Posts Tagged ‘Houston Astros’

As far as Thursday night games go the Carolina Panthers 23 to 20 win over the New Orleans Saints was one of the better games the NFL has had on Thursday. Now from a fantasy perspective the game was terrible. Carolina’s pass defense was ranked 25th going into the game with New Orleans pass defense being ranked even lower at 29th. With Drew Brees and Cam Newton as the quarterbacks in this game you’d think there would be a lot passing yards and fantasy points going up. While Brees did throw for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns his negatives really hurt him. Brees threw an interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked 3 times. I was betting that Brees would throw for 350 yards against a struggling Carolina pass defense. Newton’s numbers where bad, just bad. Newton completed 14 of 33 passes for just 192 yards, but did throw a touchdown pass. It was the second lowest number of passing yards Newton has thrown for this season and the first time he had been under 200 passing yards since Week 4. Now in a lot of cases when Newton struggles he makes up for it with his running. Newton ran 5 times against the Saints, but managed just 7 yards. So neither of these big name quarterbacks are going to be any help for their fantasy owners this week. With the quarterbacks not having big nights that means the wide receivers and tight ends probably didn’t out up any fantasy points for you either. Bradin Cooks (New Orleans) had the most receptions with 7 while Michael Thomas (New Orleans) had the most receiving yards with 68. Even Panthers tight end Greg Olsen had a down night. The three passing touchdowns went to Colby Fleener the Saints tight end, Brandon Coleman the Saints 4th wide receiver and Ted Ginn Jr. of the Panthers. Depending on the size of you fantasy league there’s a chance that none of these players where in a starting line up. There where two or maybe three useable fantasy players in this game, Tim Hightower had 69 rushing yards on 12 carries and also caught 8 oases for 57 yards. Hightower was the highest scoring fantasy player in the game and he didn’t score. Jonathan Stewart was solid picking up a rushing touchdown while gaining 31 yards on 18 carries. Stewart also caught a pass for 8 yards. Hey every fantasy point helps. Ginn  Jr. was the highest scoring fantasy receiver by catching 3 passes for 46byards and a touchdown. Ginn Jr. also had 10 return yards and ran the football 1 time for 13 yards. Ginn Jr. may have been the top fantasy player in this game had he not had a rushing touchdown called back because of a penalty. While not putting up the most fantasy points in this game the best fantasy play may have been the Carolina Defense/Special Teams unit. The Panthers had 3 sacks, an interceptions, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick to go along with 66 return yards. With the fantasy points the Panthers Defense/Special Teams unit out up I won’t be surprise if they end up in the Top 5 in scoring among Defense/Special Teams this week. I’m interested to know how many people even started this unit against an offense like the Saints.

Now I have a few of these guys on my various fantasy teams and I’m hoping that either I’m playing a team that also had players in this game or that someone else on my fantasy team will step up and make up for the points that weren’t scored in this game. Hopefully you where in on the right guys in this game even though there weren’t many and the rest of Week 11 goes well for you.

The Columbus Blue Jackets scored 2 goals in the 3rd period last night to beat the New York Rangers 4-2. Now the story in this game was Blue Jackets winger Matt Calvert. Yes; it’s one of those stories that show how tough hockey players are. In the 2nd period with the Blue Jackets up 2-1 and 9;28 of the period gone Calvert blocked a shot by the Rangers Nick Holden. While Calvert was credited with a shot block he blocked it with his face and started bleeding. Calvert left the ice to be stitched up and checked for a concussion. After receiving 36 stitches and passing the NHL’s concussion protocol you guessed it Calvert returned to the ice. Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers scored at the 8:32 mark to tie the game at 2 apiece. Then while short handed Calvert scored the game winning goal for Columbus at the 11:35 point of the period with his head wrapped in a bandage. Calvert was assisted by Ryan Murray and William Karlsson on his game winner. The Blue Jackets did add an empty net goal to get to the 4-2 final. Calvert was named the #1 star of the game.

The Houston Astros had made some minor moves this off season. They picked up the option on Evan Gattis contract; they also claimed Nori Aoki off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and they dealt reliever Pat Neshek to the Philadelphia Phillies, but this week the Astros made a bigger splash. The Astros week started by signing pitcher Charlie Morton to a two year $14 million dollar deal, but that was just the start for Houston. On Thursday the Astros two minor league pitchers; Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to the New York Yankees for catcher Brian McCann. McCann will be 33 years old at the start of what will be his 13th major league season. McCann is a career .266 hitter and has 245 career home runs. Career stats McCann caught in 92 games for the Yankees last season. He was the Designated Hitter in 32 games and played 1st base in 3 games last season. How will the Astros use McCann might be the question. That’s something will have to wait and see on. Even after the McCann trade the Astros weren’t done as they signed outfielder Josh Reddick to a 4 year $52 million dollar deal. Reddick started last season with the Oakland A’s, but was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 1st with pitcher Rich Hill. Reddick had his struggles with the Dodgers hitting .258 in in 47 games with 2 home runs and 9RBI’s. Reddick will be 30 years old at the start of his 9th season. Reddick is a career .258 hitter and has 96 career home runs. Career Stats There are some reports that the Astros aren’t done as they have interest in talking to free agent Edwin Encarnacion. I thought the Astros might go after starting pitching help and we’ll see what they got in Morton, but it does look as they’ve improved there hitting. Do you like these Astros moves?

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I’m sure by now you know that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. They had there parade yesterday in Chicago and they’re estimating that 5 million people attended. When Theo Epstein took over the Cubs in October of 2011 he torn the team down and rebuilt it. I’m not sure how many people remember this, but the Houston Astros started their rebuilding process a season before the Cubs did. The Astros did make a playoff appearance in 2015. They beat the New York Yankees 3-0 in the wild card game and advanced to the ALDS. The Astros had a 2 games to 1 lead in that series, but eventually lost 3 games to 2 to the Kansas City Royals. The Astros stumbled a bit last season finishing 3rd in the AL West with a record of 84-78. Since both of these teams where on the same track I thought we’d take a look at how they ended up being built.

