Hitting on a variety of topics this week as there has been a lot going on.

Horse Racing

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: I'll Have Another #9 r...

I’ll Have Another rolled around the track at Pimlico to win the second Jewel of the Triple Crown. We once again have a chance to see a Triple Crown winner as the horse made a huge move down the stretch to catch Bodemeister and get the win by a head in the Preakness Stakes.

Bodemeister is staying home for the final installment of the three big races, so it will be interesting to see who will come and try to spoil the party, as these two horses were WELL clear of the field this past Sunday.

The last horse to win the triple crown was Affirmed in 1978.

Bye Bye L.A.

Showtime gets to go on vacation as they were easily dispatched by the Oklahoma City Thunder in their second round series by a count of 4-1. There is a lot of talk already about players being traded here or there in the offseason. Sadly we also found out what happens in OKC during victory celebrations and 8 people were shot last night in various events following the win.

On the other side of the states, everyone is wondering what is wrong with the Miami Heat. The “Big Three” has not been getting it done, LeBron James has been getting thrown under the bus, Wade has played poorly, and Chris Bosh is injured.  On Sunday, LeBron and Wade exploded for 70 combined points (with some help from Haslem) to get the series back to even, but unless the Heat get back Bosh, it is going to be a large task for them to go any further in the playoffs.  LeBron and Wade cannot win EVERY game on their own. Other players on the squad right now basically can’t hit the ocean falling out of a boat, and the Pacers frankly are a bad personnel match up for the Heat due to their size, especially with no Bosh in the lineup. Could be an interesting next couple of days in South Beach.

In other Florida NBA news, Stan Van Gundy has been fired as coach of the Magic.  Let’s see a show of hands – was anyone surprised by this?

NFL Training Camps

RG III has evidently impressed the Redskins coaching staff and has looked sharp early on in practice. I love RG III!

In other news the Bucs have gotten rid of loud mouthed warrior Kellen Winslow and signed Dallas Clark. Talk about instant locker-room improvement.

Is anyone else surprised we have not heard anything about Peyton Manning in a couple of weeks?

Baseball

No excitement this year for me. The biggest news has been the lack of home runs by Albert Pujols.  The teammate gaining the most from the attention on Pujols this year is rookie Mike Trout.  The 20 year old Trout is one of the top 2 prospects in all of baseball – but between the media attention on Bryce Harper’s antics and their fascination with Pujols being unable to hit his stride, Trout has been able to sneak under the radar a bit.  This shouldn’t be the case, as Trout is batting .350 with 4 homers and 6 steals in 20 games (OPS .613).  Trout’s game is built around speed, so the early homers are an added bonus for the Halos.

Yu Darvish has been garnering a lot of the spotlight, which is normally the case with foreign phenoms.  Darvish is putting up good numbers – he is 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched.  Perhaps the biggest concern at this point is walks.  Darvish has issued 32 free passes – a rate of more than 5 walks per 9 innings.  He seemed to be getting this under control with walks totals of 2, 2, 4, 3, and 2 in a recent five game stretch.  Last night, however, Darvish issues a career high six walks and was sent to the showers after the fourth inning.

Lastly, Aroldis Chapman of the Reds was picked up for speeding last night. Chapman has been literally unhittable this year, posting 39 strikeouts in just 22 1/3 innings and a .196 batting average allowed. Seems like he was trying to drive as fast as his highest pitch speed (which is 105 mph) as Chapman was pulled over Monday for going a leisurely 93 mph on the interstate.

Justin Verlander had a recent no-hit attempt broken up in the ninth inning.  Had he finished with a no-no, it would have been the third of his career.  Batters are hitting just .168 against him this year.

Matt Kemp’s run at an MVP took a hit with a hamstring injury.  He says that the hammy is at 85% and he plans to return to the lineup on May 29th.  Sometimes these types of injuries can linger.  The post-season aspirations of the Dodgers hinges on whether or not Kemp can make a full recovery.

On the topic of comebacks … look no further than the south side of Chicago.  After seven straight seasons of at least 38 homers, Adam Dunn fell hard in 2011.  In his first year with the White Sox, he hit just 11 homers in 415 at bats, while hitting anemic .159.  This year, his average is at .247 (higher than his career mark) and he has 14 homers and 34 walks en route a .986 OPS.  And fans don’t have to worry about the heat this summer – Dunn’s 62 strikeouts (on pace for a record 239) has provided abundant air circulation at The Cell.

Until next time, stay classy Thief River Falls, Minnesota!
 

 

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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