Friday Dregs

Aside from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, MLB has all their games playing tonight, and if you have StrikeZone you’ll get to see all of the action as it happens.  So for today we are going to give you some lineup help.  Here are 4 lineups to consider for tonight, check to see if they are playing and for rain:

#1               #2               #3               #4

P: Odorizzi     Odorizzi      Volquez      Gibson

P: Gibson       Volquez      Will.Perez   Butler

C: Posey         Saltamac    Norris         R.Martin

1: Goldschm   Goldschm  Carter         Teixeira

2: Rendon       Panik         Dozier         DJ Lemahieu

3: Gallo          Tejada        Carpenter   Donaldson

S: Jhonny P    Jhonny P   Tulowitzki    Tulowitzki

O: Rajai D       Pollock       McCutchen  Giancarlo

O: Joc Peder   Pillar          JoeyButler   Bautista

O: Burns         Moss           Springer      Gardner

As for alternate Ideas to consider for tonight here are some candidates to consider by position – remeber to check and see if they are in the lineup and for rain:

C: Saltamacchia/Cervelli/Norris/Posey/Vogt

1:  Goldschmidt/Carter/Freeman/Pujols/Posey

2:  Panik/Dozier/Phillips

3:  Carpenter/Freese/Tejada/Lawrie/Frazier/Donaldson/Arenado/MiguelC

S:  Jh.Peralta/Tulo/Tejada/Xander/Andrus/DiDi

O:  McCutchen/Pillar/Moss/JoeyButler/ShinSoo/Bruce/Deshields/A.Gordon/Pollock/Joc/Souza/Springer/Trout/Bryce Harper


 

Here we go with the recap of the last few two days….

Wednesday Review

NHL

Blackhawks rookie leads unprecedented Game 1 comeback

Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored goals in the last seven minutes of the third period which enabled the Blackhawks to overcome a 1-0 deficit and beat the Lightning, 2-1, at Tampa in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s the first time in NHL history that a team won Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final in regulation time after trailing while being shut out in the third period.

Chicago is also the first road team to record a regulation-time victory with a third-period comeback in the opening game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Three other visiting teams won Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final in overtime after trailing in the third period: the Islanders in 1980 (at Philadelphia), the Canucks in 1994 (at New York Rangers) and the Sabres in 1999 (at Dallas).

Teravainen, who assisted on the winning goal, is the first rookie in NHL history to score two third-period points in the first game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Since 1983, the only rookies before Teravainen to record more than one point in the opening game of a Cup Final wereJaromir Jagr for the Penguins in 1991 (two assists vs. Minnesota) and Ville Leino for the Flyers in 2010 (one goal and one assist at Chicago).

MLB

Gallo making powerful impression

Joey Gallo hit a home run in his major-league debut on Tuesday night and he cleared the fences with a solo shot on Wednesday evening. None of the 53 players in major-league history who hit at least 400 lifetime home runs began their careers by homering in each of their first two games. The player with the most home runs who did go deep in each of his first two big-league games is Todd Helton, who retired with 369 homers, which currently ranks him tied for 78th all time.

Tanaka returns with a win

Masahiro Tanaka made a triumphant return by throwing seven innings in a 3-1 victory at Seattle, improving his record to 16-6 in 25 major-league starts. Prior to Tanaka, the most recent pitchers to win at least 16 of their first 25 career starts–all for the Yankees–were Mel Stottlemyre (who, like Tanaka, was 16-6 through his first 25 starts) and Whitey Ford (17-2).

Astros rookie strikes out 11 with no walks

Lance McCullers, a 21-year old rookie making his fourth career start, struck out 11 Orioles batters and did not issue a walk in a complete-game win for the Astros on Wednesday night.

McCullers, at age 21, is the fourth youngest pitcher in the last 50 seasons with more than 10 strikeouts and no walks in a complete game. The three younger pitchers to do so over that span were Dwight Gooden (twice, at age 19 for the 1984 Mets), Bert Blyleven (at age 20 for the 1971 Twins) and Kerry Wood (at age 20 for the 1998 Cubs, while tying a major-league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game).

Braves surrender another huge lead

There have been only two major-league games this season in which a team was defeated after leading by at least six runs and the Braves have lost both of them. Atlanta surrendered an eight-run advantage in a 13-12 loss to the Nationals at Turner Field on April 28, and allowed a six-run cushion to disappear in Wednesday’s 9-8 setback against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Pirates sweep the defending champs

The Pirates, by virtue of their 5-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco, swept a series of at least three games on the road against the defending World Series champion for only the fifth time in franchise history. Pittsburgh’s other sweeps of at least three games on the home field of the reigning title holders were against the Cubs (in 1909), Giants (1922), Cardinals (1983) and Reds (1991).

Peralta pounds the Brewers

Jhonny Peralta was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Cardinals’ win over the Brewers and he now has 50 hits in 135 career at-bats (.370) versus Milwaukee. That gives Peralta the second-highest lifetime average for any active player against the Brewers (minimum: 100 at-bats), behind Troy Tulowitzki, who has batted .408 against them.

Buehrle throws a 93-pitch shutout

Mark Buehrle threw only 93 pitches in his shutout of the Nationals. That’s the fewest pitches thrown by a pitcher in a nine-inning complete-game performance this season and the second-fewest for Buehrle (again, in a nine-inning complete game) in his major-league career. He authored a shutout against the Indians while throwing just 90 pitches in July 2004, when he was 25 years old and playing for the White Sox.

Heart of the order powers Royals

The heart of the Royals’ order–Lorenzo CainEric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales–produced back-to-back-to-back RBI-doubles in the third inning of Kansas City’s 4-2 win over the Indians. It was the first time since May 2006 that three consecutive Royals batters in one inning each connected for extra-base hits that drove in a run. In that game nine years ago, four straight Kansas City batters did so–Emil BrownTony GraffaninoAngel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Burns clears the bases

Billy Burns‘ bases-loaded triple on the first pitch of his at-bat in the second inning was the key hit in Oakland’s 6-1 win at Detroit. Burns has had a first-pitch hit in each of his last four games, one shy of the longest such streak in the major leagues this season. Kole Calhoun connected for a hit on the first pitch of an at-bat in five consecutive games last month.

Big day for Boston’s middle infielders

Dustin Pedroia (4-for-5) and Xander Bogaerts (3-for-4) helped the Red Sox defeat the Twins in the first game of a doubleheader and became only the second starting keystone combination in more than two years to each register at least three hits for Boston in the same game. Pedroia and Stephen Drew did that on May 6, 2013 in an 11-inning game that was coincidentally also against the Twins at Fenway Park.

Rookie stymies the Red Sox at Fenway

Trevor May threw seven scoreless innings to help the Twins record a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox in the second game of their doubleheader. The only other rookie in the last five seasons to earn a win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park by throwing at least seven shutout innings was Matt Shoemaker in 2014.

Franco takes Chapman deep

Maikel Franco hit a game-tying three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning and the Phillies went on to defeat the Reds in extra innings. Franco launched a game-tying homer on Tuesday night in the eighth inning of a Philadelphia win over Cincinnati. He is the first rookie with a game-tying or go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later of back-to-back games since the Twins’ Bobby Kielty in 2002.

