Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Indians’

The Chicago Cubs offense got going last night and they cruised to a 9-3 victory in Game 6 of the World Series. The Cubs victory sets up a one game playoff for it all. It’s game 7 tonight in Cleveland.

Kris Bryant got the Cubs offense going in the top of the 1st as he hit a solo home run with 2 outs. Back to back singles by Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist brought up Addison Russell with two on and two out. Russell hit a fly ball to right centerfield that looked like it would be the third out of the inning. Indians rightfielder Lonnie Chisenhall and centerfield Tyler Naquin had a miscommunication and the ball fell in for a double. Rizzo scored easily and it took a tough slide by Zobrist into Indians catcher Roberto Perez insured he’d score. Going to the mound with w 3-run lead helped Jake Arrieta relax and he struck out 4 Indians in the first two innings. With one swing of the bat in the top of the 3rd inning the Cubs blew the game open. Kyle Schwarber drew a walk and then after the first out was made Rizzo and Zobrist out together back to back singles again. That brought up Russell with the bases loaded. Russell hit a grand slam to centerfield to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead. The Indians had their best scoring chance in the bottom of the 4th inning. Jason Kipnis doubled and then after a strikeout of Francisco Lindor,  Mike Napoli singled to center to bring Kipnis home. A hit batsmen and a walk loaded the bases for Cleveland, but another strikeout by Arrieta ended the threat with just 1 run being scored. Kipnis struck again as he hit a solo home run in the botton of the 5th to make it a 7-2 game. A walk to Chisenhall started the panic by Cubs manager Joe Maddon as Arrieta was removed for Mike Montgomery who got out of the inning. Montgomery hit a rough spot in the bottom of the 7th inning and with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs he was removed for Aroldis Chapman. While Chapman got out of the inning it was another panic move by Maddon to use your closer with a 5-run lead. After building a lead the Cubs bats had kind of went silent against the Indians bullpen until the top of the 9th. After two outs Bryant singled. Rizzo came up next and hit a 2-run home run to rightfield to out the game away for the Cubs. For some unknown reason Chapman actually cane out to start the 9th inning. After walking the lead off man Chapman was finally taken out of the game. Pedro Strop came in and got the first guy he faced to fly out. The Strop threw a wild pitch and then gave up a single and a run scored. Jason Heyward made an almost perfect throw to 2nd base to nail Perez who was trying to stretch his hit into a double. After a walk Strop was pulled and Travis Wood came into the game to get the hot hitting Kipnis to foul out to short to end the game.

The Cubs out up 13 hits in the game with the 3 though 6 spots in the order getting 11 of them. Bryant was 4 for 5, Rizzo was 3 for 5, Zobrist was 2 for 4 and Russell was 2 for 5 with 6 RBI’s. Schwarber and Javier Baez had the Cubs other two hits. Rizzo drove in 2 with his home run and it was Bryant who had the Cubs other RBI.

The Indians had 6 hits in the game and Kipnis had 3 of them. Mike Napoli, Jose Ramirez and Perez each had one hit for Cleveland. Kipnis along with Napoli and Perez each had an RBI for Cleveland.

Arrieta went 5 2/3rd innings to get the win. He gave up 2 runs in 3 hits while walking 3 and striking out 9. Montgomery worked an inning giving up a hit and a walk. Chapman pitched 1 1/3rd innings giving up a run, a hit, a walk while getting one strikeout. Strop worked 2/3rd of an inning giving up a hit and a walk. Then Wood pitched the final 1/3rd of an inning.

Josh Tomlin lasted just 2 1/3rd innings giving up 6 runs on 6 hits while walking 1 batter. Dan Otero was the fist of five relievers used by the Indians. He pitched 2/3rd of an inning giving up a run on a hit. Danny Salazar pitched 2 innings giving up a hit and striking out 4. Jeff Manship went 2/3rd of an inning and allowed 1 hit and recorded a strikeout. Zach McAllister pitched 1 1/3rd innings giving up 2 hits. Mike Clevenger worked the final 2 innings for Cleveland and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 1.

