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The Sports Report: The Angels are SoCal’s most fun team to watch

Reid Detmers celebrates with catcher Chad Wallach.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

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

From Dylan Hernández: There was an unusual notation by Anthony Rendon’s name on the Angels’ lineup card Wednesday afternoon.

“I listed him as a switch hitter,” manager Joe Maddon said with a chuckle.

The not-so-inside joke was a reference to Rendon’s homer the previous night. With the Angels leading by 11 runs, rookie Reid Detmers about to complete a no-hitter and position player Brett Phillips pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays in the eighth inning, Rendon batted from the left side for the first time in his career and promptly deposited the ball into the right field bleachers.

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“Obviously,” Detmers said, “what he did was unreal.”

Or, for these Angels, more of the same.

Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and company have made the spectacular commonplace, transforming the Big A into a metropolitan field of dreams.

The Angels aren’t the area’s best team – that’s the Dodgers. The Angels aren’t the most popular team – that’s also the Dodgers.

What the Angels are is Southern California’s most fun team to watch, and it’s not just because they aren’t linked to Trevor Bauer.

A day after Detmers pitched the 12th no-hitter in franchise history, in a game in which Trout wasn’t in the lineup and Ohtani looked gassed, the Angels nearly stole their series finale against the Rays.

Breakout star Taylor Ward, who missed the previous two games with hamstring problems, erased a two-run deficit with a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning. The Rays went on to win the game in 10 innings, 4-2, but the Angels pointed to their late-innings approach as evidence for how much has changed since last season.

“Even when a good pitcher comes out (of the opponent’s bullpen), there’s a feeling that we can do it and I think that’s what’s different about this year,” Ohtani said in Japanese. “Last year, it was hard to create that kind of atmosphere.”
————

Shohei Ohtani sharp, but Angels fall to Rays in 10 innings

Reid Detmers’ no-hitter is more than an outlier. The Angels can pitch!

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KINGS

From Kevin Baxter: When the Kings take the ice Thursday for Game 6 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers, they’ll have a chance to do something the team hasn’t done in eight years: win a postseason series.

“Obviously, we’re very excited where we’re at right now,” said winger Adrian Kempe, who brought the team to the brink of advancing with the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 5. “Our confidence is good right now.”

They also have an unexpected advantage in Game 6. The Oilers will be without defenseman Darnell Nurse, who has been suspended one game for headbutting Kings center Phillip Danault late in the second period of Game 5.

No penalty was called on the play, but after the NHL’s department of player safety reviewed the incident, it was determined the headbutt was delivered with intent to injure.

Oilers forward Zack Kassian also has been fined $5,000 for cross-checking Sean Durzi during Game 5. That’s the maximum permissible penalty under the collective bargaining agreement. Kassian had been assessed a minor penalty in the second period.

NHL PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
First round
Western Conference

No. 2 Edmonton vs. No. 3 Kings
Kings 4, Edmonton 3
Edmonton 6, Kings 0
Edmonton 8, Kings 2
Kings 4, Edmonton 0
Kings 5, Edmonton 4 (OT)
Tonight at Kings, 7 p.m., TBS
*Saturday at Edmonton, TBD

No. 1 Colorado vs. WC#2 Nashville
Colorado 7, Nashville 2
Colorado 2, Nashville 1 (OT)
Colorado 7, Nashville 3
Colorado 5, Nashville 3

No. 2 Minnesota vs. No. 3 St. Louis
St. Louis 4, Minnesota 0
Minnesota 6, St. Louis 2
Minnesota 5, St. Louis 1
St. Louis 5, Minnesota 2
St. Louis 5, Minnesota 2
Tonight at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m., TNT
*Saturday at Minnesota, TBD

No. 1 Calgary vs. WC#1 Dallas
Calgary 1, Dallas 0
Dallas 2, Calgary 0
Dallas 4, Calgary 2
Calgary 4, Dallas 1
Calgary 3, Dallas 1
Friday at Dallas, 6:30 p.m., TNT
*Sunday at Calgary, TBD

