Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for October 10, 2018

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - Derrick Lewis to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 230

After his stunning last-minute knockout of Alexander Volkov in UFC 229, Derrick Lewis is getting a title shot and the chance to headline a UFC PPV. He will fight UFC Heavyweight Champ Daniel Cormier for the belt in New York on November 3. He deserves the chance, and it's a perfect fight for UFC as they attempt to move on from the UFC 229 brawl. However, I'm not sure how much of a chance Lewis has. He was tired and out of breath for most of the fight against Volkov, barely won, and now is taking on an excellent fighter with less than four weeks notice. Either way, sign me up. On November 3, I'll be watching. 

Second Base - Huskies are back to .500

Five minutes into the game between the Fort St. John Huskies and Fairview Flyers on October 5, the Flyers were up 2-0 and it looked like the Huskies' early season woes were going to continue. Instead, the team turned on the jets, outplayed Fairview heavily the rest of the way, tied the game with their goalie pulled late in the third period and won in a shootout. It wasn't easy, but the ir win the next night against Sexsmith Vipers sure seemed like it was. A week after the Vipers embarassed the Huskies in a 6-0 win, Fort St. John beat the Sexsmith team 8-2. It was if the Huskies knew how poorly they were playing and how important it was to turn things around as quickly as possible. At 2-2, the Huskies now have the weekend off, then start a busy 11-day stretch in which they have five games, starting with October 17 in Sexsmith. 

Third Base - The Toronto Maple Leafs are scoring a lot of goals

You are either really excited to read about the Toronto Maple Leafs, or are sick and tired of Leafs talk already. Either way, get used to it, as this new-look Leafs offense looks to be for real. Through four games, they've scored 20 goals, including 14 in their last two games. In last night's 7-4 win over the Dallas Stars, Auston Matthews and John Tavares each scored two goals, giving them seven and six, respectively, on the season. Matthews is tied for the league lead in points with teammate Morgan Reilly at 10 each. Yes, it's very early, but I don't think it's an overreaction. We were told that Toronto would score, and there's no reason to think that's going to slow down. Unless, of course, they decide to trade some scoring depth for much needed defensive help. They won't be able to win while allowing four or five goals all season. Either way, they'll at least be able to score a lot of goals. 

Home Base - Boston Red Sox squeak by New York Yankees

After game two of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Yankees, I thought Boston was toast. I knew they had 108 wins this year, but I didn't think their starting pitcher was strong enough outside of Chris Sale to hold off the Yankees power-bats, especially at Yankee Stadium. I was extremely wrong. First, they beat New York 16-1 in Game Three, then held on to knock the Yankees out of the playoffs in a 4-3 win last night. Boston manager Alex Cora seemingly pulled out all the right stops, while Aaron Boone did not. Boone left in C.C. Sabathia, who was getting killed, until his team was down 4-0. It's an elimination game, you have to have a shorter leash than that, especially with a strong bullpen like the one New York has. Still, they almost won. When Cora brought in starter Chris Sale for the eighth inning, it was a bold but smart move. He got through the inning quickly, but Cora elected to go straight to closer Craig Kimbrel. It made sense on paper, but Kimbrel is prone to the rollercoaster saves, and if he got himself in another tricky situation, there would be nobody in the pen reliable enough to bail him out. That's exactly what happened. Kimbrel allowed two runs and had two more on base, and there was nobody warming up in the bullpen. However, Steve Pearce made a clutch stretch at first base to secure the game-winning out. First-year manager Cora is a hero, while first-year manager Boone is a scape-goat and could actually be fired. The ALCS between the Red Sox and Houston Astros starts on Saturday. I can't wait. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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