September 28, 2022
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The Sports Report: Why the Rams signed linebacker Bobby Wagner

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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Mike DiGiovanna: Noah Syndergaard gave an overworked Angels bullpen a much-needed breather Monday night, throwing 7 1/3 innings against the Kansas City Royals after relievers had combined for 19 innings in a five-game, four-day series at Seattle.

The Angels offense did no such favors for Syndergaard, mustering two runs and seven hits in a 6-2 loss before 22,234 in Angel Stadium, their three-game win streak snapped by a last-place team with a 24-42 record.

An aberration, this wasn’t. Mike Trout may be the hottest hitter in baseball, but an Angels offense that hit .250 with a .747 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and averaged 4.7 runs per game in April and May is hitting .203 with a league-worst .591 OPS and 207 strikeouts and averaging 2.75 runs in 20 games in June.

Syndergaard did what he could to keep the Angels in the game. He was tagged for two runs in his first four pitches, Whit Merrifield leading off the game with a single and Andrew Benintendi driving a two-run homer to right field for a 2-0 lead before blanking Kansas City on two hits from the second through fifth.

Taylor Ward pulled the Angels even with a solo homer in the third and an RBI single in the fifth, but Nicky Lopez’s two-out RBI double in the seventh gave the Royals a 3-2 lead, and Salvador Perez knocked Syndergaard out of the game with a booming two-run homer to center in the eighth for a 5-2 lead.

Royals left-hander Kris Bubic, who entered with an 0-4 record and 8.36 ERA, gave up two runs and six hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking two, for his first win of the season.

Matt Duffy made his fifth start at third base in the seven games the Angels have played without Anthony Rendon, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a dislocated tendon in his right wrist on Monday.

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DODGERS

In the wake of an injury to star right fielder Mookie Betts, a lack of obvious replacement options in the organization and a monthlong slump from the lineup at large, the Dodgers felt compelled in recent days to seek out another right-handed hitter.

On Monday, they found it, closing in on an agreement to acquire Trayce Thompson from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for cash considerations, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.

In trading for Thompson — a deal that likely won’t be finalized until Tuesday, according to one person — the Dodgers will get a six-year MLB veteran who has shown the ability to hit for power. Though he is just a career .205 hitter, Thompson has 26 home runs in 640 big league plate appearances.

LAKERS

From Dan Woike: The Los Angeles Lakers, stuck watching the Golden State Warriors celebrating their newly earned NBA championship, head into the busiest section of their offseason facing a huge question.

“Is there a way that this could be us next summer?”

With limited draft assets, no salary cap space and a roster full of empty spots, the pathway back to a championship requires some major moves.

Well, this would be a big one.

Early Monday, the Athletic reported Brooklyn guard Kyrie Irving and the Nets were at an “impasse” in contract talks, opening the door for Irving to look for a new team.

Among those suitors, the Lakers and a reunion with LeBron James might make the most sense.

Here’s a quick primer on the situation.

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Plaschke: The Lakers acquiring Kyrie Irving would be super weird, super dumb

2022 NBA mock draft: Top three picks look certain

TITLE IX

Ann Meyers Drysdale was the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship at UCLA. The Hall of Famer, longtime TV basketball analyst and mother of three shares how Title IX helped shape her life and career, and what needs to be done over the next 50 years for the law to continue to have a positive impact on young girls and women.

I am one of 11 children, with five sisters and five brothers. I was a 1972 sophomore in high school in La Habra, playing seven sports when Title IX was passed. A law of 37 words that became the calling card for girls and women in sports.

I knew nothing about what Title IX was or how important it would be for my future.

Heading into 1973, I was so wrapped up with school activities, thinking about boys, learning to drive, hearing about Vietnam War, ERA, civil rights, and watching my older sister Patty play sports to understand what Title IX would mean for me.

But in the 50 years Title IX has been in existence, it has opened doors for me and thousands of other women, though a handful of women traveled a more difficult road to show what was possible before the legislation was passed.

————

Amy’s story: After escaping domestic violence, sportswriter’s ex-wife speaks out to help others

SOCCER

From Kevin Baxter: Imagine a duffer beating a PGA Tour player at the local pro-am. Or a barnstorming semi-pro baseball team pounding the New York Yankees.

Those are the kind of scenarios the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest national soccer competition in the country, was made to generate.

“That’s kind of the beauty and the curse of the U.S. Open Cup,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “When lower-division teams are playing arguably their biggest game of their season or career or whatever, they certainly are going to be looking for the best version of themselves that day. And nothing else is going to matter.”

