About Last Weekend: Divisional Throwdowns

In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports over the weekend.

  • Max Scherzer pitched six scoreless innings and Miguel Cabrera blasted a two-run homer as the Tigers evened their best-of-five series with the Yankees at 1-1 in a 5-3 win. After the game, Detroit closer Jose Valverde guaranteed a win. “This series is not coming back to New York,” he said. Frustratingly, it’s impossible to tell from his quotes exactly which team he expects to win.

  • James Shields had his second-straight lackluster start under pressure, and Mike Napoli’s two-RBI single keyed a five-run fourth inning as the Rangers beat the Rays 8-6 and tied the series at 1-1. Afterward, Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted that Shields’ nickname, “Big Game James,” is no longer appropriate. He suggested some alternatives, including “Big Lame James,” “James Yields,” and, for Hispanic fans, “El Choke-o.”
  • Albert Pujols hit the game-winning single off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning to give the Cardinals a 5-4 win over the Phillies and a 1-1 tie in the NLDS. Earlier in the game, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Jon Jay collided with Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz at the plate, giving him a forearm to the face in the process. Wait … no … no, I’m looking now, and I’m almost positive it’s a different guy than the Supreme Court justice who died in 1829. Different Jon Jay. My fault.
  • In the other NLDS, Jonathan Lucroy put the Brewers ahead with a safety-squeeze bunt, and his team never looked back on the way to a 9-4 win and a 2-0 series lead against the Diamondbacks. Brewers slugger Ryan Braun had three hits, including a home run, and appears at ease under the harsh playoff pressure. So much at ease, in fact, that he brought a hammock out to left field in the second inning. When he realized there was nowhere to hang it, he waved it around like a lasso, delighting fans. What a cool customer!
  • Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns and ran for two more as the Packers remained unbeaten with a 49-23 rout of the Broncos. Considering the result, my advice is that you should have started Aaron Rodgers in your fantasy football league. That one’s free.
  • The Baltimore Ravens turned three Mark Sanchez turnovers into touchdowns in a decisive 34-17 win over the Jets. Considering the result, my advice is that you should have started Mark Sanchez’s turnovers in your fantasy football league. That one’s not free; please mail me a check for $300.
  • Matthew Stafford and the Lions used a 17-point fourth-quarter rally to beat the Cowboys 34-30. The Lions are now 4-0, which unfortunately means they’ve completely used up their allotted win quota until December.
  • No. 13 Clemson defeated their third straight ranked team, winning at no. 11 Virginia Tech 23-3 on the strength of a fantastic defensive performance. Clemson is now 5-0, and has a chance to win the ACC and go to the BCS national championship game. They also have a chance to lose their next seven games and be disbanded as a program after head coach Dabo Swinney is caught selling steroids to children. The future is wide open.
  • Trent Richardson rushed for 181 yards and no. 3 Alabama remained undefeated with a 38-10 win over no. 12 Florida. Gators head coach Will Muschamp was unable to beat his mentor, Nick Saban, a fact made worse when Saban patted him on the head after the game, handed him a juice box, and tried to console him by convincing him he’d won.
  • Russell Wilson (two touchdown passes, one touchdown run) and the no. 7 Wisconsin Badgers had no trouble with no. 8 Nebraska, winning 48-17 at home. It was the first ever Big Ten conference game for the Cornhuskers, whose fans were so disgusted by the performance that they stopped husking corn and threatened to husk head coach Bo Pellini in a public husking ceremony.

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Filed Under: Aaron Rodgers, About Last Weekend, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Ravens, Clemson, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, Green Bay Packers, Mark Sanchez, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Jets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Virginia Tech

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere