Archive for the ‘tennis’ Category

With Major League Baseball on their All-Star break, NFL training camps not open yet and the NHL and NBA seasons coming to an end last month I’ve heard this described as the worst week in professional sports. If you’re a fan of the big four sports there hasn’t been a whole lot for you to tune in for. On Monday you have the home run derby to watch and then last you had the actual MLB All-Star game to watch, but you’ll have to come up with something for yourself tonight.

I think the only sporting event that you could watch right now is Wimbledon, but those matches are played in the morning; so you’d have to watch them at night on tape delay. If you are able to watch right now #1 seed Andy Murray is on the court, Murray is facing #24 seeded Sam Querrey. Currently each player has won a set and Murray is up in the third set four games to two.

Last night for the 5th season in a row the American League beat the National League 2-1 in the All-Star game. The game showed fans that as I’m sure you’ve heard before; good pitching beats good hitting. We got an extra inning out of the game as it went 10; so combined over those 20 innings there where 23 strikeouts. The National League pitchers struck out 14 batters while American League pitchers struck out 9. Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 4 batters and was the only National League pitcher to throw two innings. Kenley Jansen of the Los Angels Dodgers pitched one inning and all three outs he recorded where strikeouts. On the American League side Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel of the Boston Red Sox and Dellin Betances of the New York Yankees each struck out 2 batters. Sale was the only American League pitcher to throw more than one inning.

The American League got on the board first in the top of the 5th inning. With two outs on the innings Jonathan Schoop of the Baltimore Orioles doubled. Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins followed that with a single to drive Schoop in to give the American League a 1-0 lead.

The National League tied the game up in the bottom of the 6th inning. After a ground out to start the inning Yader Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals hit a solo home run to right centerfield to make it a 1-1 game.

With the game still tied at 1-1 after the 9th inning was completed I’m sure fans where wondering if we where going to see another tie in the All-Star game. Luckily they didn’t go that route and they played a 10th inning.

In the top of that 10th inning Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners led it off with a solo home run to rightfield to give the American League a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the 10th inning the first two National League batters made outs before Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds drew a walk, but with the game tying run on and the winning run in the batters box it was fittingly a strikeout to end the game.

Cano was named M.V.P. of the game for hitting the game winning home run.

Kimbrel picked up the win in the game and Andrew Miller of the Cleveland Indians got the save. Wade Davis of the Chicago Cubs took the loss as he gave up the home run to Cano.

With the All-Star game in the books there are a couple of days with no games before the regular season get s going again on Friday.

It had been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers where interested in adding a point guard to their roster and there where quite a few rumors out there. In the end the Lakers gave Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a 1 year $18 million dollar deal to join them. Caldwell-Pope is 24 years old and is expected to have a significant role in the Lakers back court. It appears that Caldwell-Pope will be the mentor for #2 overall pick Lonzo Ball.

Caldwell-Pope had a one year $4.9 million dollar qualifying offer that he could’ve taken with the Detroit Pistons, but the Pistons decided to renounce his rights last week.

This deal makes Caldwell-Pope one of the Top 10 highest paid shooting guards and also allows him to go back into free agency after next season.

The Lakers made it a priority to land a player like Caldwell-Pope and still have the salary cap flexibility for next season. There is a chance that the Lakers aren’t done signing players. They met with point guard Rajon Rondo yesterday and they may add him to their back court as well.

Besides the Lakers signing of Caldwell-Pope there where a couple of other players who signed free agent deals. DeWayne Dedmon is leaving the San Antonio Spurs as he signed a two year $14 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Hawks. The New York Knicks also made a singing as they agreed on a two year $8.9 million dollar deal with guard Ron Baker. Baker played in 52 games for the Knicks last season.

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) made it official when they announced that Erik Jones will take over the #20 car from Matt Kenseth for the 2018 season. Jones is currently driving the #77 car as a satellite driver for Furniture Row Racing. Jones is currently 14th in the NASCAR Cup standings as a rookie. Jones has one Top 5 and five Top 10s in his 18 starts and sits 52 points out of the current playoff cutoff.

Having eight wins (including two this year) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the 21-year-old Jones is considered one of the sport’s potential stars. He also has seven wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he has seven career wins.

Jones’ departure from Furniture Row Racing leaves that organization considering returning to a one-car operation. It expanded to two cars for 2017 with Jones and sponsor 5-Hr Energy. Furniture Row Racing has two charters — it purchased a charter from Premium Motorsports prior to the 2017 season — so it would have to sell or lease the No. 77 team charter if it doesn’t field a car in 2018 or else NASCAR could then revoke it and sell it.

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Does the NBA have a problem? There are reports that ratings for TNT and ESPN are down this season. TNT has lost close to 8 points in the ratings while ESPN was said to be down about 5 ratings points. It seems as though fans are only interested in seeing the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers in primetime. No these teams are the Top 3 teams in the NBA and barring an upset in the playoffs you’d have to think Cleveland will play either San Antonio or Golden State in the NBA Finals. So can you blame fans for only really wanted to watch these 3 teams play?

While the Cavaliers lead in the Eastern Conference is just 2 1/2 games over the Toronto Raptors does anyone think that in a 7 game series the Raptors could beat the Cavaliers. The Chicago Bulls are currently 3rd in the Eastern Conference 7 games behind the Cavaliers. Now the Bulls have actually had some success against Cleveland, but have they had enough success to win 4 games in a 7 game series. Then it’s the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics who are ties for 4th place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics did show some flashes against the Cavaliers in last years playoffs, but not enough to win the series. Atlanta had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but it was still the Cavaliers who went to the NBA Finals. Right no the Eastern Conference playoffs would round out with the Miami Heat (6th seed), Detroit Pistons (7th seed) and the Indiana Pacers (8th seed) as the final teams in. There are a few teams that the Cavaliers might drop a game or even two to in a series, but is there a team on that list that’s going to beat the Cavaliers in a 7 game series.

Golden State leads the Western Conference with a record of 42-4. San Antonio is 3 games behind with a record of 39-7. Did you know that neither team has lost a home game this season. The Warriors are 22-0 at home while the Spurs are 25-0 at home. So with the way these two teams are playing on their home courts could a team going into there arena and get a playoff road win? Is that team the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook you’d have t think that Oklahoma City has the best chance to get by either Golden State or San Antonio in a 7 game playoff series. Durant averages 27.2 points per game to go with an average of 8 rebounds a game. Durant also hands out an average of 4.5 assists a game as well. Westbrook is just a triple-double waiting to happen no matter who the opponent is. Westbrook is averaging 24.1 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game and 9.9 assists per game. Oklahoma City also has a big man who can protect the rim in Serge Ibaka who blocks 2.1 shots per game to go along with 12.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game.  Enes Kanter (11.8) and Dion Waiters (10.1) also average double digit points per game for Oklahoma City. This could be the toughest match up besides each other for either Golden State or San Antonio come playoff time. The Los Angeles Clippers are 31-16 and in 4th place in the Western Conference, but with the Blake Griffin situation going on it seems as though the team is more of a dumpster fire than a championship contender. The Clippers will have time to put it together when Griffin returns in 4 to 6 weeks from his broken hand, but can the team gel for a playoff run. The rest of the Western Conference looks like this right now. The Memphis Grizzlies are 5th at 27-20. The Dallas Mavericks are 6th at 27-22. The Houston Rockets are 7th at 25-24 and the Portland Trailblazers currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot with a record of 22-26, but are just a 1/2 ahead of the Utah Jazz. Do you think that the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Rockets, Trailblazers or possible Jazz will have what it takes to beat the Warriors or the Spurs in a 7 game playoff series?

