Thursday, July 4, 2013

All American Sports Chowdah Update- Forgive Me Padres, For I Have Sinned; Beat-All Bailey, Red's Starter Part of No-No Homers Club Again; The Butler Did It- Celtics Wrap Up Short Head Coaching Search With Stevens Hire

NEW POLL UP- With about 10 days to go until Major League Baseball's All Star Break, look to the left for a new poll to vote in. Feel free to weigh in on what you think is the most difficult division in MLB this season. For some reason, Blogspot will only let me put in four possible answers (instead of being able to list all six divisions), so looks like you can only choose from those four.

Jim Rogash, Getty Images
BOSTON RED SOX- The Red Sox second interleague series of the season got off to a pretty good start on Tuesday night when John Lackey allowed just one unearned run during eight innings of work against the Padres during Boston's 4-1 win. Lackey allowed six hits- including a solo homer to San Diego 1B Jesus Guzman in the 7th- and struck out six while recent Paw Sox callup Brandon Snyder continues to impress, breaking a scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the fourth by hitting a 1-out bases-clearing double off the Monster towards deep center to give Boston a 3-0 lead [although he got greedy attempting to and was thrown out at third attempting to stretch it out into a triple- NANESB!].

Wednesday night's matchup was more of a pitcher's duel with Lester getting the start against San Diego's Edinson Volquez. Playing in an American League park, the Padres slotted OF Kyle Blanks into the DH spot and it paid immediate dividends as he drove in a two out RBI in the first inning to give San Diego the early lead.

Although the Red Sox were able to get runners on board in the bottom of the first thanks to a ground-rule double by Victorino, an infield hit by Dustin Pedroia followed by a stolen base, a familiar face put the kibosh on any further attempts at bringing a run home when Padres SS Pedro Ciriaco caught a line drive off the bat of Big Papi and stepped on second to get Pedroia out and end the threat.

The Red Sox were able to tie the game up at 1-1 after Mike Carp led off the bottom of the 4th with a single and came home on a Saltalamacchia RBI double. The Padres looked like they were in trouble in the bottom of the 7th after Nick Vincent led off the inning by giving up a double to Dustin Pedroia and then intentionally walking David Ortiz, but Luke Gregerson came out of the bullpen and struck out Daniel Nava, got Carp to fly out to shallow center before striking out Saltalamacchia to end the Red Sox threat.

After Junichi Tazawa struck out the side in the top of the 8th, Koji Uehara came on in the top of the 9th and got the first two batters out before walking Guzman. However, he got Yasmani Grandal to fly out and end the inning for the Padres.

For the bottom of the 9th, John Farrell decided to lead off the inning with Johnny Gomes coming on as a pinch-hitter. That paid off handsomely, as this happened after working the count to 2-2:

Red Sox win it in walkoff fashion for the 8th time this season, with Gomes' pinch hit solo homer giving Boston the 2-1 win in the bottom of the 9th. The Red Sox will wrap up their homestand with a 4th of July day game at Fenway- Eric Stults [6-6; 3.51 ERA] gets the start against Allen Webster [0-2; 9.50 ERA]. The game gets underway at 1:35 PM ET, 10:35 AM Pacific and will be televised on NESN.

After the Independence Day game at Fenway, the Red Sox will take off for a 10-game west coast road trip, starting with the Angels in Orange County on Friday night before moving on to Seattle for a four-game series and then a 3-game set against Oakland before the All-Star break.
AP Photo/Al Behrman
OTHER MLB NEWS- Cincinnati's Homer Bailey threw a complete game no-hitter against the defending World series champion San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night. This is the first no-hitter of the 2013 and second of Bailey's career- the first of which was the second most recent no-hitter in MLB, dating back to September 28, 2012 when Bailey no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park towards the end of the regular season.

Bailey's no hitter was in jeopardy in the top of the 7th- after a leadoff walk to San Francisco outfielder Gregor Blanco, former Red Sox and Blue Jays SS Marco Scutaro grounded out to third as Blanco advanced to second. Giants catcher Buster Posey then hit a broken-bat ground ball towards first with Reds 1B Joey Votto shaded about midway towards second. Bailey broke late from the mound to first and it looked like Posey would reach first and break up the no-no until Votto threw to third base where Blanco was caught in the rundown.

The Reds got runs on a Votto sac-fly in the first off of Giants starter Tim Linceum and a 2-run Brandon Phillips homer in the bottom of the 6th for the 3-0 win. While there have been a couple of flirtations with no-hitters, the closest anyone came prior to Tuesday night was Texas' Yu Darvish, who was one out away from a perfect game against Houston when Astros SS Marwin Gonzalez singled the first week of the regular season.

ELSEWHERE IN MLB- The Dallas Morning News is reporting that former Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians outfielder Manny Ramirez has signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. The controversial slugger tested positive twice for banned performance enhancing drugs- the most recent of which took place in 2011 before the outfielder abruptly announced his retirement rather than face a 2nd suspension.

In 2012, the Oakland A's signed Manny to a minor league contract where he batted .302 with 19 hits and 14 RBI in 17 games with the AAA Sacramento River Cats. The deal called for a $500,000 bonus if he was called up from the minors, but within two weeks of his reinstatement, he requested (and was granted) an outright release from Oakland.

Since then, he has been playing ball for Águilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican Winter League and the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese professional league over in Taiwan. Since the 2008 trade that sent him from Boston to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny has played for the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Manny is expected to start as a DH for the AAA Rangers affiliate, the Round Rock Express. Manny will report to Round Rock on July 4th and participate in team exercises before being activated.

The Rangers have a history of giving second chances to players long suspected of using performance enhancing drugs. Texas was the last MLB team Sammy Sosa played for in 2007- two years after his English-speaking abilities seemed to abandon him while being questioned about steroid use in Major League Baseball. Sosa reportedly tested positive for performance enhancing drugs as far back as 2003- the findings were uncovered as part of a federal investigation of the infamous BALCo labs.

PATRIOTS- A witness in the Aaron Hernandez case that police were hoping to interview was killed in a single-car accident in Connecticut over the weekend.

Police say 33-year-old Thaddeus Singleton III of Bristol was killed when the car he was driving slammed into the Farmington Country Club early Sunday morning. The Hartford Courant reported that investigators wanted to speak to Singleton because of his relationship with Hernandez.

Singleton is married to Hernandez's cousin, and police say the car involved was registered to Hernandez's uncle. Their home has been searched several times by Massachusetts police investigating a 2012 double homicide linked to the former NFL star.

Police seized a vehicle from that home on Friday.

The cause of the accident has not been determined. Police said a woman in the car was in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Her name has not been released.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to gather and search for more evidence as Hernandez remains in a jail cell charged in the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, of Dorchester

Police documents show that police located a white hooded-sweatshirt and a baseball cap allegedly worn by Hernandez the night Lloyd was murdered at an apartment Hernandez rented in Franklin.

Investigators said they also found a valet parking ticket from the W Hotel, which is within walking distance of the Rumor nightclub.
Investigators initially believe that Hernandez had Odin Lloyd killed after the semipro player was seen talking to people at the Rumor nightclub that Hernandez had a falling out with. However, police are also looking at Hernandez's involvement in a 2012 double homicide in South Boston and believe that the former Patriots TE orchestrated Odin's death because they thought he knew too much about the South Boston killings.

BOSTON CELTICS- With the Doc Rivers era over for barely a week, the Celtics made an early and highly unexpected move to fill their coaching vacancy on Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, Celtics GM Danny Ainge announced the hiring of Butler University head coach Brad Stephens to replace Doc Rivers as head coach of the Boston Celtics. Stephens led the Butler Bulldogs to back to back NCAA Men's title games in 2010 and 2011 (where they lost to Duke and UConn, respectively). Most recently, Butler lost to Marquette in the third round of the 2013 NCAA tournament.

The Celtics and the 36 year old head coach agreed to terms on a 6 year, $22 million contract. This would not be the first time the C's had hired a coach out of the NCAA- in 1997, the Celtics hired Rick Pitino away from the Kentucky Wildcats. However, this would be the first time since 1948 that the Celtics would hire a collegiate coach with no professional experience when the NBA's predecessor- the Basketball Association of America- was only two years old.

Meanwhile, the Butler basketball program made official their move from the Atlantic-10 to the Big East effective July 1st.

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