In case you were too busy finishing off a box of Pop Tarts to watch a 95-pound 13-year-old medal in the X Games, here’s what you missed in sports on Thursday:
- Yu Darvish turned in a ferocious performance, striking out 14 Diamondbacks for the second time in three months, as the Rangers handled Arizona easily in a 7-1 victory in Arlington. Look, Yu, we get it, you hate snakes. It makes sense. Snakes are scary. But a real professional doesn’t let his fear lead him to perform inconsistently. So heed this advice: When playing teams that aren’t the Diamondbacks, pretend you are pitching to snakes. Visualize the batter as a snake. Or if that’s too difficult to imagine, because snakes don’t have arms the way that major league players usually do, imagine the batter’s head is somehow made out of snakes. Perhaps they have a snake head on a human body? Or snake hair like a gorgon. Or a snake for a tongue. Whatever works for you. Just stop forgetting to pretend like everyone is a scary snake.
- Felix Hernandez threw seven innings of one-run ball, but his efforts were not enough as the Boston Red Sox rallied to beat Seattle 8-7, putting six across in a stunning ninth-inning comeback. “Don’t feel bad for me,” Hernandez said after yet another stellar start ended in a no-decision, “I now know why I was put on this earth. I am the one who suffers for mankind. And I can prove it.” Hernandez then pulled out a bottle of water and stared at it while yelling, “pinot,” until the gathered press eventually left when it became clear that nothing was going to happen.
- The preseason injury toll continues to mount in the NFC West, as San Francisco cornerback Chris Culliver is reportedly lost for the upcoming season with a torn ACL. With the rash of injuries to the presumed contenders, is the door open for an unexpected — no, not you, Mr. Fitzgerald, please sit back down — division champion — seriously, Larry, go away, I don’t have time for this — in what was assumed to be the 49ers’ or Seahawks’ — I don’t care if you have Carson Palmer now, it’s not going to happen; I’m obviously talking about Rams — division to lose?
- The St. Louis Cardinals avoided a five-game sweep, blowing out the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-0 to stay within striking distance of the division lead. Despite the loss, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle met the press with a grin on his face, unable to control his laughter, saying “Oh man, that was classic. Did you guys see how we totally pranked people who cite run differential as proof that actual records are not indicative of true talent levels? Did you see that?” Hurdle then allowed himself a hearty guffaw before sighing and saying, “That was as good as how we told A.J. Burnett to avoid walking or striking anyone out in his next start just to screw with the FIPheads.”
- Despite starter Ricky Nolasco allowing three early home runs, Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers won their 11th straight road game, with a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. When asked about how he managed to settle down after his rocky start, Nolasco began laughing, and said, “Oh man! Those FIPheads have to be going insane! Classic prank. So classic.”
- After going 6 under through her first 10 holes, current world no. 1 Inbee Park struggled late to finish her first round at the Women’s Open at 3 under, three shots off the pace of Morgan Pressel. Park is attempting to win her fourth slam of the year, which won’t represent a Grand Slam as the LPGA added a fifth event to its Grand Slam schedule. While on the surface this appears to be a strange decision, am I the only one interested in seeing baseball played on a pentagonal field? Oh, I am? Never mind then.
- Bayern Munich came from a goal down to win the preseason Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena with a 2-1 win over Manchester City. “It’s an honor to win this trophy,” Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said after the match, “way better than the BMW Cup. Seriously. People still think this Audi Cup is no good? They’re stuck in the past. The Audi Cup is the premier German luxury cup. Want to get in it and feel? Come on, we’ll really open this Cup up outside of town if you’d like. We paid a lot for this cup, so you know, we’re going to get our money’s worth. Come on, hop in. Do it. Do it.” When asked what he thought of the Mercedes Cup, Lahm scoffed and added, “Yeah, if you want to walk around and be held in a cup, that’s your luxury cup. That’s not me, that’s not this club.”
- On the heels of their third BCS National Championship in four years, the University of Alabama is ranked no. 1 in the USA Today preseason coaches poll. The real surprise of the poll, however, is the inclusion of Ohio State at no. 2; the Buckeyes finished last season unranked, and such a dizzying jump up the ranks is shocking for a school that couldn’t even qualify for a bowl game last season. It really makes you wonder. Is this just coaches penciling in the name they know? Or is there some sort of insider info that coaches have suggesting that an Ohio State team that didn’t even qualify for the Big Ten title game is worthy of being ranked ahead of the likes of Oregon and Texas A&M?