Relief pitchers don’t get to throw a perfect game. But John Axford found perfection on Sunday.
The Cleveland Indians’ closer who is a movie buff accurately picked 18 categories at the Academy Awards, including “12 Years a Slave” as “Best Picture.”
If you go to his Twitter account — @JohnAxford — and check the timeline for his selections, you can see he was not pulling a scam. Last year, he correctly picked 14 out of 15 categories.
Maybe next year, Axford can be a consultant for Johnny Avello, the head of the Wynn Las Vegas race and sports book who annually posts the odds on the Oscars.
■ JAKE JINXED? — It hasn’t been the best of starts to spring training for Boston Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy.
At the beginning of camp, Peavy was struck by a ball and injured his right ring finger, sidelining him for a couple of days. Saturday, he cut his left index finger with a fishing knife, delaying his debut of the exhibition season. It was on his non-throwing hand but it’s still going to set Peavy back.
“This was a freak one. And honestly, he avoided some serious injury with what took place,” manager John Farrell told ESPN Boston. “He cut himself with a fishing knife. He was at home when it took place, he was trying to cut through something and when it gave way, almost cut through his left index finger.”
Peavy could be on the mound by the end of the week. In the meantime, he needs to stay away from sharp objects.
■ A BOSS FINAL FOUR — For the last few years, the NCAA has added a music component to Final Four weekend, trying to provide free entertainment for the tens of thousands of fans that attend college basketball’s premier event.
Tuesday, the March Madness Music Fest announced Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will headline the final night of the event, scheduled for April 4 to 6 in Dallas’ Reunion Park. (The Final Four is in Arlington at AT&T Stadium.)
Springsteen, who just finished a tour of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand for his album “High Hopes” and kicks off the U.S. leg of the tour in Cincinnati on April 8, is a big sports fan. This year, he and his daughter Jessica attended the Duke-UCLA basketball game at Madison Square Garden.
The Boss performing in Dallas should give Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski added incentive to get the Blue Devils to the Final Four. Coach K is a huge Springsteen fan and has been a guest D.J. on “E Street Radio,” SiriusXM’s channel dedicated to Springsteen’s music.
There’s also a local component to this year’s MMMF. Las Vegas’ own The Killers will perform Saturday night. Wonder if front man Brandon Flowers will take the stage in a UNLV jersey?
■ PACQUIAO LANDS ASHANTI — One more musical item of note. It also was announced Tuesday that R&B star Ashanti will sing the national anthem before Manny Pacquiao’s rematch with Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden on April 12.
Pacquiao and Ashanti were seated next to each other at a recent New York Knicks game and Pacquiao asked her if she would be interseted in performing at the fight. She said yes, and April 12 just gained a little more star power.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL