Archive for the ‘basketball’ Category

How was your week

Posted: April 21, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I posed an interesting question to Dan the Man to start the Sports Time Radio podcast yesterday and I’d love to know what you think. Feel free to leave your answer in the comment section.

If Hank Aaron didn’t care about strikeouts and batting average was treated like it is in today’s game would he have hit 1000 or more career home runs?

I used Aaron for this example because there are quite a few people who still see him as the true home run king of baseball, but also because his career spanned 23 seasons. Giving him one more year than Barry Bonds.

Aaron’s career started in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves and it ended in 1976 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Aaron led the league in home runs four times and never hit less than 10 home runs in a season. His two lowest home run season totals came at the end of his career when he hit 12 in 1975 and then 10 in his final season. Over his 23 seasons Aaron struck out 1383 times in his career and he never struck out more than 97 times in a season.

Think about Aaron’s strikeout total in this context. Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets has played 19 games this season and has struck out 34 times already this season. Matt Olsen of the Oakland A’s has struck out 33 times in 20 games this season. In 1974 season at age 40 Aaron struck out 29 times in 112 games. Olsen is hitting .286 while Cespedes is struggling out of the gate this season hitting just .208. Aaron’s career batting average was .305.

If Aaron had been a believer in the launch angle theory that’s taught and used in today’s game and he adjusted his swing plane. Where would his home run total have ended up? Sadly there’s no way to actually judge this, but if you where luckily enough to see Aaron play try to think back and just picture where his career numbers would’ve ended up.

While we’re just 20 games or so into the season and the weather has played havoc with quite a few games nothing seems to be able to slow the Boston Red Sox down.

The Red Sox where expected to be one of the better teams in baseball and they haven’t disappointed at the start of the season getting off to a 17-2 with a 7-3 win last night over the Oakland A’s.

As odd as it may seem the Red Sox lost on the opening day of the season 6-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays before stringing together 9 wins in a row. Their second lost of the season was to the New York Yankees 10-7 on April 11th. The Red Sox are now on an 8 games winning streak with last nights win.

The Red Sox have two more games this weekend against the 9-11 A’s. Boston will get a day off before starting a three game series with the surprising Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are off to a 13- start to the season.

Can the A’s find a way to end the Red Sox winning streak this weekend? Or will Boston take what would be a 10 game winning streak into their division match up with Toronto.

Have the Red Sox established themselves as the best team in Major League Baseball this early in the season? Or is there anther team out there that you think deserves that to be called the best team?

The 1st round of the NBA playoffs are rolling along and as expected LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are drawing a lot of attention in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers ended up finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference and ended up with a match up against the 5th seeded Indiana Pacers in the 1st round.

The Pacers did what ever visiting team wants to do in Game  and that is steal a game on the road. Surprisingly Indiana actually won Game 1 relatively easily 98-80. Even with James scoring 46 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and handing out 5 assists in 40 minutes the Cavaliers still had to struggle to win Game 2 100-97.

With the series tied at 1-1 it was Indiana’s turn to be the home team, but going into halftime it didn’t look like the Pacers had any type of home court advantage as they found themselves down 17 points 57-40.

I’m sure most people thought that with a big lead heading into the second half James would close out the Pacers and get the Cavaliers that game back that they lost at home. Well not so fast.

After Victor Oladipo hit two free throws with 6:52 left in the 3rd quarter the Pacers where back to within 10 points at 61-51. After trading a three pointer for a two points the Cavaliers had an 11 point lead, but after that the Pacers double up the Cavaliers offensive output and ended the quarter down just 6 points at 69-63.

Now again I’m sure that most people where thinking that it’s a 6 point lead and Cleveland has the best player in the world on their team, they’ll win this game.

It didn’t go like that though. The Pacers started the 4th quarter doubling up the Cavaliers offensive output again 12 to 6 and the next thing you knew the game was tied at 75 all. A James lay up gave the Cavaliers the lead back, but Oladipo hit a jumper to tie the game back up at 77 all. The Pacers scored 7 points in a row and it looked as though they might pull away, but the Cavaliers fought right back this time with 7 points of their own and the game was again tied at 84 all. Indiana then went on another 7 point run. Cleveland did come right back again, but this time they scored 6 points in a row and found themselves down 91-90 with just 7.7 seconds left. With 5 seconds left Darren Collison was fouled. Collison hit his first free throw giving Indiana a 92-90 lead. Collison missed his second free throw and J.R. Smith ended up with the rebound. Smith did what he could to advance the basketball down the court for a final shot, but he ended up about 40 feet away. Smith’s last second shot fell short and the Pacers had a 92-90 win and a 2 games to 1 lead in the series.

With Game 4 being Sunday night in Indiana, do you think the Cavaliers are in trouble in this series? Could the Pacers actual pull off what would be considered a huge upset and win this series?

Don’t forget that you can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalklRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want over at TuneIn.com.

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

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How was your week

Posted: April 14, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

On Friday’s in have a routine that I more or less follow after I get off work and here’s what I do.

I get done working at 8:15 a.m. and I head to the grocery store to do my shopping. I shop at two different stores for my items to save myself some money.

The first store I go to is the place where I buy my fresh items. I get my fruits, my vegetables, my meats and cheeses. This grocery store is already open by the time I’m off work; so I like to get that done and over with. Then I hit a delay.

The second store I shop at is what you could describe as a discount grocery store. I’m sure you’d know the name of this store, but since they don’t sponsor this blog or the Sports Time Radio podcast we’ll leave the name out.

This discount store has all the items you’re use to seeing they just have names that you’re not use to and they’re cheaper price wise. They do have some brand named items, but they don’t carry them on a regular basis. The issue I have is that they don’t open early like most stores and I have to find a way to kill some time in between stores.

To fill the time in between my shopping trips I’ll stop and have breakfast at this little café that I like. Now this is what I did yesterday. I’m sure you’re wondering how this relates to sports since this is a sports blog; well here goes.

Since I’ve been to this café multiple times they sit me at the same table and I have the same waitress. As I took my seat I noticed that there was an older gentleman sitting in the booth across from me. He finished his breakfast a little before I did and as he got up to leave he noticed the t-shirt I was wearing.

I just happened to have on my Hunter Pence t-shirt which is styled like a San Francisco Giants jersey. Since it just says Giants on the front this gentleman asked me if it was a San Francisco jersey. When I told him that it was he started to tell me about the greatest baseball player he had ever seen play Willie Mays.

Now this gentleman was probably 10 or 15 years older than I am and he was talking to me about how he saw Mays play live. We went on to discuss different aspects of his game. We talked about this for about 15 minutes.

After talking about Mays the player this gentleman went on to tell me the story about the two times he met Mays. He said that he was surprised to learn that Mays was just as nice in person as he sounded in his interviews. I could see the admiration in this gentleman’s eyes as he talked about meeting Mays for about 10 minutes.

Now I have a lot of sports t-shirts, most of them bought for me by Dan the Man, but that’s a different story. This however was the first time that anyone has ever stopped to talk to me about one of them and then shared their own sports stories with me.

Does this happen a lot? Or has this ever happened to you? I really enjoyed talking baseball with this gentleman and I’d be interested to know if you have a story similar to this. If you do feel free to leave it in the comments section.

In Wednesday’s blog I mentioned that the NHL playoffs where getting ready to start. Well today it’s the NBA’s turn to get their playoffs underway. There are four games today and four games tomorrow to tip-off the opening round.

At 2:00 p.m. my time the NBA playoffs start with a Western Conference match up as the San Antonio Spurs are at the Golden State Warriors. We Move into the Eastern Conference for the next two games starting with the Washington Wizards at the Toronto Raptors. The third game of the day has the Miami Heat at the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s back to the Western Conference for the final game of the day has the New Orleans Pelicans at the Portland Trailblazers.

If you’re looking for these games on television the first game is on ABC while the next three will all be on ESPN.

On Sunday the game start a little earlier with the first game tipping off at Noon. We have back to back Eastern Conference match ups today starting with the Milwaukee Bucks at the Boston Celtics. The second game of the day has the Indiana Pacers at the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then it’s over to the Western Conference for the final two games of the day starting with the Utah Jazz at the Oklahoma City Thunder. The final game one of the opening round has the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Houston Rockets.

As for the television schedule with these games the first one is on TNT. The second game will be shown on ABC, but then the final two games will be back on TNT.

Do you see any upsets in these first round match ups? The opening round of the NBA playoffs usually stay pretty true to form with the higher seeds advancing. Could this season possibly be different since there are teams that will be going into this opening round without their star players.

You have the Warriors playing without Steph Curry. While also in that series the Spurs will play without Kawhi Leonard. The Boston Celtics will be playing without Kyrie Irving and it appears that the 76ers will go into round one without Joel Embiid. While not considered a star player the Thunder will be without Andre Roberson. John Wall has also just returned from injury, but only played in consecutive games once since returning. Will Wall be at full strength for the Wizards?

Do you see any of these injuries having an affect on these first round playoffs series?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime.

 

Now I understand that it’s exciting for fans if your favorite team gets off to a hot start or if one of your favorite players comes out of the gate playing very well. Now I’ll always give fans a break when they get a little carried away about their favorite team or player, but when the people who are suppose to be experts on these things start doing they need to be call out.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Shohei Otani had a very good outing as a pitcher against the Oakland A’s on Sunday, but people got a little carried away by it. Otani pitched 7 innings threw 91 pitching and gave up just 1 hit. He also struck out 12 while walking just 1 and improved his record to 2-0. Both of Otani’s starts have come against the A’s. Now after this start people got a little bit crazy. They’ve already have pretty much handed him the AL Rookie of the Year award, but I also heard someone say he should be the AL Cy Young award winner. Now surprisingly that’s not all. I also heard that he should be the AL MVP and one person went so far as to say that Mike Trout is now the second best player on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Now all of this is happening after just 2 starts and 19 at bats. Am I the only one who thinks it might be a little too early to start handing him all of the awards. Don’t forget that these are the same people that wanted Otani to start the season in the minor leagues after the spring training he had.

The Angels plan is for Otani to pitch every Sunday. If he’s healthy and makes ever start he’ll end up with 27 starts. That will put him three to five starts behind guys he’ll be competing with for the Cy Young. Will voters take that into consideration when they’re casting their votes. Would he need to win 18 games to be a serious Cy Young contender?

You can look at the MVP race the same way. If Otani is going to be the Angels DH three times a week; will he get enough at bats to be a serious contender for the MVP? He’ll be in a race with guys who are hitting six or seven days at week and getting 600 plus at bats. Can you really look at him as an MVP when he’ll have a limited number of at bats compared to his competition.

Right now it’s a great baseball story, but the people who get paid to talk about baseball for a living have to learn to get themselves under control and stop handing out end of the season awards after 10 games.

Otani is going to be fun to watch, but now that he’s gotten some at bats under his belt in the regular season teams will start to adjust to him. How are these people going to react if he’s to go into a slump. How quickly will they jump off of the Otani bandwagon?

The NHL playoffs get started tonight with three game. There are two games dropping the puck at 6:00 p.m. in my time zone. One game has the Minnesota Wild at the Winnipeg Jets while the other game has the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pittsburgh Penguins. The late game tonight has the Los Angeles Kings at the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

The other five first round series get started on Thursday night. Again there are two games that will start at 6:00 p.m. in my area. The New Jersey Devils visit the Tampa Bay Lighting while the Toronto Maple Leafs are at the Boston Bruins. 30 minutes after that the next game starts. That game has the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Washington Capitals. The 8:30 p.m. game in my area has the Colorado Avalanche at the Nashville Predators. The night wraps up with the San Jose Sharks at the Anaheim Ducks.

I am playing the bracket challenge on NHL.com. I have the Predators facing the Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Capitals winning the Cup in six games.

Today is the last day of the NBA regular season and there are 12 games on the schedule and believe it or not there is still some drama in the Western Conference.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets are tied for the 8th and final Western Conference playoff spot. The Timberwolves hold the tiebreaker, but that’s not going to matter. These two teams face each other tonight in Minnesota. So quite simply the winner gets in and the loser goes home.

