Quotable: Billy Beane on Joe Blanton

Quotable: Billy Beane on Joe Blanton

Hol-ee Kalas, I think I might jump out of my face. The WFC Phillies are going to play some baseball today. It'll  be the most meaningful meaningless game we've ever heard (tune in: 1PM on WPHT 1210 AM or WUBA 1480 AM), with Jamie Moyer scheduled to get the "start" and Hammerin' Joe Blanton taking the mound for the next few innings against the Buccos.

We could all write the book on the hero that is Mr. Moyer, but there's plenty more we could learn about Blanton. For instance, this quote that David Murphy dug up from Blanton's former GM Billy "Brad Pitt" Beane:

"You can see it on the mound," A's general manager Billy Beane said.
"He's grinding his teeth to keep it in. Early on, it affected him a
little bit, but, as he matured, he found a way to keep it under
control. The guy's a warrior. He's an absolute and total warrior
between the lines. He and Tim Hudson are the two best competitors, as
far as pitchers, we've ever had."

Pretty glowing praise from a guy known for valuing statistical production above just about everything else. Like the rest of his 2008 teammates, Blanton has earned lifelong respect in this town. He hit a home run in the frickin World Series.


But we've yet to see him over the course of an entire season, something we'll get to do beginning this afternoon. A relatively strong season from Blanton could be one of the key components of another division title this year, as we saw in 2008, when his addition helped shore up a lost rotation. He wasn't perfect, but he was more than good enough down the stretch and in the playoffs.

In one start against the Pirates last year, Blanton one-hit them for
seven innings, striking out seven. Am I making too much of what's
likely to be a two-inning appearance today in the Grapefruit League? Oh you bet.

The Zo-han has today's starting lineup for the Phils. Can you believe it's here?

Best of NBA: Jaylen Brown, Celtics use 5-point possession to top Pistons

Best of NBA: Jaylen Brown, Celtics use 5-point possession to top Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Jaylen Brown sank a 3-pointer from the right corner while being fouled with 37.6 seconds remaining, part of a five-point possession for Boston that lifted the Celtics to a 104-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

The Celtics were down 96-95 when Brown connected while being fouled by Marcus Morris. Brown missed the ensuing free throw, but Detroit couldn't come up with the rebound, and Tobias Harris was called for a loose-ball foul. Marcus Smart added two free throws to put Boston up 100-96.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 33 points. Andre Drummond had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, but he went 1 of 11 on free throws and was taken out for some key possessions toward the end to prevent Boston from fouling him.

Lakers crushed by Spurs in first home game since front office shakeup
LOS ANGELES -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Lakers 119-98 on Sunday in Los Angeles' first home game since Magic Johnson took over the franchise's basketball operations.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points for the Spurs, who have won four straight and nine of 11.

Pau Gasol added 15 points against his former team, and the Southwest Division leaders had little trouble with the Lakers, who have lost four straight and 15 of 19.

Five days after owner Jeanie Buss put Johnson in charge of basketball operations, the Lakers' dismal season still hasn't changed much, although new Lakers acquisitions Corey Brewer and Tyler Ennis got limited playing time.

Rookie Brandon Ingram scored a season-high 22 points as the Lakers fell to 19-41, ensuring their fourth consecutive non-winning season (see full recap).

Antetokounmpo scores 28 as Bucks hold off Suns
MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points, Tony Snell made a clinching 3-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Phoenix Suns, 100-96 on Sunday.

Michael Beasley added 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 15 as the Bucks swept the two-game season series with the Suns. Greg Monroe finished with 14 points and Snell had 13.

TJ Warren led the Suns with 23 points. Alan Williams scored a career-high 17 points and tied his season high with 15 rebounds, while Devin Booker added 15 points and Eric Bledsoe had 11.

Clinging to a one-point lead, the Bucks came out of timeout with Monroe inbounding the ball to Antetokounmpo. He dribbled the clock down before passing to Brogdon, who whipped the ball to Snell in the corner. Snell hit a 3 with a defender flying at him.

NHL trade notes: Kings get Bishop from Lightning, Wild land Hanzal from Coyotes

NHL trade notes: Kings get Bishop from Lightning, Wild land Hanzal from Coyotes

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings acquired goalie Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in a trade including goalie Peter Budaj and an exchange of draft picks.

The Kings will pair Bishop with Jonathan Quick in a remarkable veteran goaltending tandem down the stretch of the regular season. Quick returned only Saturday from a 59-game absence with a serious groin injury.

The Kings gave up Budaj, junior defenseman Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick and another conditional pick. Los Angeles received Bishop and Tampa Bay's 2017 fifth-round pick.

Both teams are scrapping to get into playoff position over the next six weeks. The Kings (30-27-4) are just outside the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference, while the Lightning (27-25-8) are seven points back of a playoff spot (see full story).

Report: Wild get Martin Hanzal from Coyotes
A person with knowledge of the trade says the Minnesota Wild have acquired Czech center Martin Hanzal from the Arizona Coyotes.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. Details on the return to Arizona were not immediately available.

Hanzal was considered one of the top rental players available ahead of Wednesday's NHL trade deadline. The 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent has 16 goals and 10 assists in 51 games this season and 313 points in 608 NHL games, all with the Coyotes.

The move signals an aggressive approach from the Wild, who lead the Central Division and Western Conference by three points over the Chicago Blackhawks.