Archive for the ‘baseball’ Category

How was your week

Posted: July 13, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

After the Houston Rockets sent Chris Paul and some draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook there was one question that popped into my mind and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was thinking or asking it. Did the Rockets get better?

First things first; here’s what the trade looks like. Oklahoma City gets Paul along with a protected 2024 1st round pick, a protected 2026 1st round pick. As well the Thunder have the right to swap draft spots with the Rockets in 2025 and 2021 there is some protection involved in those swaps. Also in 2021 Oklahoma City can swap for Either Houston’s pick or the Miami Heat’s pick which the Rockets currently own through trade.

While a lot of experts seem to think that Westbrook’s game is in decline the Rockets are still getting a player who’s averaged a triple-double in the last three seasons. It seems like a lot of people are pointing out that Westbrook’s scoring average dropped to 22.9 points per game which was his lowest in six seasons, but remember he had Paul George with him in Oklahoma City last season to help with scoring. What for some reason I haven’t heard anyone point out is Westbrook averaged a career high in rebounds per game at 11.1 and what may be even more important now that he’s heading to Houston is he averaged a career high in assists per game at 10.7. Westbrook was the NBA’s leader in assists per game last season and that could bode well now that he’s being paired up with James Harden again.

The one area that has been a problem for Westbrook is shooting the 3-pointer which has become the most important thing a player can do in today’s game. Westbrook shot just 29% from behind the 3-point line last season and has never shot better than 34.3% from behind the 3-point line in his career, but in Houston’s offense they might be able to work around that weakness.

Last season Harden shot 36.8% from behind the 3-point line while Eric Gordon shot 36% and P.J. Tucker shot 37.7% from behind the 3-point line. If Westbrook is o the floor with any combination of these players he wouldn’t be looked at as the guy who would be taking the “3” and this type of combination would give him drive and kick options when the ball is in his hands.

The bigger question may be; how much will Westbrook have the ball in his hands? Harden is very ball dominant when he is on the floor, but Westbrook is also use to having the basketball in his hands all of the time. They still play the game in the NBA with just one basketball on the floor at a time right now; so these two superstars are going to have to figure out how to share that basketball. That may actually be the biggest key to the success of this trade.

The one thing it appears the Rockets are getting in Westbrook is a healthier player than Paul was for them. Westbrook played in 73 games last season while Paul was suited up for 58 games for the Rockets last season. I understand that “load management” is the buzzword this NBA off season, but if you look at their careers Westbrook has been healthier than Paul throughout.

This is going to be an interesting season for the Rockets. I don’t think the trade for Westbrook makes them the best team in the Western Conference, but it’s going to make them one of the more exciting teams to watch.

Now you have to wonder what happens to the 34 year old Paul. It seems clear that the Thunder are in rebuild mode and they have the draft capital to possibly do that quickly, but do they want Paul as the leader of that rebuild?

Paul has three more seasons and quite a bit of money left on his deal. He is also coming off a season where he averaged the lowest points per game of his career at 15.6. Now some of that was because he was on a high powered offensive team that didn’t need him to score, but you do have to wonder if the team he ends up on needs him to score; can he do it?

Now before this deal happened there was a lot of talk that the Rockets where looking for a third team to add into it. It appears as the Miami Heat where that team and you have to wonder if there is still some interest in Paul by Miami. With all of the draft picks Oklahoma City has recently acquired they could sweeten the pot for Miami to take Paul and his large contract.

Of course wither it’s Miami or any other team that acquires Paul they’ll have to take the load management trend to heart. Paul played in just 58 games the last two seasons and hasn’t appeared in all 82 games of a season since the 2014-15 season. It wouldn’t be important for Paul to play in every game for whatever team he ends up on, but I’m sure they’d like to see him play in 70 plus games or so.

Where do you have Paul ending up? Does he stay with Oklahoma City? Will he end up in Miami? Or do you have him going to another team? Please let me know where you’ll think he’ll end up in the comments.

The Los Angeles Angels honored Tyler Skaggs last night and they did something perfect when you’re honoring a pitcher; they threw a no-hitter.

This was the Angels first home game since Skaggs passed away on July 1st. In the pre-game ceremony all the Angels wore Skaggs #45 and his widow Debbie threw out the first pitch.

The Angels then went out and put up 7 runs in the 1st inning on their way to a 13-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Taylor Cole made the start as the “opener” and pitched 2 innings. Cole struck out 2 and threw 22 pitches before giving way to Felix Pena. Pena took the no-hitter the rest of the way pitching the final 7 innings striking out 6. The only Mariners player to reach base was catcher Omar Navaez who Pena walked with one out in the Top of the 5th inning. that was the only blemish on the Angels tribute to Skaggs.

After the final out of the no-hitter the Angels players came out of the dugout to celebrate and the players that where still wearing Skaggs #45 covered the pitching mound with their jerseys as a tribute to Skaggs.

Skaggs actually would’ve turned 28 today July 13th.

Don’t forget that you can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIN.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

you can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: July 10, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I’m not sure how this came up, but I found it interesting that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had to defend the number of home runs that are being hit. I’m not surprised at all that he said hat MLB had nothing to do with the baseballs being altered, but MLB Is looking into why their appears to be less drag on the baseball this season. Honestly what did you expect Manfred to say.

I can understand the questions about more home runs being hit, but this seems to be baseballs motus operandi when ratings start to drop. After the last strike; what brought fans back? It was the home run battle between Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. Now to be fair that was more PED generated than baseball related, but MLB didn’t do much to try to stop it. Now the last couple of seasons ratings have been down and appears as though baseball has turn to it’s old friend the home run to help them out again.

Now there are people out their trying to sell you on the fact that players are paying more attention to things like swing plane, launch angle and exit velocity as the reason for the increase in home runs. While I’m sue that those reasons have added to the number of home runs being hit there’s no way that it’s accounted for the jump we’ve had this season.

At the current pace home runs are being hit the record for most home runs in a season will be broken by more than 600 home runs.

I’ve also heard some people say that since pitchers are throwing harder now than ever before in the game a batter doesn’t have to hit the baseball as well for it to go out of the ballpark. Does anybody believe that?

While I like to see players hit home runs as much as the next fan, but when a batter takes a pitch that was almost in the other batters box and hits it 450 feet to the opposite field there’s something going on.

I did find it interesting that when the International League started using the same baseball as MLB does their number of home runs jump exponentially. That seems like it’s a clear indication that it’s the baseball.

To be honest I’m not sure if the home run will solve all of baseballs problem. I’m not sure that more offensive was the problem with baseball and there’s something to be said about a well pitched game. It seems that baseballs biggest problem is still the length of games and I’m not sure if there’s a fix for that. It would also help the game if their where less strikeouts and more baseballs put into play. You can’t tell me you enjoy watching batter after batter strikeout unless the pitcher is either working on a no-hitter or is coming up on the strikeout record. More balls in play would provide more action on the field and that may make the game more attractive to watch.

It makes sense for MLB to want to attract younger viewers to their games, but that a very difficult thing for a game like baseball to do. You need to be patient to watch a baseball game and with the younger audiences today well they want a pay off right away. Of course that quick pay off would be a home run, but that’s not going to happen every time a player comes to bat.

If there’s a way MLB could figure out how to teach kids about the game it might help them stay interested in it as they get older. Of course they have a video game like every other sport, but I think they might have to start at even a younger age than that to try to hook fans in. I started learning about baseball at a very young age, but the only video game I had back then was pong.

There are just so many distractions in today’s society that’s it’s going to be difficult for MLB to find a way to get those younger fans to be interested and stay interested in baseball. Do you have any ideas to help MLB out? If so please leave them in the comments.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about how exciting the Home Run Derby was, but I don’t enjoy it; so I didn’t watch. Now I do enjoy the MLB All-Star game more than the All-Star games from any other sport, but I didn’t get to see much of that last night. From all of the reports I’ve heard it was a pretty good game.

I did find it interesting that Shane Bieber won the MVP award. I didn’t see enough of the game to know who might’ve been in contention for the award, but I’m guessing if they gave it to a pitcher who just threw one inning there must not of been a lot of other choices.

Bieber pitched the 5th inning and worked a clean inning striking out all three batters he faced. I’m sure since the game was played in Cleveland and with there being no clear cut MVP choice they went with the hometown player who had the best night.

Bieber is just 24 years old and was a late addition to the AL All-Star team and by winning the MVP he became only the third player in All-Star game history to be named MVP in his home ballpark. Oddly he is the second Cleveland Indians player to do this. Sandy Alomar Jr. was the All-Star game MVP back in 1997. The other player to win the MVP award in his home ballpark was Pedro Martinez in 1999.

Bieber wasn’t added to the All-Star team until Friday when he replaced Mike Minor of the Texas Rangers, but he became the first pitcher since Mariano Rivera in 2013 to win the MVP. Bieber is also just the 5th pitcher in the past 40 years to win the MVP award. He joins Pedro Martinez (1999), Roger Clemens (1986), LaMarr Hoyt (1985), Rivera of course and Juan Marichal (1965). Only Bieber, Marichal and Rivera earned MVP honors without getting a win in the game.

With al of the All-Star festivities in the books MLB returns to regular season action on Friday.

You can listen to the Sports Time radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: July 6, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Is it possible that we’re only going to get one division race to watch the remainder of the season in Major League Baseball? Well let’s take a look.

Let’s start out west where the Los Angeles Dodgers currently have the largest lead out of any of the division leader. The Dodgers are 14 1/2 games up on the Colorado Rockies in the NL West. Over in the American League West the Houston Astros have a 6 1/2 game lead over the Oakland A’s. Moving back east the Atlanta Braves are at the top of the NL East and they have a 6 1/2 game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. In the AL East it’s the New York Yankees who find themselves in 1st place. The Yankees have built a 8 1/2 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays. Looking at the AL Central you’ll see that it’s the Minnesota Twins at the top of the division and they hold a 6 1/2 game lead over the Cleveland Indians.

It’s in the NL Central where thigs get interesting. With a win last night the Milwaukee Brewers took over 1st place in the division by  1/2 game over the Chicago Cubs. Now it’s not just a two team race in the NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals are in 3rd place, but find themselves just 1 1/2 games out of 1st place. You can even go as far as saying that the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds are still in the division race even though both teams have under .500 records. Both the Pirates and the Reds are 4 games out of 1st place in the NL Central.

This is easily the best division race in baseball and you have to wonder what one of these teams have to do to separate themselves in the pennant race. If there is a team that can separate themselves from the division.

The Cardinals played well early and looked like the best team in the division. Then it was the Brewers turn in 1st place and I actually saw a host on the MLB Network call the division over once the Brewers took over the division lead. I don’t think we need to go into how dumb of a statement that was or why this moron still has a job, but Brewers lead didn’t last as the Cubs found their way into 1st place for a short period of time.

Who knows how this division is going to end up playing out, but it seems like it’s going to be the only division that’s undecided down the stretch this season. Well I guess there’s always the wild card races.

In the American League wild card race it’s the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians who hold the two wild card spots right now.

Cleveland is just 1/2 game ahead of the Oakland A’s while the Boston Red Sox and Texas Ranger are 2 games back. Let’s even throw in the Los Angeles Angels who are 4 1/2 games out of a wild card spot and the Chicago White Sox find themselves 6 games out of a wild card spot.

There are even more teams hanging around in the National League wild card race. Currently it’s the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies who are holding onto the two wild card spots, but it’s a tight race.

There are actually nine teams that are less than 8 games out of the final wild card spot. Now obviously it’s going to be tough for the team towards the bottom of the wild card race to jump all these teams, but since it’s so close I’ll throw them in.

The Washington Nationals are 1/2 games out. The St. Louis Cardinals are 1 game out. The Colorado Rockies are 1 1/2 games out. The Arizona Diamondbacks are 2 1/2 games out. The San Diego Padres are 3 games out while the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati reds are 3 1/2 games out. While it seems like it’s been a down year for the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets they’re both technically still in the wild card race. The Giants are 6 1/2 games out of a wild card spot while the Mets are 7 games out of that final wild card spot.

The NL Central and the wild card look like the races to watch for the remainder of the season and will have to see which teams try to improve themselves to get into the playoffs.

While nothing is official yet it appears as Kawhi Leonard will be signing with the Los Angeles Clippers. As well as bringing Leonard in as a free agent the Clippers have acquired Paul George in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Leonard had meetings with the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and the team he just won the NBA title with the Toronto Raptors and he made it clear that he wanted to sign with a team that could contend for a championship.

It had also been reported that Leonard and George had express interest in playing together. This help facilitate George being traded to the Clippers. Apparently George’s agent recently approached the Thunder about a trade and it’s believe that George is the perfect piece to pair with Leonard.

I was quite surprised to see what the Clippers gave up to get George. Oklahoma City will receive point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a number of draft picks. The Thunder will also receive five 1st round picks. They’ll get unprotected picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026 from the Clippers along with two picks the Clippers acquired in trades from the Miami Heat. Those are an unprotected pick in 2021 and a protected pick in 2023. Oklahoma City also has the option to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.

That may seem like a lot of draft capital to give up and the first thought that comes to mind is did the Clippers mortgage their future. Don’t forget that the Clippers acquired multiple draft picks in the deal that sent Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers last season.

So a California team has added some more star power. Do you think the addition of Leonard and George males the Clippers a contender for the NBA title? Also are you disappointed that this is where Leonard ended up?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you happen to miss the podcast live all you have to do is head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you’d like.

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With NBA free agency moving fast and furious I thought it was interesting that there where people out their who thought that the other leagues could learn something from the way it went. Now sadly this plays into a lack of knowledge of the other sports as free agency on the NFL and the NHL move along at just about a fast of a pace as NBA free agency does. I guess no one was paying attention to those other two sports. Now baseball on the other hand they definitely could learn something.

Free agency is much easier to forecast when that certain league has a salary cap. Things are made even easier in the NBA as teams know what the maximum amount of years and money they can offer a player. While the NFL and the NHL don’t have the same contract limits and dollar amount they are still working against a salary cap.

Over in baseball it’s an entirely different story. There is no salary cap; so in reality teams can spend as much money as they’d like, but there is a luxury tax which a team has to pay if their total salaries go over a certain number. I’ve seen quite a few people try to say that the luxury tax is baseballs salary cap, but it’s not even close to that. In MLB it’s completely up to the team if they want to go over the luxury tax while in a salary cap league you have to make roster moves to stay under that salary cap number.

I don’t expect MLB to adopt a salary cap any time soon as it seems that the luxury tax has worked for them. If you’ve noticed these last few seasons most of the higher salaried teams have been doing their best to stay under the luxury tax line.

So while I don’t believe that baseball has to make any moves with their luxury tax I do think they could learn a thing or two about making their off season more interesting. With a new CBA coming up will see if there are any changes made to head that way.

We’re a little past the half way point with games played in baseball and looking at the standings and the way that things have played out I’d have to say that even though they’re 5 games over the .500 mark the Boston Red Sox have been one of the more disappointing teams this season.

Coming off of a World Series winning 2018 season the Red Sox went into the off season trying to stay under or close to the luxury tax we just talked about; so that took them out of the free agent market.

The only off season signings the Red Sox made was of their own players. They brought back World Series MVP Steven Pearce on a one year deal. Then they re-signed Nathan Eovaldi to a four year $68 million dollar deal.

Since the Red Sox where working on the cheap they allowed closer Craig Kimbrell to go into free agency. It was decided that they’d use a closer by committee format and that hasn’t served them very well. Boston has had 34 save opportunities this season and they’ve converted on just 17 of them. Six different relivers have saved at least one game this season with Ryan Brasier leading the way with 7 saves. I can understand the Red Sox not wanting to meet Kimbrell price as he was asking for 5 years and around $15 to $18 million dollars a season, but it appears as though they need a better solution than what they’ve been doing.

As for a better solution will see, but the Red Sox are making a change at closer. Boston has announced that when Eovaldi is reinstated from the 60 day IL he’ll be the teams closer. Now this could be as interesting as it is intriguing since health hasn’t been Eovaldi’s strong suit in his career.

Eovaldi went on the IL after he needed to have what was described as “loose bodies” removed from his right elbow. He is expected back after the All=Star break; when he’ll move into his new role.

In his career that has covered almost eight full seasons Eovaldi has pitched in 160 regular season games, but 152 of them have been as a starter. He has 0 career saves. As a starter Eovaldi has only made 30 plus starts once in his career 2014 and he hit his highest inning total in that same season 199 2/3rds. He has piled up quite a few injuries in his career even missing the entire 2017 season as he recovered from surgery.

Can he really be a guy who can be called on out of the bullpen to pitch two or even three days in a row?

It clear that the Red Sox are banking on the same kind of success as a closer that Eovaldi had coming out of the bullpen last post season, but is that really a reliable way to gauge him as a closer?