The Nuggets are coming in as the hotter team as they’ve won six in a row and are 8-2 over their last 10 games. Minnesota has won their last two games, but they are just 6-4 in their last 10 games.

Who do you have grabbing that last Western Conference playoff spot the Nuggets or the Timberwolves?

Heading into the playoffs how big of a winning streak do you want to be on? There is always talk that a team can peak to early and that may be the question right now with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Philadelphia won it’s 15th game in a row last night and they are currently a game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia will try to make it 16 in a row tonight as they host the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks aren’t playing for anything tonight as they are locked into the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. Now if the 76ers do win this game and claim the #3 spot this will be the first round playoff match up.

Now if the 76ers winning streak ends tonight and the Cavaliers get a win over the New York Knicks it will be Cleveland that is the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and they would face Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs.

While the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference will face the Bucks whoever ends up as the 4th seed will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs.

The question ight be here would it be better for the 76ers to drop this final game heading into the playoffs just to possible remind them of what it’s like to lose. Or do you think it’s better for them to keep rolling and head into the playoffs on a 16 game winning streak?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalklRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: April 7, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With the spring training he had how many of you are surprised by the start Shohei Ohtani has gotten off to? Ohtani hit his 3rd home run in 3 games last night as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim beat the Oakland A’s 13-9 last night.

Ohtani is hitting .389 on the season with those 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s, he has also scored 4 runs. In 18 official at bats Ohtani had struck out 4 times while drawing 1 walk. Remember at the end of spring training there where people who thought it would be best for Ohtani to start the season in Triple-A. Ohtani was just 4 for 32 in spring training which is a .125 batting average. He also had 10 strikeouts in spring training. It appears that the adjustments he made from the end of spring training to the start of the season have been effective, but we’re still just 8 games into the Angels season; so there’s a long way to go.

Ohtani has only made 1 start as a pitcher as the plan is for him to start every Sunday. His first start was just average in today’s game. He pitched 6 innings and recorded the win in his start. He gave up 3 runs on 3 hits while walking 1 batter and striking out 6. After 1 start his ERA is 4.50. Starting on a certain day is the way that the Japanese League handles it’s pitchers and it appears as though the Angels are going to try and keep Ohtani on that schedule.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who did this, but I actively stayed away from Ohtani in my fantasy drafts after the spring he had. Right now it looks like I may have made a mistake, but like I mentioned there’s a long way to go in the season and will see if Ohtani can continue to make adjustments as the league adjust to him.

On Thursday night the Chicago Cubs cruised to an 8-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of their four game weekend series. It was just one of those nights for the Brewers and in the 9th inning they decided to give their closer Corey Knebel an inning of work. Now teams do this quite a bit in blowouts if there closer hasn’t thrown in a few days, but sadly for the Brewers this time it didn’t go their way.

Knebel struck out Addison Russell to start the inning. He then proceeded to hit Javier Baez before Jason Heyward hit his first home run of the season off of Knebel. This seems to be another thing that happens to closers when they come into games in non-save situations or games that aren’t close; they give up runs. Knebel then struck out Ian Happ for the second out of the inning. Tommy LaStella was announced as a pinch hitter and while Knebel was facing him he went down to the ground after throwing a pitch and grabbed his hamstring. Knebel had to be removed from the game and is expected to miss 6 weeks with that hamstring injury. The Brewers placed Knebel on the Disabled List after the game while utility man Hernan Perez ended up coming in to pitch.

Knebel appeared in 76 games for the Brewers last season and recorded 39 saves. in the 76 innings Knebel pitched last season he struck out 126 batters giving him one of the higher strikeouts per 9 innings ratios at 14.9. Knebel made 3 appearances for the Brewers this season and had 1 save.

It’s unclear who the Brewers will plug into the closers role while Knebel is out, but they have some options. Jeremy Jeffress has some closing experience while veteran Dan Jennings could be used against as a closing option against left handers. Jacob Barnes has a save this season; so maybe he’ll get a shot, but there’s a chance that Josh Hader could also get a chance as closer.

Fantasy players will have to keep their eyes on the Brewers bullpen to see who’s getting the closing opportunities and see if that guy could be worth a waiver claim.

Are the Philadelphia 76ers a threat to win the Eastern Conference?

Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists as the 76ers held on to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-129 last night.

At halftime the 76ers actually had a 23 points lead 78-55, but the Cavaliers came back and actually had a chance to tie the game, but Lebron James missed the second of three free throws forcing him to intentionally miss the third. On the intentional miss Larry Nance Jr. had a shot at a tip in, but it didn’t go in and the 76ers held on.

It was the 76ers 5th straight win without Joel Embiid. Embiid is out with a fractured orbital bone and is dealing with concussion issues. It’s been reported that Embiid will miss 2 to 4 weeks.

Even in the loss James had a huge night. He had his own triple-double with 44 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

With the win last night Philadelphia and Cleveland have flipped flopped spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The 76ers have taken over 3rd place while the Cavaliers have fallen to 4th. If it stays this way the 76ers will meet the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs while the Cavaliers will face off against the Indiana Pacers.

Philadelphia has three games left in the regular season. They host the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night. The travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Tuesday night (April 10th) and then their season wraps up on April 11th at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Cleveland has two games left to move back into 3rd place. Interestingly the Cavaliers final two games are against the same team; the New York Knicks. On Monday April 9th Cleveland travels to New York to face the Knicks and then on Wednesday April 11th the Knicks will visit the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Both Philadelphia and Cleveland have clinched playoff spots; so all they have left is to play for seeding. Depending on how important it is to a team you might see them try to rest some of their players in these last few games.

Don’t forget that the Sports Time radio podcast airs live six days a week on BlogTalkRadio.com. We’re on Monday thru Friday from 5:30 p.m. til 6:30 p.m. and then we’re on Sunday morning from 10:00 a.m. til 12:00 p.m.

You can also listen to the podcast any time you want over at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look for me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Alex Cobb waited and waited and while he was the last bigger named free agent to get signed he finally did get a deal. Cobb signed a four year $57 million dollar deal with the Baltimore Orioles; pending a physical of course.

