Predators Eliminate Ducks & Reach Final

May 22, 2017

Colton Sissons scored a hat-trick, including his 3rd goal with 6 minutes left in regulation, as the Predators knocked off the Ducks 6-3 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.  Nashville eliminated the Ducks for the second year in a row, and advanced to their first ever Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

“Our effort was there and we were a desperate hockey club right from the opening faceoff, and we didn’t quit until they scored the second empty-net goal,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Ducks trailed 2-1 heading into a wild 3rd period.  Sisson scored his 2nd goal of the game 3 minutes into the period, after relentlessly chasing after a puck in the slot, then backhanding it past Jonathan Bernier.  With John Gibson sidelined with a hamstring injury, Bernier got the start, but only stopped 12 of the 16 shots he faced.

The Ducks would rally at the 5 minutes mark after a creative chip shot from Chris Wagner, which beat Pekka Rinne top shelf.  2 minutes later, Cam Fowler tied the game on a slap shot from the blue line, which got by a screen Rinne.  Corey Perry had knocked down the Predators’ goaltender moments earlier, who scrambled to get back into the play, but could not make the save on the shot from Fowler.  The Predators asked for a review on the play, but referees ruled it a good goal, making the score 3-3.

Just over five minutes later, Sissons 3rd goal of the night came on a cross-ice pass from Calle Jarnkrok, allowing him to connect on a one-timer which got past the blocker of Bernier.  That would prove to be the game-winner.

Ducks forward Ryan Kesler was disappointed his team couldn’t keep it together after fighting back. “It definitely hurts worse when you play that good and you come back.  This team showed resiliency all year.  To give up a goal like that, it (bleeping) sucks.”

Trailing 4-3 with 2:33 left, the Ducks pulled Jonathan Bernier for an extra attacker, resulting in a 6-on-5 advantage.  However, Nashville would add two empty-net goals, one by Filip Forsberg at 17:38, the other by Austin Watson at 18:26, his 2nd goal of the game.

Watson and Sissons scored in the 1st period to make it 2-0.  Rinne made 38 saves to improve to 12-4 during this year’s post season.

Ondrej Kase scored his second career playoff goal in the 2nd period, pulling Anaheim within one heading into the 3rd period.

The Ducks outshot the Predators 41-18 for the game, but Rinne made some big stops throughout the night.  Anaheim was also 0-4 on the power play.

Both teams were missing their top scorers again.  Nashville was missing Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher, while the Ducks were without Patrick Eaves and Rickard Rakell.

“There’s a lot of fight in this room,” Ducks forward Corey Perry said.  “This one is going to sting for a while.  You got to give credit to them too.”

The Predators will play either the defending champion Penguins or the Senators beginning Monday, May 29th.  Meanwhile, Anaheim’s playoff run ends once again in disappointing fashion.


Angels Beat Rays On Wild Pitch

May 22, 2017

Jefry Marte scored the decisive run in the 7th inning, and the Angels defeated the Rays 3-2 on Monday night at Tropicana Field.

The Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the 7th, which brought Albert Pujols to the plate.  Pujols, who returned to the lineup after suffering from a hamstring injury, took a 1-1 pitch that got away from Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz, which allowed Marte to score.  Pujols was walked intentionally after that, then Luis Valbuena fouled out, which ended the inning with the Halos up 3-2.

JC Ramirez (4-3) got the win and pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up just 2 runs on 6 hits.  He struck out 5 and walked 1 in a 99-pitch performance.

The Halos got a solo homer from Cameron Maybin in the 5th, which tied the game at 2-2.  It was his 2nd long ball of the season.

David Hernandez, Jose Alvarez, and Bud Norris pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Norris got the final four outs to pick up his 9th save of the season.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi gave up two runs on five hits while striking out eight in six innings.  Diaz (0-3) took the loss after giving up the decisive run in the 7th.

After the Angels took a 1-0 lead in the 1st on a sacrifice fly by Andrelton Simmons, the Rays got a pair of solo homers from Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison to take a 2-1 lead after one inning.

The Halos will be back in action tomorrow night in game 2 of the series at Tropicana Field.  Matt Shoemaker (3-2, 4.47 ERA) gets the start for the Angels, while the Rays go with Alex Cobb (4-3, 3.67 ERA).




