Stanley Cup Final 2017: Sidney Crosby’s pugnacity leads to hockey ‘fight’ between Pittsburgh radio hosts

The hockey skirmish that kicked up Friday afternoon did not involve high sticks, wandering elbows or even that time-honored tradition known as face-washing. Technically, it did not even involve the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

It was a battle of words, waged on Twitter, between two Pittsburgh sports radio hosts from rival stations: Andrew Fillipponi of KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan) and Mark Madden of WXDX-FM (105.9 the x).

Though the two work for opposing stations, their shows are on opposite one another, so there’s probably less animosity than there could be. Madden is an unabashed Penguins fan, although he will present legitimate analysis of the team’s performance. Fillipponi has been known to take a contrarian viewpoint of the teams in the Pittsburgh market.

Three stars

3. Erik Karlsson, Senators Karlsson passed Dany Heatley for the fourth-most playoff points (36) in Senators franchise history. He skated 39:33 in Game 7, capping a memorable playoff run by the dynamic defenseman.

2. Matt Murray, Penguins Murray and Craig Anderson matched each other shot for shot through four periods, but the 23-year-old upstaged the cagey veteran, making 27 saves.

1. Chris Kunitz, Penguins Kunitz is the oldest player in NHL history to score a Game 7-winning goal in overtime.

It’s uncommon in 2017 to see a well-executed hip check in the NHL, but Marc Methot took a page out of the old-school textbook with his second-period shot on Evgeni Malkin. Feast your eyes.

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Bryce Harper, Hunter Strickland suspended for setting off Nationals-Giants brawl

He’s the most effective closer in baseball — he has converted 54 consecutive save opportunities dating to September 2015 and is 125-for-133 the past four seasons — but he’s made only nine appearances this season thanks to a forearm strain that’s landed him on the DL twice already. The only reason this problem isn’t higher on this list is his primary replacement, Brad Brach, has done a passable job in his place (10 saves in 13 opportunities). Still, Britton’s absence impacts the entire bullpen in a domino kind of way.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been suspended four games and Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland will sit out of six for their roles in a benches-clearing incident Monday at AT&T Park, Major League Baseball announced.

Strickland plunked Harper on the hip with a 98-mph fastball with his first pitch to the Nationals’ star in the eighth inning to set off a brouhaha that ended with Strickland being dragged to the Giants dugout by three of his teammates.

Both Harper and Strickland received an undisclosed fine for fighting. Harper was also knocked for charging the mound and throwing his helmet, MLB said.

The suspensions had been scheduled to be effective Tuesday night, but both players have elected to appeal. The discipline will be held in abeyance until the appeals process is complete.

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Mariners honor late Chris Cornell by playing his music throughout Thursday’s game

The music world is mourning the death of Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in Detroit Wednesday night. He was 52.

That loss has hit especially hard in Seattle, Cornell’s hometown, where the vocalist and guitarist co-founded Soundgarden, pioneers of the grunge movement of the 1990s.

The Tigers edged out a tight 5-4 win against the Orioles on Wednesday, but star first baseman Miguel Cabrera was a late scratch with a new injury.

Cabrera, who previously endured a spell on the 10-day disabled list earlier this year with a right groin strain, is now dealing with a Grade 1 oblique strain.

Not good, as oblique injuries have been especially problematic in MLB this season. Though it usually takes weeks, even months to recover from oblique injuries, manager Brad Ausmus believes Cabrera will be back in 2-3 days, according to MLB.com.

If Cabrera truly is dealing with this injury, it may be best to put him on the shelf for a spell. The 11-time All-Star is batting just .248 this season with four home runs and 15 RBIs.

Obviously something to learn from, something to move on from. Don’t let it define me but really I think it was just frustration from coming off a really good homestand and really just not even being in any of these ball games, just coming out flat and not being able to build on what we were able to build on against Seattle. That just all came out in that moment.

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Angels’ Mike Trout facing surgery for torn thumb ligament

The Angels lost more than just a baseball game Sunday. They could be without their star for up to eight weeks.

Angels center fielder Mike Trout has been diagnosed with a ulnar collateral ligament tear in his left thumb after an MRI revealed the damage Monday.

Trout left Sunday’s 9-2 loss to the Marlins in the sixth inning after jamming his left thumb into second base in the fifth inning. Trout dove headfirst while completing a steal of second and tried to grasp the bag to ensure he didn’t slide past it.

Both Stripling and Ramos denied any intent on their errant pitches.

Just a first-pitch fastball in and it got away from me, Stripling said.

You saw the at-bats before, I missed some balls up and in, Ramos said. I haven’t been on the mound in five days. Ball was going all over the place, didn’t have the control that I wanted бн I wasn’t trying to hit him on purpose, but I guess they had a problem with that.

Mattingly admitted it looked bad that Cody Bellinger had just homered before Ramos hit Eibner. But he was clearly not happy the Dodgers, with a big lead late in the game, were swinging at 3-0 pitches.

It’s one of those pitches, you give up a homer and a guy gets hit, it looks bad, Mattingly said. But, also, they’re up 5-0, and swinging 3-0, if we want to actually count stuff. If you’re going to swing 3-0 when we’ve got six outs left, they got their guy out in the bullpen. They can say it however they want it, but when you swing 3-0, up 5-0 going into the eighth, you can put it however you want.

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Dodgers send struggling Julio Urias back to Triple-A

Think about this: Heading into the ACC Tournament, Smith has 12 homers and only eight strikeouts on the season. That’s kind of crazy, right? He might not have the raw upside of some of the players here, but he’s about as polished of a college bat as you’ll find.

He’s a prep right-hander from Texas with a huge fastball. That’s like candy for scouting directors and front-office types. Baz could easily be gone before the Phillies get to choose.

Law, Callis and Manuel all have the Brewers taking Beck here. He’s come back from a 2015 knee injury to alleviate concerns and actually improve his draft stock.

The Dodgers have sent starting pitcher Julio Urias back down to the the minor leagues after two rocky starts.

Urias, 21, was optioned after allowing 13 runs ’ 12 earned ’ in his last two starts, which rose his ERA from 1.06 to 5.40 for the MLB season.

Despite his struggles, Urias had shown enough in his first three starts this year ’ two earned runs in 17 innings ’ to be counted on to work through the glitch.

Urias still has plenty of upside as a prospect, but the Dodgers have a number of able starters currently on their roster as they work to ease the phenom into the big leagues.

It won’t be long before we see Urias pitching in a Dodgers uniform once again.

Hosmer is the most complicated case, to be honest. Feels like he’s publicly regarded as one of MLB’s elite first basemen ’ he’s a Gold Glove regular, made the 2016 AL All-Star squad and hit .351 with a .966 OPS during the magical 2014 playoff run ’ but his overall numbers don’t match that perception. He’s been Kansas City’s regular first baseman for six full seasons (not counting 2017), and here are his year-by-year fWAR numbers (the FanGraphs formula): 1.0, minus-1.7, 3.2, 0.0, 3.4, minus-0.2. Think about that.

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David Price, Red Sox to huddle after latest up-and-down rehab start

Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar has been suspended two games by the club for directing a homophobic slur toward Braves pitcher Jason Motte.

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins told reporters Thursday that Pillar’s pay for those two games will be donated to a charity.

He’ll sit out Thursday’s game against the Braves and Friday’s opener with the Orioles.

The Blue Jays and Braves got into a benches-clearing scuffle during’s Wednesday’s 8-4 Atlanta win after Pillar took exception to a pitch from Motte. Pillar used a homophobic slur toward Motte to express his frustration.

We have to sit with him and talk about what’s best for him, what’s best for us, going forward, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters (via ESPN.com) after Boston’s win over the Rangers, adding, The linescore isn’t what we’re going to see going forward. But from just answering the physical side of it, I think he’s answered that. We’ll check him in the morning and make sure there’s no physical ailments, which we don’t expect any and we’ll sit with him and map out the next step.

Price left the ballpark in Pawtucket without speaking to the media.

The nagging takeaway from Wednesday’s start: Price’s inability to put away hitters and his struggles with command. Both, according to the Globe, suggest that ’ while he is getting closer for major league competition ’ he’s still in a building phase. ’ It would come as little surprise if Price requires at least one more rehab start before returning to the big leagues.

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Watch: Twins turn rare triple play on ground ball

All eyes were on Angels slugger Albert Pujols in his attempt to hit 600 career home runs Thursday, but instead he became a part of Twins history in a rare triple play at Angel Stadium.

With Pujols on second base and Yunel Escobar on first, Angels first baseman Jefry Marte hit a sharp ground ball to Minnesota’s Miguel Sano.

The Twins third baseman stepped on his base and fired the ball to second baseman Brian Dozier, who completed the 5-4-3 triple play when he threw to Joe Mauer at first.

On Thursday night, Tebow had exactly one ball hit in his direction all game, an eighth-inning line drive toward the left-center gap that he easily cut off on a couple of hops. He fumbled the ball momentarily, though it didn’t matter. The runner from second was going to score easily anyway and Tebow picked up the ball and quickly threw it in, holding the hitter to first base.

At the plate, he’s still stiff, but he looks more comfortable than in the field. He has muscles upon muscles, which translates into solid power when he makes solid contact. Breaking balls remain an issue, though coaches say he’s improving. The idea of Tebow trying to adjust to the one-two combo of Max Scherzer’s fastball and curveball is, well, kind of amusing.

Look, I’m not a scout. I’ve played and watched and covered baseball my entire life, though, so I’ll throw out a couple of observations. Feel free to ignore them.

Tebow plays baseball very much like a guy with an adequate level of talent trying extremely hard to do everything the exact right way. There’s very little smooth in his game. Tracking baseballs in the outfield, he takes shorter, make-sure steps when others glide to a spot. Everything he does in the field — running, catching and throwing — feels mechanical and calculated.

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