Why Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts are impossible to root against

Create: 2020-10-21
Update: 2020-10-21
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Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Good morning! It's Wednesday already and we are CRUISING through this week, so don't even think about taking that foot off the gas. We had the World Series and Champions League get underway yesterday and they'll both be back in action again today, so we're golden on entertainment on this beautiful hump day. 
Come, sit. It's time for us to drink the steamed bean water and talk some sports.
📰 What you need to know
1. Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw lead Dodgers to 1-0 World Series lead ⚾
I can only assume that all the Clayton Kershaw haters are reeeeeally quiet this morning. The ol' lefty outdueled Tyler Glasnow in Game 1 of the World Series last night and put a (temporary) halt on the narrative that he stinks in the postseason. Kershaw was awesome for the Dodgers in their 8-3 series opening win against the Rays, perhaps the best he's ever been in the playoffs. And it certainly helps that his lineup provided some offensive support at the plate too. 
  • Kershaw delivered six innings of one-run ball. He allowed two hits and a walk while striking out eight
  • He generated 19 swinging strikes, including 11 on his slider and five on his fastball  
  • His efficiency was outstanding, as he only threw 78 pitches before being pulled by Dave Roberts ahead of the seventh inning
While Kershaw is almost constantly chirped about his lack of postseason success, this kind of performance isn't totally foreign for him in October. His playoff struggles are more about inconsistency than flat-out ineffectiveness, and we saw Good Kershaw on Tuesday. There's a good chance Kershaw will take the mound again in this World Series, so he'll need to bring another strong performance if he wants to totally erase that postseason narrative for good. 
As for some other takeaways from Game 1, let's consult R.J. Anderson and Mike Axisa:
  • Bellinger picks up where he left off: After playing hero in Game 7 of the NLCS, Cody Bellinger broke the ice with a two-run homer in the fourth inning to jumpstart the Dodgers' offense. He also made a great catch in the 9th inning that potentially robbed a home run from the Rays
  • Mookie Betts comes up big: Betts went 2 for 4 with a home run and walk, but he also had an outstanding game on the basepaths. He stole two bases and scored from third after making a great read on an infield ground ball off the bat. He continues to be incredibly fun to watch
  • Glasnow struggled: The wheels fell off for Glasnow pretty quickly. After throwing three scoreless innings to start the game, he only lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on three hits and six walks. He struck out eight batters but also threw 112 pitches and only got three swinging strikes on 42 curveballs
As a Red Sox fan, seeing Mookie tear it up is so bittersweet. I want nothing but the best for him but it's still painful to see him thrive knowing the Sox basically gave him away. It also doesn't help when the broadcast team basically spends an entire inning of the World Series trying to understand why the heck anyone would ever wanna trade that guy. I've been trying to figure that out for the last several months so if you figure it out, please let me know!
And in case you needed an extra reason to love Mookie (you probably didn't) he also won the entire country free Taco Bell for the SECOND time in his career last night. 
2. Why the time is now for Tua 🐬
It's official: Tua Tagovailoa is the new starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. That decision isn't necessarily surprising at its root -- the Dolphins made Tua the fifth overall pick in this year's draft because they want him to be their franchise QB -- but the timing of the decision to slot him in over Ryan Fitzpatrick is a bit curious.
Miami is one game out of first place in the AFC East and in the middle of a two-game win streak with Fitzpatrick playing pretty well, so why the sudden change? Did Fitzpatrick spit in Brian Flores' Cheerios or something? That's what many spent the day debating yesterday.
But while our Cody Benjamin recognizes there's some risk in making this move now, he also thinks it's a decision that makes a lot of sense.
  • Benjamin: "When you're talking about the ceiling and floor of all starting QBs around the league, few people would deny that Fitzpatrick is as unpredictable as they come; and not only that, but that when he does bottom out, he sinks the whole ship with him. Tagovailoa, on the other hand, has a ceiling that also makes him a more intriguing option for a team at a crucial crossroads -- a club finally within striking distance of the division lead... Tagovailoa has been hailed for his smarts, his instincts, his pocket presence and his ability to limit turnovers, and you're talking about a potentially perfect point guard for Miami's offense."
Considering the Fins are heading into their bye week and Tua will have a little more time to prepare for next week's game against the Rams, it's a decent time to make the transition. Plus, we've learned by now that Fitzmagic tends to have an expiration date, yeah?