Monday Morning Coffee

May 22, 2017

I don’t know why you guys are so surprised the Lakers got the #2 pick in the draft.  Lavar Ball told us that it was going to happen.  The only guy who doesn’t understand what’s going on is Joel Embiid, who is still trying to understand the lottery.  If the Lakers do actually keep the pick and not trade it, they should absolutely take Lonzo Ball.  For those of you that don’t want to because of Lavar, it’s simply because you have been hanging around AYSO or Little League with helicopter parents.  Those parents don’t matter in the NBA or in professional sports.  They become irrelevant over time.  What the Lakers do have to worry about though is the Celtics taking Ball, or even trading the pick to somebody who wants him, just to screw the Lakers.  It would be a very Boston Celtic thing to do.

That wasn’t the only good news for the Lakers last week.  The All-NBA teams were announced, and Paul George did not make it, increasing the likelihood of him not re-signing with the Pacers.  At this point, George isn’t even hiding his desire to join the Lakers, and seems confident that he can resurrect the franchise.  George was on with Jimmy Fallon last week and didn’t deny anything, which can’t make the Pacers feel too good.  As for All-NBA and the media determining the outcome, they should, even if an extra $76 million is on the line.  If it were up to the owners and coaches, they strategically wouldn’t vote for certain players so they would have a better chance to leave in free agency.  Besides, great players will go wherever they want to play.  Kevin Durant left $100 million on the table last year to leave for the Warriors.

Lavar ball is going to get some bad press for his heated discussion last week with Fox Sports One’s Kristine Leahy.  However, this was one incident in which both Lavar and Kristine were wrong.  Since when does Kristine actually ask guests questions on Colin Cowherd’s show? This was nothing but Leahy trying to make a name for herself by being confrontational, but in all the wrong ways.  As for Lavar, he once again demonstrated his lack of business acumen by failing to suggest that the “Big Baller Brand” will not cater to women, and that they don’t need to.  They actually have women’s T-shirts on their website that he didn’t even mention.  No reason to give people a reason to hate your brand when you are trying to build it.  In case you missed the exchange, here it is.

The Dodgers took 3 out of 4 from the Marlins over the weekend and Cody Bellinger is still hotter than   the Sahara desert.  However, the bad news is that their stud pitcher Julio Urias has been getting destroyed.  It’s bad enough that the Dodgers are being as cautious with him as you would be with a newborn baby.  On top of that’s he’s just not that effective right now.  No matter how hard you try to convince yourself, the Dodgers don’t have any real reliable starting pitching beyond Clayton Kershaw when it matters.  That’s why Urias needs to get on track if LA hopes to have any real chance come October.  He has the highest ceiling and the most talent of anybody on the roster after Kershaw.

The Angels had a rough weekend in New York against the Mets, but they are somehow still hovering around .500.  Even more encouraging is the fact that Doug Fister is joining their starting rotation.  You’re wondering why that’s encouraging? Because when your #1 starter is Ricky Nolasco, adding Doug Fister feels like you just signed Nolan Ryan.  Maybe now they will find a 2nd baseman and a left fielder that can hit better than .200.

Things are looking bad for the Ducks.  They are now one game away from elimination after the Predators beat them at the Honda Center yesterday.  This series has featured more injuries than a United Airlines flight.  Ryan Getzlaf has suddenly remembered that he’s the old guy Ryan Getzlaf, and the Predators are a little better in goal and on defense.  This series might go seven games, but Anaheim looks like a strong bet to lose in the conference finals again.  Meanwhile, parking pass prices are rising for game 7, as Kings fans are buying them in hopes of witnessing the Ducks fans crying while leaving the Honda Center.

Tom Brady is going to be endorsing a new DB11 Aston Martin.  The new car costs $211,000 , which is an amount that many of his teammates probably can’t even afford.  Brady will also be designing several limited edition models that will be sold for $300,000.  There will only be 12 of those made available to the public.  If you can afford it, as long as those cars don’t say “Patriots” all over them, you probably want one of those.  It will be one of the few cars that actually appreciate in value.  For those of you that hate Tom Brady for his perfect life, now you can hate him even more.