In the 2010 draft the Astros took Delino Deshields Jr. #8 overall. The Cubs who weren’t rebuilding yet took Hayden Simpson with the 16th pick. Deshields Jr. never played for the Astros as the Texas Rangers selected him in the 2014 Rule 5 draft. Simpson never pitched above high Class-A and was out of baseball after the 2013 season. The Cubs had the #9 pick in the 2011 draft and they took Javier Baez. This was not a Epstein draft pick as he didn’t take the team over until October. The Astros selected George Springer two picks after Baez at #11. Baez has had short stint with the Cubs in 2014 and 2015, but in 2016 he played in 142 games. He’s been called a super utility player by the Cubs as he played all 4 infield spot and 2 games in leftfield. Baez was also named the Co-MVP of the NLCS. Springer also debut in 2014 and finished 8th on Rookie of the Year voting. He lost time to injury in 2015, but came back to play in all 162 games last season. It looks like both teams found long term players in this draft. In 2012 the Astros had the 1st pick in the draft and they used it on shortstop Carlos Correa. With the 6th pick in the draft the Cubs selected Alberto Almora Jr. Correa is considered one of the if not the best young shortstop in baseball. He debuted in 2015 playing in 99 games and winning the Rookie of the Year award. Almora Jr. saw his first major league action in the 2016 season playing in 47 games. Almora Jr. was on the Cubs post season roster; so he’ll get a ring. Correa looks to be a star for a long time, but the book is still out on Almora Jr. In the 2013 draft the Astros had the 1st pick and the Cubs where right behind them at #2. The Astros used that 1st pick on pitcher Mark Appel while the Cubs went with Kris Bryant. Appel has yet to make it to the major league. In December of 2015 the Astros traded Appel to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a 7-player deal that brought reliever Ken Giles back to Houston. Appel was injured last season making 8 starts for Lehigh Valley the Phillies Triple-A team. After the issues of when Bryant should be brought up ended he went on to play 15 games in 2015 and win the Rookie of the Year award. Bryant has been an All-Star in both of his major league season and has a chance to be named the 2016 MVP. The Astros where able to turn Appel into relief help that they needed, but when you pick a guy #1 you expect him to anchor your staff for years. Bryant on the other hand looks to be a long time fixture in the middle of the Cubs line up. In the 2014 draft the Astros again had the #1 pick in the draft and they went pitching again taking Brady Aiken. The Cubs selecting 4th in the draft surprised everyone with the selection of Kyle Schwarber. Aiken and the Astros where never able to agree to contract terms. There was some issues over Aiken’s arm and he did end up having Tommy John surgery. Aiken ended up re-entering the in 2015 where the Cleveland Indians picked him in the 1st round with the 17th pick. Schwarber spent about a year and a half in the minors before being brought up to DH in an inter-league series. He did so well that he never went back to the minors. Schwarber ended up playing in 69 games in 2015. He only played 2 regular season games in 2016 because of a knee injury, but he made it back to be the Cubs DH in the World Series. I understand that the Astros didn’t want to pay a injured pitcher top dollar, but why did they draft him with the 1st pick then. The Bottom line with Schwarber is he can hit. If the Cubs can find a position for him he can be a big time run producer for them. Since Houston was unable to sign Aiken they received a compensation at #2 and then had their own pick at #5. With the 2nd pick the Astros took Alex Bregman and then with the 5th pick they selected Kyle Tucker. The Cubs had the 9th pick in this draft and took Ian Happ. Bregman made his major league debut last season paying in 49 games. Tucker is still working his way through the Astros minor league system. He spent most of the season in Class-A, but was moved up to High Class-A at the end of the season. Happ is also working his way to the big leagues. Happ started last season in High Class-a, but was called up to Double-A. While the jury is still out on both Tucker and Happ; Bregman has shown that he can play at the major league level and it’s been reported that the Astros may try him as their everyday leftfielder next season. As the teams improve you’ll notice there draft positions get lower. In last seasons draft the Cubs didn’t have a 1st round pick as it went to the St. Louis Cardinals for the Cubs signing of John Lackey. The Astros where picking at #17 and they selected Forrest Whitley. Obviously Whitley’s career is just beginning as he’s pitched in just 8 Rookie League games. It will be a few years before we know how this draft pick worked out for Houston.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Cubs didn’t select one pitcher with a 1st round pick. The Astros have taken three and two didn’t work out. Appel is now with the Phillies. Aiken never signed and is now with the Indians and Whitley was just drafted.

So how did the Cubs build their starting rotation? Jon Lester was signed as a free agent to a 6-year $155 million dollar deal with an option for a 7th year in 2014. Jake Arrieta was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade. John Lackey was signed as a free agent to a 2-year $32 million dollar deal before the 2016 season. Kyle Hendricks was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers and Jason Hammel was signed as a free agent to a 2-year $20 million dollar deal with an option for a 3rd year in 2014. Hammel has also factored in the Cubs success as he was part of the a trade that sent Hammel and Jeff Samardzjia to the Oakland A’s for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily. McKinney ended up being part of the deal with the New York Yankees that brought Aroldis Chapman.

It appears as though the question is do you draft pitching or do you sign pitching. Both have there draw backs. If you miss on a draft pick you get nothing out of that player, Now if you miss on a free agent signing paying a player big money who you’re not getting anything out of them. As teams try to rebuild; the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers started rebuilding this past season it will be interesting to see if they go the draft route with pitchers or if they’ll invest in free agents. Since most leagues are copycat leagues you have to expect that teams will look to sign starting pitching. Of course signing the right starting pitching will be the key to teams success.

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In 2013 Carlos Gomez was with the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit .284 with 24 home runs, 73 RBI’s, 10 triples and 40 stolen bases. He made his first All-Star team won his first Gold Glove and finished 9th in MVP voting. Gomez hit .284 again in 2014 he had 23 home runs and again had 73 RBI’s to go along with 34 stolen bases. He made the All-Star team again and finished 16th in MVP voting. In 2013 the Brewers finished 4th in the NL Central. In 2014 they looked to be a playoff team and led the division for quite a while before faltering and ending up in 3rd place with a record of 82-80. As the 2015 rolled around the Brewers appeared to be a struggling team and there was talk of tearing the team down and rebuilding. Gomez was seen as a great trade piece and the Brewers used him as that. Gomez was sent to the Houston Astros along with pitcher Mike Fiers and cash in exchange for at the time four minor league players; Josh Hader, Brett Phillips, Adrian Houser and Domingo Santana. The Astros where in the pennant race and Gomez looked to be the missing piece in their outfield. Gomez played 41 games for the Astros in the 2014 season. He hit .242 with 4 home runs and 13 RBI’s, but did add 10 steals. Gomez hit a solo home run in the Astros wild card victory over the New York Yankees. Gomez did homer in the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals, but that was one of just three hits Gomez had in the 5 games he played in. Houston lost that series to the eventually World Series champion Royals. Houston looked like they’re rebuild was going well and coming into the 2016 series they where ready to contend and they had a two-time All-Star centerfielder in Gomez for the entire season. Gomez battled some injuries and you have to wonder if his personality just didn’t fit with the Astros. In 85 games with the Astros Gomez was hitting .210 with 5 home runs and 29 RBI’s before being released on August 18th. Since no other team claimed Gomez and the Astros couldn’t find a deal for him after they designated him for assignment he now becomes a free agent and Houston will be on the hook for the rest of his $9 million dollar salary. Is there a playoff contender out there that might take a shot at bringing Gomez in and if they did could he help them?

