Mitch's Sports Report: World Cup Showdown Between U.S. And England Overshadows Even Wimbledon
Back from England after back to back losses to the NY Yankees, the Boston Red Sox continue their international tour tonight with a trip to Canada where they'll face the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, and whether these Red Sox have enough left in the tank to salvage what's been a very disappointing season so far remains to be seen.
The bet here is it's just not in the cards for the defending World Series champs to repeat this season. Too slow a start to the year, too many holes in the bullpen, and an uneven starting rotation that's gone hot and cold the way a flushed toilet affects the temperature of the water in a shower.
The Red Sox are a full eleven games behind the Yankees for first place in the A.L. east, and five and a half behind the second place Tampa Bay Rays.
The team the Sox face tonight, the Blue Jays, were 11-4 winners over the Kansas City Royals last night. Freddy Galvis hit two home runs, and Cavan Biggio drove in four for the Jays, who continue their rebuilding year with some promising glimpses of young players like those two and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
The NY Mets were idle last night as they prepare to welcome back the cross town rival NY Yankees from London with a subway series at Citi Field in Queens tonight. James Paxton goes for the Yankees against Zack Wheeler for the Mets.
The Mets are struggling through another season that so far has fallen well short of expectations and their misfortune has spread beyond the play on the ball field to some embarrassing errors made by the front office. The Mets recently showed a video honoring and remembering members of the 1969 team on that squad's 50th anniversary of winning the World Series.
Players on that underdog team that won the first World series in Mets history who are no longer alive were honored with a remembrance in that video, including Jim Gosger and Jesse Hudson , shown with the words "We Remember" under their names.
The only problem is that Gosger and Hudson are still very much alive, and the Mets had to reach out to both players and apologize for placing them on the other side of that ledger. It's been that kind of year so far for the Metropolitans.
Meanwhile the baseball world is struggling to come to terms with a very real death, and a shocking one at that. 27-year old pitcher for the L.A. Angels Tyler Skaggs was found dead in a hotel room in Texas on Monday.
No word has emerged yet on the cause of death, but ESPN reports police say foul play is not suspected, and an investigation is underway. The Angels and Rangers were scheduled to play each other in Texas last night but the game was called off following the news. Skaggs was a Los Angeles area native and was a first round draft pick by the Angels in 2009.
To the minor leagues, and in NY Penn League action, the Vermont Lake Monsters dropped their third game in a row, a 7-1 loss on the road to the Lowell Spinners in Massachusetts.
Monsters starter Jack Cushing breezed through the first three innings, allowing just two base runners on a hit and a walk, but the Spinners got to the Georgetown grad and 22nd pick overall for the Oakland A's in the fourth, when Joe Davis knocked a three run homer to give Lowell the lead for good.
But a team trending in the other direction is the Vermont Mountaineers, now winners of nine games in a row after an 8-4 victory over the two-time defending NECBL champion Valley Blue Sox at Recreational Field in Montpelier last night.
Evan Giordano blasted a three run homer in the third, and the Mountaineers scored three more in the 8th to put the game away, improving to 12-7 on the year, and Vermont is now in sole possession of first place in the northern division, heading into tonight's home contest against the Keene Swamp Bats.
The Upper Valley Nighthawks had the day off. They'll take on the Winnipesaukee Muskrats tonight.
Day one of the Wimbledon tennis tournament was all about upsets, at least on the women's side, none more stunning than number two seed Naomi Osaka being ousted in her first round match in straight sets by Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
Osaka was coming off a pretty amazing upset of her own when she beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final for her first grand slam victory, and was expected to vie for the title at Wimbledon before her 7-6, 6-2 defeat yesterday.
Venus Williams also made an early departure, losing to 15-year old Cori "Coco" Gauff, who grew up watching and idolozing the Williams sisters.
No major upsets on the men's side heading into day two of action today.
There are very few sporting events that could distract from the tradition, regalia, and excellence on display at the All-England Club, but if there's anything that can, it's the English National Women's soccer team taking on the U.S. in a knock-out round semi-final of the World Cup.
That match takes place at 3 o'clock eastern time today and what a spectacular one it promises to be. The U.S. is favored to win, but England's impressive 3-0 shut out of a very good Norway team has a lot of observers wondering if the Lionesses can pull off the upset.
Jill Scott is having a fantastic tournament for England, but not as good as her teammate Ellen White, who leads all scorers with five goals thus far. Of course, the Americans have a slew of stars of their own, including Megan Rapinoe [rap-EE-now], who scored both goals in the U.S. win over France, and Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd among others. I think this one's going to extra time, with Rapinoe putting home the game winner for the U.S.
Finally, some quick notes from the hockey world, and while the NY Rangers didn't make the playoffs last season, they are rebuilding fast enough they could not only do so next year, but be a force once they're in. After signing one of the best defenseman in the game in Jacob Truba from the Winnipeg jets, the Rangers plucked dynamic winger Artemi Panarin from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Boston Bruins signed a depth forward, Brett Ritchie, who played most recently for the Dallas Stars. He's got some heft at 6'4" 220 pounds and should help as a fourth liner. The Montreal Canadiens are trying to pluck speedy forward Sebastian Aho away from the Carolina Hurricanes with an offer sheet, but he's a restricted free agent so the 'Canes can match any offer the Habs make, and the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.