Posts Tagged ‘golden state warriors’

How was your week

Posted: February 11, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in sports
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Spring training opens next week with most camps opening February 14th. Pitchers and catchers are the first group of players scheduled to report, but not all catchers have a team to report to. Matt Wieters is still out on the free agent market. Wieters will turn 31 in May and is big for a catcher at 6’5 and 230 pounds. Wieters did have Tommy John surgery back in 2014 and you have to wonder if that is scaring some teams off. What looks like his former team the Baltimore Orioles handled him very carefully after the surgery. Wieters caught in just 55 games during the 2015 season, but came back last season to catch in 117 games; so health doesn’t look like an issue. Last season Wieters accepted the qualifying offer from the Orioles which paid him $15.8 million dollars, but this season Baltimore didn’t put a qualifying offer on Wieters; so there’s no draft pick attached with signing him. That makes it even more confusing as to why Wieters hasn’t been signed. Now Wieters is represented by Scott Boras and there are teams that don’t like to deal with him and his clients, but if you’re still looking for a catcher this late in the off season you have to look at Wieters. Last season Wieters hit .243, but for his career his batting average is .256. He hit 17 home runs with 66 RBI’s. His fielding percentage as a catcher last season was .994 and he threw out 35% of runners who tried to steal against him. Those numbers are right in line with his career numbers .993 fielding percentage and 33% of baserunners thrown out. Wieters won the Gold Glove award in back to back season 2011 and 2012 and is a four time All-Star. The negative on  Wieters appears to be the overrated pitch framing stat. According to StatCorner; Wieters ranked 68th in framing among catchers who received at least 1,000 pitches last season, saving -7.3 runs compared to the average catcher. Buster Posey was first at +26.8.

Now there are some teams out there that Wieters would be an upgrade at the catching position and a couple of them are considered contenders for the upcoming season. The Washington Nationals added Derek Norris in a trade this off season, but he’s had a couple of down years. Will moving to a better team help Norris? Jose Lobaton appears to be the back up, but Washington does have a young catching prospect in 23 year old Pedro Severino. If the Nationals signed Wieters to a one or maybe two year deal he could hold down the position until Severino is ready. How about another National League East contender the New York Mets. It appears as the Mets like Travis d’Arnaud, but he’s been injury prone and hasn’t produced at the plate. Maybe a one year deal allowing d’Arnaud to be the back up might help him overall. The Colorado Rockies have been very active on the free agent market this off season spending close to $100 million dollars, but behind the plate it looks like they’re going with the young duo of Tom Murphy who’s 25 and Tony Wolters who’s 24. A veteran like Wieters could be a big upgrade for Colorado. The Arizona Diamondbacks sign renowned pitch framer Jeff Mathis who’s a career .197 hitter. They also added Chris Iannatta on a one year deal. Arizona has also added Josh Thole and Hank Conger to minor league deals. This is another situation where Wieters would be a huge upgrade. The Tampa Bay rays signed Wilson Ramos as a free agent, but he’s recovering from a knee injury and might not be ready for the start of the season. That leaves the Rays with Curt Casali and Luke Maile as the catching duo to start the season. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired Martin Maldonado a highly regarded pitch framer in a trade and they have a prospect in Carlos Perez, but again Wieters would be a huge upgrade. The Chicago White Sox appear to be in full rebuild mode. They’re going into the season with a young starting rotation and relying on Geovany Soto behind the plate. If the White Sox could add Wieters on a one year deal he could work with the young rotation while also being used as trade bait to help the rebuild along. It’s highly unlikely that Wieters would return to the Orioles. Baltimore brought back Mark Trumbo on a free agent deal and it looks as though they’re settled on Wellington Castillo as there catcher. The Orioles also have some big time players looking to enter free agency at the end of the 2017 season. Manny Machado, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton are three of the Orioles who enter free agency at the end of the season. If the Orioles intend to bring back any or all of those three players then Wieters might be the expendable piece. There’s a few options still out there for Wieters. Where do you have him landing?

The Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies last night 122-107 and in the game Draymond Green had a triple-double. That may not be a huge news grabbing type of story as the Warriors win a lot of games and there is always a plyer on the Warriors who could get a triple-double. Now when you dig deeper into Green’s triple-double you’ll see that he had 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals while only scoring 4 points. It’s the first time in NBA history a player has recorded a triple-double while not scoring at least 10 points. It also was only the second in NBA history with at least 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a game. The first one was back in 1986 by Alvin Robertson, but he scored 20 points when he did it. Green was the first player in NBA history to record 10 steals and five blocks in a game since the 1973-74 season; when those became official statistics. Green’s 10 steals set a Golden State record and it was the first time a player had 10 steals in a game since Brandon Roy did it in 2009. Green has always been considered a unique player and this kind of a stat line really shows that about him.

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The Chicago Bulls had won two of there first three games on there road trip. Last night they ran into what could be there biggest challenge of the season. A road game against the team with the best record in the NBA the Golden State Warriors. The Bulls came into the game very short handed as they played without there top two players Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade. Jimmy Butler missed his third straight game with a bruised heel and Dwayne Wade also sat this game out with an upper respiratory illness. As it turned out the short handed Bulls didn’t stand much of a chance as they dropped a 123-92 game to the Warriors.

With the game tied early at 11 apiece Golden State went on a 15 to 2 run to take a lead that they wouldn’t give up. The Bulls managed just 17 points in the 1st quarter as Golden State put up 30 1st quarter points to take a 13 point lead after one quarter 30-17.

The Bulls hung together with the Warriors in the 2nd quarter. Golden State did outscore the Bulls in the quarter, but just by one point 25-24. The closest the Bulls could get in the quarter was eight points when Isaiah Canaan hit a jumper with 8:15 left in the quarter to make the score 32-24. The Warriors pushed the lead right back to double digits. Draymond Green hit a lay up with :08 seconds left to send the Warriors to the locker room with a 14 point lead 55-41.

Chicago played another tough quarter in the 3rd as this time the Warriors only outscored them by two points in the quarter 31-29. Golden State took there first 20 point lead of the game when Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 10:34 left in the quarter to give Golden State a 63-43 lead. While the Bulls weren’t able to get the lead down to single digits they did cut the Warriors lead down to 11 points at 75-64 with 4:09 left in the quarter. The Warriors scored the last points of the quarter to take a 16 point lead at 86-70 after three quarters.

After playing tough on the 2nd and 3rd quarter the Bulls couldn’t stay with the Warriors in the final quarter. Golden State outscored the Bulls 37-22 in the 4th quarter to pull away for an easy victory. Golden State took a 21 point lead when Kevin Durant hit a jumper with 5:03 left in the game to make the score 106-85. Damian Jones then put the Warriors up 31 points when he hit a jumper with 2:15 left in the game to make the score 119-88. The teams managed just seven points combines in the final couple of minutes of the game, but the outcome was pretty much decided by then. Golden State ended up with a 123-92 victory.

Klay Thompson was Golden State’s and the games high scorer with 28 points. Kevin Durant scored 22 points and tied for the game high in rebounds with 10. Draymond Green had 19 points while Stephen Curry and JaVale McGee each scored 13 points. Kevon Looney came off the Warriors bench to score 10 points. Durant was also the Warriors leader in assists handing out 7 in the game.

Without there top two scorers the Bulls where led by Robin Lopez who put up a double-double with 17 points and tying for the game high in rebounds with 10. Taj Gibson just missed his own double-double scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Jerian Grant scored 12 points while Rajon Rondo came off the Bulls bench to score 12 points and hand out a game high 8 assists. Nikola Mirotic also reached double digits off the Bulls bench with 10 points.

The loss drops the Bulls back under .500 at 26-27. They’ll continue there road trip Friday night as they face the 16-37 Phoenix Suns. It has yet to be announced if Jimmy Butler or Dwayne Wade will play in this game. With the win the Warriors improved there NBA best record to 44-8. The Warriors also play next on Friday night, but they head out on the road to face the 33-22 Memphis Grizzlies.

Over last weekend the NFL held it’s divisional round of the playoffs. The Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers all advanced to the Conference championship games this Sunday. Green Bay is at Atlanta for the first game on Sunday with a scheduled kickoff time of 2:05 p.m. Pittsburgh is at New England in the later game which has a scheduled 5:40 p.m. Of course the winners of these games will move on to face each other in the Super Bowl.

So how did we do with our picks in the divisional round. Well Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy went 3-1 while Dan the Man and I ended up 2-2. For the playoffs Schaumburg Stu is 7-1, Mr. Fantasy and I are 6-2 while Dan the Man is 5-3. Let’s see how we do with the Conference championship games.

It seems as though if you wanted to get to this point in the NFL playoffs you needed a top quarterback. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady are the four quarterbacks who have led there teams this far and they could be the best four quarterbacks on the NFL right now. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Rodgers, Ryan or Brady takes home the M.V.P. trophy and Roethlisberger wasn’t that far off. Rodgers led the NFL in passing touchdowns with 40. Matt Ryan was 2nd with 38 while Roethlisberger was 6th with 29 and Brady was 7th with 28. Don’t forget that Brady missed the first four games of this season while Roethlisberger missed two games with an injury this season. In total QBR Ryan is #1 at 83.3 with Brady right behind him at 83.1. Rodgers was 4th at 76.9 while Roethlisberger finished 10th at 66.2. There are some people out there who are trying to push this group as the best four quarterbacks to ever play in the Conference championship. While these four are all very good quarterbacks I’m not going that far as making them the best. You have to figure that Brady and Rodgers are future Hall of Fame inductees and Roethlisberger isn’t too far off from making it. Ryan is the quarterback with something to prove. Ryan is the only one of these four quarterbacks that hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Without going back and breaking down every group of quarterbacks that made the Conference championship I’ll say that this is a good group, but not the best.

QBR stands for Total Quarterback rating. This stat was actually invented by ESPN to measure quarterback performance and it’s suppose to be a more meaningful alternative to passer rating.

On Monday night the Golden State Warriors blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-91. For some reason the experts started making excuses for the Cavaliers loss. It’s an NBA regular season game; why do we need an excuse for why one team lost. Apparently since this was the last game of the Cavaliers road trip they where tired or whatever other excuse they want to use for them getting beat. This was the 6th game of that road trip for Cleveland that they ended up going 3-3 on, but they did have two full days off before the game with Golden State. I think that every NBA fan knows that barring some major upset in the playoffs we’re going to see these two teams meet for the 3rd time in the NBA Finals.

Now there was a little bit of an incident in this game. LeBron James was headed up court with the basketball and it looked as he was trying to lead the break. Draymond Green came from James’ right and fouled him hard. There was no doubt that this was a foul, but Green was accessed a Flagrant 1 foul and I don’t think it was that bad of a foul. James had one of the all time flops in NBA history. If you’re a fan of professional wrestling picture James going down like one of your favorite or not so favorite wrestler getting clotheslined. James laid face down at center court for a few minutes like he had been knocked out. I know the NBA has a policy in effect for players that flop, but I have a feeling that James won’t be one of the guys who gets fined for his flop.

On Monday night Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul sprained his left thumb in the 2nd quarter of the Clippers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. X-rays on the thumb were negative, but an MRI on Tuesday revealed the torn ligament. On Wednesday Paul will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks. Paul was defending Russell Westbrook and sprained the thumb fighting over a screen set by Joffrey Lauvergne. The Clippers called a timeout shortly after, and Paul immediately walked off the court, kicking the bench as he exited. Paul could be seen on the TNT broadcast shaking his head at Clippers team trainer Jasen Powell as they walked through the players tunnel to the locker room.This is not the first time Paul has undergone a procedure on his thumb. He underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb during the 2012 offseason. Paul played part of the 2011-12 season and the 2012 Summer Olympics with the thumb wrapped in tape. The Clippers have been beset by injuries this season. Star forward Blake Griffin missed his 13th game Monday night as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. Sharpshooter J. J. Reddick missed two games because of a sore left hamstring. And Paul missed seven games in a two-week span because of a strained left hamstring. Since the start of last season, the Clippers are just 3-9 in games without both Paul and Griffin. The Clippers are 29-14 and currently in 4th place in the Western Conference. The Clipper will play there first full game without Paul on Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Today is the day that the baseball Hall of Fane announces if they will have any new members inducted this summer. In early voting returns it looked good for Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez, but there where still votes to be counted. It looks as though they’ll be making the announcement around 5:00 p.m. That’s Central time.

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The NFL playoffs kick off today with wild card weekend. The first game we’ll see today has the (12-4) Oakland Raiders at the (9-7) Houston Texans.

Both of these teams are dealing with what you could call interesting quarterback situations. The Raiders where 12-3 with Derek Carr as there starting quarterback, but in Week 16 Carr went down with a broken leg and is done for the season. Oakland turned to back up Matt McGloin for the final game of the season and then hopefully into the playoffs. Then in what has to be looked at as just bad luck McGloin got hurt in the Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos. McGloin has been limited in practice all week and is listed as “Questionable” on the injury report. While most reports are saying McGloin won’t play we won’t actually know until inactive list for the game is released. So the Raiders are down to there 3rd string quarterback. That is Connor Cook who was the Raiders 2016 4th round draft pick. Cook will actually ne the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first career start in a playoff game. Cook did go 14 of 21 for 150 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in relief of McGloin against the Broncos. The Raiders did sign Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad to serve as a back up quarterback.

The Texans quarterback situation was affected by injury in Week 17 as well. Tom Savage had taken over as the Texans starting quarterback when he replaced Brock Osweiler in Week 15’s game against the Jacksonville Jaquars. Savage made starts in Week 16 and Week 17, but Savage suffered a concussion in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans and has not cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol. That means Osweiler gets the job back as Houston’s starting quarterback for today’s playoff game. Osweiler was 8-6 as the Texans starter this season. He completed 59% of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. After taking over for Savage against the Titans Osweiler went 21 for 40 for 253 yards and a touchdown. It was the most passing yards Osweiler had thrown for sine Week 6. The other injury the Texans are dealing with is to leading rusher Lamar Miller. Miller has been inactive the last two weeks, but wasn’t on the Texans final injury report for the playoff game. Miller ran for 104 yards in the Texans 27-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 11.

Here’s how we’re picking this game. Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I are all going with the Houston Texans. That means Dan the Man is the only one picking the Raiders.

The second playoff game today has the (9-7) Detroit Lions at the (10-5-1) Seattle Seahawks. The injury situation isn’t as bad for either of these teams entering the playoffs, but there is some concern with the way they both played down the stretch. The Lions come into this game on a 3-game losing streak that dropped into a wild card spot. Now the Seahawks did win there final regular season game of the season, but it was just a 2-point (25-23) win over the 2-14 San Francisco 49ers. Luckily for the Seahawks they are the home team and they’ve never lost a playoff game at CenturyLink Field. The Lions have also never won a game in Seattle. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will still be wearing a glove on his throwing hand to protect his injured finger. Detroit has made only two playoff appearances since 1999 and has not won a postseason game since 1991. The Lions have also trailed in the fourth quarter of every game during the regular season, and they overcame nine fourth quarter deficits while getting out to a 9-4 record before falling back to earth in December and early January. The Seahawks ate just 2-2 since Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas was injured and some sideline squabbles only added to the idea that Seattle is a team in turmoil. The Seahawks are also missing wide receiver/return man Tyler Lockett who broke his leg in the game against the Arizona Cardinals on December 24th. To fill the void Lockett leaves in the return game Seattle signed veteran return man Devin Hester. Hester has an NFL record 20 returns for touchdowns, including a record 14 on punts, 5 on kickoffs and 1 on a missed field goal attempt return. Hester played in 12 games for the Baltimore Ravens this season. Hester returned 25 punts averaging 7.2 yards per return. He also returned 19 kickoffs averaging 24.5 yards per return.

We’re all in agreement with our pick for this game as we all have the Seahawks getting the win.

You can kind of add this to the list of it happens to everybody. Last night the Golden State Warriors blew a 24 point lead and ended up losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 128-119 in overtime. The loss took place at Oracle Arena where Golden State was 16-2 coming into last nights game. Golden State entered the 4th quarter up by 19 points which normally leads to victory. The Warriors came out “lethargically” at the start of the 4th quarter and Memphis went on a 23-6 run. It took the Warriors offense 7 minutes to score those 6 points. Down the stretch the Warriors used there “Super Death Line Up” of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and it looked as though they would hang on for a win. Then, the end of regulation was ugliest of all for Golden State. Tony Allen muscled home a follow-up to a key offensive rebound. With the Warriors up two, the Warriors delivered what might have been their most awkward sequence of the season. As Curry dribbled it appeared that Durant did not know where to be, as Green gesticulated. The play led to a Curry miss, salvaged by a Thompson rebound. From there Durant and Curry deliberated over what was supposed to happen, until Curry finally gave up the rock. Then Curry set a less than forceful screen and Durant, facing Zach Randolph’s closeout, missed an off the dribble 3. Green sauntered to the bench looking less than pleased, before exchanging heated words with Durant. The Warriors continued their struggles into overtime and after Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer the Grizzlies where up 6 points. It looked as though Durant had a chance to pull the Warriors within three as it appeared he scored and was fouled, but after a review of the play the called was changed and a foul was called on Durant. It seemed as though the Warriors couldn’t get back on track and after Mike Conley hit a step back jumper Memphis had the game in hand. After the game Draymond Green had some pointed comments, but pretty much blamed everyone for the loss. This is the kind of loss that doesn’t happen to a team like Golden State. In the end it won’t affect much as they’re still looked at as the best team in the Western Conference and any issue they might be having; they’ll have 45 regular season games to work out.

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The Golden State Warriors won 73 regular season games and there was a lot of talk about this was the best team ever. This 73 win team made it to the NBA Finals for the second season in a row. Now the issue becomes is this the best team ever or is this the best regular season team ever since they lost Game 7 and the NBA Championship 93-89 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. The record Golden State broke belonged to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, but that Bulls team won the title. The next year the Bulls won 69 games to tie for the second most wins in a season at the time with 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Both of those 69 win team won the title. I guess the question is; what does a 73 win regular season mean when you don;t win the NBA title. The record is impressive in this NBA day and age where players are always looking to take regular season games off and not to mention staying healthy. Did setting the wins record in the regular season hurt Golden State in the playoffs. To be fair the NBA did everything in it’s power to make sure there was a Game 7. The NBA and the referees did quite a bit to stack the deck against the Warriors in Games 5 and 6, but Game 7 appeared to be on the up and up and they didn’t win. Without the NBA title on their resume where does this Golden State team rank in NBA history. Would they make it into the Top 5 or do they make the Top 10. Is there even a possibility that they’re outside the Top 10 because they didn’t win the title. Even if the Warriors had won the NBA title there where people who thought that the 1995-96 Bulls team led by the greatest player of all time Michael Jordan was still a better team. By not winning the championship Golden State made it easier for anyone and everyone who want to compare these teams to drop them down the list. If you’re making your list; where do you have this Golden State team on it?

While we’re talking about the Warriors they made some noise yesterday about who they might target in free agency. NBA free agency officially starts July 1st and there are reports that Golden State’s number one target is Kevin Durant. Now of course teams always need a back up plan and yesterday the Warriors back up plan may have opted out of his contract. While he is 38 wouldn’t Dirk Nowitzki fit nicely into the scheme that Golden State runs.  Nowitzki has spent his entire 18 year NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks, but could he leave Dallas for a shot at another NBA title with Golden State. The Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2010-11 season and Nowitzki was voted finals M.V.P. Nowitzki won the league M.V.P. in 2007; he’s a 13 time All-Star and has been named to the All-NBA team 12 times all with the Mavericks. Nowitzki is the Mavericks all time leading scorer and is 6th in NBA history. Nowitzki is also the Mavericks all-time leader in games,  rebounds, field goals, three-point field goals and free throws. I think it would be tough for Nowitzki to leave Dallas, but is the allure of another championship enough for him to sign with Golden State.

While we’re on free agency Dwight Howard declined the $23.1 million dollar option in his contract and come July 1st will be a free agent. Now guys like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will opt out of their contracts and sign max deals with their respective teams. With the increase of the salary cap and the influx of money do to the new television agreement there will be a lot of players opting out of there deals on a yearly basis to get bigger and bigger contracts. This move might make sense for a lot of those players, but is it the right move for Howard. Will the Houston Rockets or any other NBA team pay him more than the $23.1 million he just opted out of. Last season Howard’s scoring average (13.7 points per game) reached it’s lowest since his (12.0 points per game) in his rookie season. Howard is still a solid rebounder and shot blocker, but he’s also still a terrible free throw shooter. With the way the NBA game has changed it’s hard to see a team paying Howard upwards of $20 million, but it does only take one team to see something in Howard or have a use for him. Would you want your favorite team to sign Howard with the price tag of over $20 million.

The NBA draft is tomorrow and the Philadelphia 76ers have the 1st pick. Word has leaked out that the 76ers plan on selecting LSU forward Ben Simmons with that 1st pick. There was some talk that Simmons didn’t want to play for Philadelphia and would prefer to be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 2nd pick. That talk seems to have passed as Simmons had his first workout for an NBA team and it was the 76ers. With Simmons now appearing to be a lock for the #1 pick this leaves the Lakers drafting Duke forward Brandon Ingram. It’s been reported over and over that Simmons and Ingram are clearly the Top 2 players in this draft. The Boston Celtics have the 3rd pick and they’ve dangled it in front of the Chicago Bulls in a deal for Jimmy Butler. Boston is a young team and adding a veteran for this pick would be a good move, but if they hang onto it I’m not sure who they’d draft. Could it be California forward Jaylen Brown, Washington forward Marquese Chriss or possible Croatian forward Dragan Bender. It pretty much seems that after Simmons and Ingram come off the draft board it’s kind of up for grabs on who goes next.

I was wondering if or when we’d start hear Olympians bow out of the Rio de Janeiro games because of the Zika virus. World’s #4 ranked golfer Rory McIlroy has decided not to compete at this summer’s Olympics in Rio due to fears about the Zika virus. McIlroy joins a list including Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh having already said they will not travel to Brazil; while world #6 ranked golfer Rickie Fowler has also cast doubt on his participation. The situation is a difficult one for golf as it  returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904. Concerns about the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects, have cast a shadow over Rio 2016, but the International Olympic Committee, with guidance from the World Health Organisation, has resisted calls for the Games to be moved or postponed.

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Major League Baseball (MLB) held it’s draft this week. Now unlike the drafts in the other major sports it will take three, four or maybe even five years before any of these players make it to the major leagues. There is also a chance that some of the players drafted very high in this draft will never make it to the major leagues. It’s what makes the MLB draft truly different from the other sports as you are really drafting for the future of your team.

Now the Chicago White Sox had the 10th pick in the first round of the draft and they used it to take Zack Collins a catcher from the University of Miami. Collins is a left handed hitter who batted .358 with 15 homers this past season. Collins even walked (71) more times than he struck out (59) in his current season; which is rare in baseball these days. Collins was actually good enough to be drafted right out of high school. The Cincinnati Reds took him in the 27th round of the 2013 draft, but chose to attend Miami instead. Collins has what appears to be good size for a catcher at 6’3 and 230 pounds. His scouting report describes him as a left-handed power hitter with a very patient approach at the plate. I’m sure your wondering by no why I selected the 10th player taken in the draft and decided to write about him. Well after hearing all the positives about Collins from the experts the next thing they would say is that the White Sox would need to find a new position for him because he’s too good of a hitter to catch. Now I’m not sure when this started, but when did baseball teams decide that they didn’t need good hitters at catcher. I would think the fastest way to the major league level would be by being a good hitting catcher. The experts have said that Collins has trouble with his defense especially his foot work behind the plate. Now he’s 21 years old and I would think that the White Sox would have a catching instructor who could work with Collins on this; don’t they. This of course is the way baseball is going now. The Minnesota Twins moved Joe Mauer to 1st base. There’s talk ever season of the San Francisco Giants find a different position for Buster Posey. Even the other Chicago the Cubs looked to have made the decision that Kyle Schwarber was an outfielder before he got hurt early this season. It’s odd that with all the Sabermetrics and Analytics teams use and it seeming that offense is the keys to these stats that teams would sacrifice offense at the catching position. Now I understand that Mauer was moved because of health concerns and that’s why the talk of moving Posey comes up, but when the Cubs where going to develop Schwarber as a catcher we attended one of his minor league games and where did he play in that game; you guessed Designated Hitter (DH); not sure how that helped his catching skills. Now this isn’t the first time this idea has come up. Some of the greatest catchers in baseball where tried at different positions with varying degrees of success. Johnny Bench played 3rd base, 1st base and spent some time in the outfield  Carlton Fisk played a few games at 3rd base, a  few games at 1st base and 41 games in leftfield before the White Sox realized that he was better off behind the plate. Yogi Berra played 260 career games in the outfield. I’m sure there are many more examples of this, but there are three Hall of Fame players who where moved from the catcher position only to end up back there. I ask again; is there a rule against having a catcher who can put up quality offensive numbers? Posey is easily considered the best offensive catcher in baseball, but who’s #2? Do you still like St. Louis’  Yader Molina, but how many more seasons is Molina going to play. He’s 33 right now and in his 13th season. Going to back to back World Series out Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals on a lot of peoples radar. Even if they’re your 1, 2 and 3 could you come up with a good Top 5. Besides Posey is there a catcher in the majors right now that you see as an offensive threat. At the start of the season I thought that Devin Mesoraco of the Cincinnati Reds had a chance to join this small group of offensive catchers, but he’s proven that he can’t stay healthy. Do you have a choice? If so I hope it’s better than mine.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying like I have that a playoff series hasn’t started until the home team losses a game. Well if that’s the case then the NBA Finals started last night. It was another double-digit victory as the Golden State Warriors took a 3 games to 1 lead on the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 108-97 victory in Cleveland Friday night. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 38 points. Curry was 7 of 13 from behind the 3-point line. Klay Thompson scored 25 points while Harrison Barnes was the other Golden State starter with double digit points scoring 14 points. Barnes made 4 of the 5 3-point shots he took. Andre Iguodala came off the Warriors bench to score 10 points and lead the tam in assists with 7. Draymond Green grabbed a team high 12 rebounds for Golden State. Four of the five Cavaliers starters scored in double figures led by Kyrie Irving’s 34 points. LeBron James added 25 points while leading the team with 13 rebounds as well as assists with 9. Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith each scored 10 points while Kevin Love came off the bench to add 11 points for Cleveland. Love is recovering from a concussion; so Richard Jefferson got the start in his place.

Golden State will look to end the series at home on Monday night. Golden State is looking to become back to back champions with a series win. If they don;t close out the series Monday night the teams would return to Cleveland for Game 6 on Thursday night. So do you have the series coming back to “The Land”? Or do the Warriors close it out in 5?

 

 

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NFL

Last week the Tennessee Titans sent the #1 overall pick in next weeks NFL draft to the Los Angeles Rams for multiple draft choices. It appears as tough Los Angeles will use that pick on a quarterback either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. Now there are reports that multiple teams have contacted the Cleveland Browns in hopes that they would be interested in dealing the #2 pick in the draft. Is there a team out there that wants t move up and make sure they get the quarterback that Los Angeles doesn’t take? It appears as they may be more than one team. Now this is exactly what Cleveland needs. They signed Robert Griffin III (RG III) this off season to be their quarterback; so taking another quarterback with that #2 pick might not be the smartest move. Looking at Cleveland no matter who they would end up taking with that #2 pick is going to turn this team into a contender; they are a few years away from that. What Cleveland needs is players; so if they can deal the #2 pick in the draft for more draft picks it may be the best thing to happen to Cleveland. While multiple draft picks still won;t make Cleveland a contender this season it gives them a chance to rebuild a team that hasn’t made a playoff appearance since 2002 and haven’t won a playoff game since 1994. The difficult part in all of this is it’s Cleveland we’re talking about here and it seems as though they don’t do what’s best for the  organization; so will see how they handle that 2nd pick. It’s doubtful Cleveland would get as much for that #2 pick as Tennessee did for the #1 pick, but even if they moved down in the 1st round and where able to add the extra draft picks; it would seem like the right move for Cleveland. Tennessee received 6 draft picks for the #1 pick; so if Cleveland could get 4 or 5 draft picks to deal the #2 pick; should they take that?

Teams that are still in the market for a quarterback had a new name added to the market as the Houston Texans cut Brian Hoyer yesterday. Hoyer started 9 regular season games for Houston last season and appeared in 11 games total. Hoyer threw for 2606 yards last season with 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. I’m sure what most people remember about Hoyer’s 2015 season was the terrible playoff game he had against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City won that game 30-0. Hoyer was 15 for 34 for 136 yards and he threw 4 interceptions. The playoff game aside Hoyer has made 26 career starts and has a winning record at 15-11. With the late addition of Hoyer to the off season quarterback market you have to wonder how this will affect the contract demands of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was the top quarterback left on the market and it appeared as though his contract demands reflected that. Hoyer and Fitzpatrick are very comparable quarterbacks; so will see if the teams that Fitzpatrick turned down or couldn’t come to a contract agreement with contact Hoyer. It didn’t take Fitzpatrick’s former team long to meet with Hoyer as the New York Jets had him in for a visit on Tuesday. It seemed as though Hoyer’s time in Houston was over when they signed quarterback Brock Osweiler to a 4-year $72 million dollar free agent deal this off season. Houston was Hoyer’s fourth career stop. He spent 3 seasons with the New England Patriots, a year with the Arizona Cardinals, 2 seasons with the Cleveland Browns and last season with the Texans. We’ll see where Hoyer’s next stop is and if he’s brought in there as a starter or if he ends up being a back up. On a side note the Texans also cut Hoyer’s back up on Tuesday as they released quarterback B.J. Daniels.

NHL

The St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks last night 4-3 to take a 3 games to 1 lead in the opening round playoff series. The Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup champions; so you have to think that if a team could comeback from a 3 games to 1 hole it would be the Blackhawks. If the Blackhawks are going to comeback in this series they might have to do it without Andrew Shaw. Shaw was sent off for interference at 17:56 of the third period. While sitting in the penalty box; Shaw pounded on the glass with his stick and then yelled what looked like a slur toward someone on the ice.  Shaw scored a goal in the second period and had two assists in the game, but when he was asked about the incident Shaw said he “didn’t remember”. The NHL said they are investigating the incident. The NHL has a working relationship with the You Can Play Project. The Project aims to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. The You Can Play Project immediately reached out to the NHL. Coincidently the Blackhawks highlighted its partnership with the You Can Play Project. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and goaltender Scott Darling participated in a video supporting the group’s mission. The nest game in this series is on the schedule for Thursday night in St. Louis; so you’d expect the NHL to rule quickly on the Shaw incident. If there’s a suspension involved with this and the Blackhawks just one loss away from elimination Shaw may have played his last game for the 2015-16 season.

NBA

Do the Golden State Warriors need Stephen Curry to win their 1st round series against the Houston Rockets? The Warriors did win Game 2 of the series as Curry sat out with an injured ankle. Curry had an MRI on Tuesday and the test didn’t show anything of concern. Curry is listed as questionable for Thursday nights Game 3, but should he play is the question. Golden State is up 2 games to none on the Rockets; so there is a bit of a cushion right now for Golden State to rest Curry. Even without Curry I don’t think Golden State would lose a 1st round series to the Rockets, but they’re going to need him down the road in the playoffs. It seems to make sense to rest him and not bring him back until he’s 100%, but that will be Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr’s decision. Curry did try to warm up before Game 2; so you think he might try the same thing before Game 3 and then Kerr will make his decision on Curry’s game status.

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NBA

The NBA wraps up there regular season tonight and there are still a couple things to be decided. The big story is the Golden State Warriors going for the 73rd win tonight. That would set a new record for wins in a season if they get it. The Warriors play host to the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. Memphis is currently the 7th seed in the Western Conference, but record wise they are tied with the Dallas Mavericks; so a win might be the difference between the Grizzlies opening the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs (which they would as the 7th seed) or the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be a difficult game for the Grizzlies to win as Golden State is 38-2 at Oracle Arena this season. Memphis has had it’s share of injuries this season as leading scorer Marc Gasol to a foot injury that ended his season after 52 games. Point guard Mike Conley hasn’t played since March 6th and it doesn’t appear that he’ll play tonight against Golden State. Memphis does still have Zack Randolph (Z-Bo) and Lance Stephenson has played better in Memphis than he has in his stops with the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers. No one expected Golden State to lose to the Boston Celtics or the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, but you have to wonder if Memphis has enough quality healthy players to make this a game. It would be a bit of a surprise if they could and you have to expect that the Warriors will cruise to their 73rd victory and a new NBA record.

Tonight is also the last game in the great career of Kobe Bryant. Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz. Not only is it an important game because Bryant is ending his 20 year NBA career, but the Jazz find themselves tied for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Utah is tied with the Houston Rockets for that final playoff spot and the Rockets hold the tiebreaker over the Jazz. Houston is hosting the Sacramento Kings tonight and if they win they’ll claim that final Western Conference playoff spot, but if the lose they’ll open the door for the Jazz to grab it. I don’t think I can say anything about Bryant that hasn’t already been said. Bryant is an 18 time All-Star and won the MVP of that game 4 times. Bryant has won 5 NBA Championships and was voted finals MVP in 2 of those 5 finals. Surprisingly Bryant won just 1 league MVP Bryant is the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history with 33,583 points trailing only Karl Malone who is 2nd and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the career scoring leader. Bryant has had his injury issues the last few seasons, but tonight will be his 66th game of the season. He is averaging 16.9 points per game to go along with an average of 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. It’s been a down year for the Lakers as they are 16-65 entering tonight’s game. Since it’s looking like it’s a must have game for the Jazz can Bryant’s teammates send him off with one more win?

NHL

The NHL playoffs start tonight with 3 of the 8 opening round series getting started. On this evenings'(Wednesday) podcast of Sports Time Radio Dan the Man will give you his predictions for the opening round. Not only will he be picking which team he thinks will win the series, but how many games that series will go. Tonight starts with the Detroit Red Wings at the Tampa Bay Lighting followed by the New York Rangers at the Pittsburgh Penquins and the nightcap is the Chicago Blackhawks at the St. Louis Blues. Thursday night start with the Philadelphia Flyers at the Washington Capitals. I can guarantee you that Dan will be taking the Capitals to win this series since they where his pre-season pick to win the Stanley Cup. Then it’s the New York Islanders at the Florida Panthers after that we’ll get the Minnesota Wild at the Dallas Stars with the nightcap being the San Jose Sharks at the Los Angeles Kings. Now the Kings where my pre-season pick to win the Stanley Cup; so will see if Dan picks them to advance. There is one series that won’t open until Friday night as the Nashville Predators are at the Anaheim Ducks for their Game 1 while the other teams that play tonight will be playing their Game 2. I haven’t heard why the Nashville/Anaheim series is starting later than the other ones, but I guess they’ll all even out down the line. Since you’ll be able to get Dan’s picks tonight; who do you have winning the Stanley Cup?

