Wakeup Call: Even the president's disgusted with the NHL

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Wakeup Call: Even the president's disgusted with the NHL

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

BASEBALL
The Theo Epstein Era now truly begins, as the Cubs close in on their first big-ticket item of free agency: Anibal Sanchez. (CSN Chicago)

Sanchez' imminent signing, and the landings of Zack Greinke and Ryan Dempster, is opening up the market for the likes of Edwin Jackson. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Been quite the offseason for those poor Rangers, hasn't it? (AP)

The Yankees, continuing their quest to reassemble the 2005 All-Star Team, are nearing agreement on a two-year deal with Ichiro. (AP)

Mariano Rivera fully expects to be ready on Opening Day. (Hardball Talk)

From the outhouse to the penthouse: Andres Torres jumps from the Mets to the Giants. (AP)

Hey, Greg, congratulations on your new gig! Oh, wait, wrong Dickerson . . . (CSN Baltimore)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Cry all you want over the dissolution of the Big East, but the fact is that the league we all knew -- and most of us loved -- has been dead for some time now. And what emerges from the rubble might actually be pretty good. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

A three-game suspension for inappropriate behavior and language? Yeah, we've seen that in college sports before. But for a coach? (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Wisconsin's not fooling around in its search for Bret Bielema's replacement. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF
So why'd the U.S. pick Tom Watson as captain? "We are just really tired of losing the Ryder Cup," said PGA of America president Ted Bishop. (AP)

HOCKEY
Even President Obama is disgusted. (CSN Washington)

Need a break from all this? How about Russ Courtnall selling his house to Britney Spears? (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
The Knicks continue to climb and the Lakers continue to plummet. (AP)

And it sure looks like rock bottom for L.A. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

It could be worse, Lakers; you could be the Bobcats. (AP)

The Warriors are making folks in San Francisco sit up and take notice. (CSN Bay Area)

Remember the big games J.D. Drew always used to have in Philadelphia in response to the savage treatment he received from Phillies fans? Well, the Philly hordes have turned another opposing player -- Joakim Noah -- into Superman. (CSN Chicago)

Brandon Roy's not thinking retirement . . . yet. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Bengals, in the midst of a playoff run, needed to beat the Eagles last night, but that's not such a big trick these days. (AP)

Hmm. This Bears-Packers thing is getting interesting. (CSN Chicago)

As for Brian Urlacher, he's laughing it all off . . . although he got in a little shot of his own at Jermichael Finley. (CSN Chicago)

Jay Cutler's sure limping to the finish line, isn't he? (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Joe Vitt has a four-letter description of Saints accuser Gregg Williams: L-I-A-R. (AP)

And Dez Bryant has a two-word answer to those who ask about his availability Sunday: I'm playing. (AP)

Prince Amukamara, on the other hand, isn't so sure. (AP)

How about RGIII? Will he, or won't he? Mike Shanahan isn't saying. (CSN Washington)

Football players play football, Bill Parcells used to say. So when they act like citizens and involve themselves in real-world issues, the way Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has, teams don't like it. (AP)

No wildcat for Tim Tebow, not as long as his ribs ache. (AP)

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

BOSTON -- The Red Sox scored runs in bunches in tallying four consecutive victories. They leaned on pitching and defense to earn their latest.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners for their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third win in a row for Rodriguez (4-1), who gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

"I just go out there and pitch," Rodriguez said. "I'm never really thinking about numbers. I just go out there and throw my pitches and do the best I can do."

That effort is producing one of the best stretches of his three-year career.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings and only 11 runs in his last 49 1/3 innings. His ERA is just 2.01 over that same period.

"He was amazing," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Put zeroes on the board all night long. And he made the big pitch when he needed to."

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Manager John Farrell said his 24-year-old pitcher is in a "very good place" right now.

"He was powerful tonight," he said. "It's just a matter of his abilities coming together. This has always been an extremely talented young guy. We've talked about his maturity, we've talked about his progression. It's been on display here for a good number of starts consecutively."

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs.

"The whole night obviously wasn't consistent," he said.

Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help defensively. Bradley had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBIs in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

MISSING: OFFENSE

Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are doing everything they can to find production from an offense that has gone missing.

"Offensively, we struggled to put innings together. That's kind of been the story here for the last week or so, we just haven't gotten the line moving at all, for whatever reason," he said. "Guys are frustrated by it, we all are. We know we're better than that, offensively. It's not happening right now."

Seattle was held scoreless for the fourth time this season.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his first major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.