The NBA season tipped off last night with three games on the schedule. The season started in Cleveland where the Cavaliers got their championship rings and hung their championship banner. After that the Cavaliers took the floor to face the New York Knicks. There are times that teams will start off flat after a championship ceremony, but not the Cavaliers. They got out to a 10-point lead after the 1st quarter 28 -18. The Knicks worked there way back into the game scoring 27 2nd quarter points while the Cavaliers where only able to put up 20 points. So going into halftime the Cavaliers held a 48-45 lead. The 2nd half belonged to the Cavaliers. Cleveland put up 34 3rd quarter points and 35 4th quarter points. The Knicks just couldn’t stay with them as they managed just 19 3rd quarter points and 24 4th quarter points as they watched the Cavaliers pull away to a 117-88 victory.

LeBron James started the season off with a triple-double as he scored 19 points handed out 14 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers in scoring with 29 points. Kevin Love added 23 points and grabbed a team high 12 rebounds. Richard Jefferson was the only other Cleveland player to score in double figures as he scored 13 points off the bench.

The Knicks where led by Carmelo Anthony with 19 points. Derrick rose scored 18 points in his Knicks debut. Kristaps Porzingis was the only other Knicks player in double figures with 16 points. Pozingis also had a team high 7 rebounds while Brandon Jennings led the Knicks in assists with 5.

The second game of the night and the one that was on TNT had the Portland Trail Blazers beating the Utah Jazz 113-104. Both teams out up 26 points apiece in the 1st quarter, but Portland took the lead going into halftime 54-46 by scoring 28 2nd quarter points while the Jazz scored just 20 2nd quarter points. The Jazz came out and pout up 37 3rd quarter points to the Trail Blazers 23; so going into the 4th quarter the Jazz had a 83-77 lead. In the 4th quarter it was Portland’s turn to go off as they put up 36 points in the quarter to Utah’s 21 points to take the 113-104 victory.

Damien Lilliard had a game high 39 points and led the Trail Blazers in rebounds with 9 and assists with 6. C.J. McCollum had 25 points while Alan Crabbe (18 points) and Noah Vonleh (11 points) came off the bench to score in double digits.

Four of the five Utah starters scored I  double figures led by Joe Johnson’s 29 points. Rodney Hood had 26 points while George Hill had 19 points and a team high 6 assists while Rudy Gobert had a double-double with 12 points and a game high 14 rebounds.

The night wrapped up with a Western Conference marquee match up, but ended with a surprising final score. The San Antonio Spurs went into Oracle Arena and easily beat the new look Golden State Warriors 129-100. The Spurs outscored the Warriors in every quarter of the game. It was 31-20 in the 1st, 33-26 in the 2nd, 33-31 in the 3rd and then 32-23 in the 4th quarter. Now to be fair the Spurs are a very good team, but no one expected them to win this game by 29 points.

The Spurs Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 35 points. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 and grabbed 14 rebounds. Three players off the Spurs benched scored in double figures. Patty Mills had 11 points and a team high 5 assists. Jonathon Simmons had 20 points while Manu Ginobili added 10 points.

Golden State was led by Kevin Durant who had a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Stephen Curry was one point behind Durant with 26 in the game, Draymond Green also tallied a double-double with 18 points and a team high 12 rebounds. Green also had a team high 6 assists and added 5 steals. Klay Thompson was the only other Golden State player in double figures with 11 points. The Warriors live by the 3-point shot and last night they died by it. Golden State went 7 for 33 (21.2%) on 3-point shots last night.

There are 10 games on the NBA schedule tonight. The Miami Heat are at the Orlando Magic. The Dallas Mavericks are at the Indiana Pacers. The Brooklyn Nets are at the Boston Celtics. The Detroit Pistons are at the Toronto Raptors. The Charlotte Hornets are at the Milwaukee Bucks. The Minnesota Timberwolves are at the Memphis Grizzlies. The Oklahoma City Thunder are at the Philadelphia 76ers on ESPN. The Sacramento Kings are at the Phoenix Suns. The night on the hardwood wraps up with the Houston Rockets at the Los Angeles Lakers also on ESPN.

It took until Week 7 for me to finally get a “W” in our pick contest, but I got one. I was 9-6 for Week 7 and that was good enough for a win. Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy finished just a game behind me at 8-7 while Schaumburg Stu came in under .500 at 7-8. Overall for the season Schaumburg Stu is still in the lead with a record of 63-44. Dan the Man held onto the 2nd spot at 60-47. I have the 3rd spot at 57-50 with Mr. Fantasy a game behind me at 56-51. I guess will see if I can get two wins in a row with my Week 8 picks.

The Chase for the Sprint Cup narrowed their field from 12 to 8 after this weekends race at Talladega Speedway. Brad Keslowski, Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon where knocked out of the “The Chase”. The 8 remaining drivers in “the Chase’ are headed to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s Goody’s 500. The elite 8 drivers are Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth. This is the first chance for these 8 drivers to qualify for the Sprint Cup final with a win. After Sunday’s race these drivers will have two more chances to qualify for the final with a win. On November 6th they’re at Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA 500 and then they’re at Phoenix International Raceway for the Cam-Am 500 on November 13th. A driver can either get into the final with a win or be in the Top 4 in points to move on to the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20th for the Ford Ecoboost 400. It looks like a solid field of 8 drivers and it appears as though anyone of them could win the Sprint Cup. Who’s your favorite to win?

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The NHL is just 5 or so games into the regular season and even though they haven’t played very many games there are only 2 undefeated team left in the league. The Washington Capitals are 3-0 while the Vancouver Canucks are off to a 4-0 start. The Montreal Canadiens don’t have a loss, but they’re 3-0-1; so do you count them as undefeated? While there are 11 teams with just 1 win this early in the season every team does have at least that 1 win. It’s way too early to panic if you’re teams not doing well, but it looks as though there’s a little parity at the start of the NHL season.

Stat wise early on Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins lead the league with 9 total points. Richard Panik of the Chicago Blackhawks and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs have 5 goals apiece to lead the league. Burns and Marchand are the assists leaders with 6 each. Marchand along with his Bruins teammate David Pastrnak are the +/- leaders at +9 to start the season. Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers is leading at goaltenders in wins at 4 to start the season. Al Montoya who’s filling in for an injured Cary Price in the Canadiens net is off to a good start with a Goals Against Average of 1.30. Montoya also leads in Save Percentage at .962. Montoya along with Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche and Phillip Grubauer of the Washington Capitals each have 1 shutout this season.

I know it’s extremely early in the NHL season and these teams and these players might not stay at the top of the leaderboard as the season moves on, but it’s fun to look and see who’s off to the best starts. Then you never know if a player gets on a run he can carry that momentum for a while and he might be a great add to your fantasy team.

