Say good morning to baseball's new home run leader


Say good morning to baseball's new home run leader

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 29, 2011
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Even without Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, the New York Yankees still pack a wallop. Curtis Granderson hit two of New York's five home runs, rookie Ivan Nova won his 10th straight decision, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 Sunday night for a split of a day-night doubleheader. Granderson hit a three-run drive in the third inning and a solo shot in the seventh to take over the major league lead in homers (38) and RBIs (107). "It's incredible what he's done this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There's a lot of talk about MVP, and that will all be settled later. He's been unbelievable for us." In the first game, rookie Zach Britton allowed four hits over seven innings to lead the Orioles to a 2-0 victory. It was Jeter's 2,402nd game with New York, breaking a tie with Mickey Mantle for most in a Yankees uniform. But Jeter fouled a ball off his right knee in the third inning, and although he shook off the pain to finish the game, the Yankees captain was a late scratch in the nightcap with a bruised knee. "We iced it between games and afterward, and it swelled up and became a challenge," Jeter said after the second game. X-rays were negative, but Girardi expressed doubt about Jeter's availability Monday night for the finale of the four-game series. Rodriguez also watched Game 2 from the dugout with a sore left thumb. "We just felt it wasn't in our best interest in playing him, either," Girardi said. The second game was tied at 3 before New York hit three straight homers in a four-run sixth. After Robinson Cano connected with a man on, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones also went deep. It was the first time the Yankees hit three successive homers since May 20, 2009, against Baltimore. Despite the power surge, Girardi hates the idea of being without Jeter and Rodriguez. "We need to get them healthy," he said. "It is somewhat of a concern." Nova (14-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings, striking out seven and walking two. The right-hander has won seven straight starts and is 10-0 in 11 outings since June 3. Brian Matusz (1-7) allowed six runs and six hits -- including three home runs -- in 5 1-3 innings. Adam Jones had two RBIs for the Orioles, whose six-game winning streak ended. Baltimore led 2-0 before Granderson hit his first homer. He has 11 career two-homer games, including four this season. Granderson still doesn't consider himself to be a slugger. "It's one of those freak things," he said. "I was thinking about the home run guys, those that can do it, they hit mammoth shots. Mine, as long as they get over the fence, that's great." In the first game, Britton allowed four singles, struck out five and walked one before being pulled after throwing a career-high 120 pitches. It was a vivid contrast from his previous start against the Yankees, when he yielded nine runs and got only one out in a 17-3 loss July 30. "I wasn't thinking about getting revenge or anything," Britton said. "You have to have a short memory." Britton (8-9) has given up only one run over 12 innings since coming off the disabled list (strained left shoulder) on Aug. 22. Before going on the DL, he surrendered 23 runs in three starts. "Not only was it like a break for me physically, but mentally, too," Britton said of his time off. The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Nick Markakis doubled and Vladimir Guerrero singled. Baltimore added a run in the eighth when Mark Reynolds led off with his third hit and scored on a two-out single by J.J. Hardy. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect eighth and Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his 19th save, getting Rodriguez to hit into a double play after giving up a one-out single to Mark Teixeira, who had three hits. Cano went 0 for 3, ending his 17-game hitting streak. He had also hit in 18 consecutive games at Camden Yards. The Yankees failed to get a runner past first base in their first shutout loss since June 13. Bartolo Colon (8-9) gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. He had a two-hitter through six innings before faltering. He has lost his last three starts and is 2-6 in his last eight decisions. But he considered this effort to be a breakthrough. "I feel very happy. Thank God that everything is back together," he said through a translator. "We'll see how far we're going to go." NOTES: The nightcap was rescheduled from Saturday's doubleheader rainout. The other game will be made up on Sept. 8 at 1:05 p.m. ... Britton's 120 pitches were most by an Oriole this season. ... New York intends to activate RHP Freddy Garcia (cut index finger) from the DL to start in Monday's series finale. Alfredo Simon (4-6) will pitch for the Orioles.

ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats


ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats

In an expansive profile on The, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says he and his wife were subjected to death threats because of Mortensen’s Deflategate coverage.

After the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory in January 2015, Mortensen tweeted information he said he received from a source that has long since been proven incorrect. The info - that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the game were underinflated by 2 pounds - remained uncorrected on Twitter and in an story for more than six months.  

The controversy over Mortensen’s reporting drew the ire of Patriots fans, many of whom blamed the tweet and his story for fanning the flames of what eventually led to a four-game suspension for Tom Brady and a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks for the Patriots. 

Mortensen, who has subsequently undergone treatment for cancer, told The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis that the threats led him to tell his wife Micki that he didn’t want her traveling with him from their home in Arkansas to Bristol, Connecticut when he did studio work for ESPN. 

“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”

More from the Ringer story:

“My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.

Mortensen said after his initial tweet, a second source, with whom he had a better relationship, told him to used a broader description of the footballs, i.e. call them “significantly underinflated.”  Mortensen now acknowledges that information should have given him pause.

“That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level,” he told the Ringer. “I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.”

Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls


Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls

Tonight’s pregame number is 133. That’s the total number of made 3-point field goals made last season by the players starting for the Bulls tonight. Whatever the Bulls reasons for signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade were this offseason, floor spacing was not one of them.

Wade’s career mark of 28.4 percent from distance is the third-worst percentage among active players with 600+ career attempts, while Rondo’s 28.9 career 3-pt FG% is seventh worst. And, for what it’s worth, the new-look Bulls shot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc (21st in the NBA) this preseason, while hitting 7.7 3-pointers per game. 

Despite allowing 15 3’s last night vs the Nets, perimeter defense should once again be a strength for the Celtics. Last season, the Celtics were fourth in the NBA with an opponent 3-pt FG% of 33.6. They were 38-15 when holding opponents to eight or fewer 3’s. 

With the NBA continuing to trend towards more 3-point shooting, it will be interesting to see how Fred Hoiberg’s offense looks this season, and especially tonight vs the Celtics.