Yankees in real fight with tough Phillies
P.E.I. Rocket impressed after sweep of Cape Breton
The New York Yankees were supposed to have an easy time of it with the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, but the way lefty Cliff Lee toyed with the Yankees’ lineup in their opening game win, this series has turned upside down.
Although the Yankees rebounded to win the second game at Yankee Stadium behind A.J. Burnett’s strong outing (surprise, surprise), the New York club is in a real fight as the scene now shifts to the home of the National League winners for Games 3 to 5 starting tonight.
One would have thought the strong left-handed hitting Phillies lineup would have an easier time with righty Burnett than with lefty C.C. Sabathia, but that has not been the case all season for the Phils.
They went something like 29-15 versus lefties in the regular season and a little more than .500 against righties. Tonight, Cole Hamels goes for the home team while lefty Andy Pettitte goes for New York.
Yanks in seven . . . maybe!
On the ice
The P.E.I. Rocket is proving to Quebec Major Junior Hockey League fans that it’s for real with a sweep of Cape Breton last weekend on the other island.
The Rocket, who has been impressive under new coach Eric Lavigne, entertains Montreal tonight at 7 in the second game of a weekend series after facing firstplace Quebec City Remparts Friday night.
I’m impressed by the Rocket because: a) the club hasn’t had a full lineup yet this season; b) it has the best goal-tending duo in the league in Marco Cousineau and Evan Mosher.
Leading scorers Samson Mahoud and Ben Casavant are on the shelf with injuries and so is assistant captain J.P. Mathieu, the clever blue-line sparkplug. The Rocket, however, do get back Josh Currie who had been playing very well in the early going before being sidelined with a shoulder injury.
The National Football League is playing havoc with the gambling houses in Las Vegas as the weaker NFL teams continue to flounder and unable to cover the point spread. I know that feeling.
One of the biggest NFL games of the year takes place Sunday in Lambeau Field where the 4-2 Green Bay Packers host the 6-1 Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre returns to Green Bay in enemy Viking colours and that’s going to make for a wild atmosphere. In their first meeting, the Vikings sacked Packers’ Aaron Rodgers eight times, although he’ll get better protection this Sunday,
I think the Vikings are the better team. Rodgers is a great, young QB, but I don’t think the Packers are good enough. Take the Vikings in a nail-biter. The Dolphins travel to the New York Jets and, although I usually don’t like the Fish when they come north, the way they routed the Jets in Florida with their West Coast offence two weeks ago tells me to stay with the Fish.
The unbeaten Denver Broncos travel to Baltimore in a must-win game for the Ravens.
I’ll take Baltimore by four points, but it will not be easy.
The Buffalo Bills entertain Houston and young QB Matt Schaub. The Bills have a porous offensive line and can’t give their quarterback time to find receivers Terrell Owens or Lee Evans, and that tells me the smart money is on Houston.
As always, pay the mortgage first, the picks are for fun.
Ins and outs
I had a chat the other evening with former Colonel Gray goaltender Kent (Turk) Osborne, who also played centrefield on the 1980s’ junior fastball Fawcetts with guys like Ray Dunn, Paul Gormley and Sock and Sandy MacDonald.
Turk informed me that Islander Randy Bell played in the World Masters Softball champonships in Australia recently with a Calgary club and earned a bronze medal in the 120-team tournament. Randy is the older brother of Scott Bell, and grandson of Eric (Ike) Moreside, a harness racing great from the past.
At the track
Live harness racing continues today at the Charlottetown Driving Park with a 12-dash card getting underway at 1 p.m.
Two divisions of the Joe O’Brien Memorial Stake for colts at $11,000 each are featured, as well as two divisions of Lady Slipper Stake for fillies at $13,000. The Lady Slipper has heavy-favourite Meridian Magic up against a field that includes Howmac Royale, Woodmere Sandollar, Shesa Mint and Oceanview Connie.
Horsemen are breaking yearlings to harness these days and it’s a busy time for all concerned. The annual Harrisburg yearling and mixed sale goes next week in Pennsylvania and a great many Maritime owners will be there buying and selling.
The two-year-old trot fillies go behind the gate tonight at Western Fair and Islander Anthony MacDonald drives Rebellious Royalty in one $40,000 OSS gold division and Is that all you got in the other. Both are trained by his younger brother, James.
Last Friday in Ontario, Anthony, Mark and James MacDonald all won races at different tracks — Mark at Woodbine, Anthony at Georgian and James at Flamboro. That’s got to be some kind of first.
Highly regarded Southview Annand from Elwood Lawton’s Southview operation won easily in 1:58 and change last weekend at Grand River for driver Paul MacKenzie. Paul was also second in 1:57 Wednesday at Flamboro with the Gordie Ford-trained Hornswaggle for owner Pat Morris of Charlottetown.
The Breeders Crown for thoroughbreds goes this weekend in Santa Anita and two of the CDP’s best simulcast handicappers, Al MacNeill and Gary Wood, are making the trip taking along Paul Carmichael who will be counting the money. They’ve loaned out their CDP handicapping crown to Rich Wilson so let’s hope Rich will give us something to dance about.