Wakeup call: A CC of optimism for the Yankees

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Wakeup call: A CC of optimism for the Yankees

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, September 27:

BASEBALL
Now that's the CC Sabathia the Yankees are going to need in the postseason. (AP)

The Orioles blasted out of their mini-slump last night. (CSN Baltimore)

You lose seven of eight down the stretch -- and walk 12 guys in that seventh loss -- then you probably don't deserve to be in first place. Right, White Sox? (CSN Chicago)

And they're not. (AP)

Their championship predecessors of the '70s were called The Swingin' A's. These A's can claim the same nickname, though for a different reason . . . but still, they appear bound for the postseason, too. (CSN Bay Area)

Here come the Angels. (AP)

Tim Bogar won't be leaving the Red Sox. Not for Houston, anyway. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Davey Johnson isn't quite ready to commit to returning to the Nationals' dugout next season. (Hardball Talk)

Careful, Theo. Last time you trolled the free-agent waters for starting pitching, you came up with John Lackey. (CSN Chicago)

Well, well. Looks like the other Marlins players didn't take too kindly to Heath Bell's blasting of Ozzie Guillen. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Tom Osborne's calling it quits at Nebraska. (AP)

What is it with these college coaches and the media? (NBC's College Football Talk)

How daunting must your off-field problems be if you're the leading rusher on a winless team and they get rid of you anyway? (College Football Talk)

It appears new commissioner Mike Aresco has gotten the Big East a seat at the postseason playoff table. (AP)

GOLF
The Marked Man of Medinah. (AP) Sounds like a gothic novel, doesn't it?

HOCKEY
Wonder if Todd Bertuzzi's days begin with Sonny and Cher singing, "I got you, babe" . . . (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Apparently there'll be at least some players singing "I got mine, babe" despite the lockout. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Chris Bosh is healthy and very happy these days. (AP)

Sorry, Lakers. Dorell Wright says the Sixers got the real jewel of the offseason. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Youth is being served in Oklahoma City. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Praise the heavens. (AP)

Against all odds, we've found some folks who aren't dancing for joy at the return of the regular refs. (CSN Bay Area)

According to the guy who trained him, the replacement ref who messed up the final call in Monday night's game isn't good enough to officiate in Division I, let alone the NFL. (NBC's Off The Bench)

Who says there are no hearts in Vegas? (AP)

The Cardinals will have to go without Beanie Wells for a while. (AP)

Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl

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Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl

SAN FRANCISCO  — As an irate Bryce Harper charged toward the mound, Buster Posey just stood and watched from behind home plate.

And when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants cleared their benches Monday and punches flew both ways, the All-Star catcher did his best to remain just outside the fray.

Not where some expected to find the Giants team leader with his pitcher, Hunter Strickland, exchanging head shots with Harper.

“Posey did NOTHING to stop Harper from getting to his pitcher,” former major league pitcher Dontrelle Willis wrote on Twitter. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”

Posey declined to enter the fracas, instead remaining around its edges and watching as the players scuffled in “a pretty good pile,” as Giants manager Bruce Bochy called it.

Posey dealt with a concussion in April after being struck in the head by a pitch, but did not say he held back because of concerns related to that. He did say he was wary about the risk of injury.

“There were some big guys tumbling around out there,” Posey said. “You see Mike Morse and Jeff Samardzija are about as big as they come and he was getting knocked around like a pinball. So it was a little dangerous to get in there.”

Still, social media was abuzz at the sight of Posey not sticking up for his teammate.

“Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn’t even give a soft jog,” Willis wrote.

“Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn’t bother to hold back Harper,” tweeted Fox broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt . “Let him go get his pitcher.”

Also absent from the fight: hard-nosed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As his teammates flew over the dugout railing, Bumgarner stayed put, perhaps because the left-hander is still recovering after injuring his pitching shoulder and ribs in a dirt biking accident in April.

 

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.