Posts Tagged ‘Dexter Fowler’

The Oakland Raiders have to be considered one of the surprise teams of this NFL season. While I think most pundits had the Raiders improving on their 7-9 2015 record I don’t remember any of them saying the Raiders would get to double digit wins. Oakland has 10 wins right now and they have three games left in this season. The Raiders where in 1st place coming into Thursday nights game against the Kansas City Chiefs and they went out and had what was probably there worst game of the season. Oakland lost 21-13 to the Chiefs Thursday night and the game brought up some questions about the Raiders. Being that it was a short week; was it just a bad night? Is Kansas City that good? or the more pressing question could be; how hurt is Derek Carr? Carr injured the pinky on his throwing hand in the Raiders 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 13. Carr left the game for a short period of time, but returned to lead the Raiders to a victory. Carr had his worst game of the season, but even with that he had the Raiders in position to possible tie the game late in the 4th quarter. Oakland had a 4th and 1 on the Kansas City 14 yard line with 2:06 left in the game. A false start penalty made it 4th and 6 from the Kansas City 19 yard line. Carr tried to connect with Seth Roberts on a possible game tying touchdown, but the pass fell incomplete and the Raiders turned the football over on downs allowing the Chiefs to run out the clock. Carr was 17 of 41 for just 117 yards. He was also sacked 1 time for -8 yards. The loss drops the Raiders into the first wild card spot, but they are three games ahead of the next closet wild card team. Should Carr be rested to allow his pinky time to heal before the Raiders head into the playoffs? or should he try to play through it? Week 15 has the Raiders in San Diego to face the Chargers. Week 16 they’re home against the Indianapolis Colts and they end the season on the road in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos. Now winning the division still isn’t out of the questions as the Chiefs play the Tennessee Titans at home in Week 15. Week 16 they host the Broncos and the Chiefs also end the season on the road as they play in San Diego against the Chargers in Week 17. The Raiders advantage is that the Titans and the Broncos are still in playoff contention and the Chiefs have to face both of them while the Raiders will just see the Broncos. So that makes the quarterback question even tougher. Is winning the division enough of a motive to continue to play Carr or is resting that pinky injury more important? If you’re a Raiders fan; what would you like to see them do with David Carr?

There was an interesting debate this week on which running back either Ezekiel Elliott or David Johnson is he front runner for M.V.P. Elliott is currently the NFL’s leading rusher with 1285 yards and has 12 rushing touchdowns through 13 weeks. Johnson is 3rd in rushing with 1005 yards and has 11 rushing touchdowns. Johnson is more involved in the Arizona passing game than Elliott is for Dallas. Johnson has caught 64 passes for 704 yards and has 4 receiving touchdowns. Elliott has 28 receptions for 322 yards and a touchdown. Of course Elliott’s Cowboys are 11-1 and are the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Johnson’s Cardinals are 5-6-1 and are currently 2 games out of a wild card spot. In most cases a quarterback is the front runner for M.V.P. so it’s a little different to see a couple of running backs being talked about for the award. While I’m still thinking that Tom Brady will end up winning the M.V.P. award, but how would you separate these running backs. I guess it depends on what the word valuable means to you. (Valuable meaning) Is a running back who’s going to be on a playoff team more valuable than a all around running back on a team that looks like it won’t make the playoffs. The Cowboys are touted as having the best offensive line in the NFL. Does that diminish Elliott’s accomplishments? On the other hand the Cardinals have just 5 wins and you have to wonder where they would be if Johnson wasn’t on the team. With three weeks to go will have to see what kind of numbers these two running backs continue to put up and if they can stay even it will be up to the voters to decide. Now if you had a vote who’s your NFL M.V.P.?

