Wakeup Call: Pete's not pumped and jacked about this

914927.jpg

Wakeup Call: Pete's not pumped and jacked about this

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, January 14:

BASEBALL
Call it confidence, or call it whistling in the dark. Either way, Adrian Beltre thinks the talent-ravaged Rangers can still compete in the A.L. West. (AP)

Losing isn't all that loveable, is it, Theo? (AP)

Rafael Palmeiro says he "made a mistake" at the end of his career that "basically wiped out everything I did for 20 years". The mistake? Accepting what he says was a tainted B-12 supplement from teammate Miguel Tejada that, he says, caused him to test positive for steroids. And here you thought it was wagging his finger at a bunch of Congressmen, right? (CSN Baltimore)

It's not a surprise, but it's still sad. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Not bad enough that Michigan lost its first game of the year. It also happened on the same weekend Duke lost, which will probably prevent the Wolverines from moving up to No. 1 in the polls. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
In today's installment of Declaring For the NFL Draft, we have Texas' Brandon Moore and three players from Alabama. (AP)

Speaking of Alabama, Nick Saban received a congratulatory phone call from President Obama for the Crimson Tide's national championship. (AP)

Now that Ohio State is eligible to compete for the national title again, Urban Meyer would like you to curb your enthusiasm. (AP)

GOLF
Your weekend winners: Russell Henley (in his PGA Tour debut, no less) at the Sony Open . . . (golfchannel.com)

. . . and Louis Oosthuizen at the Volvo Champions. (AP)

The Masters folks like Ryo Ishikawa so much, they keep inviting him back. (AP)

HOCKEY
Brian Boucher is proving you can go home again. And again and again and again . . . (CSN Philly)

Ilya Kovalchuk is coming home, too -- well, he's leaving his home in Russia to come back to the Devils, but you know what I mean -- and Lou Lamoriello never doubted it for a second. (AP)

It's only been a day, but new Capitals coach Adam Oates has a big fan in Alex Ovechkin. (CSN Washington)

They're not big fans of Scott Gomez in Montreal, though. (AP)

And now for a little familial self-promotion: The NBC Sports Group will air 70 NHL games on NBC and the NBC Sports Network during the shortened regular season. (nbcsports.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
Dwight Howard returns, and so do the Lakers' winning ways. (AP)

That's 12 in a row at home for the Spurs. (AP)

And six in a row overall for the Nets. (AP)

But the Blazers' winning streak is over at nine, thanks to Kevin Durant and the Thunder. (AP)

Don't go counting on a new team just yet, Seattle. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

You may not be crazy about Mark Cuban, Dirk, but he likes you. (Pro Basketball Talk)

How in the world can a pro athlete go on a 15-day fast during his or her season? And I bet you expected me to make some Honey Nut Cheerios crack, right? (Pro Basketball Talk)

Come on now, Bulls, sing with me: You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative . . . (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
When the Falcons finally win a playoff game, they give you quite the bang for your buck, don't they? (AP)

Even though his Seahawks lost, the legend of Russell Wilson continues to grow. (AP)

To me, the icing-the-kicker stunt does nothing more than give a professional kicker two chances to make one kick . . . which is why Atlanta is moving on and Seattle is going home. But Pete Carroll says Matt Bryant shouldn't have been allowed to take the first kick, the one he missed, and that's why he was so mad. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Ravens' Super Bowl win? The Colts beating the Giants in overtime in '58? Sorry; when it comes to great Baltimore football victories, everything takes a back seat to what happened Saturday in Denver. At least in Ray Frager's mind. (CSN Baltimore)

But to the Broncos, it's "like a bad dream that keeps playing over and over". (AP)

That's General Flacco to you, pal. (Pro Football Talk)

After getting beat pretty soundly Saturday night in San Francisco, there could be big changes coming for the Packers. (AP)

Brian Billick, Eagles? Really? (CSN Philly)

TENNIS
Venus Williams cruises in her first match at the Australian Open. (AP)

As does Maria Sharapova. (AP)

First impressions: Red Sox lose to Yankees, still clinch AL East

red_sox_pedroia_092816.jpg

First impressions: Red Sox lose to Yankees, still clinch AL East

NEW YORK -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Yankees:

 

* The Red Sox couldn't have asked any more from Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz turned in what was likely his best start of the season, tossing six shutout innings while yielding just one hit -- an infield hit at that.

Brett Gardner was the only New York hitter to solve him. The leadoff hitter walked twice and reached on a slow roller to third, the only hit Buchholz allowed.

Twice, Buchholz retired eight Yankees in a row. He consistently pitched ahead in the count and showed a good rhythm on the mound.

Only a few months ago, the notion of Buchholz being part of the Red Sox' postseason rotation was laughable. Now, the Red Sox view him as a dependable, consistent starter.

And why not? Over his last seven starts, Buchholz is 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA.

Funny how quickly things can change in baseball.

 

* Don't invite Craig Kimbrel to your celebration.

Kimbrel came on for the bottom of the ninth, with a 3-0 lead and needing just three outs.

He barely threw a strike, allowing a leadoff single and three straight walks, the latter of which forced in a run.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Toronto had already lost, clinching the division title for the Sox before the bottom half of the inning began.

Still, it was troubling to watch Kimbrel. This was, after all, a save situation, even if some of the adrenaline was taken away by the Blue Jays' loss.

Kimbrel seemed completely incapable of throwing a strike. At all.

Hardly the way you want your closer to be a week before your first post-season game.

 

* The Red Sox lineup poses all sorts of problems for opposing managers.

In the eighth, Joe Girardi had a choice to make -- pitch to David Ortiz with two on and first base open. Or walk Ortiz and pitch to Mookie Betts, with Hanley Ramirez waiting on deck.

Pick your poison.

Girardi picked incorrectly, though there might not have been a correct one.

That's what happens when you face three hitters in a row with 110 RBI or more.

 

Red Sox clinch AL East with Orioles victory over Blue Jays

orioles_soo_kim_092816.jpg

Red Sox clinch AL East with Orioles victory over Blue Jays

NEW YORK -- The Boston Red Sox have won the AL East, clinching the division championship when the Toronto Blue Jays lost to Baltimore.

David Ortiz and the Red Sox, who had already secured at least a wild-card spot in the playoffs, will open their postseason schedule Oct. 6 seeking a second World Series crown in four years. The team's first opponent has not been determined yet.

Boston's game against the New York Yankees in the middle of the ninth inning Wednesday night when the Orioles finished off their 3-2 victory at second-place Toronto. The Red Sox began the night needing a win or a Toronto loss to wrap up their eighth AL East title.