There was talk through the off season that the Orioles would be looking at add starting pitching. Cobb will join the returning Chris Tillman, free agent signing Andrew Cashner as well as Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in Baltimore’s rotation. Of course what order these pitcher will start in is yet to be determined, but it won’t be long before we know that as well.

The question now is how long will it take Cobb to be ready to make his first start. The Orioles open the season with a three game series against the Minnesota Twins starting next Thursday March 29th. My guess is Gausman, Bundy and Cashner get those starts with Tillman probably getting the start at the home opener April 2nd against the Houston Astros. Is there any chance at all that Cobb would be ready to start the second game of the Astros series? If Cob doesn’t start against the Astros the New York Yankees are the next team that comes to Baltimore. Maybe that’s the series Cobb gets his first start in.

Now Cobb has never been a pitcher who goes deep into games. He has three career complete games in 115 career starts. You have to wonder if he’ll even be able to get through five innings in his first couple of starts. Now you’ll heard that he’s been working out and that he’s in great shape, but he hasn’t faced a live hitter yet and that’s a big deal.

Cobb didn’t quite get the $20 million dollars a season like he demanded when free agency started, but he will get $14.25 million dollars a season.

While the addition of Cobb improves the Orioles starting rotation is it enough to make them a playoff contender? The American League East looks top heavy with the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox expected to compete for 1st place. It’s also expected that the team that doesn’t finish in 1st place will end up with one of the American League wild card spots. If that ends up being the case the Orioles will have just one wild card spot to play for against the rest of the American League. Do you see the Orioles grabbing that other wild card spot?

With the retirement of Danica Patrick there are currently no female drivers in either of the top two NASCAR series. Jennifer Jo Cobb has competed in some Camping World Truck Series events, but her team is underfunded and they don’t run a full time schedule. I’m not sure if Cobb has shown enough behind the wheel of a truck to move up to the Xfinity series which would be the next step before reaching the top level Monster Energy Series.

Now it’s unclear how long it will be before we she another full time driver in one of NASCAR’s top two series, but when the time comes that driver might be Hailie Deegan. Deegan is just 16 years old and has been racing in the K&N Pro Series. In the K&N Pro Series West opener last Thursday at Kern County Raceway in California Deegan came home in 7th place just three spots behind Kevin Harvick, yes that Kevin Harvick.

If her last name sounds a little familiar to you it’s possible you know her father, X-Games Motorcyclist Brian Deegan. Deegan has a list of career achievements including and X-Games gold medal. When asked about his daughter making it into NASCAR he used the terms “time” and “hard work” in his answer.

Hailie is currently driving the #19 car a Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing. How will Hailie do in the next K&N Pro Series West event in Tucson Arizona on May 5th? Then down the road will she be the next full time woman behind the wheel in one of the top two NASCAR series?

Led By James Harden’s 42 points the Houston Rockets ended the Portland Trailblazers 13 game winning streak last night with a 115-111 victory. The win was also the Rockets 6th in a row and that is currently the longest winning streak in the NBA. Chris Paul was the only other Rockets starter to score in double figures with 22 points. Eric Gordon added 18 points off the bench while Luc Mbah a Moute also reached double figures coming off the bench with 13 points.

The Trailblazers winning streak cane at a good time as it pushed them into 3rd place in the Western Conference. The playoffs race in the Western Conference is really bunched up with the exception of the top two spots.

With just 11 games left on their schedule the 4 games ahead of a banged up Golden State Warriors team it appears as though the Rockets will ne the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Even though their dealing with quite a few injuries right now the Warriors are still 9 games ahead of the Trailblazers in the standings and should stay in the #2 spot. Now from 3rd on down it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Portland is currently holding that #3 spot, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are just 2 games behind them with the New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs just 3 games out of 3rd place. The Minnesota Timberwolves are in 7th place, but they’re just 3 1/2 games out of 3rd place while it’s the Utah Jazz who have that 8th and final playoff spot right now. The Jazz are 4 games out of that 3rd place spot, but they are also just 2 games ahead of the Denver Nuggets who are the first team out of the playoffs right now. Even the Los Angeles Clippers have to be considering a playoff contender as they’re in 10th place, but are just 2 1/2 games out of that final playoff spot.

With the way the Western Conference standings are right now it’s going to make these final 10 plus games interesting for these teams.

Quickly over in the Eastern Conference it looks as though there eight playoff teams have been decided. The Milwaukee Bucks currently sit in 8th place, but they have a 6 1/2 game lead over the 9th place Detroit Pistons. While mathematically the Pistons still have a chance to get into the playoffs they’re going to need Milwaukee to go on a losing streak down the stretch.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that the podcast is available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: March 17, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, College Basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament started on Thursday and last night there was history made. For the first time in tournament history a 16th seeded team beat a #1 seed.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County or UMBC beat the #1 seeded University of Virginia 74-54 in 1st round tournament action last night. Not only was Virginia a #1 seed, but they where the #1 overall seed in the entire tournament.

The game was tied at 21 all after the 1st half and it looked as though the game was setting up the way Virginia likes to play. UMBC scored the first six points of the 2nd half and they where on their way to building a double digit lead. With 16:24 left to play Joe Sherburne hit a 3-pointer to give UMBC their first double digit lead at 36-24. Virginia was never able to get the lead under 12 points after that. As the game went on UMBC slowly added to their lead and in the end they picked up a 20 point win74-54 over Virginia.

Senior guard Jairus Lyles was the games leading scorer with 28 points for UMBC. Sherburne added 14 points while K.J. Maura had 10 points for UMBC. Arkel Lamar had a double-double for the Retrievers scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome each scored 15 points to lead Virginia in scoring. Seven players in total scored for the Cavaliers.

Of course with the win UMBC advances to the 2nd round of the tournament. On Sunday they will play the Kansas State Wildcats. Kansas State advanced to the 2nd round with a 69-59 victory over the Creighton Blue Jays.