Let’s see if we can find a new team for Gomez. How about the Miami Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton is out for the season with a Grade 3 hamstring strain. While Gomez could never replace the production Stanton provides he still is a solid defender and can still steal a base. The Marlins are going with Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Ichiro Suzuki as their everyday outfield. I love Ichiro, but he is 42 years old and you have to wonder if he can be a productive everyday player. Gomez and Ichiro could make a nice platoon type of situation and then the Marlins would also have a bench piece to turn to late in games.

How about the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers look to be fading in the AL Central race and they need t do something to get their team going. Cameron Maybin is on the DL and they’ve lost infielders Nick Castellanos and Jose Iglesias. Gomez would be an upgrade over the platoon their now using of Tyler Collins and Alex Presley. The Tigers are scrambling to stay in the AL Central race and the $100,000 it would cost them to bring Gomez in could be money well spent if he performs like he did back in Milwaukee.

How about the Texas Rangers. Shim-Soo Choo is lost for the season and the Rangers will have to turn to Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua and Drew Stubbs to fill the void. The Rangers have a solid lead in the AL West, but the addition of a player like Gomez could help come playoff time. Going to a team like the Rangers could give Gomez the time he needs to get back on track without the pressure of a pennant race.

How about the New York Mets. The Mets have one of the worst offenses in baseball. Remember last season they went out and picked up Yoenis Cespedes and that helped them make a playoff run that ended in a World Series lost, but they did get there. Don’t forget the Mets lost Juan Lagares for the season and with Cespedes returning from the DL soon the addition of Gomez could spark the team again.

How about the St. Louis Cardinals. Now this normally isn’t a move the Cardinals would make, but they did just lose outfielder Matt Holiday for at least the remainder of the regular season. Randall Grichuk has been back and forth to Triple-A a few times this season, but has been hot as of late. Gomez is more of a natural centerfielder than Grichuk. Then if Holiday does return for the playoffs Gomez could work into the outfield rotation or be a bat off the bench.

There are 5 possible landing spots for Carlos Gomez, but there could actual be more. Don’t be surprised if teams like the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays or even the San Francisco Giants kick the tires on Gomez. Whoever Gomez ends up with it will be interesting to see which player they get. Will they get the guy who use to get MVP votes or are they getting the .210 hitter the Astros released.

UFC 202 is tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event on the card is the re-match of Nate Diaz vs. Connor McGregor. Diaz took the first fight between these two on short notice and pulled off the upset by getting McGregor to tap out to a choke hold. McGregor was on top of the world at the time of that loss and will be looking for revenge. Oddly Diaz was so disgruntled with the sport and his contract in 2014; he actually requested a release from the UFC. Now I’m not a huge UFC fan; so I have no idea who’s going to win this fight. What I do wonder is if McGregor picks up the win do we get a third fight between these two? Now if Diaz gets the win tonight you have t start wondering what this will do to McGregor’s standing in the UFC. I’ve seen both guys picked to win this fight and since I’m clueless on this I would just hope for a good fight.

There are four featured undercard bouts on UFC 202. Anthony Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira in a light-weight bout. There are two welterweight fights on the undercard. Donald Cerrone vs. Rick Story and Neil Magny vs. Lorenz Larkin. The fourth fight features bantamweights Cody Garbrandt vs. Takeya Mizugaki.

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Who had the Chicago Cubs being the first team to lock up a spot in the National League Championship Series (NLCS)? The Cubs wrapped up there series against the St. Louis Cardinals last night with a 6-4 win. What’s interesting in this Cubs series victory is the fact that players like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant didn’t carry the team. They each have 3 hits this post season with 2 of Rizzo’s hits being home runs and 1 of Bryant’s hits being a home run. Jorge Soler is hitting .571 during the post season. Kyle Schwarber is hitting .538 with a team leading 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s. Dexter Fowler is hitting .300 out of the lead off spot for the Cubs. Javier Baez had to enter Game 3 do to an injury to starting shortstop Addison Russell. Baez had a couple issues in the field which might’ve been do to nerves, but he was 4 for 5 at the plate and hit a big 3-run homer last night. Now I’m not sure if the Cubs can continue to advance with Rizzo hitting .167 and Bryant hitting .150, but they’ll have a few days off as they wait for the winner of the other National League Division Series (NLDS) be it the New York Mets or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The American League will wrap up both if it’s division series today. The first game of the day has the Texas Rangers on the road to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Now no home team has won a game in this series and the Blue Jays will need to change that to advance. The pitching match up for Game 5 is a rematch from Game 2 as Cole Hamels starts for the Rangers and the Blue Jays go to Marcus Stroman. Both pitchers threw 7 innings last game, but neither figured in the decision as the rangers win the game 6-4 in 14 innings. Hamels gave up 4 runs, but only 2 where earned on 6 hits while striking out 6, Stroman gave up 4 runs with 3 being earned on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5.This series has been kind of a surprise as no one thought the Rangers would be this much trouble for the Blue jays let alone take them to a Game 5. Do the Rangers have 1 more surprise in them.

The second Game 5 in the American League has the Houston Astros on the road to take on the defending American League champions the Kansas City Royals. The Astros are going with Colin McHugh as there starting pitcher while Kansas City turns to there trade deadline pick up Johnny Cueto. McHugh got the win for the Astros in Game 1 of this series pitching 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 1. Cueto started Game 2 of this series for Kansas City pitching 6 innings giving up 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 5. Cueto didn’t figure in the decision, but the Astros won Game 2 5-4. This is another series that I don’t think anyone had going 7 games and I don’t remember anyone picking the Astros to win.

If you live in the Chicagoland area you might not know that there was a second National League playoff game last night. Clayton Kershaw went out and did just what he was suppose to do for the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. Over 7 innings Kershaw gave up 1 run on a solo home run to Daniel Murphy. Kershaw struck out 8 walked just 1 and besides the home run only gave up 2 other hits to the Mets. Steven Matz got the Game 4 start for the Mets. Matz pitched 5 innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. The Dodgers got all there runs off of Matz in the top of the 3rd inning. An Adrian Gonzalez single to center with runners on 1st and 3rd got the Dodgers 1st run home. Justin Turner followed Gonzalez with a double down the left field line to drive in the Dodgers other 2 run. That gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead and they scored all of these runs with 2 outs in the inning. The Murphy homer cut the lead to 3-1, but neither bullpen gave up a run and Kenley Jansen worked a 1,2,3 9th inning striking out 2 while picking up the save for the Dodgers. The series heads back to Los Angeles on tied 2-2 with Game 5 being on Thursday. The Mets are going with Game 1 winner Jacob deGroom. deGroom worked 7 shutout innings giving up 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 13. The Dodgers are countering with Game 2 winner Zack Greinke. Greinke went 7 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 8. The winner of this game knows they’ll go on to face the Cubs while the loser is done for the season.

