Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hump Day Sports Chowdah Update- Sox Engineer Twin Killing at Fenway; Feat of Clayton, Dodgers Starter Kershaw Throws No-Hitter; Team USA Gets By Ghana in 1st Round of World Cup While Reigning Spain Mainly Plain; Bruins, Thronton Part Ways; Suprred to Action, San Antionio Wins 5th NBA Title

RED SOX- The streak-ey Red Sox followed up Rubby De LaRosa's gem on Monday night with a couple of pitcher's duels at Fenway on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Jon Lester got run support in the form of a Pedroia RBI single in the 1st and a Bogaerts sac fly in the 3rd [Brock Holt was the runner that crossed the plate both times- NANESB!] and was able to outlast former Yankees starter Phil Hughes in Boston's 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

Wednesday was an afternoon game as the Red Sox were getting ready to leave on a west coast road trip. Twins starter Kyle Gibson confounded the Red Sox bats, ultimately striking out 8 and not allowing a hit until the bottom of the 5th. Lackey pitched nine complete shutout innings, but got no decision in the afternoon contest.

The first RBI of the game came when Twins outfielder Chris Parmalee belted a solo homer in the top of the 10th off of Koji Uehara in the top of the 10th to give the Twins the first lead of this week's series at Fenway.

However, after Minnesota reliever Casey Fein got Dustin Pedroia to fly out for the first out of the bottom of the 10th, David Ortiz managed to tie the contest up 1-1 with a solo homer that wrapped around the Pesky pole.

But the Red Sox weren't done with the extra-inning heroics....not by a longshot. Speaking of long shots, that's exactly what Mike Napoli did with an 0-2 pitch from Casey Stein that didn't come down until it reached the bleacher seats in the triangle behind deep center field. Boston wins by a 2-1 final, sweeping a surprisingly low-scoring series against Minnesota after splitting a 4-game series against Terry Francona's Indians. Despite scoring a combined total five runs over 3 days, the Red Sox are 3-0 this week. Despite allowing an uncharacteristic homer, Koji Uehara was credited with the win on Wednesday and now has a 2-1 record.

Hopefully some of this momentum will carry over to the west coast as the Red Sox will resume play on Thursday night in Oakland. Jake Peavy [1-4; 4.53 ERA] will get the start against Oakland's Scott Kazmir [8-2; 2.05 ERA] with first pitch scheduled for 10:05 ET, 7:05 PT- the game will be televised on NESN.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS- Red Sox starter Brandon Workman has lost an appeal with MLB and will begin serving a 6-game suspension for throwing at Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria last month. Despite Rays pitchers- including starter David Price- hitting three Red Sox batters, no Tampa Bays pitchers have faced any MLB sanction from the May 30 contest.

Also on Wednesday, the Red Sox released outfielder Grady Sizemore outright. In 52 games with Boston this season, Sizemore has struggled- batting .216 with 2 HR and 15 RBI. June has been particularly hard on him as he's lost playing time with the emergence of Brock Holt and has been batting .133 with only 1 RBI in 30 at-bats.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS- There have been only two no hitters in Major League baseball so far this season and both of them belong to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On Wednesday night, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw struck out 15 in an 8-0 rout of the Colorado Rockies. The only baserunner to reach was outfielder Corey Dickerson who reached on a throwing error by infielder Hanley Ramirez in the 6th inning, costing Kershaw the chance at a perfect game. Still, Kershaw set down the rest of the batters he faced in order.

Earlier in the season, Josh Beckett threw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25th. Interesting, Kershaw's no-hitter was the 19th called by Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully throughout his career calling games in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles- this includes no-hitters thrown against LA, the most recent of which was a combined 6-pitcher no-hitter for the Mariners against LA at Safeco field in Seattle in June 2012.

NCAA BASEBALL- The final four teams for the NCAA College world series are almost set as the Texas Longhorns got by the UC Irvine Anteaters by a 1-0 final in Omaha on Wednesday night.

A baserunning error by the Longhorn's Ben Johnson in the 6th inning cost Texas a run. Johnson hit the ball into the left field corner and advanced to 3rd base, but was called out after it was determined he didn't touch first base. Mark Payton then hit a single that would've easily scored Johnson to give them a 1-0 lead, however, the Anteaters ended the Longhorn threat with no runs allowed.

Instead, CJ Hinojosa got Texas on the board with a solo homer in the 7th inning to give Texas the 1-0 lead that held up thanks to the Longhorns relievers. With just the second 1-0 game in the college World Series since 1985 and only the 23rd homer in the CWS since the venue was moved to TD Ameritrade Park from Rosenblatt stadium in 2011, Texas will now advance to face Vanderbilt on Friday.

Meanwhile, Virginia awaits the winner of Thursday nights contest between the TCU Horned Frogs and Ole Miss Running Rebels. First pitch from Omaha is scheduled for 5:00 ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

FIFA WORLD CUP- We're already a few days into the FIFA World Cup from Brazil and Team USA is off to a good start.

Rookie John Brooks was the difference-maker in Monday's match against Ghana when the substitute scored in the 86th minute to break a 1-1 deadlock. Team USA would go on to win by a 2-1 final, avenging an earlier loss to Ghana's 'Black Stars' from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After Monday's win, the USA will have nearly a week's rest to go up against Portugal on Sunday from Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil.

For the World Cup, the USA plays in what some have called 'The Pool of Death' which includes Portugal, Ghana and Germany.

Meanwhile, it's all over for defending World Cup champion Spain. They were blown in by the Netherlands in a devastating 5-1 loss to open up the tournament with a rematch of the 2010 title game before being shut out 2-0 by Chile. For a bit of perspective, Spain allowed all of two goals during their 2010 run in South Africa.

NBA FINALS- In a rematch of the 2013 NBA title that saw Miami win it in 7 games against San Antionio, the 2014 edition was nearly all San Antonio. The Spurs closed out the series with a exclamation point, crushing Miami by a 104-87 final in Game 5, and it wasn't even that close.

Forward Kawhi Leonard was named the tournament MVP and the title was head coach Greg Popovich's fifth since starting his tenure in San Antonio in 1996.

NFL- In a ruling from the US Trademark and Patent office this week, the Washington Redskins may lose copyright protection for their name and logo after the Agency's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that the name was disparaging of Native Americans.

The Redskins organization announced that they would appeal the ruling and the team's copyrighted name and logo will still be protected during that time. While a number of Native American groups [including some of the Navajo Code Talkers from WWII- NANESB!] have said they have no issue with the Redskins name, a number of local and federal politicians- including US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid [D- NV] have called upon the organization to change names and threatening legal or legislative action to do so [because all the other problems in America- ESPECIALLY on Indian reservations- have been solved- NANESB!].

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has so far resisted pressure to change the Redskins name and mascot. The team was originally formed in 1932 as the Boston Braves and played at Fenway Park before moving to Washington DC in 1937.

BOSTON BRUINS- The Boston Bruins have decided not to re-sign defenseman Shawn Thornton. The 36 year old became a free agent at the end of the season.

Thornton, who has been with Boston since 2007 has been in two Stanley Cup finals, winning it against Vancouver in 7 games in 2011. However, at the end of the season Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli indicated that the game was moving away from the fisticuffs that Thornton specialized him and that they would make a decision about his future in Boston over the next few weeks. More recently, Thornton received a 15 suspension last season for his beatdown of Pittsburgh Penguins enforcer Brooks Orpik after Thornton blindsided him and dragged him down to the ice.

The announcement allows Thornton to pursue other offers as a free agent and a number of teams would be interested in having a veteran player with his playoff experience on the ice.

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