Getting Smart With The Best DiRT on Tuesday

name of site - hunter thompson style

1. Nevermore

So Baltimore had a chance to tie the game until Count Flacc-ula threw an INT in the RedZone – just like in Denver.  Now the Ravens are 1-6 and all those losses have been by 8pts or less.  A few plays this way, other than that way and the Ravens could be 4-3 – but that’s football, and your record says who you say you are.  If Baltimore wants to defend Flacco for throwing that pick by saying they had no communication – then it is a sad statement that a Superbowl winning QB is incapable of making the right decisions on his own.  It’s ludicrous really and proves Flacco is who we thought he was.

MetsRoyals

2. Champion of the World

The World Series starts tonight and I find the NBA’s lack of patriotism disturbing.  Couldn’t the NBA wait until Wednesday to tip-off?  I mean does anyone really pay attention to the NBA until Christmas?  Me?  I’d rather watch Game 1.  Neither the Mets, nor the Royals have won since Reagan was President and there can only be one long-suffering fanbase that can party like it’s 1985, or ‘6

Schedule (with projected starters)

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (Harvey vs. Volquez)

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (deGrom vs. Cueto)

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Citi Field, FOX (Ventura vs. Syndergaard)

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Citi Field, FOX (Young vs. Matz)

Game 5 (If necessary): Sunday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m. ET air time and game time, Citi Field, FOX (Volquez vs. Harvey)

Game 6 (If necessary): Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (deGrom vs. Cueto)

Game 7 (If necessary): Wednesday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (Syndergaard vs. Ventura)

  •  HOW THE WORLD SERIES WILL PLAY OUT – You can’t predict what’s going to happen in a random best-of-seven baseball sample any more than you could have predicted that Ruben Amaro Jr. would become a first-base coach or Ben Cherington would become an Ivy League professor.  Baseball’s weird, and we like it that way.  But baseball’s also fun. Or at least, it’s supposed to be. And what’s more fun than faulty predictions that could very well be rendered moot almost immediately? I can’t think of anything (though I admit that I’m not thinking very hard).I’m thinking, instead, about this World Series between the Royals and Mets, a fascinating contrast of clubs that defied expectations in their own way to get here. Are the Royals going to fulfill what they have long contended to be their destiny in this Fall Classic follow-up to last year’s Madison Bumgarner Show? Or are the Mets going to complete their shock to the system and go all the way, a la 1986?

    Here’s one attempt at an answer, game by game. Accuracy and satisfaction are not guaranteed……(continue reading)

Three questions for the Royals-(h/t Will Leitch)

Cueto? Cueto? Cueto? Johnny Cueto may be the key to the whole series for the Royals. If he pitches like he did in Game 5 against Houston, the Royals have the ace they so desperately need against a rotation like the Mets’. But if he pitches like he did in Game 3 against Toronto — in which he looked like a baseball diamond was the last place in the world he wanted to be — the whole thing might implode. If Cueto is terrible again in Game 2, the Royals probably won’t feel comfortable sending him back out again (they’re already avoiding him at Citi Field, a wise move) for a potential Game 6, which means they’re scraping the Kris Medlan bottom of the barrel at that point. The Royals either have a top-tier starter or a total disaster; they have no idea which. The answer might decide the series.

Can they catch up to the fastballs? Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh noted that the Royals hit fastballs asAltX.Logo.white well as any team in Major League Baseball. They might not prefer to face 98-mph flamethrowers every game, but if somebody has to, they’re probably the team to do it. As Lindbergh put it, “New York’s pitching strength plays right into the hands of Kansas City’s flame-retardant lineup.” Now, the Mets will happily take their chances with Harvey, Syndergaard and deGrom. But this perhaps the one team in all of baseball who will give them the most trouble.

Will we see any Ryan Madson? The Royals rode their three-headed monster bullpen of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland last year all the way to Game Seven of the World Series. But this year, one of the heads has been lopped off: Holland had Tommy John surgery last month. He has
been replaced by Madson who was effective most of this year but has turned to dust this postseason: He has given up four homers in six games, which is a problem considering he only gave up five in 68 games during the regular season. If Ned Yost can’t trust him, he’ll have to stretch both Herrera and Davis and maybe get a little more creative than necessarily is in his comfort zone. The Royals’ biggest strength is still that bullpen … but it’s not as big a strength as it was last year.

Three questions for the Mets-(h/t Will Leitch)

Is there enough offense if Daniel Murphy cools down? Look, if Murphy continues to hit like Barry Bonds, the Mets are sweeping this series. But eventually — perhaps after this extended period of time off — he will remember that he is Daniel Murphy. Will the Mets hit well enough if he becomes a normal hitter again? Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda (before Game 4), Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto have all had their struggles at the plate this postseason, and Yoenis Cespedes, the fulcrum around which the whole offense pivots, isn’t completely healthy. The Mets’ offense has been a headache all season, something disguised by their late-season run, but still an issue. Murphy has made the offense look better than it is.

Can they get the game to Jeurys Familia? The Mets closer has ramped up his game in the playoffs: He has given up only two hits (and no runs) in 9 2/3 innings this postseason. But the setup guys have been a little shakier. Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, Erik Goeddel, Jon Niese and Hansel Robles don’t put the fear of God into anyone, and Terry Collins has begun calling on Bartolo Colon in key situations. Colon is a delight and has been effective so far in the postseason … but you’re still playing with fire if you count on him for key outs. The Mets’ plan is basically to have their starters get to Familia, and that’s not a terrible plan. But if they need innings in the middle, it could get scary.

Who’s the DH? Of all the National League teams that made the playoffs, the Mets are least well-positioned for the extra batter in the lineup, which they’ll have for potentially four games this series. Kelly Johnson will get the nod in Game 1. But he won’t exactly have the Royals reaching for the Maalox, nor will Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Michael Cuddyer, should Collins decide to switch things up in Game 2. This is a general problem with the Mets’ bench, actually; other than Juan Lagares as a defensive replacement, there isn’t much there. This also makes you even more worried about Cespedes’ health.

pablo (10)

 

Get Ready for the Dixie Championship: #TNF

name of site - hunter thompson style 

1. Canadian Club

Chaos and self-destruction, is what is commonly viewed from the perches of the Coliseum.  A half-inning of baseball, the bottom of the 7th, took 53 minutes and went from riotous to invictus, with tension and emotion swung wildly like the swing that won the game.