The Sports Time Radio auction style fantasy draft is tonight. Stephen Curry is ranked as the #1 player on the board and he’s followed by his new teammate Kevin Durant. Are you willing to pay over $100 for either of these guys? I believe that’s what they both went for in last years draft. James Harden is 3rd, Russell Westbrook is 4th and Karl Anthony Towns is 5th in the player rankings. I am very high on Westbrook as I think he’s going to play like he has something to prove every night. Westbrook pout up huge stats while sharing the basketball with Durant; so how will he do with Durant now in Golden State. Since there’s no set draft order for the players I have to hope that I have the money to compete when Westbrook’s name come up for bid. The Top   fills out with Kawhi Leonard at #6, Giannis Antetokounmpo at #7, Chris Paul at #8, Paul George at #9 and Anthony Davis at #10. This is a head to head style category league; so players who do more than one things well can be very important to your team. It’s a solid Top 10 list, but for are league Harden can be a tough guy to have as all he does is score. If you end up with him you have to find players to help you fill out your other categories, but to be fair having a big time scorer isn’t a terrible thing. The other Top 10 guy that I have to stay away from is Davis. There’s no doubt that he’s a great player and one of the best players in the NBA. when he’s healthy. Davis played in 61 games last season and has never played in more than 68 games in a season. Health and even sometimes rest is something you have to take into consideration when drafting. LeBron James who is one of the best and in some people’s mind the best player in the NBA is one of those type of players. James is ranked #11 in our league, but with the talk of him getting more games off how much is he worth this season? If you get James for let’s say 60 games and there’s a cheaper player a tier lower who’ll you’ll get for 80 games the guy playing 80 games will do more for your category league than James will. Plus you’ll have some extra money to spend somewhere else. I actually learned this first hand two seasons ago. I ended up with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all of the San Antonio Spurs. You hear those names and you think they’re all great players and probably Hall of Fame players. The issue ended up being their head coach Greg Popovich likes to rest his players and as you all know this a player who’s not playing doesn’t do anything for your fantasy team no mater what format you’re in. It’s always fun to do the draft even though sometimes it can be long, but it’s time for the NBA to get started.

Game 6 of the NLCS is tonight. The Chicago Cubs have a 3 games to 2 lead and they have the league E.R.A. Leader Kyle Hendricks player card on the mound. The Los Angeles Dodgers turn to their ace Clayton Kershaw to get the series to a Game 7. Looking at the pitching match up you might say the Dodgers have an advantage, but don’t under estimate Hendricks with how well he’s pitched at Wrigley Field this season. So while Kershaw may have an advantage I don’t think it’s as big as some people will. One big advantage both pitchers will have is weather. It’s going to be much colder in Wrigley Field tonight than it has for any other game in this series and that’s not good hitting weather. This was the pitching match up for Game 2. The Dodgers got a 1-0 victory in that game with the only run being scored on an Adrian Gonzalez home run. Hendricks was handled like we’ve seen most starters handled in these playoffs. He pitched just 5 1/3rd innings while Kershaw was allowed to pitch and went 7 full innings before turning the baseball over to Kenley Jansen for the final 2 innings. It’s setting up to be a low scoring game and you never know the team that scores first might get a win. So will we see a Game 7 tomorrow? Or will the Cubs be packing their bags for Cleveland and Game 1 of the World Series?

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During the regular season the Chicago Cubs tied for 14th in baseball with a batting average of .256. They finished 13th in home runs with 199. They struck out the 9th most in baseball with 1339 strikeouts, but they led baseball in walks with 656.

In the post season combined the Cubs are hitting .185; that’s 8th out of the 10 teams that made the playoffs. The New York Mets are 9th at .133 and the Baltimore Orioles are 10th at .100. Of course the Mets and the Orioles only had 1 post season game to put up their numbers. The Cubs have had 7 post season games. The Cubs have 7 post season home runs. That’s the lowest number of the 4 teams still playing. They’ve struck out 63 times in the post season which is 3rd out of the 4 teams still playing. Only the Cleveland Indians have struck out less than the Cubs. They’ve walked 17 times which is 3rd again they are ahead of the Cleveland Indians out of the teams still in the post season.

You can see how things have really went down in the playoffs. Now the Cubs are facing better pitching in every game than they would in the regular season. There’s a reason why people say “Good pitching beats good hitting”. Now after putting up 8 runs in Game 1 it looked as though the Cubs might be out of there slump. 7 innings of Clayton Kershaw and 2 innings of Kenley Jansen put the Cubs bats right back into a slump as they combined to shut them out and even the series at 1 game apiece. In Game 3 last night the Cubs failed to score again. This time it was 6 innings of Rich Hill, an innings of Joe Blanton, 2/3rd of an inning from Grant Dayton and an inning and 1/3 from Jansen that did the job as the Dodgers took the game 6-0.

We’re moving on to Game 4 tonight and the Cubs are turning to veteran John Lackey to try and even the series at 2 games apiece. Lackey was 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA during the season. Lackey lasted 4 innings and gave up 3 runs while getting a no decision in his NLDS series start. The Dodgers are going with 20-year old rookie Julio Urias as their Game 4 starter. Urias was 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in the regular season. Urias has not made a post season start, but did come in in relief and threw 2 scoreless innings. Is it a must win for the Cubs tonight? If they where to lose Game 4 tonight would they see Kershaw as the Game 5 starter in Dodgers stadium to try and close out the series.

The Toronto Blue Jays got there first win in Game 4 of the ALCS 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians. Aaron Sanchez went 6 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna all pitched an inning after Sanchez. None of them allowed a run while Cecil and Osuna each struck out 2 batters. Corey Kluber made the start for the Indians. He lasted 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7. Dan Otero worked a scoreless inning out of the Cleveland bullpen, but Bryan Shaw really struggled. Shaw pitched just 1/3rd of an inning and gave up 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned and walked 1. Mike Clevinger followed Shaw and gave up 1 run on 1 hit while walking 1 and striking out 1 over an 1 2/3rd.

Josh Donaldson provided some power for the Blue Jays going 1 for 3 with a solo home run. Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 4 and drove in 2 runs. Ezequiel Carrera had 2 hits; one being a triple and drove in a run. Kevin Pillar had the other RBI for the Blue Jays. The Indians only had two hits in the game and they where both doubles. Tyler Naquin had one and Roberto Perez had the other with Perez’s double driving in the Indians run.

Marco Estrada comes back to start Game 5 for the Blue Jays. Estrada pitched a complete game in Game 1, but took the loss. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits over 8 innings in Game 1. The Indians are going with Ryan Merritt as their Game 5 starter. Merritt has one career start and 11 career innings all this past season. Can the Blue Jays even the series? Or will there season be over after Game 5.

Mr. Fantasy had a very good Week 6 in our pick contest going 12-3 to take the win for the week, Schaumburg Stu and I tied at 9-6 while Dan the Man was a game behind us at 8-7. Overall for the season Schaumburg Stu is still in the lead at 56-36. Dan the Man is in 2nd with a record of 52-40. Then it’s Mr. Fantasy and I tied at 48-44 on the season. We’ll see if someone has a big Week 7.

It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be without there starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for to 6 weeks. Roethlisberger had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Steelers where informed of the timetable by Dr. James Bradley who performed Roethlisberger’s surgery on Monday. Pittsburgh was hoping to have Roethlisberger back by Week 9, but it looks like it’s going to be a little longer before he can return. Roethlisberger has thrown 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while totaling 1685 yards while completing 64.2% of his passes. The Steelers are 4-2 and if it’s just 4 weeks that Roethlisberger misses he’ll miss this week’s games at home against the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh’s bye week is Week 8. Then there’s a road game against the Baltimore Ravens and then a home game against the Dallas Cowboys. If it’s 6 weeks Roethlisberger is going to  miss you can add road games against the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. The 1st place Steelers turn to Landry Jones as their starter. Jones is 1-1 in 2 career starts, but has played in 11 career games. Jones has 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his career and completes 57.1% of his passes. Can the Steelers hold on to 1st place while “Big” Ben is out? If he misses 6 weeks or 5 games; what will the Steelers record be in the game Roethlisberger misses?

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The top hitter in the American League is:

Mookie Betts (33) of the Boston Red Sox. Betts hit .318 in 158 games with 31 home runs and 113 RBI’s. He had 42 doubles, 5 triples and 26 stolen bases and an OPS of .892.

2nd was Jose Altuve (31) of the Houston Astros. 3rd was David Ortiz (29) of the Boston Red Sox. 4th was Miguel Cabrera (21) of the Detroit Tigers. 5th was Mike Trout (15) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 6th was Robinson Cano (13) of the Seattle Mariners. 7th was Dustin Pedroia (12) of the Boston Red Sox. Adrian Beltre (10) of the Texas Rangers finished 8th and Nelson Cruz (9) of the Seattle Mariners and Mark Trumbo (9) of the Baltimore Orioles tied for the final spot.

The top hitter in the National League is:

Nolan Arenado (34) of the Colorado Rockies. Arenado hit .294 in 160 games with 41 home runs and 133 RBI’s. He had 35 doubles, 6 triples and 2 stolen bases and an OPS of .932

2nd was Kris Bryant (30) of the Chicago Cubs. 3rd was Daniel Murphy (27) of the Washington Nationals. 4th was Anthony Rizzo (20) of the Chicago Cubs. 5th was Charlie Blackmon (18) of the Colorado Rockies. 6th was Joey Votto (14) of the Cincinnati Reds. 7th was D.J. LeMahieu (11) of the Colorado Rockies. 8th was Freddie Freeman (10) of the Atlanta Braves. 9th was Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers and in 10th was Corey Seager (7) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The top starting pitcher in the American League is:

Rick Porcello (39) of the Boston Red Sox. Porcello was 22-4 in 33 starts with an ERA of 3.15. He had 3 complete games, 223 innings and 189 strikeouts.

2nd was J.A. Happ (33) of the Toronto Blue Jays. There was a tie for 3rd between Justin Verlander (21) of the Detroit Tigers and Aaron Sanchez (21) of the Toronto Blue Jays. There was a 3-way tie for 5th between Corey Kluber (14) of the Cleveland Indians, Masahiro Tanaka (14) of the New York Yankees and Cole Hamels (14) of the Texas Rangers. 8th place went to Chris Sale (11) of the Chicago White Sox. 9th was Danny Duffy (9) of the Kansas City Royals and 10 was Jose Quintana (4) of the Chicago White Sox.

The top starting pitcher in the National League is:

Jon Lester (37) of the Chicago Cubs. Lester was 19-5 in 32 starts with an ERA of 2.44. He had 2 complete games, 202 2/3rd innings and 197 strikeouts.

2nd was Max Schrezer (31) of the Washington Nationals. 3rd was Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs. There was a tie for 4th between teammates as San Francisco Giants Johnny Cueto (19) and Madison Bumgarner (19) took that spot. 6th was Jake Arrieta (16) of the Chicago Cubs. Noah Syndergaard (15) of the New York Mets was 7th. 8th went to Jose Fernandez (9) of the Miami Marlins. In 9th was Kenta Maeda (7) of the Los Angeles Dodgers and in 10th was Tanner Roark (6) of the Washington Nationals.

The top set up man in the American League is:

Nate jones (17 of the Chicago White Sox. Jones appeared in 71 games and recorded 28 holds. He had a 5-3 record with an ERA of 2.29 and picked up 3 saves.

2nd was Kelvin Herrera (14) of the Kansas City Royals. 3rd was Will Harris (13) of the Houston ) )of the was Dellin Betances ( 7) of the New York Yankees and  5th was Jake Diekman (3) of the Texas Rangers.

The top set up man in the National League is:

Addison Reed (21) of the New York Mets. Reed appeared in 80 games and recorded 40 holds. He had a 4-2 record with an ERA of 1.97 and picked up 1 save.

2nd was joe Blanton (15) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 3rd was Kyle Barraclough ((9) of the Miami Marlins. 4th was Neftali Feliz (6) of the Pittsburgh Pirates and 5th went to Felipe Rivero (3) of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The top closer in the American League is:

Zach Britton (21) of the Baltimore Orioles. Britton was 47 out of 47 in saves chances. He was 2-1 with an ERA of 0.54 in 69 games.

2nd was Alex Colome (15) of the Tampa Bay Rays. There was a tie for 3rd between Wade Davis (7) of the Kansas City Royals and San Dyson (7) of the Texas Rangers. 5th went to Francisco Rodriguez (4) of the Detroit Tigers.

The top closer in the National league is:

Mark Melancon (17) of the Washington Nationals/Pittsburgh Pirates. Melancon was 47 for 51 in save chances. He was 2-2 with an ERA of 1.64 in 75 games.

2nd was Kenley Jansen (15) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 3rd was Jeurys Familia (13) of the New York Mets. 4th went to A.J. Ramos (6) of the Miami Marlins and 5th went to Jeanmar Gomez (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The top rookie hitter in the American League is:

Gary Sanchez (19) of the New York Yankees. Sanchez hit .299 with 20 home runs and 42 RBI’s in 53 games. He added 12 doubles a stolen base and an OPS of 1.032.

2nd was Nomar Mazara (14) of the Texas Rangers. 3rd was Tyler Naquin (11) of the Cleveland Indians. 4th was Ryon Healy (7) of the Oakland A’s and 5th went to Tim Anderson (3) of the Chicago White Sox.

The top rookie hitter in the National League is:

Corey Seager (16) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Seager hit .309 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI’s in 157 games. He added 40 doubles, 5 triples and 3 stolen bases with an OPS of .877.

2nd was Trevor Story (15) of the Colorado Rockies. 3rd was Aledmys Diaz (9) of the St. Louis Cardinals. There was a tie for 4th between Brandon Drury (7) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals.

The top rookie pitcher in the American League is:

Michael Fulmer (21) of the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer started 26 games and had a record of 11-7 with an ERA of 3.06. He had 1 shutout and 1 complete game and totaled 132 strikeouts in 159 innings.

2nd was Tony Barnette (12) of the Texas Rangers. 3rd was Chris Devenski (10) of the Houston Astros. 4th went to Ryan Dull (6) of the Oakland A’s while 5th went to Edwin Diaz (5) of the Seattle Mariners.

The top rookie pitcher in the National League is:

Seung Hwan Oh (17) of the St. Louis Cardinals. Oh had 19 saves in 23 chances. He pitched in 76 games and had a record of 6-3 with an ERA of 1.92. Oh recorded 103 strikeouts in 79 2/3rd innings.

There was a tie for 2nd between Kenta Maeda ( 13) of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Junior Guerra (13) of the Milwaukee Brewers. 4th went to Kyle Barraclough (5) of the Miami Marlins and 5th went to Ryan Buchter (4) of the San Diego Padres.

The Cleveland Indians took Game 1 of the ALCS 2-0 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. Corey Kluber showed why he was a Cy Young candidate pitching 6 1/3rd innings of shutout baseball against a very good hitting Blue Jays line up. After Kluber the Indians went to their bullpen; first to Andrew Miller to hold the game for and 1 1/3rd innings and to closer Cody Allen for a 1 inning save and a 1-0 lead in the series. Kluber gave up 6 hits and walked 2 while striking out 6 batters. Kluber’s pitch total piled up as he reached 100 pitches over his 6 1/3rd innings. Miller did give up a hit, but struck out 5 while Allen struck out 1 batters in his inning of work.

The Blue Jays got very good pitching out of Marco Estrada, but just couldn’t give him any runs to work with. Estrada saved the Blue Jays bullpen pitching an 8 inning complete game. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6. A 2-run home run by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor  in the bottom of the 6th inning was the only real mistake Estrada made. Estrada was able to get through the game on just 101 pitches.

The Indians got 6 hits in the game and 3 of them where by Lonnie Chisenhall. Interestingly Chisenhall got his 3 hits while seeing just 4 pitches. Lindor was 2 for 3 with a run scored and 2 RBI’s. Carlos Santana had the other Indians hit while Jason Kipnis scored the other run after he walked in front of the Lindor home run.

The Blue Jays got 7 hits in the game with 2 Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders each getting 2 hits a piece. One of Encarnacion’s hits was a double. Troy Tulowitzki had the other hit for Toronto. The Blue Jays may be dealing with an injury as 2nd baseman Devon Travis left the game in the bottom of the 5th inning with what was being called a right knee injury.

The teams turn right around for Game 2 this afternoon. Toronto is sending 20-game winner J.A. Happ to the mound to try to even the series while the Indians are going with Josh Tomlin as their Game 2 starter. Originally Trevor Bauer was going to get the Game 2 start for Cleveland, but he cut the pinky on his throwing finger and needed stitches. Because of the injury Bauer has been moved back to Game 3.

The NLCS gets started tonight with the Chicago Cubs hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a must win situation in Game 5 of the NLDS the Dodgers pulled out all the stops. Closer Kenley Jansen pitched 2 1/3rd innings in the game while throwing 51 pitches; so there’s a good chance he won’t be available for a closing situation tonight. Then after making a start on 3-days rest Clayton Kershaw came in to get the save in Game 5. Kershaw did only throw 7 pitches in the game, but he had to warm up and again he was coming off a start he had made on 3-days rest. So taking this all into consideration the Cubs should have a big advantage in Game 1 and maybe even in the series. The Dodgers are going with Kenta Maeda as their Game 1 starter. Maeda took the loss in Game 3 of the NLDS. He lasted just 3 innings and gave up 4 runs. The Cubs in contrast where able to set up their starting rotation and will go with Jon Lester in Game 1. Lester threw 8 shutout innings while picking up the win in Game 1 of the NLDS. There was some talk yesterday that Kershaw will try to come back for Game 2, but that it would be for just 5 or 6 innings. While the Dodgers are scrambling the Cubs are set. They know that it’s Kyle Hendricks in Game 2, Jake Arrieta in Game 3 and John Lackey in Game 4. Not only is the rotation set, but the Cubs will have a full bullpen to use if needed. That has to be a big plus for the Cubs coming into this series.

Now both teams have some hitters they’d like to see get going in this series. While Corey Seager did hit 2 home runs in the series against Washington his average was just .130. Adrian Gonzalez homered in the NLDS as well, but his average was just .200. Chase Utley at .188 and Yasmani Grandal at .125 are two other players the Dodgers would like to see start hitting. On the Cubs side both Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell where 1 for 15 (.067) in the NLDS series. Jason Heyward’s hitting struggles continued into the first round of the playoffs as he hit .083 in the NLDS. Dexter Fowler at .133 and Ben Zobrist at .188 are two other guys the Cubs would like to see get going in this series against the Dodgers. Both teams where able to advance with these hitters struggling, but it could make things so much easier for them of a few or even better all of them could get on some type of hot streak even for a game or two.

We had our fantasy hockey draft last Saturday night and I was pretty happy with the way my team came out. Then the injury bug hit me right before the season started and then into the first couple of games. I grabbed defenseman Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins late in our draft. It’s a category league and he is a solid plus minus guy though his career. Miller broke his ankle right before the season started and needed surgery on it. Miller is scheduled to be out 6 to 8 weeks. Then the season started and Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres went crashing into the boards in their first game of the season and cracked 3 ribs. There’s no real timetable for Kane’s return as Sabres head coach was quoted as saying “It’s weeks, depending on the severity, and in the oblique area it’s something you’re going to deal with even when you come back with the rotation and the discomfort.” Then believe it or not I picked up one more injury. In the first game of his season Bryan Little of the Winnipeg Jets collided with Bryan Bickel of the Carolina Hurricanes and got hurt. Little has a Lower Body Injury and is expected to be out an indefinite period of time. Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said “We’ll have a better idea of just how long in a couple weeks.” So it’s going to be weeks before they even know how long Little will be out. Hopefully your fantasy hockey season didn’t get off to the same type of start mine did. Looks like I need to get on the waiver wire.

