Perhaps NHL fans in the East bubble city should worry after watching the Maple Leafs lose Game 1 of their qualifying round against Columbus. Despite owning the second most Stanley Cup Championships with 13, the Leafs own the longest drought in the NHL without winning one. The last time Toronto won the Stanley Cup was 1967, the year BEFORE expansion.
Joonas Korpisalo joined John Gibson, Jonas Hiller, Andrew Raycroft, and Chris Osgood to post shutouts in their first postseason start (since 1994). John Tavares (known as pajama boy on Long Island) is a -9 with one goal and 17 shots in his last seven postseason games with Toronto.
In the East’s seeding qualifying round, Philadelphia defeated Boston, 4-1. Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (21/355) stopped 34 shots breaking Pete Peeters’ (22/235) team record as the youngest to win a postseason game. The Flyers won nine of their last ten games before COVID-19 stopped the NHL season on March 10.
Colorado, who finished the regular season 18-5-2 in their last 25 games, defeated St. Louis 2-1 in the West’s seeding qualifying round. Former Maple Leaf Nazem Kadri scored with .1 remaining after Gabriel Landeskog hit the post.
Arizona won their first postseason game since 2012, defeating Nashville 4-3 in Game 1. The Coyotes franchise (joined the NHL in 1979-80 as the original Winnipeg Jets) are looking to win their second opening round series after losing 12 straight from 1988-2011.
Wild goaltender Alex Stalock made his first postseason start since April 28, 2014 and second of his career, as Minnesota shutout Vancouver, 3-0. Jared Spurgeon recorded his second career multi-goal postseason game, becoming the first defenseman in franchise history to accomplish that. The Wild joined Montreal, Chicago, and Arizona as double-digit seeds to win Game 1.
Fewest Career Postseason Games, Defenseman
Recorded Two or more Multiple Goals
>>4 Years, 3 Months & 9 Days between multi-goal games in postseason
NY Mess: The Mets lost 4-0 to Atlanta, losing their fifth straight. New York totaled ten hits but left 13 men on base. In six of their seven losses, the Mets are 14-78 with RISP, with only four hits driving in runs. The Mets loss on Sunday marked the first time since May 3, 1987, they failed to score collecting ten or more hits.
Cespedes opts out: While his teammates lost to the Braves, Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes failed to alert the team he wouldn’t make Sunday’s game. Mets officials released a statement that Cespedes won’t return to the team this season, opting out for COVID related issues.
Tigers strike: Detroit reliever Tyler Anderson struck out nine straight Reds, tying an AL record while setting one for relievers.
All Rise: Aaron Judge is returning to his rookie form of 52 HR, becoming the ninth player in Yankees’ history to homer in five straight games. In the eighth inning, Judge’s second HR (league-leading sixth of the season) gave New York their sixth straight victory, completing a sweep over Boston.
Pence breaks snide: Hunter Pence singled in his first AB on Sunday, snapping an 0-23 streak to start the season. The previous two NL players to start the season hitless in his first 23 AB were Austin Hedges in 2017 and Brett Hayes in 2014.
Most AB Without a Hit to Start Season
MLB, Since 2014
Orioles Sweep: Baltimore completed a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay on Sunday, their first against the Rays since 2012, and overall since 2018.
On Tuesday, MLB released a statement delaying the Miami Marlins schedule through Sunday due to multiple players and team staff contracting COVID-19. The league postponed the Yankees-Phillies four-game series while sending the Bronx Bombers to Baltimore for a two-game series starting on Wednesday (Orioles had a four-game series M-Th against Miami). MLB said more schedule changes are coming.
According to NBC New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo offered the state as an option for relocating all MLB games, much like the NBA is playing in a “bubble” in Orlando. (Thanks, Andrew).
Something in the Water? – Through five team games, the Cubs and White Sox both have 10 HR & 10 2B (Tied for MLB lead in both categories).
HR and Singles Only – Minnesota continued their offensive firepower on Tuesday, defeating St. Louis 6-3. Despite leading MLB with 33 runs (8.3 RPG) and tied for second with 9 HR, 24 of Minnesota’s remaining 28 hits are singles.
Cleveland pitching dominates – The Indians lead MLB with a team WHIP of 0.89 (34 hits/7 BB) in winning four of their first five games. Cleveland’s pitching frugality ties for the fourth lowest since 1901.
Lowest team WHIP
1st 5 Games of Season
St, Louis Browns
St. Louis Cardinals
Detroit Gophers – The team from Motor City is 3-2 through five games despite being outscored by ten runs (30-20). Detroit’s 10 HR tie for the MLB lead, but their 12 HR allowed equals the 2006 Rays and 1978 Blue Jays for most in MLB history.