Sale: consecutive starts with 12+ Ks and no runs

Chris Sale struck out 13 batters without allowing a run on Wednesday night, after a 12-K/no-run outing last Thursday. Prior to Sale, the most recent pitchers to make back-to-back starts with at least a dozen strikeouts and no runs allowed in each were Chan Ho Park (2000 Dodgers), Hideo Nomo (1995 Dodgers), Roger Clemens(1987 Red Sox), Nolan Ryan (1978 Angels) and Sandy Koufax (1965 Dodgers).


 

Thursday Review

NBA

Warriors shut down Cavs in OT to win Game 1

The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers, 10-2, in overtime, allowing only an uncontested layup byLeBron James in the closing seconds of their 108-100 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. That matched the lowest point total that any team has allowed in an overtime period of the Finals. The Lakers held the Pistons to two points in OT of Game 2 of the 2004 Finals. Richard Hamilton scored Detroit’s only points in the extra period, hitting a jump shot midway through overtime.

James scores 40-plus vs. Warriors in regular season and playoffs

LeBron James led all players with 44 points in Cleveland’s loss. James scored 42 points in his only game against the Warriors during the regular season. He is the fifth player to score 40 or more points in a regular-season game and then do it again against the same opponent in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The others were George Mikan, Minneapolis vs. Washington (1948-49); Jerry West, Los Angeles vs. Boston (1965-66); Allen Iverson, Philadelphia vs. Lakers (2000-01); and Kobe Bryant, Lakers vs. Orlando (2008-09).

MLB

Jones snaps HR drought with a game-winner

Adam Jones broke a 2-2 tie with a home run off Chad Qualls in the eighth inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 victory at Houston. That blast snapped Jones’ streak of 83 at-bats without a homer, his longest since early last season. It was his 14th game-winning home run in Late-Inning Pressure Situations since joining the Orioles in 2008, tying Miguel Cabrera for the most in the American League during that time. The major-league leader is Alfonso Soriano (15).

Twins overcome early deficit for late win at Fenway

The Twins, who trailed 4-0 early, scored four runs off Koji Uehara in the ninth inning to gain an 8-4 victory at Boston. It was the first time in Uehara’s 314 major-league appearances that he allowed even one run and failed to retire a batter.

This was Minnesota’s 825th game at Fenway Park, including 523 as the Washington Senators from 1912 to 1960. It was only the second of those games in which the Senators or Twins won by at least four runs after the Red Sox had taken a lead of four or more runs. The first was in 2003 and, for what it’s worth, Minnesota faced knuckleballers in both games: Tim Wakefield 12 years ago and Steven Wright yesterday.

A’s day starts well, ends with mixed results

The Athletics took a 6-0 lead over the Tigers on Thursday and held on for a 7-5 win at Detroit. The victim of Oakland’s early assault was Shane Greene, who was charged with six runs and failed to complete five innings. It was the fifth time in 12 starts that Greene allowed more than one run per inning; the last pitcher to do so in at least five of his first 12 starts for the Tigers wasDontrelle Willis (2008-09).

The A’s day didn’t end nearly as well as it began. Stephen Vogt was removed from the game in the ninth inning after pulling up lame while chasing a foul pop-up. Coming into the day, Vogt had the highest Elias Impact Rating of any catcher in the either league (82.8), and he ranked second on his team to Sonny Gray (91.5).

Tigers suffer back-to-back series sweeps

Thursday’s victory completed the A’s three-game sweep of the Tigers after Detroit had lost four straight games to the Angels. It’s the first time that Detroit has been swept in consecutive series (of two or more games, that is), after entering each series above .500, since June 1993, when Sparky Anderson’s team went 0-9 on a road trip of three games each at Baltimore, Boston and New York, knocking the Tigers out of first place.

A first for Mayberry

John Mayberry went 4-for-5 with a home run in the Mets’ 6-2 win at Arizona. It was the first four-hit game of Mayberry’s career and it came in his 313th start. Only seven other active players have made at least 300 starts and never had more than three hits in one game: Luis Valbuena (535 starts), Mitch Moreland (457),Travis Snider (409), Brett Lawrie (397), John Jaso (374), Eric Young Jr. (329), andAaron Harang (314).

Reds show no favor to an old friend

The Reds faced a former teammate on Thursday night, defeating Aaron Harang and the Phillies, 6-4. Harang, who led the Reds with 75 wins during his eight seasons with the team (2003-10), came into the game with a 2.02 ERA that ranked fifth in the National League, but allowed a season-high six runs to suffer his sixth loss of the season.

Here’s an odd twist: It was Harang’s sixth appearance against Cincinnati, each for a different team. The others were with the Athletics (2002), Dodgers (2012), Mariners (2013), Mets (2013), and Braves (2014).

Choo delivers in the clutch

Shin-Soo Choo singled in the 11th inning to deliver Leonys Martin with the winning run in the Rangers’ 2-1 victory over the White Sox. It was the seventh time Choo has produced a walkoff win, five of them in the last three seasons. The only player with more walkoff plate appearances since 2013 is Josh Donaldson (8).

Bauer continues his string of strong starts

Trevor Bauer allowed two runs in six-and-two-thirds innings to earn the victory in the Indians’ rain-shortened 6-2 win at Kansas City. It was the fifth consecutive start in which Bauer held his opponents to two or fewer runs. His ERA for those five starts is 1.75, compared to a 4.40 career mark prior to that.

Weekend Sediment

Before we get to the weekend recap – there is a tragic news story coming out of Florida – It seems an owner of a major-league-fantasy sports team decided to hold his wedding during the baseball season and subsequently neglected his team for a honeymoon destination without wifi.  His reckless decisions have placed his teams chances for a title in serious jeopardy that they may never recover from.  If this sounds like something you might do, then stop and think of your players.  Of course you can avoid any of these scenarios by playing Daily Fantasy with us and never have to worry about taking a vacation and ruining your teams chances, because each day is a new chance to earn some fresh lettuce.  We have developed a baseball solution based on avoiding zeroes and increasing your chances to cash 75% of the lineups you enter.  So, look for our information by 2p each day based on the amount of games being played in our BASEBALL page.  Now on with the recap!


Lightning strikes

From Elias: Ben Bishop became the first goaltender in NHL history to send his team into the Stanley Cup Final with a road shutout in a Game Seven, as he lifted the Lightning into the Final by blanking the Rangers, 2-0. For Bishop, it was his second Game Seven shutout of the 2015 playoffs; he had blanked the Red Wings, 2-0, in the seventh game of Tampa Bay’s first-round series. Bishop is the third goaltender in NHL history to earn a pair of Game Seven shutouts in one playoff year. The others were Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 2002 (vs. Los Angeles and San Jose) and Boston’s Tim Thomas in 2011 (vs. Tampa Bay and Vancouver). (For Bishop, unlike Roy and Thomas, the shutouts came in the first two Game Sevens of his NHL career.)

Bishop, who recorded an assist in his Game Seven win versus Detroit, did the same in Friday’s victory against the Rangers. The only other NHL goaltenders with even one career assist in a Game Seven shutout are Pittsburgh’s Frank Pietrangelo in 1991 (vs. New Jersey) and Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 2002 (vs. Los Angeles).

Bishop shut out the Rangers not only in Game Seven, but also in Game Five. No other goaltender had ever pitched a road shutout in a winner-take-all road game after also having earned a shutout in his previous game on the same ice.

The Lightning’s victory, on the heels of a 7-3 loss in Game Six on Tuesday, marked the first time in NHL history that a team had won a series by means of a Game Seven road shutout after having allowed at least five goals in the previous game.