So we’re headed to a Game 7 with Kyle Hendricks making the start for the Cubs and Corey Kluber coming back a 3 days rest again for Cleveland. Hendricks went 4 1/3rd innings in his only World Series start. He gave up 6 hits walked 2 and struck out 6 while not giving up a run. Kluber is 2-0 in his 2 World Series starts covering 12 innings. Kluber has giving up 9 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 walk and has struck out 15 batters. It’s a good pitching match up for a Game 7.

There will be a lot of questions for Game 7. How much does Kluber have left? How quickly will Maddon panic (again) and pull Hendricks? Will the Cubs offense show up against Kluber? Will someone else besides Kipnis for Cleveland? We didn’t see Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen or Andrew Miller in Game 6; so they’ve had some extra rest and I’m sure they’ll all make a Game 7 appearance. Who in the Cubs bullpen does Maddon trust? Terry Francona has completely out managed Maddon in this World Series and will see if this will cost the Cubs. The Cubs are the better team, but Francona has made the moves to keep his team in the series with a chance to win. Maddon is running scared and making panic moves right and left. This is an advantage for Cleveland, but the Cubs have better talent and should win out.

So who do you have getting the win tonight? The Cleveland Indians or the Chicago Cubs?

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Baseball is definitely a tough sport to predict. For the first time in 71 years there was a World Series game at Wrigley Field and the weather cooperated. It was in the 60’s; not bad for late October and the wind was blowing out. It sure looked like we’d see some offense last night, but Josh Tomlin and Kyle Hendricks had other ideas.

Hendricks gave up two singles in the Top of the 1st, but struck out Mike Napoli looking to end the threat. Tomlin went 1,2,3 in the bottom of the inning. Both teams managed singles in the 2nd inning, but didn’t threaten. A two out walk in the 3rd didn’t amount to anything for Cleveland while Tomlin worked another 1,2,3 inning. The Indians had the first real threat of the game in the Top of the 4th inning. A lead off single and then a one out single had runners on 2nd and 3rd. A fielder’s choice put moved a runner to 3rd with two outs, but Hendricks struck out Roberto Perez to end the inning. Tomlin walked the lead off man in the bottom of the inning, but went 1,2,3 after that to end the inning. The Indians put together another threat in the Top of the 5th. A single, a sacrifice by Tomlin, a walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases and ended Hendricks night after 4 1/3rd. Justin Grimm came out of the Cubs bullpen and induced a double play ground ball out of the Indians hottest hitter Francisco Lindor to end the scoring threat. A lead off single and two ground outs pout a Cubs runner on 3rd with two outs and the pitchers spot up. Miguel Montero came up to pinch hit and Andrew Miller came out of the Indians bullpen to face him. Montero looked over matched early in the at bat, but managed to hit a solid line drive, but it was right at the rightfielder for the final out of the inning. That closed the book on Tomlin after 4/2/3rd innings. Carl Edwards Jr. entered the game in the Top of the 6th and worked a 1,2,3 inning. Miller did the same in the bottom of the inning and we’re still 0-0 going into the 7th; who would’ve thought. A single, a sacrifice and a wild pitch out pinch runner Michael Martinez on 3rd with one out and the Indians where threatening again. Rajai Davis walked and Coco Crisp came up to pinch hit for Miller. Crisp singled to rightfield to drive in the only run of the night and out the Indians up 1-0. On the play Jorge Soler threw Davis out at 3rd for the 2nd out of the inning. Mike Montgomery came in top relieve Edwards Jr. and got Jason Kipnis to ground out to end the inning. Bryan Shaw came in to pitch the bottom of the inning and got two ground outs to start. Soler hit a wind aided triple down the rightfield line and the Cubs had a chance. Jason Heyward came in to run for Soler, but Shaw got Javier Baez to ground out to end the inning. Montgomery got the first out of the 8th inning and then was replaced by Pedro Stop who retired the next two hitters. Shaw got the first two outs in the bottom of the inning, but a Dexter Fowler singled chased Shaw and Cody Allen came in to try to get the 4 out save. Allen struck out Kris Bryant to end the 8th inning. Aroldis Chapman entered to pitch the Top of the 9th. Chapman struck out the first two batters he faced and then got a ground out for a 1,2,3 inning. Anthony Rizzo singled to lead off the bottom of the 9th and was pinch ran for by Chris Coghlan. A strikeout and a ground out moved Coghlan to 2nd with two outs, Heyward got an infield single to move Coghlan to 3rd, Heyward stole second; so the Cubs had the winning run on the bases with Baez at the plate. Allen struck out Baez to end the game. You could’ve never convinced me that this would be a 1-0 game, but it was and the Indians got the win and have taken a 2 games to 1 lead in the series.

Miller picked up the win pitching 1 1/3rd innings with Allen getting the save. Edwards Jr. ended up being the tough luck loser in this one. The Indians had 8 hits in the game with Lindor and Jose Ramirez each getting two hits apiece. The Cubs had 5 hits in the game with Soler being the only player with more than one hit.

Cleveland will look to take a commanding lead in the series as their ace Corey Kluber takes the mound. Kluber was the Game 1 winner pitching 6 innings giving up 4 hits and striking out 9. Kluber has made 4 post season starts and is 3-1 with an ERA of 0.74. The Cubs turn to veteran John Lackey who is making his first start of this World Series. Lackey has made two post season starts and hasn’t had a decision, but his ERA is 5.63. Can Kluber pitch the Indians to a 3 games to 1 lead or will the veteran Lackey even the series for the Cubs?

Not that it’s anything new, but Russell Westbrook had a triple-double last night. The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Phoenix Suns 113-110 in overtime with Westbrook leading the way. Westbrook put up 51 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It’s the first time since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 1975 that a player scored 50 or more points in a triple-double. Westbrook played 45 minutes in the game and took 44 shots while recording his 1st triple-double of the season and 39th of his career. Westbrook led the NBA in triple-doubles last season with 18. It was the second triple-double of the NBA season as LeBron James had one opening night against the New York Knicks.

Besides Westbrook’s big night Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans followed up his 50 point opening night by outing up 45 points last night against the Golden State Warriors. Davis has had double-doubles in both games as well. He had 17 rebounds ion the opening game and 15 last night. Davis is also playing a lot of minutes to start the season. He played 41 in the first game and 40 last night. Sadly his big numbers haven’t helped the Pelicans win a game. They lost opening night to the Denver Nuggets 107-102 and last night the Warriors beat them 122-114. The Pelicans will look for their first win of the season tonight in San Antonio as they face the 2-0 Spurs. How many points will Davis score tonight?

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During the regular season the Chicago Cubs tied for 14th in baseball with a batting average of .256. They finished 13th in home runs with 199. They struck out the 9th most in baseball with 1339 strikeouts, but they led baseball in walks with 656.

In the post season combined the Cubs are hitting .185; that’s 8th out of the 10 teams that made the playoffs. The New York Mets are 9th at .133 and the Baltimore Orioles are 10th at .100. Of course the Mets and the Orioles only had 1 post season game to put up their numbers. The Cubs have had 7 post season games. The Cubs have 7 post season home runs. That’s the lowest number of the 4 teams still playing. They’ve struck out 63 times in the post season which is 3rd out of the 4 teams still playing. Only the Cleveland Indians have struck out less than the Cubs. They’ve walked 17 times which is 3rd again they are ahead of the Cleveland Indians out of the teams still in the post season.

You can see how things have really went down in the playoffs. Now the Cubs are facing better pitching in every game than they would in the regular season. There’s a reason why people say “Good pitching beats good hitting”. Now after putting up 8 runs in Game 1 it looked as though the Cubs might be out of there slump. 7 innings of Clayton Kershaw and 2 innings of Kenley Jansen put the Cubs bats right back into a slump as they combined to shut them out and even the series at 1 game apiece. In Game 3 last night the Cubs failed to score again. This time it was 6 innings of Rich Hill, an innings of Joe Blanton, 2/3rd of an inning from Grant Dayton and an inning and 1/3 from Jansen that did the job as the Dodgers took the game 6-0.

We’re moving on to Game 4 tonight and the Cubs are turning to veteran John Lackey to try and even the series at 2 games apiece. Lackey was 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA during the season. Lackey lasted 4 innings and gave up 3 runs while getting a no decision in his NLDS series start. The Dodgers are going with 20-year old rookie Julio Urias as their Game 4 starter. Urias was 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in the regular season. Urias has not made a post season start, but did come in in relief and threw 2 scoreless innings. Is it a must win for the Cubs tonight? If they where to lose Game 4 tonight would they see Kershaw as the Game 5 starter in Dodgers stadium to try and close out the series.

The Toronto Blue Jays got there first win in Game 4 of the ALCS 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians. Aaron Sanchez went 6 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna all pitched an inning after Sanchez. None of them allowed a run while Cecil and Osuna each struck out 2 batters. Corey Kluber made the start for the Indians. He lasted 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7. Dan Otero worked a scoreless inning out of the Cleveland bullpen, but Bryan Shaw really struggled. Shaw pitched just 1/3rd of an inning and gave up 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned and walked 1. Mike Clevinger followed Shaw and gave up 1 run on 1 hit while walking 1 and striking out 1 over an 1 2/3rd.

Josh Donaldson provided some power for the Blue Jays going 1 for 3 with a solo home run. Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 4 and drove in 2 runs. Ezequiel Carrera had 2 hits; one being a triple and drove in a run. Kevin Pillar had the other RBI for the Blue Jays. The Indians only had two hits in the game and they where both doubles. Tyler Naquin had one and Roberto Perez had the other with Perez’s double driving in the Indians run.

Marco Estrada comes back to start Game 5 for the Blue Jays. Estrada pitched a complete game in Game 1, but took the loss. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits over 8 innings in Game 1. The Indians are going with Ryan Merritt as their Game 5 starter. Merritt has one career start and 11 career innings all this past season. Can the Blue Jays even the series? Or will there season be over after Game 5.

Mr. Fantasy had a very good Week 6 in our pick contest going 12-3 to take the win for the week, Schaumburg Stu and I tied at 9-6 while Dan the Man was a game behind us at 8-7. Overall for the season Schaumburg Stu is still in the lead at 56-36. Dan the Man is in 2nd with a record of 52-40. Then it’s Mr. Fantasy and I tied at 48-44 on the season. We’ll see if someone has a big Week 7.

It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be without there starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for to 6 weeks. Roethlisberger had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Steelers where informed of the timetable by Dr. James Bradley who performed Roethlisberger’s surgery on Monday. Pittsburgh was hoping to have Roethlisberger back by Week 9, but it looks like it’s going to be a little longer before he can return. Roethlisberger has thrown 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while totaling 1685 yards while completing 64.2% of his passes. The Steelers are 4-2 and if it’s just 4 weeks that Roethlisberger misses he’ll miss this week’s games at home against the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh’s bye week is Week 8. Then there’s a road game against the Baltimore Ravens and then a home game against the Dallas Cowboys. If it’s 6 weeks Roethlisberger is going to  miss you can add road games against the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. The 1st place Steelers turn to Landry Jones as their starter. Jones is 1-1 in 2 career starts, but has played in 11 career games. Jones has 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his career and completes 57.1% of his passes. Can the Steelers hold on to 1st place while “Big” Ben is out? If he misses 6 weeks or 5 games; what will the Steelers record be in the game Roethlisberger misses?