The baseball winter meetings wrapped up with two veteran players finding new teams. Fernando Rodney signed a 1-year $2.75 million dollar deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. There are appearance bonuses in Rodney’s contract that could boost it up tp $4 million if he hits them all. Rodney turns 40 next March and split last season between the San Diego Padres and the Miami Marlins. With San Diego Rodney was 0-1 with an E.R.A. of 0.31 with 17 saves. In Miami Rodney went 2-3 with an E.R.A. of 5.89 and 8 saves. Will Rodney be used as a closer in Arizona or will the Diamondbacks find someone else to close with Rodney as the set up guy with closing experience. The other signing saw Dexter Fowler leave the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to join there division rival the St. Louis Cardinals on a 5-year $82.5 million dollar deal. The Cardinals where in the market for an outfielder; preferably a centerfielder; so I’m not surprised they signed Fowler. What is a bit of a surprise to me is the length and the dollars involved with the signing. Fowler hit .276 last season with 13 home runs. Fowler has always been looked at as a lead off type of hitter, but he had just 13 stolen bases last season. Fowler did walk 79 times last season and had an On Base Percentage of .393. Fowler turns 31 next March; so he’ll be in a Cardinals uniform until he’s 36 as his deal also includes a full no trade clause. Do you like Fowler as the Cardinals centerfielder?

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Game 2 of the 9 game road trip for out East started in Philly with Jon Lester going up against Adam Morgan.  Dexter Fowler is the first one to see Morgan and sends a line drive to left field for a lead off double, making that his 16th of the year.  Heyward would pop out for the firs.  Up next is Kris Bryant sends a 3-1 pitch deep to right field what appears to be a Home Run but is in the field of play making it a triple.  The play would be looked at and overturned due to fan interference scoring it as a double but would still get the RBI.  Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler would hit back to back singles to load the bases but Morgan would strike out Baez and Russell.  Lester would come out in the bottom half and Ceasar Hernandez would challenge Lester with a bunt but David Ross would pick it up and throw him out.  Freddy Galvis would strike out and Tommy Joseph would fly out to end the inning.

Morgan would have somewhat of a better second inning but he’d give up a single to Fowler and hit Heyward but get out of the inning with out adding any runs.  Lester would give up a lead off single to Maikel Franco but would double him up with Cameron Rupp at the plate for the old strike’em out, throw’em out double play.  Lester would then give up back to back singles to Goeddel and Bourjos but get Jimmy Paredes to fly out to left to end the inning.  Jorge Soler would get the only hit of the top half of the third but would suffer the old hamstring issue and be replaced by Matt Szczur.  Morgan gets Baez and Russell to fly out to end the top half of the third.  Lester comes in and gets a ground out and two strikeouts to end the inning.

In the top of the 4th with one out, Lester steps in the box and sends a line drive to right field for his second double of the season and would remain there until with two outs , Jason Heyward cranks his third home run of the season to right field.  Bryant flies out to end the inning but the Cubs are up 3-0.  Jon would continue the fourth with a strike out, fly out and groundout.  Morgan eases down a bit and throws his first perfect inning.  Lester would almost exactly mirror the 1-2-3 inning that Morgan had. The top of the sixth is another 1-2-3 inning for Morgan and would be his last as he is pulled for a pinch hitter, Cody Asche, who would strikeout to start the inning.  Lester would get a line out and another strikeout to end the sixth.

Elvis Araujo enters the game for the Phills givin up a lead off single to Fowler but gets Heyward to line out.  Kris Bryant gets a single sending Fowler to third.  Rizzo would send one to the opposite field for a single that would score Fowler adding to the Cubs lead.  Matt Szczur would step into the box and lay down a bunt, which was scored as a sac bunt, but what still confuses me, is that he reached first base with out being tagged out; hence he did not sacrifice an out for a run.  Baez and Russell would continue their in game streak of ending the inning with the last two outs.  Lester would give up a single to start the inning but gets Franco to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.  Rupp flys out to end the inning.

