Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Royals’

The New York Mets got there first World Series win 9-3 last night over the Kansas City Royals. Kansas City still has a 2 games to 1 lead in the series with Game 4 scheduled for tonight at Citi Field.

There had to be some concern from the Mets and there fans when the Royals scored a run off of Noah Syndergaard in the top of the 1st. The first pitch Syndergaard threw went over the head of Royals lead off hitter Alcides Escobar and went to the screen. The hot hitting Escobar ended up striking out in the at bat, but Ben Zobrist followed him with a double. A Lorenzo Cain infield single put Royals on 1st and 3rd. An Eric Hosmer fielder’s choice scored Zobrist and the Royals had there 1-0 lead. Curtis Granderson led the bottom of the 1st off with an infield single for the Mets. David Wright was up next for the Mets and just as the Fox announce team was going to say how bad Wright is he hit a 2-run homer to left field to not only give the Mets a 2-1 lead, but also shut up the 3-man Fox broadcast team. That’s far and away the funniest part of these first 3 World Series games. The Royals came back with 2 runs off of Syndergaard in the top of the 2nd to take a 3-2 lead. Yordano Ventura was only able to hold that lead for an inning. Syndergaard led off the bottom of the 3rd with a single and Granderson followed that with a 2-run home run to right to give the Mets a lead they wouldn’t lose at 4-3. Sybdergaard settled in as the Mets added a run in the bottom of the 4th and then out the game away with 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. Syndergaard got the win pitching 6 innings giving up those 3 early runs on 7 hits. He walked 2 and had 6 strikeouts. Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard and  Jeurys Familia all worked an inning out of the Mets bullpen. None of the Mets relievers allowed a hit and Familia had 1 strikeout. Ventura lasted just 3 1/3rd innings in the loss. He gave up 5 runs on 7 hits and struck out 1. The Royals used 6 relievers after Ventura and Franklin Morales was the pitcher who was charged with the 4 runs the Mets added in the 6th. Granderson, Travis d’Arnaud and Wright each had 2 hits in the game. Wright had 4 RBI’s on the night as well.

For Game 4 Kansas City is going with Chris Young on the mound while the Mets turn to Steven Matz. While Matz hasn’t pitched in the series Young did come out of the bullpen in Game 1. Young actually picked up the win in the 14 inning affair pitching 3 innings. Young didn’t allow a hit, but did walk 1 while striking out 4 in the game. It was a 53 pitch outing for Young in Game 1, but it was 4 days ago and you wouldn’t think it would affect his start tonight. Matz will be making his 2rd post season start. He hasn’t lasted longer than 5 innings in either start. He is 0-1 with and ERA of 3.72 over just 9 2/3rd innings. Matz does have 8 strikeouts and only 1 walk in his post season outings. Can Matz get the Mets even? or will Young get the Royals a 3 games to 1 lead?

We got another tough to watch Thursday night football game unless you’re a fan of the New England Patriots. The Patriots easily ended the Miami Dolphins 2-game winning streak 36-7 Thursday night. Some experts thought that Miami would give the Patriots a game and some even predicted that they give the Patriots their first loss of the season, but I doubt they’d admit to that now. New England improved to 7-0 while Miami fell to 3-4. New England was up 19-0 before Miami scored there only touchdown. New England added 17 more points after Miami scored to get to the 36-7 final score.

I’m sure you did, but I hope you had your Patriots in your fantasy line up. Tom Brady was 26 for 38 for 356 yards and while he did get sacked twice he threw 4 touchdown passes. Rob Gronlowski had 6 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Dion Lewis may have only had 5 rushing attempts for 19 yards he did catch 6 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Julian Edelman led the Patriots with 7 receptions. He went for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brandon LaFell even chipped in with 4 catches for 47 yards. This week LeGarrette Blount was the main running back for the Patriots. Blount had 17 carries for 72 yards and did add 1 catch for 2 yards. On the Miami side Ryan Tannehill went 28 for 44 for 300 yards. Tannehill was sacked 5 times and threw 2 interceptions. Lamar Miller scored the Dolphins touchdown on the night, but rushed for just 15 yards on 9 carries. He did add 5 catches for 19 yards as well; so he would’ve been a serviceable fantasy player. Jarvis Landry had 6 receptions for 71 yards. Rishard Matthews had 7 catches for 62 yards and tight end Jordan Cameron had 2 receptions for 34 yards. Defensively Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan had the Patriots interceptions. Ryan also led New England in tackles with 7. Chandler Jones had 2 sacks on the night while Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich each recorded a sack. Reshad Jones and Kelvin Shepard tie for the Dolphins team lead in tackles with 8. Oliver Vernon and Cameron Wake each had a sack for the Dolphins.

Not only did the Dolphins lose the game they suffered a loss along there defensive line as Cameron Wake was diagnosed with a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. Wake was the Dolphins leader in sacks with 7. No other Dolphins defensive line man has more than 2 sacks on the season.

Not counting injuries who have been your biggest fantasy disappointments this season? Running backs always go high in drafts, but if you took C.J. Anderson of the Denver Broncos he has to be a bit of a let down for you along with DeMarco Murray of the Philadelphia Eagles. While Andrew Luck has struggled this season he did miss a couple of games with an injury. Most of the quarterbacks that have stayed healthy have played close to were they where predicted to, but Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson have under performed a little this season. Andre Johnson (Indianapolis Colts) hasn’t seemed to regain the form that made him one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) has also struggled at times this season. Some expected Evans to have some issues working with a rookie quarterback, but others spent a higher draft pick on him and are waiting for him to get on track. Is there someone you went out and drafted early that hasn’t met your standards? Let me know who’s hurting your team.

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I’m not sure if we could’ve gotten a better Game 1 to start the World Series off with. The scoring started off with something I never thought I would see. A inside the park home run by Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the bottom of the 1st inning to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead. The New York Mets came back with single runs in the 4th, 5th and 6th inning off of Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez for a 3-1 lead. With the way Matt Harvey had settled down after the home run in the 1st it looked like the Royals could be in trouble. Harvey had some issues in the bottom of the 6th giving up a double and a couple of singles that led to the Royals being able to tie the game up 3-3 after 6. Both starters exited the game after pitching 6 innings; so it became a bullpen game. With 2 outs in the top of the 8th Juan Lagares singled and stole 2nd. Wilmer Flores hit what looked like an inning ending ground ball to 1st, but Eric Hosmer made an error and Lagares came around to score. Honestly with Jeurys Familia on the mound for the Mets in the bottom of the 9th inning I really thought they where going to get a big Game 1 win in Kansas City, but with 1 out in the inning Alex Gordon hit a solo home run to center field to tie the game at 4-4. Familia got the next 2 Royals hitters and Game 1 was headed to extra innings. Neither team threatened in the 10th as all 3 Mets hitters struck out swinging and 2 of the 3 Royals hitters struck out in the bottom of the inning. Lagares led of the top of the 11th with a single and was sacrificed to 2nd, but was stranded there as the Mets went strikeout, walk, strikeout to end the inning. The Royals got an infield single with 2 outs in the bottom half of the inning, but didn’t threaten. All 3 Mets hitters struck out in the top of the 12th inning. Kansas City got an infield single by Paulo Orlando who was sacrificed to 2nd. An intentional walk put runners on 1st and 2nd. A ground out to 1st moved the runners up, but was the 2nd out of the inning and the next batter flew out to center field to end the inning. All the Mets could manage in the top of the 13th was a 2 out walk. The Royals did get a lead off single to start the bottom of the inning, but after that they had a pop out and 2 ground outs to end the inning. The Mets went down 1, 2, 3 in the top of the 14th. Escobar started the bottom of the inning for the Royals by reaching safely on a throwing error by Mets 3rd baseman David Wright. Ben Zobrist singled to right field and Escobar went to 3rd base. Lorenzo Cain was intentionally walked to load the bases for Hosmer. Hosmer was 0 for 3 as he stepped to the plate to fave Bartolo Colon, but he did hit a sacrifice fly earlier in the game to drive in a run. Hosmer hit a deep fly ball to Mets rightfielder Curtis Granderson. It looked as though Escobar would score easily to win the game for the Roayls and while he did score the game winning run Granderson made the play at home plate much, much closer than anyone thought it would be. Colon took the loss for the Mets pitching 2 1/3rd innings giving up 1 run on 3 hits and he did walk 3, but they where all intentional. Chris Young who is scheduled to start Game 4 for Kansas City worked 3 innings in relief and got the win. Young pitched 3 innings in relief walking 1 ans striking out 3. So the longest game in World Series history ends in a 5-4 win for the Royals after 14 innings.

Game 2 is tonight in Kansas City and the Mets will send Jacob deGroom to the mound to start. The Royals will counter with Johnny Cueto as they look to win both games at home. deGroom has won all 4 of his post season starts and has an E.R.A. of 1.80 over 20 innings. He has also struck out 27 batters, but has given up 2 home runs. Cueto has also made 3 post season starts, but is 1-1 with an E.R.A. of 7.88. Cueto has logged just 16 innings in his 3 starts and has giving up 15 hits. After a long Game 1 that saw the Mets use 5 pitchers and the Royals use 6 pitchers in relief you have to think that both managers would like to get into the 7th inning with there starter, but it is the World Series and if a pitcher is struggling you can’t stay wit him. It looks like the Mets have an advantage in starting pitching tonight, but this is why the Royals dealt for Cueto at the trade deadline, but will he come through for them?

Over shadowed for me by Game 1 of the World Series was the start of the NBA season. There where 3 games on the schedule; 2 of which where on national television. It started with the Chicago Bulls getting a 97-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nikola Mirotic led the Bulls with 19 points, Yaj Gibson led the team with 10 rebounds and Derrick Rose led the team with 5 assists. LeBron James led the Cavaliers in scoring with 25 points, Tristan Thompson grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the team and Mo Williams had team high 7 assists. The game you didn’t see on national television saw the Detroit Pistons beat the Atlanta Hawks 106-94. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points to lead the Pistons, Andre Drummond had 19 rebounds to lead the team and Reggie Jackson handed out 5 assists to lead Detroit. Dennis Schroder came off the Atlanta bench to lead the team with 20 points, Paul Milsap grabbed a team high 8 rebounds and Schroder, Jeff Teague and Al Horford tied for the lead in assists with 4. The 3rd and final game of the night saw the defending champion Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-95. Stephen Curry looked to be in MVP form as he scored 40 points and handed out 7 assists to lead Golden State in both categories, Harrison Barnes led the tam with 9 rebounds. Anthony Davis scored 18 points to lead New Orleans, Davis and Ryan Anderson each grabbed 9 rebounds t tie for the team lead in that category and Ish Smith had 9 assists to lead New Orleans.

Schaumburg Stu won our pick contest for Week 7 in the NFL going 9-5. Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy tied at 8-6 and I was at the bottom going 7-7. Dan the Man held on to his 1 game lead overall at 64-41. Mr. Fantasy is 63-42 while Schaumburg Stu and I are tied at 58-47. Let;s see what Week 8 has in store for us.

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The World Series gets started tomorrow in Kaufman Stadium as the Kansas City Royals host the New York Mets. I thought we should go position by position and see who looks to have the edge. It’s a 2-3-2 game format; so do you think it’s important for the Mets to take 1 of the first 2 games in Kansas City? Let’s try to break things down.

1st Base Eric Hosmer for the Royals against Lucas Duda for the Mets. Hosmer is hitting just .222 in the post season, but he is the team leader in RBI’s with 11. Duda is also having his issues at the plate hitting just .214 with 1 home run and 6 RBI’s this post season. So if your picking between 2 players who aren’t hitting well it should come down to defense. While Duda has turned into a solid fielding 1st baseman Hosmer is Gold Glove caliber at 1st; so while it’s a close decision it’s Hosmer.

2nd Base Ben Zobrist has taken over as the everyday 2nd baseman for the Royals. Before the playoffs Zobrist was a super utility guy. He’s hitting well this post season .326 with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s. He also plays above average at 2nd. Zobrist would probably be the pick over any other post season 2nd baseman, but the guy playing 2nd for the Mets is Daniel Murphy. Murphy is leading his team in home runs with 7; he’s homered in 6 straight games he’s also leading te Mets in RBI’s with 11 and he’s hitting .426. While Zobrist’s number are good Murphy’s are great; so even though there’s no guarantee he’ll stay as hot as he was the choice is Murphy

Shortstop Alcides Escobar is the Royals leader in batting average at .386. He has 17 hits this post season 2 of which are triples. There was some crazy stat about how well he is hitting the very first pitch of the game as he’s leading off for Kansas City as well. Wilmer Flores took over at shortstop for the Mets after Ruben Tejada was injured. Flores is hitting .292 over his 24 post season at bats. Flores is a better power hitter than Escobar, but Esobar is one of the better defensive shortstops in the American League. Escobar is another player will have to see how the time off effects and he’s the choice at shortstop.

3rd Base Mike Moustakas is the Royals player who has the lowest batting average this post season (.167) he does have 1 home run and has driven in 5 runs even with a poor batting average. David Wright is hitting exactly the same as Moustakas is .167 and has struck out 12 times in 30 post season at bats, but has walked 9 times. It’s another situation where the players are both struggling; so we look to defense to try and make a choice. Moustakas has improved defensively at 3rd, but Wright is still a better defender at the hot corner; so let’s take Wright.

Left Field Alex Gordon is hitting .250 with 3 doubles 1 home run, but just 3 RBI’s. That could be a case of the guys in front of him are driving everyone in or is he not coming through in the clutch. He is the best defensive outfielder in this series though. Will the Mets stick with the platoon of Micheal Cuddyer who has 1 hit in 8 post season at bats and Micheal Conforto who has 1 hit in 15 post season at bats. Either way the Mets go the Royals have the advantage here; so the choice is Gordon.

Center Field Lorenzo Cain may still be one of the most underrated players in baseball even though we’ve seen him the last 2 post seasons. His base running alone put the Royals in the World Series. He’s hitting .275 with a home run and 7 RBI’s; plus 2 stolen bases. Yoenis Cespedes has had a solid post season a .265 average with 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s, but he hasn’t had those flashes of brilliance we saw in the regular season. He had a shoulder issue and received a cortizone shot; so we’ll have to keep an eye on that. This may be the toughest choice of them all and you really could take either guy, but I’m going to go with Cain.

Right Field Alex Rios just goes about his business at the bottom of the Royals order. He’s hitting .333 with 2 doubles a home run and 5 RBI’s. Not bad at all for your #9 hitter. While Rios has been a bit of a surprise Curtis Granderson has been very good for the Mets. Granderson is hitting .303 this season and has driven in 7 RBI’s as the Mets lead off hitter. Granderson is the tam leader in stolen bases with 4 and may be the only stolen base threat on the Mets. They’re comparable defensively as well. Granderson is the choice here.

Designated Hitter This is really an unfair position as the Royals have Kendrys Morales who DH’s all season while the Mets will just use one in the American League ballpark. Morales is hitting .268; is tied for the team lead in home runs with 4 and has 10 RBI’s this post season. He’ll be a very big loss to the Royals when he’s out of the line up when the games move to New York. If I had to guess I’m thinking Cuddyer is going to fill the DH role for the Mets. Cuddyer has some experience in the American League and has DH’d before, but no matter who fills the role for the Mets when the DH is used it;s advantage Morales.

Catcher While Salvador Perez is struggling at the plate hitting just .194 he does have 4 home runs and we all know any hitting he does is just a bonus for Kansas City. Travis D’Arnaud isn’t hitting much better for the Mets. A .206 batting average, but he; showing some power as well with 3 post season home runs. Perez has thrown out 1 base stealer this post season, but D’Arnaud hasn’t thrown out anyone. It’s a pretty even choice here, but I think you have to go with the experience and go with Perez.

Starting Pitching It’s Edison Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young as the listed starters for the Royals while the Mets have Matt Harvey, Jacob deGroom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz listed as there starters. This was an easier choice than I thought it was going to be. The Royals will run out a veteran staff while the Mets stick with there up and coming rotation. The Royals starters have been a little hot and cold while the Mets have been much more consistent. I really think that starting pitching is going to be the deciding factor in this series. If the Royals starting rotation can have good outings and hang with the Mets young stud starters it would really give the Royals an advantage. Either way when it’s rotation versus rotation the Mets have a big advantage.

Set Up Men Even with Greg Holland out the Royals still have the bullpen down to a science. Kelvin Herrera leads to Ryan Madson or Luke Hochevar who leads to the closer. It got them to the World Series last season and can shorten games to 6 or even in some cases 5 innings. It’s a very good system and Bed Yost knows how to use it. Tyler Clippard has always been a great set up guy, but has struggled this post season. Luckily for the Mets they have starters Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon added to the post season bullpen. If Addison Reed can get some big outs and Hansel Robles gets some outs the Mets bullpen might be able to hang with the Royals. Sadly that’s a lot of if’s for the Mets and you have to go with the Royals in the bullpen.

Closer Wade Davis has 10 strikeouts and 3 walks over 6 2/3rd post season innings. Jeurys Familia has 6 strikeouts and 2 walks over 9 2/3rd post season innings. Davis is 3 for 3 in save opportunities and has a win. Familia is 5 for 5 in save opportunities. Davis has been in 5 games while Familia has pitched in 8 games. Davis has given up 3 hits while Familia has given up 3 and by the way neither pitcher has given up a run. Both pitchers have proven they can get more than 3 outs to record a save. Have you made a choice yet? I think I’m leaning a little towards Davis, but not by much and if you picked Familia I can see how you came to that decision.

Series I’m picking Kansas City to win the title in 6 or 7 games.

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The Kansas City Royals are headed to the World Series for the second year in a row with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

