This is getting absurd. Josh Hamilton is too good. I am getting suspicious.
Read this this morning from Evan Grant's column on the game last night...
"I've been having trouble seeing here, and it's been kind of frustrating," said Hamilton, who broke a season-long RBI drought of four games with five RBIs. "I saw the ball leave his hand. It looked like a sinker. I closed my eyes and swung hard. When I opened them back up, it was heading towards the seats."
Does that sound strangely like he should have had his blast shield down all weekend? Maybe Rudy-Wan Kenobi should be whispering "Stretch out with your FEELINGS, Josh." Of course, right after that, Alderan was blown up by the evil empire... when do the Yankees come to town...? [fortunately not til june 30]... Is it the FUTURE I see??
Maybe we've got 2 jedi [Romo and Hamilton] in town... Should have him checked for Midi-chlorians.
Curtis in Carrollton
Rangers Win to get back to .500 again …
Josh Hamilton is getting so good at knocking in runs that he can do it with his eyes closed.
That's what happened in the eighth inning Tuesday, as Hamilton blasted a grand slam to right to break open the game as the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 12-6.
The victory moved the Rangers back to the .500 mark at 27-27. They'll try again today -- their fifth attempt -- to move above .500 for the first time since being 5-4 on April 10.
Hamilton's 13th homer of the season didn't look like it would be needed after the Rangers scored seven runs in the first two innings. But Tampa Bay, which came into the game with the best record in baseball, had chopped the lead to 7-5 going into the eighth.
After Ian Kinsler's RBI single off J.P. Howell pushed the lead to 8-5, Howell walked Michael Young, loading the bases. The first pitch the lefty threw to Hamilton was sent deep into the seats in right field.
Hamilton didn't know he had hit the ball until he heard the contact. He thought the sinker was going way inside, and his eyes closed in anticipation of the ball hitting him.
Instead, he hit the ball.
"When I swung, my bat path made contact with the ball and I actually closed my eyes for a split second," Hamilton said. "When I heard it hit, I opened up my eyes. I saw it when I was running to first."
Hamilton, who had gone four games without an RBI, tied his career high with five Tuesday. He has 58 in 54 games but still has work to do to catch Juan Gonzalez's 1998 pace. Gonzalez had had 71 RBI after 54 games on his way to a team-record 157.
The Rangers needed all Hamilton's work Tuesday.
"It was bigger than big," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the slam. "It was huge because we put some distance between those guys. All night long, those guys battled. It seemed like when he hit that slam, we had six outs to get from that point and it certainly felt good."
The Rangers' offense needed 16 hits to put away the Rays. A 7-0 lead for Vicente Padilla (7-2) was 7-5 after the Rays scored two in the second, two in the fourth and one in the sixth, giving the Rangers an uneasy feeling that lasted until the five-run eighth.
Padilla has won five consecutive decisions for the first time ever and struck out 10 for the first time since July 5, 2006. He did so on a night when he didn't have his best command, giving up four walks and seven hits in six innings.
Lakers hold off the Spurs in Game 4 …
One lucky shot deserves another, Shaquille O'Neal once famously said.
That was the last time the Lakers were in San Antonio for the playoffs. Then Tim Duncan threw in a leaning jumper for the lead — and Derek Fisher and 0.4 followed.
This time — with Fisher again involved — one bad call deserved another.
This time the refs didn't see that a Fisher jumper had grazed the rim, not resetting the shot clock. This time the refs chose to look the other way when Fisher leaped and landed on Brent Barry.
This time the Lakers deserved what they got.
They clearly outplayed the Spurs.
The ending never should have had any drama, not after the Lakers were smarter and more active for 47 minutes. They never trailed while pounding the Spurs on the boards. Duncan's 29 points and 17 rebounds didn't reflect an uneven performance as Pau Gasol defended him well. And the other Lakers looked younger and livelier, led by Kobe Bryant and his 28 points.
Those consumed with Joey Crawford and this officiating crew should look at another number. Bryant shot 29 times and never went to the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, The US National Team wanders off to play some big boys in the next few weeks …including Jolly Ol’ England today…who fancy themselves as big boys, even if they aren’t in Euro 2008…
When the U.S. men's national team squares off against England on Wednesday, it will mark the beginning of perhaps the most daunting stretch of friendly games the U.S. has ever undertaken. A matchup against host Spain in Santander will follow on June 4, with a home match against Argentina finishing off the run on June 8; all so the Americans can be in peak form for their World Cup qualifying series against Barbados one week later.
It's a bit like using Everest, K2 and Annapurna as preparation for scaling the hill around the corner, but U.S. coach Bob Bradley knows better than anyone that there will be more difficult mountains to climb as the team heads deeper into the qualifying cycle, and the three matches should reveal much about the team's long-term prospects.
It all starts against an English team still smarting from its failure to qualify for this summer's European championships. Yet the imperious presence of new coach Fabio Capello now dominates the English footballing landscape, and after suffering his first defeat in March against France, he'll be eager to get his charges back on track against the Americans.
Here are possible lineups for the friendly …
FC Dallas plays tonight at home …
Dominic Oduro has another shot to prove he's a 90-minute player, but only FC Dallas interim coach Marco Ferruzzi knows whether the forward will start Wednesday night's game on the bench or on the pitch against Houston.
Oduro, from Ghana, has averaged 35 minutes off the bench in the last two matches. In those games, he closed Steve Morrow's coaching chapter with a goal and welcomed Ferruzzi with two more goals, which included the game-winner against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
"Dominic is a hot hand right now," Ferruzzi said. "He is putting away goals – you have to respect that, reward it – but it doesn't take away the job that the other boys are doing."
Oduro has played 113 minutes this season, always coming off the bench. He sees the current coaching transition as a chance to capitalize on his playing time.
"Every coach has his tactical way to field a team," Oduro said. "Steve had his way; Marco has his way. Obviously, we all are fighting for a spot, so I think I just have to do what I need to make the team."
Kenny Cooper, FC Dallas' top striker, feels comfortable playing alongside Oduro.
"He has incredible pace, and he's showed it in the last two games," Cooper said. "His finishing is in great form. I have confidence in him. Hopefully, he can just keep on going."
Stanley Cup Finals Game 3 tonight on NBC- And we may all have to admit the Wings are just that good …
And here’s about when you figure I trash the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They don’t have a goal since the Eastern Conference finals. Monday night they didn’t have a shot until they trailed the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. All the line juggling from the 4-0 loss in Game 1 to the 3-0 loss in Game 2 amounted to zilch in the Stanley Cup finals. And their coach, Michel Therrien, stooped to whining about the officiating afterward, as if anyone is going to buy that commentary for the reason his team is halfway done for the season.
But no, this is not a time to rag on the vastly talented team that is happy to be heading home after two games in Detroit. This is what would be happening if the opponent was the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers or Montreal Canadiens.
This was exactly what happened when the opponent was the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators.
It’s simple: The Red Wings are head and shoulders above everyone in an otherwise parity-filled league, and time is running out to be proven otherwise.
Monday night’s clinic didn’t do much to boost viewer interest as we all wave goodbye to another year of “national” coverage by Versus. (How will we get by without studio host Darren Eliot and sideline reporter Bob Harwood?) Detroit is must-see TV these days only to see what 29 other teams will try to do in the fall.
How else do you explain, with the onus on Pittsburgh to respond Monday from Saturday’s setback, how the Red Wings not only took it to the Penguins from the drop of the first puck, but scored twice before the visitors could put a measly shot on goal? If the tone of Ryan Malone’s first-period intermission interview was any reflection of what it sounded like in the locker room just behind him, then we know that Pittsburgh’s spirit was broken after just 20 minutes in Game 2. And can you blame the Penguins?
It must be nice – when leading 2-0 midway through a second straight dominating performance – to be able to nit-pick your squad for experiencing a lull in the second period, getting bottled up between the blue lines and not working hard enough to get pucks behind the defense as Detroit coach Mike Babcock did during one of those intrusive Versus bench interviews.
It’s hard to find anything wrong with what the Wings are doing in this series, in these playoffs and during this season.
Therrien was grasping at straws when he said Detroit was the best team he’s seen at “obstruction.” Only Therrien knows if he really believes that. These postgame Q&A’s have gotten to the point where coaches don’t respond with what they really think as much as they say what they want an opponent or an official to hear.
“He’s a good actor,” Therrien said of Wings goalie Chris Osgood in the postgame media conference. “I know our players are frustrated right now. It’s tough to play the game, but Osgood did the same thing against Dallas.
“Our team never goes to the goalie. We never did it, and we don’t target the goalie. You want to talk about experience, he goes to players, and he knows what to do, I guess.”
Sounds like Therrien is using the media to influence calls later in the series and get under Osgood’s skin.
It’s really all he has until Tuesday when he and the Penguins start talking about how returning to The Igloo, where they are 8-0 in the postseason, winners of 16 straight overall, will be what turns the tide. How about this dose of reality: Detroit is looking for a split so it can go home and skate to the franchise’s 11th Stanley Cup on home ice Monday night.
Not so great Album Covers …
Girl Scout Robbery
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Girl Scout Robbery Happy Ending