New York- The St. Louis Cardinals will continue their nine game road trip with a three game series against the New York Mets. St. Louis will put their major league best 41-22 record on the line Tuesday night as rookie Michael Wacha (0-0) looks for his first major league victory in just his third start. The Mets will counter with righthander Jeremy Hefner (1-5). Wacha gave up 6 earned runs in his last start. The Cardinals will also be looking for their 23rd win away from Busch Stadium which is leading the majors. The Cards and Mets met earlier this year in St. Louis, with the Cardinals winning 3 of 4 games. New York is just 12-19 at Citi Field, but their last 6 wins at home have come in the club's last at-bat.
ARDMORE, Pa. (AP) -- The most popular equipment Merion was not a golf club but a squeegee.
More heavy rain at the U.S. Open flooded a bunker by the 11th green and filled fairways with large puddles and tiny stream. The course was closed for four hours during the first full day of practice, and then shut down for good later in the afternoon.
Brandt Jobe played three holes when he heard a horn to stop play. Jim Herman managed to play one hole. Practice rounds are important because only a dozen or so players have ever seen this 100-year-old course, which has not hosted a U.S. Open in 32 years.
Workers were busy running squeegees across the greens and fairways during the afternoon before another downpour arrived.
"After the rain this morning, it's going to be very sloppy now," Ernie Els said. "You're not going to see a firm U.S. Open this year, I'm sorry. I don't care if they get helicopters flying over the fairways, it's not going to dry up. We're going to have a soft golf course this week - all week."
The forecast was for mostly dry conditions Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a 40 percent chance of rain on Thursday for the opening round.
Merion received more than 3 inches of rain on Friday, and Monday's downpours - three of them - didn't help. The low point on the East course is the 11th hole, and a bunker was filled with water from an overflowing stream.
Course superintendent Matt Shaffer said the base sand was left alone. Workers removed the silt and put about three tons of new sand in the bunker, tamped it down and "we were ready to go."
For now, officials were hopeful.
Shaffer said Merion has had two big rains, and both times 11th green has stayed above water. And while there were tiny streams running through fairways and large pools of water on sections of the greens, the water appeared to drain quickly.
"This golf course is not built on sand, so it's got the heavier soils," USGA executive director Mike Davis said. "But it is maybe the best draining golf course I have ever seen. If you walk this course, you know there's hardly any flat lies at Merion."
Merion is 6,996 yards on the scorecard, the shortest U.S. Open course since Shinnecock Hills in 2004. The rough is thicker than usual compared with most recent U.S. Opens, though soft greens are a recipe for low scoring no matter the golf course.
Congressional was softened significantly by rain, and Rory McIlroy shattered the scoring record at 16-under 268 for an eight-shot win. As for the week, it rained so much at Bethpage Black in 2002 that the tournament barely finished 72 holes on Monday, with Lucas Glover winning.
Els mentioned the firm fairways because that's what can make Merion tricky. Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy were among those who came to Merion early, and they all spoke about the experience necessary to find the right angle off the tee to keep the ball in the fairway. Geoff Ogilvy played Sunday for the first time and mentioned the best driver would fare well - but not necessarily the straightest driver.
With soft fairways, it becomes more of a target.
"Obviously with it being a little soft, it becomes a little more simple than what it was," Scott said. "The ball is just going to stop where it lands."
Davis said the USGA would try to move the hole locations to some of the higher spots on the greens to avoid standing water if it rains on Thursday. As for the fairways, even with standing water, the U.S. Open could be played as long as players could move the ball to a dry spot that didn't add significant distance to their shots.
The next two days could be crucial.
"We just need a little bit of sunshine," Shaffer said.
CHICAGO (AP) -- When it comes to power plays in the Stanley Cup finals, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins might just prefer to keep going with everyone on the ice.
The last two teams in the NHL playoffs have been lousy with the man advantage and terrific at killing penalties during the postseason.
When the Blackhawks are forced to play a man down, Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger are so persistent it almost resembles an even-strength situation. And the Bruins have hulking defenseman Zdeno Chara and goalie Tuukka Rask, who is swallowing everything at the net these days.
Heading into Game 1 on Wednesday night, goals on special teams have been so scarce for these teams that a couple for either side could tip the series in one direction.
"The special teams are kind of key, if you want to (have) success," Frolik said after Chicago held an optional practice on Monday. "We try to talk about it all the time about that and make sure we're on the same page. It's especially going to be key right now. We've got to make we are ready for the challenge."
So far, so good on that front for the Bruins and Blackhawks.
With Frolik and Kruger tying up the action on top of the zone, Chicago has allowed just three goals in 58 power-play opportunities for an astounding 94.8 percent kill rate. Los Angeles got two of them in the Western Conference finals, but one was a meaningless goal by Tyler Toffoli at the very end of the Blackhawks' 4-2 victory in Game 2.
The 92.5 percent finish for the 2000 New Jersey Devils is the best playoff rate for a Stanley Cup champion in the last 25 years, according to STATS.
"I think they do a good job of fronting shots," Boston coach Claude Julien said of Chicago's penalty killers. "You really have to work hard to get the shots through. That's what they are, they're very patient; they're very aggressive when you do lose, I guess, control of the puck and if they feel they can get on you, they'll get on you quick. They've done a good job that way."
Pittsburgh had converted an NHL-best 28.3 percent of its power-play chances heading into the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, but the high-powered Penguins went 0 for 15 with the man advantage during the Bruins' impressive four-game sweep.
One of the lasting images from Boston's postseason run came with Pittsburgh on the power play in the second period of Game 3. Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his right leg when he dove to block Evgeni Malkin's hard shot, then limped around for more than 30 seconds until Boston cleared the zone and he was able to get off the ice.
Campbell's gutsy display served as inspiration for the Bruins, and they went on to finish off the Penguins with a 1-0 victory on Friday. But Campbell will miss the remainder of the playoffs, presenting a challenge for the series against Chicago.
"It just means some other guys have to step in and do the job," Julien said. "(Campbell) is an elite penalty killer for us. Like anything else, when you lose a player like that it certainly hurts your team. But at the same time, there's also guys that come up and step up and do a great job just like our young Ds did when our three Ds were hurt."
When it comes to scoring on Boston, whether it's even strength or on the power play, the last line of defense may be the most difficult one to solve. Rask has been terrific throughout the playoffs, making an NHL-best 497 saves.
Led by the 26-year-old Finn, Boston has yielded seven goals in 52 power-play opportunities for an 86.5 percent kill rate in the postseason.
"We're facing a goalie that in the last round was as good as any of the goalies we've seen over a segment of two years in the playoffs," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
While the penalty killing has been great for both sides, the power play for the Blackhawks and Bruins has been, well, powerless. Each team has seven goals with the man advantage in the playoffs. Boston had an NHL-worst 18 power-play goals during the regular season, compared to 25 for Chicago.
Quenneville and Julien have faced a running stream of questions about the lack of production, and that's likely to continue in this series - especially with the PK units on each side.
Few details are being released, but the Kirkwood School District Band Director is leaving his post after allegations of misconduct.
Superintendent Tom Williams sent a letter to parents announcing the resignation of Jason Rekittke. The letter says there was an act of "inappropriate conduct with a student", but the incident happened years ago.
Williams said the district could not discuss specifics on the matter.
The letter from Superintendent Williams is below:
Dear Kirkwood School District Families,
I am writing this e-mail to announce the resignation of Jason Rekittke, the band director for the Kirkwood School District. The resignation is due to an act of inappropriate conduct with a student, which happened several years ago. We believe this was an isolated incident.
Our first and most important mission is to provide the best education to help our students be successful. However, this cannot be accomplished without a safe and secure learning environment. While we cannot discuss the specifics of any personnel matter, please be assured that we have strict policies prohibiting inappropriate conduct toward students and we take immediate action upon receiving reports of any violation of those policies.
Thank you for your continued support of the Kirkwood School District. If you have any concerns for your child, you may contact me at 314.213.6100, ext. 7801.
Dr. Tom Williams
Superintendent of Schools