In any case, it's easy to have conflicting feelings here. You kinda gotta feel for Fitzpatrick. He's seemingly done everything right (or at least everything he can), has found success and he's still getting the short end of the stick. You understand why Tua didn't get the nod straight out of the gate (especially with the injury) and why they'd want to go to him now, but it still stinks for Fitz. He didn't go to Harvard to be treated like this!!
Anyway, bring on Tua Time.
3. Rashford carries Man U over PSG, other highlights from Champions League Day 1 ⚽
We officially hit the reset button on Champions League with Matchday 1 yesterday. If you missed the eight matches that got the party started, well... shame on you because they're all super easy to stream with CBS All Access. (I think I get a free vacation day with every plug.) 
Luckily, I here to help recap what went down on Tuesday and also prepare you for the eight matches to look forward to today. Let's hit yesterday's stuff first:
  • Manchester United gets dramatic win over PSG: Marcus Rashford continues to be a thorn in the side of PSG in the Champions League, as he delivered yet another late goal to give United a win over the Parisians. This one wasn't quite as meaningful as the last one (in 2018-2019) but it was still a big blow nonetheless. Rashford's beautiful curling shot gave Man U a 2-1 win and three important points to kick off the group stage
  • Barcelona dominates Ferencvaros: Fresh off a disappointing and rather stunning La Liga loss over the weekend, Barca bounced back with a dominant UCL debut yesterday. They beat Ferencvaros 5-1 and never really seemed to be too challenged despite finishing the game with 10 men after a Gerard Pique red card
  • Lazio upsets Borussia Dortmund: In a Day 1 surprise, Dortmund had a tough time finding an answer for what Lazio threw their way. Ciro Immobile flexed on his former team with a goal and an assist in the 3-1 win for the underdogs
You can find highlights and other takeaways from yesterday's action right here.
As for what we've got today, the reigning champs (Bayern Munich) are in action against Atletico Madrid. We've also got Man City vs. Porto and Ajax vs. Liverpool, among others. Will I be here to recap it all tomorrow morning? Of course. Should you still tune in for the fun yourself? Obviously. I get an extra vacation day if you actually follow through on the plug.
4. 10 NFL trades that should be made ahead of the deadline 🏈
We've still got a few weeks until the NFL's in-season trade deadline (Nov. 3) but the stove is hot already. There are trade winds picking up steam around the league, so why not have a little fun armchair GMing for a bit? Our Cody Benjamin has cooked up a bunch of hypothetical trades that might make sense for both sides, given what we've seen through six weeks this season, so let's explore a few of the more juicy ideas:
  • Raiders trade for Julio Jones: The Falcons stink and the Raiders could use another primary target in the passing game. A couple of draft picks (maybe a first and a fourth?) could help them pry Jones from an impending rebuild in Atlanta
  • Packers trade for A.J. Green: Time to put the Green in Green Bay? Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have done pretty well despite not adding weapons to the passing game this offseason, but Allen Lazard is hurt and this team could use reinforcements as they look to go on another run
  • Patriots trade Joe Thuney for Zach Ertz: A player-for-player swap? Spicy! With Dallas Goedert on the roster and Ertz struggling this year, the Patriots could see the opportunity to add a weapon for Cam Newton. New England has gotten almost nothing from the TE spot this year and they've failed to reach an extension with Thuney, so parting ways with him to bring in Ertz might be a savvy bit of asset management.
The NFL isn't all that known for major in-season swaps, but I feel like there's been a decent amount of excitement surrounding the deadline in recent years. I'm all for a little deadline chaos so let's hope that Cody is onto something with his hypothetical wheeling and dealing.
📝 Odds & Ends
  • The NFL could move the Super Bowl all the way into March if games keep getting postponed this season
  • Steve Cohen's bid to buy the New York Mets took a big step toward being finalized yesterday
  • There's a "pretty good chance" that Washington Football Team will remain the franchise name in 2021
📺 What to watch tonight
Ajax vs. Liverpool, 3:00 p.m. | TV: CBS All-Access
Rays vs. Dodgers, 8:08 p.m. | LAD -145 | TV: FOX
📝 Top scores from last night
Manchester United 2, Paris Saint-Germain 1
Marcus Rashford scored the game-winner in the 87th minute to give United the win in the group stage opener.
💵 Winning Wagers: Man U +500, Under (3.5) 
⚾ Dodgers 8, Rays 3
Clayton Kershaw dominated in Game 1, with his only mistake in six innings of work coming on a solo HR off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier.
💵 Winning Wagers: LA -162, Over (7.5)
 
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