Goff Lights Up Vikings, Sabathia Hits Batter and Loses 500K
Two of the teams looked at as major contenders in the NFC went to battle on Thursday night to begin Week 4 of the NFL season, and one of the two teams did not disappoint. That team would be the Los Angeles Rams, who put their foot down to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 38-31 to improve their record to 4-0 on the season. The Rams were led on the night by quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for five touchdowns and 465 yards. One of the highlights of the night came on a 70-yard TD pass from Goff to Copper Kupp. That first half TD set the tone, and Goff would follow it up with a few more great passes as he helped his team eventually do enough to put away the visiting Vikings. Kirk Cousins had a good game for them as well, and that allowed them to stay close until the very end. But the Rams held firm, and as a result will continue to be viewed as the best team in the league for at least another week or two.
Elsewhere, veteran C.C. Sabathia lost out on a $500,000 on Thursday night due to being ejected a little bit too early. The New York Yankees pitcher needed to pitch 155 innings over the course of the season to earn the bonus, and he looked like he was cruising toward the reward. He needed to pitch just two more innings in a game in which his team were up 11-0 against the Tampa Bay Rays. But Sabathia instead chose to throw at and hit catcher Jesus Sucre in the leg in order to retaliate for his own team getting hit. He was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza, to no one’s surprise. The frustrating part to this is that he said he thought it was “the right thing to do.” Throwing a baseball at a grown man was the right thing to do to solve a problem? We all understand being part of the team and doing what the team needs, but this is just going too far. And now he’s lost a monetary bonus, rightfully so, by doing something so asinine and dangerous.
And finally, a bit of NBA news. Well two bits coming from the defending conference winners. The Golden State Warriors are getting set to have a big season yet again, but there are some concerns that once free agency opens they will be derailed by players wanting to leave. That’s not the case, at least according to Klay Thompson, though, who made it very clear that he wants to stay on the Warriors’ ‘train’ for as long as possible. Out in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still the favorites to make the Finals, at least according to Tristan Thompson. Even without LeBron… One of these two Thompsons is being honest and the other is being fanciful. Does anything else need to be said?
Rockies Into First in NL West, deGrom Makes Final Argument for Cy Young, Ghosts of Bartman Haunt Chicago Again
German Marquez was lights out on Wednesday night for the Colorado Rockies. The pitcher, who has been on of their most valuable players all season long, stepped onto the mound knowing his team trailed behind the Los Angeles Dodgers by a half game and that it was very important to win. And his performance left nothing to be desired. The 23 year-old would pitch like their was no pressure on him at all to strike eight batters in a row before giving up a walk and then striking out the ninth hitter. He’s only the second pitcher to have ever done the feat of allowing no hits and striking out the first nine batters since 1961. And that set the tone for the night they’d have. With that kind of dominant force on the mound, it wouldn’t have taken many runs. But the Rockies went ahead and scored them anyway. 14 of them, in fact, against the previously respectable Philadelphia Phillies for their sixth win in a row. It puts them atop the NL West now after the Dodgers lost 7-2 to the Diamondbacks. The playoff picture should be more clear, but it’s anything but at the moment!
Another starting pitcher to have a great night on the mound, much to no one’s surprise, was Jacob deGrom. The New York Mets man has been nearly unhittable all season long, and he proved to be just that on Wednesday night against NL East champion Atlanta. The Braves only got two hits off of the ace in eight innings in what could have been viewed as a playoff warm-up of sorts. With the dazzling show he put on, deGrom was able to bring his ERA down to 1.70 for the season, helping him make the case for the Cy Young award. The only drawback will be his record, which is 10-9. But he can’t help that his team have given him little to no run support all season long. He’s had a quality start every start this season, which speaks volumes. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s the best pitcher in the NL, but will it equate to the Cy Young? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Chicago Cubs lived through a moment over a decade ago that haunted the team and city. Steve Bartman’s decision to grab a ball in front of Moises Alou in the playoffs was awful and cost them a chance to win the World Series. Well, something similar happened again at Wrigley on Wednesday night, only this time, the Cubs would go on to win despite not getting that crucial out at the time. Just when it was going poorly for them as Anthony Rizzo had a catch taken away from him, they fought back to walk off via Albert Almora, Jr. in the tenth inning. They’ve now clinched a postseason berth, much to the relief of all their fans.