On Tuesday, in the tournament quarterfinals at Dignity Health Sports Park, Vanney will be managing Goliath — the five-time MLS champion Galaxy, the winningest pro team in U.S. history — against the Sacramento Republic, which hasn’t made it past the quarterfinals of the second-tier USL Championship playoffs in eight years, and hasn’t had a winning record the last three seasons.

SWIMMING

Katie Ledecky led an American one-two and won her fourth 1,500-meter freestyle title at the world swimming championships on Monday.

Ledecky never looked threatened and clocked 15:30.15 — just under 10 seconds more than her world record from 2018 — to finish 14.74 seconds ahead of Katie Grimes.

Ledecky punched the water in delight before waiting to embrace her teammate.

The 16-year-old Grimes is the second youngest medalist in the 1,500 at a worlds since Ledecky won it for the first time in 2013.

TRACK

From Andrew Greif: Michael Norman’s counters are covered by empty water bottles that track his daily intake.

His journal is filled with logs of carbohydrates and proteins eaten, power cleans and squats lifted, and reps completed.

His mind is the definition of one-track. A self-described foodie, car lover and thrill-seeker who once rode a Jet Ski from Long Beach to Catalina and back, Norman is also the same person who paused recently when asked how he takes his mind off his work, then says he’s still trying to figure that part out.

In 2013, as only a freshman at Vista Murrieta High, Norman stunned his parents by sharing his goal to sprint in the Olympics — just three years later. He didn’t make those Games. Yet his father, Michael, recalled the vow as a hinge moment in his son’s life, when he became dedicated to an all-consuming search for the information and improvement Norman, now 24, believes will make him one of the fastest humans to ever cover 400 meters and stand atop top of track and field’s most significant podiums.

OUR OTHER SPORTS NEWSLETTERS

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NHL PLAYOFFS

STANLEY CUP FINALS
All times Pacific
All games on ABC

Colorado vs. Tampa Bay
Colorado 4, Tampa Bay 3 (OT)
Colorado 7, Tampa Bay 0
Tampa Bay 6, Colorado 2
Wednesday at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.
Friday at Colorado, 5 p.m.
*Sunday at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.
*Tuesday, June 28 at Colorado, 5 p.m.

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1919 — Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman wins the women’s U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. championship with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Marion Zinderstein.

1932 — Jack Sharkey scores a 15-round split decision over Max Schmeling to win the world heavyweight title in New York.

1960 — Armin Hary of West Germany becomes the first man to run 100 meters in 10.0 seconds at a meet in Zurich, Switzerland.

1964 — Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets. The no-hitter gives Bunning one in each league and the Phillies’ Gus Triandos becomes the first catcher to handle no-hitters in both leagues.

1965 — Gary Player becomes the third man to win golf’s top four pro titles when he captures the U.S. Open. Player beats Kel Nagle by three strokes in a playoff round. Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan had won the U.S. and British Opens, the Masters and the PGA.

1970 — Britain’s Tony Jacklin becomes the first English golfer in 50 years to win the U.S. Open, beating Dave Hill by five strokes.

1971 — Lee Trevino beats Jack Nicklaus by two strokes in a playoff to win the U.S. Open.

1975 — S. Kaye Bell becomes the first woman to train the winner of a $100,000 stakes race when she sends Mr. Lucky Phoenix to win the Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Racecourse.

1994 — Lori McNeil upsets five-time champion Steffi Graf 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in the first round of Wimbledon. Graf becomes the first reigning women’s champion to lose in the first round.

1997 — The New York Liberty beat the Sparks 67-57 in the WNBA’s inaugural game. A crowd of 14,284 attends the game at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood.

2003 — Lennox Lewis retains his heavyweight title when a cut stops Vitali Klitschko after six brawling rounds. All three ringside judges had Klitschko winning 58-56, but ring doctor Paul Wallace orders referee Lou Moret to stop the fight.

2005 — French Open winner Justine Henin-Hardenne loses in the first round at Wimbledon. The Belgian becomes the first Roland Garros women’s champion since 1962 to lose her opening match at Wimbledon when she’s beaten by Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5.

2012 — Miami’s LeBron James caps his title bid with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, Chris Bosh adds 23 points, Dwyane Wade scores 20 points and the Heat finish off the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, winning 121-106.

2015 — Jordan Spieth becomes the sixth player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open after Dustin Johnson three-putts from 12 feet on the final hole at Chambers Bay with a chance to win the championship himself. The 21-year-old Spieth becomes the youngest player to win two majors since Gene Sarazen in 1922 and was the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923.

2018 — Arizona center Deandre Ayton is the first pick of the NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Jim Bunning pitches a perfect game. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.





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