Toews puts Chicago on path to victory

From Elias: The Blackhawks, on a pair of goals by Jonathan Toews, outscored the Ducks, 2-0, in the first period of Game 7 in the Western Conference Final at Anaheim. Toews is the third player in NHL history to score two first-period goals for the road team in the seventh game of a playoff series. The other players to do that were the Maple Leafs’ Dave Keon at Montreal in a 1964 Semi-Final series, and the Kings’ Ted Irvine at Oakland in a first-round series in 1969. The last NHL player to score two first-period goals for the home side in Game 7 was the Bruins’ Milan Lucic in a second-round matchup versus the Flyers in 2010.

Kane helps on three goals

From Elias: Patrick Kane assisted on three of the Blackhawks five goals in their win over the Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. In the NHL’s expansion era (1968 to date) the only other players to record three assists in the seventh game of a Semi-Final or Conference Final series are Boston’s Jean Ratelle at Montreal in 1979 and Toronto’s Doug Gilmour versus Los Angeles in 1993, though each of them did so in a game their team lost.

Blackhawks offense comes alive in last two games of Conference Final

From Elias: The Blackhawks won 5-3 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, after posting a 5-2 victory in Game 6. It’s the seventh time in NHL history that a team won Game 6 and Game 7 of a playoff series while scoring at least five goals in each game, but it’s only the second time it has happened after the first round. The only previous instance of an NHL team winning a series in that fashion after the opening round was when Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings posted 5-4 wins over the Maple Leafs in Games 6 and 7 of the 1993 Campbell Conference Final.


Think of the Central time zone and the 4 teams that are .600 or better as the dog days begin – St. Louis Cardinals (33-17), Minnesota Twins (30-19), Houston Fir-stros (31-20) and the Kansas City Royals (29-19).  Maybe the Royals and the Cardinals are so much as a surprise as the Twins and Astros are – but no one saw this…

FRIDAY

Norris caps one-of-a-kind night with walk-off grand-slam

From Elias: Derek Norris, who had struck out in each of his four previous trips to the plate, hit a two-out, grand-slam walkoff homer in the ninth inning to propel the Padres to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates. It was the first game-ending grand-slam homer in the majors this season and the sixth such blow in Padres history, the last coming off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez five years ago. But fans at Petco Park on Friday night saw something never previously done in the history of major-league baseball: Norris became the first player to hit a walkoff grand-slam home run in a game in which he has previously struck out as many as four times.

Dodgers bring drought on the road with them

From Elias: When the Dodgers play in Los Angeles, they have to deal with water restrictions necessitated by the California drought. But now on the road, the Dodgers have experienced a scoring drought, one that reached a remarkable total of 37 consecutive road innings without a run as they fell, 3-0, to John Lackey and the Cardinals on Friday night. That total represents the second-longest streak of consecutive scoreless innings in road games since the Dodgers joined the National League in 1890. The one longer streak was fashioned during the Roosevelt administrationthat’s Teddy Rooseveltin August of 1908. In the midst of a 22-game road trip through six National League cities, the Dodgers went 41 straight innings without scoring in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The 2015 Dodgers had lost three straight shutouts at San Francisco, May 19 to May 21, in their last road games before Friday’s contest in St. Louis. They have been shut out in four straight road games for the first time in franchise history.

Buehrle’s 204th win is unlike any of the others

From Elias: The Twins ended Mark Buehrle‘s streak of 35 consecutive innings without allowing Minnesota an earned run early and with emphasis, scoring four runs, all earned, in the first inning. But then Buehrle slipped back into form, the Blue Jays pecked away and the veteran left-hander wound up going the distance to earn a 6-4 victory. Only two major-league pitchers over the last 30 years have earned a complete-game win, going nine or more innings, after having allowed four or more runs in the first inningand even they were long ago. In 1995, Seattle’s Tim Belcher downed Cleveland, 11-5, after allowing four in the first, and in 1986, Fernando Valenzuela went the route after yielding four in the first to help the Dodgers top the Phillies, 11-4.

Buehrle’s streak, crafted over five games dating back to 2011, was the longest by any big-league pitcher against an opposing team since Zack Greinke held Seattle without an earned run over 38 innings from 2008 to 2010. It was the longest such streak crafted by a starting pitcher against the Twins since Sudden Sam McDowell sailed through 48 innings without allowing the Twins an earned run over 1968 and 1969.

Hamilton hits two in second home game of season

From Elias: Josh Hamilton homered on each of his first two trips to the plate off Boston’s Steven Wright and the Rangers took it from there, repelling the Red Sox, 7-4. Each of Hamilton’s home runs gave the Rangers a lead (1-0 and then 3-2), and they came in his second home game after re-joining the Rangers while the team was on the road earlier this week. The home runs were the 84th and 85th that Hamilton has hit in a Rangers uniform in what is now known as Globe Life Park in Arlington. He hit only one home run there in 62 at-bats over 16 games while with the Angels over the past two seasons.

Bettis and Tulo have their way in Philly

From Elias: Chad Bettis threw seven and one-third hitless inningsthe second-longest no-hit effort in the 3,548-game history of the Rockies, second only toUbaldo Jimenez‘s complete-game no-hitter at Atlanta five years agoonly to see his bid spoiled when Cody Asche‘s soft grounder to the shortstop position rolled through to the outfield because Troy Tulowitzki was overshifted onto the right side of the infield. Bettis, against whom opponents had fashioned a collective .320 batting average in his 40 previous major-league games, allowed another hit later in the inning and earned credit for Colorado’s 4-1 victory at Philadelphia.

Tulowitzki did his best work with the stick in his hands, going 4-for-4, and reaching Cole Hamels for a pair of home runs. It was the second game in his career in which Tulowitzki produced at least four hits, including multiple homers, while batting 1.000; he went 5-for-5 with two circuit clouts in a game at Cincinnati two years back. Hamels is the fourth pitcher against whom Tolo has homered twice in a game; he had previously homered twice in the same game off Sean O’SullivanBronson Arroyo and John Ely.

Bettis, by the way, did keep a couple of other no-hit streaks intact: He went 0-for-2 at the plate, and is now 0-for-23 in his big-league career. Rockies pitchers as a whole are now hitless in their last 34 at-bats.

Another short start for Strasburg

From Elias: Stephen Strasburg left the mound due to an apparent stiff neck in the second inning of the Nationals’ game at Cincinnati, and the Reds later came from behind to take a 5-2 decision. Strasburg has had major problems with length in recent weeks: including his one-inning effort on Friday night, he has now thrown a total of 16 innings over his last five starts combined. That matches the fewest innings that any big-leaguer accumulated over a five-start span (with no relief appearances sprinkled in) all of last season; the Angels’ Cory Rasmus was the lone pitcher last season who amassed just 16 innings over five straight starts.

SATURDAY

Dodgers finally score on the road

From Elias: Howie Kendrick‘s sixth-inning single scored Justin Turner and ended the Dodgers’ road scoreless streak at 42 innings. That surpassed by one inning the franchise record streak of 41, set in August 1908. No major-league team had failed to score in 42 consecutive innings in road games in 30 years, since the Braves posted a 46-inning streak in May 1985.

Grandal shows power with runners on

From Elias: Yasmani Grandal‘s three-run home run gave the Dodgers the lead for good in their 5-1 win at St. Louis. Grandal’s last two home runs were also of the three-run variety, both on May 7 at Milwaukee. The last Dodgers player to drive in at least three runs on three straight homers within one season was Adrian Beltre in 2003.