Unhappy Hunting (er) – 2019 All-Star (third in his career) Hunter Pence has not enjoyed his return to the Bay Area. The 37-year signed with Texas in 2019 after spending the previous six-and-a-half seasons with the Giants. Pence is hitless in his first 14 PA (0-13), currently the most in MLB without a hit.
West Distress – The three teams averaging the fewest RPG, play out West. In the American League, the Rangers six runs (1.5 RPG) and 19 hits (5th fewest in MLB history through 4 games) rank last in MLB. While the Giants and Diamondbacks (33, 2.6 RPG) occupy last in the NL and second-fewest in MLB.
Carrying the load – The White Sox 1.47 team WHIP currently ranks 5th worst in the majors, but you can’t blame Ross Detwiler. In his 12th season, the 34-year old veteran has a metamorphosis. Last season, Detwiler allowed 36 percent of batters faced to reach base. This season, he’s retired all 15 hitters to face him.
Ross Detwiler, 2020 Pitching Stats
Compared to rest of White Sox Staff
Runners to reach base
Pct of Batters Reaching Base
>>allowed 36 percent of batters to reach base last season
We all know the name Jackie Robinson, but do you know who arrived in the big leagues shortly after him? He would be Larry Doby, Major League Baseball’s second African American player.
Like Robinson, Doby’s contract was bought from the Negro Leagues’ Newark Eagles. Doby played under the alias “Larry Walker” in the Negro Leagues because he was still in high school when he debuted. Cleveland Indians’ owner Bill Veeck wanted to integrate baseball in 1942 but was denied by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. It wasn’t until Happy Chandler took over that Robinson and Doby were signed.
The Indians bought Doby from the Eagles for $15,000, making him the first African American player in the American League. Veeck saw Doby as someone who could control his emotions on the field while being a feared bat in Cleveland’s lineup.
Veeck’s strategy after signing Doby was quite interesting. Instead of bringing Doby up through Cleveland’s minor league system, Veeck let Doby keep playing in Newark until the time was right. The end goal was for Doby to one day show up on the field with his Indians teammates with little warning.
Doby made his debut for the Indians on July 5, 1947 against the White Sox in Chicago, less than three months after Robinson debuted. Not in the starting lineup, Doby debuted as a pinch hitter and struck out. It was what happened before the game that was more notable.
Many of Doby’s teammates did not give him a warm welcome. “I walked down that line, stuck out my hand, and very few hands came back in return. Most of the ones that did were cold-fish handshakes, along with a look that said, ‘You don’t belong here,” Doby recalled.
It was not until second baseman Joe Gordon offered to play catch with Doby during warmups that Doby was finally treated like a member of the team. Wouldn’t you know it, Gordon and Doby ended up becoming very close friends.
Doby was primarily a second baseman and shortstop, positions occupied by Gordon and player-manager Lou Boudreau. As a result, Doby wound up at first base for his first career start on July 6 without a first baseman’s mitt. Multiple teammates denied Doby’s request to borrow a glove, including regular first baseman Eddie Robinson. Robinson only gave Doby his glove after being convinced by Indians personnel.
As for the game, 31,566 were in attendance at Comiskey Park with roughly 30% of the crowd black. For perspective, Comiskey Park averaged 11,315 fans per game in 1947. He was booed and mistreated, but Doby went 1-4 with an RBI as the Indians took down the White Sox 5-1.
With Gordon and Boudreau patrolling the middle infield, it was Doby’s only start of the season. Doby would get no more than two plate appearances in any game the rest of the season while occasionally coming in midgame to replace Gordon or Boudreau.
Aside from baseball, Doby was often booed and faced many challenges like Jackie Robinson. “You didn’t hear much about what I was going through because the media didn’t want to repeat the same story.” Doby said. Except it was not the same story entirely. Playing in the American League, Doby integrated all the American League parks Robinson did not play in. Robinson only played at an American League field during the World Series.
Along with racial slurs and death threats, Doby was also treated harshly on the field. The worst incident Doby recalled was while sliding into second base, the opposing shortstop spat tobacco juice on him. Despite the grief, Doby handled himself with class and dignity.
“I couldn’t react to prejudicial situations from a physical standpoint. My reaction was to hit the ball as far as I could.” Doby did exactly that in 1948, hitting .301 with 14 homers and 66 RBI as he became Cleveland’s starting center fielder. The Indians finished as the top team in baseball with a 97-58 record en route to a World Series matchup with the Boston Braves.
It was Doby who once again hit the ball as far as he could. In Game 4 with the Indians leading the series 2-1, Doby became the first African American player to homer in a World Series game. His 420-foot blast off Braves’ Johnny Sain turned out to be the game winner in Cleveland’s 2-1 victory to grab a 3-1 series lead.
The Indians would go on to capture the title in six games, as Doby also became the first African American player to win a World Series.
Doby only progressed in 1949 by starting a run of seven straight All-Star appearances. In 1949, Doby was part of the quartet that became baseball’s first African American All-Stars. The quartet included Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, and Roy Campanella.
During the prime of his career from 1949-1955, Doby averaged 27 home runs and 95 RBI with a .286 average. His best offensive years during that stretch were ‘52 and ‘54, where he led the majors in home runs with 32 each year. Doby also led the league in RBI in ‘54 with 126. Doby never won a Gold Glove but was named baseball’s top center fielder in 1950 by Sporting News over players like Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider.
After his playing days, Doby looked to get into coaching. Once again, Doby was the second man. With the Indians in search of a new manager, Doby was looking to become the first African American manager in the history of the Major Leagues. This time, it was Frank Robinson. The Indians hired Robinson in 1975 while Doby was hired by the White Sox in 1978.
Doby does not have a day where everyone in baseball wears his number 14, or have his number retired across the league, but Doby had the utmost respect for Jackie Robinson. Even though Jackie gets all the credit, Doby never took a jab at him.
He is the forgotten pioneer of baseball. Doby is not given nearly enough credit for doing the same courageous act Robinson did. Doby really was the Robin to Jackie’s Batman in fighting racial inequality in baseball.
MLB is postponing Tuesday’s Yankees-Phillies game in Philadelphia and Orioles-Marlins in Florida due to additional Marlins players testing positive. Ken Rosenthal reported four Marlins players tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of affected players to 15. No Phillies players tested positive over the last two days.
In Minnesota, the Twins host the Cardinals in the first of their two-game series. Nelson Cruz drove in seven runs in the Twins 14-2 win over the White Sox on Sunday, tying an MLB record for most RBI in the first three games of the season.
Most RBI, Single-Game
First three games of MLB season
Nelson Cruz at White Sox
Corey Patterson at Mets
Tino Martinez at Mariners
Reggie Jackson at Rangers
Brant Alvea at White Sox
Dolph Camilli vs Giants
After setting an MLB record for most strikeouts in an Opening Day shutout with 15 on Friday against the Mets, Atlanta helped Tampa Bay set a team record by striking out 19 times on Monday.
Atlanta designated Monday’s starter Mike Foltynewicz for assignment after surrendering six earned runs in 3.1 innings in the Braves 14-5 loss to Tampa. The 28-year old went 13-6 with a 2.85 ERA along with starting Game 1 of the 2018 NLDS against the Dodgers. In 2019 Foltynewicz suffered multiple injuries, limiting him to 21 starts. Against Tampa on Monday, his fastball averaged 89.3 mph and topped out at 92.9 mph. That same pitch averaged 95 mph last season and 96.5 mph during his 2018 All-Star season.
In the Cubs 8-7 victory over Cincinnati on Monday, the Reds Tyler Stephenson homered in his first career plate appearance. Stephenson was the first Reds player since Ted Tappe on September 14, 1950, and third in team history to accomplish that feat.
With the NHL having their first games since mid-march the chance for the cup is own. Starting with the Qualifiers where 16 teams will have the right to make the playoffs. So who will make the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
First up the western conference with the 12th seeded Chicago Blackhawks taking on the 5th seed Edmonton Oilers. This series has the potential to be great as both of these two teams have had a lot of rest and that benefits Chicago a bit more than Edmonton. Chicago has an older core of players which gives them a distinct advantage with more playoff experience and a team that is 100% healthy. But in the end, even though the series will go the distance with 5 games the firepower of Edmonton will overcome the weak goaltending unit of Chicago. Edmonton will move on to the playoffs.
The 11th seed Arizona Coyotes take on the 6th seed Nashville Predators. This series is going to be very quick and will only take 3 games seeing the Predators moving on. The preds have a lot more playoff experience that the coyotes just don’t have even with a healthy Taylor hall and Phil Kessel it will not be enough to beat the predators.