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Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: October 12, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, hockey, sports
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Week 5 of the NFL season is in the books and our pick contest continues to roll along. Schaumburg Stu won Week 5 with a record of 10-4. Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy and I all finished Week 5 at 8-6. On the season Schaumburg Stu is in the lead with a record of 47-30. Dan the Man is in 2nd at 44-33. I’m holding down the 3rd spot with a record of 39-38 while Mr. Fantasy is in the cellar at 36-41. We’re off to Week 6.

The Chicago Cubs used 4 runs in the top of the 9th against a terrible San Francisco Giants bullpen to win their NLDS series 3 games to 1. Down 5-2 going into the 9th inning it looked like this series was headed back to Wrigley Field for a Game 5 on Friday. Derek Law was on the mound to start the 9th inning, but after a single by Kris Bryant he was removed for left handed specialist Javier Lopez. Lopez didn’t do his job as he walked the left handed hitting Anthony Rizzo and was taken out of the game for Sergio Romo. Ben Zobrist greeted Romo  with a double to score Bryant and advance Rizzo to 3rd. Chris Coghlin was announced as the pinch hitter for Addison Russell; so the Giants countered by bringing Will Smith into the game to pitch. The Cubs countered that move by Putting Wilson Contreras in for Coghlin. Contreras singled off of Smith as both Rizzo and Zobrisy scored to tie the game 5-5. Jason Heyward bunted badly into a fielders choice, but a throwing error by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford allowed Heyward to move up to 2nd base. Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a double switch as Gorkys Hernandez entered the game to play leftfield and Hunter Strickland was brought in to face Javier Baez. Baez singled to centerfield to score Heyward and give the Cubs the lead at 6-5. The top of the 9th finally ended as David ross hit into a double play, but by that time the Cubs had scored 4 runs on 4 hits and with the help of 1 Giants error had taken the lead.

The Cubs made some defensive moves to start the bottom of the 9th inning. Zobrist moved to 2nd base, Contreras stayed in the game in leftfield and Baez moved to shortstop. In the end none of those moves mattered as Hernandez, Denard Span and Brandon Belt all struck out swinging against Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman.

The Cubs now wait until Saturday to host the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers/Washington Nationals series in Game 2 of the NLCS. The Dodgers/Nationals series is headed back to Nationals Park for Game 5 on Thursday. The Dodgers forced a Game 5 by picking up a 6-5 at home in Game 4 yesterday.

Clayton Kershaw made the Game 4 start for the Dodgers on 3-days rest. Kershaw pitched 6 2/3rd innings giving up 5 runs on 7 hits. He struck out 11 and walked 2 while throwing 110 pitches. Kershaw left the game with the bases loaded in the top of the 7th inning. Pedro Baez hit Jason Werth to force home a run and was removed from the game. Luis Avilian then gave up a single to Daniel Murphy bringing in 2 runs and tying the game at 5 apiece. Kershaw ended up with a no decision, but he ;left the bullpen in a tough spot. A Chase Utley single off Washington reliever Blake Treinen in the bottom of the 8th inning drove in the game winning run for the Dodgers. Kenley Jansen picked up the save for the Dodgers working the bottom of the 9th. Jansen struck out the first two batters of the innings and then Bryce Harper grounded out to 2nd base for the final out of the game.

With the lead in the series the Nationals choose to hold back Max Scherzer. Now they have Scherzer on regular rest for the Game 5 at home. Los Angeles turns to Rich Hill to make the Game 5 start. Scherzer took the loss in Game 1. He pitched 6 innings giving up 4 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5. Hill was the losing pitcher in Game 2. He pitched 4 1/3rd innings giving up 4 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7. Who do you have winning Game 5 and moving on to the NLCS?

Did you have both of the American League series ending in 3-game sweeps. Maybe you did, but I bet you didn’t have the teams right. The Toronto Blue Jays easily handled the Texas Rangers in their series to advance to the ALCS. Then it was the Cleveland Indians who where missing 2 of their top 3 starting pitchers sweeping the Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs. The Rangers did have the best record in the American League and while they where a bit of a favorite coming into the series with the Blue Jays; it’s not a huge shock that Toronto won the series. It’s a bit of a surprise that they swept, but not that they won it. In the other series the Red Sox should be nothing, but embarrassed. I can understand Game 2 as Corey Kluber is one of the top pitchers in baseball, but they got beat on games started by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Both back of the rotation guys that the Indians where forced to use due to injuries to Carlos Carresco and Danny Salazar.

The only Red Sox who showed up in the series where Brock Holt who hit .400 with a home run and rookie Andrew Benintendi who hit .333 with a home run. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit .100, David Ortiz hit .111, Dustin Pedroia hit .167 and Mookie Betts hit .200. These big Red Sox hitters where shut down by a guy in Bauer who had an ERA of 4.26 this season and Tomlin who came in with an ERA of 4.40 for the season. The Red Sox where the trendy pick to win it all coming into the playoffs, but I’m sure those guys who where on that bandwagon won’t admit to being there right now.

The NHL season get sup and running tonight with 4 games on the schedule. The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators will be the first two team s to drop the puck tonight. Then it’s the St. Louis Blues at the Chicago Blackhawks, the Calgary Flames at the Edmonton Oilers and the night wraps up with the Los Angeles Kings at the San Jose Sharks.

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The division series have started in the MLB playoffs. The National League has one game under it’s belt while the American League teams have played two and are on a travel day today.

We’re going to work backwards here as the last game of the day was the best game of the day. The Chicago Cubs got past the San Francisco Giants in a pitchers duel 1-0. Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto both showed why they are Cy Young Award contenders as they pitched shut out baseball for 8 innings. Cueto was great pitching 8 innings giving up 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 10 and not walking anyone. They one mistake Cueto made was giving up a solo home run to Javier Baez in the bottom of the 8th inning for the only run of the game. Lester was on his game as well as he pitched 8 innings giving up 5 hits and striking out 5 while not allowing a walk or a run. Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th and get the save. Game 2 is today 7:00 p.m. CST as Kyle Hendricks and Jeff Samardzjia are the starting pitchers as the Cubs look to go up 2-0 in the series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the first game of their division series 4-3 over the Washington Nationals. All the scoring in this game happened pretty early. The Dodgers got to Max Scherzer for 4 runs in the first 3 innings. The Nationals got back into the game putting up 3 runs on Clayton Kershaw over the first 4 innings of the game. Just as it looked like we where in for a high scoring game the runs stopped scoring. Kershaw picked up the win pitching giving up 8 hits and 3 runs while walking 1 and striking out 7. The Dodgers bullpen shut the Nationals down over the final 4 innings. Joe Blanton pitched 2/3rds of an inning walking 1. Grant Dayton also pitched 2/3rds of an inning walking 1 and striking out 1. Pedro Baez worked an inning then Kenley Jansen came in to get the save. Jensen gave up 1 hit I his inning of work. Scherzer went 6 innings for the Nationals giving up 4 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5. The Dodgers did get to Scherzer for 2 hone runs in the game. The Nationals bullpen matched the Dodgers bullpen as they didn’t allow a run either. Sammy Solis pitched 2 innings giving up 1 hit while walking1 and striking out 1. Nationals closer Mark Melancon got an inning of work in the game. Melancon gave up 2 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3 in his inning of work. Game 2 has a 3:00 p.m. scheduled start time as Rich Hill gets the start for the Dodgers and the Nationals turn to Tanner Roark to try to draw them even in the series.

