Beaning, base-running blunders, tough year for Cano

A day after getting beaned with an errant throw while sitting in the dugout, Robinson Cano had another tough day.

The Mariners’ second baseman made another base-running mistake on Sunday. Cano was on third base in the fourth inning and should have tagged up sooner on a line drive hit by Kyle Seager to right field. It’s debatable whether he would have scored against the Angels had he busted for home, but you have to give yourself a chance to do it in that situation.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes about Cano’s blunder in the second part of this story.

It’s just another in a series of Little League-like mistakes Cano has been guilty of on the bases this year.

HIs first on April 15 at Dodger Stadium was the most memorable. I’m not even gonna go into the details, but I never recall a player of his status making such a bone-headed move. You can watch it again and listen to Dodgers’ broadcaster Vin Scully describe it here.

On June 4 at Safeco Field, Cano was picked off first base on the day manager Lloyd McClendon took his team out to the field to discuss the art of base-running.

By the way, Cano was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Sunday and his averaged dropped to .241.

It’s been a tough season for the six-time All-Star. The bizarre beaning pretty much captures the whole season for Cano and the Mariners to date. The Mariners, by the way, are paying Cano $24 million a year through the 2023 season.

What they’re writing, saying about the U.S. Open, Chambers Bay

 

 

Here’s what some people are writing about the U.S. Open and Chambers Bay:

Jordan Spieth won a U.S. Junior Amateur championship at Gold Mountain Golf Club in 2011, and he won the U.S. Open on Sunday at Chambers Bay. Jeff Graham of the Kitsap Sun writes about it.

One of the feel-good stories of the week was Kitsap’s own Troy Kelly, who finished with a 1-under 69. I followed Kelly around and talked to him and his brother, caddie Ryan Kelly, after the round.

In the end, the controversial tournament was decided by nerves and the best player won, writes Cameron Morfit of golf.com.

Here’s what Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press wrote about on Sunday.

Mike Davis heard all of the complains, but the USGA’s executive director said the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay was a big success. Here’s Paul Ramsdell’s story about it in the Seattle Times.

The 115th U.S. Open was the “first completely made-for-TV major championship in golf history,” writes Dave Sheinan of the Washington Post.

Chambers Bay hogged the spotlight, and that’s not right, writes Christine Brennan of USA Today.

Can Spieth buck history and win the Grand Slam? 

Chambers Bay wasn’t so tough, according to this Golf Digest report.  Check out these numbers.

Golf Digest’s list of winners and losers, or birdies and bogeys.

Veteran golf writer Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times had this take on the U.S. Open and Spieth’s victory.

Art Thiel of sportspressnw.com writes about Jordan Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, and the things swirling through their minds during the mind-humbling final half hour of the U.S. Open.

Billy Horschel took shots at the USGA following his final round, and here’s Adam Lewis’ take for sportspressnw.com. Horschel loved the spectacular beauty of Chambers Bay, but said it was a disappointing week because of the conditions of the green.

For Dustin Johnson, it was a choke, plain and simple, writes Chris Case of USA Today.

ICYMI, here’s Gary Player’s rant about Chambers Bay a couple of days ago. It’s worth listening to if you haven’t heard it.

Chambers Bay designer Robert Trent Jones not ready to get into a debate with Gary Player.

Chris Kirk took a sextuple bogey on No. 1 Sunday. For those of you counting, that’s a 10.

Here’s some quotes from the Open:

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 champion who closed with a 67, finished a few hours before Spieth. Assessing Chambers Bay, Ogilvy told the New York Times: “You have to move the ball both ways and you have to use your brain, which is a rare thing in modern golf and something we’re not very good at, I don’t think. It’s going to be a class act of a player who wins, and really that’s all you want.”

“It has been a strange atmosphere because [fans] can’t seem to get close and on some holes, there aren’t any. I watched Phil Mickelson tee off at the first today, and then people won’t see him until the second shot on the second hole, because you can’t get down the first. From a fan’s point of view, it must have been even a harder trek than for us players.” — Lee Westwood.

On Friday, Henrik Stenson said it was “like putting on broccoli.”

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy begged to differ Saturday. “I don’t think they’re as green as broccoli. More like cauliflower.”

Sergio Garcia on putting at Chambers Bay: “Obviously, luck is always a factor in golf, but this is pushing it a little bit,. This is beyond luck. Sometimes it’s hope. Some putts you hit and you hope it’s going to take the right bounce right or left . . . It just doesn’t feel right.”

Chris Kirk shot 78 to finish 21-over, last among those who made the cut, then tweeted: “The U.S. Open is a great tournament with incredible history. The USGA should be ashamed of what they did to it this week.”

Dustin Johnson, the disappointed runner-up: “You know, I played well today. I did everything I was supposed to do. I hit the ball really well, and I’m proud of the way I handled myself. I just really struggled getting the ball in the hole today. I didn’t think I was hitting bad putts; I thought I hit them pretty good. They just weren’t going in.”

 

Does Chambers Bay deserve another chance to host a major?

Golfers are already on the course for the final round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Will this be the final time the course hosts a major professional golf event?

The place has been heavily criticized by players and golf analysts for the poor conditions of the greens and by the fans for the poor viewing areas.

I walked the place Thursday, Friday and Saturday as a spectator, and it’s tough going. The terrain makes it difficult to walk and all of the sand dunes, most of them off limits to fans, make it difficult to watch. The sight lines are non-existent on some holes and unless you’ve  plopped down in one of the grandstands, you can’t get close to many of the players.

Still, the uniqueness of the place, the beauty of it all, is stunning.

Would I pay $110 for a ticket if the U.S. Open came back? Not if they keep things the way they are. The USGA says it’s worried about the safety of fans, which is why it keeps fans off of the slippery hillsides and dunes. There are ways to get around that. Build some paths up those hills, cut out some amphitheatre-like seating some of the larger hills that have fantastic viewing areas.

Put some ropes up closer to the fairways and let the fans get closer to the players. There are certainly ways to make it more fan-friendly. The USGA blew it this time around concerning the fans.

And there are certainly ways to fix those greens. Some have already been re-done since the 2010 U.S. Amateur was played at Chambers Bay. Players rave about the greens on No. 7 and No. 13. Re-do the others. Give the players a unique test of golf, but let them put on greens that are as beautiful as the surrounding Puget Sound area. Because of the terrain and the slopes on the greens, the USGA can still make sure that the winning score will be closer to even par than -20.

So going into Sunday’s final round, I’ll be back at the course, but this time I’m working. There’s no cheering in the media center, but I’ll be pulling for the local guy, Central Kitsap Troy Kelly, to have the round of his life (he tees off at 10:29 a.m.), and I’ll be looking forward to what the USGA has to say about the future of Chambers Bay.

Will this be the course’s swan song with big-time golf, or is it just the beginning?

 

Gold Mountain’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ have arrived

“The Stars of Tomorrow.”

That’s what they billed the U.S. Junior Amateur when it came to Bremerton’s Gold Mountain Golf Club in 2010.

I’ve mentioned this before, but Gold Mountain’s had its share of young stars pass through over the years, whether it was a USGA national event (Junior Am or 2006 U.S. Amateur  Public Links) or NCAA tournament (Husky Invitational or NCAA regional).

By my count, there’s 11 players left in the field of 75 at the U.S. Open who have competed at Gold Mountain, including co-leader Jordan Spieth, the 2010 U.S. Junior Am champ, and Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad and former UW golfer now living in Steilacoom.

The others: Dustin Johnson, Jamie Lovemark, Beau Hossler, Cheng-Tsung Pan, Luke Donald, Billy Horschel, Kevin Chappel, Keegan Bradley and Morgan Hoffman.

Kelly, by the way, tees off at 8:47 a.m. on Saturday. He carded rounds of 72-73 and made it into the field with 15 others when amateur Nick Hardy bogeyed his final hole on Friday. It’s the first time Kelly has made a cut in a major. He played previously in the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and at the 2012 British Open.

Kelly has been playing on a major medical exemption for most of the last three years. He has seven PGA Tour starts left after the US Open and unless he changes plans, he will play at the July 2-5 Greenbrier Classic, where he lost a three-hole playoff to Ted Potter Jr. and placed second in 2012.

Golf: Kelly, Jonson bid for U.S. Open spots; U.S. Open Trophy, City Amateur at Gold Mtn

Troy Kelly and Carl Jonson will try to play their way into the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay on Monday.

They will be among 50 players gunning for three spots in the 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum.

Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad now living in Lakewood, has battled injuries on the PGA Tour. The former NCAA runner-up when he was at Washington qualified for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., in 2005. His best finish on the PGA Tour was a second at The Greenbrier Classic in 2012. He also played in the British Open that year.

Bainbridge’s Jonson, who just completed his senior year at UNLV, made it through local qualifying earlier this year. He was the Washington State Golf Association Men’s Player of the Year in 2014 and qualified for the U.S. Amateur that was played in 2010 at Chambers Bay.

Washington All-American Cheng-Tsung Pan, recent runner-up at the NCAA national championship, is also in the field. He’s qualified for two U.S. Opens, including 2013 when the sectional qualifier was also at Tumble Creek.

Another former Husky, Richard Lee, is also entered. Lee, a past Bremerton City Amateur champion, has had some success on the PGA and Web.com tours, but hasn’t played this year because of an injury.

Brent Zapp, head pro at Chambers Bay, will try to qualify to play in the national championship on his home course

You can find the complete pairings and tee times here.

U.S. Open Trophy Tour at Gold Mountain

The U.S. Open Trophy Tour stops at Gold Mountain on Saturday (June 6). It’ll be there from 1-3 p.m.

Golfers are encouraged to take a photo with the trophy and share via social media using #usopenforall and #lexusgolf to have a chance to win two tickets to the final round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

City Am June 6-7

The annual Bremerton City Amateur, a 36-hole tournament, will be held Saturday and Sunday at Gold Mountain.

Golfers will play the Cascade Course on Saturday, and the Olympic Course on Sunday. Here’s Saturday’s pairings and tee times.

Mercer Island’s Charlie Kern, who finished his college career at William & Mary last month, will be back to defend his title. Kern’s best finish this spring was a tie for third at the Redhawks Invitational in April at Chambers Bay.

Bainbridge teen Sam Warkentin, who won a Class 3A state championship recently, and Olympic College standout Adam Barker are among the contenders. Past champion Scott Fenske and Devin Loudon, who won the 2014 Kitsap Amateur, also also entered.

Kenyan Fanslow from Tacoma, an NWAC standout while at Olympic College, is also in the field. He’s now at Northwest Nazarene and was the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year.

Another way to get to Chambers Bay

The Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce announced that it will run a shuttle to Chambers Bay for the U.S. Open. Cost is $30 for a roundtrip and reservations are required. Read about it in this Tacoma News Tribune story.

 

Links, tweets, Kitsap news and college updates

LINKS

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has an interesting take on the NFL’s handling of Deflategate and takes the league to task for letting the Seahawks draft Michael Clark:

Sharp writes:

The Seahawks are no doubt ecstatic that the Patriots’ punishment has deflected attention from their gross mishandling of the Clark situation.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com writes about the U.S. Open, specifically how broadcasters Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be tested during the week.

Thiel writes:

This is the first year Buck has done golf, the first year for Norman as a broadcast analyst, and obviously the first time they’ve paired — on a course hosting the Open for the first time in a region that has never experienced it.

Rookie ball for all. Sorta.

“I’d be an idiot to not — not be concerned or apprehensive, but there will be things I’m hit with that I’m not expecting, Buck said. “This isn’t second nature, but it will be. Gotta start somewhere.

“My approach is to take my time and not try to wow everybody with everything I say. Silence speaks volumes, and you pick your spots.”

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam sings Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field.

Only two pitchers in MLB have six wins, Felix Hernandez and …… Bartolo Colon. Colon, now with the Mets, has 40 strikeouts and just one walk, which adds up to his age (41).

TWEETS

@SteveSandmeyer of 1090 The Fan warns fans that it’s best to stay a little even-keeled when it comes to following your favorite MLB baseball team.

https://twitter.com/stevesandmeyer

Players walkways going up between third and fourth holes at Chambers Bay. @AaronQ13Fox has the photo. 

PUMAS

The Kitsap Pumas get their 2015 season started with a first-round U.S. Open Cup game against Tacoma 253 on Wednesday at Mount Tahoma. The 7 p.m. game will be live streamed. http://ustream.com/channel/sonarfeed or http://www.youtube.com/user/acseattlechannel

The winners plays Sounders FC2 at Starfire in Tukwila on May 20.

Here’s The Sun’s preview story. And here’s the Pumas roster and schedule, or fixtures as  they like to say in the soccer world.

BLUEJACKETS

In case you missed it, the Kitsap BlueJackets schedule is out. They open West Coast League play at Bellingham on June 5.

Here’s a look at some of their players.

PREPS

The annual high school all-star baseball and softball games will be held June 4 (a Thursday) at The Fairgrounds. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable sponsors the games, which start at 4 p.m. The softball game includes the top players in the area, regardless of year in school. The baseball game (or games, depending on the number of players selected) are for seniors only. It’s affiliated with the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association, and top players will be nominated for the all-state series in Yakima.

Good luck to all of the local teams and athletes as they head into the postseason. Follow them at the prepzone.kitsapsun.com or at The Prep Beat blog.

COLLEGIANS

Baseball

Pacific Lutheran catcher Curtis Wildung (sr., Kingston) and the Lutes, the Northwest Conference champs, will open play in the six-team NCAA Division III South Region at Demorest, Ga., on Wednesday. Wildung hit .308 and started 25 games for the Lutes (30-12). He has two homers, 12 RBI, and hasn’t made an error. He has earned 20 base on balls and has a .446 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .487.

Linfield pitcher Joe Stevick (sr., Olympic) and the Wildcats (30-13) were an at-large selection to the NCAA Division III tournaments. Linfield opens the six-team West Region tourney at Tyler, Texas on Wednesday. Stevick, a right-hander, is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 relief appearances. He’s pitched 26 innings, allowing 23 hits, striking out 20 and walking four. … A.J. Milyard (so., North Kitsap) is a relief pitcher for Whitworth (28-13), which is also headed to the West Region.

Logan Knowles (fr., South Kitsap) had a 3-run inside the park home run over the weekend, helping Navy (36-18) beat Lafayette in the Patriot League semifinals series. Navy faces Lehigh in a best-of-three series for the Patriot championship on May 16-17. Knowles has started 34 games for the Midshipmen and is hitting .183 with 11 RBI.

Shane Matheny (fr., Olympic) has started all 50 games for Washington State. The third baseman is hitting .219 and has 19 RBI, third-best for the Cougars (27-23, 9-15 Pac-12), who have six regular-season games left.

Softball

Third baseman Erin Kinney (so., Bainbridge) and shortstop Alissa Buss (so., South Kitsap) helped Linfield wins its NCAA Division III regional in Decorah, Iowa over the weekend. The Wildcats came out of the loser’s bracket to win four straight games, sweeping Iowa Conference champion Luther College in the finals. Linfield (35-13) will play Central College (34-10) in Pella, Iowa in the super regionals, starting Friday, May 15. Kinney is hitting .389; Buss .367.

NWAC

Olympic College’s softball team qualified for the Northwest Athletic Conference championship for the eighth straight year and third year under head coach Dan Haas. The Rangers (17-15) were seeded No. 13 and open against No. 4 Mount Hood (29-9) on Friday at noon at Delta Park in Portland. The full bracket can be found here.

 

 

 

 

Mariners come home in last place; is it time to panic?

They were supposed to challenge for first place this season.

Twenty-eight games into the season, the Seattle Mariners are in last place, seven games out of first in the AL West. They’ve lost six of their last seven.

What’s up?

“I think the baseball gods are testing us a little bit,” said manager Lloyd McClendon following a second straight walk off loss to the Anaheim Angeles on Wednesday.

I wonder if McClendon believes in the Church of Baseball? You know, the one Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) talked about in the movie “Bull Durham.”

Annie’s philosophy:

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex. There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250… not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. ‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust it. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.

Baseball gods or no baseball gods, other than Nelson Cruz (,333, 14 HRs, 26 RBI) and Felix Hernandez (5-0, 1.73 ERA ), there’s not a lot to get excited about right now when it comes to the Mariners.

Annie Savoy wouldn’t have a lot of choices when it comes to finding a hitter to sleep with. Other than Cruz, Robinson Cano (.263), Kyle Seager (.255) and Seth Smith (.250) are the only players hitting above .250.

This is a bad baseball team right now. Fernando Rodney has eight saves, but a 5.56 ERA. Hishaski Iwakuma is on the DL, Taijuan Walker (1-3, 8.74 ERA) and James Paxton (0-2, 5.08 ERA) were thought to be can’t-miss prospects, and now you know why they play the games.

It’s frustrating for the fans because the franchise had such lofty expectation coming into this season. The Mariners were considered, by just about everybody, a pretty good bet to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2001.

Seattle opened the season as 12-1 favorites to win the World Series, one of the four favorites in MLB according to the sports book Bovada. The odds have dropped to 33-1 and the Mariners now own the fourth-worst record in baseball.

Is it time to panic?

The Brewers (9-19, .321), Phillies (10-19, .345) and Indians (10-16, .385) are the only MLB teams with worst records than Seattle (11-17, .393).

Catcher Mike Zunino is hitting .177 and the strikeouts (31) keep coming.

Dustin Ackley is off to another slow start, hitting .182.

The team is hitting .236 with an American League-worst .289 on-base percentage. Only San Francisco (63) has scored fewer runs than Seattle (65). That’s an important statistic, right? Scoring runs is the name of the game.

Only Toronto (109) and Boston (95) have walked more hitters than Seattle (90) pitchers. Opponents are hitting .256 against the Mariners; the league average is .251.

Seattle’s also not getting it done on defense. The Mariners are tied for 10th in fielding percentage (.982) and have made 19 errors in 28 games.

I repeat: Is it time to panic?

Will Zunino figure it out at the plate?

Will Cano find a semblance of a power stroke? He’s on pace to hit 6 home runs.

Will Smith, Seth Ruggiano and the Rickie Weeks — three off-season acquisitions — come to life. So far, only Smith has produced and his numbers are marginal at best.

Austin Jackson’s on the DL with an ankle injury, but the center fielder wasn’t getting the job done anyway.

The M’s have already started making moves. Chris Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and is now starting at shortstop. Brad Miller is reportedly not happy about being turned into a super utility player. And if Miller is the super utility guy, where does that leave Willie Bloomquist? Can a team afford to carry two super utility guys?

What happens to the offense if Cruz goes into a slump, and you know it’ll happen at some point. What happens if Hernandez hit the wall at some point? Will others step up?

Is it time to panic?

As bad as the results have been thus far, I think it’s too early to throw in the towel. Check back after the upcoming home stand. The Marineros play Oakland three times, the Padres visit for two and Boston invades Safeco for a four-game series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Softball collegians: Kinney, Buss getting it done at Linfield

Bainbridge’s Erin Kinney and South Kitsap’s Alissa Buss had big seasons to help Linfield reach the NCAA Division III softball playoffs.

Kinney, a sophomore third baseman, earned first-team Northwest Conference honors after hitting a team-high .403 with a .441 on-base and .604 slugging percentages. Kinney hit four homers and drove in 30 runs for the Wildcats (31-12), who will play in a regional tournament on May 11-13.

Buss, a speedy shortstop, was a second-team NWC pick. Buss is hitting .392 with a .447 on-base and .445 slugging percentages. Buss has three doubles, three triples and had 15 RBI for Linfield, which won the NWC Tournament after finishing fourth in league play.

Also

Texas Tech: Lea Hopson (sr., Sequim/Southern Idaho) i shitting .326 with 11 home runs and a team-high 37 RBI for the Red Raiders (25-26).

Jamestown (N.D.) University: Emma Keller (fr., North Kitsap), a part-time starting outfielder, hit .329 with five doubles and a home run for the Jimmies (36-14), regular-season North Star Athletic Association champs.  Backup second baseman Kalea Chapman (jr., Juneau, Alaska/Olympic College) hit .241 for the Jimmes, who lost in the finals of the conference tournament to Dickinson State and are waiting to see if they get an NAIA at-large tournament berth.

Pacific Lutheran: Makayla Bentz (fr., Sequim) appeared in nine games, all in relief. She was 1-1 with a 7.44 ERA in 16 innings.

Concordia (Portland, Oregon): Rylleigh Zbaraschuk (so., Sequim/Washington) hit .300 for Concordia (40-16). The outfielder started 20 games.

NWAC

Olympic College: Center fielder Sam Gorham (fr., Olympic) is hitting .494 for the Rangers (17-10) with 3 HR, 21 RBI, 18 BB and 10 stolen bases. … Outfielder Tiffani Ferrell (fr., Central Kitsap), a late addition, is hitting .474 with a home run, 11 RBI after seven games. …. Mariah Frazier (so., Port Angeles) is hitting .444 with 3 HRs, a team-high 24 RBI and has seven stolen bases. She also made the NWAC’s all-academic team. … Pitcher/outfielder  Christina Bigelow (so., Olympic) is hitting .270 with a home run and is 8-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 78 innings pitched. … First baseman Miranda Holt (so., North Kitsap) has five HRs, three doubles, 17 RBI and is hitting .250 for the Rangers.

Edmonds: OF/3B Madison Wood (fr., Klahowya) is hitting .341 with five HRs and 29 RBI for the Tritons.

 

Thursday musings: NFL Draft, Mayweather-Pacquiao, M’s …

Just the numbers, with a little commentary sprinkled in as we head to a big weekend for sports fans:

NFL Draft/Seahawks

9: That’s how many ex-Oregon Ducks are on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster. Somehow, I think head coach Chip Kelly is going to make it No. 10 when the Eagles figure out a way to trade up for the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft. Latest rumors have Cleveland dealing a pair of first-round picks to Tennessee for the No. 2 pick. The Eagles would then package QB Sam Bradford to the Browns and Kelly gets the Duck he really wants. Mariota could be the next Russell Wilson, but he won’t have the same level of talent around him if he winds up in Philly.

11: The number of picks the Seahawks have in this week’s draft. With Seattle reportedly not picking up the option on Bruce Irvin’s contract and rumors of a possible trade with Atlanta, the Hawks might have a serious need for an outsider linebacker. How about former Washington star Shaq Thompson, who could also project as a safety or running back?

Mayweather-Pacquiao

$40,955.25: Someone paid that much for a ticket to Saturday’s fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to StubHub.

$6,820: Via StrubHub, the average price for a ticket to a fight that has brought boxing out of the dark ages.

I’m not predicting a winner, but I am predicting a rematch. The fighters are expected to split $300 million this time around, why not do it again?

Mariners

.328/.316: Batting averages of prospects Chris Taylor and Jesus Montero at Triple-A Tacoma.

.229/.205/.194/.192/.121: Batting averages of Austin Jackson, Rickie Weeks, Logan Morrison, Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino.

It’s still early, but if things don’t change by the middle of May, I’m going to figure out a way to get Taylor and Montero in the lineup. Taylor’s a better defensive shortstop than Brad Miller, who should be able to play the outfield or even first base. Montero can be the fulltime DH if you keep Nelson Cruz in RF, or split time at first with Morrison. Release Weeks, try to trade Ackley and hope Jackson and Zunino, both stellar defenders, can figure it out at the plate.

4-0: That’s Felix Hernandez’s record. This is his 10th fulltime season as a starter, and it’s crazy he’s never won 20 games, but that’s because he was part of a lot of bad Seattle teams. He was 19-5 in 2009 when he was second in the Cy Young balloting. He was 13-12 in 2010 when he won the Cy Young and 15-6 a year ago when he should have won the award, but finished second to Cleveland’s Corey Kluber. Prediction: Felix gets to the magical 20-victory mark this season and wins another Cy Young.

10: Numbers of home runs Nelson Cruz has hit thus far. That puts him on pace to hit 77. Here’s a look at his latest blast, measured at 483-feet.

MLB predictions

The Nationals, Mariners, and Indians were among the trendy preseason picks to make a big splash this season. The Nats (9-13) just crawled out of the NL East cellar; the M’s (10-11) are third in the AL West and Cleveland (7-13) is last in the AL Central.

The Astros (14-7) and Yankees (13-9), picked for last-place finishes, are first in the AL West and AL East. Not many of the experts gave the Royals much love after reaching the World Series, but KC (14-7) is proving everybody wrong.

The Dodgers (13-8), Cardinals (14-6) and Tigers (14-7) are among the predicted favorites off to solid starts.

Chambers Bay/U.S. Open

$249: That’s what it’ll cost a Kitsap County resident to play Chambers Bay from May 1-July 12, providing you can get a tee time. Here’s my column after playing Chambers Bay this week.

Chambers Bay is already creating quite a buzz for the uniqueness that it offers.  Ryan Palmer said it wasn’t a championship course.

Kentucky Derby

149: This is the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing is just a blip on the sports radar anymore and the Derby will take a backseat to the fight in Vegas, the NFL Draft and NBA and NHL playoffs. For those of you interested, American Pharaoh is the 5-2 favorite and it’ll break from the No. 18 post position on Saturday. Here’s the derby odds.

20: This is the 20th season of horse racing at Emerald Downs, which opened April 18. There will be racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend at the Auburn track.

 

 

Tough break for Drew Vettleson

Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson, a former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, missed eight weeks a year ago after getting hit by a pitch on his right wrist while playing for the Harrisburg Senators, the Double-A club of the Washington Nationals. He broke his pisiform bone. Surgery was not required.

Vettleson started the season once again at Harrisburg, and suffered another injury in the first game of the season while fouling off a pitch. The left-handed hitting outfielder broke a hamate bone in his left wrist.  It required surgery and he’s expected to miss 4-to-8 weeks.