Astros Clinch AL West With 100th Win While A’s Lose in Extras
Major League Baseball is less than a week away now from the start of the playoffs, but we are still finding out how all the pieces fit together heading into them. One such piece has finally be decided. The Houston Astros, the defending World Series champions, have clinched the AL West now. The Astros have faced pressure off the back of the Oakland Athletics all season long, but they have finally done it. And they have done it by winning 100 games for the second straight season after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1. With the win, Houston improves to 18-4 in the month of September, and they now have a chance to break the franchise high for wins in a season if they can add three wins from the final five games.
That win for the Astros put their ‘magic number’ at one, meaning they needed a loss from the A’s or a win themselves to seal the deal. They did not have to wait very long because Oakland went down on Tuesday night in a thrilling extra innings game to the Seattle Mariners 10-8. The A’s had lead 6-3 after two innings and 8-5 after six, but they just could not seal the deal. Seattle kept clawing their way back into the game, with two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth allowing them to push the game into extras. In the 11th inning, the now 86-71 Mariners walked off thanks to pinch hitter Chris Herrmann’s two run blast. It marked the first loss for the A’s all year (they had been 68-0) after holding a lead after seven innings.
The Mariners weren’t the only team to win a big game in extras. Perhaps more important was the victory the Arizona Diamondbacks got over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Just when it looked like the Diamondbacks had thrown it away by allowing the Dodgers to tie it up at 3-3 in the top of the ninth, they got some help from Eduardo Escobar in the bottom of the ninth to walk it off. The home run was massive not only because it gave them a win, but also because it pulled them to within just a half game of their division foes. The Dodgers have now only lost three in their last 13, so this was a very big win for the Diamondbacks as they hope to ensure themselves of a place in the playoffs and remain alive in the NL West chase as well.
The NL Cy Young race got a little more clear, possibly, yesterday as well. Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the year, becoming just the sixth player to reach that number in a season since 1900, and shored up his case for the award. Jacob deGrom takes to the mound tonight for the Mets, hoping to finish the season with a winning record.
Red Sox Make Franchise History, FitzMagic Gone, LeBron Speaks Honestly
In a season full of historic firsts for the Boston Red Sox, Monday was perhaps the biggest. After their 6-2 win over the lowly Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox have now won 106 games this season. That sets a franchise record high watermark for victories in a season, eclipsing the 105 games they had won all the way back in 1912. To put that into context, that was the year that fabled Fenway Park opened. They also went on to win the World Series that year, something that is expected of them next month after such a dominant display. One thing that will help them on the way will be home-field advantage, which they also clinched with the win over the Orioles. The Red Sox will now have the opportunity to ‘simply’ win all of their home games come October and then raise the World Series trophy. Back to the most wins record. It bodes well for the Sox. In every season in which they have finished the regular season with the best record, they have gone to at least the seventh game in the World Series. Only once in those six years did they lose out. Things are looking very, very good for them to say the least, but there is still work to do.
One of the biggest surprises in the NFL in the first two weeks of the season was the play of Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He had lit up the scoreboard and the stat sheet in wins over the New Orleans Saints in week one and then the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. And he did so in a fill-in role due to the suspension of Jameis Winston. The young QB is still the ‘future’ there for many, but Fitzpatrick is the man of the hour. Or was, at least, until he threw three interceptions on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That saw his Bucs fall behind early on. But the magic nearly got them back in the game, with the veteran throwing for 411 yards by the end of the fourth quarter! It was not enough, though, with them losing 30-27 in a game the Steelers absolutely had to win to remain alive. Is his time over or will Winston be back? We’ll find out soon…
And last but not least is the news that LeBron James is taking a patient approach with his new Los Angeles Lakers teammates. The King took to his first official news conference as a Laker and promptly spoke as if he were a diplomat, declaring that his team are well behind Golden State. He conceded that they had been together for years, and that it would take a whole lot of doing to unseat them from their throne. It’s going to be an interesting season in La-La Land for sure. Will it go well, or will the pieces put together need to be blown up within a year? It really could go either way.
Tiger Wins Tour Championship, Two Upsets Highlight NFL
That’s it. It’s over. Anyone looking to become the comeback player of the sports year, or maybe even decade for that matter, can just give up now. Tiger Woods has taken that mantle after he won his first time in over five years on Sunday at the Tour Championship to close out to the PGA Tour season with a bang. Woods had been impressive all year long, given his relative lack of anything resembling good play for oh so long. And he was just as impressive throughout the week, never failing to have less than a share for the lead at the end of any round. He came into Sunday ahead by three strokes. Wearing red, like the Tiger of old, he never gave the chasers a chance to catch him. He had never lost a PGA Tour event with a lead that large after 54 holes, and he extended that. But the biggest thing to take from this is that it is one of the greatest feats ever. This was a broken man. In body and spirit. He could barely walk not too long ago, and he had one of the most public falling outs with family we had ever seen. Yet, he has fought through all of that adversity to win again on the tour. Not many thought it would ever happen again, and no matter what the detractors may say, this was one of the biggest and best day’s in golf history.
