You know about the Gordie Howe hat trick, right? In hockey, it’s a goal, an assist, and a fight. Apparently the term was coined in the 1950s, though why it involved Howe was never quite clear; the man himself only had two of his namesake hat tricks in his entire 32-year career. He scored 975 goals and racked up nearly 1400 assists, but he simply did not fight all that often.
That said, it’s a fun concept to think about, and especially in the context of translating it to other sports. What’s the soccer version? The baseball version?
I don’t know about the basketball version, but the Lynx’s Bridget Carleton had to be in the neighborhood on Tuesday at Target Center, as Minnesota beat Dallas. She hit four three-pointers off the bench, scored 14 points including eight in the fourth quarter, and was thrown out of the game for committing two flagrant fouls.
Minnesota led by 12 points with 2:31 to go, but from there it was pretty much chaos. The second of Carleton’s flagrant fouls (basically, for a three-point shooter landing on her foot) gave Dallas three free throws, which cut the lead to three, and the ball, with 25 seconds to go.
At that point, at least three fans, and possibly more, were thrown out of the arena for yapping at Dallas players. The highlight of this was Marney Gellner saying, “I can’t figure out what’s going on… it’s a Tuesday night.” Things get crazy when it gets hot in Minneapolis, I guess.
The Wings later cut the lead to one point, but some clutch free-throw shooting from Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride ended up clinching the win. Collier had 29, McBride had 21, but it might have been the bench that won it for the Lynx; not only did Carleton get 14 points, but Dorka Júhasz was plus-20 in 14 minutes, and Rachel Banham was plus-17.
Same two teams on Thursday, this time in Dallas. Given the amount of aggression at the end of this game, we might get a chance to see an actual fight, the kind that Gordie Howe didn’t actually have all that often.
Remember when the Twins traded Jorge López for Dylan Floro? It was, in some ways, the team’s only move at the trade deadline, the swapping of one struggling middle reliever for a different struggling middle reliever. I’m not sure what the Twins thought they saw in Floro, other than that he wasn’t López; he’s been mostly fine since arriving in Minnesota, pitching scoreless innings in seven of his eight appearances.
But of course nobody notices relievers until they start a fire, and on Tuesday, Floro lit a bonfire. The right-hander gave up six singles to Milwaukee in the sixth inning, and when the dust had settled, the Brewers had five runs on the board and a 3-2 Twins lead had become a 7-3 Brewers lead, and that was the final score.
The Twins bullpen is a little strange this year. All the numbers say they’re mostly average, with ERA and WHIP numbers that are right in the middle of the pack; one of the few bottom-barrel numbers I could find was their save percentage, which says that their relievers have been in 52 save situations, and blown 23 of them, making them seventh-worst in the league.
So I suppose that it’s possible that the reason that fans think the bullpen is terrible is that they’ve had a lot of high-profile disasters. At any rate, the Twins still need 16 wins to get to .500 for the year - and a likely division title.
I do want to mention Royce Lewis, who did one of the most Royce Lewis things ever in the ninth inning. With nobody out and his team down by four runs, he singled off the first baseman’s glove, then charged around first base as if he was hoping to make a first down somewhere in the region of the second baseman. It wasn’t until he was 30 feet past first base that his brain seemed to catch up with his feet; he attempted to throw on the brakes, slipped, fell down, and was gently tagged out.
He’s like a Labrador puppy that’s never seen snow before. It’s endearing.
A week ago, it looked like Dallas Keuchel wasn’t long for the majors, and Louie Varland might be getting prepped for a return from St. Paul. Since then, Keuchel retired the first 19 batters he faced in a game, and now, Varland has had a disastrous start. The Minnesota native walked three and gave up seven runs - only four earned, but still - to a horrible Omaha squad, and St. Paul went down 14-4 in the series opener.
The Storm Chasers collected 13 hits and nine walks, plus a Brooks Lee error that erased a couple of those runs for Varland, so it’s fair to say that (at least from a Saints perspective) this game was basically unwatchable. Andrew Stevenson did lead off the game with a homer, and Austin Martin hit his fourth homer in seven games.
TWINS at Milwaukee, 1:10pm
SAINTS at Omaha, 6:35pm
LYNX at Dallas, Thursday
GOPHER VOLLEYBALL vs TCU, Friday
VIKINGS vs Arizona (preseason), Saturday
LOONS vs Seattle, Sunday