IN SOME sports gambling circles, it’s known as the reverse lock.

Of course, even if you’re not into gambling, you probably know what a lock is: a favorite so heavy the other side doesn’t have a chance. Well take that lock and add reverse to it and you have the reverse lock.

The Yankees were a reverse lock Sunday night.

I mentioned it to people before the game. The Red Sox had just pummeled the hated New Yorkers three straight and were sending Chris Sale to the mound to complete the sweep. Sale had looked great in two straight starts and even won a game at Fenway Park for the first time in over a year. The New York pitching was in tatters.

There’s not a sane gambler in the world who would have thought it prudent to bet on the Yankees.

That’s why they call it gambling, folks.

Before the game, Alex Cora talked about how great it was to have his $145 million lefty ready to face the Yankees in two straight starts, the second in the Bronx next weekend.

Then, Sale went out and laid another egg.

Five and one-third innings, six runs, three walks, two loud homers, several loud outs. The sweep gone, the Yankees escaped total disaster.

When the smoke cleared, Sale was 5-10 with a 4.26 ERA. For those of us old enough to remember 5 & 10’s (Google Woolworth), insert favorite 5 & 10 Sale joke here.

As he has always done when he has pitched poorly, Sale, who has two fewer losses in 2019 than he had in ’17 and ’18 combined, put the blame squarely on himself.

“Without me, we have a pretty good chance to win this game,” he said. “That’s the toughest part. As hard as we’ve been playing, as well as we’ve been playing as a whole, top to bottom, our lineup, our starting pitching, our bullpen, everyone has been doing really well and living up to what they need to do.

“To come out here and just be flat-out terrible, that’s tough. We had a chance to sweep a four-game set against the team that’s in front of us and we don’t have a whole bunch of games left. It’s time to go.”

Even with a sweep, the Red Sox were not likely to overtake the Yankees in the AL East. But tell me you weren’t thinking about it with a win Sunday night.

And remember, Sale has a history of being great in the first half of seasons and not so good in August and September/October. Alex Cora NEEDS this guy to be good. He certainly wasn’t good in the reverse lock on Sunday night.

Sunday night leftovers

Hey ESPN, enough with the A-Rod/J-Lo stuff. We get it. They’re a power couple. They’re cute. The surprise birthday cake, which didn’t even have his name on it, made it two weeks in a row at Fenway. The Sunday night broadcast is turning into their weekly home movie. By the way, he didn’t have a bite of the cake, leaving it behind, where the media (this official scorer tasted a corner) destroyed it. …

By the way, I chatted with A-Rod’s assistant, a college kid finishing an internship before returning to the University of South Carolina. She will join Rodriguez on a flight to Israel, where Lopez starts her tour. The good news for all of U.S. stateside is she isn’t likely to be at Yankee Stadium to make it three Sundays in a row. …

Aaron Judge is apparently spooked by the Green Monster. He is 12-for-73 (.164) with three homers, four RBIs at Fenway and has yet to hit a ball off or over the left field wall at the old place. …

Safe at home

David Ortiz still is not eating solid foods, but IS barbecuing for his family as he moved his recovery to his home over the weekend. He took to Instagram and then issued a statement through the Red Sox thanking all involved helping him on his long road after the shooting in the Dominican Republic.

“I am feeling good, but know I need to do my rehab just like I did when I was recovering from injuries playing baseball,” Ortiz said.

The trade deadline is Wednesday afternoon.’s Richard Justice named the seven players most likely to be moved: Mike Minor, Ken Giles, Felipe Vazquez, Yasiel Puig, Sam Dyson, Robbie Ray and Scott Oberg. Six of them are pitchers. Four are relievers, yet the Red Sox were not named as a landing spot for any of them.

Stay tuned.

Roger Clemens will pitch in Steve Buckley’s 26th annual Abbot Financial Management Old-time Baseball Game at St. Peter’s Field on Sherman Street in North Cambridge, Mass. It’s Aug. 22 and ceremonies start at 7 p.m.. From a release: “This year’s game is being played as a fund-raiser for Compassionate Care ALS in memory of long-time Fenway Park security supervisor John Welch, who died last December after an inspiring fight against ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

Fame time

While the Patriots welcomed Rodney Harrison and Leon Gray to their Hall of Fame Monday, Ty Law hits Canton this weekend.

The Pats, meanwhile, sit atop The Athletic’s power rankings as the top team in the NFL at the start of camp. Lindsay Jones’ piece read: “The champs are the champs and will remain here until their seemingly annual September swoon. Still, shame on us if we drop the Pats to No. 6 at any point in 2019 when Tom Brady is still quarterbacking and Bill Belichick is still coaching.”

By the way, the other teams in the AFC Least? The Jets came in at 22, the Bills 25 and the Dolphins dead last. Six more tough games for the locals, right?

Wants to win

New Celtic Enes Kanter had a good reason for leaving Portland and heading to Boston.


“It’s my ninth year in the league and I understand that, for many people, the money is important,” Kanter told HoopsHype. “For me, the most important thing is being with a team that you’re really happy on and playing with a team that’s competing for a championship. That was the big thing for me. For everybody else, the money matters (more). For me, the No. 1 thing was winning.”

We just gave you The Athletic’s Zach Harper’s early look at the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Here’s more of what he wrote:

As far as the Celtics’ “Realistic expectations,” Harper writes, “It wouldn’t shock me if the Boston Celtics end up as the No. 3 seed. It’s not that they’re as good as they were or even better than last season. In fact, they should be a lot worse, in theory. They lost a lot of important depth while also losing their two best defensive big men. But I think (Brad) Stevens can get his team to grind out victories on random nights in the regular season. This should allow the younger guys to re-engage while racking up wins they probably shouldn’t be able to grab. Somewhere in the 3-6 seed range is realistic with their sights on home court in the first round.”

Finally, a public service announcement: If you are frozen out of your CBS station (with Pats games coming) by this contract squabble, try for free streaming.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.