I’ve mentioned on the podcast that I don;t enjoy the style of play that is going on in the NBA right now and I also feel that all I ever really need to watch is the 4th quarter of a game. It’s a drive and kick league now, but when someone kicks the basketball out it’s to the 3-point line for a shot. How many jump shots are taken from within 20 feet in an NBA game? Sadly I could never make it through an entire game to count, but one of these days I might have to try. Of course you wouldn’t count lay ups or dunks. I also have a big issue with the way the referees call the game and it’s really just one simple thing; call traveling. I understand that they want the monster dunks on the highlights, but there are so many other traveling violations in a game that are uncalled. Just last week I was checking in on the Cavaliers game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. While I had the game on I watched a player catch the ball at the 3-point line and his defender came out with him and faced him up. The player with the basketball changed his pivot foot 4 different times to get space from his defender to make a pass and no traveling was called on the play. Now I was able to see this on television; so how did the referee who was just a few feet away from these two players not see the multiple changes of the players pivot feet. Now I’m not saying that you can’t give that guy the extra step on his way too the basket for a monster dunk, but call it when it’s out on the floor in pain sight. Or maybe it’s just time to get rid of the traveling call all together.

While I’m not a huge fan of tennis I do enjoy watching some of a match if Serena Williams is involved. Earlier this morning Williams was in the finals of the Australian Open. While I didn’t get up to watch the match live i did read that Williams lost in the finals 4-6, 6-3, 4-6 to the #7 ranked player in the world Angelique Kerber. It was a big comeback for Kerber who was just 1 point away from being eliminated from the tournament in the opening round. Kerber went from almost going home to winning her 1st Grand Slam title.

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The NFL season officially opened Thursday night in New England as the Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21. Now the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates as the Steelers added a touchdown with 3 seconds remaining in the game t get it to that 28-21 final score. Now I’m sure that all of the fantasy football players out there had their Patriots and Steelers in there line up as that would’ve paid off for them. Tom Brady was 25 for 32 for 288 yards and threw 4 touchdowns. Ben Rothlisberger was very good as well going 26 for 38 and 351 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. With Le’Von Bell suspended the Steelers turned to veteran DeAngelo Williams to run the football and he did well. Williams carried the football 21 times for 127 yards, but didn;t get the goal line carries as Will Johnson got the Steelers rushing touchdown. On the Patriots side it was journeyman Dion Lewis get the most carries in Week 1. Lewis rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries, but did get into the end zone. Lewis did factor a little bit in the New England passing game catching 4 passes for 51 yards while Williams only caught 1 pass for 5 yards for Pittsburgh. If a fantasy owner played either Williams or Lewis he got very good value out of them in Week 1 even without a touchdown from either running back. The receivers is where fantasy owners cashed in on this game. Antonio Brown led the Steelers in receptions with 9 for 133 yards and scored a touchdown. Heath miller added 8 catches out of the tight end position for 84 yards. If you happen to be in a very deep receiver league Darrius Heyward-Bay 4 catches for 58 yards and Markus Wheaton 3 catches for 55 yards would’ve picked up some points for you. It seemed as though New England picked up right where they left off last season. Julian Edelman led the team in receptions with 11 for 97 yards, but it was tight end Rob Gronkowski catching all the touchdown passes from Brady. Gronkowski caught 5 passes for 94 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. The other New England passing touchdown went to another tight end as well, but it was Scott Chandler who had just that 1 catch for 1 yard, but it went for a touchdown. It seems as every year someone thinks that Danny Amendola will finally have a break out season; especially since he’s been with New England. Amendola was targeted 3 times and he caught 2 of those passes for 24 yards. If your league scores defensive players Will Allen had 8 tackles to lead the Steelers and also had a sack. Rookie linebacker Bud Dupree had the Steelers other sack on the night, but added just 2 total tackles. Dont’a Hightower was the Patriots leading tackler with 8; he also had a sack. Jabaal Sheard and Malcolm Brown also picked up a sack apiece for the Patriots. There was only 1 interception in the game and New England’s Duron Harmon was the player who made that interception. It’s always difficult to get the right defensive players in your line up, but hopefully you had the right ones in this game and they put up some points for you.

