3:45 PM Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that QB Aaron Rodgers is out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers: "He understands where we are. Everything has been explained. He obviously wants to play."
And so we learn the folly of scheduling a bobblehead night featuring one of your star players on the day after the MLB trading deadline. The Cleveland Indians have some ’splainin’ to do on Saturday during Victor Martinez Bobblehead Night. I hear that anyone who’s anyone in Cleveland will be there, except of course Victor Martinez, who was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone a few hours ago.
So does this become an instant collector’s item, or a handy object to throw onto Progressive Field in disgust? We’ll find out tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Padres are breathing a sigh of relief that they decided to cancel Saturday’s Jake Peavy Kissing Booth. Read more…
Let’s be honest with ourselves: the Penguins are done. Sure, technically all Detroit did on Sunday night was hold home ice advantage with their 3-1 win over Pittsburgh in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the same score as Game 1. But their 2-0 lead pretty much feels insurmountable - does anyone feel like the Penguins can take four of the next five games against the Red Wings? Didn’t think so.
Especially since the Red Wings and their old, tired legs, were able to outhustle, outskate and just plain outplay the Penguins 24 hours after Game 1, a made-for-TV contrivance that was supposed to be their downfall. Pittsburgh’s Big Two of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined for one goal in the first two games, half as many as Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, who was playing minor-league hockey in May. And both of his goals have been beauties, including his singlehanded effort last night:
The bottom line for Pittsburgh is simple: when their main goal scorers are being held in check, and their goaltending is soft, they are going to lose. It doesn’t matter how much revenge they want, or if Evgeni Malkin tries to start fights to fire the team up - Detroit is just the better team (and doing this without Pavel Datsyuk, mind you).
Speaking of Malkin’s fisticuffs: despite picking up an instigator penalty at the end of Game 2, which should be an automatic one-game suspension, the NHL has decided that Malkin will be on the ice when the serious returns to Pittsburgh. Think the league wants to avoid a sweep?
With the win, Texas advances to the Super Regional, where they will play TCU in a Best-of-Three series that will likely come down to the final pitch of Game Three. Seriously, guys, it’s OK just to win a 5-1 snoozer every once in a while. (Or if you are Florida State, a 37-6 snoozer.)
Finally, congratulations for Jamie Moyer for getting his 250th career win yesterday, a 4-2 Phillies win over the Nationals. (And really, shouldn’t that could as half a win?) The achievements of the 46-year-old goes to show that not being able to throw hard enough to break glass isn’t a prerequisite to being successful. And it also shows that if you are a lefty with a durable arm, even a 4.23 career ERA can’t keep you from reaching some big milestones.
I’m making a list of pitchers who don’t want to go to the Chicago White Sox, and apparently every No. 1 is on the list. First it was Jake Peavy of the Padres rejecting a deal, and now the HOUSTON CHRONICLE is saying that Roy Oswalt of the Astros will exercise his veto rights to nix any deal. But I’m sure Barry Zito is still available.
How not to win your first PGA Tour tournament: miss putts inside 10 feet on the final hole of regulation and the first hole of a playoff, and then have your approach on the second playoff hole ricochet off the pin and roll back more than 20 feet from the hole. Steve Stricker was the beneficiary of Tim Clark’s bad luck/meltdown, picking up the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
The Orlando Magic thought they had lost All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson to injury for the season back in February, but now the ORLANDO SENTINEL is saying that the rehab for his shoulder injury is “dramatically” ahead of schedule and he might be available for the NBA Finals.
Arkansas DT Lavunce Askew was arrested on Saturday after allegedly stealing a laptop from an apartment. His teammate Matt Marshall also stole an iPod Touch, but was not charged after he returned it to the doorstep and helped police track down Askew. See, Marshall might be a thief and a stool pigeon, but his heart is in the right place.
World champion hurdler Jana Rawlinson was forced to confirm an embarrassing, poorly-kept secret circulating around the track world for months. Not that she’s using PEDs, but that she had breast augmentation. You would think if there’s one sport where being busty is a disadvantage, it’s hurdling. Check out some Russ Meyer-approved before and after action:
Thank God we finally have Brady Quinn’s first start out of the way so we don’t have to listen to the speculation every week about when he’s going to get a shot and see that stupid NFL draft footage anymore. Why do so many people care? I mean, great, he played pretty well for Notre Dame against Navy and Stanford but got killed in every big game. Way to go, bud, I guess doing all that and playing absolutely no NFL football is good enough to get yourself a Fathead.
Brady did, however, have the Browns in good position to win last night, leading the Broncos 23-13 after three quarters. But Jay Cutler finally lived up to his own hype and got it done in the fourth quarter, like a certain other Bronco quarterback did a couple of times in Cleveland. (See, aren’t these Cutler-Elway comparisons just ridiculous?) Denver scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and won the game 34-30. Cutler threw for 447 yards in the game, and Quinn put up a respectable 239 yards with two touchdowns. The game was viewed by approximately 39 fans on the NFL Network, and 17 people on a choppy SopCast feed from Denmark.
Speaking of football games nobody could watch, #10 Utah rallied from an early 10-0 deficit and beat #11 TCU 13-10 last night in a game that was on some channel called CBS College Sports. Never did I think I’d actually be complaining that a game wasn’t on Versus. Since this channel isn’t part of my DirecTV package, I assume that it ended in exciting fashion. Actually, there’s proof that it ended in exciting fashion (and a Dan Fouts sighting!).
(”I used to be on Monday Night Football and now I’m calling Mountain West games on some station that 4% of the country gets.”)
Over on ESPN, Virginia Tech took care of Maryland 23-13, plunging the ACC into even more mediocrity. Freshman Darren Evans set a school record with 253 rushing yards. One of the odd BCS rules out there is that a non-BCS team can actually automatically qualify for a BCS game if they finish in the top 16 AND finish ahead of the winner of one of the BCS conferences. And never has this been more possible with the top ACC being currently ranked 19th (North Carolina) and all 12 teams in the league sitting with at least two conference losses. So just because Utah or Boise State loses a game or you think Ball State is too far down to make it, it’s still very likely that we’ll be seeing one of these teams on Fox in January.
There was a spectacular ending in the NBA last night in Portland that most of you on the East Coast probably missed. With the Rockets trailing the Blazers 98-96 with 1.9 seconds left in overtime, Yao Ming hit an 18-foot baseline jumper while he was being hacked to tie the game. He then made the free throw to give the Rockets a 99-98 lead. But Brandon Roy swished a rainbow 30-footer as time expired to give the Blazers a crazy 101-99 win. Check out the video:
• Our favorite Indian pitchers, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, finally had their tryout yesterday. The ARIZONA REPUBLIC’s Jim Walsh has the details. In short, a lot of scouts think they deserve a shot, but nobody thinks it should be their team that gives it to them.
• The SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE quotes Padres GM Kevin Towers as saying that Jake Peavy’s “train has left the station,” which means the ‘07 Cy Young winner is going to be traded soon. He also has a full no-trade clause.
Safety equipment just gets in the way of an athlete’s jet-set lifestyle. Even Larry Bowa, former shortstop and full-time curmudgeon, hates having to wear a helmet as third base coach because he finds wearing a plastic hat “cumbersome“. Having problems getting that last signal off with the helmet in the way, coach? Know what I mean?