Mitch's Sports Report: Imagining Big Papi's Response To A Judd Apatow Movie: 'No, Dude, THIS Is 40.'
The comedy "This Is 40" is about a married couple discovering that things get noticeably more difficult when you enter your fourth decade of life, but David Ortiz could star in a reboot of that movie with the counter-theme that just the opposite happens. Last night in Baltimore Big Papi continued his swan song year for the ages, belting home run number 36 on the year, a three-run bomb that broke open a tight game and led the Red Sox to a 5-2 win, their sixth in a row.
The Red Sox led 2-1 in the seventh when Ortiz unloaded to right-center with two men on, ending the night for Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who had shut out that Red Sox a week earlier at Fenway Park. Jackie Bradley Jr. also homered for the Red Sox, his 26th of the year, and the days of speaking about JBJ in terms of all glove, no bat are gone. Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his third win of the year, giving up two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Craig Kimbrel finished off the Birds in the ninth for his 28th save and the Red Sox have tightened their grip on first place in the division, with Baltimore now in third place, five games in the rear view mirror while Toronto has taken over second, but still four games behind the Red Sox with eleven left to play in the regular season. You're tempted to say the Sox have things wrapped up, but they finish the season with three against the Blue Jays at Fenway so they need to maintain the separation they have now for those games to be rendered meaningless. Trying to keep the kumbaya drum beat going tonight will be Clay Buchholz getting the start for Boston in game three.
The NY Yankees are clinging to faint hopes of a playoff spot, and Gary Sanchez is the guy who keeps them holding on. The rookie sensation is still murdering the ball, last night against Tampa Bay hitting his seventeenth home run of the season in the Yankees' 5-3 win, and remember, seventeen home runs is a pretty decent tally for an entire season, while Sanchez has reached that number playing in just forty-two games since being called up from the minors. The homer by Sanchez was a three-run shot that came in the seventh and snapped the Yankees' five game losing skid. The post-season is still mathematically possible for New York. They are just three and a half games away from one of two wild card spots, but they also have five teams currently ahead of them scuttling for that same perch.
The NY Mets lost their second in a row to the last place Atlanta Braves last night, thanks to seven strong inning from Braves starter Julio Teheran, who gave up just five hits on the night and left the game with a 5-1 lead that the Braves bullpen almost gave away. But the Mets comeback fell just short in a 5-4 loss and with the Giants and Cardinals both winning their is now a three way tie between those three teams for two wild card spots, and it looks like that race is going to be a photo finish to see who becomes the odd man out. The Mets get one more crack at the Braves tonight with Bartolo Colon getting the start for New York.
Last night Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins, an American-born speedster and noted goal scorer, sent out a tweet that he was just chilling on the night, hanging out with his dog, with the nagging feeling that there was something else he could be doing. Kessel's sarcasm was directed at the folks who put together the Team USA hockey squad for the World Cup competition. Kessel was not invited to join that team, and now everyone who did skate for the U.S. can spend the rest of the tournament taking walks with Phil and his dog by the U.S.A is out, eliminated from advancing in the tournament with a 4-2 loss to team Canada last night, and that's a pretty stunning result. The American team bypassed fast, skilled players like Kessel, Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues, opting instead to build a roster of players known for grit, tenacity, and hard hits, the idea being that they would wear down the more highly skilled but less bruising players on teams like Canada. But you can't hit what you can't catch, and if you can't score goals, you're not going to win. Team USA scored just twice in the two games they had in group play, getting shut out by Team Europe in game one and now with the loss to Canada they have just a meaningless game against the Czech Republic, who are also eliminated from advancing, before limping home from the World Cup without even making the semi-finals.
The UVM womens' soccer team was on a three game winning streak but that came to an end yesterday in a 1-0 loss to Dartmouth, with Meredith Gurnee getting the only goal of the game in the 55th minute for the Green. Elsewhere New Haven edged St. Michael's 2-1 and in mens' college soccer Norwich topped Castleton 3-2 with Noah Schiers, Luke Gleadle and Colchester's Alec Brigante all scoring for the Cadets, and Lyndon beat Southern Vermont 3-2 on a goal in the second overtime by Abukar Hassan.