A-Rod, Sanchize save New York

BY foxsports • September 20, 2010





The Yankees were down to their final strike in Baltimore. Orioles leading 3-1, two on, two out, ninth inning, 1-2 count on Alex Rodriguez. After taking a fastball about a millimeter off the inside corner for a ball, A-Rod smacked a three-run home run that moved the Yankees into first place; a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East.

Joe says no mo'

Dodgers manager Joe Torre announced he would be stepping down after the season, to be replaced in L.A. by Don Mattingly.

Yes, Torre is 70 years old, but do not underestimate the role Dodgers ownership had in his decision. As classy and respected a manager as there is, Torre had to be bothered by details that have been revealed in court recently about the general buffoonery of Frank and Jamie McCourt and the ways they have mistreated the once-proud franchise.

Payrolls are going down, ticket prices are going up, and the cartoonish, mistrusted divorcing couple has been using the team as its personal ATM to fund a preposterously lavish lifestyle of greed, selfishness and excess.

Torre, a straightforward baseball man and McCourt, a maneuvering businessman, were a mismatched pair from the beginning. The universally respected future Hall of Famer was sullied by his mere association with the owner who is getting more vilified in Los Angeles by the day.

Et tu, Mat?

Padres Ace Mat Latos has been one of the brightest surprises of the season. In one stretch, he set a major league record with 15 consecutive starts of five innings or more, allowing two runs or fewer.

Friday night, with the Padres' once 6 1/2-game division lead gone and San Diego desperate for a victory, the Cardinals roughed him up for eight runs on nine hits.

For most of the season, that was about a month's worth of damage against Latos.

Friday night, it took St. Louis just 1 1/3 innings in a 14-4 rout.

If the Padres don't make the postseason, one request: Stay classy, San Diego.



Rockies shortsop Troy Tulowitzki continued to sizzle through what could be the greatest September in the history of baseball.

Hyperbole? You tell me ...

With two more home runs in a 12-2 Colorado cakewalk in L.A., Tulowitzki has now gone deep 14 times, driving in 33 runs in just 17 games this month. The Rockies have 11 more to play in September.

At this pace, he would finish with 23 homers and 54 RBI. This month!

What an upgrade

Pitcher Octavio Dotel arrived at that game as a Dodger, but left as a Rockie.

Traded from L.A. to Colorado about an hour before first pitch, he simply walked from the home clubhouse to the visitors’.

Amazing that Octavio Dotel now finds himself in a playoff race. He started the year as a Pittsburgh Pirate!

What comes after CC?

CC Sabathia beat the Orioles for his 20th win.

That makes, uhh, let’s see… exactly one 20-win season for the Yankees ace.

Now if only New York could trot him out there every day in the playoffs, the Yanks would have a good shot to win the World Series. Otherwise ... given their starting pitching, they’re my third or fourth choice.

The Devils, you say

Alabama took its No. 1 ranking, got all fired up, stormed out to the field, and saw ... Duke?

'Bama led it 28-0 about 10 minutes in, and rolled to a predictable huge victory. Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram made his season debut running for 151 yards (averaging 16.8 per carry) in a 62-13 destruction of the Blue Devils.

Hey, maybe instead of a home-and-home, Duke should have insisted on a football-and-basketball series with the Tide. Who knows, a hoops game could finish with the same 49-point margin of victory.

No joking matter

Saturday’s best finish came in East Lansing where Michigan State’s fake field goal in overtime went for a game-winning 29-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Bates to Charlie Gantt, lifting the Spartans to a thrilling 34-31 win over Notre Dame.

How excruciatingly intense was the game?

About a half-hour later, 54-year-old Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio had a heart attack.

He was rushed to the hospital, had a stent put in, and as of Sunday, was resting comfortably.




The hands are the first thing to go

In his ridiculously efficient 2009 season, Brett Favre threw just two interceptions in eight home games. Sunday in the Metrodome against the Dolphins, he threw three. He also fumbled in his own end zone, resulting in a Miami touchdown and an eventual 14-10 Vikings loss, dropping Favre & Co. to 0-2.

Jerry should be able to get tickets, though

Also 0-2: Dallas.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent all offseason telling anybody who would listen how great it would be for his team to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.

After a 27-20 loss to Chicago in that very building, the 'Pokes have some work to do.

They're Chiefly responsible

Interesting approach by the Chiefs after their 4-12 season last year. Team management recognized a void of leadership in the locker room, so they drafted accordingly. Six of the seven players they selected were team captains last year in college.

Sunday, K.C. followed its opening-week win over San Diego with a 16-14 victory at Cleveland. The Chiefs are 2-0 for the first time in five years.

Wait 'til he marries a supermodel — then we'll talk

Mark Sanchez out-dueled Tom Brady in the Meadowlands. (Let me write that again so there is no misunderstanding.) Mark Sanchez out-dueled Tom Brady in the Meadowlands.

Sanchez went 21-for-30 for 290 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-14 Jets win over the Patriots.

Have you heard about the NL West?

The wild race in the NL West comes down to the final two weeks of the season.

This weekend, the Giants and Rockies went 2-1, while the Padres went 1-2.

Here’s how they stand going into Monday:

San Francisco 84 66 —

San Diego 83 66 ½

Colorado 82 67 1½

Chase begins; tension unbearable

As the 12th-seeded driver in NASCAR's 12-man Chase, Clint Bowyer flexed his low-man muscle in New Hampshire.

Bowyer shocked the field, taking the Chase opener and snapping a personal 88-race losing streak. With the win, Bowyer rockets up to the No. 2 position and now trails only Denny Hamlin with nine races left.

Hang in there, folks. Only five more days until the weekend.