A Quick Guide To: #SpringTraining

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Spring Questions For All 30 Teams:

Will the Cubs live up to the rampant World Series expectations? Are the D-backs for real? Can David Price make his contract worth it? Are the Royals a dynasty in the making? Do the Blue Jays, Astros and Mets have staying power?

Spring Training preview materials will be loaded with these questions and more, but the obvious truth is that Spring Training itself can’t answer those questions. So the goal in this particular preview, mere days away from pitchers and catchers report dates, is to pose an actual, spring-specific question each Major League club is facing on the cusp of camp.

I’m dedicating this column to the memory of my friend and teammate Tom Singer, who suddenly passed away earlier this week. Tom was one of the more inquisitive and creative minds in the business, and I know he was looking forward to showing up at Spring Training camps and asking unique questions of his own.

Here we go….

NL East

Mets: How carefully should the young starters be eased into the season?

For the Mets, it will be a delicate balance between overworking and underworking Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard after they all saw significant innings increases due to the postseason run. Syndergaard jumped 65 2/3 innings from his 2014 total in the Minors, while deGrom and Harvey jumped 37 2/3 apiece. Because of injury, Steven Matz (15 2/3) didn’t see quite as big an increase, though he, like Syndergaard, is entering his first full Major League season, an adjustment in and of itself. These guys need to be properly prepared for the every-five-day grind, but they should also probably see a less rigorous spring workload than the typical big league starter.

Nationals: Is Trea Turner ready for the big leagues?

The Grapefruit League will be a great test of the Nats’ new-look infield. Anthony Rendon is moving back to his natural position at third base — a fine move in isolation (he grades out better defensively there than at second base). But some scouts believe Daniel Murphy would be far better suited at third than at second base and that Rendon is the better defensive option at second. And then, of course, there’s the big question at short, where the Nats’ options come down to a utility guy (Danny Espinosa) who has spent far more of his career at second, a light-hitting free-agent signee (Stephen Drew) and the top prospect (Turner), who has only played 212 games in what has already been a whirlwind pro career (including 27 with the Nats down the stretch in 2015). Lots of questions in this infield.

Marlins: Can Barry Bonds help Marcell Ozuna’s swing?

New manager Don Mattingly and new hitting coach Bonds pleaded with the front office to keep Ozuna despite the rampant trade rumblings and the disconnect between player and organization last season. Ozuna was one of eight players identified as above-average in each of the five-tool categories by Statcast™, so the potential is off the charts. But his decline in production last season — leading to a controversial stay in Triple-A — was as swift as it was stunning, and spring is an important time for Ozuna and Bonds to develop a positive working relationship.

Braves: Will Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn open any eyes with their spring at-bats?

It’s no secret the Braves would love to move one or both of these guys. So they are destined to receive a steady dose of Grapefruit League at-bats as the Braves try to garner enough interest for a salary dump swap. With Freddie Freeman working his way back from a wrist injury, perhaps Swisher will see some time at first base.

Phillies: Is Tyler Goeddel the next Odubel Herrera?

Last year, Herrera arrived as a Rule 5 Draft pickup and wound up leading the Phillies in WAR (and yes, that says as much about the Phils as it does Herrera). Now, Goeddel is the marquee Rule 5 Draft addition (the first overall pick). That he’ll make the big league club is a foregone conclusion, because the Phillies have nothing to lose by keeping him. The question is how much the athletic but unpolished Goeddel will separate himself from Aaron Altherr, Peter Bourjos and Cody Asche in the battle for playing time in Pete Mackanin’s lineup.

AL East

Blue Jays: Will Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion agree to extensions?

In the lead-up to Opening Day, the new-look front office will have to weigh the attraction of satiating the fan base and ensuring stability in the long-term lineup against the obvious risks that come with power hitters in their mid-to-late-30s. These discussions will take place when all parties arrive in Dunedin, Fla., later this month.

Yankees: CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova?

The last rotation spot is the lone source of genuine positional intrigue in Yankees camp. (That said, Starlin Castro’s continued immersion at second base and first-ever trial at third base, where the Yanks might need him as a Chase Headley backup, is interesting). Sabathia is the former Cy Young Award winner coming off a homer-prone year that ended in alcohol rehab. Nova is the Tommy John alum the Yanks tried to trade. General manager Brian Cashman has said Sabathia’s $25 million salary wouldn’t preclude the Yanks from sticking CC in the bullpen if somebody else (Nova is the obvious candidate, though Bryan Mitchell is another) wins the job outright.

Orioles: What’s the outlook for the outfield?

They’re reportedly making progress with Yovani Gallardo to fill a big hole in the rotation, so let’s focus on the outfield here. Big-bodied Hyun-soo Kim, fresh off signing a two-year contract with the O’s, will arrive from South Korea and try to prove he has the range and athleticism to handle the everyday left-field assignment. Adam Jones was tasked with covering a ton of outfield ground last year, and his performance tailed off in the last two months of the season. At the moment, right field likely belongs to Nolan Reimold, though an O’s team familiar with in-spring splashes could still sign somebody to support or replace him.

Rays: Will James Loney, Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer be moved?

It’s a question that presumes a healthy camp, of course, but it would solve a logjam. Dealing Loney would allow Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce to share first, Corey Dickerson to spend the bulk of his time at DH and Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. to provide dependable defense in the outfield, with Guyer as a bench option vs. lefties. Or the Rays could move Jennings or Guyer and open up more at-bats for Pearce and Morrison. Whatever the case, one presumes the Rays would be seeking relief help in any deal involving their position player depth.

Red Sox: Can Hanley Ramirez handle first base?

The Red Sox don’t have any position battles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have position issues. Hanley’s position switch last year — from shortstop to left field — wasn’t subjected to any truly challenging plays during the spring schedule, but obviously the ball is going to find him at first. Because they’re paying Ramirez a ton of money, the Red Sox have no choice but to hope this works — and the same goes for Pablo Sandoval at third. The Panda’s physical condition will, naturally, be a spring storyline all its own.

NL Central

Cardinals: What is Yadier Molina’s timetable?

Molina will spend camp’s early days not swinging the bat or catching bullpen sessions, but building strength back up in his left thumb after having a second surgery this winter. Because there’s no telling how long that process will take and how much it will affect his season preparation, it’s hard to know if Molina will be ready by Opening Day. To say getting him back in a timely matter is important for the Cards is, of course, an understatement.

Pirates: How well is Jung Ho Kang progressing?

Because of the division’s demands, the decisions to deal Neil Walker and non-tender Pedro Alvarez, and the lack of additions of bankable depth options, the Pirates can ill-afford any medical setbacks for Kang, who suffered a fractured tibial plateau and torn lateral meniscus on an ugly takeout slide by Chris Coghlan last September. The move to third base (with Jordy Mercer at short and Josh Harrison replacing Walker at second) will limit Kang’s lateral movement when he returns. As of now, the Pirates are expecting him back in April, with Sean Rodriguez (last seen assaulting a water cooler) filling in and Minor League free agent Cole Figueroa competing for a bench job.

Cubs: Can Kyle Schwarber improve in left field?

As much as we love this Cubs lineup, there’s no denying there are defensive concerns in the outfield, where Jorge Soler had some surprising struggles in ’15, Jason Heyward is moving from right to center and, most importantly, Schwarber was a mess during the NLCS. Schwarber has been working on his first step and flexibility this winter, and that work will be put to the test in Arizona. But his efforts in left coincide with his work behind the plate, where he still hopes to remain an option long-term. Combine all of this with Schwarber’s bid for more at-bats against left-handed pitching, and the kid’s got a lot on his plate.

