05.21.18: Five things you need to know from this past weekend in sports before you start your Monday shift

Just in case you spent last weekend out of town at a nephew’s college graduation, helping your brother fill sandbags to protect his patio before the next rainfall, or appeasing your wife by driving around parts of the San Fernando Valley looking at potential new downsizing homes:

1NumberOneInCircleWhen the Dodgers were dragging through a streak that saw them lose six in a row (including four to the dismal Reds) and nine out of 10 from May 5-16, this was one of many versions of a tweet that tended to start surfacing:

Without even going to 7-Eleven, take a big gulp on their latest four-game win streak, all on the road, including three wins bagged within a 24-hour period in Washington D.C. before they escaped to L.A. hoping no one really noticed. Kenley Jansen has even saved two of the last three wins – wrapping up a Saturday double header caused by a Friday rainout – and Alex Wood (1-4) finally has his first victory of the season in the 7-2 series finale. Remember, at this point a year ago, he was 5-0 with a 1.88 ERA en route to a 11-0 run and an All-Star trip. Also the Dodgers won Game 2 of that Saturday doubleheader after Rich Hill decided he couldn’t go more than two pitches before a blister erupted again. So the bullpen retired all 27 outs and they won. That happened 261 times previous in MLB history — as Dodgers play-by-play man Joe Davis points out, that’s more rare than a no-hitter.

NumberTwoInCircle.svgSundays with Shohei should be a shoe-in for best MLB ticket each week. Shohei Ohtani’s line in a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay at Angel  Stadium on Sunday: 7 2/3 innings, two runs, six hits, nine strikeouts, one walk, and a career-high 110 pitches.

Also this gem: His splitter is so devastating that hitters are 1-for-44 with 30 whiff against it. The Angels (26-21) are 6-1 in games Ohtani (4-1) has pitched in this season and they are 19-12 in games Otahni has appeared as a pitcher or DH (so that’s 7-9 without him). And now there’s some buzz that he deserves to at least be invited to the MLB Home Run Derby in Washington in July. Sure, if he can post up a few of the tape-measure shots he hit in Friday’s batting practice that just added to his legend.
Meanwhile, Mike Trout, who ESPN pointed out last week was headed for the greatest season of all time, ended an 0-for-18 streak with a mammoth home run on Friday, two more hits on Saturday and a weird 0-for-1 day in Sunday’s win where he walked three times. Net loss: Lowering his batting average to a meager .294 (it was at .326 on May 10).

2000px-3NumberThreeInCircle.svgWhen the Belmont Stakes roll around in less than three weeks, you can justify any sort of argument that Justify has a great shot at becoming the latest thoroughbred Triple Crown winner, and the first since American Pharoah ended a long drought in 2015. But you have to realize why only 12 others have done this – it’s really, really difficult. Justify went into a fog and grinded out a head-to-head matchup for most of the race against Good Magic in Saturday’s Preakness, again in a mud-splashed rainstorm, before edging out Bravazo and Tenfold for the second leg. Will Justify go three-for-three as a 3-year-old? “It is the ultimate automatic entry for immortality because nobody lucks their way into the club,” Dan Wolken wrote for USA Today. “The ones who made it earned it, and the ones who fell short weren’t meant to be there. … Saturday, he was more Silver Charm than American Pharoah, which won’t scare anyone away from trying to stop him. “

the-number-4-in-a-circleThe Las Vegas Golden Knights, aka “Golden Misfits,” are in the Stanley Freakin’ Cup Freakin’ Final. What kind of odds would the Vegas wiseguys have given us before the season started? R.J. Bell of Pregame.com points out it was 500-to-1. “If the Golden Knights go all the way it would be the biggest net loss ever for Vegas bookmakers on any title winning team — caused by a combination of jumbo odds plus many small bets by local supporting the new team,” Bell says.

Now let’s to back to the headlines posted a year ago, which the Vegas Golden Knights Nation’s Twitter account were more than happy to post:

The Knights became the seventh team in NHL history to clinch three series on the road when they won the Western Conference title in Winnipeg on Sunday. The last team to do it was the Kings in 2014. Tampa Bay has a chance to finish off its Eastern Conference final against Washington in Game 6 of their series Monday at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.

5NumberFiveInCircleWe know there was no way you were up in the middle of the night late Friday/early Saturday to gaze upon the Royal Wedding. No harm done. However, 29 million plus did in the U.S., which was more among the top 50 broadcasts in 2018 so far than the Alabama-Georgia college football national title game, the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony and the Rams’ loss to Atlanta in the NFC wild card game. If anyone asks what your favorite moment was, play it cool and say, “Well, when that choir belted out a version of the old Ben E. King song, ‘Stand By Me,’ I was almost about to shed a tear.” Trust us. It’ll work.

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