How was your week

Posted: May 27, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With the Major League Baseball season not even 50 games old can you really look at the National League East and wonder if there’s another team in the division that’s going to challenge the Washington Nationals for the division title. The Nationals are the only team over .500 in the N.L. East at 29-18 and have a 7 1/2 game lead over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves. Now if I had to guess I’d say that most people picked the Nationals to win the division before the season started, but did anyone think they’d make it look this easy.

Now there where people who liked the New York Mets to challenge the Nationals at the top of the division and even contend for a wild card spot. Well the Mets have had more injuries to their top players than any other team in baseball. They’re without starting pitchers Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard. Add pitchers Seth Lugo, Tommy Milone and closer Jeurys Familia to the injury list. Don’t forget that Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t played since April 27th. Brandon Nimmo is also part of the injury list and David Wright hasn’t played a game this season and may not play one in 2017. Not to mention the Matt Harvey drama a few weeks back where he ended up getting suspended for three games. The Mets are currently 20-26 and in 3rd place in the division, but it doesn’t look like their year.

Now the Braves are in 2nd place at 21-25, but I don’t think anyone sees them as a contender just yet. The plan all along for the Braves was to be ready to contend by the time their new ballpark opened. Atlanta isn’t quite there yet, but they added some veterans in the off season to help them out. Sean Rodriguez was signed as a free agent, but was injured in and automobile accident before the season started and may miss all of 2017. The Braves ended up making a trade for Brandon Phillips to play 2nd base. The Braves also have some young pitching prospects who aren’t quite ready for the majors. So instead for forcing these young pitchers into the majors they signed Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey as free agent s and the traded for Jaime Garcia to hold down the rotation until their young pitchers are ready. Now while the Braves maybe improved from last season I don’t think they’ll be challenging the Nationals for 1st place.

The Miami Marlins are currently in 4th place in the N.L. East with a record of 17-29, but are 11 1/2 games out of 1st place. I don’t think anyone believed that Miami would contend this season as they had to find a way to replace staff ace Jose Fernandez. The Marlins brought in veteran starters Dan Straily and Edison Volquez to help out. Straily has been solid in his 10 starts so far going 3-3 with an E.R.A. of 3.83. Volquez however has really struggled going 0-7 in his 9 starts with an E.R.A. of 4.85. Wei-Yin Chen who was brought in a couple of seasons ago as a free agent to help the rotation has battled injuries all season and has made just 5 starts. Chen is 2-1 with a 4.33 E.R.A over 27 innings in 2017. I don’t think the Marlins will be making a run at the Nationals.

Now there where some people who thought that the Philadelphia Phillies could be the surprise team of the N.L. East, but they’re off to a 16-30 start and our in last place 12 1/2 games out of 1st place. Now the Phillies are still in rebuild mode, but the fact that Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco are off to terrible starts. Herrera is hitting .227 while Franco is hitting .215.Jeremy Hellickson was brought back to help anchor a young staff and while he has a good record at 5-2 his E.R.A. is high at 4.28. Hellickson actually has the lowest E.R.A. of all the Phillies starters; so giving up runs is an issue for this young staff. While some people thought that Philadelphia could play .500 baseball this season, they’re going to have their work cut out for them to get back to that point and they won’t be pushing Washington at the top of the division.

Now the Houston Astros actually have a bigger division lead in the American League West at 9 games than the Nationals do, but it looks as though there are teams in the A.L. West that could get back into the division race and even though they might not end up challenging the Astros for 1st place they’ll at least have a winning record. After looking at the teams in the N.L. East do one of them look like they’ll get on a run and get themselves back into the pennant race?

The Stanley Cup finals starts on Monday as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Nashville Predators in Game 1. While Nashville was the 2nd wild card in the Western Conference and the last team to qualify for the playoffs they’ve been playing better than any other team in the playoffs. The Penguins scored 111 regular season points; second only to the Washington Capitals who the Penguins beat in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Now Nashville is looking to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the teams history. The Penguins are looking to be the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

These two teams split their two games against each other this season, with each one winning game. The Predators beat the Penguins 5-1 on October 22nd and the Penguins evened things up with a 4-2 victory on January 31st.

Now both teams are battling injuries coming into this series. Nashville is hoping that center Mike Fischer will be able to be ready for the start of the Cup finals. Fischer has been out since Game 4 of the Western Conference finals when he went took a knee to the head from Anaheim’s Josh Manson. The Predators will also be without forward Kevin Fiala who broke his femur in the 2nd round and is done for the playoffs. It appears as though the Penguins will have to play another series without their best defenseman Kris Letang. Letang has a neck injury and hasn’t played a playoff series for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh defenseman Justin Schultz is playing through an upper-body injury and should be good to go for Game 1, but it’s uncertain if defenseman Chad Ruhwedel who is recovering from a concussion will be available.

Heading into the finals you have to think that the Predators hold the advantage in goal even against a strong Pittsburgh offense. Pekka Rinne has played all 16 games and is leading all goalies who have started more than five games this postseason with a .941 save percentage. The Penguins have used a combination of Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in goal. Fleury stepped in for Murray after the latter was injured in warm ups before the first game of the playoffs and carried the Penguins at times; especially against the Capitals in the conference semifinals. Since regaining his starting job in Game 4 of the conference finals, Murray has been outstanding for the Penguins, posting a .946 save percentage in four starts.

On the Friday edition of Sports Time Radio Dan the Man picked the Predators to win this series. Now him and I have a bet; so I have the Penguins to win. The loser of the bet has to buy the winner a t-shirt with the players names listed on the back if there team wins. Dan went with the Penguins last season and as you know won that bet. Can Dan go back to back?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com or you can find the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

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