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The Sports Report: Albert Pujols reaches major milestone

The Sports Report: Albert Pujols reaches major milestone
Albert Pujols hits a two-run single during the seventh inning. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP)

Hello everyone. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I am thinking NHL playoff action is more exciting that NBA playoff action.

Angels

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Albert Pujols joined the 2,000-RBI club on Thursday. Mike DiGiovanna, who I believe has seen all four members of the club play in person, was there and wrote,

“Whether driving in runs is more of a skill or a product of opportunity is open to debate. What cannot be denied is that Albert Pujols has been very good at it for a very long time.

“The Angels slugger notched the 2,000th RBI of his 19-year career with a solo home run to left field in the third inning of a 13-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday in Comerica Park.

“Pujols, who ranks fourth on Major League Baseball’s all-time RBI list behind Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,213) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086), slammed a 2-and-0 fastball from left-hander Ryan Carpenter 415 feet into the left-field seats for the 639th homer and 3,107th hit of his career.

“The hit, which snapped an 0-for-15 skid, vaulted Pujols into another exclusive club: He joins Aaron and Rodriguez as the only players with 600 homers, 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBIs.

“There are some 20,000 players who have played this game and to be the [fourth] one on that list … that’s amazing,” Pujols said. “I know right now there are a lot of geniuses who don’t want to give credit for RBIs, which I don’t understand, because that’s how you win games, by driving in runs and scoring runs.

“I thank God for the ability and the talent. I thank my family and my wife and kids, my coaching staff, the players. You don’t accomplish it by yourself. You have to have guys on base and get the opportunity to drive them in. Look at that number. That’s a big number.”

“There was no doubt Pujols’ homer, one of five hit by the Angels, was leaving the yard. Pujols flipped his bat toward the Angels dugout after his violent swing, rounded the bases and gave Mike Trout a hearty hug before exchanging high-fives with teammates.

“It’s unbelievable, to be honest — 2,000 RBIs, that’s a huge number,” said Trout, who has 668 RBIs in eight-plus seasons. “It’s obviously a huge accomplishment for him. I’m just very fortunate to be a part of it, to see it. I don’t think I’ll ever see it again in my lifetime.”

Lakers

With Tyronn Lue out of the picture, the Lakers turn to the next contestant in “Who wants to coach the Lakers?”, Frank Vogel. Broderick Turner writes,

“The Lakers are moving fast to try to fill their head-coaching vacancy, interviewing former Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Thursday, according to people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

In an event-filled Wednesday during which negotiations between the Lakers and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue reached an impasse, the Lakers quickly targeted Vogel as a candidate, and he had a meeting at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.

“After missing the playoffs for the last six consecutive seasons, the Lakers are hoping to land a coach — their fifth in the last eight seasons — who can take the franchise back to the postseason.

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“Vogel, 45, had his best moments as coach of the Pacers for five-plus seasons, leading them to the playoffs five out of the six seasons he was there, including a postseason berth when he took over as the interim coach in 2011.

“If past interviews with candidates are an indicator, Vogel probably met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, general manager Rob Pelinka, co-owners Joey Buss (who runs the Lakers’ G League South Bay Lakers team) and Jesse Buss (the Lakers’ assistant general manager and director of scouting), chief operating officer Tim Harris, director of special projects Linda Rambis and senior advisor Kurt Rambis.

“Vogel’s teams are known for their strong play on defense, having ranked in the top five in the league during his tenure with the Pacers.

“Under Vogel’s guidance, Indiana advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014 before losing to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.

“Vogel spent two seasons with the Magic before being fired after the 2018 season.

“He has worked for the Lakers before as an advance scout from 2005-06. Vogel had been a candidate to be the associate head coach on Lue’s staff.

“The New Jersey native, who transferred to Kentucky after starting for two seasons at Division III Juanita College, has a record of 304-291 in seven-plus seasons as an NBA coach.

“Vogel’s coaching career began in 2001 when he joined the Boston Celtics’ staff as an assistant under coach Jim O’Brien. After three seasons with the Celtics, Vogel followed O’Brien to the Philadelphia 76ers for one season and then to the Pacers in 2007.

“The Lakers’ coaching position has been open since April 12, when the Lakers and Luke Walton mutually agreed to part ways. Walton was hired as coach of the Sacramento Kings a few days later.”

Clippers

Andrew Greif takes a look at a very important offseason for the Clippers,

Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley ended the season together side by side, and that was symbolic of their two seasons together with the Clippers. Both had seen their first season in Los Angeles, in 2017-18, marred by injury. When both stayed healthy this season, their complementary roles and career-best seasons helped the Clippers win 48 games and earn a first-round playoff appearance.

“In the process, they created momentum as the franchise begins one of its most important offseasons ever — and uncertainty about whether either will be back in a Clippers uniform next season.

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“Though Beverley has pledged allegiance to his teammates on an unusually close-knit Clippers roster, he will become a free agent this summer and could demand offers higher than the Clippers’ price range after his bounce-back season. Losing Beverley has always been a known possibility. Yet even for Gallinari, who is under contract for next season, there is no guarantee he’ll be practicing in the Clippers facility again when training camp opens in September.

“For all of the gaudy, career-high numbers Gallinari produced this season — 63.3% true shooting, 8.2 win shares, the team’s second-highest value over a replacement player, according to Basketball Reference — his $22.6-million salary next season in the last year of a three-year deal makes him a candidate for a trade before free agency opens on July 1.

“Considering Gallinari’s expiring contract, consistent production and health — injuries have dogged his career since the beginning — he could be an attractive option for other teams unlikely to land a top forward in free agency. The Clippers’ incentive to deal arguably their best player of this season is that offloading his salary is the most straightforward way to create enough salary cap room to pursue top-dollar free agents such as Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.

“Gallinari called the Clippers’ future bright in his final interview of the season, while acknowledging the uncertainty of whether he’ll be part of it.

“It’s going to be a very important summer,” Gallinari said. “Of course, it’s out of my control. I’m not going to be the one working on the team and working on the franchise during the summer, so we’ll see what the front office will do.”

NBA playoffs

Thursday’s NBA scores

at Philadelphia 112, Toronto 101 (Series tied, 3-3)

at Portland 119, Denver 108 (Series tied, 3-3)

Today’s NBA schedule

All times Pacific

Golden State at Houston, 6 p.m., ESPN (Warriors lead series, 3-2)

NHL playoffs

Western Conference Finals

Saturday, 5 p.m., St. Louis at San Jose, NBC

Monday, 6 p.m., St. Louis at San Jose, NBCSN

Wednesday, 5 p.m., San Jose at St. Louis, NBCSN

Friday, May 17, 5 p.m., San Jose at St. Louis, NBCSN

*Sunday, May 19, Noon, St. Louis at San Jose, NBC

*Tuesday, May 21, 5 p.m., San Jose at St. Louis, NBCSN

*Thursday, May 23, 6 p.m., St. Louis at San Jose, NBCSN

Eastern Conference Finals

at Boston 5, Carolina 2

Sunday, Noon, Carolina at Boston, NBC

Tuesday, 5 p.m., Boston at Carolina, NBCSN

Thursday, 5 p.m., Boston at Carolina, NBCSN

*Saturday, May 18, 4:15 p.m., Carolina at Boston, NBC

*Monday, May 20, 5 p.m., Boston at Carolina, NBCSN

*Wednesday, May 22, 5 p.m., Carolina at Boston, NBCSN

*if necessary

Other newsletters

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Odds and ends

Dodgers lose to Nationals…. New UCLA gymnastics coach Chris Waller already has a connection with Bruins…. After ‘traumatic’ loss of coach, USC is even more determined to win water polo title…. Trey Pipkinsgrowth into offensive-line role with Chargers begins at rookie camp…. Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman fulfills promise to mother, earns degree from USC…. UFC's Stipe Miocic aims to make Anaheim ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’…. UCLA lands graduate transfer punter from Maryland…. Dorsey's Christian Rodriguez is on the right track, finally.

Scheduling note

There will be no newsletter Saturday or Sunday. We’ll be back on Monday.

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Today’s local major sports schedule

(All times Pacific)

Washington at Dodgers, 7 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, AM 570

Angels at Baltimore, 4 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1910: Golfer Jimmy Demaret

1930: Sportscaster Pat Summerall

1941: Former Angel Ken Berry

1955: Sportscaster Chris Berman

1957: Skier Phil Mahre

1957: Skier Steve Mahre

1966: Triple jumper Jonathan Edwards

1975: NHL player Adam Deadmarsh

And finally

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig take batting practice in 1931. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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