Everything you need to know heading into the weekend in the world of sports.
Two weeks ago in a start against the Boston Red Sox, Yankees pitch Michael Pineda had what looked to be pine tar on his pitching hand. Adam talked about this at the time, saying that it’s just part of the game.
On Wednesday, the Yankees and Red Sox squared off again from Fenway, and Pineda once again attempted to use pine tar.
Adam started out his show on Thursday talking about Pineda getting busted and ejected from the game, saying Pineda’s actions were sheer stupidity.
The problem isn’t so much that Pineda got caught cheating. If anything, hitters would rather step into the box knowing that the pitcher has a grip on a cold night, and that they’re not about to get hit in the head by a 92 mph fastball. The problem is that two weeks after getting caught on camera using pine tar, Pineda was either arrogant enough to believe that he could get away with it, or stupid enough to believe that he wouldn’t get caught; and somebody from the Yankees organization inexplicably allowed him to take the mound with pine tar smeared on his neck.
Pineda was subsequently suspended 10 games for his actions.
Interview of the Week
St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead joined Schein on Sports Monday and talked about a wide variety of topics. Among other things, he said Jadeveon Clowney would definitely be in consideration with the No. 2 overall pick if he were available at that spot, the quarterback position in this year’s draft is as deep as it has been in years, and that Sammy Watkins is a difference-making talent.
The Rams have the second overall pick in this year’s draft thanks to the Robert Griffin III trade a couple years ago with the Washington Redskins. They also have their own pick at No. 13 overall. Don’t be surprised if the Rams take a quarterback at some point in this draft – perhaps as early as No. 13 – as they have yet to commit to Sam Bradford long-term, but I would expect them to take the best player on the board with the second overall pick. They have needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle, and Clowney would be a scary addition to a defense that already has Robert Quinn.
Underrated Story of the Week
On Tuesday night, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols became the 26th member of baseball’s 500 home run club when he clubbed two homers against the Washington Nationals. Perhaps the steroid era in MLB has made us skeptical of accomplishments like this, or maybe you just forgot how good a player Pujols is historically.
After signing his 10-year contract with the Angels and a couple injury-plagued, forgettable seasons, Pujols looks to be the Pujols of old. It just so happens that the Pujols of old is also one of the greatest right handed hitters in baseball history: a .321 career batting average, three MVP awards, and two World Series rings. Pujols has never been linked to performance-enhancing drugs and is arguably the best hitter of this era. He deserves much more praise and respect for reaching the 500 home run milestone than he has gotten.
GIF of the week
During Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals between the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat, Josh McRoberts caught LeBron James in the throat with what appeared to be his forearm.
King James has earned the reputation for being a flopper, but you can’t criticize LeBron here, and you can’t blame him for needing a minute to catch his breath. If you’ve ever gotten hit in the Adam’s Apple before, it hurts. A lot.
5 Things to Watch This Weekend
- I mentioned last week that my favorite first-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs is Chicago vs. St. Louis, and this series has lived up to my lofty expectations. Three of the first four games have gone to overtime, the series is tied at two games apiece through the first four games, and there is plenty of lingering bad blood after Brent Seabrook’s hit on David Backes in Game 2. Game 5 will take place Friday night, and Game 6 is on Sunday.
- The No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks, who finished the regular season with a 38-44 record, won Game 3 of their first-round series against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers on Thursday night to take a 2-1 series lead. The Pacers are 18-18 in their last 36 games (including the postseason), and head coach Frank Vogel is reportedly coaching for his job. Game 4 is on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm ET.
- The Memphis Grizzlies won their second straight overtime game over the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a 2-1 series lead in their best-of-seven series. Adam mentioned last week that no player is under more pressure in these playoffs than Kevin Durant, and that is looking like the case. The MVP favorite must take over and carry his team to a win in Game 4 if the Thunder are to have a realistic shot at advancing.
- Games 3 and 4 of the series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets take place on Friday and Sunday. There’s already been some hostility in this series, with Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri fined $25,000 for yelling “F— Brooklyn” at a Raptors pep rally, Kevin Garnett responding, and the Raptors poking fun at Paul Pierce and KG. Now that the series will shift to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it’ll be interesting to see if the Nets have a loud and boisterous home-court advantage.
- Masahiro Tanaka has been everything he was billed to be coming over from Japan, with a 3-0 record, 2.15 ERA and 35 strikeouts in his first four starts for the Yankees. He’s scheduled to face Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday Night Baseball. In his short time in MLB, Tanaka has become an “event” pitcher, meaning his starts are must-watch whenever he takes the hill. Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez were that guy last year. So was Pedro Martinez in 1999 and Doc Gooden in 1985. It looks like 2014 is Tanaka’s turn.
As always, you can hear our predictions every week on the Schein Nine! This week, Adam, Nick and I took a look at the best match-ups now that the 2014 NFL schedule has been released.