Happy Monday, everyone! It’s Zach Pereles back from vacation to bring you all the sports news you need. Hope you’re doing well.
Let’s get right to it.
Good morning to everyone but especially to…
THE SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
After a rumor-filled last few months, GG Jackson — the No. 1 overall player in 247Sports’ 2023 basketball recruiting rankings — made it official on Saturday: He’s reclassifying to 2022 and going to South Carolina.
- Jackson originally committed to North Carolina in April as a 2023 prospect before de-committing on July 14.
- Jackson is the highest-rated commit in South Carolina history and a huge addition for first-year head coach Lamont Paris.
- Jackson averaged 22.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and won South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior last season at Ridge View High School — just 15 miles from South Carolina’s campus.
According to 247Sports national basketball director Eric Bossi, Jackson “is a more than capable jump shooter, has a nice jump hook and [has] become a real threat to face up and attack off the dribble. … Defensively, he’s ahead of the curve as well.” Jackson’s commitment is a massive win as South Carolina enters a new era, writes our college basketball expert David Cobb.
- Cobb: “Getting the Gamecocks to the NCAA Tournament would require a herculean effort from Jackson, but his presence on the roster will be huge for the program as Paris seeks to build a relevant program. … Landing Jackson should help answer any questions over whether Paris will be able to recruit well enough to compete in the SEC.”
- David Ortiz nailed his Hall of Fame speech.
- Chase Elliott won the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 after Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch failed post-race inspection.
- The U.S. women won the 4×100 relay at the World Athletics Championships.
And not such a good morning for…
THE BOSTON RED SOX
Sorry, Red Sox fans. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s historically ugly. Following yesterday’s 8-4 loss to the Blue Jays, Boston has lost five straight games and has been outscored 67-13 during that stretch.
It’s the worst run differential by any team over a five-game span in the Modern Era (since 1901). Yikes. The Red Sox lost to the Yankees 14-1 on July 16 and then 13-2 one day later to enter the All-Star Break. Perfect time for a break, right?
- Boston opened the second half by losing 28-5 against the Blue Jays (!!!). It was the most runs ever by the Blue Jays and most runs allowed ever by the Red Sox. Oh, and it featured a ridiculous inside-the-park grand slam.
- Boston also placed All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers (hamstring) on the 10-day IL after the loss.
- The Red Sox ended up getting swept by the Blue Jays, losing 4-1 Saturday and 8-4 yesterday.
It’s been embarrassing, horrendous, awful — choose your negative adjective. Looking at the big picture, the Red Sox are 48-48, three games out of a Wild Card spot and headed in the wrong direction. Should that make them a seller at the trade deadline? It’s a question worth asking, and Boston has plenty of players they could move on from, notes MLB expert Matt Snyder.
- Snyder: “All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts has an opt-out clause at the end of the season and extension talks have gone nowhere. All-Star DH J.D. Martinez is a free agent after the season. … Nathan Eovaldi is a free agent after the season. Kiké Hernandez, Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill and Matt Strahm are also free agents after the year. … If things continue on their current path, expect the Red Sox to sell. And if they do, they might resemble last season’s Cubs in gutting the roster.”
The trade deadline is Aug. 2. Whichever path the Red Sox choose will have huge, league-wide ramifications.
Not so honorable mentions
- Cardinals stars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt won’t be playing in Toronto vs. the Blue Jays due to their COVID-19 vaccination status.
- There are plenty of stars starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
- The Red Sox weren’t the only playoff contender to get swept: The Phillies did, too. That and more in our weekend recap.
- Madison Bumgarner and Victor Robles are beefing.
Texans rookie John Metchie III diagnosed with leukemia, likely to miss season 🏈
Texans second-round rookie wide receiver John Metchie III announced yesterday that he’s been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) and will likely miss all of the 2022 season. The Texans have placed him on the active/non-football illness list.
- In his statement, Metchie III explained that APL is “the most curable form of Leukemia”
- He also said, “I am currently receiving great medical care, am in good spirits and I expect to make a recovery at a later point in time.”
Houston took Metchie III 44th overall in April after his impressive 2021 season with Alabama: 96 catches for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns before tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship Game.
Tony Finau surges late to win 3M Open 🏌
Tony Finau started yesterday five strokes off the lead. He ended it with a trophy in his hands. Finau rode a hot putter to shoot a final-round 67 and win the 3M Open by three strokes over Sungjae Im and Emiliano Grillo.
- It’s Finau’s third career PGA Tour win and first of the season.
- The five-stroke, final-round comeback is the largest in 3M Open history. It helped that Scott Piercy, the 54-hole leader at 18-under, shot a 76 yesterday and finished T4.
- Finau was the only player in the field to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds.
Finau’s trophy is a well-earned highlight to his strong play of late, writes our golf expert Patrick McDonald.
- McDonald: “In what began as a troubling 2022, Finau has been able to turn his fortunes around ever since the beginning of May. Finau started with a runner-up performance at the Mexico Open, and he added a top-five finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge and battled Rory McIlroy down the stretch at the RBC Canadian Open, where he also finished runner up. … For Finau, the wins have yet to stack up, but golf is often a game of runs. … Maybe, just maybe, this postseason will belong to Tony Finau. Grade: A+“
Ranking the NFL alternate helmets so far 🔥
This NFL offseason has been busy to say the least. Retirements. Unretirements. Big trades and signings. The quarterback carousel. The wide receiver market exploding. The Washington Football Team finally getting a new name. The helmets.
Wait, what? The helmets?
Let me explain:
We’re now up to 13 alternate helmets that will be used this coming season, with the Cardinals (black) and Bears (orange) being the latest teams to join the trend. Count me in as a fan of the alternate helmet idea. They’re fun, add a little something to seasons that can become slogs (especially if your favorite team stinks), and worst case scenario, they won’t be used again.
Having said that, not all alternate helmets are created equal: Some will become fixtures for years to come. Some — let’s put it nicely — won’t. Our NFL/alternate helmet expert Jeff Kerr has ranked all 13 helmets revealed so far (we could get two more before the season begins), and there’s no doubting who deserves top marks.
- Kerr: “1. Bengals — The ‘White Bengal’ helmet is a simple change and goes perfect with the all-white color rush uniform the team wears. The stripes and nose bumper on the helmet match the uniform. The full uniform set doesn’t need to be seen to understand how perfect this uniform will look — which will be the only one of its kind in the league.”