Brewers: How’s Ryan Braun feeling?

Not that the Brewers are making an earnest effort to contend in 2016, but Braun could stillpotentially play himself into a viable trade chip (provided the Brew Crew is willing to eat some cash, of course) if he’s healthy and producing the way he did for much of ’15. Braun had surgery for a herniated disc in the offseason, but he won’t have a clear idea of how well his back is responding until the regular swings that come in the Cactus League.

Reds: Will a market develop for Jay Bruce?

He only remains in Cincinnati as a function of the unusually deep and late-developing free-agent outfield market this winter, because the Reds, now in full-on rebuild mode, were motivated to move him. Most likely, Bruce will start the season with the Reds and try to piece together enough of a bounce-back campaign to become July trade bait. But all it takes is one spring injury elsewhere to suddenly make the idea of dealing for Bruce more palatable for a contending club. The Reds also have to hope Zack Cozart’s grisly knee injury last year hasn’t affected his defense at short, because he, too, could play himself into trade-chip status.

AL Central

Royals: Can Christian Colon steal playing time from Omar Infante?

In the third year of a four-year deal, Infante will make $7.75 million, and there was a time when that fact alone would settle him into a starting spot for this small-market club. But you might have noticed things are a little different in the realm of the Royals these days, and they’re calling this a legitimate position battle between Infante and Colon, who drove in the winning run in the World Series Game 5 clincher. (Top prospect Raul A. Mondesi will also get consideration but is far more likely to start the season in the Minors). Sure, the Royals are paying Infante a good amount of money, but, hey, they took Colon ahead of Matt Harvey in the 2010 Draft! One way or another, they’ll look for better returns on both of these investments.

Twins: Will Miguel Sano stick in right?

Byung Ho Park’s transition to the bigs is also a major matter in Minnesota, but Sano’s defensive work — directly related to Park’s arrival — will be a more pressing spring concern. Torii Hunter will be in camp as a special assistant to work with the 6-foot-4 Sano in the outfield, and the Twins’ lineup alignment demands that this experiment be successful. Sano was tasked with dropping 20 pounds this winter. Citing a desire to maintain his power, he dropped just five. He’s agile for his size, but this is undoubtedly a big test for him.

Indians: Will Michael Brantley continue his rapid recovery?

He’s the key to the whole darn thing for an Indians team projected by FanGraphs to have the best record in the division despite a less-than-dynamic winter. Brantley didn’t have surgery on his lead shoulder until early November, which means you can count him out for Opening Day and likely all or most of April. But because his recovery has progressed so well so far, Brantley must avoid the temptation to do too much too soon, lest he suffer a setback that crushes a Tribe club already prone toward slow starts.

White Sox: What’s up at short?

Tyler Saladino played terrific defense at third base for the Sox down the stretch last season, but his 68 OPS+ detracted from his value. So it’s an open question whether he’s ready for prime time at a prime spot, and he could be pushed in camp by top prospect Tim Anderson. The other, still-lingering question here is whether the Sox will wind up too tempted by Ian Desmond’s reduced price tag to pass him up. With a protected top-10 Draft pick, the White Sox are better positioned to sign Desmond than many others in the market.

Tigers: Can Bruce Rondon work his way into the bullpen plans?

Well, obviously we’ll be playing close attention to the statuses of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. But they’ve both had a healthy offseason, so, at this point, there’s little reason to doubt they’ll be in the Opening Day lineup and, hopefully, ready to produce. But Rondon’s dismissal from the club due to a lack of effort makes him an interesting figure in camp. The Tigers’ bullpen has a new closer in Francisco Rodriguez and better balance overall, but there’s always room for a motivated flamethrower. We’ll soon learn for sure if Rondon is committed to winning the respect of his teammates.

NL West

Dodgers: Will Hyun-Jin Ryu be ready by Opening Day?

And if so, what does that mean for fellow lefty Alex Wood? The Dodgers have assembled rotation depth to allow Ryu to ease into action, rather than rush back from labrum surgery. So the most likely outcome is that he starts the season in extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment. But the Dodgers could also be tempted to take advantage of Wood’s ability to be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Giants: How is Joe Panik’s back?

He’s 25 years old and coming off an All-Star season. But that season was cut short by back woes. Doctors have not discovered any structural damage, so Panik did not have surgery. But only time and performance will dictate whether this will be a persistent problem for a club all too familiar with back issues involving their second basemen (see: Sanchez, Freddy and Scutaro, Marco).

D-backs: Can Yasmany Tomas acquit himself in the outfield?

In their bold bid to take a major competitive step forward, there’s no denying the D-backs sacrificed defense by involving Ender Inciarte in the Shelby Miller swap. The question is how much. Tomas enters the year as an everyday corner outfielder (Arizona is still unsure whether he’ll remain in right or swap spots with left fielder David Peralta) after proving he can’t handle the hot corner. Tomas has indicated he’s more comfortable in right field, though the D-backs might prefer to have the better defender there and use this spring to get Tomas acclimated to left. And oh by the way, Tomas, who had a .707 OPS last season, needs to hit, too.

Padres: Can Andrew Cashner limit walks and neutralize lefties?

Yeah, yeah, the spring results don’t matter. But scouts are in the stands for a reason. Cashner is a guy with ace-quality potential when he’s right — and that’s a big deal for a Padres team either hoping to surprise some people in the NL West or use Cashner as a valuable trade piece midseason (or even sooner). Last year, Cashner’s effectiveness against left-handed hitters spiraled (.383 wOBA vs. a .294 mark a year earlier), and his overall walk rate jumped to 8.2 percent.

Rockies: What will Jose Reyes’ punishment be?

In invoking punishments under the sports’ domestic violence policy for the first time, Commissioner Rob Manfred has big decisions to make with Reyes, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman. But Reyes is the only member of that group who is facing a criminal procedure. He has pleaded not guilty to domestic abuse charges, and his trial is slated to begin April 4 (Opening Day, of course). Manfred can make his decision independent of those proceedings, and there’s no telling how stiff the penalty will be. Reyes is the Rockies’ highest-paid player and a guy they hoped would rebuild his offensive value (and, ergo, his trade value) at Coors Field. Right now, there’s no way of knowing when or if he’ll be on the field in 2016.

AL West

Rangers: Can Jurickson Profar get back in baseball shape?

We’ll venture away from the obvious intrigue surrounding Yu Darvish’s timetable, because, by all accounts, he’s still on track for a May return. Profar provides intrigue of his own. This is a guy who was once considered the top prospect in the game, but hasn’t played a single inning in the field the last two years because of shoulder issues that eventually required surgery. Profar’s bat action as a designated hitter in the Arizona Fall League caught the attention of scouts, and several teams contacted the Rangers in an attempt to buy low on the middle infielder. The Rangers wisely held onto him, and they’ll ease him back into action in the field this spring. His odds of making the big league club are slim to none, barring injury to somebody else. But the Rangers are about to see if Profar can emerge as an important depth piece in their bid to win the AL West again.

Astros: Will Evan Gattis be ready for Opening Day?

It was revealed this week that Gattis required surgery for a sports hernia, sidelining him for four to six weeks. That’s going to hurt his ability to get his timing back before the end of Grapefruit League play, so the Astros will dole out more playing time to Jon Singleton, Matt Duffy, A.J. Reed, Tyler White and Preston Tucker. While the Astros, in letting Chris Carter walk, might generally be trying to get away from the all-or-nothing approach that was one of their calling cards in ’15, Gattis is still clearly a key cog in this offense. He was also hopeful of increasing his value to the team beyond his DH duties, losing weight and doing catching drills in the offseason.

Angels: What’s Albert Pujols’ timetable?

The Angels are getting crushed in many corners for not doing more to improve their production potential around Mike Trout, opting instead for a more contact-heavy approach. Maybe the Halos have it right, but there’s little denying that their lineup look demands healthy and productivity from Pujols, who is working his way back from November surgery on the plantar plate of his right foot. Pujols is already hitting off a tee but is not expected to resume full baseball activities until March, putting Opening Day in jeopardy. Pujols rushed back to action too quickly in 2013, to the point that it affected his performance, and the Angels don’t want that to happen again.

Mariners: Can James Paxton win a rotation spot?

Technically, it’s Taijuan Walker, Nate Karns and Paxton for two spots, though you’d have to imagine the 29 starts and the progress Walker made as ’15 evolved give him the inside edge on one of those. Karns was Dipoto’s first addition in a busy offseason, but Paxton is the guy who was long lauded as one of the M’s prominent prospects. Injury issues have limited Paxton to 30 career starts over parts of three Major League seasons, but the left-hander has dropped some pounds and will come to camp intent on proving he’s ready to turn his potential into production. Other guys potentially in the mix for that last spot are Mike Montgomery, Joe Wieland and Vidal Nuno. Paxton seemingly has the most upside of those options, but he’s got to earn it.

Athletics: What is the rotation beyond Sonny Gray?

Oakland has probably one of the most — if not the most — unsettled rotation situations in the big leagues. The A’s signed Rich Hill with the intent of inserting him into the rotation, though he hasn’t been a regular starter at this level since 2009. After Gray and Hill, it’s a wide-open competition involving Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and possibly even Jarrod Parker (who is attempting to come back from two elbow surgeries) and Sean Manaea (a promising trade acquisition who hasn’t pitched above Double-A but who manager Bob Melvin has called a “wild card” in the rotation battle). Should be fun to watch this evolve.

Source: A Spring Training question for all 30 MLB teams.

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Starting Rotations Entering 2016 Spring Training:

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Rejoice! Spring training is almost upon us, bringing to an end what has been a hectic offseason, one that saw a slew of starting pitchers change uniforms, whether via free agency or trade. Keeping up with what your favorite team’s rotation looks like, much less the competition’s, has been challenging at times.

Read: Power Ranking All 30 MLB Starting Rotations Entering 2016 Spring Training

Getting Smart With #NBA + #NHL, NEWS – 11-4-15

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1. NBA Bounce House

Monster game for Drummond

Andre Drummond scored 25 points and grabbed 29 rebounds in the Pistons loss to the Pacers. Drummond scored 20 points and hauled in 20 rebounds in his previous game against the Bulls. Andre is the fourth player in Pistons franchise history to record back-to-back 20/20 games. The other to do it are Bailey Howell (twice), Walt Bellamy (1969) and Bob Lanier (six times).

The only other active player to have a game with at least 25 points and 29 rebounds is Kevin Love. Love scored 31 points and grabbed 31 rebounds for the Timberwolves against the Knicks on November 12, 2010. This is the second time in his career that Drummond has scored at least 25 points and had at least 25 rebounds in a game and the Pistons have lost both games. Drummond had 26 points and 26 rebounds in a 106-98 loss to the Bulls on April 11, 2014. There have been 11 other 25/25 games since 2002-03 and teams with that player won 10 of those 11 games.


Faried dominates the Lakers

Kenneth Faried scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Nuggets win over the Lakers. Faried scored 29 points with 11 rebounds in his last game against the Lakers, last April. The only other Nuggets player to score at least 28 points and haul in at least 11 rebounds in consecutive games against the Lakers is Hall of Famer Alex English, who had two such streaks, one in 1980 and one in 1985. The last player from any NBA team to have a streak like that against the Lakers was Dirk Nowitzki in March 2008.


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Jeff Teague led all players with 26 points and nine assists in the Hawks win over the Heat. It was the twelfth time in his career that Teague led all players, outright, in both points and assists. The Hawks won 10 of those 12 games.


Ho-hum, another 20/10 game for Randolph

Zach Randolph scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies in their win over the Kings on Tuesday night. It was the 262nd time in his NBA career that Randolph had a 20/10 game in the regular season (points/rebounds). The only active players with more 20/10 games than Randolph are Tim Duncan (498), Kevin Garnett (445), Dirk Nowitzki (314) and Dwight Howard (290). Randolph’s teams are a combined 157-105 (.599) in those 262 games.


Hornets score 30+ in each quarter

The Hornets buried the Bulls, 130-105, on Tuesday night by scoring at least 30 points in each of the four quarters of the game. It was only the fourth time in franchise history that Charlotte had a game in which it scored at least 30 points in each quarter. It happened twice in the 1991-92 season and once in 1995-96.

It was the first time since December 27, 2008 against the Hawks that the Bulls allowed at least 30 points in each of the four quarters of a game.


Fournier: 71 points over last three games

Evan Fournier scored 30 points in Orlando’s win over New Orleans. Fournier has scored 71 points over his last three games: 22 against the Thunder, 19 against the Bulls and 30 against the Pelicans. That matches the most points Fournier has ever scored over a three-game span in his NBA career. He also scored 71 points over three games in November 2014.


2. Ice-Ice Baby

Seguin tricks his old team

Tyler Seguin, who played the first 203 games of his NHL career with the Bruins, scored three goals in the Stars’ win over Boston. Seguin is the sixth ex-Bruin to record a hat trick against the Bruins in the expansion era, the first since Mariusz Czerkawski in 1996. The others to do it over that span are Eddie Shack (1971), Reggie Leach (1974), Phil Esposito (1979) and Geoff Courtnall (1989).

Seguin’s first goal was the 300th point of his NHL career. Seguin is the first player from the 2010 NHL draft to score 300 points; only two others from that draft have even recorded 200 points: Taylor Hall (279) and Jeff Skinner (219).


Rangers winning comfortably at home

The Rangers have won their last five home games by at least a two-goal margin after their 5-2 victory over the Capitals at Madison Square Garden. That’s the Blueshirts’ longest such streak within one season since October of 1990 when they won their first eight home games by a margin of at least two goals.


Oscar is no grouch

Oscar Lindberg opened the scoring for the Rangers in their win over the Capitals, his sixth goal of the season in12 games. Lindberg is the first Rangers rookie to score at least six goals in the team’s first twelve games of a season since Darren Turcotte in 1989-90. Turcotte scored nine goals in the first dozen Rangers games of that season.


Larkin’s second GWGAltX.Logo.white

Rookie Dylan Larkin’s third period goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Lightning. Larkin, who has played 12 games for the Red Wings, was also credited the game-winner in Detroit’s win over the Senators on Saturday night. Larkin is the first Red Wings rookie to record two game-winning goals in his first 12 career NHL games since Paul Woods in 1977.


Turris is off to a good start

Kyle Turris’s overtime goal gave the Senators a 2-1 win over the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Turris has scored eight goals in 12 games this season. That is, by far, the most goals Turris has ever scored in his first 12 games of a season, his previous high being four in 2010-11 and 2012-13.


Iginla scores two against Flames

Jarome Iginla scored two goals in Colorado’s 6-3 win over the Flames, his former team. It was the 106th career multi-goal game in Iginla’s career, second-most among active players, behind Jaromir Jagr (124). Ninety-four of Iginla’s multiple-goal games came while he was playing for the Flames; this was his first against the Flames.