Of course one of the first questions that’s going to come up with you and your friends after this upset is, how’s your bracket? Well here’s what I think is a humorous story about my brackets.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know and or watch a lot of college basketball, but like a lot of people I enjoy filling out a tournament bracket. Now one of the things I always do is just fill out one bracket. While I understand that the more brackets you fill out the better chance you have to be right I just can’t handle filling out more than one bracket. Accidentally this year I ended up filling out two. I joined the group I was in last year and set up e reminder for myself so I could go in and fill out the bracket. When I got the reminder I clicked the link and it brought me to a blank bracket; so I filled it out. What I didn’t realize was the link to me to a generic bracket and not the one I had set up earlier. Since I was to lazy to go in and delete the work I had just done that I decided to just go ahead and fill out the second bracket.

Now it’s time for me to show off my college basketball knowledge. In the first bracket I did I had the Virginia Cavaliers winning the whole thing. Yes, you got it the same Virginia team that was just upset by the #16 seed last night. My other three Final Four teams Houston, Michigan State and Purdue did all advance, but my champion in this bracket was gone.

Now admittedly I took a few more chances with my second bracket because I didn’t want it to look to similar to my other bracket. After listening to some of the experts who have been watching college basketball all season I thought that the University of Arizona would be a good choice to win it all in my second bracket. Well on Thursday Arizona was beaten 89-68 by the University of Buffalo. Now again my other three Final Four teams Xavier, Villanova and Michigan State (again) all advanced.

As you can clearly see my college basketball knowledge really helped me out in picking a tournament winner. So as you can guess my bracket is a bit of a mess. Feel free to let me know how your bracket held up through Round 1.

We’re inching closer and closer to the start of the baseball season and there are a few teams out there still adding some of the lingering free agents.

There had been reports that the Washington Nationals where interested in added one more veteran starting pitcher. It seemed as though Jake Arrieta was going to be their target, but they where waiting for his asking price to go down. After the Philadelphia Phillies locked up Arrieta with a three year $75 million dollar deal the Nationals had to start looking elsewhere. Of course the first name to come to mind would’ve been Alex Cobb, but the Nationals went with some one else.

The Nationals chose to go with former 2011 American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson, who they signed to a minor league contract with and invitation to the major league side of spring training. Hellickson made 20 starts for the Phillies last season before they traded him to the Baltimore Orioles where had made 10 starts. Over those 30 starts Hellickson was 8-11 with a 5.43 ERA covering 164 innings.

Hellickson pitched well for the Phillies in 2016, but didn’t have any luck on the free agent market then either and re-signed with Philadelphia for the qualifying offer of $17.2 million dollars. After what was a down year in 2017 Hellickson will be given a chance to earn the 5th starters spot with the Nationals.

Are you worried about Shohei Ohtani? In an inning and a third against the Colorado Rockies Ohtani gave up 7 runs on 7 hits. Now this was just his second spring start, but in his first start he also pitched 1 1/3rd innings. His numbers weren’t that much better in that start as he gave up 2 runs on one hit which was a home run.

I’m not sure if panic would be the right word to use here, but there has to be some concern from the Angels as Ohtani hasn’t hit particularly well this spring either. In 20 at bats Ohtani has 2 hits and has struck out 7 times.

I’m sure if you could get the Angels to comment on Ohtani they’d tell you that they expected their to be a learning curve, but with the season getting under way in less than two weeks you have to wonder how they’re really feeling.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can also listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Remember to look for me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: March 7, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Yesterday NFL teams had to decide if they where going to give any of their players the franchise or transition tag and some choose to. There where five players given the franchise tag and one given the transition tag. Here’s who they are.

It comes as no surprise that the Pittsburgh Steelers gave the franchise tag to Le’Veon Bell. This is the second year in a row that Bell has been franchised tag and he has shown his displeasure and has threatened to hold out or retire. This is really the only move the Steelers had to make since they have been unable to agree on a new contract with Bell. It’s not like they where going to let Bell go out onto the free agent market and get nothing in return for him. Since this is the second tag in a row for Bell if he decides to play under the franchise tag he’d be guaranteed $14.54 million dollars for next season.

The Detroit Lions used their franchise tag on defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah has been the Lions best pass rusher for the last five seasons racking up 44 sacks over that time. After an injury plagued 2016 season Ansah bounced back and recorded a team high 12 sacks. Under the franchise tag Ansah will make $17.143 million dollars next season.

The Dallas Cowboys also used their franchise tag on a defensive end. The Cowboys decided to out the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence, but they’re hoping to work out a long term deal with him. The Cowboys have been looking for a top notch pass rusher for a long time and Lawrence seems to fit that bill. Lawrence had a team leading 14 1/2 sacks last season. If a long term deal can’t be worked out Lawrence would also play for the same salary as Ansah next season $17.143 million dollars.

The Los Angeles Rams have made quite a few moves this off season and yesterday they used their franchise tag on linebacker LaMarcus Joyner. The Rams waited longer than any team yesterday to announce who they where using there franchise tag on. The y had to decided between Joyner and Sammy Watkins and since the Rams went with Joyner Watkins will become a free agent. Joyner made 39 tackles last season while assisting on 10 other. He also defended 9 passes, intercepting 3 and returning one for a touchdown. Under the franchise tag Joyner would make $14.961 million dollars.

We’ve known for a while now, but the Miami Dolphins made it official yesterday as they applied their franchise tag to wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry has told the Dolphins that he will sign the tender. The Dolphins have allowed Landry to talk to other teams and see if there’s a possibility of a trade happening. Landry is coming off of a 112 catch 9 touchdown season. Under the franchise tag Landry would make $15.982 million dollars.

The Chicago Bears where the team that used the one transition tag yesterday. Chicago applied the transition tag to cornerback Kyle Fuller. Fuller was the Bears 1st round draft pick in 2014 and Chicago declined the 5th year option on Fuller’s contract before last season. Fuller went out and had the best year of his career causing the Bears to tag him. Under the transition tag Fuller will make $12.97 million dollars, but he is allowed to negotiate with other teams. Chicago can match any other teams offer sheets, but it will receive no compensation if it declines to match.

Will have to see which if any of these players can workout long term deals with their teams or if they play under the franchise or transition tag.

There’s been a lot of talk about “tanking” in sports, but the term really got it’s start in the NBA and it seems as though the league is going to try and crack down on these teams.

The league actually sent a warning to the Chicago Bulls and their head coach Fred Hoiberg about resting healthy players. Hoiberg has sat center Robin Lopez for the past six games as a healthy scratch. Swingman Justin Holiday has also been a healthy scratch in five of the last six games.

It is being reported that the Bulls are planning to play Lopez and Holiday “more extensively to close out the season” is how the team put it.

The Bulls of course wouldn’t admit to tanking, but come now what team ever has. The way the Bulls have gone about it is that after the All-Star break coach Hoiberg would be prioritizing minutes for the younger players over the veterans. It’s basically the nice way to say that you want your team to lose games or “tank”.

The Bulls are 1-5 since the All-Star break and have lost seven of their last ten games. For the season the Bulls are 21-42 which is the 8th worst record in the NBA. If the Bulls where to stay in that spot in the standings they’d have a 9.9% chance to move up into the Top 3 in June’s draft.

It would be interesting to know if the teams with the seven worst records than the Bulls where contacted about possibly tanking.

We do know after the Bulls where warned Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to all 30 NBA teams which made it clear that the league would not stand for teams blatantly tanking. This also comes after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 after saying that it would be better for his team to lose games late in the season.

From losing to winning in the NBA as the Houston Rockets picked up their 16th straight win with a 122-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the win the Rockets improved to 50-13 and are currently the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

The Rockets had seven players score in double figures led by Chris Paul with 25 points. James Harden had 23 points and a team high 11 assists, but also committed 10 turnovers in the game. P.J. Tucker led the Rockets on rebounds with 6.

Russell Westbrook was the games high scorer with 32 points and he also handed out a team high 7 assists while Steven Adams grabbed a team high 8 rebounds for Oklahoma City.

Houston has to turn right around and put their winning streak back on the line tonight as they travel to Milwaukee to face the 34-30 Bucks.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget that I’m on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: February 24, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in Auto Racing, basketball, football, NASCAR, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

After being upset in the 1st round of the NFL playoffs last season the Kansas City Chiefs have made some big trades this off season.

The Chiefs started making changes very quickly starting with trading Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 3rd round draft pick. Looking at this deal now it’s interesting that the Chiefs acquired a cornerback in this deal and Fuller is looked upon as a starter.

Yesterday the Chiefs traded another Pro Bowler as they sent cornerback Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams for what is being reported as a package of draft picks. It appears as though we might not find out the details of this traded until March 14th when the trade can become official.

While the Rams are getting a top cornerback in Peters he does come with some baggage. Just last season Peters had a meltdown after a penalty and ended up throwing the referees flag into the stands. After that he thought he had been ejected and went to the locker room, but it turned out he hadn’t been and returned to the field without all of his pads on and no socks. Kansas City did suspend Peters for a game after this incident. There where also times when Peters was seen yelling at Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on the sidelines. Peters also had an issue in college where he was kicked off the team at the University of Washington in 2014.

Even with the behavioral issues that Peters has shown, he is a fantastic talent on the field. He was a 1st round draft pick (#18 overall) by the Chiefs in the 2015 draft. Peters led the NFL with 8 interceptions and 2 returns for touchdowns as a rookie. Peters picked up 6 interceptions in 2016 and 5 last season. His 19 total interceptions lead the NFL for the three seasons he’s been in the league. Peters has made two Pro-Bowl and was voted 1st team All-Pro in 2016.

Peters is moving to defense that’s run by Wade Phillips and most experts seem to believe that Phillips will be good for the temperamental Peters. Phillips has had success with these type of emotional cornerback before. Phillips has been given credit for corralling the emotions of Aqib Talib when he was running the Denver Broncos defense. When Phillips was with the Broncos they won a Super Bowl and Talib made his first career Pro-Bowl. Will have to see how the working relationship between Peters and Phillips goes next season.

The Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-102 last night in a game that featured two teams will see in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Timberwolves may have lost more than just a game last night as All-Star guard Jimmy Butler was helped off the court with a knee injury. Butler grabbed an offensive rebound away from Nene and as he was going to go back up and try to score he went down and grabbed his right knee. The original fear was that it might be an ACL tear as Butler himself was heard saying “it’s torn” while being helped off the court. X-Rays where negative, but Butler will have an MRI today to try and see what the severity of the injury might be.

Butler is the NBA’s leader in minutes played, but that’s no surprise as Tom Thibodeau has always played Butler a lot of minutes going back to their days with the Chicago Bulls.

Butler has played in 56 of the Timberwolves 62 games this season and is averaging 22.2 points per game. Butler has always been considered an all around player as he also pitches in with 6.2 rebounds per game, 5.5 assists per game and 1.9 blocked shots per game. Butler is also a solid defensive player which is difficult to find in the NBA these days.

Butler’s injury will probably be the deciding factor on how the Timberwolves season goes. Minnesota hasn’t been to the playoffs in 11 years, but it looks as though that streak will come to and end this season as they are currently 4th in the Western Conference with a record of 36-26. While Minnesota is 10 games over .500 they are just 3 games out of the 9th spot in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves struggle mightily on offense without Butler.

If Butler was to miss the rest of the season or even say 10 to 15 games, would the Timberwolves be able to hang on to a playoff spot while he recovers?

We haven’t spent a lot of time talking about NASCAR on the Sports Time Radio podcast this year, but their season kicked off last week with the Daytona 500.

It was an exciting race that featured lots of crashes as most restrictor plate races in NASCAR do, but in the end it was Austin Dillon who found himself in victory lane when it was all said and done.

After a late race crash the Daytona 500 was headed to overtime. It appeared as though Aric Almirola was going to pick up the win, but Dillon received a big push from  Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. down the backstretch on the second and final lap of overtime. As Almirola moved up the racetrack to block, but Dillon made contact with Almirola’s rear bumper turning him sideways and turning him into the wall as Dillon and Wallace went by coming out of Turn 3.

Dillon and Wallace went on to finish one, two in the race in a couple of cars with iconic numbers. Dillon drivers for his grandfather Richard Childress, piloting the #3 car made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wallace posted the best finish ever by an African-American driver in the Daytona 500, surpassing the 13th-place result of NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in 1966. Wallace drives the #43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports. Of course the #43 was made famous by “The King” Richard Petty himself.

