More than the big swings and the long home run bombs, the thing the Boston Red Sox miss most in their first season A.P., meaning "After Papi", is the loss of the clutch hit.
David Ortiz proved himself to be the most clutch hitter in Red Sox history over his more than a decade in Boston, and without him in the lineup this season post-retirement, it seems no one on the Red Sox is capable of taking over that role. It's still early, but the number of games in which the Red Sox put ducks on the pond and leave them their quacking longingly for home is growing, including yesterday's 11-2 misery of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It sounds like a blow-out, and it was, but only after the Rays scored 7 in the 9th inning to put the game away. The game took four and a half hours to play, even though it didn't go extra innings, and it probably felt twice as long to the brave few who sat amid a cold, misty rain at the Fens with temperatures in the forties, and the slow pace of pitchers Drew Pomeranz for Boston and Matt Andriese for Tampa didn't help. Pomeranz left in the fourth with a strained triceps, and he'll have an MRI to see the extent of the damage. The bullpen kept it close until Matt Barnes imploded in the 9th, but the real problem was the Red Sox going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, which has been a troubling calling card in the first couple of months After Papi. The Sox get a day off today to try and figure it all out before opening a two game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
The NY Yankees paid tribute to the greatest shortstop in their storied franchise history, and one of the greatest ever to take the field when they officially retired the number 2 of Derek Jeter at the Stadium yesterday. The Yanks played two against the Houston Astros, taking game one 11-6 when Chase Headley hit a tie-breaking, bases loaded triple in the sixth. The Astros came back to win game two 10-7 with the big hit coming off the bat of Alex Bregman, who knocked a grand slam of Masahiro Tanaka in the first inning, when the 'Stros scored six times to put the game away early. It was Bregman's first big league home run, and perhaps fittingly, he wears number two as a nod to his favorite player growing up, one Derek Jeter. The captain, for his part, gave a predictably gracious and heartfelt speech to a packed Yankee Stadium, thanking what he called "the greatest fans in the history of sports." Obviously folks who cheer for other teams in other parts of the country will disagree with that but the love between Jeter and Yankees fans is real. He played his entire future Hall of Fame career in pinstripes and was never less than magnificent, much to the dismay of Red Sox fans like yours truly, who nevertheless, if they're honest, have to admit he was one of the greatest of all time.
The NY Mets had a 6-run lead over the Brewers in Milwaukee but that lead evaporated and the Brewers left the Mets crying in their beer with an 11-9 comeback win. Manny Pina hit a three run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 8th off Addison Reed to complete the comeback win, sweeping the Mets in the process. The Mets have lost four in a row overall, wasting a strong effort yesterday by Michael Conforto, who was just a single shy of hitting for the cycle, while scoring four runs.
The San Antonio Spurs suffered two losses in game one of the NBA western conference finals last night, three if you count the 25-point lead they squandered in a 113-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs were cruising in the first half but when they lost their star forward Kawhi Leaonard to an ankle injury in the third quarter, the Warriors smelled blood and mounted a comeback driven by Steph Curry's 40-point effort, including a game tying three with less than two minutes left in regulation. Kevin Durant scored ten in a row in a fourth quarter stretch, part of his 34 point night. Leonard twisted his ankle when he stepped on a teammate's foot after taking a shot near the bench. He kept playing but re-injured it in the third and left the game for good. Given San Antonio's collapse after Leonard's absence, it does not bode well for their chances if his injury proves serious enough to keep him off the court.
It's winner take all in Boston tonight as the Celtics and Washington Wizards play game seven of their hard fought semi-final series. After John Wall's heroics in game six when he hit the winning three pointer with 3 seconds left, the two teams are staring down a no room for error deciding contest that's been all about home court. Neither team has been able to win on the road yet in this series and the Celtics hope that trend continues tonight.
NHL playoffs, and the western conference finals are tied at a game apiece after the Anaheim Ducks came back to win game two against the Nashville Predators 5-3 last night. The Ducks trailed 2-0 at home but finally broke through against Pekka Rinne, and Nick Ritchie broke the tie for good late in the second.
Locally, history was made Saturday in high school track and field in the boys 1,500-meter race.
CVU's Tyler Marshall set a new Division I record and overall state mark at the 45th running of the regular-season’s biggest track and field meet. Marshall ran the 1,500 with a time of 3-minutes, 56 seconds, beating the previous record set by Brattleboro’s Jacob Ellis in 2012, by more than a second.
St. Johnsbury captured the combined girls and boys crown with 288 points. Essex was runner-up and CVU finished third out of the 27 schools competing.