It was a game full of drama for the Yankees yesterday against the Mets. First, Chien-Ming Wang got the start, and he wasn’t a disaster. He allowed two runs in just over five innings. That’s not great, but it’s a heck of a lot better than he has been in a long while. Could this be a sign of progress? Later in the game, Mariano Rivera made news not once, but twice. First, he got the first RBI of his entire career when he was walked with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. It was also his first career walk, and only his third career at-bat. One RBI every three at-bats – that’s an impressive rate. Finally, Rivera’s 18th save of the season was the 500th of his career. Only Trevor Hoffman had previously reached that milestone, so this makes him officially what he already was – the undisputed king of the American League closers.
Roger Federer and the Williams sister keep on rolling at Wimbledon. I will be shocked if two of the three aren’t hoisting hardware next weekend. I know I keep saying that kind of thing, but it certainly is striking.
That was a serious, serious kick in the gut for the American soccer program yesterday. They can look on the positive sides – they did beat Spain, and got out to a 2-0 lead to Brazil – and build confidence from that. Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that they had their first ever international tournament title in the palms of their hands and they totally collapsed in the face of pressure. It will be interesting to see how they rebound – this can be a serious rallying point for a bright future, or it can be a crushing setback. Unfortunately, there isn’t a true way to know for sure until the World Cup starts next year.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by Tommy Hanson. The rookie Braves pitcher looked rough in his first start, but he has been brilliant since. He’s won four in a row, and he hasn’t allowed a run in his last three. Even more impressive, he has wins over the Yankees and the Red Sox in his last two starts. That’s guaranteed to catch the attention of the betting public. It will be very interesting to see what he does from here, but I’m going to be very cautious in my optimism at this point – he’s giving up too many walks, so it wouldn’t take much for him to go from unbeatable to unbearable.
Joey Logano won his first NASCAR race at just 19 years of age. Get used to seeing him in the winner’s circle. He’s ridiculously talented, he’s getting an early start – he’s the youngest ever winner by more than 15 months, and he has a good team behind in in Joe Gibbs Racing. He got lucky to win this one – rain shortened the race and caused it to be finished under a caution. If that hadn’t happened then he would have been in serious gas trouble and would have been left behind. Still, it’s hard not to think that this is the birth of a star.
I spend no time at all paying attention to Class A baseball, but I couldn’t help but notice a game on Sunday in California. The Lake Elsinore Storm beat the High Desert Mavericks 33-18, and the teams combined for 57 hits. Needless to say, it wasn’t a pitchers’ battle. You’d feel pretty stupid if you had taken the under on a game like that.