Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

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Good morning to everyone but especially …


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THE TEXAS RANGERS

He started his career in Cuba. Then Japan. After defecting from Cuba, he bounced around the minors. He finally got called up in 2018, only to go back down and then get designated for assignment. He got traded for cash considerations. He spent a winter playing in the Dominican Republic. In 2020, he got six major-league at-bats, went hitless and was designated for assignment again.

Baseball has taken Adolis García many places. Now, he’s taking the Rangers to the World Series. García …

became the fourth player with multiple home runs in a Game 7
tied a Game 7 record with four hits
drove in five runs to bring his series total to a record-setting 15

… as the Rangers hammered the Astros, 11-4, to win their first pennant since 2011.

García was named ALCS MVP and stood as the undoubted star, but he had plenty of help. Corey Seager had three hits and homered off Cristian Javier in the first inning. Javier, who entered with a 2.08 career postseason ERA, recorded just one out.
Bruce Bochy, as he often does in the playoffs, pushed the right buttons. Max Scherzer went just 2 2/3 innings before Jordan Montgomery, normally a starter, went 2 1/3 scoreless. By the time he departed, the game was all but over.
Bochy has won 12 of his last 13 elimination games.
As for the manager on the other side, Dusty Baker‘s next move reportedly may be retirement.
This is just the second best-of-seven series in which the road team won every game. The Astros were in the other one, their 2019 World Series loss to the Nationals.

My goodness is this team fun. We’re still waiting on whom the Rangers will face — more on that in a bit — but we know García and the rest of this loaded lineup will be bringing the noise in search of the franchise’s first championship.

As far as the Astros? This may be the beginning of the end of their AL dominance.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for …


USATSI

THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The Phillies have been around since 1883. Tonight will be their first Game 7 ever after just about everything went wrong in a 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Aaron Nola surrendered four runs in just 4 1/3 innings. Nola pitched six scoreless innings in Game 2 (a 10-0 Philadelphia win) and entered Monday with an 0.96 ERA this postseason.
Nola allowed home runs to Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. — the first time the Diamondbacks have gone back-to-back in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Ketel Marte‘s 15-game playoff hitting streak is tied for the longest ever to begin a career.
On the other side, Merrill Kelly allowed one run over five innings.
The Phillies entered the night 6-0 averaging 6.5 runs at home this postseason, but Bryce Harper and Trea Turner were a combined 0-7, and the normally hard-hitting lineup managed just one extra base hit.

The good news for the Phillies is they’ll start Ranger Suárez tonight, and he’s been lights out. Though Nola had been, too, so we’ll see. Here’s our preview.

Not so honorable mentions

Kirk Cousins leads Vikings to upset with 49ers down bad


USATSI

When Justin Jefferson went down, things could have gone completely sideways for the Vikings. Instead, they’ve won two straight and might have found another star wide receiver in the process. Minnesota capped a week full of upsets with a 22-17 triumph over the 49ers, handing San Francisco its second straight loss.

Kirk Cousinsno stranger to primetime struggles — was terrific, throwing for 378 yards and a pair of scores. As a 7-point underdog, this is the third-largest upset win of his career, including the playoffs.
Jordan Addison starred with seven catches for 123 yards and two scores. His second touchdown was truly incredible: He ripped a would-be interception away from Charvarius Ward and raced 60 yards with seven seconds left in the first half.
The 49ers put together a late charge — Christian McCaffrey continued his historic scoring streak with two touchdowns — but it wasn’t meant to be: Brock Purdy threw his second interception of the fourth quarter to Camryn Bynum to end it.

Cousins, Addison and Bynum will rightfully get the headlines, but the offensive line (Cousins wasn’t sacked) and the defensive line (San Francisco averaged under 3 yards per rush) were terrific. And what a win for the Vikings, who at 3-4 continue to hang around.

I’m not super concerned for the 49ers … yet. Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams missed the game with injuries, and those are two massive absences. The defense was surprisingly bad, but if every loss automatically made a team bad … well we haven’t had a good team since the undefeated 1972 Dolphins. The 49ers will be just fine. 

NBA season preview: Power Rankings, predictions, more


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We are SO back, friends. The NBA returns tonight with two star-studded matchups: Lakers-Nuggets and Warriors-Suns.

This has all the makings of a memorable season. Nikola Jokic and friends defending their title. Stephen Curry trying to lead Golden State back. LeBron James against Father Time … again. The loaded SunsVictor Wembanyama. And that’s just the West! In the East, Damian Lillard is in Milwaukee (alongside newly extended Giannis Antetokounmpo), Jrue Holiday is in Boston, and James Harden is … technically he’s on the 76ers, but he’s nowhere to be seen in Philadelphia. There’s no drama like NBA drama, and it’s already building. I love it. We already have 20 intriguing storylines before the season’s even begun!

One of the most drama-free teams, though, is No. 1 in Colin Ward-Henninger’s season-opening Power Rankings:

Nuggets
Celtics
Bucks
Suns
Lakers

In his bold predictions, Brad Botkin has Jokic — No. 1 in our NBA Top 100 rankings — earning his third career MVP. But what about a second NBA championship? Our experts have made their predictions on champions, award winners and more, and here’s their title pick:

OK, now for the link dump, because our experts have done a fantastic job …

Phew. Enjoy!

Who’s hot in college football, plus what does Maalik Murphy brings to Texas?


Kim O’Reilly, CBS Sports

Another week, another shuffle atop Dennis Dodd’s College Football Power Rankings. Here’s his latest top five:

Michigan (previous: 2)
Georgia (1)
Florida State (3)
Oklahoma (4)
Ohio State (6)

Yes, that’s a new No. 1! Georgia slides down despite not losing. The Bulldogs didn’t win, either; they had a bye. Dennis has four reasons for the switch, including …

Dodd: “You can argue about schedule — Michigan has yet to play a ranked team — but you can’t argue about results. At this point in the season, consistency counts. Michigan has blown everyone out. The closest game has been 24 points. The average margin of victory is almost 35 points per game. The point differential alone (278 points) is more than 121 teams have scored this season.

Michigan had already been atop the CBS Sports 133, but now there are two Big Ten teams in the top three with Ohio State rising to third.

Texas is seventh in the Power Rankings and eighth in the CBS Sports 133, but the Longhorns are turning to a new face behind center, Maalik Murphy, after Quinn Ewers went down with a shoulder injury. Will Backus has the outlook for the Longhorns, and Barrett Sallee explains why it’s Murphy, not Arch Maning, at quarterback.

What we’re watching Tuesday

UEFA Champions League, streaming on CBS and Paramount+
Maple Leafs at Capitals, 6 p.m. on ESPN
Lakers at Nuggets, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
Diamondbacks at Phillies, 8:07 p.m. on TBS
Bruins at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Suns at Warriors, 10 p.m. on TNT
Flyers at Golden Knights, 11 p.m. on ESPN

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