braves got a run back with a solo homer from Jason Heyward off of Matt Albers in the top of the 6th but the Red Sox would regain their 4 run lead on a Nava RBI single to make it an 8-4 game.

However, the most talked about development in Sunday's game came in the bottom of the 7th when Kevin Youkilis hit a deep fly ball for a triple that drove in Adrian Gonzalez. Valentine then pulled Youk for pinch runner Nick Punto and on his way to the dugout got a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd. Ever since Valentine was quoted as questioning Youkilis' commitment to the game, the veteran corner infielder has been the subject of a number of trade rumors. Among the teams mentioned as potential landing spots for Youk was the resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates and the Reds in his native Cincinnati. After heading into the dugout, Youkils stepped back out for a curtain call, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd.

Reliever Mark Melancon closing out the game was pretty much an afterthough when it was confirmed that Youkilis had been traded to the first place Chicago White Sox for utility player Brent Lillibridge and minor league pitcher Zach Stewart.

Although he scuffled mightily in the 5th, Aaron Cook lasted long enough to get his first win of the season. Cody Ross went 2-4 with 2 homers and 5 RBI while Youkilis also went 2-4 with an RBI in his final at bat with the Boston Red Sox. Besides closing the book on Youk's 8½ seasons in Boston- his entire MLB career- the trade leaves DH David Ortiz as the last remaining player from the 2004 World Series championship team. During the 2007 season- the Red Sox most recent World Series championship- Kevin Youkilis had a .288 batting average with 16 homers and 83 RBI. The World Series Champioship was followed up by a career best year in 2008 where he batted .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI while finishing behind teammate Dustin Pedroia that year in the AL MVP voting. Youk has struggled somewhat at the plate this season and has been batting .233 with 4 homers and 14 RBI so far and hasn't seen quite as much playing time thanks to a torrid start from rookie 3B Will Middlebrooks.

The Youk-less Red Sox will next host the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway on Monday night. Felix Doubront [8-3: 4.31 ERA] will get the start against Toronto's Henderson Alvarez [3-6; 4.30 ERA]. The game gets underway at 7:10 ET and will be televised on NESN and Rogers Sports Net.

BOSTON BRUINS- For their first round selection in the 2012 NHL draft, the Boston Bruins selected netminder Malcom Subban, younger brother of Montreal defenseman PK Subban.

The younger Subban had a regular season record of 25-14 with a 2.50 GAA and a save percentage of 0.923% for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League.

The Bruins were pretty busy on Day 2 of the draft, with five overall picks including defenseman Matt Grzelcyk from the USHL, Center Seth Griffin from the OHL's London Knights, RW Cody Paine of the OHL's Plymouth Whalers, defenseman Matthew Benning from the AJHL and Colton Hargrove who has comitted to Western Michigan University this fall.

NCAA BASEBALL- Arizona's Konner Wade threw a comlete game and outfielder Robert Refsnyder belted a 2-run homer off of South Carolina's Forrest Koumas in the first inning of Game 1 of the College World Series at Omaha, NE on Sunday.

Refsnyder's going yard would be the game winner as the Wildcats went on to beat the Gamecocks in Game 1 of the College World Series. Coming into the 2012 season, the Gamecoks had won two consecutive College World Series title while the Wildcats were lookinf for their first since 1986.

NCAA FOOTBALL- A Pennsylvania jury found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 of 48 charges stemming from sexually abusing young boys over a 15 year period. Sandusky's bail was revoked and he was ordered remanded to the Central County jail where he will face a sentencing hearing in 90 days- Sandusky's lawyers announced they plan on appealing the verdict. Many legal observers think that the convicted sex offender and former coach could get up to 400 years in prison.

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