In the latest Harris Poll annual brand report, Five Guys was named the Burger Brand Restaurant of the Year, eclipsing In-N-Out, which has won the award twice before.  This poll is the biggest scam I’ve heard of in years.  Five Guys is nationwide, while In-N-Out is on the west coast, skewing the poll drastically.  In-N-Out serves more customers in 1 hour than Five Guys does in one day.  Five Guys has no drive thru and it’s twice as expensive.  The next time someone tells me that Five Guys is better than In-N-Out will be the first.






Gonzales Leads Dodgers Over Marlins

May 21, 2017

Adrian Gonzales had 3 hits and drove in 3 runs, as the Dodgers defeated the Marlins 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Chavez Ravine.  LA took 3 out of 4 from Miami during their weekend series.

Brandon McCarthy retired the first 14 batters he faced, and allowed just 1 run in 6 innings of work to improve his record to 4-1 on the season.  He attributed his success to finally being healthy.

“A lot of it is just focus and getting reset after two years of being up and down and all over the place,” McCarthy said. “I had a healthy offseason where I could focus on myself and pitching again instead of just focusing on my arm. I kind of brought back the me that I would like to be. I’ll just try to hold that through the season.”

Yasmani Grandal added three hits, including a pair of doubles for the boys in blue.  Joc Pederson had a solo homer in the 4th as well.

Vance Worley (0-1) made his Marlins debut but took the loss.  He allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings of work.

The Dodgers grabbed a 3-0 lead by the 4th inning after a 2-run double from Gonzales and Pederson’s homer.

Gonzalez was 1 for 8 in his first two games back but was back on track on Sunday.  “That’s what I pride myself in,” he said of driving in runs. “It’s not like I’m putting more responsibility. It’s just what I try to do.”

Former Dodger A.J. Ellis put the Marlins on the board in the 5th with an RBI single.

However, Gonzales’ countered with an RBI single just half an inning later to make it 4-1.  Brett Eibner  had a pinch-hit 2-run single in the 6th, and that was all the offense the Dodgers needed.

The Marlins managed to get a couple of runs in the 8th and 9th inning off of Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen.  Justin Bour hit a solo blast off of Jansen.

Yasiel Puig was held out of the line with a back injury for the second straight day.  He pinch hit in the eighth and struck out.

The Dodgers will be back in action on Tuesday night against the Cardinals, in the first game of a 3-game set.  Clayton Kershaw (7-2; 2.15 ERA) will try to keep LA rolling while the Cardinals will go with Lance Lynn (4-2; 2.78 ERA).


Trout Helps Angels Avoid Sweep

May 21, 2017

Mike Trout homered, doubled, and drove in three runs, as the Angels dominated the Mets 12-5 on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.  The win helped the Angels avoid a 3-game sweep.

C.J. Cron also added a grand slam in the 1st inning, which was part of a 5-run explosion for the Halos in the early going.

Andrelton Simmons and Jefry Marte also went deep for the Angels, and by the 3rd inning, it was 9-0 Halos.

The Mets hit some home runs of their own while trying to rally.  Matt Reynolds, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce all went deep, but it wasn’t enough.

Jesse Chavez (4-5) picked up the win after going 5 2/3 innings, yielding 5 runs on 7 hits.  He departed after Bruce’s 3-run blast, which made it 9-5.

Tommy Milone (1-2) took the loss for the Mets.  He only lasted an 1 1/3 innings, and was charged with 7 runs on 7 hits.

Trout’s homer was his 14th of the season, a 2-run blast.  Marte went back-to-back and that chased Milone.

Albert Pujols missed his third game in a row because of tendinitis in his right hamstring.

The Angels will continue their 10-game road trip in Tampa Bay on Monday night.  JC Ramirez (3-3; 3.97 ERA) will get the ball for the Halos.  Jake Odorizzi (3-2; 3.16 ERA) goes for the Rays.

Predators Skate By Ducks in Game 5

May 20, 2017

Pontus Aberg scored the game-winning goal with just under 9 minutes left in the 3rd period, and the Predators defeated the Ducks 3-1 in game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.  Nashville has a 3-2 series lead, one game away from eliminating the Ducks and moving on to the Stanley Cup Final.