Most teams in the Qualifiers are teams that would have not had made the playoffs if the season had continued normally. Such as the 10th seeded Minnesota Wild taking on the 7th seeded Vancouver Cunucks. These two teams were going in a downward trend before the pause of the season. Both of these teams are in a good spot to show off but to show how promising their future is. The series should go 5 games and have the Cunucks come out on top. They have a better prospect of players and a better coaching staff than the Wild putting them in the playoffs over the Wild.
Finally, from the west, the two teams with the best shot to win the cup if they make the playoffs are the 9th seeded Winnipeg Jets and the 8th seeded Calgary Flames. Both these teams have the talent and playoff experience to make it al the way to the cup final. This series will go 4 games having the jets making the playoffs on the back of solid goaltending to extinguish the flames.
Over to the stacked Eastern Conference starting with the 12th seeded Montreal Canadians taking on the stacked 5th seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. This series should shock no one but in the end, the power of the penguins is going to be too much for the efforts of Carey Price as the Canadians fall to the penguins in 3 games.
Next up could be the best series in the whole playoffs as you have the 11th seeded New York Rangers taking on the 6th Seeded Carolina Hurricanes. Both of these teams are young and hungry with an almost completed rebuild and will go 5 games seeing the Rangers defeat the Bunch of Jerks with a solid goaltending performance from the Czar Igor Shesterkin.
The 10th seeded Florida Panthers are up next as they take on the 7th seeded New York Islanders. Both teams where on the upswing when the season paused but now, they have a chance to get a shot at the cup. After 4 games the panthers with a healthy Sergei Bobrovsky are too hot to deal with the New York Islanders.
The last series for the 2020 NHL Stanley cup Qualifier is the 9th seeded Columbus Blue Jackets taking on the hosting 8th seeded Toronto Maple Leaf’s. This series is what many people have said the most anticipated series of them all and it will go 5 games. With the Leaf’s not becoming the laughing stock of the NHL playoffs like Tampa bay did last season and will beat the jackets with one of the best lineups in hockey.
The NFL season is my favorite time of the year, I look forward to it more than Christmas, more than summer vacation and even more than my birthday. There is nothing else in this world that I putt more attention and energy into for almost five months a year than the NFL regular season. In this year of 2020 where the world has been putt in shambles; now as we enter the second half of the year and things are begging to reopen and start up again, but this die-hard football fan does not see the NFL playing a full sixteen game season starting in September.
As the COVID-19 infection curve flattens in the United States sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB have started up training camps to continue their seasons. Though in the efforts to restart or just finish the season many players though out these different leagues have contracted COVID-19, including 31 MLB players and 25 NBA players. Not only has 56 athletes from two leagues that are restarting have gotten the virus, but during the offseason many NFL players and staffers have come down with the Coronavirus. In June it was reported that nearly half the players from both the Houston Texas and Dallas Cowboys came down with the virus. Though many players did not experience the full extent of what the virus van do to a person, probably due to the fact that these people are professional athletes and their general health is higher than the average person. Even though these athletes get the virus and two weeks later their feeling better, there is still a public health concern of the virus spreading. There is a possibility that during the season one person on a team gets the virus and the whole team gets and they have to cancel that week’s game.
Now I’m not saying to delay the season, I would love to see a full season. Though I can just see with the continual number of pro athletes contracting the virus and with how the politics of the sport business works. There is a lot of variables that can come in play by the end of August that could affect the plan for the season. The league officials could decide that the season is not worth the potential health risk to the players. The team owners could vote not to postpone the season on the same grounds that the league office would, or the players association could decide that it won’t be worth the risk to play a full season. Now all of this is speculation and it doesn’t seem that the NFL are currently planning to postpone the season. Right now, the NFL are taking precaution, such as no organized team activities, players are not allowed to workout in groups, and team meetings have been conducted over zoom. The league is taking these measures in an effort to proceed with the season as originally planned.
And why wouldn’t the league want to go through with the season considering what an exciting offseason that happened. The G.O.A.T left the dynasty in Foxborough to start a new in the red and pewter down in Tampa Bay. Philip Rivers getting out of LA and moving to Indy and Teddy Bridgewater replacing Cam Newton in Charlotte. The Jaguars dumped Nick Floes $80 million contract on Chicago and put MinshewMania at the helm. After an exciting free agency came an exciting draft with Joe Burrow become the face of the Bengals, Miami drafted the Lefty from Oahu, and Green Bay shocking everyone by drafting QB Jordan Love while they Still have Arron Rodgers. I’m sure excited to see how my boys in the Motor City do this season after reinforcing their defense in the offseason and Matthew Stafford coming back from his broken back last season. There is a lot to look forward to for the upcoming season and there is a lot to keep an eye out for as the COVID situation continues.