In both American League series teams took 2 games to 0 leads, but I’m not sure they’re the teams the experts thought they would be. The Toronto Blue Jays went into Texas and swept the Rangers in the first two games of their division series. The Cleveland Indians held home field advantage as they won the first two games of their series against the Boston Red Sox.

The Blue Jays put up 10 runs in Game 1 of the series for a 10-1 win. Game 2 saw the Blue Jays get a little closer win at 5-3. Most if not all of the experts had the Rangers as the favorite in these first two games as they had Cole Hamels as their Game 1 starter and then Yu Darvish ready for Game 2. Hamels lasted just 3 1/3rd innings in Game 1. Hamels gave up 6 runs. walked 3 and struck out 1 in his start. Hamels was totally out pitched by Marco Estrada who went 8 1/3rd innings giving up 1 run and striking out 6 for Toronto. Darvish struggled as well pitching 5 inning giving up 5 hits and 5 runs while walking 1 and striking out 4. Darvish gave up 4 home runs in his 5 innings. 20-game winner J.A. Happ was the Game 2 starter for the Blue Jays and while he didn’t pitch great he pitched good enough to win with the support he got. Happ went 5 innings; he gave up 1 run on 9 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5. Troy Tulowitzki has been the breakout hitter in the first two games for Toronto. “Tulo” has a triple and a home run while hitting .556 with 5 RBI’s. The series heads to Toronto for Game 3 on Sunday. American League ERA leader Aaron Sanchez  (3.00) gets the start for the Blue Jays as the rangers turn to Colby Lewis to try and keep their season alive.

In a surprise the Indians used Trevor Bauer as their Game  starter. Corey Kluber has been battling an injury and was pushed back to Game 2 to give him some extra rest. With Cy Young favorite and 22-game winner Rick Porcello line up to start Game 1 the Red Sox looked like a heavy favorite. Bauer didn’t have a shut down type of outing, but he kept the Indians in the game and their bats came through. Bauer pitched 4 2/3rd innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6. Cleveland went to there bullpen set up of Andrew Miller 2 innings and the win, Bryan Shaw who gave up a run in 2/3rds of an inning and Cody Allen 1 1/3rd of an inning getting the save as they took Game 1. Porcello pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits with 3 of those hits being home runs while striking out 6. Drew Pomeranz 2 1/3rd innings, Joe Kelly 1/3rd of an inning and Koji Uehara 1 inning didn’t allow a run, but the Red Sox where unable to pull of a comeback win and the Indians took Game 1 5-4. The extra day of rest really helped Kluber, He pitched 7 innings giving up 3 hits and while he did walk 3 batters he didn’t allow a run and stuck out 7. The Red Sox countered with David Price who has had his post seasons struggles and they continued yesterday. Price lasted just 3 1/3rd innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits; one of them a home run. Price walked 2 and struck out 3 as he fell to 0-8 in his post season career. Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw each pitched a scoreless inning in Game 2 to lock down the Indians 6-0 win and a 2-0 lead in the series. The series shifts to Boston Sunday at 3:00 p.m.for a must win Game 3 for the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz will be called on to keep the Red Sox season alive at home while Josh Tomlin is the Game 3 starter for the Indians.

Admit it you didn’t have the Blue Jays or the Indians winning the first two games of their series. Now the question is will we see either the Rangers or the Red Sox be swept out of the playoffs.

Tonight is the Sports Time Radio fantasy hockey draft. It’s an auction style draft and since we’re a Chicago based league we’ll see how much some of the Blackhawks go for. I’ve had some success in fantasy hockey and while I haven’t won the league yet maybe this will be my year. I am woefully unprepared. With the baseball playoffs going on I’ve been distracted, but I have stayed up to date with the injuries; so that should help me out. The draft is at 7:15 p.m. tonight; so I have some time to still get ready. Wish me luck.

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With Week 4 of the NFL in the books here’s the update on our pick contest. Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and I all ended Week 4 with an 8-7 record while Mr. Fantasy may have set a record for his 5-10 record. Overall Schaumburg Stu is holding the lead at 37-26. Dan the Man is one game behind at 36-27. I’m in 3rd place at 31-32 while Mr. Fantasy slipped deeper into the cellar with a record of 28-35. Let’s see how Week 5 goes.

Could the MLB playoffs have gotten off to a better start? The Toronto Blue Jays hosted the Baltimore Orioles in the American League wild card game yesterday. The Blue Jays sent Marcus Stroman to the mound for the game and the Orioles countered with Chris Tillman. The Blue Jays got on the scoreboard first on a solo home run by Jose Bautista to lead off the bottom of the 2nd inning. In the top of the 4th inning Adam Jones got the first hit for the Orioles to lead off the inning. Jones went to 2nd on a ground out and then there was a liner to centerfield for the 2nd out. Then Major League home run leader Mark Trumbo gave the Orioles the lead when he hit a 2-run home run to leftfield. With one out in the bottom of the 5th inning Michael Saunders hit a ground rule double to left followed by a Kevin Pillar double to right, but some how Saunders only advanced to 3rd base. Ezequiel Carrera singled to centerfield to drive Saunders in and tie the game at 2-2. That ended Tillman’s night and the scoring for 6 innings. Brian Duensing was on the mound to start the bottom of the 11th inning for the Orioles. Duensing struck out Carrera for the 1st out of the inning and was then removed from the game for Ubaldo Jimenez. Devon Travis greeted Jimenez with a single. Josh Donaldson followed with a single of his own and Travis advanced to 3rd base. Edwin Encarnacion was up next and hit a 3-run walk off home run to leftfield for a 5-2 Blue Jays win.