It’s clear that the Red Sox have to do something at the end of games as they find themselves 10 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East race. Boston is also 1 1/2 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second American League wild card spot, but aren’t their other options.

The Red Sox have always had a highly rated farm system and you’d have to think they’d be able to turn one of those prospects into an upgrade at closer and their should be some on the trade market.

I’m sure for the right prospect or package of prospects Boston could pick up Brad Hand, Shane Greene, Will Smith or a handful of other closers. It seems a though the Colorado Rockies have soured on Wade Davis and you can understand why with an ERA of 5.76, but he’s done the job before and has quite a bit of post season experience. You also have to think with the struggles Davis has had Boston might not have to give up too much to get him.

It will be interesting to see how Eovaldi fairs as a closer and if the Red Sox will make a deal just to have a guy in the bullpen; just in case. Whatever the Red Sox are going to do they can’t wait much longer or else their chances of repeating will be gone.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: June 22, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Well there are a couple things in baseball that really seem to be bothering me lately; so I want to see if writing about them will help me.

Let’s start off with the problem I have with just about every baseball writer out their. How come every time there’s a player possibly being traded they all have him going to the New York Yankees? Is it the east coast bias of these wroters? Or are they really just that ignorant to think that every single player dealt is headed to New York?

The latest example of this started when Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said some thing the affect of the Yankees would do anything they had to do to acquire Max Scherzer. Of course to contradict this the Nationals have said that they’re not trading Scherzer. If you remember just back to last season Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo had a deal in place that would’ve sent Bryce Harper to the Houston Astros. This deal was vetoed by Nationals owner Ted Lerner and it’s been reported that Lerner would do the same thing in any deal regarding Scherzer. It was said that Lerner would like to see Scgerzer be the first Nationals player inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.

Now even with these reports it’s not going to stop these writers to write over and over that Scherzer will be joining the Yankees. Interestingly the Yankees farm system was ranked just outside of the Top 10 to start the season; so why wouldn’t the Nationals deal Scherzer to a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Astros who’s farm systems where ranked inside the Top 10 at the start of the season. Evem though they’re in the same division as the Atlanta Braves maybe Washington would consider sending Scherzer there since the Braves have one of the best farm systems in baseball.

Let’s face it if the Nationals do decide to trade Scherzer it’s going to be for a big return of prospects and there are quite a few other teams that can offer more than the Yankees could. Maybe these writers think that Washington would be willing to take some of the Yankees glut of outfielders that they currently have n their major league roster. Couldn’t you just see a trade for Scherzer headlined by Brett Gardner or Aaron Hicks while throwing Cameron Maybin into the deal.

Now I’m sure these writers will defend themsleves and say that Cashman was the only Genral Manager who came out and said they’d deal for Scherzer. To that I’d say; how many other General Managers did you ask? I’m sure the answer to that would be a big fat zero.

Now I’m not saying that the Yankees can’t and won’t acquire Scherzer it’s just the way they go about reporting it that drives me up the wall. See now that it’s been written one time it will be written over and over again and then it will make it’s way onto the MLB Network and it will get to the point that this will be all we hear about while teams are out there making actual moves not deals that the writers want to see happen.

One down; one to go.

Now I’m sure that I’ve mentioned here before that I live in the Chicago suburbs. It also comes up from time to time on the Sports Time Radio podcast.

My father was born and raised in the town of Macomb Illinois. In Macomb you are either a St. Louis Cardinals fan or a Chicago Cubs fan. My mother was born and raised in Chicago and while she wasn’t a huge baseball fan her family where White Sox fans. This led to a bit of a split in my fandom growing up even though I’d say that I rooted for the Cubs a little more than I did the White Sox even though I did want to see both teams win. Even when we went to games to was split right down the middle. We’d go to two games a year one at Wrigley Field to see the Cubs and one at Comiskey Park to see the White Sox. This always put me in an interesting position and lately what I’ve seen out of Cubs fans has left me feeling disgusted.

Now when I started watching the Cubs they where rarely in contention for a playoff spot and in most cases the team finished under .500. I’m sure you remember the Cubs being call “Loveable Losers”. Then finally in 2016 the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. In the two years following that World Series win the team has made the playoffs in 2017 and just missed out last season losing a game 163; so they’re a good team.

Since the team has been winning and they’re competitive again this season as they are currently in 1st place in the NL Central. The Cubs have a 1 1/2 game lead over the 2nd place Milwaukee Brewers. This seems to have brought out a very unlikeable side to their fan base.

I’m sure that not all Cubs fans are like this, but it seems as though the ones that are active on social media are whiny entitled crybabies and it’s too the point where I don’t even want to watch Cubs games because if they lose I don’t want to deal with these people.

Now as an 8 or 9 year old kid my life hinged on every game and if the Cubs lost it would crush me and then my father would remind me that they’ll be playing again tomorrow. Now if the Cubs lose a game I see on social media that the team they lost to was lucky or whatever other excuse that comes to their mind and it’s sad to see an adult act like they even if they are a big fan of the team.

Baseball is an odd sport and no matter who your favorite team is they’re going to lose quite a few games in a season. If you’re hanging by a thread for every single game it’s going to make for a long, long season. as fa and out of shape as I am if I watched baseball like this I’d be dead of a heart attack by the All-Star break.

Now I’m also sure that from time to time your favorite team loses a game because the team they where playing caught a break or got a good bounce, but crying about it on social media doesn’t make you look very good. I actually saw Cubs fans crying that Eloy Jimenez was just lucky to hit what turned out to be the game winning home run in the first game of the series between the Cubs and the White Sox. Was it really luck?

No this has in no way changed my feelings towards the Cubs. I’d like to see them and the White Sox continue to win as many games as they can get into the playoffs and win the World Series. It’s just the terrible way that Cubs fans act that has turned me off from the games this season. Maybe they’ll grow up at some point and time and start acting like an adult would ask even of the team s going to lose and my prediction is that the Cubs are going to lose some more games this season.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

Please follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 19, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The Major League Baseball trading deadline is about six weeks away and remember that deadline is final this season. There are no more waiver deals after the July 31st trading deadline. This is going to put quite a few teams in the position of having to decide if they’re buyers and they want to add a player or two, to try to make a run or if they’re sellers and they’ll move a few of their guys for some prospects. The question is who, what and will they deal?

In the American League you have to think that teams like the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays and even the Boston Red Sox think they’re playoff contenders. You’d have to guess that with maybe the exception of the Rays they’d all be looking to add for a playoff run.

The Yankees have already added as they acquired Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners for minor league pitcher Juan Then four days ago.

There are some interesting teams just on the outside of the wild card race that could try to make a trade to get into one of those playoffs spots, but will they?

The Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox all find themselves within 3 games of the final American League wild card spot.

Over in the National League you have the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers. Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona diamondbacks all in the playoff hunt.

Now the Braves and the Cubs have already added what they hope will be help to their pitching staffs. Atlanta signed Dallas Keuchel for the remainder of the season to a $13 million dollar contract. Chicago went longer on their deal to bring Craig Kimbrel into their bullpen as he revived a three year $43 million dollar deal with an option for a fourth year.

Keuchel is scheduled to make his first start for the Braves on Friday against the Washington Nationals. Kimbrel worked a perfect inning in Triple-A and threw just 8 pitches in the process. So it shouldn’t be too long before he’s closing games for the Cubs. Maybe even by this weekend.

You also have to wonder with so many teams still in contention for a playoff spot, are there enough teams who will be willing to deal or have anything to deal that could make a difference.

Also with so few teams being in a sellers mode the asking price for players might be much higher than it usually is. What could a team ask for if three, four or maybe even five teams are interested in one of their players?

In the American League I’d be surprised to see either the White Sox or Indians going out trying to make deadline deals to contend. I’m not sure if the White Sox will still be this close to a wild card spot by July 31st and they seem to be a year away. Cleveland has been interested in cutting payroll since the off season. So even if they look like they’re in the race for a wild card spot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them trading away players instead of adding them.

The National League, however, is a convoluted mess. The only team that is double digit games out of the second wild card spot is the Miami Marlins and while some of the teams that find themselves 5 1/2 to 7 games out might be looking to sell for the shear fact that they’ll have a lot of teams to jump to contend.

Even with eliminating those teams there are still ten teams in the race for either their division or one of the two wild card spots.

While the Dodgers have moved out to a 10 game lead in the NL West the Brewers only lead the NL Central by 1/2 game and the Braves are up in the NL East by just 2 1/2 games. Those races are far from over.

I’d love for you to jump in and help me out here. Which team or teams do you see making moves to contend? Also, is there a certain player out their that you think a certain team should be targeting? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

The NBA draft is tomorrow night and barring a New York Knicks oddity; which could happen we should know who the Top 3 picks are. After those three picks though it’s anybody’s guess who’s going where.

We should see the New Orleans Pelicans take Zion Williamson at #1. Ja Morant should go to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 2nd pick and then all indications point to the Knicks taking R.J. Barrett with the 3rd pick. After these three, we’ll see.

The Pelicans are back on the board at #4 and the hot name right now seems to be Darius Garland, but there has been quite a few reports that New Orleans might deal this pick. The Atlanta Hawks actually offered the #8 and #10 picks to both the Knicks and the Pelicans to move up, but both deals where turned down. New Orleans is apparently looking for an All-Star quality young player instead of more picks if they decide to move that 4th pick. There has also been some talk that the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns are interested in moving up to that 4th pick. Maybe New Orleans can get a deal done with one of those teams.

Now I actual enjoy the NBA off season more than the regular season, but I have one big problem with the draft that the league needs to fix and it’s an easy fix to make.

Now we’ve known for a week plus that the New Orleans Pelicans will have the 4th pick in the draft that belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers. New Orleans received the pick as part of the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Now for some reason when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver steps to the podium to announce the 4th pick he’ll say that the Lakers selected who ever the player that’s picked. The problem here is obvious; the Lakers no longer have that 4th pick. This will happen again with the 10th pick as it originally belong to the Dallas Mavericks, but they traded this pick to the Atlanta Hawks at last years draft. There will be quite a few more times that this will happen and I’m not quite sure why the NBA can’t handle this like every other league handles this, but for some reason they don’t.

Sadly it’s probably too late to fix this for tomorrow night, but please NBA get on this and make it easier for us watching.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast ay time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

 

 

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 12, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I’m sure that Major League Baseball believes they’re not doing anything wrong and let’s face it they’re never going to admit to anything and why would they since this worked for them once before, but it’s clear there’s something going on with the baseball this season.

Some people used the termed juiced other say the baseball is wound tighter this season. I even heard someone say that with the increase in pitching velocity the number of home runs was bound to go up, but I think even the average baseball fan realizes that it’s the baseball.

Let’s go back to 1998 when baseball was coming off a strike and there was quite a bit of backlash from the fans. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had an epic home run battle that helped bring fans back to the game.

McGwire win the battle with Sosa as he hit a single season record at that time of 70 home runs. Sosa ended up with 66 home runs and won the NL MVP in 1998.

Of course Barry Bonds went on to break the single season home run record with 73 home runs in 2001 and he also has hit the most home runs by a player n baseball history with 762 for his career. Of course all three of these big time home run hitters have come under scrutiny for the use of performance enhancing drugs to help them reach those home run totals.

This season it doesn’t appear that any player is getting help hitting home runs from any other substance but a supped up baseball.

