The Viral Roundup – Red Clay Halo Edition
Greetings! Welcome to another TGIF go-around (howdy Mr. Belvedere!) of The Viral Roundup. We’re your daily one-stop shop for all the big news, big buzz and big developments headlining a new day in sports. If it’s worth talking, texting or tweeting about, we’ve got it tucked in here. In today’s edition: The Red Sox spoil Josh Hamilton’s Arlington return, the ax falls on Tom Thibodeau and Bryan Murray is planning to step down as Ottawa’s GM after this season.
Did You Hear?
Josh Hamilton was greeted with a standing ovation in his first home game back with the Rangers, but the Red Sox were in no mood to ease up on their hosts. Boston (a -110 moneyine road favourite) dropped Texas 5-1 with Eduardo Rodriguez serving up a dazzling debut start on the mound. The 22-year-old hurler struck out seven and gave up a paltry three hits over 7+ innings to notch the W. Hamilton may not have enjoyed a victory in his homecoming, but he did go 2-4 with a double and an RBI single. There are certainly worse consolation prizes.
Did You See?
Trick shots ahoy! The University of Oklahoma golf team has weaved together a highlight video featuring some wild trick shots. “Let’s Get It Started” soundtracks the whole affair before golfers have a weakness for dorky soundtrack choices like that. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Did You Know?
- In news that comes as a surprise to exactly no one, Tom Thibodeau has been fired as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls. There had been chatter for some time that Thibodeau would split from the Bulls (the tension between the coach and management was no secret) and on Thursday the franchise made it official. “To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required,” read a statement from Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. The Bulls exited this year’s NBA Playoffs in Round 2 after getting bounced by an injury plagued Cavs squad. Thibodeau served as Chicago’s coach for five seasons and produced a 255-139 record in that timespan. The closest the Bulls came to playing for the title under Thibodeau’s watch was a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.
- ESPN is reporting that Scott Skiles is being looked at as an option to take over the vacant coaching gig with the Pelicans. Skiles, who is considered a front-runner for the open Magic coaching spot, is one of the candidates that’s interviewed for the role in New Orleans. (Jeff Van Gundy and Alvin Gentry have also received interviews.) Skiles’ NBA coaching résumé includes stops in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee.
- Bryan Murray’s 2015-16 NHL campaign appears to be his last as Ottawa’s general manager. Murray, who is currently battling Stage 4 colon cancer, revealed to CBC that he expects this upcoming season to be his final year in that role. The 72-year old franchise staple has been with the club since 2004 and took over the role of GM in 2007. It’s expected that Murray would still work with the Senators in an advisory capacity after he steps down.
- Dan is Buffalo’s man. The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to a deal to make former Penguins bench boss Dan Bylsma their next head coach. Bylsma has a Stanley Cup ring and six consecutive playoff appearances to boast about, but he is going to a team that finished dead last in 2014-15 and failed to nab the #1 pick for their tanking efforts. Pittsburgh will receive a third round pick from Buffalo as compensation.
- Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is expected to be ready for the beginning of next season after undergoing successful hip surgery. The 27-year-old Swede provided 18 goals and 60 assists during Washington’s regular season campaign and 8 points in a postseason run cut short by the New York Rangers.
- The Orioles and White Sox split their Thursday doubleheader. Chicago claimed victory in the opening bout, topping Baltimore 3-2 and enjoyed the sight of starter Chris Sale racking up 12 Ks over 7+ innings. The same day rematch featured the O’s getting the upper hand. Catcher Steve Clevenger went 2-4 with an RBI in Baltimore’s 6-3 doubling of their AL Central guests. The Orioles take on the Rays tonight and Chicago makes their way to the Lone Star State to face Houston.
- Oakland entered yesterday’s action as a one-and-a-half run underdog, but they wrapped up their night with a tight 5-4 win. Key hits in the 5th, 6th and 7th (including homers from Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie) gave the A’s the run support needed to defeat the AL East leading Yankees and in the process hand CC Sabathia his first loss of 2015.
- Corey Kluber is still in the habit of driving opposing batters batty. The Indians starter struck out 13 Mariners over 7 innings in a 5-3 Cleveland road victory. Indians 1B Brandon Moss notched his 8th tater of 2015 in the victory and the team improves to 8-2 over their last ten games. The two squads go at it today with Trevor Bauer on the mound of Cleveland and Taijuan Walker countering for Seattle.
- The Braves were blanked in The Bay. Giants righty Chris Heston held Atlanta to four hits over 7+ scoreless innings and Brandon Belt turned in a robust night going 2-4 with a round-tripper. San Francisco’s gain provided pain for Braves starter Shelby Miller. Even though he was strong on the mound (1 ER & 5 H in 7 IP), Miller’s lack of run support saddled him with his second loss of the season.
- Matt Adams is going to be on the shelf for quite a while. The 26-year-old Cardinals first baseman is scheduled to get surgery for his strained right quadriceps and that’s a date with the knife that could keep Adams out of the lineup for the entire season. It’s estimated that Adams will be gone for 3-4 months after today’s surgery. The Slippery Rock University alum has hit .243 with 20 RBI in 43 games played this season. Mark Reynolds is the likely candidate to take over for Adams in his absence.
- The quality of Peyton’s protection in Denver has diminshed courtesy of a potential season-ending injury to a Pro Bowl tackle. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that LT Ryan Clady is likely done for the year after suffering an ACL tear in practice. The 28-year-old offensive lineman has been a starter with the club dating back to his days as a first round draft pick in 2008.
- Blake Sims is headed to the CFL. The undrafted Alabama pivot has inked a deal to join the Toronto Argonauts after tryouts with Washington and Green Bay failed to produce an NFL contract. Sims threw for 3,487 yards in 14 starts last year with 28 TDs through the air to his name. The Argos are currently listed as an 8/1 shot to capture the Grey Cup in 2015.
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