Francisco Liriano picked up the win for the Blue Jays in relief while Jimenez gets the loss. Stroman went 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 6. After Stroman the Blue Jays bullpen didn’t give up a run over 5 relief innings. Brett Cecil pitched 1/3rd of an inning, Joe Biagini pitched 2/3rd of an inning, Jason Grilli pitched an inning, Roberto Osuna pitched an 1 1/3rd innings then it was Liriano who pitched the final 1 2/3rds. Tillman lasted just 4 1/3rd innings for the Orioles giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4. The Orioles had the best bullpen in baseball and it showed last night as they matched the Blue Jays outing up zero’s for 6 1/3rd innings. Mychal Givens followed Tillman and pitched 2 1/3rd innings. Then it was Donnie Hart for 1/3rd of an inning, Brad Brach for 1 1/3rd innings, Darren O’Day pitched 1 2/3rd innings before Duensing worked his 1/3rd of an inning. Jimenez didn’t get anyone out; so he didn’t pitch any innings. What you’ll notice about the Orioles pitching is that closer Zach Britton wasn’t used in the game. Britton had 47 saves and an ERA of 0.54 in the regular season.

Donaldson and Carrera where the only players with multiple hits in the game; they had 2 hits apiece. The Orioles recorded just 4 hits in the game.

The Blue Jays now advance to play the Texas Rangers starting Thursday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington Texas. The Blue Jays haven’t announced a starting pitcher for the game, but the Rangers are going with Cole Hamels as their Game 1 starter.

Can the National League wild card game match the excitement of last nights AL wild card game? The San Francisco Giants are going with Madison Bumgarner while the New York Mets have Noah Syndergaard on the mound tonight. Based on the starting pitchers it looks like we’ll get a pitchers duel, but the games don’t always go that way. Will we get that 1-0 or 2-1 game that people might think we’re going to get or will we see a 6-5 or a 9-8 game. While Syndergaard is still putting together his post season resume we’ve seen Bumgarner pitch in these situations time and time again. Will Bumgarner’s experience lead the Giants to a victory or will Syndergaard start to build that resume with a win for the Mets tonight.

With the NBA regular season starting at the end of the month fans of the Philadelphia 76ers finally got to see Joel Embiid play in a game. Embiid missed the first two seasons of his NBA career with foot injuries. In 13 minutes last night Embiid scored 6 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in the 76ers 92-89 win over the Boston Celtics. In an odd twist for the 76ers Embiid made his debut the same day this season #1 overall pick Ben Simmons had foot surgery. Simmons is expected to be out a minimum of 8 weeks, but there have been reports that it will be longer than that.

The NHL season is even closer to starting than the NBA season and the Tampa Bay Lighting are still without one of their top players. Nikita Kucherov is a restricted free agent and is not in training camp with the start of the season a little less than two weeks away. Kucherov’s agent is Scott Greenspun and reports are he’s told Tampa Bay’s general manager Steve Yzerman that Kucherov will not show up until he gets a new deal. Kucherov is just 23 years old and was the Lighting’s leading scorer last season. Kucherov had 66 points on 30 goals and 36 assists. He was also the Lighting’s leading scorer in the playoffs with 19 points on 11 goals and 8 assists. Even though he hasn’t been in traing camp with hos teammates Kucherov has been on the ice as he played for Team Russia in the World Cup of Hockey.

NASCAR has moved into the 2nd round of The Chase and that means that the field of drivers was cut from 16 to 12. The 4 drivers who where eliminated from The Chase where Chris Buescher, teammates Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson as well as Tony Stewart. Stewart is in his last season in NASCAR and there where a lot of fans who where hoping to see him go deep into The Chase. The 2nd round of The Chase kicks off Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Bank of America 500. Will we see one of the 12 remaining Chase drivers get a win and automatically move into the 3rd round or will someone outside of The Chase find their way into victory lane.

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The first two weeks of Thursday Night Football had good games. In Week 1 the Super Bowl rematch saw the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 21-20. In Week 2 the New York Jets beat the Buffalo Bills 37-31. In the next two match ups we got a 27-0 blow out as the New England Patriots with a 3rd string quarterback starting beat the Houston Texans and this past Thursday the Cincinnati Bengals easily handled the Miami Dolphins 22-7.

Even in these bad games the ratings are still good. This week the game started off with an 8.24 rating and reached a 11.44 rating; easily winning the night. Now I’m not going to try to pretend I understand what these numbers mean, but they draw two to three times the amount of any pother show that’s on against them. It seems as though people will just watch football. Even bad football. I’ve been disappointed with the NFL for the past couple of seasons and these Thursday night games don’t make me feel any better about the league, but I do still tune in; even if it’s just for a short period of time.

Now some of the reason we get bad games is the match up itself. Miami seemed to be an improved team under new coach Adam Gase, but Cincinnati is a playoff team and it showed. The biggest surprise was the way New England handled Houston. Now looking at the next three weeks the match ups don’t seem much better. Next week we get the Arizona Cardinals at the San Francisco 49ers. In two weeks the Broncos play again on Thursday night this time they’re in San Diego to take on the Chargers. Then in three weeks we’ll get to see the Chicago Bears in Lambeau Field to play the Green Bay Packers. If you’re not a fan of one of these six teams; do you like these match ups? Do you see the 49ers or Chargers pulling off an upset at home? Then if the Bears don’t make a marked improvement you have to wonder how many points the Packers will beat them by. Are we going to have to wait until October 27th when the Jacksonville Jaquars are at the Tennessee Titans to get a good Thursday night game. Just looking at the Thursday night schedule that looks to be the next even match up out there. Even as bad as these match ups might look; we’ll still be watching.

Ask pretty much any baseball fan who the best player is and the majority of them will say Mike Trout. I’m in that group as well thinking Trout is the best, but is there anyone out there who could knock him off the top of the baseball mountain. Don’t forget that Trout is just 24 years old and could be the top guy for a long time. After the season he had in 2015 it looked as though Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper would challenge Trout for that top spot, but injuries have knocked Harper out of contention. Harper is just 23 years old, but seems to have one minor injury after another that holds him down. When Carlos Correa was brought up by the Houston Astros last season he was looked at as a guy who one day might be the best player in baseball. Correa is just 21 and has some time to develop into that, but maybe we’re on the right team. Jose Altuve has put together three very goo seasons in a row and maybe it’s time to start looking at him as a challenger to the top. Altuve hit .341 in 2014 and led the league with 225 hits, but he only hit 7 home runs. You can add a league leading 56 steals to that stat line. In 2015 the average came down to .313, but he still led the league with 200 hits and added some more power with 15 home runs. The stolen bases where still there as he led the league with 38 steals. Now this season Altuve’s average is up; he’s hitting .337. The home runs are up as well; he has 24 home runs and is 4 RBI’s away from his first 100 RBI season. He’s still leading the league with 213 hits and while the stolen bases are down a little he still has 28 steals. There is one stat with a big discrepancy in these three players, but no one cares about that anymore. Trout has 136 strikeouts to go with 114 walks. Harper has 113 strikeouts and 106 walks. Altuve has 69 strikeouts and 59 walks this season. Altuve is listed as being 5″6 and you have to wonder if people look past him because of his height. All three of these players are Gold Glove caliber defenders; so you can’t separate them that way. Now I don’t expect anyone to switch over from Trout to Altuve, but isn’t it time that Alutve starts getting some notice for the numbers he’s put up and the way he plays the game.

