This is a particularly crazy week in sports. Here are some of the highlights.
Tim Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter yesterday.
If you follow baseball, I’m not breaking that news for you.
My other post today explores a bit of how Lincecum is a different pitcher, but my post is centered on pitching injuries and prevention. Ben Reiter of SI.com has more on the no-hitter itself.
The U.S. Men’s National Team faces Germany at noon.
It’s a bit of a miracle the men have come this far through the “Group of Death,” but it would be a shame to come this far and not advance.
Sunday night’s game was deflating, as Portugal scored in the final minute of stoppage time on a beautiful cross. Maybe the U.S. should have been able to clear that ball, but let’s not lose sight of how well placed the cross was.
Jürgen Klinsmann and the U.S. men have some work to do against a powerful German squad that showed it was human when Ghana forced a draw. To ensure advancement to the round of 16, both Germany and the U.S. need a draw. The U.S. doesn’t need a win to move on, though. The different possibilities for U.S. advancement are outlined here, but we’ll know in a few hours who’s advanced.
If that’s not the sort of thing that piques your interest, just go ahead and watch the game(s). Someone will explain it all later.
There’s plenty more World Cup action to come. Keep in mind that for the last game of the group stage, both games in each group are played at the same time to lessen the impact of one result on the way another game is played.
The NBA draft is tonight.
In that light, Bill Simmons posted an interesting article pointing out what a crapshoot the draft is.
The numbers are compelling. How much does having certain draft picks help anyone?
It raises a bigger question — how is the scouting that off for so long?
It may have something to do with how different the style of play is in the NBA and other leagues. While college teams can excel on scrappy defense and good teamwork, the NBA dynamic is heavily weighted toward pure athletes and shooters. Yet even that doesn’t necessarily hold. If I get an idea of what that might be, I’ll be sure to share. But don’t hold your breath on that one.
Also, don’t hold your breath too long for the draft. The guy going in the middle of the second round could be the next Manu Ginobli. If you watch tonight, don’t put too much stock in it now. Very few successes in the draft will be determined before seeing how this field of prospects does on the court.
The NHL draft is tomorrow night and Saturday.
Why not put all our draft excitement into the same weekend for the two major sports that overlap the most?
The NBA and NHL compete for attention during the season, so it makes some sense the drafts would do roughly the same thing. I’m not sure how well that works out for the NHL, though, because the NBA has had more buzz for a long time. Perhaps ESPN’s lack of hockey coverage has a bit to do with that. (ESPN set itself up last July, leading to the Twitter curator of the San Jose Sharks voicing displeasure on behalf of all hockey fans.)
In case you missed it, the NHL draft is in Philly this year, and a number of locals took their shots at the prospects for eating at Geno’s.
Say what you will, but at least Joey Vento supported soldiers MIA/KIA, so that’s where some of the profit went over the years. You don’t have to like his other positions to respect that. All the same, I’d go elsewhere for a real cheesesteak.
But back to hockey. I had the fortune of meeting a few draft prospects, including No. 1 overall Nathan MacKinnon, while filming for SI Now in New York last summer. Here’s one clip from that segment.
This week should establish some MLB teams as sellers.
A number of teams are once again on that fine line of deciding whether or not they can make a run at the postseason.
The Mets, Phillies, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox and probably a few other teams may realize by the end of the week that this isn’t the year to go all-out for an improbable World Series run. In fact, the Phillies have already told other clubs that this week would likely determine their stance. Some teams probably should have already made that decision, but the choice to rebuild when it’s obviously needed is better made now than not at all.
The next month is a big time of the year for teams that have stars who could fit on a playoff team. The scouting is important in finding the right prospects for the deal. If done right, those teams can establish the future of the organization with a few well-placed moves. The trade deadline is July 31 at 4 p.m. EST.