The Viral Roundup – Baseball’s Back Edition
Good morning! It’s “scramble to the score for discount chocolate bunnies” Monday and we’re hoping its been a good one so far. Welcome to The Viral Roundup. We’re your daily blast of all the important news, scores and weirdness scoring all the shine in the world of sports. In today’s edition: Major League Baseball begins at Wrigley Field, the Red Wings play host Alexander Ovechkin and tonight one university squad will be graduating from college hoops contender to NCAA champs.
Did You Hear?
Did you feel that void in your soul get patched up? That’s because baseball’s back. (Legal Note: Phillies fans are advised to take up calligraphy this summer instead.) The first game of the season took place last night at Wrigley Field with the visiting Cardinals (a one and half run underdog) blanking the Cub 3-0. Adam Wainwright clocked six Ks in six innings with zero walks while Trevor Rosenthal fanned three batters to claim the save. The Cards are currently positioned as a 12/1 bet on the Futures board to win the World Series.
Did You See?
We live in a thrilling age. One dude (Twitter handle: @markthenomad) has the image of Jim Harbaugh in all of his Saved By The Bell guest star glory inked to his body. Mark swore he’d get the tattoo is Harbaugh ended up taking the head coaching job at the University of Michigan. True to his word, Mark now bares the mark of 90s TNBC Harbaugh. Maybe he should get a Jessie Spano ”I’m so excited! I’m so scared!” back tattoo to really add to the magic.
Did You Know?
- Are the Penguins in danger of missing the playoffs? The Flyers handing their state rivals a costly 4-1 loss in the tight battle for postseason survival. Pittsburgh’s trips to the sin bin resulted in three Flyers power play goals, including Jakub Voracek’s 22nd tally of the season. Tomas Griess was between the pipes for the Pens and gave up 4 goals on 20 shots. Pittsburgh’s next game is a crucial one. They’ll be headed to Ottawa to play the Sens.
- For a team that’s one of their league’s premier laughingstocks, the Maple Leafs have been a nightmare opponent for Ottawa. Eight days removed from a 4-3 OT loss to Toronto, Sens fans had their hearts shattered again in extra time. Peter Holland provided the shootout winner for Toronto in the 3-2 skills competition determined victory. Jonathan Bernier stopped 43 Senator shots before things shifted to the shootout. The aforementioned Pens/Sens showdown tomorrow will be key to Ottawa’s playoff chances.
- The Caps made sure denizens of The Joe know that it’s so cold in the D. Washington earned a 2-1 win over Detroit and got to leapfrog over the idle Isles for second place in the Metro. Capitals defenseman Mike Green picked up a goal and an assist while Braden Holtby turned in another impressive start making 35 saves. The Red Wings have stumbled of late and find themselves scrambling to lock down a postseason birth.
- The Blues and Hawks went skate-to-skate on Sunday in a battle of Central rivals. Olli Jokinen scored his first marker as a Blue in a 2-1 St. Louis triumph that springs the club ahead of Nashville for the division lead. Jake Allen looked remarkable stopping 38 of 39 Chicago shots. The Blues have racked up three consecutive Ws.
- James Harden and Russell Westbrook both put in MVP worthy performances in their matinee showdown in The Big Friendly. The Rockets (a one point road underdog) topped OKC with a final score of 115-112. Harden dropped 41 points on his former employer, including a key 10 in the fourth quarter. Westbrook collected his 11th triple-double of the season in a losing cause. The L does OKC zero favours as their cushion over New Orleans for the final playoff spot in the West has weakened to a mere half game. Things could shake up significantly on Tuesday when the Thunder face the Spurs and the Pelicans host the Warriors.
- Cleveland continues to, um, rock at home. The Cavs notched their 18th straight home victory on Sunday, besting the Bulls 99-94. LeBron exited the game with his first return-to-Ohio triple-double, but it was J.R. Smith that had the most eye-opening stat line. The 10 year vet knocked down eight triples against Chicago on Sunday.
- Paul George is back with the Pacers and not a moment too soon. Indiana’s aiming to claw their way back into playoff position and Sunday’s 112-89 win over the Heat is a step in the right direction. George contributed 13 points in 15 minutes, the forward’s first outing since breaking his leg. The Pacers now sit a game back of the Celtics for the final playoff slot in the East. Miami occupy the same spot as Indiana in the standings.
- No baker’s dozen for the Warriors. Golden State’s win streak ends at 12 courtesy of a 107-92 thumping thanks to San Antonio. The Spurs improve to seven straight and Kawhi Leonard’s 26 points helped lead the way. San Antonio comes out on top of the season series 2-1.
- Another wild and exhausting NCAA Tournament is ready to come to a close. The Wildcat slayers of Wisconsin will tip-off tonight versus fellow #1 seed Duke. Not sure who’s gonna win? That’s alright, oddsmakers have this game as close to call in some cases. A number of books listed this showdown as pick ‘em when the match-up was set. (Reminder: Only four underdogs have won the title game in the past 26 years. The 2006 Florida squad was the last team to pull of the feat.) Wynn opened with Wisconsin as the slim single point favourite, serving as one of the non pick ‘em offerings. (For what it’s worth, FiveThirtyEight lists Wisconsin as having a 53% chance of winning.) Duke can boast holding a win over Wisconsin’s head going into tonight’s clash. All the way back in the halcyon days of December 2014, the Blue Devils beat the Badgers in Madison with Tyus Jones putting 22 points on the board.
- Call it a consolation prize: Kentucky coach John Calipari has been the Naismith National Coach of the Year. Calipari’s trophy case includes previous Coach of the Year prizes for his work at UMass (1996) and Memphis (2008).
- After Alabama found out they couldn’t lure Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall to the Crimson Tide, the school’s grabbing a coach from the pro ranks. Enter Avery Johnson. The former NBA Coach of the Year winner has reportedly agreed to a pact with Alabama. The longtime Spurs point guard’s last coaching gig was with the Nets from 2010 to 2012.
- The Diamondbacks have elected to send Yasmany Tomas to the minors. The pricey Cuban free agent (a $68.5 million signing) will be starting the year playing for Arizona’s Triple A club in Reno following an underwhelming spring training stint. The D-Backs had visions of making Tomas their go-to guy at third base, but might have to be an outfield option instead.
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