I don’t think we’ve ever talked about tennis on the Sports Time Radio podcast and I don’t watch tennis except for a highlight here or there, but I have to tell you I was disappointed to hear that Serena Williams lost her semi-final match at the U.S. Open yesterday to Roberta Vinci. Williams won the first set of the match 6-2, but lost the next two sets 4-6 and 4-6. It was a gigantic upset by Vinci; who was unseeded coming into the U.S. Open. It was Williams’ first loss in a Grand Slam singles match this year and ended her bid for the first calendar-year Slam since 1988. Williams had won 26 straight matches in grand slam competition and 33 straight matches overall until Vinci defeated her. It was also the first time in her career that Vinci had taken so much as a set from Williams. Williams lost a three-set match for only the second time this year, her record now 18-2. Vinci will play Flavia Pennetta, another Italian, in Saturday’s final.. Earlier Friday, Pennetta defeated No. 2 seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3.It’s the first time in the U.S. Open era that two Italian women will meet in a major final. Pennetta defeated Vinci 6-4, 6-1 in their most recent meeting in the 2013 US Open quarterfinals.

NASCAR’s regular season ends tonight at Richmond International Speedway with Joey Logano on the pole for the Federated Auto Parts 400. Logano won the pole with an average speed of 126.470 just edging out Matt Kenseth; who had a qualifying speed of 126.357. Brad Keslowski; Logano’s Penske racing teammate will start 3rd with Kyle Busch starting 4th and David Ragan rounding out the Top 5. Ragan is the top qualifier who doesn’t have a win this season and if he wants to get himself into next weeks Chase he’ll have to find a way to turn that 5th starting spot into a trip to victory lane. Tony Stewart is the next highest qualifier who doesn’t have a win; Stewart starts 10th tonight. Dan the Man’s favorite driver Clint Bowyer is holding on to the 16th and final Chase spot going into tonight’s race, but if someone who doesn’t have a win finds a way to get one Bowyer could be knocked out of the Chase. Bowyer is however just 10 points behind the 15th place driver Paul Menard; so if either driver has a bad night and that outside driver gets  a win they could be knocked out of the Chase. The other 3 drivers without wins who are in the Chase right now are Jamie McMurray; who clinches a Chase spot just by starting tonight’s race; so he’s as good as in. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon are the other two drivers without wins that will qualify for the Chase unless something almost impossible happens to them. It will be interesting to see if someone outside of the Chase can get a win and find their way into it tonight, but none of those drivers have really shown they can jump up and get a win. Will find out tonight when they take the green flag at Richmond.

It’s the New York Yankees hosting the Toronto Blue Jays in a series that may end up deciding the American League East. Toronto took Game 1 yesterday 11-5. Toronto got to Yankees rookie pitcher Luis Severino right out of the gate scoring 5 runs in the 1st inning highlighted by a Josh Donaldson (38) and Justin Smoak (17) home runs. Severino didn’t last long pitching just 2 1/3rd inning giving up 6 runs on 8 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. David Price started the game for Toronto, but while he did get the win he only lasted 5 innings. Price gave up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7, but did throw 96 pitches over his 5 innings. LaTroy Hawkins relieved Price and gave up the other 3 runs (2 where earned) to the Yankees, but the Blue Jays still had a 9-5 lead at that point. Russell Martin (18 & 19) capped off the Blue Jays scoring with his second home run of the night; a 2-run shot to make the final score 11-5. The teams play a doubleheader today with Game 1 being Marco Estrada vs Michael Pineda on the mound. Game 2 feature the return of Marcus Stroman who’s missed the entire season to this point after tearing the ACL in his left leg during spring training. Ivan Nova is the Yankees listed starter for Game 2 of the twin-bill. Toronto takes a 2 1/2 game lead into the doubleheader tonight; so will they extend that lead, have the Yankees cut into or will we just get a split?

Some tough news for the Yankees as it was announced yesterday that 1st baseman Mark Teixeira will miss the remainder of the season as an MRI reveal a fracture in his leg. Teixeira was having a bounce back season for the Yankees. While his batting average was a little low at .255 he was supplying power for te Yankees with 31 home runs and he has driven in 79 runs. It looks like rookie Greg Bird will replace Teixeira in the Yankees line up. Is this the injury that hurts the Yankees the most?

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