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LAst Night's Action: The Almost Perfect Edition

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Almost Perfect. Almost 12 years after making his Major League debut for the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies’ starter Roy Halladay made his first postseason start on Wednesday. And what a start it was as he became only the second person in history to pitch a no-hitter in the postseason joining the New York Yankees’ Don Larsen who had a perfecto against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Incidentally that was Larsen’s third postseason start of his career having never gone past the fifth inning in his previous two games started.

It seems like in every no-hitter there is a play or plays made on the field that is extraordinary in order to preserve the game. One of those plays came in the third inning with two outs when pitcher Travis Wood, who was pitching in relief of Reds’ starter Edinson Volquez, lined a ball to right field that got Jayson Werth confused. But with a sliding grab he preserved the no-hitter, and it was at that point the no-hitter was inevitable.

Unfortunately the ultimate of superlatives cannot be used on this game because of a two-out walk to Jay Bruce in the fifth inning, but it still didn’t take away the drama of the final two innings. And that final stab by Brandon Phillips that went mere feet in front of the plate and rested on the tossed bat forced catcher Carlos Ruiz to have to make a perfect throw from his knees to first base.

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Of course in this year of the pitcher we would get the second no-hitter in postseason history. Also this marks the first time since 1973 that a pitcher has tossed two no-hitters in the same season when Nolan Ryan did it.

Kings and Pandora Partner. The Kings and Pandora, the online personalized radio service, announced a localized advertising campaign. They will be targeting men 25-49 in the Los Angeles area on both the website and mobile phone application.

Players Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, Rob Scuderi, Jack Johnson, Brad Richardson, Peter Harrold, Davis Drewiske, Kevin Westgarth and Jonathan Bernier compiled a list of their favorite songs which was put into a “mixtape” that fans can add to their stations on Pandora. Songs include Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”; Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls”; Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”; Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannan”; Eminem’s “I’m Not Afraid.”

“The campaign focus, ‘A Plan for Every Fan,’ is in line with the personalization mission of Pandora, where radio stations are personalized to each individual taste and advertising campaigns are delivered to a brand’s ideal demographic,” said John Trimble, Pandora Chief Revenue Officer. “With this campaign, the L.A. Kings can reach their fans and encourage them to get in the game, wherever they may be - on the web or on-the-go with mobile.”

"The LA Kings are excited to help create the first sports team-inspired Pandora music station,” said Jonathan Lowe, Kings VP of Marketing. “We are populating the LA Kings mixtape with our players’ favorite songs along with the most popular songs played during our Kings games at STAPLES Center. This partnership with Pandora represents our club’s focus of looking to the Internet and technology to bringing innovative concepts to life, with the ultimate goal of enhancing our fans ability to connect with their favorite team.”

The Kings become the first professional sports team to partner with Pandora on a targeted ad campaign.

Randy Moss Returns. It’s something that’s been hinted about for a little bit now, but it is official now: New England Patriots’ wide receiver Randy Moss has been traded to the Minnesota Vikings along with a seventh-round draft pick in 2012 for a third-round 2011 draft pick. The 33-year old receiver only has nine catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns after four games this season. In Monday night’s rout over the Miami Dolphins, Moss was only thrown to once - a touchdown pass at the end of the first half that he dropped.

Moss was drafted by the Vikings in the first round in 1998 an energized the franchise which had been on the bubble with back-to-back playoff-bound 9-7 seasons. With Randall Cunningham behind center, the team went off to a 15-1 record losing only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 9. The decided favorite to win the Super Bowl they ultimately lost to the Atlanta Falcons 30-27 in overtime in the NFC Championship Game in the Metrodome. In a memorable Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys, Moss had only three catches. However they were all touchdown passes for a total of 163 yards in a 46-36 victory.

For non-Vikings fans here in Los Angeles, most will wonder what the impact of this trade will be in their fantasy football leagues. Moss always makes an impact in his first game with a new team.

Minnesota, 1998: 4 receptions, 95 yards with 2 touchdowns, 15.5 fantasy points.
Oakland, 2005: 5 receptions, 130 yards with 1 touchdown, 19 fantasy points.
New England, 2007: 9 receptions, 183 yards with 1 touchdown, 24.3 fantasy points.

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Brett Favre will be more than delighted to have Moss to throw to given all the injuries to the Vikings’ receiving corps.

As for the media-geekdom aspect of this, Deadspin chronicled how, thanks to Bill Simmons, this story exploded on Tuesday.


LA Galaxy (53 pts., 16-6-5) at Phildelphia Union (28 pts., 7-13-7). 5:00 pm ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, AM 1330 KWKW (en español).

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