Aberg dove across the crease to swat home a rebound on a shot by Filip Forsberg, which was his first-career playoff goal.  Aberg face planted on the play, lost a tooth, and was taken off the ice for medical evaluation.  However, he was ok and the decisive goal pushed the Ducks to the brink of elimination.

Austin Watson added an empty-netter with 48 seconds left to play.  Moments earlier Jakob Silfverberg broke his stick, allowing Watson to shoot the puck from his own end, down the ice into the empty cage.

Both teams were plagued by injuries to key players.  The Predators overcame the absence of top scorer Ryan Johansen and captain Mike Fisher.  The Ducks were missing two of their top scorers in  Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves.  They also lost goaltender John Gibson after the 1st period, after he left with a lower body injury.

Gibson was replaced by Jonathan Bernier, who stopped 16 shots in relief.  On the other side, Pekka Rinne made 32 saves for Nashville, which has won 5 of their last 7 playoff games in Anaheim.

After a scoreless 1st period, both teams exchanged goals in the 2nd period.  Chris Wagner scored on a rebound from a shot by Brandon Montour.  It was Wagner’s 2nd career playoff goal.

Nashville got even with 40 seconds left in the 2nd.  Colin Wilson pounced on a rebound in front of Bernier, which game came on the power play.

Game 6 of the series will be Monday night in Nashville.  The Ducks will try to avoid being eliminated by the Predators for the 2nd year in a row, and eliminated from the conference finals for the 2nd time in the last 3 years.

Marlins Rough Up Urias & Dodgers

May 20, 2017

Giancarlo Stanton had 3 doubles and 3 RBI, as the Marlins took down the Dodgers 10-6 on Saturday night at Chavez Ravine.

It was a rough start for Dodger pitcher Julio Urias (0-2), who gave up 7 runs (6 earned) on 7 hits in just 2 1/3 innings of work.  He took the loss, while walking 3 batters, and throwing only 71 pitches.

J.T. Riddle also had 3 hits for Miami, including a homer and 4 runs batted in.  The Marlins came into the game losers of 10 of their last 11 games.

Dan Straily (2-3) picked up the win and gave the Dodgers a lot of trouble in the early going.  He went 5 2/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits.  He struck out 8 batters, and walked 3.

The Dodgers did not generate a hit off of Straily until the 5th inning, when Kike Hernandez connected on a solo homer with two outs in the 5th.  At that point the Dodgers trailed 10-1.

LA would try to rally over the next two innings.  An RBI double from Yasmani Grandal in the 6th, along with home runs from Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger in the 7th got the Dodgers within 4 runs.  However, that’s as close as they would come.

Even the Dodger bullpen, which is usually reliable, gave up 3 runs in an extended 7+ innings of work on the night.

Bellinger became the fastest Dodger to hit 9 home runs in franchise history.  It took the rookie just 24 games.  His teammate Yasiel Puig took 44 games to hit 9 home runs in 2013.

Puig was held out of the lineup on Saturday as a precautionary measure after tweaking his side during an at-bat on Friday.

The Dodgers will try to make it 3 out of 4 against the Marlins in the series finale on Sunday at the Ravine.  Brandon McCarthy (3-1; 4.15 ERA) will be on the mound for LA, while the Marlins go with Vance Worley, who will be making his Marlins debut after being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.


Halos Rally Falls Short Against Mets

May 20, 2017

Jose Reyes had 3 hits and 2 RBI, as the Mets defeated the Angels 7-5 on Saturday night at Citi Field, despite a furious 9th inning rally by the Angels that fell short.

The Mets took a 7-2 lead into the 9th inning, but the Angels got 3 runs before substitute closer Addison Reed struck out Danny Espinosa with the bases-loaded to end the game.

The Angels loaded the based with nobody out in the 9th inning.  That’s when Reed came in to replace Neil Ramirez.  A walk to Cameron Maybin, an RBI single by Kole Calhoun, and sacrifice fly by Mike Trout pulled the Angels within 7-5.   However, Luis Valbuena fouled out to the catcher, and after an Andrelton Simmons walk, Espinosa’s strikeout ended it.

