Helping you to stay ahead of the sports world learning curve:
1. The Dodgers’ current two-game win streak is the longest they’ve had since that Richter-scale acquisition of Adrian Gonzales, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and the contract of Carl Crawford on Aug. 25. Here’s something to check when you see the MLB standings on ESPN.com — the POFF stat is the percentage chance given of a team to make the playoffs based on record, games left, etc. The Dodgers’ POFF today is less than one in three. Here’s why: If the Melky Cabrera-less San Francisco Giants only play .500 ball the rest of the way — that’d be 14-14 over their last 28 — the Dodgers still need to go 19-8, or play at an insane .703 clip, over their final 27 games just to win the NL West by a single game. The thing is, the Giants only play one team with better than a .500 record the rest of the way. That’s the Dodgers, starting with three in San Francisco on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then the last three games of the season Oct. 1-3 are in L.A., by which time it may be too late for any kind of Gonzalez ninth-inning heroics, and the one-game wildcard play-in game will have already been secured by Atlanta (88.4 POFF) and St. Louis (58.6. POFF).
2. The Angels, who starting today play seven of their next 10 against Oakland, have scored 64 more runs this season than the A’s, but have six more losses. It’s because that sterling Angels pitching staff has given up 103 more runs than the Moneyballers. But then, you’ve got Jered Weaver, who is 2-0 against the A’s this season with a 0.38 ERA in three starts (all wins for the Angels), and Oakland is hitting just .146 against him. So why did the Angels have him to pitch the final game of their series Sunday in Seattle — and lose, 2-1 — instead of holding him back a day so he could pitch in now what is the most season-turning game of their season tonight?
3. Andy Roddick is dialed into Jimmy Connors mode, and he may never come out of this dream. Since he’s announced this U.S. Open will be his last pro event, the just-turned 30-year-old hasn’t lost. He’ll next play Tuesday with a chance to make it the quarterfinals. In the past six out of eight years at the U.S. Open, Roddick has made it at least to the quarters.
4. If No. 1 USC played No. 2 Alabama in a national title game next week, it wouldn’t be a shocker if the Crimson Tide was four touchdown favorites. The saving grace for the Trojans is that after every touchdown it allowed, Alabama would kick the ball back to Marquis Lee, giving the illusion that the Trojans’ offense was really moving the ball well.
5. In light of the ceremony USC had Saturday to honor the late Junior Seau, there’s talk again that the school should retire the No. 55 jersey. They retire every jersey connected to a Heisman Trophy winner, but have none put aside for anyone on defense. It’s not a new idea, as Chris Mahr, the managing editor of LostLettermen.com (linked here), points out in his recent column. And it’s not really the best, either. We’re siding with Michael Castillo over at ReignOfTroy.com (linked here). Keep the number in circulation. Any Trojan player who wears it, like middle linebacker Lamar Dawson on the current squad, will keep the vision of Seau in front of us for years to come. Keep Club 55 alive. Along with TrojanPride55.com.
Our photo of the week selection:
== There are plenty of remarkable shots that appeared from the Vin Scully bobblehead giveaway at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, when the rainbow appeared over right field just as the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster was on the field with his family.
So what about this shot of Scully that appeared on www.flipflopflyball.tumblr.com: Here is his First Communion photo, circa 1932: