Mitch's Sports Report: Red Sox Outlast Rain And Twins At Fenway; Knicks To End Jackson Era
After catcher Christian Vazquez put the Boston Red Sox ahead 2-0 in the second inning with his first home run of the year, Mother Nature intervened in the form of a steady downpour that lasted more than two hours. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the rains did stop and once they did the lead would grow to result in a 9-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.
Chris Young added a late three run homer to the hit parade, but the real star for Boston was starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who came back to pitch after waiting out that two hour rain delay, something that usually doesn't happen when there's that big a gap between "play ball" and watch the raindrops fall. Pomeranz went five innings in all, giving up just one unearned run on four hits, while striking out seven and not walking a single batter to improve to 7-4 on the year. Best of all, he didn't tax the bullpen by having to go to a bunch of different arms to get through the eventual nine inning affair, and the Red Sox have now won back to back games since more than two weeks ago when they did it against Philadelphia. Rick Porcello would love to match that on a personal level. He's yet to win back to back starts this season, but he's hoping to get there when he starts game three of the series tonight.
Despite not winning consecutive games for a while, the Red Sox have been winning more than losing and with the victory last night they now have first place in the A.L. east to themselves after the NY Yankees fell 4-3 to the White Sox in Chicago when the pale hose rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to wipe out a 3-2 Yankees lead and win on a walk-off RBI single by Jose Abreu.
The Yankees also wasted an excellent effort by starting pitcher Luis Severino who struck out a career-high 12 while giving up just one run over seven innings. Dellin Betances couldn't hold the one run lead the Yankees had in the 9th, however, walking the bases loaded before Abreu came through with is two-run single to end it and snap Chicago's four game losing streak. With the loss the Red Sox jump one game ahead of the Yankees for first in the division.
The NY Mets have placed five starting pitchers on the disabled list this year and they may have to add another. Robert Gsellman pulled a hamstring trying to beat out an infield hit and had to come out of the game after already giving up three runs in the Mets 6-3 loss to the Miami Marlins. The ageless Ichiro Suzuki (well, he's 43, which is fairly ancient in baseball years), knocked in the eventual game winning run with a single off Jeremy Blevins in a three-run Marlins seventh. Asked about the latest injury, a despondent Gsellman said "We're dropping like flies", and that's true for the Mets in the N.L east standings, where they've now plummeted to fourth place.
The Toronto Blue Jays are a rung below that, in fifth and last place in the A.L. east and they didn't help their chances of getting out with a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles last night. Kevin Gausman got his first win for Baltimore in his last four starts. The only run for the Blue Jays came on a solo home run by Troy Tulowitzki in the 9th.
No action for the Upper Valley Nighthawks last night, but they return to action tonight against the Sanford Mainers. The Vermont Mountaineers and Winnipesaukee Muskrats were rained out last night. In the NY Penn League the Vermont Lake Monsters were idle and open a home series against the Staten Island Yankees at Centennial Field tonight.
News out of the NBA, the ill-fated marriage between the NY Knicks and team president Phil Jackson is headed for divorce. ESPN is reporting that the Knicks will announce later this morning that Jackson is stepping down in his role, which has not gone well for the first three years of his five year contract. Most notably, Jackson has publicly expressed his lack of confidence in Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony. Jackson wanted the Knicks to buy out Anthony's contract but Anthony refused to waive his no-trade clause, and Knicks owner James Dolan was not willing to eat the remaining two years and $54 million remaining on his deal. Jackson, who played for the Knicks back in their early 1970s glory days and made his name as head coach for the Michael Jordans, um, I mean, Chicago Bulls, in the 90s, was brought in to turn the Knicks franchise around, but the team has had nothing but losing seasons under Jackson's tutelage.
Locally, the head football coach at Rice will now becomes the school's athletic director. Neil Brodeur is a Rice alum who graduated in 1985 and has been head coach for the Green Knights since 2009. Brodeur will oversee Rice's 26 varsity teams and will still patrol the sidelines as head football coach.