Awards Week: Unanimous MVPs 🏆
Shohei Ohtani (Angels) & Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves) Named Unanimous 2023 MLB MVPs
We had to borrow the MLB’s graphic for this one — just too good. The BBWAA has spoken, and the 2023 MLB MVPs were unanimous selections. Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. left little doubt of their MVP status this past season. Acuna Jr. shattered records all year long while leading the Braves to a league-best 104 wins. Ohtani’s two-way brilliance solidified his second MVP honor (just in time for free agency) despite missing the last month of the season with an injury. Let’s break down some stats and wrap up awards week before the hot stove starts burning (all eyes on the Ohtani decision in the week ahead)...
AL: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
Ohtani captured his second MVP honor in three seasons (2021) after a year with 44 HRs, 95 RBIs, a .304 batting average and 20 stolen bases, and that was just the offensive side. Shohei-the-pitcher was 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 Ks. Again, the guy missed the last month of the season and was still a unanimous MVP winner. His asking price in free agency was already going to be a record, but another MVP only increases the value. 2nd Place: Corey Seager (Rangers) / 3rd Place: Marcus Semien (Rangers)
NL: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)
We all knew this was coming for Acuna Jr. The Braves’ speedy superstar hit .337 in 2023, and he set MLB records with the first-ever 40-70 season (41 HRs, 73 stolen bases). He also tallied 106 RBIs, and the Braves were the surefire best team of the regular-season. It’s the 25-year-old’s first MVP award, and it likely won’t be his last. 2nd Place: Mookie Betts (Dodgers) / 3rd Place: Freddie Freeman (Dodgers)
MLB Awards Week Recap
Rookies: Corbin Carroll & Gunnar Henderson
Managers: Brandon Hyde & Skip Schumaker
Wednesday: Gerrit Cole & Blake Snell
Thursday: Shohei Ohtani & Ronald Acuna Jr.
Ravens Roll in Med-Check Game 🚑
Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images
Ravens Handle Bengals (34-20), Return to Top of AFC North On Night Where Joe Burrow & Mark Andrews Suffer Injuries
Drones, injuries, and a division undone were the story in an AFC North bloodbath on Thursday Night Football in Baltimore. The game may have been delayed due to a drone flying over the stadium in the second quarter, but that didn’t stop Lamar Jackson from tossing two touchdowns and handing the Bengals a beatdown (34-20). The biggest takeaway from TNF was a wrist injury that took Bengals QB Joe Burrow out of the game. Speculation swirled around whether or not the injury was undisclosed prior to kickoff or if it occurred during play. Either way, Burrow left the game after two quarters and didn’t return. Ravens TE Mark Andrews also suffered an ankle injury that appears serious and is likely season-ending.
That’s a huge blow to the high-flying Ravens offense since Andrews is effectively their No. 1 option at receiver, but Jackson and co. were able to secure their eighth win and extend their lead in the division. Timetables on both injuries will help us know more today, but the AFC North’s bloodbath continues — the Bengals, Ravens, and Browns have now all suffered major setbacks with injuries to offensive players.
AFC North Standings
L. Jackson (BAL): 16/26, 318 total yards, 2 TDs
J. Burrow (CIN): 11/17, 101 yards, 1 TD
*J. Browning (CIN): 8/14, 68 yards, 1 TD
Other Top Performers
RB G. Edwards (BAL): 14 touches, 70 yards, 2 TDs
WR O. Beckham Jr. (BAL): 4 receptions, 116 yards
Fun Fact: Gus Edwards broke the Ravens franchise record for most rushing touchdowns (9) in a five-game span.
Watch: Ravens Roll Bengals in Injury-Riddled TNF (34-20)
CBS Sports: Joe Burrow Suffered Right Wrist Sprain in Loss to Ravens
USA Today: Winners & Losers From Bengals-Ravens Injury-Riddled Game
Photo: Robin Alam / ISI Photo / Getty Images
USMNT Cruises in Concacaf, #2 Iowa Women Upset, WBC Lightweight Fight & The Most Targeting of All Targeting…
Plenty of action on a Thursday night calls for a lightning round. Another women’s basketball upset stole the show while the U.S. Men’s National Team squeaked out a late burst and some Top Rank boxing came in for a nightcap. Let’s rewind.
⚽️ SOCCER: USMNT Comes Alive Late Against T&T (3-0)
Don’t let the scoreline fool you. The Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Trinidad & Tobago was nil-nil through 80 minutes, but the boys in blue had a late charge up their sleeve. Ricardo Pepi (82’), Antonee Robinson (86’) and Gio Reyna (89’) went hunting the onion bag down the stretch in a 3-0 rout in Austin, Texas.
