Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Blooming St. Rose

Do you know who the last National League pitcher to throw a complete game in a Game 7 of a World Series is?

Hint - Dallas Cowboys' kicker Brett Maher.

No, it wasn't actually Maher, or for that matter anyone related to him. It's just that as TigerBlog watched Maher's extra point attempt against the 49ers Sunday evening get blocked, he thought back to a certain pitcher. 

The main draw of the game for TB was seeing Maher get an opportunity to kick. Maher, as you recall, missed four extra points a week earlier in the Cowboys' easy win over Tampa Bay. And now all eyes were on him to see how he would respond.

When he finally did, it was on that extra point attempt ... and it was blocked. It was extraordinary. You could see the shell-shocked look on his face. And, to be honest, it didn't look like the kick would have been good had it not been blocked.

To his great credit, Maher came back and drilled two field goals on two attempts, one from 25 yards and the other from 43. There was no doubt on either one. 

When the extra point was no good, though, TB thought back to Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher Steve Blass, who in 1971 won two complete games in the World Series, including the aforementioned Game 7. 

In 1973, though, Blass inexplicably lost the ability to throw strikes. By 1974 his career was over. It came out of nowhere. The same was true of second basemen Steve Sax, who in 1983 suddenly and without warning lost the ability to throw to first base. 

In the case of Sax, he was able to regain control and save his career. Hopefully the same thing happens for Maher.

TB went 3 for 4 in his predictions from the weekend, missing out only on the Bengals-Bills game. He did better last week, and the obvious lesson is that predictions are easier after the games are played.

Between now and the conference championship games next weekend, there will be another one-game Ivy basketball weekend as the league race continues to sort itself out. This weekend will mark the midpoint as every team plays its seventh game, and each result seems to dramatically alter the standings.

TB talked about the men yesterday. Today he goes to the women's side. 

Right now, there are five teams separated by a single game: 5-1 Columbia and Penn and 4-2 Princeton, Harvard and Yale. The other three teams all have at least five losses.

The Tigers, who defeated Dartmouth 79-59 last weekend in Hanover, are home Saturday at 2 against Yale.

Remember, the top four teams in the standings advance to the Ivy tournament at Jadwin Gym the second weekend of March. 

Princeton was led against Dartmouth by Madison St. Rose with 15 points, which earned her the Ivy League Rookie of the Week award for the second straight week. Do you think St. Rose has gotten better as her first year has gone along? 

Consider these numbers:

Last five games:
* 14.0 points per game, four games with at least 15 points, 28 for 56 shooting (50 percent), 7 for 22 from three-point range (32 percent), team is 5-0 (4-0 Ivy)

Season prior to that:
* 5.7 points per game, zero games with at least 15 points, 27 for 102 shooting (26.5 percent), 6 for 41 from three-point range (14.6 percent), team was 8-5 (0-2 Ivy)

In case you didn't do the math, she has 70 points in the last five games after having 74 in the first 13. She has made seven three-pointers in the last five games (five of which have come in the last two) after making six for the first 13 games. Overall she has made 28 baskets in the last five games after having 27 in the first 13.

That's what happens to most really good freshmen. It takes some time to get acclimated and then bam — away they go. Yesterday TB talked about Caden Pierce, a freshman on the men's team who also won Ivy Rookie of the Week this week. Today it's Madison St. Rose. 

This weekend's game is the last one of January. After that, the page turns to February. 

In the Ivy League, it won't be quite as mad as March, but it'll be pretty close. 

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