Now baseball will always be my first love as far as sports go, but football isn’t far behind. This season I;m having a big problem with the NFL. Where has the defense gone? It seems as if every game I watch the when there’s about 3 minutes left to play neither team can stop the other one. I understand the rules greatly favor the offensive team, but you’ve stopped them time and again the entire game and now that there’s just 3 minutes left you can’t even slow them down. Not only can’t I figure this out, but I’m starting to feel like I’m wasting my time watching the first 3 and 3/4th of the game when all I need to see is the last 3 minutes. If you’ve listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast you know that my biggest issue with the NBA is the fact that I only really need to see the 4th quarter to know what’s going on with the game. This season in the NFL has pretty much went the same way for me. Besides the Denver Broncos is there another team out there that’s going to play defense?

With baseball in the post season and the football season up and running you might not have noticed that the NHL season has started. The Montréal Canadiens are off to a 4-0 start and there are a few teams behind them at 3-0. Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty has 4 goals and is tied for the league lead with Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings, Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild and Oscar Lindberg of the New York Rangers. While it’s too early for these stats to mean all that much it’s always fun to see who’s putting the puck in the net.

Now I didn’t forget about our pick for Week 5 in the NFL, but I’d like to. Dan the Man won the week with a 10-4. Mr. Fantasy was a game behind him at 9-5. Schaumburg Stu had an 8-6 week while I barely made it to 7-7. Mr. Fantasy still has the overall lead at 49-28 with Dan the Man a game behind at 48-29. I’m a ways back in 3rd at 42-35 and Schaumburg Stu is still in the cellar at 41-36. Maybe I’ll have a good Week 6, but I doubt it.

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Week 4 in the NFL went good for three of us. Mr. Fantasy won the week with an 11-4 record. Dan the Man and I went 10-5 for the week and Schaumburg Stu had a tough. tough week going 6-9. Mr. Fantasy still leads the overall standings at 40-23. Dan the Man is holding down 2nd place with a record of 38-25. I have moved into 3rd place at 35-28 while Schaumburg Stu has dropped into the cellar with a record of 33-30. Now the question is; can we catch Mr. Fantasy?

On the podcast yesterday (Tuesday) Dan the Man had the New York Yankees beating the Houston Astros 2-0 while Mr. Fantasy liked the Yankees to beat the Astros as well, but he had New York winning 4-2. The Astros beat the Yankees 3-0. Mr. Fantasy also had Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka striking out 10 Astros while Dan the man had Tanaka for 7 strikeouts. Tanaka had 3 strikeouts in 5 innings. Dan the Man was very close on his inning prediction for Tanaka as he had going 5 1/3rd. I guess it’s a good thing they didn’t put any money down on these predictions or at least I hope they didn’t.

Neither team scored in the 1st inning, but Colby Ramus led off the top of the 2nd inning with a solo home run off Tanaka to give the Astros a 1-0 lead and oddly the only run of the night they would need. It was a 1-0 game when Carlos Gomez led off the top of the 4th inning for the Astros with a solo home run of his own to put the Astros ahead 2-0. The Yankees didn’t get their first hit until the 6th inning when When Didi Gregorius led off the inning with a single to right field. Tanaka lasting just 5 innings wasn’t a big deal for the Yankees as their bullpen has been tremendous all season. Justin Wilson was the first reliever called upon and he pitched 1 1/3 rd innings of of no hit no run baseball. The only baseball Wilson allowed was a walk.Dellin Betances came in to replace Wilson with 1 out in the top of the 7th inning. Betances walked Chris Carter and Jonathan Villar was put in to pinch run for him. Jason Castro struck out for the 2nd out of the inning, but Villar was able to steal 2nd base and get himself into scoring position. Jose Altuve came through with a 2 out single t left field to drive in Villar and give the Astros a 3-0 lead. The Yankees managed just 3 hits in the game. All there hits came off Dallas Keuchel who was starting on 3 days rest. Keuchel worked 6 innings giving up those 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk while striking out 7, throwing 87 pitches on the night. There where some questions about the Astros bullpen going into last nights game and you have to say they stepped up and answered them. Tony Sipp, Will Harris and Luke Gregerson all worked an inning in relief for Houston and didn’t allow a hit. Sipp walked a batter, but also struck 1 out while Gregerson struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the bottom of the 9th inning. Besides Gregorius, Carlos Beltran and Greg Bird where the other two Yankees to get hits in the game. The Astros themselves only had 5 hits in the game. Tanaka gave up 4 of the 5 hits while Betances gave up the other hit. Andrew Miller worked the top of the 9th for the Yankees and struck out 2 batters. The Astros won the game the way they’ve been winning games all season with their power. The oddest stat line of the night belongs to the Astros Chris Carter who didn’t have an official at bat as he walked 3 times in the game. Houston moves on to the ALDS on Thursday against the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals.

While it’s always tough to see your favorite team play just once in the post season any team that didn’t get into the post season would’ve traded spots with them just to have that chance. The Yankees being here at all had to be a bit of a surprise to most fans. They finished 87-75 and I think most experts had them around or just under .500 coming into this season. No one and I mean no one at all had Alex Rodriquez hitting 33 home runs on the season. With their season over you have to wonder if the Yankees can get back here next season.

If you’ve listened to the Sunday Sport Time Radio podcast you heard Mr. Fantasy and I try to build the best FanDuel line up we can for that day. I kind of unsure how I feel about FanDuel now with the news coming out that an employee of the rival site DraftKings won $350,000 in one of there tournaments. Now I’ve always kind of figured that when you enter one of the bigger tournaments you where playing against more or less professionals. I guess it would be better put as people who play daily fantasy sports for a living. While i would rate Mr. Fantasy and I as above average fantasy players and we both ended the baseball season up money after losing money last season. It took me a year to try and figure out a system that works for me from time to time, but not in the big tournaments. It seems kind of unfair that a person who works for one daily fantasy site can play tournaments on the other site as they have a huge advantage over players like myself and Mr. Fantasy. You have to realize that this employee can see who’s being selected on his site and then just plug him in to his FanDuel line up. There’s also the chance that they may have let’s call it inside type of information on players and teams. I’m sure I’ll still continue to play daily fantasy on FanDuel, but I don;t think I’ll be entering any big tournaments again as I just don’t know who I’m up against or what kind of information they may have access to that I don’t. With this information coming out the New York Attorney general has opened an investigation into this situation.