🏀 NCAAW: K-State Upsets #2 Iowa (65-58)
Down go the fighting Caitlin Clarks! #2 Iowa gave up a 12-0 run in the final 2:22 and watched a five-point lead evaporate in a stunning upset by Kansas State at The Carver (Iowa's home court). Clark was held to just 24 points and an ugly 2-for-16 shooting night from 3-point land. It’s the third top-5 women’s team to suffer an upset through the first 10 days of the season.
🥊 BOXING: Shakur Outshines De Los Santos in 12
Thursday night boxing in Las Vegas saw Shakur Stevenson acquire the WBC Lightweight title belt with a decision win over Edwin De Los Santos (116-112, 116-112, 115-113). The main event featured a lot of boos as the fighters went the full 12 rounds and didn’t provide much excitement down the stretch in a bit of a fatigued standoff.
🏀 NBA: Warriors on a Winless Streak?
An injured Steph Curry? A suspended Draymond Green? The Warriors are in hot water to start the season, and it’s getting worse. Golden State dropped their fifth straight game on Thursday — a loss to the Thunder (128-109) — to add insult to injury. Klay Thompson (5 points) had an atrocious shooting night, and the Dubs (6-7) are staring at an uphill climb after the early-season woes.
🏒 NHL: Stone Seals Vegas’ 11-Goal Thriller
Give me nine NHL games and only enough space to recap one? I’ll take the Vegas-Montreal 11-goal showdown. This lamp-lighting fiesta was a blast, full of twists and turns until both teams scored in the final two minutes. Mark Stone’s late winner was the difference-maker for the Golden Knights (6-5).
🏈 CFB: The Most Targeting of All Targeting
In a Thursday college football matchup between Pittsburgh and Boston College, BC corner Khari Johnson was ejected for one of the most egregious targeting penalties ever seen. The hit wasn’t catastrophic, but Johnson launched himself head first into a defenseless receiver, and it made waves across the internet.
⚾️ Ohtani’s Odds For Next Team
Free agency is open for business, and all eyes are on two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. The pitcher and designated hitter/outfielder is expected to sign the biggest contract in MLB history, if not the biggest for North American sports. So where will he go? (FOX Sports)
🏎️ The Hype of F1’s Vegas Race
Formula 1 has gone all in for its first race in Las Vegas. The grand prix takes place Saturday night at 10 pm local time (PST) on a street circuit that runs through the famous bright lights of the Las Vegas strip. Will it live up to the $500 million hype? (ESPN)
🏈 NFL Week 11 Expert Picks
For Week 11, NFL oddsmakers denoted the separation between playoff contenders and highly flawed teams with massive lines. Five favorites will have to win by double digits to cover point spreads. How many points are our panelists willing to lay? (B/R)
The Weekend Must-Watch List
🏈 NFL Week 11 (Sunday)
Steelers at Browns (1:00 pm, CBS)
Bears at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX)
Raiders at Dolphins (1:00 pm, CBS)
Jets at Bills (4:25 pm, CBS)
Vikings at Broncos (8:20 pm, NBC)
Full NFL Schedule
🏈 College Football (Saturday)
#3 Michigan at Maryland (Noon, FOX)
#10 Louisville at Miami (Noon, ABC)
#1 Georgia at #18 Tennessee (3:30 pm, CBS)
#5 Washington at #11 Oregon State (7:30 pm, ABC)
Full CFB Schedule
Kings at Spurs (Fri. 7:30 pm, ESPN)
Mavericks at Bucks (Sat. 8:00 pm, NBATV)
Full NBA Schedule
Maple Leafs at Red Wings (Fri. 2:00 pm, NHLN)
Avalanche at Stars (Sat. 8:00 pm, ESPN+)
Full NHL Schedule
🏀 NCAA Basketball
W: #12 Florida State at Florida (Fri. 4:00 pm, SECN)
M: #5 UConn at Indiana (Sun. 1:00 pm, ESPN)
🏎️ Formula 1
Las Vegas Grand Prix (Sun. 1:00 am, ESPN)
*All Times ET
Download The Sportsletter's Must-Watch Calendar
Did Someone Forward You This Email? Subscribe Here
Feedback? Contact Our Editor: Jeff@TheSportsletter.com
Not Loving The Letter? Unsubscribe
Copyright © 2023 The Sportsletter
717 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103