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LAst Night's Action: Angels, Dodgers Strike Out

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Chicago White Sox defeat LA Angels 9-2. The White Sox wasted no time jumping on Angels’ starter Scott Kazmir. After Juan Pierre grounded out to lead off the first, Alexei Ramirez homered to left field for the 1-0 lead. Kazmir walked Andruw Jones to lead off the second inning. That bit Kazmir in the ass when Jones stole second base with Brent Lillibridge batting and scored on Lillibridge’s single. While the Angels tried to come back making it 2-1 when Erick Aybar led off the sixth inning with a double and came home on Bobby Abreu’s ground-out, the White Sox came right back on Kazmir with Paul Konerko’s RBI single and Carlos Quentin two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth for the 5-1 lead. White Sox third baseman Dayan Viciedo in his tenth Major League game hit his first homer off of Kazmir in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 6-1. Later in the inning the Sox notched another run when Ramirez singled off of Rich Thompson scoring Lillibridge. The Angels added a run in the eighth inning on Howie Kendrick’s single while the Sox added two in the bottom half of the inning. Kazmir (7-8) went 6 1/3 innings giving up seven runs on six hits including three homers in his third consecutive loss, while Gavin Floyd (4-7) got the win in his seven innings of one-run ball.

Florida Marlins defeat LA Dodgers 6-5. Read my recap of this game.

NOTABLE NOTES

  • BURKE PRIDE. Our sister site Torontoist has a photo of Toronto Maple Leafs and former Anaheim Ducks’ general manager Brian Burke marching as a member of PFLAG in the Toronto Gay Pride parade over the weekend. Burke is continuing to honor his deceased son Brendan who came out publicly on ESPN.com this past winter and died in a car accident in February. He wore a Maple Leafs’ jersey with “Brendan” written on the back along with the number 88 - the year of Brendan’s birth. As Bruce Arthur of The National Post wrote,
    Brian Burke keeps his promises, and especially to his children. Everybody knows how he flew from Vancouver to Boston every second weekend for over a decade after he got the Vancouver job; how he calls them every day. He missed a playoff game once to keep the promise he made after getting divorced and moving across the country, that they wouldn't lose one minute with their dad. "I think you have to keep promises to your kids," he says simply.

    One year ago Brian Burke promised his son Brendan he would march in the Pride Parade with him. And in a way, he did.

    But when Burke is asked what he thought as he marched, as he clapped and waved to the crowds, the sunglasses can't hide him.

    "I just wish he was here," he says.

  • NBA PUZZLERS. Agent Arn Tellem announced on the Huffington Post that his client Joe Johnson has re-signed with the Atlanta Hawks for a maximum deal of around $119 million over the next six years - $27 million more than any other team could offer. Johnson is a good player, but he is not a max-contract player in the same strata as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. I guess Atlanta was pretty satisfied with his disappearing act against the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs when he averaged 12.8 points per game, 8.5 points per game less than his season average, while shooting 29.8% from the floor.
    But the comedy in the article comes when Tellem attempts to justify his client getting a max-contract by invoking the Michael Jordan clause. To quote Tellem:

    On his way out of the gym, Michael Jordan -- on hand to scout him for the Washington Wizards - told me, "Mark my word: Joe could turn out to be the best player in the 2001 draft."

    Granted the only other notable players drafted were Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas and Mehmet Okur. However using Jordan’s scouting abilities as evidence should not be the centerpiece of an argument. Jordan, after all, drafted Kwame Brown with the first pick of the draft that year.

    But not all signings have been head scratchers. The Lakers came to a four-year $16 million agreement with free agent point guard Steve Blake. This probably cements the departure of Shannon Brown and puts a little bit of pressure on Derek Fisher to take a pay cut. The 30-year old averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 assists per game in 29 games with the Clippers last season after being traded by the Portland Trail Blazers. Blake is also a good perimeter shooter going 44% behind the three-point line with the Clippers last season and 39% in his career.

    The Lakers are also reported to be flirting with shooting guard Raja Bell. Yes that Raja Bell who clotheslined Kobe Bryant in the first round of the 2006 playoffs while Bell was playing for the Phoenix Suns. But reports indicate that Kobe is the one championing the 34-year old Bell in the Lakers’ camp. Bell played only six games last season - five for the Charlotte Hornets and one for the Golden State Warriors after being involved in a trade that sent Stephen Jackson to Charlotte - and had season-ending wrist surgery in December. Bell is known for his defense and his ability hit the three-pointer from the corner when needed. Just for kicks, here’s that clothesline:

  • WIMBLEDON WRONG. So I was wrong. Rafael Nadal after his hiccups in the third and fourth rounds came back and easily dispatched Tomas Berdych in the final 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. And seeing how dominant he was against both Berdych and Andy Murray in the semifinals, he probably would have defeated Roger Federer in the Finals had Federer not bowed out in the quarterfinals. I was wrong. Nadal has now won his second Wimbledon title and his eighth Grand Slam title overall. He only needs to win the US Open in order to complete the career slam - Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. In addition he won the Olympic gold medal in men’s singles at Beijing in 2008. Meanwhile on the women’s side the top-ranked and top-seeded Serena Williams continued to mow down the competition not dropping a set during the fortnight. She capped it off with a 6-3, 6-2 win against the Russian Vera Zvonareva in a mere 67 minutes to win her second straight Wimbledon title and fourth overall. This also brings her to 13 Grand Slam titles eclipsing Billie Jean King. She is five titles behind Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova who have 18 titles each.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

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Florida Marlins (39-43) at LA Dodgers (45-37). Chris Volstad (4-7, 4.45 ERA) vs. Vicente Padilla (2-2, 5.05 ERA). 7:10 pm KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels (46-39) at Chicago White Sox (43-38). Jered Weaver (8-3, 2.82 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (7-6, 4.70 ERA). 5:10 pm FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.