NASCAR

Kyle Busch took the win Saturday night in the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. With the win Busch joined Jimmie Johnson as the only drivers with 2 victories this season. Busch got the win with Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 2nd, Joey Logano who was the pole sitter finished 3rd, Johnson came home 4th and rookie Chase Elliott rounded out the Top 5 in 5th place. The Sprint cup drivers are headed to Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Food City 500. Can Busch or Johnson be the first guy to get his 3rd win this season or might we see someone new get their 1st win of the season and qualify for The Chase. Of course we might also see Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin or Brad Keslowski get their 2nd victory of the season.

Tony Stewart was awarded the Major General Thomas Sadler Award while the Sprint Cup series was at Texas Motor Speedway. Stewart received the award for his charitable contributions to the Texas chapter of the Speedway Children’s Charities organization. During Stewart’s acceptance speech fans had hoped that he might reveal when he would return to the #14 car. However Stewart did give any timetable for his return. He suffered a serious back injury in an all-terrain vehicle accident just prior to the start of the season and has been out of the driver’s seat recovering. Stewart made it clear in his speech that he looked forward to being back in the car competing alongside those active drivers. He has been doing rehabilitation work for his back injury. The thought was that Stewart would return right around the time of the All-Star race, but right now no one knows for sure.

 

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com

 

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

The MLB

The Major League baseball season got under way Sunday with 3 regular season games and 1 exhibition game. I’m always going to bring that 1 game up because it was so stupid I just can’t let it go. Now I watched all 3 games on Sunday and I’ve been spending quite a bit of time watching the free preview of the MLB Extra Innings package. I don’t have any issue sitting down watching an out of market game to see what other teams look like. Now we’re just 2 games into the 2016 season and it’s way, way too early to start taking away anything from these games, but fans will. I understand the excitement of a fan when a player starts the season out with a hit and he thinks he’ll hit 1.000 for the season. There’s also the negative side where if a player takes an 0 for 4 in Game 1 of the season there are fans who think he’s not going to get a hit all season long. Now with fans it’s just the rooting interest for that team inside them that brings it out. Now when a teams announcers do it; it’s just plain stupid. After Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman homered for their respective teams on opening day I heard an announcer from one of the tams mention that there both on pace to hit 162 home runs this season. Now I’m guessing this announcer thought it would be cute or funny, but it’s not; sadly it’s just plain stupid to say. Let the fans make those kind of statements and you spend your time giving us useful information about the players. This wasn’t the only example I saw. As the Chicago Cubs where on their way to a 2 game series sweep over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim they couldn’t help pointing out that there next opponent the Arizona Diamondbacks have gotten of to an 0-2 start and a couple of there off season additions Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller had rough outings. While I don;t know how much it affected his pitching performance, but after the game it was revealed that Greinke had the flu. As far as I know Miller just had a rough outing to start the season. I don;t understand why you’d post these stats on the screen when your team is playing so well to start the season. Are we suppose to believe that Greinke and Miller are going to be this bad all season long. I’m guessing the Cubs announcers where pointing this out because the Cubs will face Greinke and Miller in there series against the Diamondbacks, but it seemed as though they expected to pitch the same way against the Cubs. I actual wondered if there was some bitterness on the Cubs part as they had a couple of chances to acquire Miller, but couldn’t get a deal done; so they want to point out to there fans that they did the right thing. Now maybe they both will go out and have another tough outing against a Cubs team that can really hit the baseball, but even if they do it’s only 2 starts of 30 plus they should make this season. Of course this is also the Diamondbacks opening series at home for the 2016 season and they could both easily come out and have quality starts against the Cubs. Now if your a Cubs fan you know that it can be difficult to keep their television announcers focused on what’s actually going on in the game. They have a tendency to wander off topic for one reason or another, but I’m hoping since the Cubs are suppose to be a very good team this season that won’t happen as much. I’m sure there are many, many, many more examples of this, but these where the two that stuck out to me. Please stop doing this and just call the damn game. Oh by the way sorry Cubs fans, but the St. Louis cardinals will win some games this season.

NCAA

The NCAA basketball season ended for the men on Monday night and the woman last night. The men’s game featured a great finish to the game between North Carolina and Villanova. Now I wish I could say that I saw every minute of the game and it was the greatest tournament final of all time, but I can’t. I turned the game on just in time to see Marcus Paige of North Carolina hit that split legged 3-pointer to tie the game up. I was smart enough to stay with this game to watch the final play. Villanove inbounded the basketball with 4.7 seconds left. They rushed the ball down the floor and Kris Jenkins hit buzzer beating 3-pointer to give Villanove the win and the national championship. Seems to me like I flipped over the game at the perfect time. Now I didn’t see any of the woman’s championship game, but looking at the final score it went like a lot of people have been saying it would. The Connecticut Huskies defeated the Syracuse Orange woman 82-51. I believe Connecticut had been beating teams in the tournament by an average of 40 plus points; so this game was closer than people thought it might be. I wish I could crag as I did pick Connecticut to win the tournament in my women’s bracket, but given the fact that they where dominant all season and undefeated coming into the tournament; I’m guessing they where a very, very popular pick. The Connecticut victory capped off a great college career for Breanna Stewart. She was part of 151 victories and only five losses at Connecticut. She was Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four an unprecedented four times. She won the Wade Trophy twice. Stewart, fellow senior Moriah Jefferson and red-shirt junior Morgan Tuck, became the first college basketball players, men or women, to win four titles.

NBA

With a handful of games left in the NBA regular season and the Golden State Warriors 4 wins away from setting the record for most wins in the regular season you have to wonder if they should go for it. Golden State has loss it’s last two home games. One to the Boston Celtics and then last night in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Is it time for Golden State to give their starters some rest and focus on defending there NBA championship or is the wins record that important. Golden State was untouchable at home and now to have dropped two games to teams that most people think they shouldn’t of lost to has to bring up that question. If Golden State gets that 73rd win and sets the record, but doesn’t win the NBA championship was it worth it. While records are nice; they can be broken. Championships however go down in history.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com

How’s your NCAA tournament bracket? Mine actually went alright with one major exception. My tournament winner was Michigan State who loss in the 1st round to Middle Tennessee State. I know that #15 seeds have beaten #2 seeds before, but I really thought that wouldn’t happen to Michigan State. I thought a team with Denzel Valentine as their best player and coached by Tom Izzo would get through the first round against a much lower seeded team. Valentine struggled going 5 of 13 from the field including going 3 of 8 from behind the 3-point line. Oddly Valentine didn’t find his way to the free throw line and as a team Michigan State only shot 15 free throws in the entire game. Valentine ended up with a scoring line of 13 points, 6 rebounds and a tam high 12 assist. Middle Tennessee used pretty much just 5 players in the game as their bench as a whole played just 19 minutes and scored 9 points. Reggie Upshaw led the way for Middle Tennessee State with 21 points while playing 38 minutes. Giddy Potts had 19 points in 39 minutes. Perrin Buford and Darnell Harris each had 15 points. Buford also played 39 minutes while Harris played 28 minutes. Jaqawn Raymond also scored in double figures putting up 11 points in 37 minutes of action. Perrin also led the Blue Raiders in rebounding with 7 and assists wit 6. While Michigan State season and pretty much my tournament bracket are done for the season Middle Tennessee moves on to the 2nd round where they’ll face the #10 seeded Syracuse who beat Dayton (#7) 70-61 last night to advance. As a whole I didn’t do horrible picking the 1st round of the tournament. I lost 9 games total and I’m actually in the 84% of the contest I’m in. Of course with my tournament champion already eliminated my percentage will drop with the automatic losses I’ll take. Here’s hoping your 1st round went better than mine did.

Remember Chris Olmstead from Beyond the Flag will join me on the Sports Time Radio podcast tomorrow (Sunday) right around 10:00 a.m. to preview the NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway. Austin Dillion won the pole position for the Auto Club 400 with an average speed of 188.482. Last weeks winner Kevin Harvick qualified 2nd with an average speed of 188.329. Denny Hamlin starts 3rd, Ryan Newman is starting 4th and Carl Edwards who was just nudge out by Harvick last week rounds out the Top 5 starting off 5th. It was another good qualifying set for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) with Hamlin 3rd, Edwards 5th as well as Kyle Busch starting 6th. The fourth JGR driver Matt Kenseth had a solid qualifying run as well and will start the race 20th on Sunday. Chris did very well with his picks last week; so you’ll want to know which 3 drivers he thinks have the best chance to end up in victory lane.

The Portland Trail Blazers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-112 last night, but the story from the game will be the clothesline Kendrick Perkins of the Pelicans center gave to Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Perkins hit Lillard in the chin or neck area as Lillard was attempting to score. Perkins was accessed a Flagrant foul 2; a call that was upheld after the video review. Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee immediately took exception to the foul and stepped up to defend Lillard. Plumlee and Perkins had to be separated by the other players on the court. The play started with Perkins who was initially guarding Plumlee but, a screen switched him onto Lillard at the top of the key. The the much faster Lillard quickly drove past the 6-foot-10, 270-pound center, who then hit him as he prepared to go up with a shot from inside the free throw line. Perkins was ejected for the Flagrant 2 foul as Lillard went on to score 33 points grab 8 rebounds and hand out 6 assists in the Trail Blazers victory.

It’s another top notch match up for the NBA this Saturday night as the Golden State Warriors are at the San Antonio Spurs. They are the Top 2 teams in the NBA right now and are expected to be meeting in the Western Conference finals for the right to play for and as most people expect to win the NBA title. Golden State has the best record in the NBA at 62-6. San Antonio has the 2nd best record in the NBA at 58-10 and are a perfect 34-0 this season on there home court. As we’ve seen San Antonio’s head coach Gregg Popovich has rested his star player in these marquee type of match ups; so we’ll have to wait and see if any Spurs players are given the night off, but you’d think with a perfect home record on the line everyone one who’s healthy enough to play will play. San Antonio had the night off Friday night, but Golden State faced the Dallas Mavericks. Golden State picked up a 130-112 victory over the Mavericks, but 4 of the Warriors starters logged over 30 minutes in the game. Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes each played 36 minutes while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both played 34 minutes. Fatigue shouldn’t be a factor for Golden State as they’re an up tempo team and while San Antonio does play a faster paced game it’s not the same speed the Warriors play at. On yesterday’s (Friday)Sports Time Radio podcast Dan the Man picked San Antonio to win the game and stay undefeated at home. Do you agree or disagree with Dan’s pick?

We had another significant injury in spring training this week. The Tampa Bay Rays lost their closer Brad Boxberger for at least 8 weeks when he need abdominal muscle surgery to repair what was described as a core muscle injury. Last season the 27 year old Boxberger had 41 saves in 47 opportunities. He went 4-10 with a 3.71 ERA and was an All-Star for the first time. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash didn’t name a replacement at closer, but has quite a few choices. Look for Tampa Bay to use Alex Colome, Ryan Webb, Xavier Cedeno, Danny Farquhar and Steven Geltz in that closer role as they try to find a way to fill the void until Boxberger can return.

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You can find me on Twitter @Burketime