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The Cleveland Indians took Game 1 of the ALCS 2-0 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. Corey Kluber showed why he was a Cy Young candidate pitching 6 1/3rd innings of shutout baseball against a very good hitting Blue Jays line up. After Kluber the Indians went to their bullpen; first to Andrew Miller to hold the game for and 1 1/3rd innings and to closer Cody Allen for a 1 inning save and a 1-0 lead in the series. Kluber gave up 6 hits and walked 2 while striking out 6 batters. Kluber’s pitch total piled up as he reached 100 pitches over his 6 1/3rd innings. Miller did give up a hit, but struck out 5 while Allen struck out 1 batters in his inning of work.

The Blue Jays got very good pitching out of Marco Estrada, but just couldn’t give him any runs to work with. Estrada saved the Blue Jays bullpen pitching an 8 inning complete game. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6. A 2-run home run by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor  in the bottom of the 6th inning was the only real mistake Estrada made. Estrada was able to get through the game on just 101 pitches.

The Indians got 6 hits in the game and 3 of them where by Lonnie Chisenhall. Interestingly Chisenhall got his 3 hits while seeing just 4 pitches. Lindor was 2 for 3 with a run scored and 2 RBI’s. Carlos Santana had the other Indians hit while Jason Kipnis scored the other run after he walked in front of the Lindor home run.

The Blue Jays got 7 hits in the game with 2 Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders each getting 2 hits a piece. One of Encarnacion’s hits was a double. Troy Tulowitzki had the other hit for Toronto. The Blue Jays may be dealing with an injury as 2nd baseman Devon Travis left the game in the bottom of the 5th inning with what was being called a right knee injury.

The teams turn right around for Game 2 this afternoon. Toronto is sending 20-game winner J.A. Happ to the mound to try to even the series while the Indians are going with Josh Tomlin as their Game 2 starter. Originally Trevor Bauer was going to get the Game 2 start for Cleveland, but he cut the pinky on his throwing finger and needed stitches. Because of the injury Bauer has been moved back to Game 3.

The NLCS gets started tonight with the Chicago Cubs hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a must win situation in Game 5 of the NLDS the Dodgers pulled out all the stops. Closer Kenley Jansen pitched 2 1/3rd innings in the game while throwing 51 pitches; so there’s a good chance he won’t be available for a closing situation tonight. Then after making a start on 3-days rest Clayton Kershaw came in to get the save in Game 5. Kershaw did only throw 7 pitches in the game, but he had to warm up and again he was coming off a start he had made on 3-days rest. So taking this all into consideration the Cubs should have a big advantage in Game 1 and maybe even in the series. The Dodgers are going with Kenta Maeda as their Game 1 starter. Maeda took the loss in Game 3 of the NLDS. He lasted just 3 innings and gave up 4 runs. The Cubs in contrast where able to set up their starting rotation and will go with Jon Lester in Game 1. Lester threw 8 shutout innings while picking up the win in Game 1 of the NLDS. There was some talk yesterday that Kershaw will try to come back for Game 2, but that it would be for just 5 or 6 innings. While the Dodgers are scrambling the Cubs are set. They know that it’s Kyle Hendricks in Game 2, Jake Arrieta in Game 3 and John Lackey in Game 4. Not only is the rotation set, but the Cubs will have a full bullpen to use if needed. That has to be a big plus for the Cubs coming into this series.

Now both teams have some hitters they’d like to see get going in this series. While Corey Seager did hit 2 home runs in the series against Washington his average was just .130. Adrian Gonzalez homered in the NLDS as well, but his average was just .200. Chase Utley at .188 and Yasmani Grandal at .125 are two other players the Dodgers would like to see start hitting. On the Cubs side both Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell where 1 for 15 (.067) in the NLDS series. Jason Heyward’s hitting struggles continued into the first round of the playoffs as he hit .083 in the NLDS. Dexter Fowler at .133 and Ben Zobrist at .188 are two other guys the Cubs would like to see get going in this series against the Dodgers. Both teams where able to advance with these hitters struggling, but it could make things so much easier for them of a few or even better all of them could get on some type of hot streak even for a game or two.

We had our fantasy hockey draft last Saturday night and I was pretty happy with the way my team came out. Then the injury bug hit me right before the season started and then into the first couple of games. I grabbed defenseman Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins late in our draft. It’s a category league and he is a solid plus minus guy though his career. Miller broke his ankle right before the season started and needed surgery on it. Miller is scheduled to be out 6 to 8 weeks. Then the season started and Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres went crashing into the boards in their first game of the season and cracked 3 ribs. There’s no real timetable for Kane’s return as Sabres head coach was quoted as saying “It’s weeks, depending on the severity, and in the oblique area it’s something you’re going to deal with even when you come back with the rotation and the discomfort.” Then believe it or not I picked up one more injury. In the first game of his season Bryan Little of the Winnipeg Jets collided with Bryan Bickel of the Carolina Hurricanes and got hurt. Little has a Lower Body Injury and is expected to be out an indefinite period of time. Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said “We’ll have a better idea of just how long in a couple weeks.” So it’s going to be weeks before they even know how long Little will be out. Hopefully your fantasy hockey season didn’t get off to the same type of start mine did. Looks like I need to get on the waiver wire.

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The division series have started in the MLB playoffs. The National League has one game under it’s belt while the American League teams have played two and are on a travel day today.

We’re going to work backwards here as the last game of the day was the best game of the day. The Chicago Cubs got past the San Francisco Giants in a pitchers duel 1-0. Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto both showed why they are Cy Young Award contenders as they pitched shut out baseball for 8 innings. Cueto was great pitching 8 innings giving up 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 10 and not walking anyone. They one mistake Cueto made was giving up a solo home run to Javier Baez in the bottom of the 8th inning for the only run of the game. Lester was on his game as well as he pitched 8 innings giving up 5 hits and striking out 5 while not allowing a walk or a run. Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th and get the save. Game 2 is today 7:00 p.m. CST as Kyle Hendricks and Jeff Samardzjia are the starting pitchers as the Cubs look to go up 2-0 in the series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the first game of their division series 4-3 over the Washington Nationals. All the scoring in this game happened pretty early. The Dodgers got to Max Scherzer for 4 runs in the first 3 innings. The Nationals got back into the game putting up 3 runs on Clayton Kershaw over the first 4 innings of the game. Just as it looked like we where in for a high scoring game the runs stopped scoring. Kershaw picked up the win pitching giving up 8 hits and 3 runs while walking 1 and striking out 7. The Dodgers bullpen shut the Nationals down over the final 4 innings. Joe Blanton pitched 2/3rds of an inning walking 1. Grant Dayton also pitched 2/3rds of an inning walking 1 and striking out 1. Pedro Baez worked an inning then Kenley Jansen came in to get the save. Jensen gave up 1 hit I his inning of work. Scherzer went 6 innings for the Nationals giving up 4 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5. The Dodgers did get to Scherzer for 2 hone runs in the game. The Nationals bullpen matched the Dodgers bullpen as they didn’t allow a run either. Sammy Solis pitched 2 innings giving up 1 hit while walking1 and striking out 1. Nationals closer Mark Melancon got an inning of work in the game. Melancon gave up 2 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3 in his inning of work. Game 2 has a 3:00 p.m. scheduled start time as Rich Hill gets the start for the Dodgers and the Nationals turn to Tanner Roark to try to draw them even in the series.

In both American League series teams took 2 games to 0 leads, but I’m not sure they’re the teams the experts thought they would be. The Toronto Blue Jays went into Texas and swept the Rangers in the first two games of their division series. The Cleveland Indians held home field advantage as they won the first two games of their series against the Boston Red Sox.