SCENE: Rougned Odor is on 3rd and Shin-Soo Choo is at the plate – in the batters box – when Russell Martin attempts to throw the ball back to the pitcher, but instead hits Choo’s bat.  The umpire waves dead ball, the Blue Jays stop play and Odor scores.  The Umpires deliberated and concluded the run scored because:  Rule 6.01 (d) (3.15)
CRT_iHJUAAAU5jb

It was the right call, and after it was confirmed the fans went nuts.  One to many Mooseheads and Canadians can become some real Ugly Americans – who knew.  The Blue Jays said they’d play under protest and the Rangers forgot how to make 3 routine plays that would have ended the inning and instead let @joeybats19 park one into the same section Joe Carter did in ’93.  This is what #KarmicResponsibility is all about folks, and it’s all on the Texas Governor…(see #2)
  • The Bizarre (Legal) Play That Almost Started a Riot – When Russell Martin‘s throw back to the pitcher hit Shin-Soo Choo, and Rougned Odor raced home to score the go-ahead run, the pages of baseball’s rule book fluttered open across America and Canada. A stunned silence in the park hid the grinding of gears behind the masks, and in baseball’s offices — was that strange, strange play… legal?  Yes, it turns out. To the consternation of the fans, who began to litter the field with debris. Twitter, the announcers, the fans — it was bedlam……(continue reading)

CRJW_P7WUAQfZkb

2. We’ll Wire The Governor

You see it is the Governor who is at fault for no teams from Texas advancing to the ALCS.  That pompous tweet was sent before the Royals scored six runs to win Game 4, leading to game 5 and also before the Rangers got their butts kicked at home, to then play a game 5 on the road in Toronto, (see #1).  The Royals beat the Astros last night and now will play the Blue Jays in the #ALCS; while the Rangers will have to sacrifice a live rooster to remove that jinx.  No Astros.  No Rangers.  Recall!

In this Era of the New Dumb, idiots can never be under-estimated.  Like cockroaches, they are hard to kill and will be around long after we’ve left this ethereal 3rd Stone from the Sun.  What we do know for certain is no matter how tonight’s Dodgers/Mets game turns out – the World Series will definitely be Blue.

  • Johnny Cueto dominates, Royals beat Astros to return to ALCS – Johnny Cueto woke up Wednesday morning, feeling completely different than any day these last three tortured months, suddenly overcome with a sense of confidence.  Cueto drove to Kauffman Stadium, walked towards his Kansas City Royals’ teammates, and told them that in the biggest game of their season, to go ahead and relax……(continue reading)


3. 2015 Dixie Championship pt.1

Tonight, it’s the Southern Showdown.  The NFL’s most bitter, hated, rivalry with nothing on the line but pride and prejudice.  The first two franchises in the traditional “Deep South” have shared players; Morten Anderson (leading scorer in both franchises), Bobby Hebert (QB for both teams in the ’90’s), Joe Horn, Curtis Lofton, etc…and we have also shared sons of coaches, like Jim L Mora and Wade Phillips – sons of Jim and Bum – soon we will share Stadium Names – and we both have been to Superbowls, but only one of us lost to the Broncos…sinner.

For more than 40yrs, fans of either team have considered the other their most hated opponent.  Even ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli said this rivalry is one of the best in sports:

Every year, bus caravans loaded with rowdy (and usually very inebriated) fans make the seven-hour trip between the two cities. Unless you’ve attended a Falcons-Saints debauchery-filled afternoon, you’ll just have to take my word for how much fun it really can be

Records do not matter.  For the Falcons, they will want to beat down the Saints and crush all the hope that is left in an already dismal season.  God’s Army will want to stop a 2-game losing streak to c’Antlanta and give the Dirty-Birds their 1st taste of humble pie for 2015.  The Falcons overall, lead the series all-time 49-43, but since Drew and Sean got together the Saints are 13-5 against the Dirty-Birds, and tonight its gonna be a Duck-Hunt!

 

What do I have to do for you to make me a sandwich Wednesday…

larrybrown_smu

No Larry, it’s now 3x’s

Good coach? Sure.  Only guy to win a NCAA and NBA Title – says so right here on the label.  Yet, it seems to also come with a warning – may be hazardous to your postseason.  He is the king of implosion.  Just ask UCLA and Kansas.  UCLA’s 1980 Final Four was vacated because of the use of ineligible players – at Kansas it was recruiting violations – and now SMU.  Word is the 76ers are also banned from the postseason because of the association with Larry Brown.

Is Larry the only guy? No.  While I am sure he is being taken to task for his latest indescretion, he is not the only one.  Let’s not forget Calipari also has left programs on the sanctions-alter, and UNC seems to have a different scandal every recruiting class.  It appeared to me to be inevitable.  SMU has a history and SMU president R. Gerald Turner pushed hard to hire Larry Brown to make basketball relevant, where they have not before – Irony is Mr.Turner being the co-chair of the Knight Commission on Athletic Reform.

In other words, same ol’story for SMU, Larry Brown and college athletics – maybe we should stop pretending that collegiate sports are not big-business.


For the last #StrikeZone Tuesday of the season, here is the #DraftKings PERFECT LINEUP:

92915_perfectlineupX2


RavensSaintsLions

Going from winless to winning is a thing.  It can happen.  Let me take you back to a time when Lifehouse was “Hanging by a Moment” – Harry Potter was looking for his Sorcerer’s Stone – and the professional football club from our Nation’s Capital was becoming the butt of late-nite jokes.  It was Schottenheimer’s only year in Washington and they had started 0-5 – then they beat the Panthers and rolled off 5 straight, before finishing the season 8-8.

That is mediocre, but let’s also remember the NFC West a few years ago and the NFC South last year – 8-8 could get you into the playoffs.  So, here’s to you – Lions, Ravens and Saints, because we have also seen teams get off to fast starts and blow it down the stretch – so keep your head up and gosh-darn-it you guys aren’t the 49ers, go out and win one!