The NFL is one of the most competitive leagues in the world. No matter how good, or bad, a team is, there is always a chance that they could lose. It is professional football, after all. But there were two very notable upsets on Sunday in the NFL. The first of which was the Buffalo Bills defeating the Minnesota Vikings in convincing fashion by a score of 27-6. The Bills, now 1-2, defeated the previously unbeaten Vikings thanks in large part to a 17-point first quarter outburst. Young QB Josh Allen was very solid, and the defense was very good all day. Vegas had the Vikings, a big-time Super Bowl contender as nearly 17 point favorites.
The other upset of the day came in the night cap as Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots lost to Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football. The former Pats assistant was doubted all week long over his ability to defeat his former master, but the apprentice put on a masterpiece in a dominant 26-10 victory. The Lions won all four quarters, only tying 7-7 in the third, and held Brady to just 133 yards in the air. If you can do that, you’re almost guaranteed to win, and that’s what the Lions got. Both teams are now 1-2. And judging off their attitudes now, who do you think is most likely to make the playoffs?
VA Tech Shocked in Big CFB Weekend, Tiger Takes Solo Lead, Braves Clinch NL East
In a simply stunning upset on Saturday, the Virginia Tech Hokies lost to an Old Dominion team that didn’t even have its starting quarterback in the game after the first series of the game. The #13 ranked team knew they were in a game from the very start, and it that manifested itself until the very end. In fact, the Monarchs now (1-3, yes you read that correctly) ended up winning the game 49-35 after stepping on the gas to pull away in a lopsided fourth quarter in which they won 28-7. That is how you close out games, and it earned the unfancied underdogs their first ever win over a school from a Power 5 conference.
Other college football results that mattered on Saturday included the #1 ranked Alabama defeating a valiant Texas A&M 45-23. The Crimson Tide has now dealt the Aggies their second loss to a top 5 ranked team of the season. If you’re gonna lose, you can’t lose much better than that, I guess. Georgia also won, though they didn’t play well, in a victory over Missouri by a score of 43-29. Oklahoma, ranked fifth coming into the weekend, survived an overtime scare to see off Army 28-21 after one extra period of play. And last but not least to be mentioned is Texas, who for the second week in a row knocked off a ranked opponent by defeating #17 TCU 31-16.
Elsewhere, Tiger Woods continued his assault on the Tour Championship in Atlanta. On a day where there were many positives to be had in the city, the world’s most famous golfer perhaps made the biggest mark. After shooting -5 under and then -2 under in the opening two rounds, he will take a three shot lead into Sunday’s final round after shooting another -5 under par round in the third on Saturday. Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who shared leads with him the previous two days, will each start three behind him in the chase for not only the tournament crown but also the FedexCup Playoffs trophy and the money that comes with it.
And the other big event in Atlanta on Saturday was the Atlanta Braves. The Braves officially became the first team in the National League to assure themselves of a postseason berth by defeating the Phillies 5-3 at Suntrust Park. It’s a third straight win for them over their division rivals, which now means they have sealed up the NL East crown and will avoid the one-game playoff ‘series’ no matter what now. Now, they will get back to business on Sunday in the hopes of finishing with the best record in the league so that they can host the first two games of the division series when it begins.
Mike Vrabel Only Caught 10 Regular Season Passes, all of which are Touchdowns
One of the most versatile players of all time, linebacker Mike Vrabel could do it all. In his best statistical year, he made 12.5 sacks, forced 4 fumbles, and also pulled down two touchdowns while lining up as a tight end. Over his career, he would make 8 more catches in the regular season, getting two more of them during Super Bowls.
On the stat sheet, he was targeted 14 times and made 10 receptions for touchdowns, making him the most effective player percentage-wise at converting passes to touchdowns. In addition, his catch at Super Bowl XXXVIII made him the first defensive player to score an offensive Super Bowl touchdown since William “Refrigerator” Perry. His additional reception at Super Bowl XXXIX put him in an exclusive club of players to catch 2 or more touchdowns in Super Bowls.
It’s should be fairly obvious to everyone what a football team can do for a city. It brings people from all around to the stadium and to the businesses surrounding the area, and can be a huge boon for the local economy. For the most part, only large cities have teams, and some like Los Angeles even have two of them.
That’s what makes the Green Bay Packers such a conundrum, because Green Bay has a mere fraction of the people that many other football cities have. With a population of just over 100,000 and also miles away from the nearest large city, they are definitely one of the best stories in the league. However, what if the team had settled on a different city instead? Would the legend of figures like Vince Lombardi and Brett Favre still be the same?
Tiger Still Tied For the Lead, Astros Clinch Playoff Slot, Braves One Win Away
Tiger Woods’ chances to win his first tournament in five years continue to look very good as he keeps up his outstanding year at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. And for the first time since 2015, he will share the lead in a tournament with someone after 36 holes. Of course, that’s despite struggling during Friday’s second round with his ball striking. Yet the former world’s no.1 shot a -2 under 68 to get to -7 under overall. He is joined at the top of the leaderboard by Justin Rose. Both men will play together on Saturday and hold a two shot advantage over Rickie Fowler, who shot even par after joining Woods at -5 under after the first round. Woods could have been in a much better position, but a rare mental error saw him get greedy and end up with a double bogey on the 16th hole when he went for the green from the rough and ended up lodged in a bunker. If Woods is playing poorly and at the top of the leaderboard, it can only be a good sign. Can it continue or will it come apart at the weekend?
Major League Baseball’s stretch run is truly on now. And there is no lack of drama. September is a very important time. Teams can make it to the playoffs, and they can also build momentum toward them with good performances. One such team that has made the playoffs is the Houston Astros. The defending World Series champions clinched a place last night with an emphatic 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels. But, matters are not totally at rest for them just yet. While they still have at least a place in the Wild Card play-in game, they still have the Oakland Athletics to contend with. The A’s won in dramatic fashion against the Minnesota Twins thanks to Khris Davis. The slugger led the game off with a solo home run and he helped them walk off with one as well in the tenth inning. They are four games off the pace of the Astros, but they are still not going away as of yet.
And finally, the Atlanta Braves are closing in on the NL East crown after a stirring Suntrust Park crowd willed them back from 4-1 down to win 6-5 over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. The Braves hit the previously unhittable Pat Neshek very hard in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the highlight being Ozzie Albies’ two run homer. The magic number is now at 2 for the Braves, meaning one win either Saturday or Sunday will seal their first division crown since 2013.
Mayfield Helps Snap Winless Streak, Red Sox Clinch AL East in New York, Tiger Starts Fast
Thursday turned out to be one of the most exciting and action-packed days we have had in sports recently. We’ll start in the NFL, where the Cleveland Browns have finally won a football game for the first time since 2016. The lovable losers had last had a victory on Christmas Eve that year, and their game on Thursday night started about as well as you’d expect. Starting QB Tyrod Taylor struggled, going 4-14 and getting sacked three times for just 19 yards and they fell behind 14-0 to the New York Jets. That’s when Baker Mayfield made his way into the game and made a major statement in doing so. The #1 draft pick out of Oklahoma would lead the Browns right back into contention, and then he would help them win the game 21-17. At the end of the game, Mayfield ended up leading four scoring drives, 201 yards thrown. He outshone fellow rookie QB Sam Darnold of the Jets, who took responsibility by blaming himself for his own team’s woes. What a way to announce yourself by Mayfield, who has got to the be the clear starter now in Cleveland.
Defeating your rivals in sports is perhaps the best feeling you can have. Beating them at their own place is even sweeter. Winning a division crown, then, has got to really sting for said rival. And that’s exactly what happened on Thursday night. The Boston Red Sox came to New York, defeated the Yankees, and thus have officially clinched the AL East now. It’s been a formality for a while, sure, but this is not something that will sit well with fans or players of the Yankees at all. Losing in the Bronx to Boston is never ideal, but having done so in this situation will be very frustrating for them. How did Boston do it? Through their star man, Mookie Betts. Surely he has to be the MVP, right? He didn’t hurt his record on the night, that’s for sure. He had four hits and five RBIs in an 11-6 win that has seen the Red Sox clinch a ticket to the ALDS now no matter what happens from here on. This is the very first time Boston has ever clinched a division against the Yankees, so this will be remembered for some time by the players and fans involved!
And the other big sports story of Thursday is Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship. The final event of the FedexCup Playoffs began with a bang, with the world’s most popular golfer jumping out to an early share of the lead thanks to shooting a -5 under par 65 in Atlanta. That included an eagle on the 18th hole, which helped him get an incredible amount of momentum ahead of Friday’s round. Rickie Fowler also shot the same score, so he’ll be one to watch as well in the chase for the huge monetary prize on offer this weekend.