Tune into the Sports Time Radio podcast tonight 5:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com as we preview the National League wild card game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Managers, Managing

Posted: October 1, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball
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How many wins does a good manager get his baseball team through a 162 game season? Now if you have a bad or sub-par manager you can see moves he makes that cost your favorite team games during a season. I bet we could find a few Washington Nationals fans who could point out where a Matt Williams move lost a game for the team. So what quantifies a manager getting a win for his team. Sending up the right pinch hitter? Using the right relief pitcher? Or is it just something as simple as running the correct everyday line up out there for games? Now if any of these moves was messed up by a manager it could easily cost his team a game, but does doing them right count as that manager getting a win for his team. I’ve heard different debates about this and it seems to be that a good manager gets his team 5-7 wins a game and then in reverse a poor manager will lose his team 5-7 games a season. Now I’m fine with that number and I’m sure somewhere down the line there will be a saber-metric way to figure this out. While I haven’t had an issue with trying to decide how a manager wins a game for his team; what I am having an issue with is new managers getting quite a bit of praise for a teams improvement from one season to the next.

The Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs are two of the most improved teams from last season to this season and they both changed managers before the 2015 season. In 2014 the Astros finished 70-92 and went 59-79 before firing manager Bo Porter. Tom Lawless finished the season as manager and went 11-13. A.J. Hinch was hired as manager in the off season and the Astros are 84-75 right now and have a chance at the AL West title or possibly  getting a wild card spot. The Cubs where managed by Rick Renteria in 2014 and went 73-89. Renteria was let go by the Cubs when Joe Maddon became available and the Cubs are 93-65 right now and have clinched a National League wild card spot. My take is since neither Hinch or Maddon had anything to do with the 2014 versions of their teams they don’t get any credit for the teams improvement from year to year unless they where managing the season before. Neither Hinch or Maddon where with the team when free agents where signed or when trades where made. Now they should get all the credit in the world for how the team is playing right now, but the improvement from 2014 doesn’t go on their resume. Since I get all the Cubs news I can handle living in the Chicago suburbs let’s work with them and see how this works out.

In 2014 Wellington Castillo appeared in 110 games for the Cubs and was there #1 catcher. Castillo hit .237 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI’s. For the 2015 season the Cubs sent  Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Miguel Montero. Montero is hitting .248 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI’s in 111 games. there stats look pretty even, but Montero was brought in for his defense and pitch framing.  Castillo threw out 33% of runners trying to steal in 2014 while Monteo has thrown out 21% of runners trying to steal this season. This position looks pretty even from 2014 to 2015. In both 2014 and 2015 Anthony Rizzo was the Cubs 1st baseman. In 140 games Rizzo hit .289 with 32 home runs and 78 RBI’s. This season Rizzo is hitting .278 with 30 home runs and 95 RBI’s in 156 games. Rizzo has doubled his Hit By Pitch numbers this season; 15 in 2014 to 30 this season. Now Rizzo’s numbers are very similar from this season to last, but he wasn’t considered an MVP candidate in 2014. Now in 2014 Darwin Barney held down the 2nd base position until Javier Baez was brought up. Barney is a gold glove player, but hit .230 with 2 home runs and 16 RBI’s over 72 games. Baez played 52 games in 2014 and hit .169 with 9 home runs, 20 RBI’s and struck out 95 times. Starling Castro has been moved to 2nd base this season and seems to have established himself as the starter there. He played a total of 147 games hitting .269 with 11 home runs and 68 RBI’s. Now in 2014 Castro was the starting shortstop. Castro hit .292 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI’s, but also committed 15 errors in 133 games. Addison Russell has taken over at shortstop in 2015 after being the starting 2nd baseman in the beginning of the season. Russell is hitting .241 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI’s spending most of the season as the 9th place hitter. Russell has made 12 errors on the season. Baez has played in 24 games as September call up hitting .286 with 1 home run and 4 RBI’s and has struck out 20 times. In 2014 Luis Valbuena was the Cubs everyday 3rd baseman. Valbuena hit .249 with 16 home runs in 51 RBI’s in 149 games. Kris Bryant is the 3rd baseman for the 2015 season and has hit .279 with 26 home runs and 99 RBI’s in 148 total games this season. In 2014 the outfield was a combination of Chris Coghlan who played in 125 games; hit .283 with 9 home runs and 41 RBI’s.  Arismendy Alcantara hit .205 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI’s in 70 games. Nate Schierholtz appeared in 99 games hitting .192 with 6 home runs and 33 RBI’s while Junior Lake played in 108 games hitting .211 with 9 home runs and 25 RBI’s. The 2015 outfield is a little different. Coghlan is still in it hitting .246 with 16 home runs and 46 RBI’s in 144 total games. Dexter Fowler has played in 153 games and is hitting .248 with 17 home runs and 45 RBI’s. Jorge Soler is hitting .262 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI’s in 100 games and Kyle Schwarber has added a .247 average with 16 home runs and 43 RBI’s over 66 games mot of them as an outfielder. Offensively the team is close in some categories, but the outfield is much better in 2015 than 2014.

Here’s the 2014 starting rotation. Travis Wood 31 starts 8-13 with an ERAof 5.03. Edwin Jackson 27 starts 6-15 with an ERA of 6.33. Jake Arrieta 25 starts 10-5 with an ERA  of 2.53. Kyle Hendricks 13 starts 7-2 with an ERA of 2.46 and Tsuyoshi Wada 13 starts 4-4 with an ERA of 3.25. Remember Jason Hammel and  Jeff Samardzija were traded during the 2014 season. The 2015 starting rotation looks like this. Jon Lester 32 starts 11-12 with an ERA of 3.34. Arrieta has made 32 starts and is 21-6 wit an ERA of 1.82. Hendricks has made 31 starts is 7-7 with an ERA of 4.09. Hammel was resigned in the off season and has made 30 starts and is 9-7 with an ERA of 3.86. Dam Haren was traded for to fill the 5th starter spot for the team and in his 10 starts is 3-2 with an ERA of 4.30. Which rotation would you like to have?

The 3 main bullpen arms in 2014 where Pedro Strop who pitched in 65 games and had an ERA of 2.21 with 2 saves. Justin Grimm made 73 appearances and had an ERA of 3.78 and was 5-2. Hector Rondon took over as closer and pitched in 64 games saving 29 and posting an ERA of 2.42. In 2015 Strop has pitched in 74 games and has an ERA of 3.00 and 3 saves. Grimm has pitched in 60 games and has an ERA of 2.08 and has 3 saves. Jason Motte took over the closer role for a while and saved 6. He has an ERA of 3.91; he also has a 8-1 record in 57 games, but is currently on the disabled list. Rondon is still the main closer on the team and has pitched in 70 games picking up 28 saves and has an ERA of 1.72.

I’m going to say this one more time. I have no issues with a new manager getting credit for how his team is doing on the field that season, but it’s when they start to give him credit for the great improvement the team is having from the season before. As you can tell by what I wrote there are different players brought in both rookies and free agents. Players improve or decline from season to season and it’s really the front office that should be getting credit if a team makes a marked improvement from one season to the next when a new manager is hired. As always though it could just be me!

