Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Is In The Air Sports Chowdah Update- B's Snap Losing Streak; Sox Prospect Westmoreland Calls It a Career

Fred Chartrand- Canadian Press

BOSTON BRUINS- After a two game losing streak [which DOES add up in a shortened season- NANESB!] which included losses to Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, the Bruins continued their swing through Canada with another stopover in the Canadian capital for a tilt against the Ottawa Senators.

The last time the Bruins were in Ottawa, they fell into an early 2-0 hole. On Thursday, the Senators once again got on the board first when Kaspars Daugavins beat Anton Khudobin about five minutes into the second period (but not doing that wird toe-of-the-stick-thing he tends to do). Danny Paille got the Bruins on the board with less than two minutes to go in the second.

The game remained deadlocked into the third period when with Dennis Seidenberg got the go-ahead goal for Boston with 1:04 in regulation, deflating the crowd at the Scotiabank Center and snapping Boston's two game losing streak.

Anton Khudobin got the start in net and turned aside 27 of 28 shots on goal on Thursday night. The win keeps Boston within two points of the Canadiens in the Northeast Division. Boston's road trip continues on Saturday night in Toronto- the puck drops at 7:00 ET and the game will be televised on the NHL Network.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- The NHL Board of Governors approved a realignment that will move the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets to the Eastern Conference and will send the Winnipeg Jets to the Western conference. The Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals will join the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in one division while four of the Original 6 teams- including the Bruins- will be in a single division that will also include Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Florida and Ottawa.

The Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche will remain in the Western Conference but will end up playing in the same conference as St Louis, Nashville, Chicago and Winnipeg to accomodate primarily Central Time zone starts.

RED SOX- Red Sox outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland has announced his retirement from Baseball earlier this month. The 22 year old Rhode Island native underwent brain surgery in 2010 to correct an abnormal growth of blood vessels near his brain stem, and had a similar surgery done last summer.

In 2009, Westmoreland had a .296 batting average and 7 home runs in 60 games with the Lowell Spinners- the Red Sox Single A affiliate in the New York Penn League. Westmoreland passed up a scholarship to Vanderbilt after bein selected by the Red Sox in the 5th round of the 2008 draft.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS- The Red Sox were shut out by the Blue Jays in Grapefruit League action on Friday in Dunedin, FL. Adam Loewen came home on a Drew Sutton fielding error and that would be all the Jays needed as Toronto won by a final of 1-0. Alfredo Aceves started for Boston and walked two batters and striking out five over five innings in the loss and the Jays Esmil Rogers came on in the 9th for a 1-2-3 save.

On Saturday, the Sox return to Fort Myers to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:35 PM ET. The game will be televised on NESN.

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC- Alas, a final in the WBC was not in the cards for Team USA as they ran into the Dominican Republic buzzsaw in the second round. After a promising 7-1 win over Puerto Rico, the USA was nursing a 1-0 lead over the Dominicans thanks to a bases loaded walk in the 1st. In the 2nd inning, Hanley Ramirez tied the game up for the Dominicans with a solo homer off of R.A. Dickey. The game would remain deadlocked at 1-1 until the 9th when Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel came off the bench and was facing pinch hitter Erick Aybar with Nelson Cruz on 3rd base with one out when Aybar singled to break the tie and put the Dominicans on top. Jose Reyes then plated Aybar with an RBI single to give the Dominicans some insurance with a 3-1 lead and Fernando Rodney had a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th to close out the win for the Dominican Republic.

The loss set the stage for a USA/Puerto Rico rematch in what would be an elimination game. Puerto Rico would jump out to and early 1-0 lead over the USA in the top of the first thanks to an RBI single from former Red Sox infielder Mike Aviles while Puerto Rico starter Nelson Figuero threw six shutout innings. Meanwhile, Andy Gonzalez appeared to blow the game open for Puerto Rico with 2-RBI double with two away in the 6th inning. However, by the bottom of the 8th it looked as though Puerto Rico was going to let the lead slip away with a 4-2 lead when Ben Zobrist drew a 2 out bases loaded walk to make it a 1-run game. However, JC Romero came on in relief for Puerto Rico and got the next batter to ground out to first to end the threat and then having a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th inning to close out the win and send the USA packing from the tournament.

However, it would be the Dominican Republic who advanced to the finals defeated the Netherlands in the opening games of the semifinals at san Francisco's AT&T Park. The Dominicans beat the Dutch by a 4-1 final in the semifinals while the final game was a rematch against Puerto Rico- Dominican Starter Samuel Deduno pitched five shutout innings and would get some early run support thanks to a 2-RBI double from Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning. It would be all the Dominicans needed as the Dominican Republic goes undefeated throughout the tournament to win their first World Baseball Classic Championship. Interestingly, this is also the first-ever WBC final that didn't feature Japan- the Japanese team had won the first two WBC titles, besting Cuba in 2006 and South Korea in 2009.

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