The Blue Jays put up 10 runs in Game 1 of the series for a 10-1 win. Game 2 saw the Blue Jays get a little closer win at 5-3. Most if not all of the experts had the Rangers as the favorite in these first two games as they had Cole Hamels as their Game 1 starter and then Yu Darvish ready for Game 2. Hamels lasted just 3 1/3rd innings in Game 1. Hamels gave up 6 runs. walked 3 and struck out 1 in his start. Hamels was totally out pitched by Marco Estrada who went 8 1/3rd innings giving up 1 run and striking out 6 for Toronto. Darvish struggled as well pitching 5 inning giving up 5 hits and 5 runs while walking 1 and striking out 4. Darvish gave up 4 home runs in his 5 innings. 20-game winner J.A. Happ was the Game 2 starter for the Blue Jays and while he didn’t pitch great he pitched good enough to win with the support he got. Happ went 5 innings; he gave up 1 run on 9 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5. Troy Tulowitzki has been the breakout hitter in the first two games for Toronto. “Tulo” has a triple and a home run while hitting .556 with 5 RBI’s. The series heads to Toronto for Game 3 on Sunday. American League ERA leader Aaron Sanchez  (3.00) gets the start for the Blue Jays as the rangers turn to Colby Lewis to try and keep their season alive.

In a surprise the Indians used Trevor Bauer as their Game  starter. Corey Kluber has been battling an injury and was pushed back to Game 2 to give him some extra rest. With Cy Young favorite and 22-game winner Rick Porcello line up to start Game 1 the Red Sox looked like a heavy favorite. Bauer didn’t have a shut down type of outing, but he kept the Indians in the game and their bats came through. Bauer pitched 4 2/3rd innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6. Cleveland went to there bullpen set up of Andrew Miller 2 innings and the win, Bryan Shaw who gave up a run in 2/3rds of an inning and Cody Allen 1 1/3rd of an inning getting the save as they took Game 1. Porcello pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits with 3 of those hits being home runs while striking out 6. Drew Pomeranz 2 1/3rd innings, Joe Kelly 1/3rd of an inning and Koji Uehara 1 inning didn’t allow a run, but the Red Sox where unable to pull of a comeback win and the Indians took Game 1 5-4. The extra day of rest really helped Kluber, He pitched 7 innings giving up 3 hits and while he did walk 3 batters he didn’t allow a run and stuck out 7. The Red Sox countered with David Price who has had his post seasons struggles and they continued yesterday. Price lasted just 3 1/3rd innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits; one of them a home run. Price walked 2 and struck out 3 as he fell to 0-8 in his post season career. Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw each pitched a scoreless inning in Game 2 to lock down the Indians 6-0 win and a 2-0 lead in the series. The series shifts to Boston Sunday at 3:00 p.m.for a must win Game 3 for the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz will be called on to keep the Red Sox season alive at home while Josh Tomlin is the Game 3 starter for the Indians.

Admit it you didn’t have the Blue Jays or the Indians winning the first two games of their series. Now the question is will we see either the Rangers or the Red Sox be swept out of the playoffs.

Tonight is the Sports Time Radio fantasy hockey draft. It’s an auction style draft and since we’re a Chicago based league we’ll see how much some of the Blackhawks go for. I’ve had some success in fantasy hockey and while I haven’t won the league yet maybe this will be my year. I am woefully unprepared. With the baseball playoffs going on I’ve been distracted, but I have stayed up to date with the injuries; so that should help me out. The draft is at 7:15 p.m. tonight; so I have some time to still get ready. Wish me luck.

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

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

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

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

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With the Oklahoma City Thunder hanging on to the 8th and final playoff seed in the Western Conference it was announced that last seasons M.V.P. Kevin Durant will miss the rest of the season. Durant has missed large chunks of the year after having “Jones fracture” surgery back in October, and the latest operation will see him sidelined for another four-to-six months. Durant returned to action in early December, but by the middle of February he started to feel pain again, and had a minor procedure to replace a screw that was rubbing against another bone. Durant consulted with multiple specialist and the decision was made that he will have bone graft surgery. This surgery is needed in five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period. This latest operation will see Durant sidelined for another 4 to 6 months. Durant’s 2014-15 season saw him play in 27 games averaging 25.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 4.1 APG while shooting 51% from the field and 40.3% from behind the 3-point line. Durant will be entering the final year of his contract next season and the Thunder will have a big decision to make. Oklahoma City will have a year to decide if Durant is a max contract player or if they’ll actually let him walk away as a free agent. The Thunder have given themselves a little bit of a lead for that 8th playoff spot. They are 3 games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns. Oklahoma City has 10 games left while the Pelicans have 9 games left and Phoenix has 8 games left in the regular season. In Durant’s absence Russell Westbrook has played at an M.V.P. type level, but going into the playoffs as the 8th seed the Thunder will match up with the Golden State Warriors. When there was a chance that Durant might return this season there was a lot of talk that the Thunder might ne able to upset the Warriors in the 1st round, but with just Westbrook what are the Thunder’s chances of that still happening. Is it time to start wondering that if your name isn’t LeBron James it’s a curse to win the M.V.P. award. Since 2008-09 James has won the M.V.P. award 4 times. Derrick Rose won the award in 2010-11 and Durant won it last season. Rose has pretty much had injury issues ever since and now Durant has a foot problem; just saying.

