Catching up on happenings in the sports world after the black hole that was the NHL postseason...
- Even after the black hole that was 0-6 and 2-10, the Red Sox are on a pace to win 98 games, a number that have achieved only twice in their history since 1946. The first occasion came in 1978, pre-wildcard, when the sox won 99 games and missed the playoffs. The other came in 2004, when the Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.
Beginning with a sweep of the Yankees at New York in May, the Red Sox have won 11 of 12 series and gone 26-8.
- Rory McIlroy is off to a terrific start in 2011 and in his career, but any comparisons to Tiger Woods at this stage are completely and utterly ridiculous. Even at a young age, Woods never collapsed in a major championship the way McIlroy did at the Masters earlier this season.
- By the way, comparing McIlroy to Tiger Woods at this stage is a little like comparing Andrew Miller to Randy Johnson. Miller has terrific raw ability and will make his Red Sox debut tonight against the San Diego Padres, but let's see if he can throw consistent strikes in the big leagues before we turn him into a multiple Cy Young Award winner.
Especially when Miller has heretofore been closer to Nuke LaLoosh.
- Don't look now, Celtics fans, but your beloved team has slipped to No. 4 in the local power rankings. And if we were to factor in projected future performance of our four major teams, the Celtics would also have the bleakest outlook.
- In this market, at least, the NFL picked a good time for a labor dispute. But with the usual start of training camp now rapidly approaching, how much longer can this go on before Patriots fans really start to get agitated?
- Now this is the kind of year Jacoby Ellsbury deserves a great deal of credit for -- and for an array of reasons. Ellsbury currently has the highest OPS of his career and is on pace for 18 home runs, 82 RBI, 166 runs and, yes, 55 stolen bases.
Oh, and did we mention that he's played in every game?
- In this market, one of the major drawbacks of the Bruins' title run was that we did not get to fully celebrate the failure of the Miami Heat in general and LeBron James in particular. Talk about irony. While the Bruins were winning a title as a team, LeBron was explaining another disappointing end to a season by repeatedly using his favorite letter in the alphabet.
Of course, that would be I.
- Yes, I'm biased, for obvious reasons. But since the Red Sox started giving Tim Wakefield a regular turn in the rotation, he's 4-1 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts.
- By the way, can people in this market stop talking about the Yankees as if they're ready for the senior tour. Fine, the Yankees are old. They still have the second-best record in the American League and are 1.5 games out of first place.
If you are a Red Sox fan, the Yankees should still be your biggest concern in the American League.
- The Bruins will soon be onto the business of the offseason, so let's all agree that Tomas Kaberle should go and the Bruins should consider bringing Michael Ryder back at a reduced rate. Other than that, priority No. 1 in 2011-12 is for the Bruins to put Tyler Seguin in the best possible position to succeed.
- By the way, purely for the record, the Vancouver Canucks were 2 for 33 on the power play in the Cup final, a paltry 6.1 percent. The Bruins, by contrast, went 5 for 27, a far more respectable 18.5 percent.
For the entire postseason, the Bruins were 10 for 88 (11.4 percent) on the power play, which included a 5 for 61 performance (8.2 percent) before the final round.
- Adrian Gonzalez is on pace for 230 hits, 34 home runs, 55 doubles and 146 RBI.
Sounds like a formula for MVP, no?
- We all love David Ortiz and what he has given the Red Sox over the years, but the truth is that the Yankees should have plunked him a long time ago given the damage he has inflicted on them over the years. In 2009, the in head-to-head play, Yankees pitchers hit Red Sox batters on 14 occasions while Red Sox pitchers plunked the Yankees only seven times. During that season, before a game at Fenway Park, one uniformed member of the Red Sox warned Derek Jeter that if Yankees pitchers didn't start behaving themselves, the Red Sox would retaliate.
And they would retaliate, he said, by going after Jeter.
- I still bet the Cleveland Indians will finish below .500.
- Silver spoon update: In this millennium, in the four major sports, that is now 13 trips at least the semifinals (Patriots 5, Red Sox 4, Celtics 3, Bruins 1) and nine trips to the championship round (Patriots 4, Red Sox 2, Celtics 2, Bruins 1) with seven titles, including the proverbial Grand Slam, accomplished in slightly more than six calendar years.
Will it ever end?
I mean, the end of last season was disappointing. But the Pats did go 14-2 with a generally young roster and seem positioned to make noise again in 2011.
Sorry, I meant 14-3.
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