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Also listen the the Sports Time Radio podcast at BlogTalkRadio.com

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: September 16, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football
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Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and Mr. Fantasy had the best week of picks in our little contest. He ends Week 1 with an 11-5 record. Dan the Man is a game back at 10-5 while Schaumburg was 9-7 for Week 1. Sadly I was a huge embarrassment going 7-9 for the first week of the season. Looks like I have quite a hole to dig myself out of right from the start of the season.

So if your a New York Giants fan and your team misses winning the NFC East by 1 game or just happens t miss the playoffs by 1 game you can look back at their Week 1 (27-26) loss to the Dallas Cowboys as the reason for it. This was far and away the stupidest football played by any team in Week 1. The Giants where on the Cowboys 2-yard line with about 1:40 to go in the game with Dallas having no timeouts. On 3rd down instead of just jamming the football int the line and trying to pound it in for a touchdown Eli Manning decides that he’s going to throw for it. Now there’s no issue with that, but as he rolled to his right he threw the ball away. Now I don’t know if he forgot the situation or is just dumb, but he stopped the clock. Then instead of going for it on 4th down the Giants decided to take the field goal and give themselves a 6-point lead. If Manning would’ve taken the sack and then New York would’ve just ran the ball on 4th down they would’ve had a 3-point lead with about .45 seconds to go in the game and Dallas would have to go 98 or 99 yards for a touchdown to win the game. So the Giants opt for the field goal and then they have to kickoff to the Cowboys. Oddly they decided to squib kick instead of just kicking out of the end zone and making Dallas start from the 20- yard line. This of course backfires as well and Dallas ends up wit the football at the 30-yard line instead where they easily drove down into scoring position. Dallas went 72 yards in 1:27 and Tony Romo even dropped the last snap he took before picking up the football and throwing the game winning touchdown pass to Jason Witten. With as easily as Dallas moved the football on their last drive could they of done the same if they had started at their own 1-yard line. I’m sure they could’ve, but remember they would’ve had far less time if Manning doesn’t throw the football away and if they had ran the football instead of kicking the field goal. Even stranger a story came out that on 1st and 2nd down Manning told running back Rashad Jennings not to score to run some time off the clock. I guess Manning’s math is bad because a touchdown and the extra point would’ve given the Giants a 10 point lead and Dallas would’ve needed 2 scores to tie or win the game. Manning has actual confirmed that he told Jennings this and Jennings has apologized for more or less throwing Manning under the bus to the media. 2015 is Manning’s 12th season in the NFL he’s a 3-time pro bowler and has won 2 Super Bowls. What I’m wondering is how? It’s almost as if Manning didn’t want Jennings to score so he could throw a game winning touchdown pass and be the hero. I’m sure that wasn’t it, but the shear stupidity of the situation is just impossible to figure out. Now I myself was dumb enough to pick the Giants to win the game on Sunday night and I also having them winning the NFC East this season. Looking back at that; maybe I’m the dumb one.

It’s looking as though the Chicago Cubs will end up with one of the two National League wild card spots. Now the debate has started; who is the Cubs starting pitcher for that game? Everyone I know and have spoken to on the podcast think it’s a slam dunk that Jake Arrieta will get the ball for that game, but I’m the one not sure about that. With the season Arrieta has had 19-6 in 29 starts with an ERA of 1.99 with 3 complete games and 2 shutouts as well. Arrieta goes for his 20th win tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If it’s not Arrieta; who would be the other Cubs option? Jon Lester is the answer. Lester is 10-10 in 29 starts with an ERA of 3.38 with 1 complete game which he threw yesterday (Tuesday) against the Pirates. Lester was given big money in free agency last off season to pitch these kind of games. Lester has had his issues, but his last 2 September starts have been good. He went 7 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals giving up 1 run on 2 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7 in a no decision. Against the Pirates last night (Tuesday) Lester went 9 innings giving up 1 run on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 9. Now I’m in the Arrieta camp here. I think he should get the ball for the wild card game but you’re going to hear about Lester’s post season experience in comparison to Arrieta’s; who’s never pitched in a post season game. My question is, does Joe Maddon make this decision or does the front office of General Manager Jed Hoyer and team President Theo Epstein get involved. Which ever pitcher gets that start in the wild card game if the Cubs don;t win it there are going to be questions as to why they didn’t start the other pitcher.

The Texas Rangers took over 1st place in the American League West by a 1/2 game last night when they beat the Houston Astros for the 2nd time in a row 6-5. On Monday the Rangers won the first game of the series 5-3. Last night it was 5-5 going into the bottom of the 9th. Prince Fielder led off with a single off of Oliver Perez. Will Harris came out of the Astros bullpen to replace Perez and face Adrian Beltre. Drew Stubbs enters the game as a pinch runner for Fielder. Beltre singles to centerfield and Stubbs goes to 3rd base. It’s 1st and 3rd for Mitch Moreland. The 1st pitch of the at bat is a ball. Moreland hits the 2nd pitch to centerfield and Stubbs tags and scores to win the game and put the Rangers in 1st place. While a sacrifice fly isn’t the exciting highlight the networks like when it comes to walk offs I’m guess the Rangers could care less. The Astros look to get back into 1st place as they send Dallas Keuchel to the mound. Keuchel is a 3-time pitcher of the month. He leads the AL in ERA (2.22) innings pitched (206 2/3rd) and my favorite stat WAR (7.1). Keuchel is 13-0 at home, but just 4-7 with a 3.13 ERA on the road. By the way the Rangers are the home team. Keuchel does have a win over the Rangers this season, but it was back in April. The Rangers are going wit Martin Perez on the mound. Perez is 1-3 with a 5.64 ERA over his last 4 starts. His win was at home, but his home ERA is 5.82. Perez is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.17 in 4 career starts against the Astros. These two teams have a 3-game series on the 25th, 26th and 27th of this month whcih may decide who wins the AL West.

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

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your Week?

Posted: August 22, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball
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Since we talk about sports on the podcast, anyone who listens doesn’t know that I’m a sucker for bad horror movies. Last night I got sucked in by a movie title called Sexy Evil Genius. Luckily this terrible movie ended in time for me to catch the last 2 innings of the Los Angeles Dodger/Houston Astros game. I had been receiving updates through my tablet since the top of the 6th inning; so I knew Houston’s Mike Fiers had a no-hitter going. I got to see Carl Crawford strike out swinging for the 1st out of the 8th inning. After Crawford Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson both struck out looking. The Astros went down 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the 8th inning and that may have been a good thing for Fiers as he didn’t have a ton of time to sit in the dugout and think about the 9th inning. Jimmy Roliins led off the 9th inning for the Dodgers and it looked like he was going to break up the no-hitter when he hit a 2-2 fastball to right-center field that looked like it was going to be a hit. Jake Marisnick was tracking it, but was running out of room and it looked as though the ball was going over his head. Marisnick was able to track the flyball down and make the catch for the 1st out of the inning. The recently acquired Chase Utley was next up for the Dodgers. Utley was ahead in the count 2-0. On the 3rd pitch of the at bat Utley flew out to Marisnick, but it was a much easier play than the one he had to make on Rollins flyball. Now it was just Josh Turner standing between Fiers and a no-hitter. Turner had a good swing on the first pitch in his at bat, but fouled it off. The 2nd pitch was a ball and Turner swung and miss at the 3rd pitch; so the count was 1-2. Fiers threw a Cutter that missed to make the count 2-2 and it looked like he was almost over throwing, but who could blame him. The 5th pitch of Tuner’s at bat was a fastball that he swung at and missed for the final out of the game. Fiers improved his record to 6-9; he struck out 10 while walking 3. It took Fiers 134 pitches to record his no-hitter. Obviously it was the 1st no-hitter of Fiers young career, but it was also his 1st career complete game. The Astros gave Fiers all the run support he’d need in the bottom of the 2nd inning when with 2 outs Chris Carter singled to leftfield and Marisnick followed that with his 6th home run of the season to left-center field giving Houston a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the 6th inning the Astros gave Fiers an insurance run as Evan Gattis hit a solo home run his 19th of the season. Gattis home run also came with 2 outs and making the score 3-0 which is how it ended. Fiers was appearing in his 4th game for the Astros; 3 of which were starts after being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers along with Carlos Gomez on June 30th. The Astros gave up 4 players, 3 minor leaguers Josh Hader, Adrian Houser and Brett Phillps along with outfielder Domingo Santana who had appeared in 14 games for the Astros Before being traded. Last night was Fiers 75th career pitching appearance 59 of which have been starts. He has a career record of 22-28 with an E.R.A. of 3.57. Fiers no=hitter and Houston win along with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s 9-2 lost to the Toronto Blue Jays helped extend the Astros lead in the A.L. West to 3 1/2 games over the 2nd place Angels.

I heard a really interesting debate on the MLB Network the other day.  It was about catchers and the question was; who would you want Buster Posey or Yader Molina? Since there where no really  parameters set on how anyone had to answer the question it worked out to Posey being the choice, but just because he’s 5 years younger than Molina. I have no issue with that choice as they are both great players and at the top of their position, but what I was wondering was; who’s the next catcher you’d want? Russell Martin was a prized free agent this off season and while he does have 15 home runs which id tied for 5th among catchers this season he is hitting .244. Would you take Martin or how about another veteran like Brian McCann who’s leading all catchers in home runs with 21 and is 2nd in R.B.I.’s with 74, but his average is .241. Maybe you’d like to go with a younger guy; so how about 25 year old Salvador Perez who’s hitting .255 with 17 home runs and 50 R.B.I.’s. Of course you would have to look at their defense and pitch framing, but all 3 Martin, McCann and Perez are very good there. Maybe you would be interested in having a guy like Matt Wieters behind the plate and he is going to be a free agent this off season. Remember that Wieters is coming off of Tommy John surgery and has caught just 34 games this season as the Baltimore Orioles are being very careful with him. Wieters is hitting with 5 home runs in 170 at bats this season. Where would players like Yasmani Grandal, Blake Swihart, James McCann or Travis D’Arnaud rank on your list? They’re all young up and coming catchers, but don;t forget that D’Arnaud has had some injury issues. Oddly there may actually being a choice staring you right in the face; Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber has shown he can hit at the major league level, but the Cubs didn’t think he was going to be able to catch in the majors; so he played a lot of outfield in the minors last season. After being brought up for a short stint as a Designated Hitter (DH) for inter-league play in June Schwarber was called back up on July 17th and his bat has kept him in the majors since. Schwarber has played in 38 games this season; 6 as a DH, 13 as an outfielder, 7 in pinch hitting duty and 12 as a catcher. Schwarber is hitting .294 with 10 home runs, but the question is will he be a catcher down the road? Adding confusing to the Schwarber situation is that the Cubs have Miguel Montero under contract for $14 million next season and they also have Jon Lester’s personal catcher the 38 year old David Ross under contract for next season at $2.5 million. I guess it’s something will have to watch this off season, but the main question still is before you can choose Schwarber is will he catch?

So maybe you have Posey #1 and Molina #2 or Maybe you like Molina in the #1 spot and Posey in the 2nd spot. What I want to know is who do you have as your 3rd, 4th and 5th catcher?

So how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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

The Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals at 2-2 with a decisive 103-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night in Cleveland. Golden State got out to a 7 point lead after the 1st quarter 31-24. They were able to add 5 points to that lead going into halftime by outscoring the Cavaliers 23-18 in the 2nd quarter. Golden State took a 54-42 lead into the locker room at halftime. Cleveland came out and knocked 6 point off of the Warriors lead outscoring Golden State 28-22, but still found themselves trailing 76-70 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Cavaliers were unable to keep their run going into the 4th quarter and appeared to run out of gas as Golden State pulled away easily adding 15 points to their lead outscoring Cleveland 27-12 in the 4th quarter to get to that 21 point 103=82 victory. Golden State made a change i their tarting line up as Andrew Bogut was removed from the starting line up and Andre Iguodala was inserted into Bogut’s spot. Iguodala  reciprocated by tying for the team lead in points with Stephen Curry. Iguodala and Curry both scored 22 points; Draymond Green scored 17 points and Harrison Barnes also scored in double figures for Golden State with 14 points. Iguodala also tied for the team lead in rebounds with Green and Shaum Livingston. All three players grabbed 8 rebounds in Game 4 while Green tied Curry for the team lead in assists with 6. It ended up being  Timofey Mozgov not LeBron James leading the Cavaliers in scoring with 28 points. James did contribute 20 points, but was 7 of 22 from the field and 5 of 10 from the free throw line while stumbling into a cameraman after being fouled by Bogut. To be fair LeBron was having a bad shooting night before he went tumbling into the first row. Tristan Thompson added 12 points while Matthew Dellavedova scored 10 points, but was a terrible 3 of 14 from the field. Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers while James added 12 rebounds and Mozgov also had double digit rebounds grabbing 10. James just missed a triple double by 2 assists as he led the Cavaliers with 8 assists. You can add Iman Shumoert and J.R. Smith to the list of Cavaliers who had bad shooting nights in Game 4. Shumpert went 2 of 9 from the field while Smith made just 2 of the 12 shots he took and missed all 8 of the 3-point field goals he attempted The Cavaliers shot 33% from the floor and 14.8% from behind the 3-point line compared to 46.8% from the field and 40% from behind the 3-point line for the Warriors. The series returns to California even at 2 and you have to ask; did the Cavaliers just have a bad shooting night or did the best defensive team (Golden State) in the NBA figure something out?

I mentioned that James went tumbling into the first row of seats under the basket and ran head first into a cameraman. James ended up giving himself a couple of nice cuts on his head which he did bleed from. What I didn’t understand was why wasn’t he removed from the game and tested for a concussion? If an NFL team had left a player on the field who had just hit his head like that the mainstream media would be out with it’s pitchforks and torches calling for everyone involved to be fired. Was it because James is the best player in the game and there was no chance of the Cavaliers making any kind of run with him out of the game. In the post game press conference James mentioned that he didn’t go through the concussion  protocol, but said he had a headache from hitting the camera and cameraman. Now I’m not a doctor or in the medical profession, but I thought that a headache was a  symptom of a concussion. To be honest the entire James tumble looked like a flop until he crashed into the cameraman. I’m thinking that James was trying to get a Flagrant 2 foul called on Bogut and wanted to add a little something to the call and didn’t know were he was on the floor. I doubt James will even show up on any kind of injury report for Game 5.

Speaking of Game 5’s the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lighting take the ice around 7:00 p.m. for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals with the series tied 2-2. Since this is the NHL, we never heard what Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop’s injury was or is, but it’s being reported that Bishop is “possible” for Game 5. Bishop did not practice Friday and will be evaluated Saturday morning before a decision is made. Tampa Bay’s coach Jon  Cooper said that Bishop’s absence from practice was planned when the decision was made to remove him from the lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday. Bishop left Game 2 and did not play in Game 4. He stopped 36 of 38 shots in Game 3, but noticeably lacked mobility and did not leave the crease to play the puck with his normal frequency. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy replaced Bishop in Game 2 and made five saves in the final 7:41 for his first Stanley Cup Playoffs victory. Vasilevskiy, 20, made 17 saves in a 2-1 loss in Game 4, his first NHL postseason start. Vasilevsky would start in goal for Tampa Bay if Bishop is unable to play in Game 5. Tonight’s game is very important to both teams as the winner of Game 5 should win the Stanley Cup. Neither team has won two games in a row in this series and if that holds to form the winner of Game 5 will win it all. Patrick Kane got his 1st point of the series; an assist in Game 4, but even with his scoring slump he’s still the Blackhawks points leader for the playoffs. Kane is one of the best players in the NHL and knows how to score in the playoffs.  In 114 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has 112 points, including 47 goals. This postseason, he has 10 goals, tied with Jonathan Toews for the team lead, and 21 points in 21 games. In the Final, he was held without a shot in Game 2, but has had three shots in each of the other three games and has been creating chances despite playing with several different linemates in the four games. Did Game 4;s assist get Kane out of his slump? If it did and he’s ready to break out it could bring the 3rd Stanley Cup in 6 seasons to Chicago.

The Houston Astros had lost 7 games in a row and where coming off of a series were they where swept by the Chicago White Sox. Thing didn’t look like they were going to get any better last night (Friday) as “The King” Felix Hernandez was on the mound as the Astros opened their series against the Seattle Mariners. Not only did the Astros end their losing streak they rocked Hernandez. “The King” lasted just 1/3rd of an inning meaning he only got 1 out. Hernandez gave up 5 hits, 8 runs; they were all earned, he walked 2, struck out 1 and gave up 2 home runs. Luis Valbuena and Jason Castro were the Astros who homered off of Hernandez. Last night looks like the worst start of Hernandez’s career and he saw his ERA jump to 3.38 on the season. After getting 8 runs off of Hernandez the Houston offense slowed down, but they didn’t need any more as they costed to a 10-0 victory over Seattle. Brett Oberholtzer (1-1) got the win for Houston pitching 8 innings. Oberholtzer gave up just 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. The Astros other 2 runs were scored on solo home runs. Carlos Correa hit his 2nd home run of the season and Chris Carter hit his 11th home run of the season. The win improves the Astros record to 35-27 with a 2 1/2 game lead over the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West. The disappointing Mariners fell to 27-34 and are 7 1/2 games behind the 1st place Astros.

So how was your week?

You can listen to the Sports Time radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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It’s Masters weekend in Augusta Georgia. Tiger Woods is injured and not playing and yesterday Phil Mickelson missed the cut. The Masters rolls on without two of the biggest stars in golf. Ratings where down without Woods in the field and you have to wonder if Mickelson missing the cut will hurt the ratings even more. There still is some good golf being played and Bubba Watson has the lead after two rounds at -7. John Senden is three shots behind at -4. There are also four players at -3 going into this weekends rounds.

While the marquee game in the NBA last night (Friday) was the Miami Heat against the Indiana Pacers the real intrigue is in the Western conference. The race for the 8th and final playoff spot is getting interesting. The Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns are fighting for the final two spots and are separated by 1/2 game. With the schedule the way it is these three teams are almost playing a round robin set up to decide these last two playoff spots. The Mavericks have two regular season games left. Tonight (Saturday) at home against Phoenix and then they go on the road to play Memphis April 16th. The Grizzlies have three regular season games left. Sunday night there on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers. They have to turn right around and play again Monday in Phoenix against the Suns and then they close the season with that April 16th game at home against Dallas. Phoenix has three regular season games left as well. They have tonight’s meeting against the Mavericks in Dallas. Then they have that home game April 16th against Memphis. Phoenix ends the regular season April 16th on the road against the Sacramento Kings. In the Friday night battle for the #1 seed in the Eastern conference LeBron James scored 36 points and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 98 – 86. The Heat took a 1/2 game lead over the Pacers for that #1 seed, but with the way the Pacers have struggled down the stretch seeding might not be an issue.

Dan the Man and I where talking on either Wednesday or Thursday’s show about the Houston Astros television rating. It was being reported that the Astros got a 0.0 television rating for a recent game. This early in the season this is incredibly sad and if the rating is right there has to be a better home for the Astros than Houston. How about the Montreal Astros? There have been some rumors that major league baseball would like to get a team back in Montreal and if fans I Houston don’t want to watch baseball maybe the fans in Montreal would. While the Expos didn’t make it in Montreal that had a lot more to do with ownership and a terrible stadium than anything else. The Expos had some great players in the teams history, but ownership couldn’t afford to sign the players and had to trade them for prospects. The Astros have been rebuilding for a couple of seasons now and could grow with Montreal on their way to being a better team. It’s embarrassing to think that a baseball team got a 0.0 television ratings and if you live in Houston or the Houston area you should be ashamed of that television rating. How do you like the sound of the Montreal Astros?

I have to tell you I’m not a fan at all of inter – league play starting at the beginning of the season. At first inter – league play was interesting to watch, but now the bloom is off the rose; so to speak. When they could build it up and make it seem like a big deal it meant something. Now there are inter – league series all season long and there have been times already this season that I didn’t even realize in was watching an inter – league series. How do you feel about the way major league baseball is handling inter – league play?

So how was your week?

You can follow me on @Burketime
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