With the NBA season starting at the end of the month you have to start wondering if the Philadelphia 76ers are jinxed. They had the #1 pick in the draft and they selected Ben Simmons; who was the consensus top pick. Simmons didn’t shoot great in summer league, but that wasn’t a real concern. He added some weight so he could handle the grind of the NBA season, Now it’s being reported that Simmons broke a bone in his right foot and there’s no timetable for his return. To add to the bad luck Simmons was hurt in the final scrimmage of training camp. X-rays and an MRI revealed a fractured fifth metatarsal. You may have heard of this injury before as it’s commonly called a Jones fracture. The estimated recovery time with surgery is 8 weeks. Add Simmons injury to the list. In the 2014 draft the 76ers selected Joel Embiid with the 3rd pick. Embiid has yet to play a game in the NBA due to multiple surgeries on his right foot. In 2013 the 76ers took Nerlens Noel with the 6th pick in the draft. Noel ended up missing his rookie season with a torn ACL. Even last years #1 pick and #3 overall Jahlil Okafor played in just 53 games last season. Okafor after tearing the Meniscus ligament in his right knee. Okafor has actually had to take some practices off due to soreness in that knee. You add Simmons injury to this list and you have to wonder how much more bad luck the 76ers could have.

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We’re three weeks into the NFL season and our pick contest. Schaumburg Stu and Dan the Man tied for the lead in Week 3 at 9-7. Mr. Fantasy came in with a 8-8 record and I was under .500 at 7-9 for the week. For the season Schaumburg Stu has the lead at 29-19. Dan the Man is just one game out of the lead at 28-20. Mr. Fantasy and I are tied and under .500 at 23-25 on the year. Maybe I can get myself over .500 with a good Week 4.

The Houston Texans hold the early lead in the AFC South with a 2-1 record. The Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans are 1-2 with the Jacksonville Jaquars at 0-3. It’s a very winnable for the Texans, but their chances of doing that took a huge blow now that J.J. Watt is going to be out an extended period of time. There are reports that the Texans will place Watt on injured reserve (IR) today. That means Watt won’t be allowed to practice for 6 weeks and won’t be able to return to game action for 8 weeks. If Watt goes on IR the earliest he could return would b November 27th against the San Diego Chargers. As tough as it would be for the Texans to stay in contention with Watt gone 8 weeks there is talk that this injury may keep him out for the rest of the season. There’s a quote from a Texans team source that’s making the rounds saying “I do believe that he will miss the season, but with the new rule this year, if he were ready in December, he could come off IR”. Long shot. Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after he had surgery for a herniated disk in his back in late July. The 3-time defensive player of the year and 4-time Pro Bowler played part of last season through the injury, before aggravating it late in the offseason. He also had surgery in January to repair five torn core muscles. Watt started all three of the Texans’ regular season games so far this season. Watt has 1 1/2 sacks, 1 tackle and assisted on 7 other tackles. Watt has never missed a regular season game in his 6-year career and when he missed practice on Monday Texans head coach Bill O’Brien called it “a day off”. The Texans did re-sign defensive end Antonio Smith to help in the place of Watt. Now if Brock Osweiler and the offense can step up in Watt’s absence maybe the Texans can compete in the AFC South, but if they can’t handle the extra pressure even if Watt returns in 8 weeks it might be too late for the Texans to get into the playoffs.

The Washington Nationals clinched the National League East division last week and where battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers to see who would host their opening round playoff series. Now the Nationals knew they would face the Dodgers and any other playoff opponent without inured pitcher Steven Strasburg, but in Monday’s 14-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos torn his ACL and is done for the season. Ramos was injured a throw to the plate where he had to jump to make the catch. There was no contact with another players, but when Ramos landed he torn the ACL. Ramos is over shadow in Washington by the Bryce Harper name and the season Daniel Murphy is having, but Ramos was putting up good numbers before he got hurt. Ramos played in 131 games and was hitting .307. Ramos had 22 home runs 80 RBI’s as well as 25 doubles. Now it’s not just the hitting the Nationals will miss. Ramos has caught 1096 1/3rd innings this season for a staff that has an ERA of 3.50. That’s the second best ERA in baseball. When Ramos caught the teams ERA is 3.46.

How will the Nationals replace Ramos. Jose Lobaton is the veteran option Dusty Baker could go with. Lobaton has played in 36 games for the Nationals this season and is hitting .226 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI’s. Washington does have another option in 23-year old rookie Pedro Severino.  Severino has played in 13 games this season and is hitting .333 with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s. I’m sure both catchers will be on the playoff roster, but who’s going to get the at bats. Do you go with the veteran in the playoffs or do you take a shot with a rookie? Will have to wait and see what decision Dusty baker makes.

Now I mentioned Washington was already short handed with Strasburg out due to a strained flexor mass in his pitching elbow. There is a chance that Strasburg could be back before the NLDS, but it looks like they’ll be going into the playoffs without him, at least for the first round. Also added to the injury list is 2015 MVP Bryce Harper. Harper has been banged up all season and is now dealing with a thumb injury. There have also been reports that Harper has been dealing with a shoulder injury all season, but he has denied that. Either way he’s not playing like the MVP he was last season.

Now playoff related with the Ramos injury is the fact that he’s going to be a free agent this off season. He was looking at a pretty good pay day until this injury. now you have to ask yourself; what’s a team going to pay a catcher who’s recovering fro a torn ACL. With this injury happening so late in the season you have to wonder if his recovery will carry over into next season. What kind of a contract will a catcher who’s going to miss the start of the 2017 season get. If Ramos’ rehabilitation takes longer than expected he could be out until the All-Star break. Ramos is 29 and it will be interesting to see if there’s a team out there that’s willing to pay him will he’s doing his rehabilitation.

Have you watched any pre-season NHL yet? They just got the pre-season going this week and I’m going to check out some of the Chicago Blackhawks/Pittsburgh Penguins game tonight. Now with the World Cup of Hockey in the finals there are still a few guys that aren’t with their NHL teams. Since it’s pre-season and there are only 2 more possible games left in the finals those players will be back with their teams soon. Before you know it October 12th will be here and they’ll be dropping the puck in the regular season.

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