Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Yankees and Carolina Recover, Ewing Hired

Torreyes is listed as being 5-foot-8 and 151 pounds.
Judge is listed as being 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds.
Yet it was Torreyes who hit the home run here.

After starting the season with a stinker in Tampa Bay, the Yankees needed to get off the deck and do what the Yankees, classically, do: Power hitting and power pitching.

They got both. In the top of the 3rd inning, Ronald Torreyes, filling in at shortstop because Didi Gregorius is expected to be out until May with an injury, hit the 1st Yankee home run of the new season, driving in Aaron Judge ahead of him. Later in the inning, Matt Holliday hit a 2-run double that made it 3-0 Yankees, and essentially ended the game. Chase Headley hit a solo home run in the 6th inning, and the Yankees added a run in the 8th.

As for the pitching: CC Sabathia, now 36 years old, took the hill, and the Big Fella was dealing, partying like it was 2009. He went 5 innings, allowed no runs on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2. He probably could have gone longer, but with a 5-run lead, testing him further wasn't necessary, and I can't hold it against Joe Girardi that he took him out after 5.

The rest of the bullpen was good. Bryan Mitchell pitched a perfect 6th inning, Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect 7th, Jonathan Holder and Dellin Betances ran into a little trouble in the 8th but worked out of it, and Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect 9th.

Yankees 5, Rays 0. WP: Sabathia (1-0). With a 5-run lead, there was no save opportunity. LP: Odorizzi (0-1).

The series concludes tomorrow night at 7:10 PM. Michael Pineda starts for the Bronx Bombers, and Alex Cobb goes for the Rays.

*

Elsewhere in sports, last night, the University of North Carolina beat Gonzaga University, 71-65, to win college basketball's National Championship at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

It was North Carolina's 6th NCAA Title, their 7th National Championship overall if you count pre-NCAA titles: 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009 and 2017. They lost a heartbreaker to Villanova in last year's Final, but didn't fold this time.

Roy Williams has now won 3 of those titles, surpassing his mentor, Dean Smith. Carolina's rivals, Duke University, have won 5 NCAA titles, all under 1 coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

This win may not put Roy past Coach K, but it does put the Tar Heels past the Blue Devils by any measure.
Kennedy Meeks was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Kennedy? Let the word go forth, from this time and place: He led the Tar Heels to the Moon. Meeks? He has inherited the Earth.
Meeks, holding the trophy

As for Gonzaga, the "mid-major" Catholic school from Spokane, Washington has long been a lot of people's "second school," but, having reached a National Final, no one can ever again call them a "plucky underdog." They are now, officially, a college basketball power.

The Bulldogs may not be up there with Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, or Kansas. Or even Michigan State, Louisville or Florida. But now, they can be expected to make big tournament runs. They have proven that they belong.

Georgetown University has fired John Thompson III, son of their legendary coach, and hired the elder John Thompson's greatest player, giving him his 1st head coaching job after several years as an assistant in both college and pro ball: Patrick Ewing.
Patrick Ewing is perhaps the greatest underachiever in the history of American sports. All that talent at Georgetown in the 1980s, 3 National Finals, only 1 win. All that hype about him on the Knicks, and the question wasn't if he would lead them to an NBA title, it was how many. The answer: None. They got to as many NBA Finals with him injured and unable to play (1, in 1999) as they did with him (1, in 1994). True, he did win Olympic Gold Medals in 1984 and 1992. But that's not how success is measured in American hoops.

We shall see if he can get the Hoyas back to the top. John III got them to a Final, but only that 1 Final Four, and the last 2 seasons, he got them to a losing record. Can ol' Number 33 get it done? Stay tuned.

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