This is the new Red-Menace and should also be the number 1 team in the country.  Crazy, maybe, but remember that is just a term of Art – Did you watch what Michigan did to BYU Saturday?  These same Utes beat those guys and also did something I have not seen in a long, long, long, time in Eugene – hammering Oregon 62-20!  62! In Oregon!  Show me another team in the country that has two wins that look that good.  I’ll accept the season is early, as long as you accept that pre-season polls are stupid.  The rest of my, would be top 4, if the season ended today for the playoffs are in order: UCLA, OleMiss and Notre dame.

Speaking of Michigan – We all believed that Harbaugh might have a little Miracle-Max in him.  He turned Stanford around.  He made the 49ers contenders.  We just all gave him a pass this year, because the Wolverines were not supposed to be any good, etc…It might be time to stop assuming Michigan will lose to Michigan State and Ohio State. These Wolverines are much, much better than last year’s group. The Wolverines still need to prove they can play at this level consistently – but if they keep improving, they could make things very interesting in the Big Ten East.

You have to admire Charlie Strong and what he is doing at Texas.  You see, Texas has been close to a breakthrough since making redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard the quarterback and Jay Norvell the primary play-caller, but another special teams gaffe cost the Longhorns on Saturday. Against Cal on Sept. 19, a missed extra point that would have forced overtime, resulted in a 45–44 loss. Against Oklahoma State, a dropped punt snap allowed the Cowboys to kick a game-winning field goal and escape Austin with a 30–27 victory.

Longhorns fans can complain about the officials—and yes, we all appreciate the irony of Texas fans complaining about the Longhorns not getting calls—but if they can clean up their special teams, it may not matter which calls Texas gets or doesn’t. At some point, Texas has to break through with a win—doing that this week against TCU would obviously be huge, but will be terribly difficult—but the Longhorns are on the correct path.


We can count all the instances of happenstance
and bad luck and rule that a coach and team ultimately had as good a chance of winning as they did of losing. But eventually we must draw the line somewhere. We have chosen as a society to draw that line at the final score. Bill Parcells certainly understood all of the factors that decide the outcome of a football game, and he still spoke the words that ring true in football and in life. “You are,” Parcells famously said, “what your record says you are.”

tnsad2For Tennessee fan – the answer lies in something Jones said a few minutes after the question about the two-point conversion chart. (Jones said the Volunteers have a standard chart, but if they do use the one made famous by Dick Vermeil, they ignored it at Florida.) Jones was trying to explain how his team would bounce back from the loss when he said this: “It doesn’t define who we are.”

Yeah it does, unfortunately.

Football final scores are the results of thousands of small decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. Sometimes those decisions are out of a coach’s control, and sometimes teams are plain unlucky. Jones didn’t send a 12th player out with the field goal unit Saturday. Somebody just got excited and ran onto the field at the wrong time. If that doesn’t happen, Medley kicks a 50-yarder. Maybe he makes it, and the honeymoon for Jones continues in Knoxville. Jones probably couldn’t have known that two timeouts called before fourth downs Saturday to get the desired personnel on the field would cause Florida counterpart Jim McElwain to rethink kicking and put his offense back in. Both decisions led to Florida first downs, and the second—late in the third quarter—led to a Florida touchdown.  It must be painful for Vols fans to always be looking to next year for their breakout game – to make a statement – maybe they will find a smarter coach…

In honor of all sad fans across the country – may these pictures say a 1,000 words of sadness:

ausad2

aubsadness

arksad

arksad2

name of site - hunter thompson style

What if I Told You…Sometimes You Should Never #Checkdown

I’ve seen enough.  It was a back-to-back showing on national TV and the script did not change.  No more, should the WR position shoulder the blame of ineptitude.  Sure, some of the fault could be laid at Andy Reid’s feet – but he has won a few games in this league, has gone to the playoffs, a Superbowl, etc…The issue at large lies squarely in the small hands of Alex Smith.

Did you watch last night’s game?  Do you remember anytime Alex Smith looked for a secondary read?
Or, did you witness as I did, a professional quarterback, a former 2005 #1 draft pick, no-longer a spring-chicken, stare down his primary target.  After three quarters, Alex Smith had 6 completions and 2 turnovers.  His numbers ended up being decent and yet that was garbage-time – no one who watched the game would say he was decent.

The problem with Chiefs having Cap’n Checkdown as their quarterback is they single logo_small
do not stretch the field.  You have to feel for Chiefs fans.  Sure Andy Reid does not run enough with Jamaal Charles, but the inability to throw further than 10 yards with any consistency is alarming, and as long as that guy is your quarterback – Kansas City will never win.

As for the Packers, word is, Aaron Rodgers is prettay, prettaay, prettaaay good.  How good? Aaron Rodgers threw five touchdown passes, and Green Bay has now won their last 10 regular-season home games – scoring 383 points – the highest total in team history over a span of 10 home games. The only other NFL teams to win 10 consecutive home games while scoring as many points as the Packers; were the Rams in 1999 and 2000, and the Broncos spanning 2012 and 2013.

Rodgers has now thrown 43 TD passes at Lambeau since his last interception there (in 2012), more than twice as long as any other streak of TD passes without an interception in home games in NFL history.  It sure does help when you also have a tank in the backfield.  You know how they say “it takes a village” to raise a child? It also takes a village to stop Eddie Lacy. Green Bay’s 5-foot-11, 234-pound back ran 10 times for 46 yards — not great numbers, but enough to show he can turn a corner real quick and run you over.


Here week3’s #NFL perfect lineups

DraftKings

DK_perfectL_wk3

FanDuel

FD_perfectL_wk3


On the Lighter Side…

This is an actual ad that was posted to Craig’s list in Arkansas.  Top Marks for ingenuity – They are counting the days Bert.


 

Denorfia’s blast gives Cubs a rare kind of victory

Chris Denorfia hit the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th inning for a walkoff home run to give the Cubs a 1-0 win over the Royals on Monday. He’s the first pinch-hitter in major-league history to hit a walkoff homer for the only run of an extra-inning win.

Denorfia is only the third player to hit a walkoff home run for the Cubs at Wrigley Field in extra-innings of a game that was scoreless to that point. Joe Pepitone’s 12th-inning home run was the only run of a Cubs’ 1-0 win in 1971, and Frank Secory hit a two-run walkoff homer in the 12th inning in 1946.

Cardinals blank Pirates the hard way

Six Cardinals pitchers combined to shut out the Pirates on Monday, despite issuing 10 walks. It’s the first game in 33 years in which a team threw a nine-inning shutout while walking at least 10 batters. The Mets were the last team to do that, in a 1-0 win in Montreal in 1982.

nullOsuna joins the man who David Letterman called “a fat tub of goo”

Twenty-year old Roberto Osuna picked up his 20th save of the season in Toronto’s come-from-behind win in Baltimore on Monday. The only other pitcher to save 20 games in one season at age 20 or younger was Terry Forster, with 29 saves for the White Sox in 1972.

nullRodriguez wins 10th game of season

Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox’ 22-year old left-hander, improved to 10-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.85 in Boston’s win over the Yankees on Monday. The last Red Sox left-hander under the age of 23 to win 10 games and finish a season with an ERA under 4.00 was none other than Babe Ruth. The Bambino did that in three straight seasons: 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA in 1915, at age 20; 23-12 with a 1.75 ERA in 1916 and 24-13 with a 2.01 ERA in 1917.

The Red Sox have allowed one run in their last four games, their best stretch since the final four scheduled games of the 1978 season, when they gave up one run in four games to the Tigers and Blue Jays. That left the Red Sox tied for first place in the A.L. East with the Yankees, who won a one-game playoff-the “Bucky Dent Game”-at Fenway Park the next day.

nullIf only Sano had arrived earlier

Miguel Sano drove in the first run of the Twins’ win in Cleveland on Monday, giving him 51 RBIs this season. Sano, who made his major-league debut on July 2, is the second rookie in major-league history to drive in more than 50 runs in a season without having any before July. The other player to do that was Josh Phelps, with 58 RBIs for Toronto in 2002.

nullScherzer falls short of second no-hitter of season

Max Scherzer took a no-hit bid to the eighth inning in the Nationals’ win over the Reds on Monday. Scherzer, who no-hit the Pirates on June 20, is the first pitcher since 2011 to take a no-hit bid to the eighth inning after having completed a no-no earlier that season. Justin Verlander had two bids ended in the eighth inning that year after holding Toronto without a hit on May 7; and Francisco Liriano also had a no-hitter end in the eighth inning after his no-hitter against the White Sox.

nullCarter’s clutch homer

Chris Carter’s seventh-inning home run gave the Astros a lead they would not relinquish in their victory in Seattle on Monday. It was Carter’s first go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later this season, although he hit three of those homers in each of the past two seasons.

 

 

Are These the Uniforms Worn to a Funeral?

Magic Bullets:

#1 – meh

The uniforms look like something you’d wear at a funeral, or as a waiter at a really bad sports bar trying to class-up the joint from all the mouth-breathers who order a basket of fries and a diet coke, to sit their all day – I’ve seen it a hundred times…But, the ‘9ers did win and kept the Vikings from getting into the endzone, winning the game 20-3.

The game was like watching someone play Madden against their little brother and seeing Carlos Hyde left – Carlos Hyde right – Carlos Hyde scores, with a dash of a pass here and there, just so the little brother knows you can.  It was the only takeaway from the game – that and Adrian Peterson.  I guess people forgot A.P. did not play last year, or assumed that he’d just pick up where he left off, but he’s 30 and he needs his sea-legs.  A.P. still drug a few defenders downfield as a glimpse, but the real surprise was the ‘9ers D – it was legit all night.


#2 – uh-oh

What I saw in the first game is this: Julio Jones is a bad Mutha..shut your mouth…but I’m talking about Jones – actually I knew that already, and if he’s healthy, he’s the best WR out there.

No, No, what I saw was a Falcons D I haven’t seen before, it was if they were angry AND had a plan.  The Offense will score points, and if the defense plays with that intensity the rest of the way, it’s their division to lose.  Sure, Atlanta has weaknesses on the O-line and running the football, and that could be their achilles heel – just like we saw last night against the Eagles.  The ability to sustain drives to eat the clock, makes running the ball, critical – meaning, Atlanta will be in shoot-outs all year if they cannot fix that. But, all the pieces Quinn needs to turn Atlanta into a top-tier defense aren’t on the roster yet. The metamorphosis he’s caused with the pieces he inherited and the few he piece-mealed together during the offseason, look fierce. This unit moves fast, hits hard and if Monday is an indicator, will improve dramatically and quickly.

As for the Eagles – how many times do we have to see the same story – down two scores at halftime – come out and light it up.  Is the Chipster losing his Sinatra ways?  With less than four minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter and an offense that was finally moving the ball well in the second half, the Eagles had the ball at the Atlanta 26-yard line, but were stuffed on third down. That’s when Coach Kelly decided to … kick a field goal?

Hey, where’s Chip and what have you done with him? Of course, Eagles kicker Cody Parkey missed the 44-yarder and, after a subsequent drive ended in a Sam Bradford interception, that was that.

No lead seems to be safe in the Georgia Dome, even with this new staff in place (remember the 2012 NFC Championship?), but Falcons’ Fans can appreciate a bizarre and suddenly, conservative Kelly late in the game.


#3 – Perfect

Week one is in the books, and a few peeps woke up today with several ZEROES in their bank acct they did not have yesterday – like you Jeremy Bronson – winner of $1,000,000 and first place finisher in Fanduel’s $5M NFL Sunday Million (1 Million to 1st) contest – Congratulations!!!  We ourselves played and cashed 78% of our lineups.  Go to the TheDiRTCanon.com and signup today and we will Teach you how to #win!!!

Here are week 1’s perfect lineups:

Fanduel

FD_perfectL_wk1

DraftKings

 

DK_perfectL_wk1


#4 – other news

From what I saw – I thought I’d give a way-to-early prediction of who IS NOT going to the Superbowl this year – feel free to disagree, but these are the facts as I see them…

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have some excellent weapons on the offense, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can throw all day long anywhere on the field.

However, anyone who witnessed the league’s season-opener against the Patriots had to have been blind not to see the gaping holes in the Steelers’ defense. In their first game without Dick LeBeau leading the way, Pittsburgh allowed Tom Brady to toss four touchdowns—three of which went to Rob Gronkowski, who wasn’t even covered on his first score.

Big Ben is good, but he’s not good enough to overcome this abysmal defense.

Indianapolis Colts

ColtsThe Colts offense under quarterback Andrew Luck does not have a problem putting up points.

Unfortunately, the sketchy Colts defense also doesn’t have a problem giving up points. Last year, Indy’s defense allowed the seventh-most passing touchdowns and sixth-most rushing touchdowns.

And, while the Colts made some enhancements over the offseason, the last time we checked, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett don’t play defense, and the O-line is still terrible!

They’ll need to pull a magic rabbit out of their hat if they’re going to advance in the playoffs and succeed in beating some of the AFC’s stiffer competition.

Baltimore Ravens

Ravens fatThe Ravens have severe age-gap issues.

They feature senior citizens at their top running back and wide receiver positions this year.  Steve Smith Sr. is 36 years old while Justin Forsett is pushing 30. Additionally, Forsett is not working under coordinator Gary Kubiak this time around, whereas last year he achieved a league-high 5.1 yards per carry. He also recorded personal highs of 1,266 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, both of which could be a struggle to achieve again this season.

Furthermore, the team has a rookie tight end, and its rookie receiver and first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman will struggle to get up to full speed once he finally is cleared to play this year, after missing the entire preseason with a knee injury.

Between the old guys and new guys, there are just too many things that could go wrong for the Ravens this season.

Chicago Bears

Bears-300x260The Bears possess one of the largest fan bases around. However, the fans can’t make Jay Cutler suddenly develop good judgment in 2015. He’s notoriously wild and last year threw 18 interceptions.

Additionally, the team shipped its top wide receiver Brandon Marshall out of town, and the team’s first-round draft pick Kevin White is in jeopardy of missing his entire rookie season.

Defense is also a big problem. In 2014, the Bears allowed the second-most touchdowns and the third-highest passing yards in the league.

Unfortunately, Matt Forte won’t be enough to carry the team to a championship game.  However, John Fox will have them competitive.

Denver Broncos

Broncos funnyIt could be many years before we see the Broncos in a SuperBowl again.

The last time the team made the trip to the championship game, quarterback Peyton Manning and the rest of the offense choked, horribly. Remember that 43-8 slaughter by the Seahawks?  Pepperidge Farms remembers…

That loss was preceded by the record-breaking season Manning achieved in 2013 when he passed for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. Manning has since been on the decline, and his arm strength is still a question mark entering the 2015 season.

If the Broncos couldn’t win the Super Bowl after Manning posted record-breaking stats, there’s no way the team even makes it to the big game this year – let alone the ‘offs.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys funnyThe Cowboys are coming off one of their better years, and actually winning a playoff game, albeit dubiously—the first postseason appearance since 2009. Although this could give fans the impression this team is ready to take the next step, in fact the Cowboys could be poised to take several steps back, due to a questionable ground game – you let DeMarco go?

Tony Romo will be forced to throw more than the team wants him to, and that means more mistakes, as we’ve seen before.  The Cowboys will be a good team in 2015, just not spectacular enough to get to Super Bowl 50.


#5 – Baseball

We still got baseball tonight and in 3 weeks it’s the playoffs – so in the meantime we move ever closer to one of the greatest sports months – October!  Baseball Playoffs, Basketball, Hockey and Football all together – #Murica!  I’m still working on the numbers to give you guys the edge you need for tonight’s 15 games on DraftKings and I will have those posted, no later than 3pm MST – you will find all of the info you need, under the Baseball DiRTy Plays tab.

Tuesday Dregs

Today we are gonna sprinkle some FANTASY BASEBALL info with some other news.  Hopefully you won $$$ playing FANTASY GOLF like we did – that course was fun to watch regardless of all the nonsense that came afterwards.  We saw the best golfers sit in the top 10 – if you do not have the same kind of skill as the other guys Sergio then shut up and wait until the senior-circuit opens up for you.  Got to feel bad for Dustin Johnson missing his chance to win – but he still has Gretzky’s daughter to comfort him.  It could be worse – you could always be the guy that got fired for coming up with “Caucasian Heritage Night” for Rookie Minor League Baseball in Orem, Utah – serving sandwiches on Wonder Bread, while clips of FRIENDS will be shown.  It’s a joke in bad taste because 85% of the people in Orem are already as white as the baseballs – everynight is already Caucasian Heritage Night. The world is hand-made for those that aren’t cursed with self-awareness.

Looking at the report – remember that the top 4 pitchers are at the top – then those with the highest HR probability – and then the top 3 positional guys to choose from, with 6 for the outfield:  Send a message if you have questions about other guys you are considering and I’ll reply with that guys’ value:

6-23-15

Franco’s big night in New York

Rookie Maikel Franco recorded the first two-homer game of his major-league career in the Phillies’ 11-8 win over the Yankees in New York. Franco also banged out two other hits and drove in five runs in Monday’s game. The only other rookie in Phillies history to register at least four hits, including two home runs, and five RBIs in one game was Wes Chamberlain, who was 4 for 4 with two homers and six RBIs in a 9-3 Phillies victory over the Padres at Veterans Stadium on July 31, 1999. Franco is only the second rookie ever to produce a four-hit, two-homer game versus the Yankees. The first was the Marlins’ Bruce Aven on June 13, 1999 in Miami.

nullKris clouts two homers for the first time

Kris Bryant homered twice for the Cubs in their 4-2 victory over Clayton Kershawand the Dodgers. It was the first two-homer game for Bryant, who took Kershaw deep in the third inning and then victimized fellow rookie Adam Liberatore in the eighth inning. Bryant is the second Cubs rookie to hit two home runs in one game this season; Jorge Soler hit two homers against the Reds on April 13. The Cubs are the only major-league team to have two rookies with a multiple-homer game this year, just as they were last season (Soler and Javier Baez).

nullCabrera keeps hammering Cleveland pitching

Miguel Cabrera has recorded 24 hits, five home runs and 16 RBIs in 10 games against the Indians this season, though he was held to a pair of singles, two walks and one RBI in the Tigers’ win at Cleveland on Monday night. No major-league player has reached those levels in all three categories over 10 games against an opponent in any season since 1958, when Willie Mays had a 10-game stretch like that against the Dodgers (24 hits, seven homers and 18 RBIs from April 18 through August 10).

nullIt’s the end result that matters for Hutchison

Toronto starter Drew Hutchison improved his record to 7-1 this season with an 8-5 win against the Rays in which he pitched only five innings and allowed three runs. Hutchison has a 5.33 ERA in his 15 starts this season but the Blue Jays have averaged 7.3 runs per game when he starts, the highest average run support for any pitcher who has started at least 10 games. That run support is a big reason why Hutchison is the first pitcher in major-league history with no more than one loss in his first 15 starts of a season despite an ERA of 5.30 or higher. The previous high was Les Lancaster’s 5.28 ERA and 6-1 record for the Cubs in his first 15 starts in 1987.

nullOsuna fans five in his first save

Blue Jays rookie Roberto Osuna notched his first save in the major leagues by pitching two scoreless innings and striking out five batters in Toronto’s 8-5 win at Tampa Bay. The only other pitcher to post his first big-league save while recording at least five strikeouts and pitching no more than two innings was the Cardinals T.J. Mathews, who fanned five Colorado batters in two innings for his initial major-league save on Aug. 25, 1995.

nullVargas gets his first four-hit game

Twins designated hitter Kennys Vargas was 4 for 4, including a three-run homer, in Minnesota’s 13-2 rout of the White Sox. It was the first four-hit game for Vargas in his two seasons in the major leagues, and only the third four-hit game by a Twins DH over the last five seasons. The others were both in 2014, by Danny Santana(June 7 vs. Houston) and Trevor Plouffe (Septmber 23 vs. Arizona).

 

Friday Dregs

Iguodala comes through for Kerr and the Warriors

Andre Iguodala didn’t start a game during the 2014-15 regular season and he hadn’t started a game during this year’s playoffs until Steve Kerr sent him to the floor to begin Game 4 of the Finals. Iguodala proceeded to score 22 points and grab eight rebounds, both tied for the Warriors’ team high, as Golden State topped the Cavaliers, 103-82, to deadlock the series.

Over the last 45 years, the only other players who started an NBA Finals game without starting a game during either the preceding regular season or earlier in that year’s playoffs were Terry Teagle (1991 Lakers), Marcus Camby (1999 Knicks) and Manu Ginobili (2013 Spurs). Ginobili (24 points in Game 5) and Iguodala (on Thursday night) are the only players among them who either scored 20 or more points or pulled down as many as eight rebounds in their first start during that year’s Finals.

Convincing road victory for Golden State

The Warriors’ 21-point margin of victory in Game 4 was the largest for any road team in an NBA Finals game in which they entered the game trailing in the series. The previous high was 16 points by Miami in its 109-93 Game 4 victory at San Antonio in 2013.

Cleveland off the mark from downtown

The Cavaliers made only four of their 27 three-point field-goal attempts in Game 4 (14.8 percent). There have been 474 instances in NBA playoff history in which a team launched at least 25 shots from three-point range; only four other teams that took 25 or more three-point shots made as low a percentage of them as did the Cavaliers, with the last such team doing it 18 years ago, when the Bulls made four of 27 three-point shots (14.8%) in an 87-80 loss at Miami in Game 4 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals. The only other team to hit such a low three-point percentage (minimum: 25 shots) in a Finals game was the Bulls, who made only three of 26 three-point shots (11.5%) in losing Game 5 of the 1996 Finals at Seattle, 89-78.

Not many turnovers in Game 4

The Warriors (seven) and Cavaliers (nine) combined to commit only 16 turnovers in Game 4. That is the second-lowest total of turnovers in a NBA Finals game in any of the last 15 years. The only Finals game with fewer turnovers during that time (2001-2015) was the opener of the 2013 Finals, when the Spurs (four) and Heat (nine) combined to turn the ball over only 13 times.

Kazmir limits the Rangers to one hit, again

Scott Kazmir threw eight innings for the Athletics as they topped the Rangers, 7-0, and the only hit he allowed was a fifth-inning single by Elvis Andrus. It was the 11th major-league game this season in which a pitcher had a scoreless outing of seven or more innings without allowing more than one hit. Kazmir is the only pitcher who has had two such games and both were against the Rangers in Oakland. He pitched seven scoreless innings versus Texas on April 8, allowing one hit (a bunt single by Leonys Martin leading off the game).

nullCuddyer’s first walkoff RBI since 2006

Michael Cuddyer‘s second go-ahead RBI of the night came on a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth inning and gave the Mets a 5-4 triumph over the Giants. Cuddyer, who hadn’t produced a game-ending RBI since he hit a walkoff homer for the Twins on April 19, 2006, played 1140 major-league games in the interim. Cuddyer entered Thursday’s game with the longest current streak of consecutive games without a walkoff RBI among active major-league players, a distinction that now belongs to San Diego’s Clint Barmes, who has played 1090 games since the only walkoff RBI of his career (a game-ending homer for the Rockies off Trevor Hoffman in the 2005 season opener).

Trout and Pujols both homer for the Angels

Mike Trout homered in the sixth inning and Albert Pujols hit a four-bagger in the ninth to help the Angels beat the Rays at Tropicana Field. It was the fifth game this season in which both Trout and Pujols homered, tying them with Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison for the most such games for any major-league teammates this year.

nullMarcum tosses a gem

Shaun Marcum pitched seven innings and limited the Mariners to two hits in the Indians’ 6-0 shutout on Thursday afternoon. Marcum joined Trevor Bauer (April 9) and Corey Kluber (May 13) as Cleveland starters who have won games this season in which they had a scoreless outing of at least six innings without allowing more than two hits. The only other major-league teams that have had starts of that kind by three different pitchers this season are the Athletics (Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmirand Drew Pomeranz) and Giants (Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Chris Heston).

nullGonzalez allows a run

The Rangers’ Chi Chi Gonzalez saw his career ERA balloon to 0.42 by allowing one run in seven innings versus the Athletics as he suffered his first loss in his third major-league game. Fernando Valenzuela posted a 0.33 ERA through his first three starts in the majors (in 1981), but since then, the only other pitcher who accumulated at least 20 innings through his first three major-league starts while pitching to an ERA as low as Gonzalez’s is Pat Combs, who had a 0.41 ERA to that point of his career for the 1989 Phillies.

DiRTy Thursday

Toews scores 10th goal, Chicago ties series

Jonathan Toews scored his 10th goal of the playoffs, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead, in Chicago’s 2-1, series-tying win over the Lightning on Wednesday. The only other playoffs in which the Blackhawks had more than one 10-goal scorer were 1971 (Bobby Hull 11, Jim Pappin 10) and 2010 (Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp 11 each, Kane 10).

The first four games of this year’s Stanley Cup Final have been decided by the minimum margin. There have been just two other Finals in which the first four or more games were decided by one goal: all five games of the Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs series in 1951 and all four of the Canadiens vs. Blues series in 1968.

Brandon Saad‘s tiebreaking goal in the third period was the game-winner for the Blackhawks. Saad has scored seven goals in the Blackhawks’ 10 playoff games at United Center this year, which ties him with his teammate, Patrick Kane, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Anaheim’sCorey Perry for the most goals in home games in the 2015 playoffs. Going back to the second round of last year’s playoffs, Saad has scored 12 goals in his last 16 postseason games in Chicago.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig returned to the Dodgers’ lineup, and last night against the Diamondbacks he was a triple away from the cycle after the fourth inning. It was a very Puig game, complete with a opposite-field homer.

Cardinals have a pair of young aces

Carlos Martinez improved to 7-2 with a win over the Rockies on Wednesday; his fellow 23-year old teammate Michael Wacha is 8-2. The Cardinals are the first team to have two pitchers age 23 or younger win at least seven of their first 12 starts of a season since Dwight Gooden (8-2) and Sid Fernandez (7-2) did so for the Mets in 1986.

A surprising start by Morton

Charlie Morton, who had a 36-61 career won-lost record in the major leagues prior to this season, improved to 4-0 in four starts this year with a win over the Brewers on Wednesday. He’s the first pitcher to win his first four games of a season after entering the year at least 25 games under .500 since Red Ruffing for the Yankees in 1934. Ruffing, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967, had spent the 1920s with some poor Red Sox teams, before being acquired by the Ruth-and-Gehrig Yankees.

Nationals stun Yankees with late comeback

The Yankees led the Nationals, 4-2 in the eighth inning on Wednesday, but Washington scored twice in the eighth and once in the eleventh to win, 5-4. It was the Yankees’ first loss after leading by two or more runs in the eighth inning or later since August 27, 2012 against Toronto.

The Yankees’ streak of 164 consecutive wins when leading by two or more runs in the eighth inning or later was the longest for any major-league team since the Twins’ 207-game streak from 2004 to 2007. The only longer regular-season streaks for the Yankees were a 183-game streak from 2004 to 2006 and a 174-game streak from 1998 to 2000.

Washington took three of the four meetings between the teams this season, despite trailing by multiple runs in all four games. The Yankees are 28-4 against all other teams this season when they have had a lead of at least two runs.

Hunter loses his mind

Royals return to throne

The Royals finished off their sweep of the Twins and moved two games ahead of Minnesota in the A.L. Central with a 7-2 win on Wednesday. It’s the first time since 1982 that Kansas City has swept a series from a division rival to move into first place, and force their opponent out of first place, at least 50 games into a season. The Royals won three games from the Angels from July 2-4 to move past California into first place in the A.L. West. California wound up winning the division by three games over Kansas City.

Tuesday DiRT

A Hobbled Ben Bishop Is Good Enough

Have the Blackhawks run out of MeauxJeaux?  It seems like maybe they have.  Crawford appears to be too mercurial – that 3rd goal – it was like he didn’t expect anyone to be in front of his net. He made no effort to break up the pass or to get over. I don’t get it.  Every goalie lets up softies, but you rarely see an NHL goalie look like a soccer goalie does when a cross connects to the far side and he has no chance. Maybe it’s because the NHL nets are only 4’ wide.

Why does he stand up instead of just pushing across? He’s still on that post, but standing, as the puck goes in. He must not have known anyone was there, but with that many of his own guys you still have to respect the deflection. That looked lazy or confused. I think at times, he’s very good and underrated/unappreciated, but how easy that goal was, that one confounded me.

At the other end, Bishop was fighting the puck all night, but I think the possible-injury made him keep things simple. As the game went on, he largely let the puck just hit him and then tried to find the rebounds. Early he was aggressive — he had the horrible 2-pad stack on Hossa’s missed net and the attempted glove save where he reached far out in front and tipped it into his own net. Some big athletic goalies are better off when they can keep things simple, and he did that for the last two periods. I would like to find out what the injury is after the series – if there is one.

But…Then again it could be a replay of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013.  You know the one when Boston went up 2-1, after the Blackhawks won Game 1.  Toews did not record a single goal in those first three games, nor did Kane.  It caused plenty of panic in Chi-Town.  This team seems to operate at a different frequency than most.  They almost prefer to save their best hockey for when a series gets later, (see Western Conference Finals).  It typically starts right around Game 4.

Want to know how well the Blackhawks play in late in the series?  In games 1-3, under Quenneville, the ‘Hawks are 30-30.  In games 4-7, the ‘Hawks are 40-14!  But who knows, if you’re a fan of the Blackhawks, you have to worry a little – can’t keep pulling rabbits out of your hat – lose game 4 and it might be over.

Notes I can’t put anywhere else:

  • Cedric Paquette‘s goal with 3:11 remaining in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and earned the Lightning a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. In Game 1, Chicago’s Antoine Vermette scored the go-ahead goal with 4:34 left to play in regulation time which provided the winning margin in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory. This is the third Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took exclusive possession of the trophy in 1927 in which there were two games with a tiebreaking goal scored in the last five minutes of the third period. The others were the Maple Leafs against the Red Wings in 1964 (Toronto’s Bob Pulford in Game 1, Detroit’s Alex Delvecchio in Game 3) and the Hurricanes versus the Oilers in 2006 (Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour in Game 1, Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth in Game 3).
  • The Blackhawks posted a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but the Lightning has won Games 2 and 3 by scores of 4-3 and 3-2. This is only the third time since 1977 that each of the first three games of a Stanley Cup Final series was decided by a one-goal margin. That also happened in 1998 (Red Wings vs. Capitals) and 2010 (Blackhawks vs. Flyers).

check out our new BASEBALL page.  We have included several new things for you to help select your #DraftKings MLB Lineup.  We will have all the info you need by 3p MST everyday.

 

Tuesday DiRT

Only a mother could love this face.  This is the face of $96 million dollars – $45m of it guaranteed.  Sure, Tannehill had his best season last year throwing for 4,045yds and 27 TD’s, but what has he done to deserve this kind of love?  According to his contract, he’s the 5th best QB by average salary: Brees ($20m), Peyton ($19.2), Rodgers ($18.7), and Romo ($17.1).

Tannehill has a career record of 23-25 with 70 turnovers in 3 years, and this should make Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck very happy!  In a league that seems to find new ways to overpay for generic brands, just imagine the monopoly numbers that will be coming for Luck.  The Seahawks just called the Dolphins to say ‘thanks for that’!  Luck and Wilson are looking at $120-$150m contracts with 2/3 guaranteed.  Nobody is saying that Tannehill is Blaine Gabbert – he just hasn’t done enough to justify the same level of contract as Luck, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, Wilson, etc…He’s more Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, without the potential – like Uncle Rico (Kyle Orton).

Tonight we have a large compliment of games.  Furthermore, it is also interesting to some of us seamheads, how well the game is doing on TV.  In the 1st month of the season, Fox Sports 1 and MLB Network have seen their viewership double as have a handful of teams so far:  The Cubs, Royals, Astros (since the worked out their cable deal, finally), Arizona (largest in a decade), Cleveland, Detroit, St.Louis and San Diego.  In fact, baseball games have eclipsed NBA and NHL Playoff games, including first run shows on network TV.  Baseball is making money, largely due to the cable companies, and with people increasingly choosing to disconnect, it will be interesting to see how far that model actually works.  Unplugging your cable package currently means you’ll miss your local team due to blackout restrictions by said cable companies – but, the biggest change to the entire model could occur when the Chicago Cubs’ deal expires in 2019.  The Diamondbacks just secured a deal worth more than $1 Billion dollars and much like Tannehill – the Cubs are excited.  How do the Cubs change the game?  Simple, if they work out a way to limit the cable company and their grip on the market and instead choose a format that allows us, the consumer, to unplug and stream the games at a certain price point – it will change TV forever.  Allowing the consumer to finally pay for what they want and not for all the other stuff they don’t, like the Lifetime channel.

However while we watch tonight, along with our Draftkings lineup – keep some guys in mind, that are having the kind of year that might get them recognized for their first all-star game, guys like:

  • Stephen Vogt
    • Would you believe this 30yr old has a higher WAR than Mike Trout?  He has the same number of HR’s right now (9) than he did all of 2014.
  • Freddy Galvis
    • now that Jimmy Rollins is gone, he has his chance and is currently hitting .341 with a .360wOBA.  He’s cut down his strikes and increased his walk rate and at 25 continually sprays the ball all over the field.
  • Mike Moustakas
    • He might have figured it out, finally.  He has cut down his strikeout rate by 7%, creating 40% more runs than the league average – generating a .380 OBP to go with his great defense.
  • Jake Odorizzi
    • After his first full year as a starter and entering his prime years, at 25, all he has done is pitch like an ace.   Currently has the 6th highest WAR at 1.6 and an ERA and FIP below 2.50 – wlaking less than 4% and striking out over 20%.
  • Jake Arrieta
    • As a Dark Horse candidate for the NL Cy Young at the start of the year, all he has done is put him at the table.  4th in WAR and has a 2.77 ERA with a FIP and xFIP of 2.23 and 2.69.

Tonight, play Swing for the Fences with us! It’s only $3 to play, $300,000 is up for grabs (1st place will win $100,000), and the top 25,930 finishers will win a cash prize!!  We all can guess at guys like Bryce Harper, Michael Brantley, Mike Trout, etc…So here are some of those value guys you might need to plug in to afford all that talent – keep a lookout to see if some of these guys actually start:

Pitchers:  Carlos Frias(LAD) $5,500 – Erasmo Ramirez(TB) $5,100 – Tim Hudson(SF) $6,200 – Tim Koehler(MIA) $5,900

Catchers:  Bobby Wilson(TB) $2,000 – Roberto Perez(CLE) $2,400

First Base:  Chirs Colabello(TOR+OF) $2,900 – Mark Reynolds(STL) $2,800 – Justin Bour(MIA) $2,600

Second Base:  P.Ciriaco(ATL+3B) $2,100

Third Base:  Brock Holt(BOS+OF) $3,100 – Logan Forsythe(TB+2B) $3,200 – Eric Campbell(NYM) $2,700

Shortstop:  R.Ynoa(COL+3B) $2,300 – T.Field(TEX+2B) $2,600

Outfield:  Kyle Blanks(TEX+1B) $3,600 – K.Kiermaier(TB) $3,800 – T.Cunningham(ATL) $2,800 – Adam Eaton(CHW) $3,600 – Grichuck(STL) $3,100 – Ichiro(MIA) $2,900.

So good luck tonight – I will be rolling with Liriano and Gray as my pitchers in most of my lineups – yours may vary.