With Oklahoma City looking to have grabbed the last playoff spot in the Western conference teams can get ready for the playoff to start, but over in the Eastern conference there are 5 teams looking for those last 2 playoff spots. The Miami Heat gave the 7th playoff seed right now and the Boston Celtics are holding on to the 8th playoff seed. The Brooklyn Nets are 1/2 a game out of the 8th spot and 1 1/2 games out of the 7th spot. The Indiana Pacers are 1 game out of the 8th spot and 2 games out of the 7th spot and the Charlotte Hornets are still in the playoff hunt. The Hornets find themselves just 2 1/2 games out of the 7th spot and 1 1/2 games out of the 8th playoff spot. Even the Detroit Pistons haven’t officially been eliminated, but they are 4 games behind the Celtics and things would have to fall just right for the Pistons to find there way into the 8th seed. Do you think it would be better to finish 8th and play the Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round of the playoffs or finish 7th and draw the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening playoff series?

On the Sports Time Radio podcast last night (Friday) we previewed to American League Central teams. We talked with Nick Dudukovich from about the Cleveland Indians upcoming 2015 season then Tony Fischer from came back on the podcast to preview the Detroit Tigers 2015 season. While both teams seem to have their everyday line ups ready to go both teams have pitching questions coming into the season. The Indians have Corey Kluber last seasons Cy Young award winner to anchor the starting rotation. Carlos Carrasco looks to be the #2 starter, but after that they’re filling the rotation with young talent. Trevor Bauer and lefty T.J. House look to be in the rotation and the last spot should come down to a choice between Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister. Most experts had Danny Salazar penciled in as the 5th starter, but the Indians demoted him yesterday after a difficult spring. If Salazar can get righted quickly in the minors he’ll be back and in the rotation for Cleveland. The Tigers starting rotation is set and ready to go for the season. David Price gets the opening day start with Justin Verlander behind him. Verlander left his spring start yesterday, but it’s being reported that there are long injury concerns and he’ll be ready for his 1st start of the season. Anibal Sanchez is #3 with newcomers Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene filling the #4 and #5 spots. The Tigers have a good rotation the problem will be who makes a start if there’s an injury. The Tigers would look to 24 year old Kyle Lobstein or 23 year old Buck Farmer. While it looks like the Tigers are in a little better shape in the rotation the Indians may hold the advantage in the bullpen. Detroit is looking for Joe Nathan to return to the form that made him one of the games best closers. Nathan has a 5.79 ERA over 9 1/3rd spring training innings. How quickly would the Tigers turn to Joakim Soria if Nathan struggles early in the season. Or would they turn to Bruce Rondon. Rondon was considered in 2013, but had control issues. He’s only walked 2 guys in 6 1/3 rd innings this spring; so could he be the next in line to close games in Nathan has issues. The Indians bullpen and their roles look set to open the season. Cody Allen will close with Brian Shaw, Scott Atchison and lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski in front of him. Can these 3 relievers repeat their performances from last season and will the fact that they made a combined 223 appearances affect them at all. As both the Indians and the Tigers go into the season both of our guests last night had their teams right at the 91-92 win area; so will they both compete for the A.L. Central title?

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