Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Hits - 20 Blurbs From Around the Sports World

Ok, so there's just a ton of stuff to talk about right now, and maybe if I didn't have a real job, I could spend all day writing about it. Unfortunately, duty calls, so here's a quick hit list of what's going on around the sports world and my thoughts in a sentence or two:


1) All He Does is Win, Win, Win - Justin Verlander Improves to 23-5 - The Tigers defeated the White Sox 5-0 Tuesday night to win their 11th game in a row. Verlander went 7 shutout innings and fanned six to win his 23rd game of the year and lower his ERA to 2.36. Just hand him the Cy Young Award now.
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2) Mariano saves number 600 - 41 year old Mariano Rivera got the last three outs in the Yankees 3-2 win over Seattle on Tuesday to earn his 41st save of the season. He also became just the second pitcher in Major League history to eclipse 600 saves for his career and needs just one more to tie Trevor Hoffman's record. Anyone want to argue that he's not the greatest reliever of all-time?
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3) Phillies first to clinch playoff berth - Roy Halladay tossed a 6-hit shutout for his 18th win of the season as the Phillies (95-51) defeated the Astros 1-0 today to become the first team to clinch a playoff berth this year. The Phillies have reached the postseason for 5 straight years and with a starting rotation of Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, they're a team no one should want to play in the postseason. But it should be noted the worst team in the league, my beloved Astros, just took 2 of 3 from them. Go team go.
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4) Tigers win 12th straight - Yeah, remember like 3 blurbs ago when I said they won their 11th in a row? Wednesday they made it 12 with an impressive come-from-behind win over the White Sox taking the game 6-5 in 10. Detroit trailed 5-2 headed to the 9th but pinch hitter Ryan Raburn homered off of Chris Sale to make it 5-3 and pinch-hitter Alex Avila hit a 2-run shot off of Sergio Santos to knot the game up at 5. Carlos Guillen then singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th to win it. Jose Valverde shut the door in the bottom of the 10th for his 44th save of the season. The Tigers hadn't won 12 games in a row since 1934.

5) Sox - Rays both lose, lead still 4 games - Boston blew a chance to gain ground on Tampa blowing a 4-2 lead in the 8th against the Jays and falling 5-4. Daniel Bard took the loss and over his last 3 appearances he is 0-3 with a 30.86 ERA. GAH. So that leaves Boston's lead over Tampa at 4 games heading into tomorrow's big 4 game series between the two clubs. Here are the pitching matchups:

Game 1 - Kyle Weiland (0-1) vs Jeremy Hellickson (12-10)
Game 2 - Josh Beckett (12-5) vs James Shields (15-10)
Game 3 - Jon Lester (15-7) vs Jeff Niemann (10-7)
Game 4 - Tim Wakefield (7-6) vs David Price (12-12)

6) Check Out Shelley Duncan - Who knew this guy could play defense? The Cleveland Indians left fielder made 3 terrific plays IN A ROW between the first and second innings and 4 good plays for the game creating his own highlight reel. Watch the expressions on his face after each play. Even HE can't believe he made them. Unfortunately the Tribe lost 9-1.


7) Mexico Strikes Back in Champions League - Robbie Keane gave the Galaxy an early lead with a terrific individual effort on the road in Mexico, but Morelia struck back with a pair of goals in the last ten minutes to give the Galaxy their first loss in CONCACAF Champions League play. The Rapids were also dealt their first loss by Santos at home getting smoked by a score of 4-1. Brian Mullan, infamous for breaking Steve Zakuani's leg back in April, scored the lone goal for the Rapids. Toronto also dropped a match in Mexico today losing 4-0 to Pumas UNAM as Martín Bravo had a hat trick.
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8) Sounders/FC Dallas Stay Unbeaten - Seattle is only the team to win their first 3 Champions League matches following a 2-1 win on the road in Costa Rica over Herediano. Fredy Montero scored both Seattle goals as they sit in the driver's seat atop Group D. Dallas also stayed unbeaten but had to settle for a draw against Tauro at home. Daniel Cruz scored just 27 seconds into the match for Dallas.


