Election 2016

Mike Shalin’s Working Press: Experienced scribe is Union Leader’s new sports guide

unionleader.comNew York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman threw five pitches at 103 mph Friday night at Yankee Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)

A LITTLE MORE than 35 years ago, a young New York Post reporter boarded the New York Yankees team bus headed to Newark Airport and sat in the fifth or sixth row to start his first baseball road trip.A few minutes later,boarded the bus, went to the row in front of said reporter, leaned over the seat and snapped, “Who the (expletive) are you?”After taking a few seconds to think who the (expletive) he was, the young reporter introduced himself to the baseball player, and then realized this was the major leagues, and the baseball fan had turned into part of the baseball world.Happy to say that day led to a long association with the game, and even a relationship with Reggie Jackson, who would ask me to walk the clubhouse with him later on that trip as he collected the votes for the players to begin the great baseball strike of 1981 in June.My association to the game continued on to Boston in 1983 and grew into a Hall of Fame vote (1989) and eventually on to official scoring at Fenway Park (2003).Now, I’m here to bring you what I can on baseball and the other sports. Hope you enjoy and like – or dislike – what will be coming your way.- – – – -If the Red Sox, trying to do their last-to-first thing again, do in fact make it to the postseason, they might want to point at two days in June as a major factor.Two games, two days, two time zones. Two 8-7 wins.On Thursday,andboth did Houdini acts to pitch out of bases-loaded/nobody out jams – in the eighth and 10th innings, respectively – and the Red Sox won the game despite adding a third left fielder to the disabled list on a day Kimbrel went two innings for the third time in his career, the first since 2011, to get his first Sox win. The White Sox gift-wrapped the game and the Red Sox, like all good teams, took it.Then, on Friday night, with, he of the $1 million per start, was shelled for 12 hits in 2 1/3 innings before a dramatic ninth-inning rally against something resembling a bullpen for Texas. The huge win ended withdoing his impression of the 2013 closer by striking out the side in the ninth with Kimbrel resting.”Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys,” Red Sox managersaid after Friday’s game. “It took a lot of contributions from a number of guys up and down this roster. This is a huge boost when you consider the confidence you can generate and gain from a game like this. It was an exciting clubhouse afterwards.”Two “tremendous character” wins.Now, with first place a very real possibility,has to get to work. This team needs a starter, needs some bullpen and bench depth, and has the prospects to get the job done. Dombrowski has never been afraid to pull the trigger and shouldn’t wait until the trade deadline.While Uehara’s ninth inning was more than impressive, consider whatdid Friday in New York.Entering a 5-3 game and clearly looking to show off his arm against a team that hit two solo homers off him the previous week in Minnesota.Eleven pitches, 11 strikes – the only one under 100 being the 90 mph changeup to end the game. Two of the three batters he fanned,and, had taken him deep the previous weekend.According to STATCAST, Chapman turned in the five fastest pitches – 103.8, 103.8, 103.7, 103.6 and 103.3 – in baseball this season, and five of the six fastest of all-time. The top four of those were to Suzuki, who managed a couple of foul balls before striking out.That night, what is being called “Murderers’ Throw” in New York -and Chapman – retired all nine hitters in the last three innings, with five strikeouts.Through that game, Miller, who used to struggle with control (and never should have been allowed to leave Boston) had 58 strikeouts and three walks. He had faced 117 batters and struck out 58 of them, a 49.6 rate. Only two pitchers with enough innings to “qualify,” Kimbrel in 2012 (50.2 with Atlanta) and Chapman in ’14 (52.5, with Cincinnati) have ever struck out more than half of the hitters they faced in a season.The Cleveland Cavaliers gave that city its first major sport championship since 1964 with their comeback win over Golden State. Many Indians players attended Game 6 and then had trouble making it through the victory parade crowd to go to work.The Indians, who haven’t won it all since 1948, went 11-0 at home during the month of June.team, missing, its best hitter, is winning with pitching. All kinds of pitching.The Tribe swept the six-game season series from Tampa Bay, holding Rays hitters to a historically low .144 batting average in the six games.andturned in back-to-back complete games (yes, we said complete game), both three-hitters – the first time since 1977 (and) the Indians recorded back-to-back complete game of three hits or fewer…Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com…

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