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Florida vs. WC#2 Washington
Washington 4, Florida 2
Florida 5, Washington 1
Washington 6, Florida 1
Florida 3, Washington 2 (OT)
Florida 5, Washington 3
Friday at Washington, 4:30 p.m., TBS
*Sunday at Florida, TBD

No. 2 Toronto vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay
Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 0
Tampa Bay 5, Toronto 3
Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa Bay 7, Toronto 3
Toronto 4, Tampa Bay 3
Today at Tampa Bay, 4:30 p.m., TBS
*Saturday at Toronto, TBD

No. 1 Carolina at WC#1 Boston
Carolina 5, Boston 1
Carolina 5, Boston 2
Boston 4, Carolina 2
Boston 5, Carolina 2
Carolina 5, Boston 1
Today at Boston, 4 p.m., TNT
*Saturday at Carolina, TBD

No. 2 New York Rangers vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh 4, New York 3 (3 OT)
New York 5, Pittsburgh 2
Pittsburgh 7, New York 4
Pittsburgh 7, New York 2
New York 5, Pittsburgh 3
Friday at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m., TNT
*Sunday at New York, TBD

*-if necessary

DODGERS

From Jack Harris: Ryan Pepiot’s MLB debut began with a flash of potential.

In his first career start with the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon, Pepiot dispatched Pittsburgh Pirates leadoff hitter Ben Gamel on four pitches, getting ahead with a tailing 95-mph fastball before fanning him with a trademark changeup that darted out of the strike zone.

The rest of the day wasn’t nearly as simple for the 24-year-old right-hander, who walked five batters and hit another while throwing 77 pitches in three innings.

Yet, Pepiot escaped each predicament, pitching his way out of every dangerous situation to keep the Pirates scoreless in his first big-league outing.

“A lot of emotions, adrenaline,” said Pepiot, the team’s No. 2-ranked pitching prospect according to MLB Pipeline. “But when I needed to, I was able to make some pitches to limit the damage.”

The rest of the Dodgers pitching staff wasn’t so lucky, faltering down the stretch in the team’s 5-3 rubber-match loss to the Pirates in front of 11,105 at PNC Park.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

From J. Brady McCollough: In late April, USC was accused by Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi of tampering with star wide receiver Jordan Addison, using name, image and likeness deals in an attempt to lure the player to Los Angeles before he had even entered his name in the transfer portal.

Last week, Arizona State reportedly landed Florida transfer quarterback Emory Jones after a collective of boosters offered a NIL deal worth up to $75,000 and the use of a car.

That above-board transaction, which would have sent the NCAA keystone cops on the first flight to Tempe just a few years ago, felt like small potatoes compared to some of the lucrative deals linked to Southeastern Conference programs such as Tennessee, which has drawn intense speculation that a collective promised $8 million to secure the commitment of five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava of Long Beach Poly High.

To say college sports have entered a brave new world is putting it lightly. Fear and envy are running unchecked through the industry, so all names and numbers that get tossed into the public sphere should be taken with more than a grain of salt.

But the uncertainty around truth didn’t stop Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff from delivering an unmistakable message about the current state of play with his coaches and athletic directors last week during the league’s annual spring meetings. The message? No matter what other programs are doing to entice high school and transfer portal talent to their campuses, don’t step over the line.

SPARKS

Rookie Rhyne Howard scored 21 points, including five of Atlanta’s 13 three-pointers, and the Dream held off the Sparks 77-75 on Wednesday night.

Howard made a three-pointer in the corner with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter for a seven-point lead, but Atlanta did not score again. The No. 1 pick in the draft was called for a charging foul with 16.3 seconds left for Atlanta’s third straight possession with a turnover.

After a timeout, the Sparks had two chances in the closing seconds, but Chiney Ogwumike missed a contested layup and Nneka Ogwumike was off on a jumper at the buzzer.

NBA

Nikola Jokic was named NBA most valuable player for the second year in a row. The Nuggets’ big man, who is from Serbia, is the second consecutive international player to win two in a row, after Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo — who hails from Greece — earned the title in 2019 and 2020.

