Father's Day isn't until Sunday but I'm already nominating Phil Mickelson for Father of the Year honors. Mickelson officially withdrew from the U.S. Open golf tournament, which started yesterday at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, because he didn't want to miss his daughter's high school graduation.
Mickelson waited as long to make the decision, hoping that storms projected for the Midwest would delay the start of the Open long enough for him to see his daughter graduate and still make the opening tee time, but when it became clear that wouldn't happen, he chose to attend her graduation rather than compete in the only major golf tournament he's never won. In fact, this will be the first time Mickelson has not played in the Open since 1993, when he failed to qualify for the cut, but Lefty just set a new course record in what it means to be a good Dad, and qualifies at the very least for one of those coffee mugs that says "World's Best Dad" on it.
As for the first round of the Open, 28-year old Rickie Fowler, who's never won a major championship of any kind, is off to a good start for taking his first, firing a 7-under 65 on Thursday to lead the field, but there's still a lot of golf still to be played.
To Major League Baseball, which really is a funny game. If you were to look at the four-game home and home series between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies before it started, with the Phillies sporting the worst record in the majors, you'd have circled the start by Red Sox ace Chris Sale as the one game the Red Sox were pretty much guaranteed to win in the series. Instead, the Red Sox won the first three games, and then reverted back to their no-run-support ways that marked Sale's first few games with the team this year, and the Phillies avoided a sweep with a 1-0 win over Sale and the Red Sox last night.
Sale was his usual dominant self, giving up just four hits to go with 10 strikeouts, and he continues to lead the league in K's with 136. But the Red Sox just couldn't drive in a run for Sale, despite having the bases loaded early in the game. Nick Pivetta, to his credit, was very good for the Phils, going 7 innings while giving up just four hits and striking out 9. The only run of the game came in the bottom of the ninth when pinch hitter TY Kelly came off the bench ad ripped a double off Sale that scored Andrew Knapp all the way from first when Andrew Benintendi's relay throw missed the cut-off. The Sox hope to re-find their groove quickly tonight when they face the best record in the majors Astros in Houston with Drew Pomeranz starting for Boston. The Astros also lead the American League in home runs, so Pomeranz better make sure he doesn't leave too many curve balls over the heart of the plate.
The good news for the Red Sox is they didn't lose any ground in the standings to the NY Yankees, who lost in extra innings to the A's 8-7 in Oakland. This was a back and forth contest in which neither team seemed capable of holding a lead. The Yankees took a 7-6 lead in the top of the tenth when Brett Gardner slid home safely on a sac fly. But in the bottom of the 10th the A's rallied against Yankees reliever Giovanny Gallegos when Rajai Davis singled and Chad Pinder doubled to put runners on second and third with two outs. Both those runners then scored to win the game for Oakland when Khris Davis hit a seeing-eye blooper that fell into no-man's land in shallow center after glancing off the glove of second baseman Starlin Castro, who almost made a great play on the ball. The Yankees have now lost three in a row after winning six straight but still lead the A.L. east by two games over the second place Red Sox.
The news was no better for the NY Mets, who watched Bryce Harper hit a home run he called after the game the hardest ball he'd ever hit in his life in the Washington Nationals 8-3 victory. Robert Gsellman got knocked around for 11 hits and 7 runs over 5 innings for the Mets while Gio Gonzalez cruised to the win, his sixth of the year.
The Toronto Blue Jays were idle. They host the Chicago White Sox tonight.
In NECBL action, the Vermont Mountaineers played comeback ball in Danbury, Connecticut last night, coming back from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Westerners 8-6. The Mountaineers chipped away at the Danbury lead, tying the game in the 8th and then getting the winning runs in the top of the 9th on an RBI single by Abdel Amir Guadalupe Peterson.
Essex High School has a new girl's soccer coach, just the second in the program's history. Kevin Barber will take over for Bill O'Neil, who left the job this spring, and Barber will have big cleats to fill. Under O'Neil's tutelage the Essex Hornets girls varsity soccer teams won six championships between 1979 and 2016, and played in 13 state title games. The team's last championship was in 2007.
Barber is 49 years old and lives in Essex. He's been the athletic director at the Albert Lawton Middle School, and has coached soccer there, at Mount Mansfield, and with the Far Post Soccer Club.