SOURCE: Elias Sports Bureau

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Get Ready for the Dixie Championship: #TNF

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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)
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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)

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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 You Need To Know for Both #ALDS Game 5’s Today – #OwnOctober

1. I Got a Feevah, For More Baseball

It doesn’t matter that the Cubs were 0-11 All-Time in the post-season, if they lost the first game of the series.  It doesn’t matter that the Cubs were 0-4 All-Time in series clinching games, at home.  It didn’t matter when they won their first game giving up 3 HR’s to the opposing team in the post-season.  It just doesn’t matter – anymore.

It feels different today doesn’t it?  Beating the Cardinals, overcoming history, it all feeeels different, right?!  I’m not a Cubs fan, but are friends with many, and although the AltX.Logo.whitemoment feels good now and things have been accomplished that have never been done before – you just hope, and have a lot of prayer, to make it thru the witchcraft that has been your history.  But man for right now, enjoy this, just know, you are not thru the woods yet Cubs fan – hopefully no one goes and gets a tattoo or anything else that might upset your #KarmicResponsibility.  There’s still more games to play.

  • Meanwhile, how about Theo Epstein – should he be the focal point of Moneyball 2: Curse Killer?
  • How about today’s games, both Game 5 showdowns.
  • Harold Reynolds must be as popular in Toronto as Chase Utley is in New York, right?
  • It’s awesome that beginning this afternoon, we’ll have two elimination games
  • Gotta love this October so far, eh?

Here is a preview of the games between the Rangers/BlueJays and the Astros/Royals.  Remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter – there are a lot more nuggets of info that we don’t have time to always prepare for you here – and as always tell your friends – share us with the world:

  • ALDS Game 5 previews: It’s win or go home for all four AL playoff teams

    For just the third time in the wild-card era, both American League Division Series have come down to a single-elimination Game 5. In the entire history of best-of-five playoffs in Major League Baseball, there have been 36 series that went a full five games; exactly half of those series have been won by the team that failed to clinch in Game 4, and one shy of half (17 of 36) have been won by Game 5’s home team. Momentum and home field advantage have proven meaningless.

    The American League Championship Series starts Friday night and could still consist of any of four matchups. By midnight tonight, we should know which of those four pairs will indeed be playing for the pennant……(continue reading)

 

 

What You Need To Know: Tuesday

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Click – to see for yourself

1. Did Phillip Rivers Just Punch a Bird?

In what may be the second greatest mystery of the internet, just behind that white dress, that wasn’t really white – we have this – Did Phillip Rivers punch a bird…in mid-air?  No, because that would have been amazing and near impossible.  I had to watch it 20 times myself to realize, it’s only a glove.  Another mystery solved, eh Scoob?

Aside from that, the Monday Night Football Game was a great one for 15min – the last 15min – the previous 45min was enough to make a man want to retire in mid-season, (more on that below).  But the action in the 4th quarter was outstanding and the finish…Woo Hoo.  How about those cajones for Mike Tomlin with five seconds left? #Brass.  Way to pull out your inner-Les Miles, Mike – for the Chargers, that’s a heart-breaker.

Considering, Philip Rivers threw for 365 yards against the Steelers in a losing effort, completing two touchdown passes, both to Antonio Gates, playing in his 1st game back from a suspension—(Rivers has now thrown 74 touchdown passes to Gates in their 12 years together as Chargers teammates. That’s the most TD passes from a QB to a teammate in Chargers history, as well as the highest career total for any quarterback to a tight end. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski rank second on that latter list, having hooked up for 57 TD passes in their six seasons together on the Patriots)—The Packers know how you feel Chargers, because the last time a Monday Football game ended on the last play in regulation was this:


2. This Post-Season has been En Fuego!

Awww New York.  The best revenge is to score a lot of runs and you did that, making quick work of an early 3-run deficit – scoring 10 runs over 3 innings – eventually winning 13-7 over the Dodgers.  Now about Utley and your chants to see him enter the game after the 5th inning – I get it your upset.  This slide…is against the rules, that are loosely interpreted based on the emotional intelligence of a guy in a little hat – he started his slide after 2nd base – that’s a no-no – but it is nothing any player hasn’t done to break up a double play – a double play Tejada knew he wasn’t going to get.  Tejada gets a broken leg and Utley gets a suspension.  The suspension seems to do more with the broken leg than the act, and an over-reaction.  The question for me is this:  How does Utley get suspended on a play that was “illegal”, but was not enough to be called interference and an automatic double play?   I’ll let this guy explain:

  • WAS UTLEY’S SUSPENSION WARRANTED? – All you can hope for out of any postseason series — other than your team winning, of course — is to have it not be sidetracked by anything other than the quality of the two teams playing each other and the result of their conflict. You don’t want to lose, but if you lose, you want to lose clean. You just want people to be talking about the game itself……(continue reading)

More Baseball Thoughts I can not put anywhere else:

  • The Cubs have NEVER won a post-season series when they lost the first game, 0-11 ALL-TIME.
  • Before Game 2, the CUBS NEVER won a game when the other team hit 3 HR’s – they finally won one.
  • The Cubs are 0-4 ALL-TIME when clinching a series at home.
  • The Cubs just set a new post-season record for most home runs in a game with 6.
  • Strange things are afoot at the Circle K – but surely the Cubs will find a way to snatch defeat – right?  Theo Epstein can’t erase two curses in our lifetime, right?

Huge day for Correa

Prior to the Royals’ comeback in the eighth inning, Minute Maid Park was home to the “Carlos Correa Show.” The Astros shortstop tallied hits in all four of his at-bats – a game-tying home run in the third inning, a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth, a two-run homer in the seventh, and a single to lead off the
ninth. Correa, who celebrated his 21st birthday last month, became the youngest player to record at least four hits and four RBIs in a postseason game.AltX.Logo.white

  • The only other player to achieve that feat before his 25th birthday was Goose Goslin, who was 23 at the time of his four-hit, four-RBI game in Game Four of the 1924 World Series for the Senators.
  • Correa is also the youngest to record three extra-base hits in a postseason game, and he’s the second-youngest player with a multi-homer game in the postseason – Andruw Jones was 19 at the time of his two-homer performance for the Braves in Game One of the 1996 World Series versus the Yankees.

Royals save season with late comeback against Astros

Facing a four-run deficit with six outs to play in their season, the Royals exploded for five runs in the top of the eighth inning to come away with a 9-6 victory over the Astros and send the series back to Kansas City for a deciding fifth game. If any team was capable of a comeback like this it was the Royals – Kansas City enjoyed a similar comeback in the Wild Card game against the A’s last year, erasing a four-run deficit in the eighth and ninth innings before emerging victorious in the 12th inning.

So to recap, the Royals have overcome a four-run deficit in the eighth inning or later to stave off elimination in the postseason in back-to-back years. No other major-league team has ever forged a comeback of that kind in the postseason when facing elimination. In fact, only eight other teams have overcome deficits of four-or-more runs at any point of a postseason victory that staved off elimination, and none of those eight teams have more than one such win.

  • By the way, the first team ever to win such a game was the 1919 Chicago White Sox (Black Sox), who overcame a 4-0 Cincinnati lead to win Game Six of the World Series, 5-4, in 10 innings, cutting the Reds’ Series lead to four games to two. (That Series was played in a best-of-nine format.) The Sox produced the winning run in the top of the tenth on hits by Buck Weaver, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Chick Gandil – each of whom was later barred from the game by Commissioner Landis.

3. Straight Ca$h Homie…

Using our info and Beckwith’s daily information – I won 75% of the tournaments I entered.  If you would have read the Projection 2 Spend Report – your lineup would have scored over 200pts, just by selecting the green guys.  As for DC*3PO‘s picks for the NFL, he took a slide backwards, thanks to Tennessee and Oakland, but was still a decent 58% ATS – and a phenomenal 70% ATS for the college games I picked for him.  I lost a 15-teamer on Saturday because of two overs not coming in – Cal/Utah and FU/Mizzou – Cripes, but i’ll take 86% everytime – just need that 100% once.  Become a member today and lt us Teach You How To #win – here are the Perfect Lineups for #NFL week 5:

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draftkings

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In Closing…

I’ll let Pat Forde describe the wierdness that was College Football yesterday…

  • Forde-Yard Dash: Taking stock of college football’s coaches after a bizarre Monday  We’re not yet to mid-October, and already four head coaches have been fired. A legendary fifth abruptly retired Monday night. A sixth just came back from a three-game suspension. In a sport with increasingly more money at stake, the pressure on the men leading the programs has escalated accordingly……(continue reading)

Is the Taylor Swift Curse Real?

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1. At Any Price?

Home Teams in the playoffs are now 0-4, and apparently there is a Taylor Swift 1989 tour going around spoiling the fun – Read more about it here.  Take Note Ranger Fan, Swift-y plays in Arlington a week from tomorrow.  As for David Price, he let Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos go deep – they are the #8 and #9 hitters – Price is now 0-6 all-time in the #MLBPostseason.  Randy Johnson once lost 7 in-a-row, but I do not see Price changing his spots anytime soon.

The Baseball post-season is now in full-swing – today we have 4 games, and with that, the last time we will have this many games in one day, for the rest of 2015, I suspect.  The BlueJays try to get back on track and maintain their title of most explosive team.  The Cards are ready to spill blood, while the Cubbies are continuing to sacrifice more goats at the alter to the Baseball Gods.  ‘Stros and Royals play again, and Kershaw tries to right his ship in the post-season and be the best Madison Bumgarner he can be.  Kershaw needs this post-season to be as good as the regular season has been – otherwise he becomes Peyton Manning.  Here’s the schedule of todays games, (all times EASTERN), along with NLDS previews, and a final “Here’s To You”, to Vin Scully who won’t even be listed as “the player to be named later” portion of the broadcasts – he’s out – But if Kirk Gibson can hit a homerun on one-leg, surely Vin can come back for a Game 7 in the World Series – right?!

Rangers-Blue Jays, Game 2

MLB 12:45 p.m.

Astros-Royals, Game 2

FS1 3:45 p.m.

Cubs-Cardinals, Game 1

TBS 6:45 p.m.

Mets-Dodgers, Game 1

TBS 9:45 p.m.

KershawCespedesNLDS PREVIEW: METS VS. DODGERS

No playoff series feels as immense as the Dodgers-Mets National League Division Series. It’s gonna be a bad scenario for whichever team loses.  If the Mets lose, this dream season that has reinvigorated a discouraged fan base ends with a whimper. It also ends on the eve of an uncertain tomorrow. The Mets have had this lovely couple of months, but it doesn’t change their financial situation; ownership has……(continue reading)

Schedule

• Game 1: Friday, Oct. 9, 9:30 p.m. ET, Dodger Stadium, TBS (Clayton Kershaw vs. Jacob deGrom)
• Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 p.m. ET, Dodger Stadium, TBS (Zack Greinke vs. Noah Syndergaard)
• Game 3: Monday, Oct. 12, TBD, Citi Field, TBS (Brett Anderson vs. Matt Harvey)
• Game 4 (If necessary): Tuesday, Oct. 13, 8 p.m. ET, Citi Field, TBS (TBD vs. TBD)
• Game 5 (If necessary): Thursday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. ET, Dodger Stadium, TBS (TBD vs. TBD)

LackeyLester

NLDS PREVIEW: CUBS VS. CARDINALS

So, the apocalypse series is here. The Cubs, the hottest, most beloved, most exciting team in baseball, are at last culminating their long, long rivalry with the Cardinals with a postseason series. I’ve written so much about these two teams — I wrote a freaking book about them, for crying out loud — that to see them actually face off in an elimination series is almost too terrifying to wrap my mind around. Just know that……(continue reading)

Schedule

• Game 1: Friday, Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m. ET, Busch Stadium, TBS (John Lackey vs. Jon Lester)
• Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m. ET, Busch Stadium, TBS (Jaime Garcia vs. Kyle Hendricks)
• Game 3: Monday, Oct. 12, TBD, Wrigley Field, TBS (Michael Wacha vs. Jake Arrieta)
• Game 4 (If necessary): Tuesday, Oct. 13, 4:30 p.m. ET, Wrigley Field, TBS (Lance Lynn vs. Jason Hammel)
• Game 5 (If necessary): Thursday, Oct. 15, 4:30 p.m. ET, Busch Stadium, TBS (TBD vs. BD)

Learn More About #KarmicResponsibility

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1. Further Mis-Adventures of #KarmicResponsibility

This is Pittsburgh’s Bartman.  Maybe one of the most complete teams the Pirates have ever had and some douche-nozzle comes up with THIS, AND gets a Hotel chain to produce them to pass out.  Hey, it’s #Murica and we all have that luxury – but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should and #5 is the example hillbilly fandom that screams #KarmicResponsibility.  Beyond the Nuclear-Level of OCD this fan has – he must have forgotten you never plan cheers – you’re not Duke fan and it’s never clever.  I say HE because we all know, only a man would come up with this from his mother’s basement.

Anyway, now the Cubs move on to face a team in the Cardinals that seem to be held together by duct-tape – aren’t they every year? – so now we get two fanbases, that dislike each other, to such a degree, that they both act like everyone’s drunk uncle, on Thanksgiving, at your Mom’s house, with her new boyfriend that looks a lot like Jim Tomsula…Cubs fans are excited, again.  Like a dog chasing cars – it seems like the dopamine dump, cubs fan gets, shuts off their common sense and they quickly forget/bury the destiny that they are to blow it in the worst way.  All we need now, is some clown to get a world series tattoo and complete the affront to #KarmicResponsibility – or some other nonsense that creates the cyclical train-wreck of sorrow Cubs Fan is so used to.


HamiltonTulo

2. ALDS Preview: Rangers v BlueJays

3:30 PM EST ALDS Gm 1 Rangers @ Blue Jays Gallardo (13-11) at Price (18-5) FS1 / SNET

Those plucky Rangers are back in the playoffs, and it seems they only get there when they have Josh Hamilton, and Cole Hamels – eeery.  To start the season, the 2015 Rangers found themselves without young phenom Profar and staff Ace, Yu Darvish – and further seemed out of it by the trade-deadline.  Then they traded prospects for Cole Hamels, strengthened their bullpen, got healthy and went on a second-half tear to win the division from the Astros.

For the BlueJays, you have to remember 2012, when they finished with a 73-89 record and by trades and free agent signings they brought in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey only to improve by one game.  In 2014, the BlueJays improved to 83-79, so when they were looking at a record of 45-46 at the All-Star break, the ‘Jays pushed all the chips in on Tulowitzki and David Price, to go along with 2015 free-agent signee and possible AL MVP josh Donaldson, to become an offensive juggernaut that can play D and pitch.

  • For all the talk that the Toronto Blue Jays are the obvious best team in the American League — they’re the overwhelming Vegas favorite, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark has already picked them to win the World Series — the one thing Toronto wasn’t this season was the best team in the American League. The Jays didn’t…(continue reading)

CorreaCain

3. ALDS Preview: Astros v Royals

7:30 PM EST ALDS Gm 1 Astros @ Royals McHugh (19-7) at Ventura (13-8) FS1

No-longer are they the Lastros – an organization that averaged 108 losses from 2011 to 2013 and are baseball’s youngest team – they beat the Yankees on Tuesday and now face their opposite in every way.  It’s Manufacturing versus Big Oil.  The steady-rolling production of the Royals, versus the Boom-or-Bust-strike-it-rich nature of the Astros.

  • Just three short years ago, the Royals went 72-90. It was their ninth consecutive losing season, and their eighth out of those nine that they had lost 90 or more games. Being a Royals fan meant unrelenting misery. It meant being unhappy on purpose. That same year, though…(continue reading)

4. Saturday Afternoon in Death Valley

If any fanbase can understand and appreciate what Gamecock fan is going thru – its Tiger fan.  What comes to mind for me is 2005 when LSU had to go to Arizona State after Hurricane Katrina for a home game in the desert.  Arizona State donated the gate receipts from the game to LSU and the Fiesta Bowl covered LSU’s travel expenses – in return, LSU will pay it forward to South Carolina, and what could have been a trap game looks a bit more fortuitous for LSU – so Saturday I’ll cheer for South Carolina before and directly after the game.

  • Because of the aftermath from flooding that began last weekend, officials felt it was unwise to play the game at the regularly scheduled site of Williams-Brice Stadium. Access to areas of the city, the safety of the infrastructure and the availability of drinking water were major concerns……(continue reading)

5. Banner Raised

Last night was the start of the NHL season if you were to busy to notice watching the Pirates and Cubs.  In Chicago they raised another banner and the Rangers started the Blackhawks off with a L.  If you do not have NHL-CenterIce package to watch all the ‘Ockey you want – I think you can find games on the NBCSN channel – I just have no idea where to find it…but anyway here is Yahoo Sports preview of all 30 teams from the Puck Daddy staff:

 

In October, Anything is Possible

Baseball

Ken Rosenthal, in Just a Bit Outside, wrote: “OK, so we didn’t get chaos, entropy or any other form of Monday madness. There will be no game No. 163, no three-team tie, no pushing back of the postseason schedule. The outcomes of Sunday’s games neatly restored order, with the most deserving teams, the Rangers and Astros, claiming the final two playoff berths.”  But, what does it all mean this post-season?  Are the Royals back? Should everyone watch out for the Rangers?  Will the young Astros be intimated in Yankee Stadium?  Should we worry about the Mets?  Are the Cubs the most dangerous team?

Ken Rosenthal breaks all of those things down in his piece: Anything is Possible this Post-Season

rangers

Rosenthal writes:

Will I pick them to upset the Blue Jays? Probably not. But I would not be surprised if the series goes five games.

What I like about the Rangers right now is that their stars are performing at elite levels. Start with left-hander Cole Hamels, who threw a three-hitter Sunday to help clinch the AL West title. Hamels, thanks to the Rangers’ collapse on Saturday, will be available for Games 2 and 5 rather than 1 and 4 (the latter on short rest).

The Rangers have won the last 10 games that Hamels has started, not that it will necessarily matter against the Jays, whose .815 OPS against lefties led the majors. Both of the Rangers’ top starters, Hamels and Derek Holland, are left-handed, and uh, the Jays treat right-handers no better. Their .791 OPS against righties also led the majors, though Rangers righty Yovani Gallardo has pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings against them this season.

The only way for the Rangers to stay with the Jays might be to slug with them, and suddenly that appears possible — Texas led the majors in runs per game after Sept. 1. Third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is dealing with a jammed index finger and sprained thumb on his left hand, has 38 RBI since that date. Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo and even Josh Hamilton all look like forces again.

October is going to be a great month, after-all ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!  Just ask Ben Larson (h/t Dennis Wierzbicki):

A Cubs fan named Ben Larson, who is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, emailed one of his professors to see if the teacher could do him a big favor by moving a midterm exam scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 8. As Larson explained over email, he and his family scored tickets to the one-game playoff against the Pittsburgh Pirates and planned to drive to the game. With the game on Wednesday, he wouldn’t be able to take a test Thursday.

Luckily the professor offered to come through for him:

Shoot, if we all had known our teachers would be this accommodating, how many of us would have tried to pull this maneuver?

We knew Cubs fans were loyal and sometimes a disgusting bunch, but one thing you cannot deny is their passion. This is awesome.

Madonna Steals the Souls of the Young and other Musings…

Dodging Bullets:

Houston we have a problem

We talked about it earlier this year, about Houston’s meteroic start and wondered if it could last.  It hasn’t, but it doesn’t mean that Houston is done.  It just means they are still on schedule and for that, it means more of how the young-uns respond to the pressure of a pennant race – it will be a fun 3 weeks.  Last Night, Mitch Moreland was the hero in Arlington, hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Rangers defeated the Astros, 6-5. With the win, in its 144th game of the season, Texas moves into sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time in 2015.

Over the last 30 years, there have been three other instances of a team standing alone in first place for the first time in a season in its 144th game or later. The 2006 Twins and 2012 Athletics both did this in their last game of the season, while the 2007 Phillies found themselves alone atop the NL East for the first time after their 160th game. These teams could not carry over that momentum into the playoffs, with each losing in the Divisional round (The Twins and Phillies were swept in three games, while the A’s lost in five games).

Strasburg lights up 14 and Harper jacks 2

It’s fun when you have Strasburg and Harper in your #DraftKings lineup to the tune of 85pts for the both of them – we did.  As for Bryce Harper, he went 3-for-3 with two homers and four RBIs in the Nationals’ 4-0 victory over the Phillies. Harper is now batting .413 with 26 home runs and 63 RBIs in games in which Washington won this season (70 games). In Nats’ losses in 2015, Harper is sporting a .261 average with 13 homers and 27 runs batted in (67 games). Over the Nats’ last six wins (since September 4), Harper is hitting .600 (12-for-20) with six homers and nine RBIs.

Harper, who turns 23 years old on October 16, has 10 games with two or more homers in his major-league career. Only three other players have had as many games of this type at 22 years old or younger: Eddie Mathews (13 games), Bob Horner (10), and Mel Ott (10).

Oakland A’s scored more than the Raiders

Did anyone see this stack happen last night? The Athletics collected 16 runs and 15 hits (including three hits each by Billy Butler and Mark Canha) over the first four innings of their 17-6 triumph over the White Sox. The last time a team had at least 16 runs and 15 hits over the first four innings of a game was on April 20, 2013, when the Indians had 18 runs and 18 hits at Minute Maid Park against the Astros. Jason Giambi(five RBIs) and Mark Reynolds (four RBIs) drove in half of those runs.

There was only one other game in A’s history in which they totaled at least 16 runs and 15 hits over the first four innings. That was on June 18, 2000 against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, when they had 17 runs and 15 hits in the first four frames of a 21-3 victory. Jason Giambi also played in that game, collecting two hits and two runs batted in over those four innings; his brother Jeremy went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in that same four-inning span.