This marks the first time international players have won the award in four consecutive seasons. Canada’s Steve Nash went back-to-back for Phoenix in 2005 and 2006, followed by Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki winning for Dallas in 2007.

International players finished 1-2-3 in this year’s MVP voting. Jokic got 65 first-place votes and 875 points from the panel of sportswriters and broadcasters that cover the league and decide on awards. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid was second with 26 first-place votes and 706 points; Antetokounmpo was third, with nine first-place votes and 595 points. Devin Booker of Phoenix wound up fourth.

NBA PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Conference semifinals
Western Conference

No. 1 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 4 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix 121, Dallas 114
Phoenix 129, Dallas 109
Dallas 103, Phoenix 94
Dallas 111, Phoenix 101
Phoenix 110, Dallas 80
Tonight, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday, May 15, TBD

No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 3 Golden State Warriors
Golden State 117, Memphis 116
Memphis 106, Golden State 101
Golden State 142, Memphis 112
Golden State 101, Memphis 98
Memphis 134, Golden State 95
Friday at Golden State, 7 p.m., ESPN
*Monday at Memphis, TBD, TNT

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers
Miami 106, Philadelphia 92
Miami 119, Philadelphia 103
Philadelphia 99, Miami 79
Philadelphia 116, Miami 108
Miami 120, Philadelphia 85
Today at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday at Miami, TBD

No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee 101, Boston 89
Boston 109, Milwaukee 86
Milwaukee 103, Boston 101
Boston 116, Milwaukee 108
Milwaukee 110, Boston 107
Friday at Milwaukee, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday at Boston, TBD

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1909 — The Preakness Stakes is held in Maryland after 16 runnings in New York. As part of the celebration marking the return of the Preakness, the colors of the race’s winner were painted onto the ornamental weather vane at Pimlico Racecourse for the first time.

1917 — Omar Khayyam, ridden by Charles Borel, becomes the first foreign-bred (England) colt to win the Kentucky Derby with a 2-length victory over Ticket.

1924 — Walter Hagen wins the PGA championship with a 2-up victory over Jim Barnes.

1970 — Ernie Banks hits his 500th home run off Pat Jarvis in the Chicago Cubs’ 4-3 victory over Atlanta at Wrigley Field.

1974 — The Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-87 to win the NBA championship in seven games.

1996 — A three-way dead heat is run at Yakima (Wash.) Meadows, the 20th such finish in thoroughbred racing history there. In the day’s third race, a trio of $8,000 claimers — Fly Like A Angel, Allihaveonztheradio and Terri After Five — hit the wire together after a one-mile race.

2006 — Laure Manaudou of France breaks Janet Evans’ 18-year-old world record in the 400-meter freestyle, finishing in 4:03.03 at the French national swimming championships. Manaudou beats the time of 4:03.85 set by Evans in winning the 400-meter freestyle at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

2006 — Justin Gatlin breaks the 100-meter world record with a time of 9.76 seconds at the Qatar Grand Prix. A week later, the International Association of Athletics Federations announces a timing error gave Gatlin a time of 9.76 seconds. His time of 9.766 seconds, should have been manually rounded up to 9.77, tying Asafa Powell’s world mark of 9.77.

2010 — Montreal follows up a monumental upset by pulling off another. The Canadiens, who eliminated the Washington Capitals, beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Montreal accomplishes what no team had done since the current playoffs format was adopted in 1994. And that is beat the Presidents’ Trophy winner and defending Stanley Cup champion in successive rounds as an eighth-seeded team.

2010 — Kelly Kulick, the first woman to win a PBA Tour title when she beat the men in January in the Tournament of Champions, wins the U.S. Women’s Open for her second women’s major victory in 15 days. Kulick beats Liz Johnson of 233-203 in the final.

2013 — Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Madrid Open to retain her No. 1 ranking and collect her 50th career title.

2014 — LeBron James ties his playoff career high with 49 points, Chris Bosh makes the tiebreaking three-pointer with 57 seconds left, and the Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 102-96 for a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Ernie Banks hits his 500th home run. Watch and listen 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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