9) Manchester Sides Settle For Draws - Manchester City and Manchester United may both be unbeaten and untied in the Premier League, but both sides drew in their Champion's League Openers today. United fell behind on the road against Portuguese side Benfica early but equalized thanks to a goal from 37 year old Ryan Giggs. City also had to come from behind at home against Napoli getting a goal late in the second half from Serbian Aleksandar Kolarov.
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10) Inter Upset By Trabzonspor - Trabzonspor isn't even supposed to be in the Champion's League this year. Fenerbahçe, the reigning Turkish Süper Lig champions were banned due to an ongoing investigation into alleged match fixing so Trabzonspor, despite getting eliminated from Champions League qualifying in the 3rd round, got a free pass. They're making the most of it too stunning Inter Milan 1-0 on a 76th minute goal from Ondrej Celustka despite getting outshot 19-7.
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11) Real Madrid Among Wednesday Winners - Real Madrid picked up a 1-0 road win at Dinamo Zagreb despite playing a man down for the final 17 minutes after Marcelo's ejection. 23 year old Argentinian Ángel Di María scored the winner for Madrid. Bayern Munich also picked up a road win defeating Villareal 2-0 behind goals from Rafinha and Toni Kroos. Swiss side FC Basel was the only other winner today defeating Romanian Club Otelul Galati 2-1 at home.


12) Argentina - Brazil Kick Off Copa Roca - Argentina and Brazil faced off and drew 0-0 in the first leg of the Copa Roca. The tournament which has been on hold for some 35 years is back, but only open to players playing domestically which means no Messi, Daniel Alves, Robinho, Gonzalo Higuain, etc. Still, Ronaldinho and 19 year old Neymar were featured by Brazil in the match. The second leg will be held on September 28th.

13) USA Sets Up Another October Friendly - The USA will take on Ecuador on October 11th in Harrison, New Jersey, 3 days after they take on CONCACAF rival Honduras in Miami, Florida. Ecuador is currently ranked 66th in the world and recently went 0-2-1 at the Copa America losing 1-0 to Venezuela, 4-2 to Brazil and drawing 0-0 with Paraguay. The U.S. is still looking for their first win under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Speaking of U.S. head coaches...

14) Bob Bradley Set to Walk Like an Egyptian - The ex-U.S. National Team coach wasn't unemployed for long getting hired on to take over as the head coach of Egypt. Egypt has not reached a World Cup since 1990 and is currently ranked 34th in the world and 2nd in Africa ahead of Ghana and Nigeria.


15) Spain Advances - Pau Gasol had 19 points and 16 rebounds and Juan Carlos Navarro finished with 26 points as Spain advanced to the semifinals of EuroBasket 2011 with an 86-64 win over Slovenia. Houston Rockets guard Goran Dragic led the way for Slovenia with 14 points and 5 rebounds in a losing effort.

16) Macedonia Shocks Hosts - Vlado Ilievski hit a huge 3 in the closing seconds to lift Macedonia to a 67-65 win over tournament host nation Lithuania. Bo McCalebb, a University of New Orleans grad, led all scorers with 23 points. Robertas Javtokas led Lithuania with 13 points on 6 of 6 shooting. Lithuania will now face off against Slovenia in the consolation bracket tomorrow while Spain and Macedonia will meet in the semis on Thursday.
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17) The Other Quarterfinal Matchups - Tomorrow France, led by Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw, will take on Greece, and Andrei Kirilenko and Russia will face Nenad Krstic and Serbia.


18) LBBL Semifinals - The Flying Cave Donkies are hitting just .220 this week in their big semifinal matchup against Itchy Buchholz in a rematch of last year's Lushbucket Baseball League Finals. Come on guys, get it together!


19) Arian Foster Back in Practice - The Texans rolled in their opener 34-7 over the Colts, and now they're close to getting arguably their biggest playmaker - no disrespect to Andre Johnson or Matt Schaub - back into action. I'm telling you, this is the year the Texans are finally poised to win the AFC South.

20) Poor Brady Quinn - Kyle Orton is the starter in Denver, so he gets to play. Tim Tebow is the guy the fans apparently want to see, even though he's penciled in as the number three guy. Doesn't anyone want to see what Brady Quinn can do?
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