Two position players, Leury Garcia and Alexei Ramirez, came into pitch for the White Sox on Tuesday. That marked just the second time in Sox history in which multiple position players pitched in one game. The first came in the second game of a doubleheader on September 28, 1902 against the St. Louis Browns (and the last game of the season for the White Sox). Frank Isbell, who played 133 games at first base in 1902, was the starting pitcher in the game and pitched one inning. Sam Mertes, who played 120 games in the outfield that season, replaced Isbell; he pitched the remainder of the game, allowing just two runs and earning the win.

nullDee Gordon en fuego

Dee Gordon, who went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored in the Marlins’ 9-3 victory at Citi Field on Tuesday, is 33-for-77 (.429) in 18 games against the Mets this season. Gordon’s 33 hits are the most for one player against a particular team this season as well as the most against the Mets in a single season. The previous high versus New York was Curt Flood’s 32 hits in 1963.

The last time a player had at least 33 hits against one team in a season was in 2011, when Jacoby Ellsbury (34 hits against Blue Jays) and Adrian Gonzalez (34 hits versus Orioles) accomplished this.

King Felix who?

David Murphy and Mike Trout each connected for home runs off Felix Hernandez in the Angels’ victory against the Mariners on Tuesday. It’s the fourth time that both Murphy and Trout have hit a homer against Hernandez; only Mark Teixeira (six) and Nelson Cruz (five) have hit more homers in their careers against King Felix.

Here’s last nights #DraftKings #Fantasybaseball perfect lineup:

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I was sitting down at the ol’digital typewriter and I was transported back to college for a time because a Madonna tune came on the playlist, and it got me thinking about that girl that was obsessed with her.  Calling Madonna the penultimate female embodiment and how much she respected her and felt that all women should look up to her and liberate themselves from their sexual slavery, yada-yada – I really wasn’t paying that close attention but if she was intent on practicing her sexual liberation, then I was more than willing to help her out – it’s the least I could do…

So my point is, I wonder if she still thinks of Madonna as the Goddess of Feminism?  It seems kinda of odd picturing that girl, now in her 40’s strutting around with a pointy bra, rockin’ out to express yourself – or with an old pair of lace gloves crawling on the floor not wanting you to push her love over the borderline – it could happen…But it got me thinking about some other bat-sh!t-crazy things people still might do – like eat Cheez Whiz and go to Dinner Theater.  Did someone really think that while they were watching RENT or WEST-SIDE STORY, that the only thing that was missing from the production was some pork chops?  Cheez Whiz is what you’d see a doctor for, not eat.  Speaking of crazy…

It is only Wednesday and there is no football for another day – so if you’re feeling a little squirelly and really have nothing better to do then let’s make a drinking game out of the 2nd GOP debate, with a little side-action on who mentions “Kim Davis” first – and if someone compares her to Rosa Parks, it’s a shot – if anyone mentions Indiana is the size of ISIS, it’s a shot –  Matt Taibbi,  has come up with some other fun rules – So let’s pretend we are the Lizard King and we’ll all tap into our inner-Kennedy, for #Murica!

  • Drink THE FIRST TIME and the FIRST TIME only:
  • 1. A candidate invokes the memory of Saint Reagan.
  • 2. A candidate mentions Hillary’s emails.
  • Drink EVERY TIME:
  • 3. Hugh Hewitt hurls a douchey gotcha question at Trump.
  • 4. Trump – or any of the other candidates – insults or threatens one of the moderators. Beer chaser if it’s Tapper or Bash, and the candidate rips liberal-ass CNN in the process.
  • 5. Trump brags about his wealth or his poll numbers, or mocks the low poll numbers of an opponent.
  • 6. A candidate pledges to stand with Israel.
  • 7. Carly Fiorina makes a joke about her own face.
  • 8. A candidate claims a positive relationship with a minority. We’re keeping this rule in every debate. (So far we’re one-for-one: Kasich said he had a gay friend in the first debate.)
  • 9. Anyone mentions the “War on Christians.”
  • 10. A candidate says he’ll stand up to Putin.
  • 11. Trump derides someone for being a “lightweight” or having “low energy” or “low enthusiasm.”
  • 12. Anyone mentions Tom Brady or Deflategate.
  • 13. Anyone calls Black Lives Matter a “hate group,” argues that BLM or Barack Obama have endangered the lives of police, or pulls a “What about black-on-black crime?” line.
  • 14. A candidate mentions the founders. Double shot if it’s Rand Paul.
  • 15. Carson invokes the Bible as an authority for something that has nothing to do with the Bible, like tax policy.
  • 16. A candidate says, “I’m the only person on this stage who…” Double shot if it’s Carson saying something like, “I’m the only candidate who’s had his hands inside a human thorax.”
  • 17.  Anyone mentions Hitler, Nazis or Neville Chamberlain. Includes related imagery, e.g. “ovens.”
  • 18. Anyone mentions the Governator or makes a Terminator-themed joke, e.g. “To illegal immigrants, I say, Hasta La Vista.
  • Drink EVERY TIME you hear:
  • 19. “Anchor babies.”
  • 20. “Thug.”
  • 21. “Leading from behind.”
  • 22. “All lives matter.”
  • 23. “Apologize for America.”
  • Take a shot of JAGERMEISTER if:
  • 24. Any candidate is seen wearing a Blue Lives Matter bracelet.
  • 25. A candidate offers an insincere paean to departed Rick Perry. Double shot if someone references his “smart glasses.”

What You Need to Know to #win Tuesday Night, #DraftKings #FantasyBaseball

Encarnacion is on FIRE!  Seriously, he is raking more than Groundskeeper Willy and I doubt it ends tonight against Cody Anderson.  It seems like yesterday we were complaining about the weather being to cold and could not wait for leisurely attire, with Boat Drinks – September all ready?!  I re-tweeted an earlier article from back in February today, check it out it was pretty accurate, except that bit about the Rockies – cripes – Now on with the show, and if you want to try your hand tonight click the link and get started – I know the highest O/U is in Colorado tonight, but I think Seattle and Houston could provide an equally impressive display of batted-fireworks as well.

Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas

Jonathon Niese vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-221) – On a night where we have quite a few quality starting pitchers taking the mound tonight, Niese gets the nod as the favorite against the Phillies. Interesting choice I must say, but this is why Vegas is worth about 348 billion dollars and I’m not – yet. Anyways, I found this one interesting because Niese has been anything but solid lately. In his last three starts, Niese has scored a combined 19.8 points. Yes, that’s all three starts combined. His last start, was even against the Phillies, the team he’s so heavily favored to beat tonight. During those three starts, Niese has given up 15 runs on 21 hits in just 17 innings with a 13:9 K:BB ratio. Does this sound like a guy you want to be investing your salary cap into tonight? Granted, Niese is very cheap tonight at $6500. Not too shabby for a guy who owns a 3.95 ERA on the year with a 1.36 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.1. If you read this article on the regular, you’ll know that the Phillies are hitting well since the All-Star break, owning a .327 wOBA, good for 8th during that time span. So with Niese tonight, he certainly his a cheap price tag to reach his value, it’s just a matter of if he can actually do it or not. cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.pngHonestly, I won’t hold my breath on this one.

Marco Estrada vs Cleveland Indians (-185) – Estrada may not be the most enticing name on the slate tonight, but he’s certainly pitched well enough to be. Estrada enters tonight with a 3.19 ERA to go with a 1.09 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.9. He faces the Cleveland Indians, who have been hitting well in the second half, just behind the Phillies, with a .326 wOBA during the time, good for 9th in the league. Estrada continues to give us what we pay for at the $7000 tier level, a mid to high teens score with a decent amount of strikeouts and good command. The Indians don’t strike out a lot, owning a 19.6 K% in the second half, but Estrada really isn’t that type of guy either. It’s not a stretch to except maybe four or five strikeouts from Estrada tonight, as he’s usually very consistent with that. Of course as always, with the absurd amount of runs the Blue Jays are scoring, it’s pretty safe to say that Estrada is also a good bet to nab a win here, as the run support has been high for all the Blue Jays starting pitchers. Playing at home tonight, look for Estrada in terms of some salary relief, as you load up on some of these premium pitchers tonight.

Johnny Cueto vs. Detroit Tigers (-150) – The only problem with some of these elite pitchers going tonight, is that they face some fairly tough matchups tonight, or their price is sky high. A couple of these sky high prices, in my opinion, will still be worth it, it’s just a matter of identifying who. Cueto could be one of them, if he can right the ship tonight. Cueto is coming off two disappointing starts in a row now, one against the Boston Red Sox and one against the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox one, I wasn’t overly surprised about, since they’re hitting so well lately. The Orioles I was, since they have such a high K% and their wOBA in the second half of the season is near the basement in the league. Tonight, Cueto gets the Tigers, who are also near the bottom of the league in wOBA in the second half at 19th, with a .314 wOBA. The Tigers are also striking out at a decent pace, with a 20.9 K%. Cueto isn’t excessively high price wise tonight at $10,100, especially compared to some of the other pitchers priced above him in some less than stellar matchups. I think with how poorly Cueto has pitched lately, his won’t be as highly owned across the board as he normally might be. For tonight ,I think I’d use Cueto only in tournaments, maybe not cash. Even though the Tigers are hitting nearly as well as they were in the first half of the season, they still have some serious talent on that team.

Top Overall Game per O/U

Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 10.5 Over/Under – The night game checks in just like the day game, with a 10.5 projected run total. Rubby de la Rosa takes on Kyle Kendrick, in a battle of “who can be worse against LHB.” It’s true, both of these pitchersREALLY struggle against left handed batters tonight. De la Rosa checks in with a .405 wOBA against them and Kendrick with a .422 wOBA. Mix that in with some Coors Field and lefties should have a field day tonight. Also tonight, both of these starting pitchers LOVE giving up home runs. Between the two of them, they’ve given up 53 home runs. 53 HOME RUNS, between the two of them! Truly, if you normally fade the Coors Field game to (hopefully) separate yourself from the rest of the field in case the game doesn’t go as planned, tonight would not be the night to do that. Between how poorly these pitchers perform against lefties and how easily they let balls fly out of the park, this one could be a mess. Target wise, anyone you can afford. Just keep your eyes on the lineup, as they’ll be playing a double header, so a couple of key guys could potentially get some rest in the second game. Let’s hope not.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Johnny Cueto KAN (LwOBA ..240)
    • Zack Greinke LAD (LwOBA .249)
    • Justin Verlander DET (LwOBA .253)
  • Right handed batters
    • Joe Ross WAS (RwOBA .205)
    • Jimmy Nelson MIL (RwOBA .246)
    • Rubby DeLaRosa AZ (RwOBA .258)

Easiest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Rubby DeLaRosa AZ (LwOBA .405)
    • Kyle Kendrick COL (LwOBA .422)
  • Right handed batters
    • Cody Martin OAK (RwOBA .422)
    • Kyle Kendrick AZ (RwOBA .368)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Edwin Encarnacion TOR – DiRT Canon Value99.77
  • David Ortiz BOS – DiRT Canon Value96.25
  • Jason Castro HOU – DiRT Canon Value94.21
  • DiDi Gregorious NYY – DiRT Canon Value89.16
  • Jonathon Lucroy MIL – DiRT Canon Value – 88.26
  • Michael Cuddyer NYM – DiRT Canon Value – 86.20

Other notables:  Ryan Zimmerman – Marlon Byrd

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Evan Longoria vs. Chris Tillman – Last night we killed it with the BvP. For all the non believers, I hope you enjoyed watching from the outside. Tonight, we hope to do more of the same. To kick us off, we showcase Longoria and his long battle with Tillman. Longoria is 16-43 with 10 extra base hits, six of them being home runs, and a 1.321 OPS.

Salavdor Perez vs. Justin Verlander – Perez has really seen Verlander well in his career. Perez comes into tonight 18-38 against Verlander with nine extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a 1.266 OPS.

Jacoby Ellsbury vs Rick Porcello – This one is is absolutely mind boggling. Ellsbury isn’t a big power hitter, but how sure seems like one when he faces Rick Porcello. Ellsbury is an amazing 11-17 against Porcello with five extra base hits FOUR of them being home runs and 2.078 OPS.This is not a drill folks. This is insane. My mind is blown.


Weather

REJOICE – it appears to be all clear


Top 4 by Position – in no particular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Gerrit Cole ($10,800) – You know, when you look at the pitching slate for a particular night and see that Chris Sale is associated with that slate, your eyes grow a little wide and you go YUP,this is who I’m going with. Then you see he’s going to run you for $13,900 and your eyes become a little droopy now. Not as enticing. Now, we realize he’s facing the Twins, well alright, I’m back on board! Surprisingly, the Twins actually are decent against left handed pitching. They own a .312 wOBA against them and the a K% ranked 18th in the league at 20.1 Am I saying the Twins are going to knock Sale around? Most likely not. Will I throw Sale out to the masses for $13,900 and tell you to start him? I don’t think so. Not for that much. Instead, I’m going to run with Cole tonight, who looks to be back on track. Cole takes on a Brewers team who seems to have fallen back to their old hitting ways, which is not good at all. The Brewers own a .307 wOBA in the second, good for 25th in the league with a high 21.7 K%, which runs for 7th in the league. His price tag tonight seems reasonable at $10,800, when you compare it to the likes of Sale. Cole has scored 28.2 and 23.5 in his last two starts, against the Giants and Marlins respectively, which gives me a good indication that he’s seems to be on the right path again. Cole enters tonight with a 2.44 ERA to go with a 1.11 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.8.

Worth Considering

David Peralta ($4700) – As I mentioned earlier, getting exposure to Coors Field is a must tonight, in my opinion. Looking at either side, both pitchers have given up a combined 53 home runs, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing some balls leaving the park tonight. I think Peralta is a way to get “cheap” exposure to one of the premier players on the Diamondbacks. When I say cheap, I referring to how AJ Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt are going to run you for at least $6000. That’s going to be tough to do if you’re going to be rostering any pitchers worth over $10,000. On the year, Peralta owns a .388 wOBA against RHP with an ISO of .236. Peralta has been mostly in the clean up spot for the Diamondbacks, which I think makes this pick all the more intriguing. Of course, check that closer to came time, but I think this could potentially pay off well without totally destroying your salary cap for tonight.

Save $$$…

Andres Blanco ($2300) – Man, it is seriously getting hard to keep Blanco off my roster on a daily basis. I honestly find him becoming automatic. Tonight, he faces the leftie Niese, which is great news for everyone planning on picking Blanco tonight. He has crushed lefties this season, owning a .447 wOBA with an ISO of .220. Truly, these are numbers for a guy almost costing the minimum on DraftKings. The fact that his price tag has barely budged is not only amazing, but completely ups his value for a daily pick. Blanco doesn’t have to produce much to exceed his value, which he continues to do on an almost nightly basis.


The Rest by Position

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Randomly Generated Lineup Combinations – Ideas

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