MLB: The WIN-dy City

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The Sports Section

Early in the season most division races are still very close, but the Central Division in both Leagues are being dominated by Chicago. On Wednesday night both teams led their leagues in wins. The Cubs (20-6) were the first team to win 20 games, with the White Sox at 19-9. The White Sox had a 4-game lead in the AL Central and the Cubs had a 6-game lead over Pittsburgh after sweeping the Pirates on the road. While the Cubs have been blowing out their opponents, the White Sox have been knocking off the top teams in the American League by closing out close games with great relief pitching. It’s way too early to give them an automatic pass to the playoffs, but “Windy City” fans are loving it so far.

The White Sox have had a hand in the AL East standings. The current leader, the Baltimore Orioles, were in first place last week until they split a four game series with the White Sox and Boston took over first place. The Red Sox then lost to the White Sox in the opener of their series and relinquished the top spot back to the O’s.

The Washington Nationals are playing some good baseball and have the second-most wins in the NL, but the Mets have recovered from a slow start and are only a couple of games behind the Nats in the NL East. The Giants and Dodgers are battling for the top spot in the under-performing West. On Wednesday the Giants (15-13 led the Dodgers (14-13) by a half game.

NBA Playoffs

It might actually happen: LeBron James leading his Cavaliers against his former team, the Miami Heat and former teammate and good friend, Dwayne Wade. On Monday, the (3) Heat got things going toward that matchup with a 102-96 victory over the (2) Raptors. The Cavs are looking good to go to the next round too. Cleveland followed up a game-one 93-104 win over Atlanta with a blowout win on Wednesday night.

James left Cleveland to go to Miami in 2010 via free agency. James won two NBA titles with Miami and said that he and Wade have talked about playing against each other in the playoffs “even before we became teammates in 2010”. Unfortunately for the Heat, 11-time All-star, Chris Bosch, won’t be in the mix due to blood clots.

Last year’s champs, the Golden State Warriors, also got off to a great start going up 2-0 in the series against the Trailblazers after defeating Portland 110-99 in game 2 on Tuesday, but it wasn’t an easy win. The Warriors trailed by 17 points in the first half and as much as 11 points at the end of the third quarter, but as Golden St. always seems to do; they came back. The Warriors outscored Portland 34-12 in the fourth quarter; all of this without Curry.

In the West, there was a wild finish in game 2. The Thunder led the Spurs 98-97, and with 13.5 seconds on the game clock and OK City was inbounding the ball. That’s when one of the worst series of calls (or missed calls) happened. The Thunder’s Waiters pushed Manu Ginobili with his elbow from out-of-bounds. A foul should have been called, especially since the ref was about a foot away from the action. Maybe he let the call go because Ginobili had stepped out-of-bounds. Both calls were blown by the refs, but the wildness didn’t end with the pass in bounds. Waiter threw the inbound pass into traffic and Danny Green stripped Durant. Mills put up a brick as time expired and the Thunder hung on to tie the series at one a piece.

NASCAR: Demolition Derby at Talladega

If you are one of those race fans that like to see crashes, then you loved last Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Two cars went airborne and 35 of the 40 cars running were involved in a crash of some kind, including Danica Patrick’s brutal crash into the wall.

Brad Keselowski emerged from the wreckage with his fourth career win at Talladega and second of the season, bringing Joe Gibbs Racing’s streak of four-in-a-row to an end. The crash-fest included a 12-car and a 21-car accident in the final 28 laps. When Keselowski crossed the finish line there was another wreck at the back of the pack. Only 21 cars finished on the lead lap.

Kyle Busch finished second, and after the race said that he hated the track and didn’t need to be there since he already had a win. Austin Dillon, who finished third, said that he enjoyed the “nerve-wracking” race. Jimmie Johnson probably didn’t like the track, being in two crashes on Sunday. He finished 22nd, but he’s still in 4th in the standings. NASCAR now moves to Kansas City, where Johnson won the race last year. This year’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway is Saturday night at 7:46pm ET.

Mike Yost

 

NASCAR SPRINT CUP

  1. Kevin Harvick (4) 351
  2. Kyle Busch (18) 342
  3. Carl Edwards (19) 337
  4. Jimmie Johnson (48) 329
  5. Joey Logano (22) 316
  6. Kurt Busch (41) 312
  7. Brad Keselowski (2) 300
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) 279
  9. Martin Truex Jr. (78) 274
  10. Austin Dillon (3) 272