Rounding out the Top 5 at Daytona. Denny Hamlin #11 cane home 3rd with Joey Logano #22 in 4th and Chris Buescher #37 finishing 5th.

This Sunday the drivers head to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. Kyle Busch will start on the pole after posting a speed of 184.652 miles per hour. Ryan Newman qualified 2nd with Kevin Harvick 3rd, Daniel Suarez 4th and Brad Keselowski round out the Top 5.

Remember that you can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look for me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: February 21, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

We’re coming off NBA All-Star weekend and while the game itself is clearly the worst out of any of the major sports All-Star games there was some interesting talk about the league itself.

How would you like to see an NBA where there are four divisions and no conferences? In this format the best 16 teams record wise would make the playoffs with the four division winners getting the Top 4 seeds.

This type of format has been talked about quite a bit especially when the Western Conference was clearly the better of the two conferences. At one point there where teams over .500 or close to it in the Western Conference missing out on the playoffs, but in the Eastern Conference teams under .500 where getting into the playoffs.

It is a little odd that the talk of this really seemed to heat up during this All-Star break when right now there aren’t too much difference in the standings. Right now the Miami Heat hold down the 8th and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a record of 30-28. If you where to take the Heat and move them into the Western Conference they’d be tied for 9th and one game out of the final playoff spot. There are still about 25 games left in the regular season for this to shale out; so will see how much the standings change, but right now there’s not a huge difference.

It’s an interesting idea for the NBA and it’s something I’d like to see them do. It could also give them a chance to finally move the Memphis Grizzlies out of the Western Conference. Would you like to see the NBA go away from the Eastern and Western Conferences and go to this four division set up? Or do you have another idea for them to get the best teams into the playoffs?

While I do think this is a good idea for the NBA to do it doesn’t change the fact that there are only three or four teams that look like they can win the NBA title without a major upset taking place.

In the Eastern Conference the Toronto Raptors currently have the best record, but I’m not sure how many people believe that they’re a threat to win the NBA title. The Raptors have won their division three of the last four seasons, but have only been to the conference finals one time. Toronto needs to prove it can win in the playoffs before they will be taken seriously as a title contender.

The Boston Celtics have the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference right now, but after looking like the team to beat early in the season there have been some questions about them. The Celtics where a little flat coming into the All-Star break dropping three straight games and people are starting to think they might be running out of gas. These final 23 games will be a test to see where and how this team looks heading into the playoffs.

Of course you can’t forget about the new look Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland had won four games in a row heading into the All-Star break and looked like a true contender after their big trade. You have to wonder if the trade just energized the team for a few games or if it’s the turning point to their season. Again this is something will find out as the team plays out the regular season. Of course the Cavaliers are and always will be considered title contenders as long as LeBron James is wearing their uniform.

Believe it or not it was the Houston Rockets who had the best record in the Western Conference heading into the All-Star break not the Golden State Warriors. Now to be fair the Rockets only have a 1/2 game lead over the Warriors, but it’s something different and it looks like the Western Conference is a two team race.

The Rockets took two of three from the Warriors in the teams season series; so that may help them get over any kind of a mental hurdle they could have facing a team that’s won two of the last three NBA titles. Houston appears to be the only team in the NBA that can score with the Warriors. Golden State currently scores 1.7 points a game more than the Rockets do. Are the Rockets the team to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals this season?

Of course you can never write off Golden State as they’ve been to three straight NBA Finals winning two of them. The Warriors not only lead the NBA in pints per game, but they’re also the best 3-point shooting team in the league. Golden State is shooting 39.2% from behind the 3-point line. Something you don’t hear a lot about, but the Warriors are also the best free throw shooting team in the NBA at 81.1% and that could come into play in the playoffs. Do you have the Warriors going to a 4th straight NBA Finals?

Are these the five teams you have at the top of your list to win the NBA title? Or do you see a team like the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves or maybe even the Washington Wizards being a surprise team in the playoffs this season?

We had a three team trade in Major League Baseball yesterday and here’s how it shakes out. The New York Yankees receive Brandon Drury. The Arizona Diamondbacks receive Steven Souza and Taylor Widener while the Tampa Bay Rays receive Anthony Banda and Nick Solak. It’s also been reported that the Diamondbacks will receive two players to be named later as part of this deal.

Looking at this deal it appears as though the Rays are going into rebuilding mode. In just the past week the Rays have traded Souza and pitcher Jake Odorizzi and designated outfielder Corey Dickerson. Add those players to the earlier traded Evan Longoria and the fact that they’ve allowed both Logan Morrison and Lucas Duda to become free agents and while both are still available the Rays have shown no interest in bringing either player back. If you’re a Rays fan you have to wonder how longer it will be before you see Chris Archer traded.

The Yankees had expressed some interest in Drury early in the off season, but couldn’t get a deal done with the Diamondbacks. The plan is for Drury to take over at 3rd base for the Yankees as their infield will feature a couple of new players. Starlin Castro and Chase Headley where dealt in the off season and while it looks as thought top prospects Gleyber Torres will be given a chance to win the job as the everyday 2nd baseman with Drury at 3rd. There was talk that Miguel Andújar would be given a shot at the 3rd base job it makes sense for the Yankees to bring in a younger veteran like Drury. Andújar has just 5 games of major league experience and Torres has never played in the majors. While Drury has played just 41 games at 3rd base in his major league career he does have two full years of major league experience. There was some talk that the Yankees would sign Mike Moustakas to play 3rd base for them, but with this move it looks as though the Yankees might be set. The Yankees had made it a point this off season to try and stay under or around the luxury tax line and signing someone like Moustakas would push them past their goal.

The Diamondbacks where trying their best to find a way to bring back J.D. Martinez, but he decided to sign with the Boston Red Sox; so they’re turning to Souza to help fill the power void Martinez left. It was a bit of a surprise for the Diamondbacks to add Souza. They had just signed Jarrod Dyson to a two year deal and they have a pretty solid outfield in place with A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas. Now Pollock will be a free agent after this season and Tomas hasn’t quite lived up too his contract, but it’s going to be tough for Arizona manager Torey Lovullo to find enough at bats for these guys. Who knows maybe Arizona has another deal planned that would move one of the outfielders they had on their roster.