We’ve played about 1/3rd of the season and right now there are six players with 20 home runs or more. That would mean if these numbers held up all six of these players would reach the 60 home run mark for a season. Eight times in Major League Baseball a player has hit 60 or more home runs in a season; so just imagine if this season there are six guys who reach that number.

I’m sure with the short attention span society we live in today Major League Baseball probably thought it would be the right thing to do to add some excitement to the game and what better way to do that than make home run numbers go up. To be honest it just makes the game boring and hard to watch. You get one moment of a baseball flying into the stands in between a large amount of strikeouts and the baseball not being out in play. It’s bad enough that every single major league ballpark is designed to have regular flyballs land in the bleachers. Now with the baseball the way it is even pop flies are turning into home runs. How is this good for the game?

On Monday we had a firestorm of sabermetrics, analytics and a juiced up baseball put on a sad display of power at Citizens Bank Park as the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Phillies and the Diamondbacks combined for a Major League record 13 home runs in a game. Now you would think with 13 home runs being hit in a game we’d see one of the higher scoring games in baseball history as well, but we didn’t. Some how with these two teams combining to hit 13 home runs they only managed to score 21 runs combined.

This is where the sabermetrics and analytics come into play. Since players no seem no long interested in doing anything but hitting home runs there just weren’t any runners on base when all of these home runs where hit.

I’m sure the sabermetric/analytic community has an excuse for this, but we all know that would be just complete garbage. There where runs scored in every inning of this game except the 7th. There where 27 hits in this game and 13 of them where home runs and the teams combined to leave 15 runners on base.

I’m kind of at my wits end when it comes to baseball. This is the game that I’ve been interested in the longest out of the four major sports. Now I’ve given up on the new style of play in the NBA and slowly but surly it’s staring the look like baseball might be next.

The Golden State Warriors kept their NBA title hopes alive with a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 on Monday night.

There where quite a few interesting storylines to come out of this game, but let’s go with the most obvious of them all the Kevin Durant injury.

I find it very hard to believe how many people who watch the NBA game much, much closely than I do think that Durant was some how forced or conned into playing by the Warriors. Just think about that statement for a minute; then try to figure out how they’d be able to do that.

Durant was about to be the biggest free agent on the NBA market where there is a lot of money out there with the television deal they have. Why would he risk that? Do people honestly believe that Durant and his team of people only took the word of the Golden State team doctors before agreeing to play on Game 5? There is no chance at all that Durant didn’t consult his own physician before playing in Game 5.

Durant looked really good for a guy who hadn’t played in a month. He played 12 minutes and scored 11 points. He was 3 of 5 from the field, but he went 3 of 3 from behind the 3-point line. He also made all both free throws he attempted, grabbed 2 rebounds and blocked a shot before going down with a torn achilles.

It looks as thought this injury may keep Durant out all of next season, but there’s really no telling how long he’ll be out until surgery is performed.

After his injury again there where a lot of people saying that he wouldn’t be able to come back as the player he is now because big men have a difficult time coming back from this injury. The first question that popped into my mind was; since when is Durant anything like a normal big man in the NBA?

I actually don’t care how this affects the NBA Finals at all. I’m more interested to see how this affects the off season. There where quite a few teams that where making salary cap room to try to add Durant. Which direction will those teams go now?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: June 8, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Speculation was that once the Major League Baseball draft was I the books it wouldn’t take ling for Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel to sign and they where right on the nose with that.

It was officially announced yesterday that Kimbrel has signed with the Chicago Cubs and that Keuchel has signed with the Atlanta Braves. Let’s see who got what.

Now if you listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast at all during the baseball off season I said over and over the Cubs needed to add bullpen help, but like always no one listened to me. I guess they had to learn their lesson on the field before they realized my idea wasn’t so bad.

Kimbrel received a 3 year deal for $43 million dollars from the Cubs. At first I thought they may have overpaid for him, but there where reports that the Tampa Bay Rays had upper their offer for Kimbrel to 3 years and $39 million dollars; so the Cubs had to out bid them and they did.

Now Kimbrel has been one of the best closers in baseball since his rookie year in 2011. He’s got a 50 save season under his belt and has never saved less than 31 games in a season. Kimbrel has also been one of the healthier pitchers in baseball and has appeared in at least 57 games in every season he’s pitched, but there have been some bumps in the road.

Kimbrel posted the second highest ERA of his career 2.74 last season, but his issues really showed up in the post season. While he did record 6 saves last post season in the 10 2/3rd innings he pitched he allowed 7 earned runs that’s an ERA of 5.94. Kimbrel gave up 9 hits and walked 8 batters last post season as well. Now Kimbrel’s struggles have been attributed to him tipping his pitches which is a correctable problem; so hopefully when he takes the mound for the Cubs he’ll be back tp his normal form.

The question now becomes how long will it take Kimbrel to get ready to join the Cubs bullpen? Kimbrel himself said he thought it would take two weeks while Cubs manager Joe Maddon went with three weeks when asked this question. Once Kimbrel is in the Cubs bullpen the other question will come up. Can he pitch on back to back days? Can he pitch more than one inning? Along with a few more questions; I’m sure.

It looks like a good signing for the Cubs as Brandon Morrow is still injured and while Pedro Strop did  solid job in the closer role he’s always been a better set up man though his career.

Did you like this signing?

I believe that it’s going to be easier for Kimbrel to get back into his role of closer than it’s going to be for Keuchel to be a top of the rotation starting pitcher like he’s been in his career. Just the last few seasons we’ve seen starters who have just reported to teams either at the end of spring training or right after spring training had ended and they’ve had rough seasons. Keuchel is joining a team with about 1/3rd of the season in the books. It makes you ask; what will the Braves get?

There was some talk mostly from Keuchel’s agent Scott Boras that Keuchel wasn’t going to sign a one year deal, but in the end that’s exactly what he got from Atlanta. Keuchel signed a 1 year deal for $13 million dollars with the Braves.

Keuchel made 34 starts last season and threw 204 2/3rd innings. The starts where a career high while the innings total was the second highest in his career. He did however give up more hits 211 than innings pitched and his strikeouts per 9 innings rate dropped a whole point. There where reports that Keuchel’s velocity was down and since he pitches to contact that could result in more hits off of him.

Now Keuchel is just what the Braves appear to need; a veteran top of the rotation starter. Don’t forget that Keuchel has not only won 20 games in a season, but is also a Cy Young ward winner. He posted an ERA of 3.74 last season, but that was in the American League and ERA’s are always higher there.

The question now just like for Kimbrel is; how long before Keuchel will be ready to join the Braves starting rotation? Keuchel is scheduled to make a start in Triple-A and it was agreed upon in his contract that he can only stay in Triple-A until June 18th. Even if Keuchel is injured he has to be called up and placed on the Injured List by June 18th. So expected Keuchel in the Braves rotation in 10 days.

Did you like the signing of Keuchel for the Braves? Who do you think made the better signing; Atlanta or Chicago?

Last night the Toronto Raptors took a 3-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals as they won Game 4 by a the score of 105-92. There are many ways to look at this, but the one thing I’m wondering is did this series just set up for Kevin Durant to be the hero?

Durant hasn’t played in a month due to a calf injury. His last game was against the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs on May 8th and after the Western Conference final series against the Portland Trail Blazers there where a lot of people convinced that the Warriors didn’t need Durant to win the title. I wonder if those people have changed their minds now.

Remember that we’re talking about a player who is considered by some to be the best player in the NBA. Don’t forget that Durant is a two-time finals MVP. He’s also won a league MVP. As well as being a 4-time league scoring leader. That’s a lot of offense for even a team like the Warriors to be missing.

It’s an interesting scenario for Durant who is headed into free agency once these finals are over. If he returns and Golden State runs the table; wins three straight games and their third title in a row; how big of a hero is he? Now if he returns and they still end up losing the title to Toronto he should still be covered because he returned and tried to help the team out while possibly being less than 100%.

In all honesty no matter which route Durant chooses to take it’s not going to impact his free agency at all as he’ll still be the top target for every team looking to add a top player. I guess maybe it’s just the visions of Willis Reed walking out of the tunnel or Michael Jordan being almost carried off the court with the flu that makes me wonder if Durant could have a moment like that over an entire three game span.

What do you think. Does Durant play in the NBA Finals?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 5, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I became a baseball fan at a very young age. My father use to bring the portable black and white television into our backyard and he’d watch the Cubs game and read the newspaper while I ran around and pretended to be whichever Cubs player was hitting or pitching. As time went on my enjoyment of the game grew more and more as I began to understand the ins and outs of the game. There was nothing more I liked than sitting down to watch a baseball game and seeing how a pitcher was trying to set up a hitter and how that hitter would try to counter wat the pitcher was trying to do to him. Now sadly over the last few seasons I’ve come to realize that I don’t enjoy the game as much as I use to and I think I’ve finally figured it out.

I’m drawing a blank on which game I was watching, but this team had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Now normally this sets up for a big inning and can really put a game away for a team; well not this time. The first out came on a weak grounder to 3rd base and with a drawn in infield there was no chance for the runner on 3rd to score. this batter had an incredibly poor approach at the plate as he was trying to hit everything he saw out of the ballpark and never came close. So one out with runners on 2nd and 3rd still could play into a big inning, but the next man up chased a ball that was in the left handed hitters batters box and grounded out weakly to the first baseman. Again with the infield still in there’s was no way that the runner on 3rd could’ve scored. So after two really poor at bats with two runners in scoring position this team still had one more chance to try to drive those two runners home. One of their young and what they hope is a future superstar was up. This batter worked the count to 2 & 2, but sadly like all young players seem to do in todays game he swung at a curveball that just about bounced on home plate and struck out for the final out of the inning.

It became incredibly clear watching this team try to drive these two runners in what one of my biggest issue is in todays game. Situational hitting is dead; as none of these three batters that made the outs had any idea what to do at the plate except swing for the fences. When an average flyball would’ve gotten this team at least one run they couldn’t even get the baseball out of the infield when it counted. The pitch recognition in these three at bats was just terrible as well.

After watching these three horrendous at bats I started thinking what I miss in baseball. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a batter try to intentional hit behind a runner. There’s also a huge lack of quality two strike hitting. I know there are still a few players who will choke up on the bat and try to take the baseball the other way with two strikes, but there aren’t very many. With the stolen base pretty much legislated out of the game for some reason I was trying to figure out if teams still hit and run. These kind of things use to be considered as playing winning baseball, but no longer. Now if you can’t hit a home run very time you come up to the plate you’re looked at as a failure.

Now one of the reason I’ve heard that players no longer develop these skills because teams don’t pay for them and only power hitters get the big contracts. I’m not sure how much I believe this or how much truth there is to it, but if there is any truth to it then it’s a crying shame that baseball has went down this path.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not against home runs in any way. They’re one of the best parts of the game even though it seems like there’s something going on this season with the large amount of home runs being hit. My problem starts with the other stat that seems to come with home runs these days; strikeouts.

Bryce Harper has struggled with the Philadelphia Phillies after getting that big contract, but he does have 11 home runs. Of course Harper has also struck out 79 times in the 61 games he’s played this season.

Javier Baez is a legitimate MVP candidate for the Chicago Cubs and he hit his 15th home run last night. Now Baez has always had an issue with strikeouts and this season is no exception. In 57 games this season Baez has struck out 78 times while walking just 16 times.

Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana of the Seattle Mariners and Will Myers of the San Diego Padres have each struck out 77 times this season. Haniger has 15 home runs in the 61 games he’s played while Santana and Myers have each hit 10 home runs. Santana has played in 60 games while Myers has appeared in 59 games.

While these five players are managing to hit some home runs they can’t get seem to cut down on those strikeouts, but that’s not the case for all of the home run hitters.

Last seasons MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers has hit 22 home runs in 54 games while striking out just 39 times. Yelich has even drawn 36 walks this season. While Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers has hit 20 home runs in 59 games this season he is also one of just a handful of players who has more walks than strikeouts right now. Bellinger has 36 walks to just 35 strikeouts.

So as you see not every power hitter strikes out at a high rate, but you have to wonder if they had done some situational hitting in some of their at bats if those strikeout numbers may be lower. Of course the trade off may be they’d have a few less home runs depending on the situation they might have been able to exchange a strikeout or two for some RBI’s.

I still do get confused on what’s considered important in baseball today, but I do believe that the team with the most runs still wins the game and a few less strikeouts and a few more RBI’s could give your team some extra wins. Isn’t that the goal?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Burketime.

Don’t forget that the Sports Time Radio podcast airs live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

 

How was your week

Posted: June 1, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, hockey, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I’ll be the first one to complain about the extra days off in a playoff series. It’s become common place in the NBA no matter if it’s an opening round series or the NBA finals that at some point there will be an extra day off added into the schedule. Sadly now it seems that the NHL has adopted this terrible scheduling pattern for the Stanley Cup finals.

Now the main excuse given is always travel even though the last time I checked teams are no longer taking the train to get from one destination to the next. Most if not all teams have a team plane which should make their travel much easier than you or I, but they still need that extra day off.

To the point teams and leagues do this because of their television contracts and I don’t understand why they just won’t come out and admit that.

ESPN and TNT grossly overpaid to broadcast NBA regular season and playoff games. It was so bad at ESPN that they had to let quite a few employees go to save their bottom line; so you have to figure that they have quite a bit of control over the schedule; especially when it comes to playoff games.

Here’s how this could play out. The NHL started off okay as they had Game 1 on Monday and then Game 2 on Wednesday, but then they threw in the extra day; so Game 3 is tonight. The Boston Bruins where the prohibited favorite coming into this series, but the St. Louis Blues picked up a Game  win before the Bruins evened thing up with a Game 2 win. Even if one of these teams wins the next three games the NHL season won’t end until June 6th. If this series happens to go seven games the NHL season won’t end until June 12th. Except for fans in St. Louis and Boston; who pays attention to what’s going on in the NHL in the middle of June?

Over in the NBA the season could play out even longer. The Toronto Raptors picked up a Game 1 victory over the favorite Golden State Warriors and Game 2 is in Toronto tomorrow night. Now everyone expected Golden State to win this series and if they did win four games in a row to capture the NBA title the series would end on June 10th. Now if this series ends up going to full seven games in won’t end until June 16th. Since this is the first time the Raptors have ever made it to the NBA finals their fans will stay with this series no matter what, but if this does go all the way until June 16th there will be Golden State fans that won’t care who ended up winning.

Game 1 of the NBA finals was another example of how the television contracts these league get into doesn’t really help them.

Like I mentioned for the first time in team history the Raptors had made it to the NBA finals. Toronto also had the better regular season record; so they got hosted Game 1 and have home court advantage. What did that get for their fans? It got them a 9:00 p.m. start time for Game 1. Now you’ll hear the various leagues talk about growing the game and making it more available to kids. How many kids got to see the end of this game? The only reason I got to see any of this game was because I just happened to be on vacation from my job otherwise I wouldn’t of seen any of Game 1. To be fair tomorrow nights game isn’t much better as it will start at 8:00 in Toronto, but if that’s what television wants that’s what television is going to get. Sorry fans your not important to the NBA!

The Major League Baseball draft is coming up in a few days; I believe it ight be June 3rd, but I’m not sure of that date. I have to give baseball some credit for trying to make it out like it’s a big deal. They’ve created a draft show and it seems like there’s a commercial for it on the MLB Network ever time they go to break. I’m sure they’d love the MLB draft to be looked at and turned into a spectacle like the NFL and NBA drafts are, but that’s just not going to happen for them.

When your favorite NFL or NBA team makes a draft pick the player goes right to training camp with the team that picked him and in most cases will be on the field or court when the season starts. When you get drafted by an major league team you go to spring training, but you spend that time in minor league camp. Maybe the player that a team took with their #1 pick makes an appearance or two in the major league camp just so they ca be seen by reporters and the teams front office people, but there’s very little chance that player will see any time in the major league for quite some time.

Now’s there’s really nothing that MLB can do about this it’s just the nature of their game and it takes time for a player to develop until the NFL and NBA where they can walk into a training camp and compete for a job.

The Baltimore Orioles have the first pick in the MLB draft and in just about every mock draft I’ve read they’re going to select Bobby Witt Jr. a shortstop who is almost 19 years old and played at Colleyville Heritage High School in Colleyville Texas. If the Orioles don’t take Witt Jr. they may go with outfielder Riley Greene from Hagerty High School in Oviedo Florida or left handed pitcher Zach Thompson who pitches at the University of Kentucky.

Now maybe down the road one of these players will have a Hall of Fame career, but I don’t think any of them will be in the big leagues this season; so unlike the NFL and NBA draft we just have t wait and see how these players turn out.

If Witt Jr’s name sounds familiar to you that’s because his father Bobby Witt  pitched for seven different major league teams over a 16 year career.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @Burketime