Andrew Bailey enters the 8th getting the first two batters out, hits Fowler, but gets Heyward to ground out to the first baseman.  Lester remains in the game just dominating the Phillies getting another 1-2-3inning.  We go into the ninth with the Cubs looking to add to their lead.

Brett Oberholtzer comes into the top of the ninth to hold the Cubs to 5 but gives up a lead off double left-center that just misses being a home run.  Rizzo sends a line drive single just out of the reach for the shortstop scoring Bryant.  Szczur would fly out to right for the first out.  Baez really trying to get his first hit of the game strikes out losing his bat just into right field.  Russell would fly out to right to end the ninth.  Justin Grimm comes into the bottom half of the ninth to finish the game for Lester giving up a lead off single to Andres Blanco, pinch hitting for Brett.  Hernandez sends a slow bouncer to Rizzo which should have been the first out but with his speed, he turns it into a single.  Two on, no outs Freddy Galvis swings on the first pitch sending high and deep to right field for his sixth home run of the season, prompting Maddon (the look on his face) regretting pulling Lester but forcing him to bring in Hector Rondon for the now save situation.  Tommy Joseph would send one deep to center field just over Fowler’s head his 5th home run of the season.  Rondon strikes out Rupp for the second out of the inning.  Odubel Herrera would swing on the first pitch sending a bloop single just into left field for a single.  Ryan Howard would enter the game pinch hitting for Bourjos.  Howard swings on the first pitch pulling a line ground ball straight to Rizzo, he would tag first base to end the game.  Cubs bullpen almost blows the game but they win 6-5 putting them 10 games ahead of the Pirates in the standings.


The Podcast

Game 2 of the Cubs home stand against Phillies.  Kyle Hendricks takes on Jared Eickoff, with both men looking to get thier third win of the season.  Kyle would make it through three innings without a blemish.  Jared wouldn’t be SE lucky.   Dexter Fowler on a 3-1 count would send a fly ball that would have just enough on it to be a home run to start the day off.  Then Jason Heyward would send a fly ball to to right for a double.  With two outs, Ben Zobrist stretches his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI.  After 1, Cubs up by 2.  

With one out in the bottom of the second, both Addison Russel and Kyle Hendricks would single but Fowler would fly out to make it two outs.  It’s okay, because Heyward would hit his second double of the day scoring Russell but Kyle would be thrown out at the plate.  Cubs up 3-0.  

The bottom of the third would see Anthony Rizzo get hit by a pitch with one out.  On two outs and Soler at the plate, Rizzo would get caught stealing second.  The fourth inning would see Kyle give up his first hit of the day to Freddy Galvis but that would be all for the Phills.  Jerad would get his first clean inning getting all three batters out in a row and repeat it in the bottom half of the fifth where Hendricks would give up another hit in the top half.  

Kyle would hit Galvis in the top of the sixth but no runs cross the plate. Kris Bryant would lead off with a single. Zobrist would single and Soler would walk.  Miguel Montero would ground out but Bryant would score.  With the inning over, the Cubs are up 4-0.  Hendricks would give up a two out double but no runs.  Andre Bailey enters the game stopping the Cubs from scoring any more runs.  

Hendricks has a 1-2-3 top half of the eighth.  Elvis Araujo enters the game for the Phillies preventing the Cubs again from adding to thier lead. Hendricks comes back out to stop what he started but gives up a lead off double to Galvis, who’s had Kyles number all day.  He would advance to third on Maikel Franco’s ground out to second.  Kyle would then strike out Ryan Howard but in the dropped third strike, Montero would throw to first but the throw back from Rizzo would not be in time to catch Galvis at home.  Kyle would end the game after that with a ground out.   He would pitch a complete game giving up 5 hits, walking no one but striking out 7.  Great outing for Kyle, proving he deserves his spot in the rotation and giving the pen a day off.  

Go Cubs Go!!!

The Podcast

Vs. Series (Centerfield)

Posted: March 16, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports
Tags: , , , ,

Today we take a look at the four players who will man centerfield for our shared city teams. Today will start with the Chicago teams.

Adam Eaton is the Chicago White Sox centerfielder and he’s the engine that makes this team go. The problem with that is Eaton was injured quite a bit last season playing in 123 games last season, but that was his season high total for games. Eaton hit .300 on the nose and led the American League in triples with 10. Eaton is 26 years old and came over to the White Sox as part of a three team trade in December of 2013. Here’s what the trade worked out to be. The Chicago White Sox sent Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Chicago White Sox sent a player to be named later to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sent a player to be named later and Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Tyler Skaggs to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sent A.J. Schugel to the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete the trade. The Chicago White Sox sent Brandon Jacobs to the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete the trade. If Eaton can stay healthy and hit like he did last season he seems to be the speed type of player the White Sox need at the top of their line up.

The Chicago Cubs went out and traded with the Houston Astros for Dexter Fowler in January of this year. In return for Fowler the Astros received Dan Straily and Luis Valbuena.. Fowler is 28 years old and entering his 8th season in the majors. Fowler is a career .271 hitter and has a season high batting average of .300 in 2012 with the Colorado Rockies. Fowler has put up double-digit totals in steals every season in the majors; he had 11 last season with the Astros and has a career high of 27 in 2009 with the Rockies. Fowler played in 116 games due to some injuries, Not known as a power hitter Fowler had just 8 home runs. Fowler has what the experts call plus range in the outfield; he committed 5 errors last season and had a fielding percentage of .980. Moving to a smaller ballpark like Wrigley Field should improve Fowler’s defensive numbers. With any Cubs veteran player you have to wonder if Fowler is a long-term solution in centerfield or if he’s just holding the spot for one of the many Cubs prospects.

We’re choosing between two good defenders who both have speed, but not a lot of power. While they are very equal and it’s a close decision; I’m going with Eaton because he’s that top of the order spark a team needs.

The New York Mets have turned their centerfield job over to Juan Lagares. This is 3rd season with the Mets and if he’s going to break out I’m sure the Mets are hoping this is the season he does it. Lagares has shown he can play defense at the major league level as he was awarded the Gold Glove as a centerfielder last season. Lagares had 293 putouts with 6 assists and committed 5 errors for a fielding percentage of .984. In 2013 Lagares led all National League outfielders with 14 assists. At the plate Lagares batting average jumped from .242 in 2014 to .281 last season. Lagares stolen bases jumped from 6 in 2013 to 13 last season and you wonder if Lagares could double his total this season and end up among the league leaders in that category. Lagares will have to improve on his 1 walk to every 4.35 strikeouts ratio from last season. A lot of experts think the Mets can contend for a wild card spot this season and they’ll need improvement from Lagares if they’re going to grab a playoff spot.

Jacoby Ellsbury has always been considered one of the top outfielders in the American League even with his injury history. There where no injury issues for Ellsbury last season as he played in 149 games for the New York Yankees and while his power numbers went up his other numbers went down. Ellsbury hit 16 home runs in 2014; it was the 2nd time he’s reached double-digit home runs in a season. He had 32 home runs in 2011 with the Boston Red Sox. Ellsbury hit .271 last season for the Yankees, but is a .293 career hitter. Ellsbury had 70 RBI’s and added 39 stolen bases. Ellsbury has always been a threat to steal a bag as he’s led the A.L. three times in stolen bases. Ellsbury had a fielding percentage of .997 last season and committed just 1 error as a centerfield. Ellsbury has always been considered a good defender and did win a Gold Glove after the 2011 season. A healthy Ellsbury is a key to any success the Yankees might have in 2015 and with the AL East wide open he’ll become more of a factor.

An easier choice for me among the New York centerfielders as I’ll take the former MVP candidate Ellsbury over the player who still has a lot to prove in Lagares.

Tomorrow we’ll move over to rightfield for our match ups.

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