Ryan Howard responds to Nickelback-listening allegations

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Last night in Atlanta during the Phillies-Braves game some fans held up a sign that said: “Ryan Howard listens to Nickelback.”

That’s not an allegation to be taken lightly, so Todd Zolecki of MLB.com followed up with the Phillies first baseman to give him an opportunity to clear the record.

Except … well, Howard didn’t:

Is it bad to listen to Nickelback? I mean, I’m not afraid to say that I diversify my musical portfolio. I didn’t know they could see or hear what … how do they know I listen to Nickelback? I listen to everything. I don’t know if there’s a specific song by Nickelback.

“I didn’t know they could see or hear what … how do they know I listen to Nickelback?” is a pretty spectacular quote. I wish there was video of Howard’s face while saying it.

From now on I think we should all agree to refer to Howard as “former MVP and current Nickelback fan Ryan Howard.” It’s only fair.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.