The Mets took a 4-0 lead against Angels’ starter Alex Meyer after 5 innings of play.  An RBI fielder’s choice by Neil Walker, a sacrifice fly by Jay Bruce, another RBI single from Walker, and a sac fly from T.J. Rivera accounted for the damage.

Meyer (2-2) took the loss after being charged with 4 runs (3 of them earned) on 3 hits.  He struck out 7 and walked 4 after throwing 86 pitches.

“That’s just a poor ballgame on the defensive end. We let too many things get away from us,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve got to tighten that up. That’s the major reason we lost.”

The Angels got two runs back in the 6th inning after loading the bases, then Jefry Marte was hit by a pitch, scoring a run.  Then Ben Revere added an RBI fielder’s choice.

However, the Mets extended the lead to 7-2 in the 8th.  Wilmer Flores came through with an RBI double, and Jose Reyes delivered an RBI single.

Zack Wheeler (3-2) got the win.  He went 5 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits.  He walked 5 and struck out 5.

The Angels will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.  Jesse Chaves goes for the Halos, while the Mets give the ball to Tommy Milone.

Mets Shut Down Angels 3-0

May 19, 2017

Jacob DeGrom pitched a 4-hit shutout in 7 innings of work, as the Mets blanked the Angels 3-0 on Friday night.  The Angels’ loss snapped their four-game winning streak.

Ricky Nolasco (2-3) took the loss, despite giving up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits in 6 innings of work.

The Mets got an RBI double from Curtis Granderson in the 1st inning to take a quick 1-0 lead.  It was an unearned run, resulting from a throwing error by C.J. Cron earlier in the inning.

T.J. Rivera delivered an RBI single in the 6th inning, and that made it 2-0 New York.

The other Mets’ run came in the 7th inning on a solo home run by Michael Conforto, which came off of Jose Alvarez.

DeGrom (3-1) got the win, and ended a 17-game stretch in which no Mets’ starters got an out in the seventh inning, tying a club record set in 2002.

“All night, we didn’t get too many good looks at him,” Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia said about DeGrom. “He pitched a good game for those guys, but when we did get a couple of looks, he made some pitches and got out of it.”

DeGrom also retired 13 straight before Kole Calhoun’s two-out single in the sixth. He gave up four hits, struck out nine and walked three.

Mike Trout singled twice on the evening, but the Halos couldn’t generate a whole lot of offense.  Albert Pujols was not available to play because of a sore right hamstring. Scioscia said Pujols had an MRI, which showed tendinitis in the hamstring.

Game 2 of the series is on Saturday night at Citi Field.  Alex Meyer (2-1, 5.59) will try to get another win for the Halos.  He’ll be opposed by Mets righty Zack Wheeler (2-2, 3.76).


Alex Wood & Dodgers Beat Up Marlins

May 19, 2017

Alex Wood pitched 7 1/3 innings of shutout baseball and improved to 5-0, as the Dodgers defeated the Marlins 7-2 on Friday night at the Ravine.  The game also included a bench-clearing incident between both sides in the 9th inning.  Dodgers’ reliever Ross Stripling and bench coach Bob Geren, along with Marlins manager Don Mattingly were all ejected.

The benches cleared when Stripling threw a pitch behind Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton’s back.  That appeared to be retaliation for an 8th inning incident in which Marlins’ reliever AJ Ramos hit Brett Eibner with a pitch.  Ramos insisted afterward that the pitch just got away from him.

“If they have a problem with it, they can see me before the game, after the game, whenever they want to see me,” Ramos said. “It doesn’t have to be at the game.”

That 8th inning also featured a 2-run homer from Cody Bellinger.  Chris Taylor connected on a solo homer in the 3rd, and Eibner, a 2-run shot in the 4th.

Bellinger’s eighth home run came in just his 23rd major league game, becoming the fastest Dodgers players to reach that mark.

Outfielder Yasiel Puig left the game in the five innings with lower back tightness.

Wood gave up just 6 hits in his 7+ innings of work.  He walked 2 and struck out 4.  It was his 3rd straight start without allowing a run.

The Dodgers and Marlins will do it again on Saturday night at the Ravine.  Julio Urias will be on the mound for LA, while Miami counters with Dan Straily.