Wakeup Call: Giants get a hand in beating Cowboys

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Wakeup Call: Giants get a hand in beating Cowboys

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, October 29:

BASEBALL
Hail to baseball's new kings. (CSN Bay Area)

And they weren't good and lucky; they were just good. (CSN Bay Area)

The Tigers are left muttering two familiar words: Wha' happened? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

And just to add injury to insult, Tigers second baseman Omar Infante suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Just like old times: Indiana is ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll . . . and that hasn't happened since 1979-80. (AP)

Minnesota assistant Saul Smith, the son of head coach Tubby Smith, will keep his job despite a DUI arrest. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome leg injury Saturday -- as anybody who saw it knows -- but South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, for one, believes his star running back will eventually play again. (AP)

Notre Dame is now No. 3 in BCS standings. (AP)

But where will the Irish be when the season ends? It could wind up being, in JJ Stankevitz' words, "the most controversial year in BCS history". (CSN Chicago)

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Maryland quarterbacks. (AP)

GOLF
Nice work if you can get it, eh Tiger? And Rory? (AP)

HOCKEY
Yes, it's true: The NHL season is in serious jeopardy. (CSN Philly)

And why? Well, one of the reasons is that Bettman and crew fatally underestimated who they were up against in the NHLPA's new executive director, Donald Fehr. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Ryan Suter has two words for Wild owner Ted Leipold: Never mind. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
No such luck, Celts: LeBron James' bum ankle won't keep him out of Tuesday's opener. (AP)

But Kobe Bryant's fortune isn't as good. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The Rockets are thrilled that James Harden's on their side now. (CSN Houston)

The Thunder say they made an "extraordinary effort" to keep Harden, but ran up against the financial limits of small-market franchises. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Somebody wake up Mercury Morris and Don Shula for the 2012 revival of 'Grumpy Old Men': The Falcons are 7-0 after their whipping of the Eagles. (AP)

Man, people can be so touchy: He trash talked 'em all week and danced all over the field when Atlanta was way ahead late in the game, but Asante Samuel doesn't think that's any reason for Andy Reid to have snubbed him afterwards. (CSN Philly)

Think it might have been the Eagles' lack of pride? (CSN Philly)

Or maybe their (soon to be ex?) quarterback? (CSN Philly)

If this is what Peyton Manning is like at less than 100 percent, the NFL better pray he never gets healthy. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Hey, Steve: Imagine how bad they would have beaten you if they were at your level. (CSN Chicago)

How long can you keep this up, Rex? (Pro Football Talk)

Were Dez Bryant's hands just a smoodge smaller, the Cowboys would have had an incredible come-from-behind victory over the Giants. (AP)

SOCCER
And in a bit of shameless self-promotion: NBCUniversal will soon be your exclusive home for the English Premier League! (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.