Friday, April 14, 2017

Hicks and Sevy Complete Yank Sweep of Rays

The Yankees completed a 3-game home sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays last night. Luis Severino started for the Yankees, and Joe Girardi let him pitch 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, only 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts.

Once again: I don't care how the outs come, as long as they come. But 11 strikeouts against 2 walks is very encouraging for Sevy.

Aaron Hicks hit home runs in the 1st and 7th innings, giving him his 1st 2 on the season. The homer in the 7th drove in Jacoby Ellsbury ahead of him, and meant the difference in the game.

Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless 8th, and Aroldis Chapman a scoreless 9th, showing grit and determination when the game could easily have fallen apart for the Yankees. Because they showed, it didn't. Yankees 3, Rays 2. WP: Severino (1-0). SV: Chapman (2). LP: Xavier Cedeno (1-1).

The Yankees are now 5-4, as are the Boston Red Sox. Both teams are a game and a half, 2 games in the loss column, behind the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays are 5-5, and the Toronto Blue Jays are off to a horrendous 1-8 start.

The despondency of the 1-4 start is gone, as we now have a 4-game winning streak.

The Rays head out, and the Yankees welcome the St. Louis Cardinals for a weekend Interleague series at Yankee Stadium. The Cards are struggling, 3-6, although they did win last night. Here are the projected pitching matchups:

* Tonight, 7:05 PM: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Michael Wacha.

* Tomorrow, 1:05 PM: CC Sabathia vs. Carlos Martinez.

* Sunday, 8:00 PM, the ESPN Sunday night game: Michael Pineda vs. Adam Wainwright.

Elsewhere in sports news, tonight marks the opening of SunTrust Park in Cumberland, Georgia, the new home of the Atlanta Braves. It is the 10th ballpark that they have used, following the 1st South End Grounds (1871-87), the 2nd South End Grounds (1888-94), the Congress Street Grounds (necessary because the South End Grounds had burned down, so they briefly switched to the ballpark that had been used by the Boston Reds of the Players League in 1890), the 3rd South End Grounds (1894-1914), Fenway Park (1914-15), Braves Field (1915-52), Milwaukee County Stadium (1953-65), Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (1966-96), and Turner Field (1997-2016).

The Braves are the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America. This is their 147th season. But even if you dismiss the Congress Street Grounds and Fenway as stopgap facilities for use while their new homes were being built, they are still averaging a new home every 18 years.

In contrast, the Red Sox, who stayed in Boston, have had just 2 homes: The Huntington Avenue Grounds (1901-11) and Fenway Park. Even if you count Fenway's 1934 renovation as being an entirely new stadium (it wasn't, but was very extensive), they're averaging a new home every 39 years, or twice as many as the Braves.

The Mets beat the Miami Marlins in 16 innings last night. Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew, who received a heart and kidney transplant last December, told the media that his new organs came from Konrad Reuland, a former Jets tight end who died of a brain aneurysm in December, at age 29. (I wonder if the aneurysm was caused by a football injury.) Reuland had been a close friend of Mark Sanchez, and a teammate in high school and on the Jets. (But not in college: Reuland went to Stanford, Sanchez to USC.)

Giants quarterback Eli Manning was revealed to have possibly been involved in a fake-memorabilia scandal, leading a few Twitiots from New England to say the Giants should forfeit their 2 recent Super Bowl wins to the Patriots. Knicks GM Phil Jackson made comments suggesting that Carmelo Anthony's time with the Knicks may be about to end. And, as I wrote in an earlier post, Dan Rooney, lead owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1988 and operating owner of them from 1969 to 2003, died yesterday at age 84.

This week marked the 50th Anniversary of some baseball milestones of 1967: April 11, Carew's major league debut; yesterday, Tom Seaver's debut; today, the minor renovation of the old Yankee Stadium, presaging the new one, giving the exterior the white paint it would have until the end, and replacing the lime-green seats with blue ones, only to have the home opener ruined by the Red Sox when rookie starter Billy Rohr came within 1 strike of a no-hitter, broken up by Elston Howard.

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Just came over the wire: Former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez has been acquitted of 2 murder charges. He is already serving a life term for another murder, in Boston's South End (not far from the site of the South End Grounds) on July 16, 2012. Of the charges he was up on this time, he was convicted only on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm, with a charge of 4 to 5 years, not that it matters, because he's already in for life, with no chance of parole.

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