Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: February 24, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in Auto Racing, baseball, MMA, sports, Uncategorized
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There have been a few projections and predictions released for the upcoming Major League Baseball season even though spring training has just started. From what I’ve seen a lot of people are back on the Cleveland Indians again. The Indians where a trendy pick last season and I believe it was Sports Illustrated that picked them to win the World Series. The Indians finished 81-80 last season good for 3rd in the American League Central, but  13 1/2 games behind the world champion Kansas City Royals. I’m trying to figure out what moves the Indians have made this off season to propel them into the playoffs. I’m not really into breaking teams down here, but let’s take a look at the Indians.

one through four in the starting rotation for the Indians is as good as just about any other team out there. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer should give the Indians a chance to win just about every time they make a start. It should come down to Cody Anderson, Josh Tomlin or possible T.J. House for the 5th starter spot in the rotation. Cody Allen is a solid closer and Bryan Shaw is a good set up man, but getting the baseball to these two is where some of the bullpen issues may come up. Zach McAllister may have found a home in the bullpen, but he’ll need help in the middle relief role from Jeff Manship and veteran signings Tom Gorzelanny, Tommy Hunter and Joba Chamberlain. While pitching seems to look good for the Indians what about there everyday line up. The best player on the Indians and one of the more under rated ones in baseball is outfielder Michael Brantley and he’s injured. I’ve heard reports that Brantley might be ready for opening day and then there are reports that he’ll be out until May. Collin Cowgill looks to be the guy in line to fill in for Brantley, but Rajai Davis was signed as a free agent this off season and he may see some time in left field as well if Brantley is out. Abraham Almonte is scheduled to be the starting centerfielder. Almonte has played in 166 games over the last 3 seasons in the majors. Almonte is a career .244 career hitter, but did put up his best numbers with Cleveland at the end of last season. Almonte hit .264 with 5 home runs and had 5 triples in 51 games for Cleveland last season. Lonnie Chisenhall is going to be given a chance to be the everyday rightfielder. Giovanny Urshela is scheduled to be the everyday guy at 3rd base, but Juan Uribe was signed this week as insurance. Urshella got an 81 game look last season, but hit just .225. I don’t think Uribe can play everyday; so the Indians will have to get something out of Urshella to make something out of this position. Up the middle the Indians appear to be set. Francisco Lindor hit better at the major league level than he every did at any minor league stop. Can he do that again? Jason Kipnis bounced back after a down 2014 hitting .303, but his power number where still down as he hit just 9 home runs. The 1st base/Designated Hitter role looks like it will be split in some way shape or form between Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli. Santana looked to be on an upward career path, but the last 2 seasons he’s hit just .231, but his power numbers are still good. Santana has had 100 plus RBI’s the last 2 seasons and should be a 20-25 home run guy. Napoli struggled greatly wit the Boston Red Sox last season, but after being dealt to the Texas Rangers he hit much better. Napoli is a career .253 hitter, but he should give Cleveland another player who can hit 20-25 home runs. Catcher Yan Gomes is trying to comeback from a knee injury that limited him to just 95 games last season. Gomes was able to put up 12 home runs in his limited playing time, but his batting average fell to .231. Cleveland needs Gomes to get his average closer to his 2014 number of .278 when he was the full time catcher. Now this isn’t really an offense that should scare anybody and if Brantley misses the first month of the season they could start off in a hole. The pitching should be able to keep them in games, but will they win more games 2-1 or lose more games 3-2? If you’re an Indians fan out there reading this help me out and give me your take on the team.

Denny Hamlin won his first Daytona 500 and it was by the closet margin ever. Hamlin beat out Martin Truex Jr. by one-hundredth of a second. Sadly Hamlin wasn’t one of Chris Olmstead’s picks on the Sunday morning edition of Sports Time Radio. If was a rough week for Chris’ picks. Two of his picks Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott were involved in accidents and finished 35th and 36th respectively. His 3rd pick Jimmie Johnson got shuffled back on the last lap and finished in 16th place. Now it’s on to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Chris will join us again Sunday morning to preview the race and make his picks.

The UFC had to do some juggling when Rafael dos Anjos had to withdraw from the main event against Connor McGregor after breaking his foot in training and the pay per view just a couple of weeks away. McGregor who is the champion at 145 was moving up to 155 to fight dos Anjos. Now McGregor is going to move up two weight classes to fight Nate Diaz at 170 pounds. While the fight will be non-title; it will be the main event for UFC 196. Diaz is 18-10 in his career but is coming off a win in his last fight. Diaz won a decision against Michael Johnson on December 19th. Had the dos Anjos bout held up, McGregor would have attempted to become the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in multiple weight classes. He had expressed interest in eventually fighting for the promotion’s welterweight title as well. Diaz is a former lightweight title challenger. Diaz lost to then champion Benson Henderson by unanimous decision in December 2012. The other featured bout on UFC 196 is women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm facing off against Miesha Tate. It will be Holm’s first title defense since her stunning second round knockout of Ronda Rousey on November 15th.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Listen to Sports Time Radio at BlogTalkRadio.com

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