Wakeup call: Labor lecture to Chicago teachers from . . . a hockey player?

878893.jpg

Wakeup call: Labor lecture to Chicago teachers from . . . a hockey player?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, September 11:

BASEBALL
That's 19 (wins) for Gio Gonzalez, and 15 (magic number) for the Nationals. (CSN Washington)

When no one was looking, the White Sox opened a three-game lead in the A.L. Central. (CSN Chicago)

Wonder if the Phillies are rethinking that trade-deadline fire sale? (CSN Philly)

The Yankees are probably going to have to play the rest of the regular season without Mark Teixeira. (AP)

The Astros are turning their lonely eyes to Roger Clemens. (AP)

Nice to see Jose Canseco's so contrite about his illegal steroids use. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

A disturbing charge from the Reds' Brandon Phillips. (Hardball Talk)

But in better news: Brandon McCarthy stood and walked for the first time since sustaining a skull fracture when he was hit in the head by a line drive. (CSN Bay Area)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
And because things weren't going bad enough at UConn . . . (AP)

You can understand why Billy Gillispie's sick, can't you? (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
"Enough is enough" for Utah QB Jordan Wynn, who's giving up football after his latest injury. (AP)

Boy, Wisconsin's a tough town. (AP)

HOCKEY
Oh, goody: The NHL labor war is about to get dragged into court. (AP)

The players have been preparing for this rainy day, says Donald Fehr. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

What's this? Optimism? Tell me more, Steve Ott! (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Monday Night Football intro -- a Hank Williams Jr.-free zone after 'ol Hank compared President Obama to Hitler last year -- is now completely without music. (NBC's Off The Bench)

So it was pretty quiet -- on ESPN, at least -- before the Ravens routed the Bengals. (CSN Baltimore)

And before the Chargers beat the Raiders. (CSN Bay Area)

The Jets can't be looking forward to playing the Steelers without Darrelle Revis, but they may have to. (AP)

The Browns, meanwhile will be without their best cornerback, Joe Haden, for four games . . . and it has nothing to do with injury. (AP)

But Atlanta's loss of one of its best corners, Brent Grimes, has everything to do with injury. (AP)

Don't let that 5.1 rating against the Eagles fool you. Brandon Weeden says he "wasn't overwhelmed" in his debut as Cleveland's No. 1 quarterback. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The replacement refs did just fine on Sunday. (Pro Football Talk)

More or less, that is. (Pro Football Talk)

Good thing, too, because the NFL is ready to play at least five weeks with the replacements. (AP)

AND FINALLY . . .
Regarding the Chicago teachers' strike: The Bulls' Derrick Rose hopes for a resolution for the sake of the students (CSN Chicago) . . .

. . . but former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel says the teachers bring in nothing of monetary value to the city (unlike hockey players, who he says generate "jobs and revenue" to justify the debt-ridden, taxpayer-funded arenas they play in) and should be happy they have jobs. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) And, no, no need to mention the irony of a hockey player -- in a sport about to endure its own work stoppage -- lecturing someone else about labor woes.

Posey stays out of the fray during Strickland-Harper brawl

bryce_harper_hunter_strickland_fight_052917.jpg

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

red_sox_dustin_pedroia_052917.jpg

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.