Saturday, June 9, 2007

Texas Hold 'Em at the Stornettas

For several years some of my friends (usually six of us) would gather frequently on a Monday, Friday or Saturday night to play poker at one of our homes. As time has passed and lives have changed, there have been fewer opportunities to get together for our friendly game of cards - we might meet once every two or three months now. Last night, my friends Ken and Bethany Stornetta hosted poker night. Our original core group of six - Chris, Tim and Dave Dixon along with the Stornettas and myself - played for five hours starting a little after 7:15 pm. For those of us West coasters living on East coast time such as me, this meant that by the time we were finished it felt like 3:15 in the morning! Nonetheless, we all had a GREAT time... it was a little bittersweet for us though as this was probably the last time that the six of us will be getting together anytime soon. Dave, being the adventurer that he is, will be moving to Thailand at the end of this month. Dave has been blogging for a very long time and will continue to do so once he leaves the states. Have a look at his "There Goes Dave" blog for the latest... We're all going to miss him - especially me since he's a HUGE fan of my alma-mater, UCLA...

As for the actual game, well it's always been just for fun and very small stakes... it's ALL about winning so that you'll be able to have bragging rights for the next time. So who won last night, you may ask??? Well, that would be me!!!


Needless to say, I didn't get to catch much Sports last night - the extent of what I actually took in was a good 45 minutes of the Los Angeles/Anaheim Angels game against the St. Louis Cardinals on my car radio. I listened long enough to hear Bartolo Colon have a very poor outing, surrendering four runs in four innings including solo homers to Chris Duncan, Albert Pujols and Kelly Stinnett. It was 4-0, Cardinals when I got to the Stornetta's house, so I had no idea what happened next - the Angels scored NINE unanswered runs between the fifth and seventh innings. Chone Figgins contributed three hits and three stolen bases, while the Angels bullpen pitched an effective five innings in allowing only two runs to seal what would end up being a 10-6 Halo win. Now you faithful readers will know I might be sounding like a broken record next as Ervin Santana is going in St. Louis today for the Angels. In 31 career road starts, Santana's ERA is 6.98 and his WHIP is 1.63 to go along with a .296 batting average against.

Speaking of Santana, that "other" one pitches today for the Minnesota Twins against the Washington Nationals. The great Johan has actually been human of late, allowing seven runs in his past two outings for a 4.50 ERA... Last night, the Nats and Jason Simontacchi took on Carlos Silva and the Twins at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. It was no contest as the Nats pummeled Silva in his three innings, tallying nine hits, a walk and seven runs. The Nats would add an eighth run the sixth inning to grab a nearly insurmountable 8-0 lead. Simontacchi tired in the 7th inning, allowing three runs in the frame, but it was too little, too late for the Twins... single runs in the eighth and ninth innings only made the final result a little more respectable - an easy 8-5 Nats win. The red-hot Christian Guzman and Dmitri Young led the Nats attack with four and three hits respectively... Just how hot are these guys??? Guzman has 20 hits in his past 39 at bats over the last nine games for a .513 batting average while "DY" has hit .508 (32 for 63) over his past 19 games... At .337, Young now finds himself second in the NL batting race, trailing Colorado's Matt Holliday by 19 points.

The most dramatic finish of the night had to be at Chavez Ravine where the Dodgers took on the Toronto Blue Jays. Brad Penny pitched a masterful seven and two-thirds innings for the Blue Crew, giving up only a run on five hits while striking out seven. Dustin McGowan was equally effective for the Blue Jays, shutting out the Dodgers for six innings until Luis Gonzalez cranked a two-run homer in the bottom of the 7th. The usually reliable Takeshi Saito pitched the ninth for the Dodgers but quickly blew his first save opportunity of the year as he gave up a solo homer to Matt Stairs with no one out. The Dodgers would be held scoreless in the bottom of the frame, so the game went into extra innings. The Blue Jays tallied a third run off of Joe Beimal in the top of the 10th as Gregg Zahn singled in John McDonald. Jeremy Accardo came in to save the game for the Jays, but it got off to a rocky start as he walked the first batter he faced, Tony Abreu. Dodger manager Grady Little then decided to unleash the Dodgers pinch-hitter extraordinare, Olmedo Saenz. Also known as "The Killer Tomato," Saenz has been the Dodgers most clutch hitter off the bench the past few years. Just how good has he been in his limited time with the Dodgers? Well, in his first two years, he hit 26 homers and drove in 111 runs in only 498 at bats. Those are some GREAT numbers! 2007 has been a bit of a struggle for Saenz so far, as he's only hitting .224 in 49 at bats... Getting back to last night, Saenz fell behind 0-1 and then lined the next pitch hard to left field... the ball never got very high off the ground, nonetheless it carried into the left field pavilion for a dramatic 2-run walk-off homer and a 4-3 Dodger win. Rudy Seanez was credited with the win as the Dodgers stopped their three game losing streak.


The women continue to have the golf spotlight this weekend as the second round of the McDonald's LPGA Championship took place yesterday on the Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, MD. Suzann Pederson carded a five under par 67 to reach eight under par and grab the midway lead by a shot over Karrie Webb. Birdie Kim and Brittany Lincicome are another shot back, while Annika Soranstam and phenoms Morgan Pressels and Paula Creamer sit at five under par along with Meena Lee. Lorena Ochoa, the number one player on tour, currently sits at two under par after her second straight 71. Live third round coverage of the tournament can be found on the Golf Channel starting at 4 pm ET/1 pm PT.


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