Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Big Devils Win, Troubling Yankee Loss

First the good news: The Devils scored 4 3rd-period goals -- none by the injured Ilya Kovalchuk -- and took home-ice advantage away from the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-1 at the Wells Fargo Center last night.

(Assuming, that is, they didn't change the name of the arena again without telling me.)

The tying goal was scored by Adam Larsson, the go-ahead goal by David Clarkson, Travis Zajac added one, and Bryce Salvador added a shorthanded empty-net goal. (Now, why would the Flyers pull the extra skater with nearly 4 minutes to go when they were already down by 2? Did they really think that, even with a 6-on-4, they were going to score 2 goals in the last 4 minutes?)

NHL.com is calling the 3rd-period breakout "Third-Degree Burn."

The Devils, like the Rangers, are now tied in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series 1-1. The difference is, the Devils have taken home-ice advantage, while the Rangers, playing the Washington Capitals in Game 3 in D.C. tonight, have coughed it up.

Because the Rangers... you know how that goes.

The Devils and Flyers play their Game 3 tomorrow night at the Prudential Center.

*

Now for the bad news: Thierry Henry had his hamstring scanned yesterday, and the original prognosis is confirmed: The man who is currently the leading scorer in Major League Soccer will be unavailable to the Red Bulls for 3 to 4 weeks.

The soonest he could return is Saturday, May 19, in Montreal. He could also return on Wednesday, May 23, home to Los Angeles-based Chivas USA. The next 2 games are both in the U.S. Open Cup, the American version of England's FA Cup, the 3rd round on Tuesday, May 29, and (if the Red Bulls advance, as well they should, even without him) the 4th round on the following Tuesday, June 5. It doesn't really make sense to risk him for either of those. So the most likely return for Henry would be on Sunday, June 17, at the Chicago Fire.

*

The worse news: Phil Hughes did not have it again last night, not getting out of the 6th inning, allowing 4 runs on 4 hits (but only 1 walk), and the Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 7-1. He fell to 1-4, while Oriole starter Brian Matusz advanced to 1-3.

It's not injury, Hughes simply isn't getting the job done. He may have been pitching for his starting life last night. At press time, there was no announcement of whether he would make his next start or be sent to the bullpen -- which may be a good sign, as, by this point after his last start, the announcement that Freddy Garcia was going to the pen had already been made.

But one more bad start in his next appearance, and I think the Yankees will have to ask who can fill Hughes' slot in the rotation, not just Garcia's. Andy Pettitte? I don't think he'll be ready.

Curtis Granderson hit his 9th home run, 1 of 2 hits he got. Alex Rodriguez also got 2 hits, and Derek Jeter went 3-for-5. But the Grandy homer produced the only Yankee run of the game. That is unacceptable.

The series with the O's concludes tonight, Ivan Nova going against Jake Arrieta.

*

Jeter Hits: 3,128
A-Rod Hits: 2,797, 203 for 3,000
A-Rod Home Runs: 633, 67 for 700, 130 for a record 763

Jeter needs 12 hits to pass Tony Gwynn on the all-time list, 13 to pass Robin Yount, 25 to pass Paul Waner, 27 to pass George Brett, 57 to pass Cal Ripken, 115 to pass Nap Lajoie, 128 to pass Eddie Murray, 156 to pass Willie Mays. Barring injury, each of these is reachable this season.

If he gets another 192 hits (not likely until early next season), he will pass Paul Molitor to become the career hits leader among people born after April 14, 1941 (the birthdate of all-time leader Pete Rose). He is already the career hits leader among players born after Molitor’s birthdate of August 22, 1956.

Catching Rose's record of 4,256, or even 4,000, is not likely at this point. But he's only 372 hits away from 3,500. Just 15 more than that, and he'd pass Tris Speaker and be 5th on the all-time list. Another 503 hits from today, and he'd pass Stan Musial for 4th.

*

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 1, tomorrow night against The Filth (the Philadelphia Flyers). They could still play The Scum (the New York Rangers) in the Conference Finals. If so, the result better be the reverse of 1994 (a Devils win).

Days until Arsenal play again: 3, this Saturday, home to Norwich City.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 3, Saturday night, at the defending MLS Champion Los Angeles Galaxy. This past Saturday they beat the New England Revolution, cheating bastards like all New England teams, 1-0 on an Henry goal and same great defense, especially by rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara, a Yonkers, New York native. But, as I said, Henry got hurt.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 11, against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon, May 13, at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. They next play D.C. United at home on Sunday night, June 24. They next play the New England Revolution at Gilletts Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Sunday night, July 8.

Days until the U.S. National Soccer Team plays again: 24, Saturday night, May 26, against Scotland, at EverBank Field in Jacksonville -- formerly known as Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and Alltel Field, home of the NFL's Jaguars. A little over 3 weeks.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 65, on Friday, July 6, at Fenway Park in Boston.

Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 86 (July 27). Just over 12 weeks.

Days until the next North London Derby: Unknown, as the Premier League announces its schedule for the upcoming season on the 2nd Friday in June, and the new season always starts on the 2nd Saturday in August -- meaning that the next Arsenal-Tottenham match can't be any earlier than August 11, which is 101 days from now. But it almost certainly won't be the opening game.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 122, on Saturday September 1, at the Superdome in New Orleans against Tulane University. Not exactly a rivalry game, although Tulane was founded by a Princeton man. And thus, in 4 months, will begin the Kyle Flood Era. Good luck...

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 128, on Friday, September 7, home to South Brunswick. A little over 4 months.

Days until the first Nets game in Brooklyn: Unknown. The NBA season usually starts in late October.

Days until the 2012 President election: 187, on Tuesday, November 6. A little more than 6 months. Register to vote... and on November 6, vote!

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 204.

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 444 (estimated around July 20, 2013).

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 641 (February 2, 2014).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 714 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,549 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,583 (estimated -- estimating 28 home runs a year, he should get it late in the 2016 season, maybe around September 1, at age 41).

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