Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sports this 'n' that

The brooms have been locked away for now.

The Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination Tuesday night, defeating AL Central champion Cleveland, 5-1, leaving the Indians with a 3-1 lead in games heading into today's game 5 at Rogers Centre. The series either ends today with a Cleveland win, or moves back to Progressive Field on Friday.

If Cleveland manager Terry Francona is smart, he won't take a chance on Game 3 starter Trevor Bauer again this post-season. Bauer pitched just 1/3 of an inning on Monday as an off-field injury erupted again in the first inning. Bauer was working on a drone, and got his finger caught in one of the blades. The friction of his pitching grip, I would guess, caused the wound to reopen. This wasn't Curt Schilling and the bloody sock of 12 years ago by any stretch.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs need to get past the psychological roadblock before them. The #1 seed in the NL is down two games to one, shut out in consecutive games by NL West champion Los Angeles, the latest a 6-0 beatdown at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. In order for the Cubs to reach the World Series and end more than a century of futility, manager Joe Maddon must find a way to win the NLCS. The Cubs' most high profile NLCS flops have come in 1984 (San Diego), 2003 (Florida), and last year (Mets). Reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Arietta was knocked out in the 6th inning on Tuesday after giving up 4 runs on 6 hits.

The Dodgers know they have to run the table, and avoid having Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman on the mound the rest of the way.
High school soccer sectionals begin for Troy High Thursday (girls) & Friday (boys) on the road. It is the hope that the Flying Horses can make some noise, but if the regular season was an indicator, the boys' team could end up one & done. Seeded 14th out of 16 teams, coach Mike Murnane's club will travel to Guilderland on Friday, looking to play spoiler, having not won a single game this season (0-15-1). The women, under coach Justin Haviland, however, have won three in a row headed into a first round rematch with Bethlehem on Thursday as the 10th seed. Both teams reached the 2nd round last year, but while that's possible for the girls, I can't see that happening on the boys' side.

The sectional tournament seems to be an open invitational in soccer. It shouldn't have to be that way. I get the idea of giving the weaker teams another chance, but for the Troy boys, this just isn't their year.

Contrast this with the football playoffs. 8 teams each advance in Classes AA-C, and just the top 4 in Class D. Thus, the Class D playoffs don't start until next weekend. The teams that don't qualify for post-season play continue their regular seasons for 2 more weeks. There will be "crossover" games, too, for the teams that are eliminated from the playoffs this weekend, as the season caps at 9 games, minimum, for most schools.

For schools like, for example, LaSalle, hockey & basketball are right around the corner......
The New York Jets once changed their name from the Titans. Current owner Woody Johnson, he of Johnson & Johnson fame, might want to rename the team the Mules, because both he and coach Todd Bowles are as stubborn as mules.

Johnson is unwilling to cut bait on 2013 1st round pick Geno Smith, who relieved Ryan Fitzpatrick Monday in a 28-3 loss to Arizona. In a post-game press conference, Bowles hinted he might go back to Fitzpatrick, who is clearly on the back end of his career. Smith, in his 4th season out of West Virginia, isn't the answer, but Bowles for some reason is reluctant to try out 2nd year QB Bryce Petty (Baylor) or rookie Christian Hackenburg (Penn State). The Jets are unlikely to make the playoffs, and they haven't even played New England yet. At 1-5, likely to be 1-6 after an angry Baltimore Ravens team plays them Sunday at the Meadowlands, Bowles may be on the hot seat with the impatient fan base. For the Jets, the future has to be now, not next year.

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