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The Sports Report: Tom Seaver dies at 75

Tom Seaver in 2015.
(Mike Groll / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Mike DiGiovanna on Tom Seaver: Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher who helped transform the expansion New York Mets from lovable losers to World Series champions in 1969, died Monday from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, the Hall of Fame announced. He was 75.

Seaver, nicknamed “Tom Terrific,” and “Mr. Met,” was a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner and 12-time All-Star who won 311 games, compiled a 2.86 ERA and threw 61 shutouts during a 20-year major league career that spanned from 1967 to 1986.

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A 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-hander, Seaver used his distinctive drop-and-drive delivery and tree-trunk legs to generate the power and swing-and-miss stuff to strike out 3,640 batters, which ranks sixth on baseball’s all-time list. He made a record 16 opening-day starts, including 12 straight from 1968 to ’79.

Seaver and Walter Johnson are the only pitchers to record 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts and a career ERA below 3.00. When he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992, Seaver was named on 98.8% of the ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America, the highest voting percentage ever received at the time.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our national pastime.

“He was synonymous with the New York Mets and their unforgettable 1969 season. After their improbable World Series championship, Tom became a household name to baseball fans — a responsibility he carried out with distinction throughout his life.”

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DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: In about a month, barring disaster, the Dodgers will give the ball to Walker Buehler to survive another day or close out a three-game playoff series. They will seek the brilliance he has already displayed on the biggest stages in his young big league career, from division title tiebreaker to Game 3 of the World Series. They will look for something like Wednesday.

In his first start since a blister on his right hand forced a visit to the injured list, Buehler was nearly flawless in five scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zac Gallen, a nascent ace himself, was even better, but the Dodgers rallied for a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

Mookie Betts homered in the ninth to tie it at 1-1 and Will Smith singled over a drawn-in outfield to win it in the 10th.

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Betts lined the first pitch Gallen threw to center field for a single. Gallen didn’t give up another one. He walked two and struck out seven. He pitched into the seventh inning, but was removed when he issued a leadoff walk to Joc Pederson with his 97th pitch.

ANGELS

Maria Torres on the Angels: In the final weeks of an already disappointing season (including an 11-4 loss to San Diego on Wednesday), the Angels were charged with failing to fulfill their financial promises to their minor leaguers.

“Several players have told us they didn’t see a dime from the Angels last month,” read a tweet from the Advocates for Minor Leaguers. “No other MLB team has shown such apathy toward providing for players’ basic needs.”

Angels spokesman Adam Chodzko said the team had committed to making $400 weekly payments to minor leaguers through the scheduled end of the minor league season, Sept. 7. However, he said, if the Angels had paid out a player’s contract in full, the weekly payments stopped.

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Under the Angels’ system, over the 22-week minor league season that was supposed to start in early April, a player would have maxed out at $8,800. The minimum triple-A salary is about $11,000. Many veterans make more than that.

LAKERS

Tania Ganguli on the Lakers: Rajon Rondo ran up and down the court with his teammates during a scrimmage as LeBron James shot free throws on a different court.

For the last few weeks, Rondo has been reintegrating himself into the Lakers’ day-to-day operations, and he is close to a return. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he hopes to have Rondo available in Friday’s game against the Rockets or Thunder, and that he has participated in both of the Lakers’ mandatory practices this week.

“He’s been good. He’s been communicating a lot, which he always does,” said fellow guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. “He’s a great leader besides the other two leaders we have. I like … just being on the court with him he gets everybody in their positions. He’s the floor general when he’s out there, he’s always talking trying to put people in position. Just being out here and having him in here is great for us.”

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Rondo has not played for the Lakers in the NBA’s restart. The team discovered that he had a broken thumb on July 12 and Rondo left the Disney World campus shortly thereafter for surgery. He returned a month later.

No. 1 Lakers vs. No. 4 Houston
Second round
All times Pacific

Game 1: Friday, 6 p.m., ESPN
Game 2: Sunday, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Game 3: Tuesday, 6 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Thursday, Sept. 10, TBD, TNT
Game 5*: Saturday, Sept. 12, TBD, ESPN
Game 6*: Monday, Sept. 14, TBD, TNT
Game 7*: Wed., Sept. 16, TBD, TNT

*-if necessary

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CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. turned 31 on Wednesday, but it wasn’t exactly the happiest of birthdays after the NBA issued him a $35,000 fine for “recklessly striking” Dallas guard Luka Doncic above the neck during Game 6 of the team’s first-round series.

The flagrant-2 foul he committed in Sunday’s series-clinching Clippers victory followed two previous incidents between the two players. Morris made contact after the whistle on Doncic in Game 1 that led to a heated disagreement between the teams, and Doncic’s left shoe came off in Game 4 after it was stepped on by Morris near the ankle Doncic had injured earlier in the series. After that incident, and his ejection in Game 6 after the flagrant-2 foul on Doncic, Morris defended himself by saying he played hard but was not a dirty player.

That history was taken into account when determining how much the NBA would dock Morris. The $35,000 fine was “based in part on the fact that Morris Sr. has been disciplined on several prior occasions for physical altercations on the court,” the NBA wrote in announcing the fine.

Doncic did not escape the first postseason of his NBA career without a lighter wallet, either. He was fined $15,000 for throwing the ball off the legs of an official in Game 6. Doncic was assessed a technical foul on the play.

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No. 2 Clippers vs. No. 3 Denver
Second round
All times Pacific

Game 1: Tonight, 6 p.m., TNT
Game 2: Saturday, 6 p.m., TNT
Game 3: Monday, 6 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN
Game 5*: Friday, Sept. 11, TBD, TNT
Game 6*: Sunday, Sept. 13, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Tuesday, Sept. 15, TBD, ESPN

*-if necessary

SPARKS

Candace Parker scored 22 points with 10 rebounds and six assists to lead the Sparks to a 91-83 victory over the Dallas Wings on Wednesday night.

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Brittany Sykes added 19 points and Chelsea Gray 16 for the playoff-bound Sparks, who shot 52% overall and 53% (9 of 17) from 3-point range. Los Angeles bounced back from a 96-78 loss to Minnesota on Monday that snapped a nine-game winning streak.

Parker started off just 1-of-5 shooting as the Sparks (13-4) fell behind 23-17 after the first quarter. She then got going, scoring nine in a 31-point second period as the Sparks took a 48-39 lead at halftime. A Parker basket midway through the third quarter put Los Angeles up 18. She finished 8-of-15 shooting.

League-leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale finished with 17 points for Dallas -- a point short of 1,000 for her career -- for her 28th straight game of at least 15 points, the third-longest streak in WNBA history.

GALAXY

Kevin Baxter on the Galaxy: A first-half goal by Efraín Alvarez and second-half scores from Cristian Pavón and Joe Corona lifted the Galaxy to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Wednesday, extending the team’s winning streak to three games.

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The Galaxy (3-3-2) went ahead to stay in the 15th minute when Alvarez, making his first start of the season, scored his first MLS goal on a left-footed strike from the center of the box. Sebastian Lletget got the assist on the goal, giving him two goals and two assists in the winning streak.

Pavón doubled the lead five minutes into the second half, taking a Nick DePuy pass about 10 yards inside the Timbers half, stepping away from a challenge from Portland defender Pablo Bonilla and racing alone up the left wing. He pushed the ball into the penalty area, dribbled to the center of the box, then pulled up to drill a low left-footed shot into the middle of the net.

The Timbers outshot the Galaxy, 17-15, but the Galaxy put seven of their tries on target while winning in Portland for the first time in four seasons.

LAFC

Diego Rossi continued his torrid start to the season with two goals, Bradley Wright-Phillips added another, and Los Angeles FC beat the San Jose Earthquakes 5-1 on Wednesday night.

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Rossi, who went into the game leading MLS with seven goals this season, side-netted a right-footer in the 21st minute to open the scoring and he tapped a deflection into the net from point-blank range to make it 4-0 in the 69th.

LAFC (3-2-3), which was coming off back-to-back losses, improved to 5-0 all-time against the Earthquakes by a combined score of 20-4.

Wright-Phillips scored in the 49th minute, José Cifuentes put away a side-netter in the 64th, and Danny Musovski scored his first MLS goal to make it 5-0 in the 83rd minute.

Danny Hoesen scored for San Jose (2-3-2) in the second minute of stoppage time.

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U.S. OPEN

Helene Elliott on the U.S. Open: Clicking on Katrina Scott’s biography on the Women’s Tennis Assn. web site is a frustrating experience. There are blanks where her height, age, handedness and birthplace should be listed, and a generic female silhouette fills the spot where a photo should be displayed.

“I know,” she said with a laugh. “I was talking to some of the WTA people the other day and they were like, ‘We have absolutely nothing on you. We have to get some stuff.’”

Scott is giving the WTA plenty of material to use in her bio besides the basic facts that she’s 5 feet 11, turned 16 in June, plays right-handed, and was born and grew up in Woodland Hills.

Her new bio should begin with Scott winning her first-round match at the U.S. Open, a 7-6 (3), 6-2 decision over Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia on Tuesday. Scott, a quarterfinalist at last year’s junior U.S. Open, made her main-draw Grand Slam debut in New York this year thanks to a late wild-card invitation. She seized the opportunity and prevailed on Court 15, one of the outposts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. On Thursday, she will face No. 22 seed Amanda Anisimova at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second-biggest venue on the grounds.

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NBA PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

First round (all games in Orlando, Fla.)
All times Pacific

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Oklahoma City Thunder

Game 1: Houston 123, Oklahoma City 108
Game 2: Houston 111, Oklahoma City 98
Game 3: Oklahoma City 119, Houston 107
Game 4: Oklahoma City 117, Houston 114
Game 5: Houston 114, Oklahoma City 80
Game 6: Oklahoma City 104, Houston 100
Game 7: Houston 104, Oklahoma City 102

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SECOND ROUND
EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Milwaukee vs. No. 5 Miami

Game 1: Miami 115, Milwaukee 104
Game 2: Miami 116, Milwaukee 114
Game 3: Friday, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Sunday, 12:30 p.m., ABC
Game 5*: Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 6*: Thursday, Sept. 10, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Saturday, Sept. 12, TBD, TNT

No. 2 Toronto vs. No. 3 Boston Celtics

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Game 1: Boston 112, Toronto 94
Game 2: Boston 102, Toronto 99
Game 3: Today, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Game 5:* Monday, 3:30 p.m., TNT
Game 6*: Wednesday, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Fri., Sept. 11, TBD, TNT

* – If necessary

NHL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

All Times Pacific
Second round
Eastern Conference, all game in Toronto

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No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 6 New York Islanders

Game 1: NY Islanders 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2: Philadelphia 4, NY Islanders 3 (OT)
Game 3: NY Islanders 3, Philadelphia 1
Game 4: NY Islanders 3, Philadelphia 2
Game 5: Philadelphia 4, NY Islanders 3 (OT)
Game 6: Today, 4 p.m., NBCSN
Game 7*: Saturday TBD

No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 Boston Bruins

Game 1: Boston 3, Tampa Bay 2
Game 2: Tampa Bay 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Game 3: Tampa Bay 7, Boston 1
Game 4: Tampa Bay 3, Boston 1
Game 5: Tampa Bay 3, Boston 2 (2 OT)

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Western Conference, all games in Edmonton

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks

Game 1: Vegas 5, Vancouver 0
Game 2: Vancouver 5, Vegas 2
Game 3: Vegas 3, Vancouver 0
Game 4: Vegas 5, Vancouver 3
Game 5: Vancouver 2, Vegas 1
Game 6: Tonight, 6:45 p.m., NBCSN
Game 7*: Friday, TBD, NBCSN

No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars

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Game 1: Dallas 5, Colorado 3
Game 2: Dallas 5, Colorado 2
Game 3: Colorado 6, Dallas 4
Game 4: Dallas 5, Colorado 4
Game 5: Colorado 6, Dallas 3
Game 6: Colorado 4, Dallas 1
Game 7: Friday, TBD, NBCSN

*-if necessary

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

Clippers vs. Denver, 6 p.m., TNT

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Arizona at Dodgers, 6:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

San Diego at Angels, 4 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1921 — The United States defeats Japan in five straight matches to win the Davis Cup.

1932 — Ellsworth Vines wins the men’s singles title in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association championships with a three-set victory over France’s Henri Cochet.

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1944 — Frank Parker wins the men’s singles title with a four-set victory over Bill Talbert in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association championships. Pauline Betz captures her third straight women’s title with 6-3, 8-6 victory over Margaret Osborne.

1945 — Frank Parker defends his U.S. Open title, defeating Bill Talbert, 14-12, 6-1, 6-2, in the final of the first postwar U.S. Open.

1956 — Jockey John Longden surpasses Sir Gordon Richards’ then-record number of wins by riding Arrogate to victory in the Del Mar Handicap at Del Mar Racetrack to attain his 4,871st victory.

1977 — Ken Rosewall, two months shy of his 43rd birthday, is beaten by 24-year-old Jose Higueras, 6-4, 6-4. The in a best-of-three-set third-round match marks Rosewall’s final U.S. Open singles match.

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1989 — Chris Evert defeats 15-year-old Monica Seles, 6-0, 6-2, for her 101st and final U.S. Open singles win.

1994 — Terry Dean of Florida tosses an NCAA record-tying seven TD passes in the first half of the Gators’ 70-21 victory over New Mexico State.

1994 — Miami beats Georgia Southern 56-0, breaking an NCAA record with its 58th consecutive home victory. The Hurricanes surpass Alabama’s record of 57 wins in a row at home set from 1962-82.

1995 — The Carolina Panthers lose to the Atlanta Falcons 23-20 in their first NFL game and the Jacksonville Jaguars lose their first game to the Houston Oilers 10-3.

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2001 — Jockey John Velazquez becomes the first jockey to ride six winners on a single card at Saratoga Racecourse. Velazquez guides Starine to a 5 1/4-length victory in the Diana Handicap, a 1 1-8 mile turf race, for his sixth win.

2001 — No. 1 seed Gustavo Kuerten finishes off a two-sets-to-love comeback at 12:17 a.m., defeating Max Mirnyi, 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2, to become only the third No. 1-seeded man to come back from two sets down in the Open Era at the U.S. Open.

2007 — Pedro Martinez completes his comeback from major shoulder surgery, becoming the 15th pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters in his career.

2016 — Serena Williams’ dominating third-round victory at the U.S. Open is notable for a new career milestone: 307 Grand Slam wins. Williams’ 6-2, 6-1 win over 47th-ranked Johanna Larsson of Sweden improves her major-tournament mark to 307-42, putting her one win up on Martina Navratilova among women and tying Roger Federer among all players in the Open era.

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And finally

Don Drysdale appears on “The Brady Bunch.” Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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