Baseball

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score
Game 3 Box Score

 

In case it wasn’t made clear by the 7000 times Jason Benetti waxed poetically about how fun it would be for these two teams to meet in the post-season, the Sox and Jays put on quite a series at 35th & Shields over the past few days with the Sox winning two of three, though not without further injury cost. Both of these teams boast some outstanding young hitters, and also a healthy collection of beefy boys on each roster, and all of it was on full display. Though where the Sox were able to separate themselves over the course of three games was most notably the pitching from both the bullpen and the starters was able to outlast the Jays hitters and give the Sox bats enough time in games 1 and 3 to get to the soft underbelly of the Jays’ pen.

Game 1

An early game of the year candidate against Robbie Ray’s pronounced ass crack and Monica-Seles-level grunts, counterpart Carlos Rodon didn’t have the stuff that has become the standard for him through the first part of this season, and seemingly started every inning with a runner on 2nd base. But HARD CARL was able to sweatily wriggle out of almost all of it through the course if his five twitchy innings, and the Notorious TLR had his best game of the season pulling all of the right levers building a bridge to Hendriks in the 9th through Ruiz, Marshall, and Crochet, the pitcher of record. The pen only allowed two hits in their 12 outs of work, and kept the powerful bats of the Jays at bay, and Evan Marshall in particular had a key strikeout of the absolutely terrifying Vlad Guerrero Jr to end the 7th.

At the plate Andrew Vaughn was the star of the evening, finally denting Ray with a solo shot, and then nearly put the game out of reach on his own with a deep bases loaded sacrifice fly. A two run triple from Leury Garcia added some insurance, and it would be more than the back end of the bullpen would need.

Game 2

On Wednesday night Lance Lynn, or as Ozzie calls him “LASS LEEN”, gave his customary efficient 7 innings of his wide variety of different fastballs that kept all but Randal Grichuk off balance, whose solo homer tied the game after the Sox grabbed one in the first on a Yoan RBI single. As a mirror image of the night previous, everything went to hell in soft fashion against Aaron Bummer in the 8th who managed to only get one official out, with a key dropped third strike where rookie Riley Adams was able take first base to keep their rally going. A walk to Vladito and his extremely rude cheeks brought in tying run, and the Jays kept the line moving after that.

More discouraging however, is the fact that Nick Madrigal tore his hamstring while sprinting down to first base on a grounder. Nicky Versteeg has been infuriating at times with his asinine baserunning decisions and occasional stonehandedness in the field, but no one can deny that his bat-to-ball skill has been a definitely plus for this team in keeping innings alive, especially in the era of gunked up balls flying in at a zillion miles an hour specifically designed to miss bats. It appears Dancin’ Danny Mendick will get first crack at the job in Madrigal’s protracted absence, but this might just be one injury too many and Rick Hahn might finally have to find a solution for this season outside the organ-I-zation. But at least Jose Abreu survived having a bat thrown at him by the home plate umpire.

Game 3

In the rubber match last night, the Sox figured out very early on to take lefty Hyun Jin Ryu oppo from the right batter’s box, as he primarly works away and with off speed stuff. Abreu sliced a double into the right field corner to bring home Yermin who had doubled himself just before, and then the extremely fucking moist Yasmani Grandal reached out and sent one over the right field wall. That three run lead would be more than enough for Dallas Keuchel to work with, as he looked vintage in his quick work and accuracy at the edge of the zone, no doubt helped by some Grandal framework. The Jays would get to within one with RBI singles in the 5th and 6th, but Adam Engel connected for his first hit of the season with an insurance dong to left center, and Abreu would double home TA in the 9th for good measure ahead of another Hendriks save.

Up next for the Southside Nine will be a trip to Detroit where they’ll need to sock away some wins over the weekend before a week straight against some sterner stuff in the Tampa Bay Rays (who sadly will not be wearing their neon ass throwbacks here), and then on to Houston after that. That should be a pretty good indication of just how much help they’re going to need.

Everything Else

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Game Time: 9:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, CITY, CBC, SportsNet, SN360, WGN-AM 720
Which One Of My Garbage Sons Are You?: Flames Nation, Matchsticks & Gasoline

So coming into this Western Canadian swing of five games, the Hawks were probably going to need three regulation wins to keep themselves reasonably fighting for a wild card spot in the west. To this point they have gotten exactly zero points in the first three games, so tonight in Calgary and tomorrow back in Winnipeg are absolute must wins. Generally those go about as well for the Hawks as hoping an unattended dog doesn’t eat a burger off the kitchen counter, but they’re going to play them anyway.

Everything Else

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Game Time: 6:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, WGN-AM 720
Alberta Clipper: Matchsticks & Gasoline, Flames Nation

As this Blackhawks season quickly spirals into the separating asshole of mutual acrimony and defeat, every successive game is both an opportunity to right the ship, and also one to finally make the breakthrough into Fun Bad. And the schedule certainly has conspired to make the latter more likely with the Flames in town tonight on West Madison.

Everything Else

It seems fitting that the Ottawa Senators’ preview would come on the NFL’s opening Sunday, where no one is likely to read this in favor of tabulating fantasy points. Because if anyone even in their own sport were paying attention, or if anyone other than the usual cast of weirdos in the mainstream media gave a fuck about the NHL, how truly terrible this organization has become top to bottom is downright astounding. And it’s going to get a whole fuckload worse before it gets better. Their assistant GM Randy Lee has been fired in the wake of sexual assault charges in Buffalo against a male teenaged hotel employee, their owner Eugene Melnyk is overtly trying to spend as little money as possible in a tank effort, but they can’t even do THAT right as their first round pick in the upcoming draft is going to go to Colorado as part of the Matt Duchene deal, and GM Pierre Dorion had the option at the draft to have it be this year’s instead. Oh, and not to mention that their all universe defenseman is in a walk year, and they had to get pennies on the dollar as the return for Mike Hoffman after his and Erik Karlsson‘s significant others were involved in off ice drama. Not to mention that if they were trying to get to the cap floor, they were absolute fools for not taking on Marian Hoassa’s dead $5+ mildo cap hit against $200K out of pocket, as his $1 million dollar now-illegal salary was 80% insured. It’s an absolute goat fuck on top of a (Canadian) Tire fire.

’17-’18: 28W-43L-11OT 67PTS 221GF 291GA 16.6%PP 76.1%PK 47.20%CF 7.75SH% .9082SV%

Forwards: The aforementioned Duchene is still here in the last year of his deal, as is the productive Mark Stone, and both could bring back a pretty serious yield at some point in the year if Dorion weren’t a complete fucking idiot. Bobby Ryan, aka Bobby Stephenson, son of an attempted murder, has got this year and 3 more left on his ridiculous contract at $7.25 per having failed to even crack 15 goals either of the last two seasons. Keith Tkachuk‘s other Garbage Son Brady was drafted way higher than he needed to be because Brady’s agent is Craig Oster, who is both Brady’s uncle (Keith’s brother in law), and Erik Karlsson’s agent, and will forego the rest of his time at BU to try to make the big club. Past that, the corpses of Marian Gaborik and Mikkel Boedkker are here now, which no one remembers, and Zach Smith (no, the other one) and something called J-G Pageau will still play meaningful minutes in Guy Boucher’s affront to the lord of a trapping system.

Defense: Look, Erik Karlsson is the best defenseman in the world, and will probably command $12-ish million a year, and this team is going nowhere fast. It is literally unfathomable that he has not been traded yet on the eve of training camps opening where his value can be maximized, as every game he wastes for the Senators is one he could be playing for a team that matters in the slightest. And once he’s gone, be it tomorrow, next month, the deadline, or in free agency, the group apart from him is truly dire. Cody Ceci, Chris Wideman, and Mark Borowiecki make up the rest of the top 4 here. Yeah, exactly.

Goaltending: Craig “Brett Saberhagen” Anderson has seemingly vacillated between completely solid and truly putrid seasons since he became a regular starter, and last year’s .898 overall and .902 at evens would suggest he’s due for at least a return to competence, but now at 37 that’s nowhere near a sure thing. If he’s at all solid, he could fetch a decent return even with another year left on his deal, but again, don’t count on Pierre Dorion to properly assess that. Mike Condon is slated to back him up in wholly unspectacular fashion.

Outlook: So grim it is utterly pointless, as this team can’t even tank in the hopes of landing Jack Hughes or whoever else is the consensus top pick by the time the draft comes. There is less than zero reason for this team to even exist right now, as they don’t have, and have never anywhere close to a zealous fanbase. A team that should include its team charter and be contracted when Erik Karlsson gets traded. And having lived through the dark ages here, it is not at all hyperbole to state that this team should be contracted. Its continued existence is a fate worse than death.

Previous Team Previews

Detroit Red Wings

Buffalo Sabres

Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers

Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators