In My Opinion

Heat gets its payback with dominance, not fisticuffs

 

Fireballing Fernandez

Today: Jose Fernandez’s strikeouts. The Marlins’ young second-year ace is on a history-threatening strikeout pace. Where he’d rank at this point among top five all-time leaders in strikeouts per nine innings:

Pitcher Ks per 9 Total Ks/Innings
Randy Johnson10.61 4,875 in 4,135.1
Kerry Wood10.32 1,582 in 1,380
Jose Fernandez10.31 234 in 204.1
Pedro Martinez10.04 3,154 in 2,827.1
Tim Lincecum 10.04 1,534 in 1,432.2
Nolan Ryan10.04 5,714 in 5,386

Note: Marlins’ career leader in category is Josh Beckett with 8.97 strikeouts per nine innings (607 Ks in 609 innings).


What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. HEAT

Miami leads as first-round playoff awaits Game 4 in Charlotte: A little perspective for Heat fans who were not satisfied with team leading 2-0 going into Game 3 in Charlotte: Entering Saturday’s games five higher seeds or series favorites — Indiana, Oklahoma City, Houston, Chicago and Brooklyn — all trailed, and No. 1 San Antonio was tied.

2. MARLINS

Baseball club has its own “Big 3,” and they’re shining: As team returns home to face Atlanta on Tuesday, the Marlins’ own Big 3 was shining. Jose Fernandez led majors in strikeouts, Giancarlo Stanton led in RBI, and Christian Yelich had MLB-best 17-game hitting streak before it ended Friday. Unlike Heat’s Big 3, Marlins’ terrific troika are all under 25.

3. NFL DRAFT

Dolphins shape plans with draft 11 days away: The NFL Draft — stretched to three days and with commissioner Roger Goodell now saying it could grow to four — starts May 8 as Mel Kiper Jr. prepares his 75th mock draft. Dolfans are as excited as you can possibly be when your team is picking 19th and will probably take an offensive lineman.

4. RUNNING

Miami Corporate Run draws 25,000-plus to downtown: A local phenomenon, the 30th annual Mercedes-Benz Miami Corporate Run drew a massive throng for Thursday evening’s 3.1-mile event. The race as always was won by a Mercedes S-Class sedan that barreled through the scattering crowd and blurred past the finish line in 1 minute 48 seconds.

5. KENTUCKY DERBY

Bell rings on Triple Crown season: An expected field of 20 horses will be set Wednesday for Saturday’s 140th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. The betting favorite, California Chrome, is favored to become latest thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby and then fail miserably to become first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

gcote@MiamiHerald.com

Well, the Heat visited Charlotte on Saturday night in Game 3 of their NBA first-round playoff series, and we all learned the answer to the pressing question.

“3-0 or 2-1?”

OK, that’s a good question, too, now that you mention it — Miami gunning for a safe 3-0 series lead or the Bobcats adding some drama at 2-1 entering Monday’s game there.

But the more pressing question to me entering this game was:

“Elbow or forearm?”

What body part would the Heat’s Udonis Haslem deploy as a projectile against Charlotte’s villainous Josh McRoberts? How would Haslem, Miami’s hit-man warrior, choose to avenge McRoberts’ hard forearm to LeBron James’ neck in Game 2? And when?

The safest bet wasn’t who’d win last night’s game. It was the likelihood that, at some point, Haslem would be loudly booed by the crowd while simultaneously chest-bumped by lauding teammates as McRoberts lay splayed in pain on the hardwood.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said there would be no retaliation for that play. At least that’s what I think he said. Incredulous media laughter was so loud the end of the sentence was drowned out.

James described himself as “attacked in the lane” by McRoberts and “elbowed in the throat.”

These things do not go unpunished, and McRoberts’ wrist-slap $20,000 league fine, with no suspension, was not sufficient.

Enter Udonis.

The arena playlist should have included Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting. Not that Miami’s enforcer needed the pump-up music.

Of course (I am writing this Saturday morning), there is always the chance there would be no retribution Saturday night. That McRoberts would go unpunished. That the mugging of LeBron would go unavenged. That Udonis would turn pacifist …

NAAAAAH!

• NFL schedules came out, and Dolphins open season at home vs. nemesis New England. ESPN spit out projected records for every team and said Patriots would win AFC East at 11-5 (again), and Dolphins would finish 8-8 (again). Oops. Guess I should have given you a “spoiler alert” on that.

• The Buffalo “Jills” have become the third NFL cheerleading unit to sue their team over low wages or working conditions. Be careful on the demands, cheerleaders. My experience is that sports fans are skilled enough at cheering as to not require being led.

•  Herschel Walker, 52, said he could still play running back in the NFL. Hey, why not! Bernard Hopkins is still in the ring at 49 and won last week. He now holds light-heavyweight titles in the WBA, IBF and AARP.

•  Meb Keflezighi, from San Diego, became the first American man since 1983 to win the Boston Marathon. The big loser? The terrorists whose bombs one year earlier made Boston and its marathon bounce back stronger than ever.

•  Dennis Rodman reportedly was tossed out of Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant for causing a scene. Is that even news? If ever Rodman would act normally and not play the fool, now that would be news!

• Montreal was the first team to advance past the NHL’s first round, but four other teams had a chance to follow Saturday or Sunday. Aside to Florida Panthers fans: You’ve probably forgotten, but we’re referring to the “Stanley Cup playoffs” in what is commonly called “the postseason.”

• The 10th annual Miami Beach Polo World Cup ends Sunday right on the beach. Make it more interesting next year: Put the horses in the ocean and call it water polo.

• Angels’ Albert Pujols rather quietly became 26th member of the 500 home run club. Media blamed diminished attention on steroids era, but it’s also simple math. Put it this way: It was huge deal when Roger Bannister became first to break four-minute mile. Can you name the 26th man to do it?

• Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was caught using pine tar. Imagine that: A guy whose surname begins with “Pine” using pine tar! “Yeah, that is weird,” teammate Alex Roidriguez said.

• Turns out Dodgers star Yasiel Puig’s journey from Cuba to America reportedly involved smugglers, human traffickers, a Mexican drug cartel and a fistfight between Fidel Castro and Tommy Lasorda. OK, I made up that last part.

• Fans of the late Joe Paterno are paying to have a statue built in front of a restaurant across from Penn State campus. It will depict Paterno reading. In other words, the statue, like the coach late in his career, will be oblivious to what’s going on directly in front of him.

• It is now six weeks from the start of the soccer World Cup, and officials in host Brazil have vowed to appoint an organizing committee at the first opportunity.

• American 100-meter record holder Tyson Gay tested positive for PEDs, verifying the old Chinese proverb: “Even fastest man cannot outrun own urine.”

• UFC parted ways with Fort Lauderdale fighter Thiago Silva after his arrest on a battery charge. Yeah, because the last thing UFC needs is to be associated with violence!

•  Parting thought: R.I.P., Earl Morrall, 79, selfless savior of the Dolphins’ 1972 Perfect Season.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote.

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