What do you think about this deal? Who do you think got the better end of it?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: February 14, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I’m sure I’ve mentioned multiple times that the Sports Time Radio podcast emanates from the Chicago suburbs. The four of us that you hear on the podcast all live in the Chicagoland area and have a rooting interest in the Chicago teams. Sadly right now it seems as though we have just baseball season to look forward to.

For about 10 seasons the Chicago Blackhawks where a serious threat to win the Stanley Cup and they did actually win it three times in six seasons. Now the Blackhawks have fallen. Last season they did get into the playoffs, but they where quickly eliminated in the 1st round. This season it’s even worse for the Blackhawks as they are currently in last place in the Central division. Through 57 games this season the Blackhawks are 24-25-8 and have 56 points. Last night the Blackhawks lost their 7th straight game 5-2 to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Now there are some obvious reason for the Blackhawks slipping to where they are. They’ve had salary cap issues since winning their first Stanley Cup. Injuries are always a factor as they lots Marion Hossa probably forever and Corey Crawford has played just 28 games in goal for them this season. There is also the fact that the rest of the NHL has just caught up to the Blackhawks. Chicago was really one of the first teams in the NHL to embrace the speed side of the game and it paid off in multiple Stanley Cup’s.

How do the Blackhawks fix this, is what everyone wants to know. First off a healthy Crawford makes them a lot better, but they also need their young guys to perform like they’re expected to.

Nick Schmaltz is 20 years old and has 15 goals and 24 assists while Alex DeBrincat who is just 19 years old has 21 goals and 16 assists this season. Ryan Hartman is just 22 years old and is putting up solid number with 7 goals and 15 assists, but they’re really the only two younger Blackhawks who have been good this season. Connor Murphy looks to be coming along as a defenseman and is just 23 years old; so there are some guys who look like they can contribute in the future.

Of course the Blackhawks also need their top guys to stay as top guys. Patrick Kane is still that guy. Kane is tied for the team lead in goals with 21 and leads the team in assists with 32. Jonathan Toews is having another solid season as he has 15 goals and 21 assists. It’s difficult to believe that Duncan Keith doesn’t have a goal through 57 games and is a -13. Keith is a former Norris Trophy winner and his struggles on defense and the teams struggles on defense as a whole may be the biggest issues the Blackhawks will need to correct this coming off season.

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp where both brought back to help this team out and it hasn’t paid off this season. Saad has 13 goals and 11 assists while Sharp has 6 goals and 8 assists. While it’s nice to see the guys who where here when the team started winning Stanley Cup’s, it would be nice if they added something.

Now any team that has Kane and Toews on it can turn things around quickly; so don’t be surprised if the Blackhawks are back in the playoffs next season.

Of course the other big time winter sport is basketball and in Chicago we have the tanking Chicago Bulls.

It’s humorous that the Bulls would prefer to lose games and they’ve some how managed to win 20 games so far this season. There are seven teams in the NBA with worse records than the Bulls and to rebuild and rebuild quickly you need to be drafting inside the Top 5 and in some cases inside the Top 3 to improve quickly.

As you look at the current Bulls roster it’s unclear if any of these players with the exception of Lauri Markkanen will still be with the team when they get back into the playoffs. There are high hopes for Zach LaVine, but he’s coming back from injury and has to prove that he’s more than just a highlight dunker. The Bulls where very interested in Kris Dunn in the 2016 draft, but the Minnesota Timberwolves took him with the 5th pick. Chicago acquired Dunn with LaVine and the draft pick that turned out to be Markkanen for Jimmy Butler and a draft pick that Minnesota used on Justin Patton. Dunn was solid for the Bulls until he got injured. It looks as though Dunn will return tonight against the Toronto Raptors, but it’s unclear how many minutes he’ll actually get. Do you see LaVine or Dunn being on a Bulls playoff team?

While it seems as though tanking is the way to go in the NBA. Remember that the Philadelphia 76ers started their rebuild in 2013 and they still haven’t found their way back into the playoffs and still aren’t close to contending for an NBA title. How far away from the playoffs are the Bulls? and how long will it take them to be an NBA title contender?

Luckily for us here in the Chicagoland area it’s almost baseball season. With the addition of Yu Darvish the Chicago Cubs should be considered a World Series contender.

The Cubs should have a very good starting rotation with Darvish being added to the likes of Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood. The biggest pitching question the Cubs have is will their closer hold up. Brandon Morrow is taking the role for the very first time. Morrow was injury prone as a starter, but seems to have found a home in the bullpen. Morrow made 45 appearances last season covering 43 2/3rd innings, but as a closer he’ll be asked to pitch more than he did last season which was his first full season in the bullpen. The Cubs also signed Steve Cishek this off season. Cishek was the closer for the Seattle Mariners in 2016 until he had some struggles and was replaced by Edwin Diaz. Cishek has posted two 30 plus save seasons in his career and could be a good back up if Morrow struggles.

With an everyday line up that should be one of the best in baseball and now a starting rotation that should compare to anyone’s, the only question the Cubs may have is will that bullpen hold up.

Baseball wise Chicago also has the White Sox. Now the White Sox started their rebuild last season and where some promising signs heading into this season.

A young rotation featuring a healthy Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez should be interesting to watch. It’s possible that Rodon won’t be ready for opening day and there’s no reason for the White Sox to rush him. After struggling with the Washington Nationals Giolito was good in his 7 starts for the White Sox last season. Giolito posted a 2.38 E.R.A. while going 3-3 and pitching 45 1/3rd innings. Lopez made 8 starts and went 3-3 as well, but had a higher E.R.A. at 4.72 over 47 2/3rd innings.

The White Sox have held onto Jose Abreu so far and look like he’s the veteran they’re going to build around; so they’ll get at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s out of him. Will get to see a full season of Yoan Moncada. Avisail Garcia hit .330 last season; so maybe he’s going to get close to the player a lot of people though he was going to be. Don’t forget that Matt Davidson also hit 26 home runs in 118 games last season.

While the White Sox will probably be a sub .500 team again in 2018 there should be some interesting young players to keep an eye on.

The Sports Time Radio podcast is available for you to listen to live in BlogTalkRadio.com, but you can also listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime.