Friday, May 9, 2014

Quickie WKRP Sports Chowdah Update- Red Sox Sweep Quick Series With Cincinnati; I Want Fraier! Providence Call-Up Comes Up Big in Playoff Debut; A-OK, Oklahoma City's Durant Named NBA's MVP

NHL- Bruins rookie Matt Frasier of Red Deer, Alberta is living the dream and more importantly, the Bruins are still in the thick of it after Thursday night's game in Montreal.

With Montreal leading the series between their Original Six rivals in Boston 2 game to 1, regulation went by without a single goal given up by either Rask or Price [Rask stopped 30 in regulation while Price stopped 28 shots faced- NANESB!]. This set up overtime and an opportunity for a very unlikely hero called up from Providence.

Fraser, who arrived courtesy of last offseason's trade that sent Seguin to Dallas, had appeared in 14 games for the Bruins this season and was on the shuttle between Boston and Providence. However, recalling him from the Pruins looked like a master stroke as he buried the puck in the net behind Price just 1:17 into OT.

Frasier's goal ties the series up at 2-2 and Game 5 is set to take place from the TD Garden on Saturday, with the puck scheduled to drop at 7:00 ET and the game televised on NBC Sports and the CBC.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- The Los Angeles Kings became the 5th team in North American professional sport to rally from behind an 0-3 deficit to win a postseason series last week when they won four straight games against in-state rival San Jose. The comeback was made final when Los Angeles was trailing 1-0 in the second period of Game 7 of their first round series against the Sharks, only to score five unanswered goals and go on to win by a 5-1 final on April 30th.

The win set up a first-ever postseason matchup between the Kings and their cross-town rivals Anaheim after Anaheim knocked off Dallas during a furious rally in the 6th and deciding game. Although the Kings took the first two games at Anaheim's Honda Center, the Ducks beat Los Angeles 3-2 on Thursday night to make it a 2-1 series.

Curiously, teams from Boston have been on both sides of the 'rallying down from an 0-3 deficit' scenarios- during the 2009-2010 season, the Bruins gave up four straight games to Philadelphia. More famously, the Boston Red Sox were trailing the New York Yankees by a run in the bottom of the 9th in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series- the Yankees were three outs away from advancing to the World Series when first baseman Kevin Millar drew a leadoff walk from New York closer Mariano Rivera before Red Sox manager Terry Francona lifted Millar for pinch-runner Dave Roberts. Roberts successfully stole second base, despite Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada knowing full well Roberts was going to run on them. With a base runner now in scoring position, the Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller then hit a game-tying RBI single. Not only did the Red Sox go on to win that game in extra innings, they would win the next three games against the Yankees and sweep the St Louis Cardinals to win the 2004 World Series. It also stands as the only time a team has come back from an 0-3 defecit to win a series in Major League Baseball. Such a scenario has never happened in the NBA, but it has happened twice in the NHL prior to the Bruins 2010 postseason collapse- in just their 3rd year of existence, the New York Islanders came from behind to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975 and in the Original Six era, the Toronto Maple Leafs staged a similar rally against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup final.

RED SOX- The Boston Red Sox are now a .500 team, which I guess means we can start talking pennant once again.

Of course, despite the lackluster start and shoddy record against most AL East opponents, the Red Sox were never really more than two games out of first place in the AL East [although the NL East has been ridiculously close as well- NANESB!].

Thursday night's game wrapped up a quick two game series against the Reds [they'll play two more at Cincinnati in August- NANESB!] and Cincy got on the board early thanks to a 1-out Skip Schumaker homer to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox rallied in the bottom of the 6th when with one away and two on, Big Papi had an RBI single to right and Napoli followed that up with an RBI double to tie the game up at 2-2.

The Reds re-took the lead in the 7th when Todd Frazier led off with a booming double to left and Brayan Pena followed up with a single. Ryan Ludwick- acting as the DH for Cincinnati- then drew a walk to load the bases and Chris Capuano came out of the bullpen in relief of starter Jake Peavy. Reds outfielder Roger Bernardina would ground out to second, but it was enough to get the go-ahead run home and give the Reds a 4-3 lead. Burke Badenhop then came on the relieve Capuano and got Chris Heisey to hit into a fielder's choice- Pena was gunned down at home plate- and Zach Cosart grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 8th, Reds reliever Manny Parra got David Ortiz to strike out before walking Napoli and Gomes came into the game as a pinch hitter for Grady Sizemore as Parra was pulled for JJ Hoover. Gomes worked a walk from Hoover before AJ Pierzynski belted a ground-rule double to bring Napoli home for the tying run. Jackie Bradley Jr was then intentionally walked so Hoover could face Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks took a 3-2 pitch and put it up the middle to bring the go-ahead run home, making it a 3-4 game. Hoover would then get pinch-hitter Mike Carp and Dustin Pedroia to strike out.

It was up to Koji Uehara in the 9th inning to preserve the Boston lead, and he got Pena, Frazier and Ludwick to strike out in order, preserving Boston's 4-3 lead for the win and the sweep of the brief 2-game interleague series. The Red Sox wrap up the homestand by winning four out of their last five games.

Thursday was a travel day- Boston will now embark on a weeklong road trip where they'll face the Rangers in Arlington, TX before heading to the Twin Cities for a 3-game series against Minnesota. Friday night's scheduled starters Clay Buchholz [2-2; 5.63 ERA] against Yu Darvish [2-1; 2.87 ERA]. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET and the game will be televised on NESN.

NBA- What a week it's been for Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant. Less than a week after The Oklahoman dubbed him Mr Unreliable after a poor showing in their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Durant garnered the NBA's Most Valuable Player honors.

In an emotional speech, Durant thanked his mother for making sure that he and his siblings would have food on the table while she would often go to bed hungry when they were growing up in Washington DC.

This is the first MVP honor for the number two draft pick in the 2007 NBA draft [Durant was drafted by a team that technically doesn't exist anymore, the Seattle Supersonics- NANESB!] but he did garner Rookie of the Year honors in 2008 and has been a 5 time All Star. This season, Durant has averaged 32 points, five assists and 7 rebounds per game.

The Thunder did end up getting past the Memphis Grizzlies in 7 games in the first round of the NBA playoffs and are currently playing the Los Angeles Clippers- that series is tied at 1 game apiece with game 3 set to take place at Friday night in LA's Staples Center.

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