Armadillo: Sunday's six-pack
Some thoughts from a shaky 99-94 US win over Lithuania Saturday
-- Lithuania, a 35-point underdog, outrebounded the Ameircans and went toe-to-toe with them in a fast-paced first half (55-51 US at half).
-- How does Kobe Bryant play 20 minutes and score one basket (1-7 from the floor)?
-- Americans were 10-33 from the arc; Durant was 4-7, so you can see that opponents will pack defenses in and make the USA hit jumpers.
-- Lithuania, a 35-point underdog, shot 58% from the floor for the game, and its subs made 15 of 21 shots, 71 freakin' percent!!!!
-- Lithuania, a 35-point underdog that lost to Argentina by 23, led 84-82 with 5:51 left in the game. Spin it how you like, this was a red flag.
-- Other than Tunisia/Nigeria, no one in this tournament is afraid of the American team; they were life-and-death to win a game when they had a +14 turnover margin.
-- Linus Kleiza, who played for the Nuggets, had 25 points.
Maybe the American team should practice on Sunday.
Armadillo: Sunday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Why do ballplayers wear their sunglasses on their hats? Watched a guy butcher a foul pop in sun Saturday, while his shades were protecting the logo on his cap from ultraviolet rays.
Whatever happened to flip-down sunglasses? They seemed to work fine.
12) How is it the Mariners traded Ichiro Suzuki to the Bronx, but refused to trade them Brendan Ryan? Has to be a good story in there somewhere.
11) Tunisia, China and England are all 0-4 in Olympic hoops; someone is going to have some 'splainin' to do when they get back to Beijing.
10) UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun, who is 70, broke his hip riding his bicycle in a race for charity Saturday; he had surgery Saturday night, so we wish coach Calhoun well, and suggest to his wife that she sell the bike.
9) Kansas City Royals fired their first base coach this weekend; that should fix all their problems, right?
8) Omar Vizquel broke into the big leagues in 1989; of the 15 major league ballparks he played in that year, only five still exist.
7) The first Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in 1952. In Utah. Am told the place is still open.
6) Mike Baxter of the Mets tied an NL record Saturday night when he walked five times in one game; thats an NL record for a nine-inning game.
5) Red Sox tried to use closer Aceves for two innings Saturday, and it did not work; up 4-3 with men at 1st/2nd and two out, Joe Mauer took Aceves over the Green Monster and gave Bobby Valentine another sleepless night.
4) How does anyone in the Colorado front office survive this disaster of a season? At least the Astros have a plan; get younger, acquire prospects. It is impossible to tell what the Rockies are trying to do.
3) Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman struck out 39 of last 68 batters he faced, allowing eight hits. They better not make him a starter again.
2) I know full well that Moneyball proponents consider field managers to be expendable middle managers, but thats a bunch of bunk. Some of these teams run with so little margin for error, that a manager cannot afford any mistakes, or his team will lose.
Tim McCarver can promote Joe Girardi for Manager of Year every week on national TV, but Girardi has the biggest safety net in the majors, a $200M+ payroll. He goes 5-10 in 15 games, so what? They'll just go buy a guy who is a fading superstar, making $17M a year.
When Girardi managed the Marlins, he wound up getting fired for cursing out his owner, who was bitching at umpires from his seat near the dugout. Lot more stress involved for everyone, managing a small market team.
1) Clint Eastwood endorsed Mitt Romney for President this week, but the problem Romney has is that I'd vote for Eastwood for President before I'd vote for him. Haven't had lot of great Presidential choices lately.