Friday, October 21, 2016

MLB Playoffs: Day 15

In what may have been the last game of the year in Dodger Stadium -- in the last season of Vin Scully's career -- the Cubs were just far too good for the Dodgers last night.  Dodger Manager Dave Roberts pulled every trick he knew.  He had runners going every chance he got.  He switched pitchers like someone playing a tabletop game.  And so he scraped into the top of the 6th with a game that was tied at 1-all.  At that point, the Cubs were 0-7 with runners in scoring position, and you might have thought that this wouldn't be their day.

But the Cubs just kept stalking the Dodgers, like a great boxer constantly pressuring his opponent -- driving him into the corner, and looking for the knockout blow.  Addison Russell blasted a two-run homer to put the Cubs up 3-1 after 6, and then the Cubs exploded for five more runs to put the Dodgers away.  The final score was 8-4.

So far, the Cubs have beaten the Dodgers 8-4, 10-2, and 8-4.  The Dodgers won Games Two and Three by 1-0 and 6-0.  The 2016 Dodgers are 4-0 in post-season games where Clayton Kershaw started or closed, and 1-5 in all other post-season games.  Fortunately for the Dodgers, it's time for Kershaw to take the mound again.  On Saturday night in Chicago, the Dodgers' best pitcher since Sandy Koufax (lifetime record of 126-60, lifetime E.R.A. of 2.37) will take the mound in one last effort to hold back the Cubs.  Meanwhile, Cub fans around the world will be anxious to see whether their heroes can return to the World Series for the first time since 1945.  If you can't get excited about a game like that, you're on the wrong blog.

Los Angeles 4 - 8 Chicago

Chicago leads Los Angeles 3-2

Cleveland beat Toronto 4-1

Oh, Kentucky

Rest in peace, Dennis Fradin (1945-2012), who was not from Kentucky and “whose works were lauded for both their meticulous research and accessibility to young readers, and he delved into subjects ranging from natural disasters (Earthquakes: Witness to Disaster) to the American Revolution (Samuel Adams: The Father of American Independence, The Boston Tea Party and Let It Begin Here! Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution),” per the Chicago Tribune

The 7-1 Belfry High School Pirates, the three-time defending Class 3A Kentucky High School Athletic Association football champs, host Pike County Central tonight, and it'll be Game 3,001 (or so) for the school's stats guy of 38 years, Bennett West.

Tom T. Hall could come out of retirement and do an album called, "The Eggner's Ferry Bridge." Each song could be about some real or imagined event involving the bridge, and certainly this one, from 1940, would be the subject of one of the tunes.

A study indicates about half of Kentucky's kids have tooth problems.

Hardin County apparently can't get enough of Beef O'Brady's, and the feeling's mutual.

More Kentuckians than ever are registered to vote. More than 100,000 new voters--including 46,328 registering Republican and 44,712 registering Democrat--are now on the rolls.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have been fasting and praying for peace Tuesdays through Election Day since the summer.

The state supreme court struck down Lexington's and Louisville's minimum-wage hikes.

Good jobs news from Louisville.

The state's first home for woman veterans is open, in Lexington.

Kentucky State University, Frankfort Independent Schools and a North Carolina foundation are working together to boost STEM participation among African-American boys.

Survey says ..., in Cadiz.

Debt-free, since 2014 in Lyon County.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

NFL Poll: Week 7

It's a good week for NFL fans who remember the early 1970's, with the Vikings, Cowboys, Chiefs, Steelers, and Redskins all in the top 10.  Of course, the Pats, Seahawks, and Broncos are all in there as well, just to remind us that we're actually in the mid-2010's:

1.  Minnesota Vikings:  5-0
2.  New England Patriots:  5-1
3.  Seattle Seahawks:  4-1
4.  Dallas Cowboys:  5-1
5.  Atlanta Falcons:  4-2
6.  Denver Broncos:  4-2
7.  Buffalo Bills:  4-2
8.  Pittsburgh Steelers:  4-2
9.  Washington Redskins:  4-2
10.  Kansas City Chiefs:  3-2

The Skins jumped from 14th to 9th after their fourth win in a row, a 27-20 home victory over the Eagles.  The Dolphins (2-4) went from 29th to 25th with a 30-15 win over Pittsburgh.

This week's big game is an AFC perennial -- the Patriots against the Steelers.  This year's fixture takes place on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.  That's the only game featuring two top-10 teams this week, so you can take the rest of the weekend off.

MLB Playoffs: Day 14

OK, now it's getting real.  The Indians closed out Toronto with yet another dominant pitching performance.  This time it was a 6-hit shutout in which the starter, Ryan Merritt, was making only the second start of his career.  He lasted 4 1/3 innings, and the bullpen did the rest.  The Indians won their third pennant since 1954 with a 3-0 victory.  For the series, Toronto batted only .201.  The Blue Jays hit only two home runs, and struck out 50 times in five games.  So Toronto becomes the first team since the 2000-2001 Seattle Mariners to lose the A.L.C.S. in back-to-back years, and Cleveland will go to the World Series.  The Tribe and its magical bullpen went 7-1 in the AL playoffs this year, effectively sucking all the drama out of that side of the bracket.

On the other hand, the NL Playoffs have been full of drama.  Last night, in Los Angeles, the Cubs, who had trailed two games to one, got off the mat to pound the Dodgers, 10 to 2.  The Cubs had gone 21 innings without scoring at all, before burying the Dodgers under 13 hits, including home runs by Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo.  The Cubs also benefited from four Dodger errors.  But the Dodgers used a bunch of pitchers who are not named Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, or Kenley Jansen, so they won't be too panicked.  Tonight's Game Five in Los Angeles is the biggest game of the year for both teams so far.  If the Cubs lose, then Kershaw could close them out in Game Six.  If the Dodgers lose, then they will have to win back-to-back games in Wrigley Field to take the pennant.  So we are getting very close to zero-sum territory here.  Neither the Cubs nor the Dodgers have been to the World Series in many years, and it will be a long winter for whichever fan base loses two of the next three games.

Toronto 0 - 3 Cleveland

Los Angeles 2 - 10 Chicago

Cleveland beats Toronto 4-1

Chicago and Los Angeles are tied 2-2

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