Keuchel White-washes Sox

From Elias: Dallas Keuchel struck out 11 without walking a batter in a complete-game 3-0 home win for the Astros over the White Sox. No Houston pitcher had struck out more than 10 batters without issuing a walk in a complete-game shutout since Randy Johnson fanned 16 Pirates at the Astrodome on August 28, 1998.

Stanton feels at home in Queens

From Elias: Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs in the Marlins’ 9-5 win over the Mets in New York. It was Stanton’s third career-multi-homer game at Citi Field. That’s the third-highest total by any player behind current Mets slugger Lucas Duda(6), and former New York first baseman Ike Davis (4).

Paulsen homers off Garcia again

From Elias: For the second straight day, Ben Paulsen homered off Luis Garcia as the Rockies won at Philadelphia. Only two other rookies in the last 20 years have hit home runs in two consecutive games off the same pitcher: the Phillies’ Pat Burrell against the Mets’ Armando Benitez in June 2000, and the Braves’ Brooks Conrad off the Brewers’ Carlos Villanueva in May 2010.

Goldschmidt homers off Lohse in two straight innings

From Elias: Paul Goldschmidt hit two home runs, a solo shot off Kyle Lohse in the third inning and a two-run blast off Lohse in the fourth, in the Diamondbacks’ 7-3 win it Milwaukee. It was the third time that Goldschmidt has homered in consecutive innings, having done so against the Reds in 2013 and versus the Dodgers in 2014. But the last Arizona player to go deep in consecutive innings off the same pitcher was Aaron Hill against Madison Bumgarner at Chase Field on April 7, 2012.

SUNDAY

Hamilton gives the Rangers a dramatic win

Josh Hamilton‘s pinch-hit, two-run double off Koji Uehara with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Rangers’ a 4-3 triumph over the Red Sox. It was the eighth game of Hamilton’s major-league career in which he produced a walkoff RBI, and in four of those games (all for the Rangers) his game-ender turned a deficit into a victory, three of which came in two-out situations. Sunday’s walkoff by Hamilton was the first for a Rangers pinch-hitter with the team trailing and down to its final out since June 2, 1995, when Rusty Greer‘s pinch-hit, two-run homer off Rick Aguilera with two outs in the bottom of the ninth gave Texas a 6-5 win over the Twins.

Colorado bullpen bails out injured Lyles for Philly sweep

Jordan Lyles lasted only 1.1 innings before his reoccurring toe injury forced him out of the game, but none of the four Colorado relievers who followed him to the mound was charged with a run in the Rockies’ 4-1 triumph in Philadelphia. Chris Rusin, who relieved Lyles in the second inning, tossed 4.2 innings and was credited with the victory. It was the 38th game in franchise history in which the Rockies’ starting pitcher recorded fewer than five outs, but it was the first of those games in which Colorado’s bullpen was not charged with a run.

Ten-hit shutout for Danks

John Danks answered Saturday’s shutout by Dallas Keuchel with one of his own on Sunday, as he scattered ten hits while the White Sox downed the Astros, 6-0. Danks became the first major-league pitcher since Minnesota’s Carlos Silva (11 hits) blanked the Angels on August 3, 2004 to toss a shutout in a game in which he allowed ten or more hits. The only other White Sox pitcher who did that in the post-WWII era is Stan Bahnsen, with a 12-hit shutout of the Athletics on June 21, 1973.

Frazier leads Reds in sweep of Nationals

Todd Frazier went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs as the Reds completed their three-game series sweep of the Nationals. It capped a four-game span for Frazier during which time he went 10-for-15 with four doubles and three home runs. In baseball’s modern era (1900 to date), the only other Reds players who produced ten or more hits over a four-game period, including seven for extra bases and a batting average as high as Frazier’s (.667) are George Crowe in 1957, George Foster in 1980, Kevin Mitchell in 1993 (two overlapping four-game spans) and Barry Larkin in 1995.

Maldonado had enough

After playing the entire game behind the plate, Martin Maldonado put an end to his long day of squatting with a game-ending home run that gave the Brewers a 7-6 victory over the Diamondbacks in 17 innings. Maldonado is the first player in major-league history who ended a game of at least 17 innings with a home run after playing a complete game in the field as a catcher.

A late comeback for the Braves

The Braves erased a two-run deficit with a four-run ninth inning that was capped by Jace Peterson‘s bases-loaded triple in their 7-5 victory at San Francisco. The Braves had lost the previous 70 games in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later (since a come-from-behind win against the Mets on June 30, 2014). That was the longest current losing streak of its kind for any major-league team entering play on Sunday (a distinction that now belongs to the Marlins, who have lost the last 40 games in which they were in that predicament) and it was the longest losing streak of that nature for the Braves since the Boston version of the franchise lost 108 consecutive games in which it trailed in the eighth inning or later from 1904 to 1905.

Kipnis reached base more often than not during May

Jason Kipnis went 2-for-5 with a walk in the Indians’ 12-inning win at Seattle and he posted an on-base percentage of .511 during May, with 51 hits, 16 walks and five hit-by-pitches. Kipnis is the first Indians player to reach base safely at least 70 times in one calendar month (via hits, walks and HBP) since Earl Averill did it 74 times in July 1934 (38 hits, 35 walks, one hit-by-pitch).

Angels win four against the mighty Tigers

Johnny Giavotella‘s infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning plated two runs to snap a 2-2 tie in the Angels’ 4-2 win that completed their four-game series sweep of the Tigers. It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Angels swept a four-game series from a team that entered the series with a winning percentage as high as Detroit’s (.583 at the time of Thursday’s series opener). The Angels’ previous sweeps of that kind came against the Indians in both 1965 and 1967 and versus the Athletics last August.

Flores takes his place among young power-hitting shortstops

Wilmer Flores, at age 23, slammed his eighth home run of the season to help Bartolo Colon and the Mets defeat the Marlins in New York. Flores’s eight homers match the major-leagues’ fourth-highest single-season total by the end of May for a shortstop under the age of 24. The only higher totals belong to Alex Rodriguez, who did it twice (ten in 1996 at age 20; 20 in 1998 at age 22), and Cal Ripken (11 in 1984 at age 23). Four other under-24 players had exactly eight homers form the shortstop position by the end of May: Arky Vaughan (1935 Pirates), Rico Petrocelli (1966 Red Sox), A-

Rod (1999 Mariners) and Jean Segura (2013 Brewers).

Rookie home-run streaks

Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza (at Baltimore) and Miami’s Justin Bour (at New York) each homered for a third consecutive game on Sunday, tying them with the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (April 29-May 2) for the longest home-run streaks by major-league rookies this season. Souza became the third Tampa Bay rookie to homer in three consecutive games, joining Evan Longoria (two such streaks in 2008) and Kevin Kiermaier (last season). Bour joined a surprisingly long list of Marlins rookies with three-game home-run streaks, including Kurt Abbott (1994), who is the only one of them who homered in four straight games. The other Marlins rookies with three-game home-run streaks are Charles Johnson (1995), Derrek Lee (1998), Hanley Ramirez (2006), Josh Willingham (twice in 2006) and Giancarlo Stanton (twice in 2010).

Martinez extends his streak of scoreless innings

Carlos Martinez allowed only one hit during seven shutout innings as he and the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers, 3-1. Martinez extended his scoreless streak to 20.1 consecutive innings, which is the longest for any major-league starting pitcher this season. The only other Cardinals starter who fashioned a streak of consecutive shutout innings as long as Martinez’s in any of the last four seasons is Adam Wainwright, who had two such streaks last year (25 innings and 21 innings).

Einhorn is Finkle; Finkle is Einhorn

It’s gonna be a Rugby Sunday ’round here…

Hi, I’m Logan Cartwright. You may remember me from such educational films as “Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun” and “Firecrackers: The Silent Killer“.

Earlier this week when the Wells Report came out, I was transported back to a time where we celebrated the takeover of the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas, to honor a golden-gilded-god of football and rename it the Boston, Boston – sure there was every reason to believe we were headed for trouble, maybe we had pushed our luck a little to far – certain liberties were taken – we had abused every rule Vegas existed by – burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help – our only salvation was the possibility that we’d gone to such excess, that nobody in a position to bring the hammer down on us could possibly believe it was all for “Tohm Fah-Q-ing Bray-dee!

So it was written, and so it was done.  As was the Wells report, it has shamed and tarnished a legacy that further puts into question – what happens now?  Do we ever get to set foot in the Boston, Boston Hotel and parade around as disciples of Tom the Terrific again?  Will there be a reckoning because of this?  We must face again, the answers to questions we should never have had to ask; like will the wives of Olympic gold medalists ever get us ice again while we are held at gunpoint by Persian pimps drinking flower garnished moonshine?  They will, but that’s not the point – what about Tom and our annual cosmopolitan diaspora of bacchanalia?

A lot of theories and reflections have been trotted out like show ponies recently – the outrage!  The evil empire of the Patriots caught again!  Tom Brady is the new Whitey Bulger and should be banned from the Hall of Fame, or suspended until the 1st game, or a full year suspension, they decree.  Let’s slow it down.

Before we jump to the sentencing phase of this non-hearing, non-court proceeding and also temper the opposite over-reaction of “innocent until proven guilty” talk – that exists only in the court of law, not the court of public opinion.  Someone break down what advantage does an under-inflated football have?  Is there proof of that advantage?  Was it not during the 1st half of the game against the Colts where the footballs were under-inflated, and in the 2nd half they were proper?  Tom did better in the second-half than the first right?  So please someone quantify the advantage for us.

There are those that say he broke the rules.  Would these be the same rules that seem to change every 5 years?  The Immaculate Reception was an illegal play, and it doesn’t stop the myth of that moment.  Franco Harris is not called into question about when it was he knew he was just gonna run with it – he should have just stopped right, gave up?  You could probably make a case for several highlights involving the RaidersThe Holy Roller, The Tuck, etc…all legal then made illegal now by the rules.  The NFL has changed so dramatically the last 10 years that it’s not even the same game we grew up with.  So, to make a case based on the rulebook is absurd, especially on a rule that none of us knew anything about or cared.

For Haters and supporters alike it all turns into 3rd Century theological discussions:

person 1: I believe in X
person 2: I believe in Y
person 1: Why don’t you believe in X? I would love to explore your belief system further in hopes of bridging our — HAHAHA, just kidding; I’ve already set you on fire!

So, are we hurt because he lied?  Do we really jump to lying with terms related to “more than likely” with no smoking gun?  If this was a criminal proceeding – he’d be found, “not guilty”.  But public opinion is a civil case where all you have to prove, is reasonable doubt – it does not have to be beyond reasonable.  Really, we know he did, we know he was complicit – he was the architect of the heist – maybe he didn’t pull it off – but those guys don’t walk into the bank without Tom’s plans on how to rob it.  It’s called being an accomplice, it’s also called conspiracy.  It’s also not the same thing.

So what’s the punishment?  If Marijuana use and Ray Farmer gets 4 games for sending text messages during games, then Tom gets at least that right?  Rich McKay got suspended for the Falcons piping in crowd noise.  So clearly we have to find a comparative, a value in over/under inflated balls and their meaning towards the outcome of a game.

The NFL opened this door long ago allowing QB’s to have control of game balls (Tom Brady led the campaign to change that rule) and lets not forget that the success of the league is founded on point spreads and information – and as long as that’s honest, then truly the only thing that should be punished is the fraud in withholding that information – everything else is fair game when we talk about brutes in the coliseum.

More than Hizzoner’s righteous judgment, Tom Brady should be more concerned that he lied to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft – they should dole out the punishment themselves if they had any integrity. HAHAHAHAHA, just kidding the league has already set us on fire.

This Saturday, May 9th we’re excited to host an MLB $3 entry contest with the 1st place prize being a trip for two (2) to this year’s MLB All Star Game!  This includes airfare ($1,000 credit), hotel accommodations, two (2) tickets to the Home Run Derby and two (2) tickets to the MLB All-Star Game (please note that the winner and participants must be 21 years of age or older.)

Enter here:  http://partners.draftkings.com/aff_c?offer_id=1446&aff_id=284742

It’s unlikely that any Rockie will earn themselves a trip to the All-Star Game this year.  Typically a team that can’t win at home or in an entire region like SoCal, and are also winless on the weekends, ever deserve that honor.  Anyone seen Tulo or CarGo?  We were told if they were healthy this team could contend. According to my sources, these are the facts!

someone should ask if he can pitch

Meanwhile, the Red Sox just fired their pitching coach because they are slightly above terrible in team ERA – terrible is the Rockies – nevermind the songs of praise the Red Sox gave him for turning the staff into World Series Champions in 2013.  They are beer-leaguers now and too close for comfort in the basement with the Rockies – in Boston that gets you a pink slip.  In Denver that gets you…free excuses, and a coupon for one free hot dog (redeemable only during $1 hot dog night).  Mgmt., and Weiss clearly have no taste for metrics – because if they were paying attention, they would not have sit Justin Morneau against James Shields when he has .320 average against him or not start Drew Stubbs against lefty fly-ball pitchers when he has an .834 OPS – as examples.  We are seeing the same clap-trap we saw when Jim Tracy rested everyone on the weekend, before he quit playing nurse-maid – paying major league prices for minor-league talent.

The Dodgers have used 30+ different players so far this year, more than anyone in baseball and are in first place – so the Rockies have no more alibi’s and might have also missed their window to trade CarGo – who looks more like Josh Hamilton in LA, than what we are used to.

Thank goodness for StrikeZone, the Astros, Royals, Mets, etc…Because everywhere else there is some good baseball and great young talent to watch.  So, keep reading for our baseball lineups in our baseball page and good luck with your chance at winning the All-Star game contest – thoughts on who to play for Saturday’s tournament will be up later today.  Mahalo.

Balls in the DiRT

No. 715

Hank Aaron

April 8th, 1974

The Hammer! A few times and far less often than we hope, do our heroes maintain themselves thru the stains of time.  Too often, they seem to creatively find ways to shatter those illusions, like a soft-grip of a favorite snow-globe of our youth.  Those delusions are ours and not theirs.  Rare is a hero that sets off on a knight’s quest towards one of baseball’s Holy Grail’s, only to carry with him a quiet dignity of fotitude and stoicism that relies more on substance than of flash – and for that we must always give thanks to Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron.  Give him the unconditional love he deserves.  Remember 715.  Remember a man that did not masquerade or exploit his talents to gain his seat at the table, he earned his place in the Pantheon.  Celebrate The Hammer!

He is a Saint and an example of all that is good within us and what we can achieve by just putting our head down and getting to work – regardless of outside distractions.  It is a shame, that on that night, in the 4th innning, what he felt after hitting Al Downing’s pitch over the left field wall, was not joy at the accomplishment, but relief.  Babe Ruth was larger than life, with larger appetites, and while he was gregarious and still maintains a popular place in the church of baseball – The Hammer was a contrast of muted poise.  Babe Ruth would have embraced it all, the energy, the party; where as Hank – under constant harassment by the media and fans, appeared as concerned with it all as a man does with a child asking for a new balloon.  There were more flamboyant superstars during Aaron’s 21 year career that shined brighter and preferred to hover in the spotlight –  while Hank comfortably went to work in the shadows that they’d cast.  He was just a man, doing his job and wanting to live a normal life, like anyone else.

Here it is, in his own words, from Hank Aaron’s autobiography, “I Had a Hammer” about that night:

When I was alone and the door was shut, I got down on my knees and closed my eyes and thanked God for pulling me through.  At that moment, I knew what the past twenty-five years of my life had been about.  I had done something that nobody else in the world had done, and with it came a feeling that nobody else has ever had – not exactly, anyway.  I didn’t feel a wild sense of joy.  I didn’t feel like celebrating.  But I probably felt closer to God at that moment than at any other in my life.  I felt a deep sense of gratitude and a wonderful surge of liberation all at the same time.  I also felt a stream of tears running down my face.

Aaron retired after the 1976 season with the Brewers and ended with 755 Home-Runs.  He is a sports hero we deserve, and we should remind him how much we appreciate all that he exemplifies, what is good within us.  It isn’t about shouting, asking where your 15 seconds of fame and notoriety are, despite being attached to the digital freeway, looking for instant gratification, and validation.  It’s about grace, quiet dignity, hard work and perseverance – that in time, we too have a shot at being exceptional – it may not mean we will be an all-timer – but it does mean we can walk with our head held high, knowing we gave it all we had – just like the Hammer!



 

Go Home Hostess, you’re drunk!

Baseball is back and this seamhead is pumped – at least for a while.  Meaning the Rockies, of course they are 2-0 and in first place, all by themselves – regardless if we have seen how this story usually ends in June.  It’s just 83 more W’s for my prediction to come true, as I wrote here back in February.  Just remember, Crazy is a term of Art – Insanity is term of Law, and I am still not insane – I have a sticker to prove it.

But what we have decided to do, is provide some help with your Daily Fantasy Baseball needs:  It will not be as full-blown as our NBA coverage until next year, but it will help you get an idea of who to consider – so without further ado….

Consider that 4 players for the Colorado Rockies have a batting average of .500 or better against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta and that Tulo, in 14 plate appearances against Peralta has 3 singles and 4 walks.  The other 4 are Nolan Arenado, Nick Hundley, Justin Morneau and Corey Dickerson.  The issue being for some is the possibility of rest.  No Rest for these guys? Then we could look at a road sweep to start the year before welcoming the National League Champion Cubs (sarcasm) for the Home Opener Friday.

Consider staying away from Pujols and Trout against Iwakura of the Mariners.  In 26 and 27 at-bats, both Trout and Pujols hit below .200.  However, if they can get to him, it is usually for xtra-base-hits.  In Trout’s 5 hits he has 4 singles and 1 HR and Pujols’ 5 hits are for 2 singles and 3 doubles.  What you have to consider, is the price worth the performance?

Consider neither pitcher for the Orioles or the Rays are gonna stop anyone from htting the ball around the yard and consider that Oakland could shell Texas Rangers’ pitcher Ross Detwiler.

Consider Daniel Murphy and his excellent matchup against Jordan Zimmerman.  Murphy is 16 for 50 against Zimmerman with 5 doubles, 3 HR’s and only 2 strikeouts.  Others that have good matchups are both Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton and Christian Yellich against Shelby Miller – both are a combined 6-11 with 2 HR’s, 2 singles and a double.

Consider these guys by position, for your lineup today that have the best matchup and best potential:

1B

Daniel Murphy

Steve Pearce

Jose Abreu

Justin Morneau (if he plays, took a throw to the neck last night)

2B

Robinson Cano

Ian Kinsler

Adam Rosales

3B

Josh Harrison

Chris Johnson

Mike Moustakas

Nolan Arenado (if he plays)

SS

Hanley Ramirez

Juan Uribe

Tulo (if he plays)

C

Salvador Perez

Welington Castillo

Nick Hundley (if he plays)

OF

Lorenzo Cain

Andrew McCutchen

Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton

Desmond Jennings (4HR’s against M.Gonzales but strikes out 19.4% against him)

Shin-soo-choo

Ben Revere

Corey Dickerson

P

Carlos Carrasco

Anibal Sanchez

Brandon McCarthy

 

 

 

Diamonds in the DiRT

It was April 2nd, 1996 and a peppy kid dreamed to be exactly where he was now – except no one really dreams of being in Cleveland.  The city by the lake isn’t the kind of place where dreams come true in sports – hell, nothing good in Cleveland has occurred in the form of championship recognition since the 50’s with Jim Brown and Otto Graham winning titles.  Sure Cleveland’s had its moments. The Indians were good for a stretch in the 90’s, the Browns in the 80’s – they had and lost LeBron, only to get him back – but still the bridesmaid, never the bride and their hopes were always creatively ripped out of their chest only to be shown their still beating heart – Kali-Mah!

But on this Opening Day in 1996, new beginnings and hope belonged to the visiting team.  It was a sunny, brisk 38 degrees, with the wind blowing out to centerfield at a cheery draft.  Jacob’s Field, the epicenter of tribe fans wearing red, white and blue – a bunch of wahoos.  Long sufferring baseball fans in Cleveland had witnessed the eclipse of the dark-ages of baseball in their city, no longer made fun of by Hollywood and each season was a year long celebration that few players/fans ever experienced.  The Tribe was loaded and fresh off a 100-win season and their first World Series appearance since 1954 – they would win 99 games in 1996 and again have the best record in baseball.  Do you remember Kenny Lofton, Julio Franco, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, age less Eddie Murray, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Sandy Alomar, Omar Visquel – this was Cleveland’s Steel Curtain of baseball – the crowd was like a pack of crazed jackals and into town come the Yankees to start the season and another frenzied march to glory, to finally capture a title – all the Yankees brought with them was a new manager and a new shortstop.  “It’s our year!” – Cleveland fans shouted.

Game 1 of the season is rarely a hitchhiker’s guide to the future, but on this day – the God’s of baseball anointed a team, a manager and a shortstop for the next decade.  The Yankees would go on to win their first division title since 1981 and their first World Series since 1978.  Joe Torre would win the first of his 1,173 victories as manager of the Yankees – establishing during his 12 year tenure, 12 straight post-season appearances, winning 10 AL East crowns, 6 AL Pennants and 4 World Series Championships.

For the 22 year old shortstop, thrown to the wolves in Cleveland, all he did was become the first rookie shortstop to start the season for the Yankees, since 1962 – record his first-ever hit off El Presidente-Dennis Martinez, for a home run – building a resume for dramatic moments the rest of his career.  Career-In Memoriam, we do not get to watch Derek Jeter play shortstop for the Yankees anymore and it’s amazing to think back to that brisk April day in Cleveland where the legend began.

 

With Opening Day approaching, a time where we move past the winter of last year’s struggles to blossom once again on what might be.  A time to share a hot dog and a beer with someone special, a time to return to your youth, looking forward to it like a birthday party.  Baseball is seductive to anyone with an enduring interest, knowing exactly how it should be played, secretly believing they could do it – if only the good lord saw fit to make them less inept.  At least Fantasy Baseball let’s you prove your GM skills.  So you weren’t successful today, like baseball, there’s always tomorrow’s lineup.  In honor of the approaching National Holiday here are some alternate position examinations:

Yogi

Catcher

Matt Wieters – had Tommy John surgery so his issue becomes how many at-bats can he get to, but if he can reach at least 400 of them, he should bounce back.

The Beast, Double X

First Base

Aside from Goldschmidt and Miggy there are several other 1st basemen to consider.  Like Adam Lind for the Brewers who gets a shot to start full time and should hit in the 5 hole were he could hit 20+HR’s.  Someone who was productive last year that should see a regression this year is Chris Carter.

Jackie

Second Base

Chase Utley – the Phillies could be terrible but Chase will bat 3rd and will have a chance to provide a surprising rebound – not sure what kind of dead-cat rebound it’ll be, but it could be considerable, for stretches at a time.

Cal Ripken Jr

Shortstop

Stay away from Xander Bogaerts and Jean Segura as both are slotted to bat 8th.  For Xander, batting 8th in what might be the best offense is bad news – batting 8th is never a positive for your lineup.  For Segura and Bogaerts potential on the field does not equate fantasy value consistent enough.

Brooks Robinson

Third Base

Kris Bryant – whenever he gets called up, he has the potential to be a dominate player and another in a growing list of young talent in the game.  But the questions remain, relating to his strikeout rate – almost 30% last year in Triple A.  What does that mean for daily leagues?  It means that you should watch his Batting-Average-Balls-In-Play, because if that doesn’t negate the strikeout rate then he will be a consistent hit-or-miss play.  Either way he will be fun to watch.

Clemente, Mays and Aaron

Outfield

Christian Yellich – is getting a lot of press and is part of one the best outfields in the NL – however consider how often he hits fly-balls – less than 20% of the time.  If you believe he gets 600 plate appearances this year, only 120 of those will generate fly-balls – then multiply that by his Home-run/Fly-ball rate which was 15% last year (3.5% higher than his average) – that is 18 HR’s and he is batting second and likely will not steal as often in front Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton.

Michael Cuddyer – has only recorded 500+ plate appearances once in the last 3 years and now that he is with the Mets and still batting 5th, there is not much to suggest that he has much value left in the tank – or the health to sustain solid numbers.

Corey Dickerson – has the batting average talent, but struggles against lefties and until you see that change you have to pay attention to that matchup.  However if he gets 600 plate appearances he could be a top 5 outfielder with a healthy Tulo and CarGo.

Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Warren Spahn

Pitchers

You have to look at how many innings they pitched last year.  Example being Bumgarner pitched 270+ innings in 2014 and so expect him to have rest and lightened workloads to save him – plus the Giants only win in even years.  Too many innings is the result we see from all those pitchers breaking down – it has the Tigers worried for Verlander and Wainwright is 700 innings removed from Tommy John Surgery.  Think of it like this – pitchers usually are in the 25-30% risk for injury category and Wainwright is more like 40%.  So look for those new young guys that have the promise for consistency like Jake Arrieta, Jacob DeGrom and Carlos Rondon.

 

As they said in Bull Durham: “it’s an easy game, you catch the ball, you hit the ball, you throw the ball…and sometimes it rains

Sediment-al

3 Strikes

1 – Football is and has always been a brutal sport.  It satiates our bloodlust.  It feeds the ancestral need to watch brutes maim each other in the Coliseum.  We watch more intently now, devour fantasy stats, play in leagues, play online and buy merchandise.  We obsess and have been consumed by a product that promotes violence, while we swivel away when that violence spills over into real world.  We watch fascinated, as young men mature up the ladder to hopefully play professional football – knowing the inherent risks involved – just for that chance at eternal glory the mob showers their heroes with – only to later bemoan their suffering.

The NFL has been called out for the cover-up of head trauma and parents have begun to opt out, not letting their sons play football.  The media acting as town crier, continues to signal the end of Pro-Football and yet the adoration advances.  Now we learn of several shocking retirements of players that still have treadlife – retiring because of injuries, or future health risks.  Patrick Willis having a Hall of Fame type career, betrayed by the pain in his feet.  Jake Locker retires after 4yrs in the league and joins Sydney Rice as players labeled with potential never realized.  However, Chris Borland, a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, was maybe the biggest surprise, retiring after one year and was looked at as the next man up after P.Willis – will the last man in the 49ers locker-room please turn off the lights…

The Town Crier is shouting, this is the beginning of the end for the NFL.  Calling this the tip of the iceberg for the League and too recognize how dangerous the game has become.  The NFL counters that concussions are down, and that may be true, but this is a sport built on the assumption of brutality.  One on one battles actually exist, bones are broken, blood is spilled, exotic sports cars conducting ballet with dump trucks and we love every minute of it – fall can not come soon enough.   But what of the product?  Will the cries of fervor and weekly campaigns of “think of the children,” against the league change how football is watched?  All the players that are retiring of injuries and fear of “after-football” will be replaced by others seeking idolatry – there will always be those willing to sacrifice themselves for our sanguine hunger for the adulation of hero worship.  But at what cost to the talent pool?  Do the better athletes migrate to other sports, that require less than the requisite pounds of flesh the NFL offers?  Baseball players live normal healthy lives “after-baseball,” receive pensions, and medical benefits that are the envy of every sport – you can play longer, make more money, but the globalization of the game of Baseball, adds more to the talent pool.

If we get to the point that talent will not play in our Coliseums – we will find others – maybe we continue with the convict philosophy the NFL seems to embrace, #RayRice, #GreggHardy, #AaronHernandez, etc…We will be entertained while our true gladiators will be those that we care the least about – the locked up dregs of society.  Or Elon Musk will develop robotic machines that play our games with an exploding football.  When you drop a pebble in a pond you get ripples – soon that ripple fills the whole pond.  This could be that moment and I say that ripple has started and will circumvent the whole NFL pond.  We will remember more what football used to be than what it has become.  Players will come and go, but our thirst will always exist and we will be forever hungry.


 

2015_bracket

2 – What we have done is develop a new way of thinking.  A new way to approach the way sports are looked at, and today we have new ways to play sports, with Daily Fantasy games.  We can now satisfy our urge to play arm-chair GM.  We have more tools at our disposal than our fathers did to predict outcomes, or know what players will perform more consistently.  This is what we work on.  This is what we offer and it is amazing.  Other sites, other prognosticators may shout louder, may have more followers at this time – but none of them can match our actual success.  Want Proof? We gave you Reggie Jackson yesterday as a notable and all he did was score 50+ in FanDuel.  We constantly come within +/- 2pts in our projections for the NBA.  We cash over 70% of our lineups in NBA Daily games.

We are still working to provide you an experience that will be unrivaled by any site.  Providing your own personal analytics, enough information for you to make the best decision possible and giving you the tools to continually be right more than 70%.  Look around.  There is NO ONE who can predict that level of accuracy, no matter how much smoke they blow.   According to VegasInsider.com, the best NFL handicapper was right 57% of the time – In college football, 61%.  We were right 72% in both the NFL and college for the year.  We gave you over 70% accuracy in the bowl games and with what we have built, we will improve on that.

It is great to have you here reading our information, using it – It can be very exciting to think about the results you are likely to generate.  We know you want to get the best results from our site, and we want to invite you, and your friends to join us – help build the best site out there.  In the future, we will provide more amazing analysis, and tools for you to research and learn how to make some extra cash following the sports you love.  For the remainder of March, we are offering several free offers of Platinum Membership to the first 15 people that send us their email via the contact page – with “I want the free Platinum Membership” in the comments.

Thank you again for reading.  Follow along with us in our attempt at the NCAA Tournament Bracket and see if we can beat 55% accuracy from the best college hoops handicapper listed on VegasInsider.com.


 

3 – Oh Rockies…You put out, for a national audience, your A-lineup.  The Angels, scrupulously countered with a journeyman pitcher, found in baseball’s independent league.  That’s the next level up from A-league Softball – or the more like the beer-league of baseball.  You would think we would have jumped on the guy, but no.  This is the Rockies and too often they demonstrate a lack of plate discipline or fundamentals, to hammer a guy who does not belong in the majors.  The Rockies were shut out and lost 11-0 to the not-in-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Mike Trout smoked two home runs – 2-run and a 3-run jacks before he exited – Mike Trout 5, Rockies 0.

I know this is Spring Training.  I know it is Baseball’s version of pre-season and none of it matters, but when we will stop hearing the excuses.  Tulo, who went 0-2 made the comment that this beer-league pitcher just: “jumped on us.”  How does that happen? Why does that happen?  The guys pitching for our team are better than Capt.Softball and still got waxed by the Halos, giving up 11 runs.  We scored none. Nada. Zip. Squadoosh.  Are we already pretending this is a road trip?  Please tell me we will have meaningful baseball after July and not another year of excuses, like we have had the last 4yrs.

3rd Stone From the Sun

"yeah." marshawn lynch

How is he fined, set to be fined and almost not able to play – yet nothing of a fine/punishment for the Pats until after the Superbowl? New Conduct Policy indeed!

Isn’t exercising your right NOT to speak protected anymore? Are one word answers not speaking?  Ladies and Gentleman, I’ll be brief – the issue here is not whether or not a few liberties were taken with the rules – they did.  But you cannot hold an entire Organization responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals.  For if you do, then should we not blame the whole NFL system? And if the whole NFL system is guilty, then isn’t it an indictment of our sporting institutions in general? I put it to you Roger – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American Society? Well you can do whatever you want to them, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.  Gentlemen!


29 days until Pitchers and Catchers report…

So Spring Training is almost upon us and I thought I would set down the Cognac for minute to talk about what’s missing from some potential contenders this year…

Orioles: Good Left-handed bat

Last year the Orioles won the AL East by 12 games but lost Nelson Cruz and Jason Markakis.  Matt Weiters and Manny Machado are expected back so how much of a difference will those losses be?  They also lost reliever Andrew Miller so the Offense has the added pressure to keep scoring runs.  Add to that there are rumors that GM Dan Duquette could laterally move to the Blue Jays and that idea could be a reason the Orioles have been slow to act.  The O’s need a left-handed bat that has some power and gets on base and a prime candidate, if they wanted to trade, would be Charlie Blackmon.  But we already can assume the Rockies asking price – maybe the Rockies would bring back Ubaldo and parade him around as the guy who will anchor a playoff run out of the basement.  If the Orioles were serious and if I was running the Rockies – I would trade Blackmon for Kevin Gausman (local kid, pitched collegiately @ LSU), the Rockies have several guys that can play the Outfield, not named Rosario.

Red Sox: an Ace

The Sawx have a lineup that should bring in a lot of runs and while their current pitching staff is decent in name, it lacks a solid #1.  Clay Bucholz is a good pitcher and can be a solid #1, but health and being mentally tough seem to be an issue consistently, #2014.  The rest of the staff is Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly.  It’s a good staff, but no one is looking at this group and thinking pennant chasers.  So who are the possible anchors?  Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmerman or maybe Stephen Strasburg – Zim or Strasburg have both been made available from the Nat’s.  The Red Sox have talent in their farm system to make a deal with Washington and still be solid – If the Sawx were the Rockies they would demand Jordan Zimmerman AND Stephen Strasburg for their 3rd-team Catcher/1B.

Cardinals: SP Insurance

The best baseball organization always seems to find and produce arm-talent.  What I’m sure they are tired of is someone always going down that causes them to adjust their rotation, #EverySpringTraining.  How many years have gone by where “If Healthy” is said about some Cardinal pitcher – yet it does not stop them – so The Cardinals could add more depth to the rotation.  The current “If Healthy” rotation is: Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, John Lackey and Carlos Martinez – a good staff that is formidable – and it makes you wonder beyond that, how the Cards would actually go about providing that depth.  It’s like Troy Tulowitzki – damn good, but you’re just waiting for the injury.  Maybe the answer is Cole Hamels, but who do you trade?  The Cardinals will probably not do anything considering they have already traded Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly – while still having very good 6th and 7th options in Marco Gonzales and Jaime Garcia.  We’ll see, the Rockies, if they drafted Shelby Miller or Michael Wacha, would have not yet made it to the Majors, let alone be good enough to pitch for the Cardinals.

Dodgers: SP insurance

Because their 5th starter is former Rockies Ace Brett Anderson who has not pitch more than 100 innings since 2010.  Sure Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu will win you a lot of games and Brandon McCarthy (who has his own injured past) was the only one of these 4 who did not go on IR – #He’sDue.  Expect Greinke to be moved at some point this year as he has an opt-out clause at the end of the year.  The Dodgers have the resources and like the Cardinals have the staff to get to the post-season, “If Healthy” and still finish ahead of the Rockies.

Giants: another Starting Pitcher

Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson and then who? Lincecum? Peavy? Vogelsong re-signed after flirting with the ‘stros – so they got that going for them.  But if you are gonna go into the season having to rely on the “Freak” and “the creeper at the end of the bar” Peavy for your 5th starter, then you could enjoy some mound-fireworks – I suppose it won’t matter to much, but they could financially trade for Shields, but will likely go younger with Dakota Dill or Dylan Gee – Like the Cardinals the Giants know how to teach pitching and Brian Sabean always finds a way to make it all work.  Of course this being an odd year the Giants will not win the World Series but will still finish ahead of the Rockies.

Detroit: Bullpen

Bullpen arms are difficult to come by – we know Scherzer is gone – and the Tigers have a GREEN back of the rotation – plus what about Verlander?  The Tigers starting rotation is a big question mark, however, you can hide that with an excellent bullpen.  For Detroit its a whole lot of faith: Can Joe Nathan bounce back? How is Bruce Rondon post surgery? Is Joakim Soria healthy? Can Al Alburquerque and Tom Gorzelanny handle the increased work-load?  But the biggest issue for Detroit to correct the issues they face, is how close they are to the luxury tax threshold, so it comes down to playing the “price is right” – expect them to roll the dice and then maybe chase after Joba or Rafael Soriano.  If Detroit were the Rockies they’d resign a guy in his 40’s to anchor the back end, then maybe throw in Jamie Moyer to eat up a few innings.

Some other teams have needs too and I’m not sure what the issue is with the Nationals – because if they kept their current pitching staff, front and back, they could be generationally good – #OnPaper.  Everyone always needs pitching and truthfully I’m just getting angrier with the Rockies front office, discussing about what contenders need.  Baseball in Colorado is like getting punched in the nose – it stings and makes your eyes water – as long as we have a party-deck and keep turning the ‘styles, who cares…right?