Thoughts of the Day is back! Today, the big topics are last night’s Yankees-Red Sox thriller, CC Sabathia’s struggles, Lefty’s win at the British Open, and Von Miller’s possible suspension. Let’s do it!
- Last night’s Sunday Night Baseball game at Fenway was a classic battle that the Red Sox won with a walk-off homer by Mike Napoli in the 11th. It was an eventful night for the Sox first baseman, who struck out in the first inning, then hit a three-run homer in the third to give the Sox a 4-3 lead, then struck out in the fourth and sixth innings to leave two runners stranded on base both times, then hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, then hit the walk-off in the eleventh. If the Yankees had won this game, Napoli would’ve been one of the goats of this one for the double play, but redeemed himself as the hero for the walk-off.
- Not everyone was happy with a call in the top of the eleventh when second base umpire Mike Everitt called Eduardo Nunez out trying to steal with two outs in the inning. Replays clearly showed that Nunez was safe, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to argue the call. While this was a bad call, you can’t play the hypothetical game. After all, who was to say Chris Stewart, he of the .240 average, would have driven Nunez in with two strikes and two outs? And, hypothetically, if the Red Sox hadn’t made three egregious errors (two which immediately led to runs scored for New York), we wouldn’t be having that discussion in the first place. I’m even guilty of playing the hypotheticals sometimes, but in this case, it’s very misleading.
- CC Sabathia didn’t have the happiest of birthdays Sunday night, and he’s 0-2 with a bulging 7.48 ERA in four career starts on July 21st. It wasn’t the birthdate that mattered last night, however; CC has simply lost his formerly-dominant fastball. He doesn’t throw 95 miles per hour anymore, and it’s going to take an adjustment period for the former Cy Young winner to become the ace again. That 90-92 mph 4-seamer is getting left up in the middle of the zone, and hitters are having a field day crushing it out of the park. Going up the ladder and trying to blow it by the batter on an 0-2 count isn’t going to work anymore, so CC’s going to have to work on his other pitches and become one of those crafty left-handers. His two-seam, slider and change-up are going to need improvement, or the Yankees are going to be in a precarious situation with Sabathia under contract until 2016. Can CC regain the confidence and go back to being the fearsome ace he was a couple years ago? It’s going to take a lot of work with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
- Phil Mickelson won The Open Championship on Sunday after a dominating Sunday round of 66, the lowest final round score for a British Open winner since 1997. Lefty has sure made quite a comeback from a disappointing British last year where he missed the cut at St. Annes. Mickelson called it the best he’s ever putted, and he sure made some very impressive putts Sunday, including the winning putt where he played the break perfectly and added another signature moment to his storied career. As for the leader coming into the final round, Lee Westwood’s final round 75 was one of the poorest rounds on Sunday. His five bogeys were the most of the four rounds in the tournament, and he set an unfortunate record of the most top three finishes in majors without a win. He has one more shot at a major title this year at the PGA Championship, but he knows he let one get away at Muirfield.
- ESPN reported this morning that star Broncos linebacker Von Miller is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Miller is appealing the suspension, which Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported was due to a positive test for amphetamines and marijuana in 2011, Miller’s rookie season. If Klis’s report is correct, then the NFL has a big question to answer: why is Miller being suspended now when the positive test was in 2011? What happened in 2011 that swept this under the rug until now? Though I do not know how credible Klis is, if this report is true the NFL will have to do some damage control.