Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Tony La Russa named rookie Anthony Reyes as his starting pitcher for Game 1 of the World Series on Friday. The Tigers also are starting a rookie, Justin Verlander. It's the first time in World Series history that each team will start a rookie pitcher in the opening game.
There have been six other rookie-versus-rookie World Series games: Game 3 in 1948, Indians (Gene Bearden) vs. Braves (Vern Bickford); Game 4 in 1950, Yankees (Whitey Ford) vs. Phillies (Bob J. Miller); Game 6 in 1967, Red Sox (Gary Waslewski) vs. Cardinals (Dick Hughes); Game 3 in 1981, Dodgers (Fernando Valenzuela) vs. Yankees (Dave Righetti); Game 2 in 1983, Orioles (Mike Boddicker) vs. Phillies (Charles Hudson); Game 4 in 1997, Indians (Jaret Wright) vs. Marlins (Tony Saunders).
• As you know by now, and as some in the Big Apple probably would like to forget, Carlos Beltran struck out with the bases loaded to end Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night. It was only the second time in major league history that a player struck out with the tying run on base to end a winner-take-all game in a postseason series. The other instance was in Game 5 of the 2003 American League Division Series between Boston and Oakland. Derek Lowe struck out Terrence Long with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 4-3 win for the Red Sox and send them to the AL Championship Series against the Yankees. Incidentally, both Beltran and Long struck out looking.
• The Cardinals advanced to the World Series despite very little production from the fourth spot in their batting order. St. Louis cleanup hitters combined for a .120 batting average (3-for-25) in the NLCS (Juan Encarnacion was 2-for-15 when batting fourth, Jim Edmonds was 1-for-10). Three other teams in postseason history won a series that went seven games with such a low batting average from the fourth spot in the batting order: the Cardinals in the 1967 World Series (.103; Orlando Cepeda was 3-for-29), the Reds in the 1975 World Series (.107; Tony Perez went 1-for-19 and Johnny Bench was 2-for-9), and the Yankees in the 1962 World Series (.120; Mickey Mantle was 3-for-25).
• The Minnesota Twins extended Ron Gardenhire's contract through the 2009 season. The Twins have won 455 games in Gardenhire's five seasons as manager, an average of 91 wins per season. The last man to average at least 90 wins in his first five full seasons as a major league manager was Davey Johnson. Johnson won 488 games from 1984-88 as the manager of the Mets, an average of 97.6 wins per season.
• The Buffalo Sabres won again. They're the 10th team in NHL history to open a season with a winning streak of at least seven games. The others: Toronto in 1993-94 (won first 10 games), Toronto in 1934-35 (eight), Buffalo in 1975-76 (eight), Nashville in 2005-06 (eight), Edmonton in 1983-84 (seven), Quebec in 1985-86 (seven), Pittsburgh in 1986-87 (seven), New Jersey in 1993-94 (seven) and Pittsburgh in 1995-96 (seven).
Minnesota had a chance to join this list, but its loss to Anaheim on Friday night ended that chance.
• Florida's Olli Jokinen broke a 2-2 tie with a goal at 18:17 of the second period, and the Panthers held on for a 3-2 home win over the Flyers on Friday night. It was Jokinen's league-high 24th game-winning goal over the past four NHL seasons (2002-03 to date). Rounding out the leaders in game-winners over that span are Jonathan Cheechoo (23), Jarome Iginla (23), Brian Gionta (22) and Marian Hossa (22).
• Philadelphia's loss dropped its record to 1-6-1. That matches the Flyers' worst record ever through their first eight games of a season. The Flyers posted an identical 1-6-1 mark to start the season in 1989-90 and finished with a 30-39-11 record, beginning a streak of five consecutive seasons in which the team missed the playoffs.
• The Flyers played in Florida without Peter Forsberg. The Flyers are 10-11-2 and averaging 2.4 goals per game in the 23 games Forsberg has missed since he joined Philadelphia last season. They're 36-21-10 and averaging 3.3 goals per game in 67 games with Forsberg in the lineup.
• Defenseman Bryan McCabe scored Toronto's first goal in its 4-2 victory in Columbus. Prior to Friday's action, Toronto was one of five NHL teams without a goal from a backliner this season. This list is now four deep: Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
McCabe ended a 25-game goal drought with his tally. McCabe scored 19 goals in his first 55 games in 2005-06, but he finished the season without a goal in 18 games after that and failed to score in his first seven games this season. It was McCabe's longest dry spell since 2002-03, when he had a 27-game goal drought.
• Markus Naslund's goal at 19:34 of the third period forced overtime for the Canucks against the Blues on Friday night, a game won by Vancouver in overtime. It was the seventh last-minute score-tying goal in the NHL this season, and the third in the past two nights. Others to do that this season: Bill Guerin, Maxim Afinogenov, Brian Gionta (twice), Andy McDonald and Marian Hossa.
• Dallas stunned Chicago on Friday night when Mike Ribeiro scored with 1:14 left in the third period to tie the game and Philippe Boucher scored with 39 seconds left in regulation to win it. It was only the 20th game in NHL history in which a team scored a game-tying goal and a game-winning goal in the final 90 seconds of regulation.
The Stars are unbeaten in their past 15 games against Chicago (13-0-2), the longest current unbeaten streak by one team against another in the NHL. The last Chicago win against Dallas was Jan. 20, 2002.
• Sami Salo scored at 4:59 of overtime to give Vancouver its win in St. Louis. It was the ninth goal scored in the last second of overtime since the NHL introduced the five-minute overtime period in 1983-84. The last such goal was scored by Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk on Dec. 23, 2005.
It's worth noting that a last-second overtime goal happened only three times through the 1998-99 season, but Salo's was the sixth such goal since the NHL went to four-on-four overtime play and a guaranteed point for the OT-losing team in 1999-2000.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Thunder handle Grizzlies to win at home
- Well off pace: Hawks hammer No. 1 Indiana
- Nationals' Harper benched for 'lack of hustle'
- Hopkins, 49, becomes oldest to unify titles