I had heard someone say the game would greatly favor the Royals since they where playing at home in Kaufman Stadium and there wouldn’t be as many home runs. Of course with that being said there where 4 home runs in the game; 2 for each team. The Royals used 2 solo home runs; 1 by Ben Zobrist in the 1st inning and then a controversial home run by Mike Moustakas in the 2nd. It appeared that a fan reached out over the wall for Mike Moustakas’ home run, prompting the Blue Jays to challenge the call. The play was upheld after a review. Jose Bautista cut the Royals lead in half with the first of his two home runs a bomb to left field that was listed as traveling 431 feet. It took until the bottom of the 7th inning before the Royals where able to put another run on the board. Moustakas led the inning off with a single. Salvador Perez flied out for the 1st out. Alex Gordon grounded out to 2nd, but Moustakas moved to 2nd base. That was the end of the night for David Price as Aaron Sanchez was brought in from the Toronto bullpen to face Alex Rios. Rios went down in the count 0-2. He took the 3rd pitch for a ball and on the 4th pitch of the at bat he singled t left field to score Moustakas giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. Now I thought with a 3-1 lead and the way the Kansas City bullpen has pitched in this series that the game was over it was just a matter of them getting the last 6 outs. As you know I was wrong. Ryan Madson took over on the mound in the top of the 8th inning. Ben Revere led off with an infield single and after Josh Donaldson struck out for the 1st out of the inning Jose Bautista came to the plate. Bautista fouled the first pitch off and then hit the second pitch into the left field seats and with Revere scoring ahead of him the game was tied 3-3. After a 45 minute rain delay Lorenzo Cain led off the bottom of the 8th inning by drawing a walk off of Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna. Eric Hosmer followed Cain’s walk by singling to right field. Bautista fielded the ball cleanly in right, but rather than hit the cut off man Bautista threw to second base. That gave Cain, running full speed and waved home by third-base coach Mike Jirschele, just enough time to beat the relay throw from second base sliding in safely to give the Royals a 4-3 lead. Wade Davis had been brought in to get the final 2 outs of the 8th inning and had to sit trough the rain delay before going out to pitch the top of the 9th. There had to be some concern that the delay and then having to sit through the Kansas City at bat would affect Davis and after a lead off single by Russell Martin and then a walk to Kevin Pillar you had to wonder if that was the case. Adding to things Dalton Pompey was sent in to pinch run for Martin and stole 2nd and 3rd during Pillar’s at bat. With the tying run 90 feet away and the go ahead run on 1st base Dioner Navarro was inserted as a pinch hitter for Ryan Goins. Navarro struck out swinging, but on the strikeout Pillar stole 2nd. Wit one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd it was back to the top of the order for the Blue Jays. Ben Revere stuck out for the 2nd out of the inning and that left the Blue Jays season in the hands of their MVP candidate Josh Donaldson. Donaldson worked the count to 2-1 before grounding out to 3rd to end the game.

David Price made the start for the Blue Jays and pitched pretty well. Price worked 6 2/3rd innings; he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, he walked 1 while striking out 8. Aaron Sanchez followed Price, but only pitched 1/3rd of an inning giving up 2 hits. The run Sanchez gave up was charged to Price. Roberto Osuna pitched an inning giving up 1 run on 2 hits and did walk a batter. Yordano Ventura made the Game 6 start for the Royals. Ventura pitched 5 1/3 rd innings giving up 1 run on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. As usual Kelvin Herrera was the first guy out of the Royals bullpen. Herrera pitched an 1 2/3rd; he gave up no hits and struck out 2. Ryan Madson was next out of the Royals bullpen, but lasted just 1/3rd of an inning giving up 2 runs on 2 hits while walking 1 and striking out 1. Then it was Wade Davis; turn. Davis worked an 1 2/3rd he gave up 1 hit, walked 1 and struck out 3 and didn’t give up a run.

The World Series starts Tuesday night in Kansas City as the Royals will host the New York Mets. Remember the American League won the All-Star game; so they’re the home team in the series.

I understand that the NFL schedule comes out way in advance of the season; so you don’t know what the teams will actual be playing like when the games happen. There’s also no flex scheduling for the Thursday night games like there is with the Sunday night games. I’m sure on paper this looked like a great match up. An NFC West battle featuring a team (Seattle Seahawks) that has been to back to back Super Bowls against a team (San Francisco 49ers) who went to a Super Bowl the season before the Seahawks started going and a playoff contender was what we thought we might be getting when the schedule was released. What we got was a struggling Seahawks team that was having issues holding 4th quarter leads against a 49ers team that doesn’t look anywhere near what it did last season. San Francisco went through a much publicized coaching changed and also had multiple top players retire in the off season. Instead of what might’ve been a marquee match up a season or two ago we got a pretty boring 20-3 Seattle victory.

Of course even in bad games there are people who have fantasy players going and Marshawn Lynch was the guy to have in this game. Lynch carried the ball 27 times for 122 yards and a touchdown. Besides Lynch the only other touchdown went to was a Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett 43 yard connection in the 2nd quarter. Wilson was 18/24 for 235 yards with that 1 touchdown, but he threw 2 interceptions and was sacked 5 times for 23 yards. Wilson did pick up 20 yards rushing on 7 carries. If you had Lockett in your line up he was the Seahawks leading receiver with 5 receptions for 79 yards and that touchdown. The other fantasy relative might’ve been Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka. Hauschka made both of his extra point attempts in the game and hit 2 field goals a 46 and a 49 yarder. The San Francisco player who may give you the most fantasy help this week might be tight end Vernon Davis; if he was in your line up. Davis hasn’t produced for his fantasy owners this season and has missed some games with injuries, but if you had him in line line up for Week 7 he caught 4 passes for 61 yards. Davis could be a big help in a league where you have to start 2 tight ends.

Here’s hoping the rest of the games in Week 7 of the NFL are better than this one. Don’t forget that Week 7 gets an early start as the Buffalo Bills play the Jacksonville Jaquars in London. This is the NFL’s first attempt at live streaming a game; so don’t forget that it’s an 8:30 a.m. start time and you can watch it online.

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The League Championship series are one win away from being wrapped as as yesterday the Kansas City Royals took a 3 games to 1 lead over the Toronto Blue jays and the New York Mets went ahead in there series 3 games to 0 on the Chicago Cubs. Game 5 of the ALCS is this afternoon with the Royals looking to go back to the World Series. Game 4 of the NLCS is tonight where the Mets will look to sweep and advance to the World Series.

The offensives really got rolling in the ALCS as both teams combined for a total of 19 runs in the Blue Jays 11-8 win. The Blue Jays had a 10-4 lead after 5 innings and added a run in the bottom of the 8th inning and looked like they would cruise to there first ALCS victory. The Royals decided to make the game a little more interesting than people thought it would be as they scored 4 runs in the top of the 9th inning, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Jays held to for a win an9d cut the deficit in the series to 2 games to 1.

The offense continued in Game 4 of the ALCS, but just for the Royals. Kansas City scored 4 runs in the top of the 1st inning highlighted by a 2-run Ben Zobrist home run and an Alex Rios solo home run in the top of the 2nd gave the Royals a 5-0 lead and they never looked back on there way to a 14-2 victory and control of the ALCS 3 games to 1. Former Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey made the start for the Blue Jays, but didn’t get through 2 innings. Dickey lasted 1 2/3rd innings giving up 5 runs; 4 of which where earned on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 1. There was also a passed ball charged to catcher Russell Martin while Dickey was on the mound. Chris Young made the Game 4 start for the Royals. Young lasted 4 2/3rd innings before giving way to the Kansas City bullpen. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. It wasn’t a long outing for Young, but it was what the Royals need as Luke Hochevar (1 1/3rd innings), Ryan Madson (1 inning), Kelvin Herrera (1 inning) and Franklin Morales (1 inning) didn’t allow the Blue Jays to score in relief. Each pitcher gave up 1 hit in relief; Madson struck out 2 while Herrera and Morales each recorded 1 strikeout. After Dickey was removed Liam Hendriks came out of the Blue Jays bullpen and allowed just 1 hit to the Royals over 4 1/3rd innings while striking out 2. LaTroy Hawkins took over on the mound at the top of the 6th inning and didn’t record an out while giving up 3 runs on 2 hits while walking 1. Ryan Tepera relieved Hawkins and didn’t have much more success against the Royals line up. Tepera pitched 1 2/3rd innings giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and walking 2. Mark Lowe worked an inning after Tepera and gave up 2 runs on 1 hit while striking out 2. Shortstop Cliff Pennington got the final out of the top of the 9th for Toronto becoming the first position player to pitch in a post season game. Pennington pitched 1/3rd of an inning giving up 2 hit, but 0 runs.

It will be a rematch of Game 1 on the mound as Edison Volquez starts for the Royals and Marco Estrada gets the start for the Blue Jays. Volquez got the win in the Royals 5-0 Game 1 victory. He pitched 6 innings walking 4 and striking out 5. Estrada took the Game 1 loss for the Blue Jays pitching 5 1/3rd innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6. Can the Blue Jays extend the series and go back the Kansas City for a Game 6 behind Estrada or will the Royals win with Volquez and head to the World Series.

In the NLCS the Mets have used there good young pitching and Daniel Murphy’s bat to take all 3 game of the series against the Cubs. The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on a Javier Baez error that allowed David Wright on base and then with Wright on the move Yoenis Cespedes doubled and with Wright moving on the hit and run he was able to score. The Cubs got even in the bottom of the 1st inning on a Kyle Schwarber solo home run, Murphy struck again for the Mets in the top of the 3rd inning when with 2 outs he homered to center field to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Cubs evened the game up again in the bottom of the 4th inning on another solo home run this time by Jorge Soler. The Mets found a way to take the lead again in the top of the 6th inning on one of the odder plays this post season. With Cespedes on 3rd and 2 outs Michael Conforto struck out which would normally end the inning, but the baseball got away from Cubs catcher Miguel Montero and Conforto was able to reach base safely and Cespedes scored to give the Mets a 3-2 which they’d never relinquish. The Mets added 2 big insurance runs in the top of the 7th inning. With 1 out Wright doubled then Murphy got an infield hit moving Wright to 3rd base. Cesepedes followed that with a single to left field scoring Wright with Murphy going to 3rd and Cesepedes moving to 2nd on the throw. A Lucas Duda ground out allowed Murphy to score the 5th and final Mets run of the night on there way to a 5-2 win.

Kyle Hendricks made the start for the Cubs and while he had a solid outing he wasn’t around long pitching 4 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4. Cjayton Richard was the first of 6 Cubs relievers out of there bullpen pitching 1 inning, walking 1 and giving up 1 hit, but 0 runs. Trevor Cahill followed Richard and pitched an inning giving up 1 runs on 2 hits while striking out 1. Travis Wood worked 1/3rd of an inning giving up 2 runs on 2 hits while striking out 1. Justin Grimm pitched 2/3rd of an inning giving up 1 hit while striking out 1. Pedro Strop was next and worked a perfect inning getting 1 strikeout. Hector Rondon was the last Cubs pitcher of the night and he threw 1 inning, walking 1 and striking out 1. Jacob deGroom started for the Mets pitching 7 innings. deGroom gave up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7. Tyler Clippard pitched 1 inning giving 1 hit and striking out 1 before closer Jeurys Familia entered the game working a perfect 9th inning striking out 1 to pick up the save and give the Mets a 3 games to 0 lead in the series.

The Mets are looking for the sweep tonight behind rookie pitcher Steven Matz. Matz has made 1 post season start going 5 innings and taking the loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Trying to avoid the sweep on the mound for the Cubs will be Jason Hammel. In Hammel’s 1 post season start he lasted just 3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in that NLDS match up. There was some talk last night that the Cubs may turn to Jon Lester on 3 days rest to take this start, but I don;t think that’s been announced yet. No matter who gets the start for the Cubs tonight they’re going t have to be the first team since the 2004 Boston Red Sox to come back from being down 0-3 if they want to get out of this series. Sorry Cubs fans, but Jon Lester wasn’t on that 2004 Red Sox team.

Believe it or not Week 6 in our NFL picks actually went my way. I won the week with a 9-5 record while Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu finished a game behind me at 8-6. Either Mr. Fantasy’s illness or the fact that he didn’t make his picks live on the Sunday podcast cost him as he finished under .500 at 6-8. With the poor showing by Mr. Fantasy Dan the Man has been able to leap frog him and move into 1st place by a game 56-35 (Dan) 55-36 (Mr. Fantasy) I’m still in 3rd place at 51-40 while Schaumburg Stu is 2 games behind me at 49-42. Let’s see how Week 7 goes for us.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast at BlogTalkRadio.com.

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.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast at BlogTalklRadio.com

If you’re a Kansas City Royals fan are you worried that your team has a 13 game lead in the American League Central and are pretty much cruising into the playoffs. Some experts seem to think that it’s a bad thing that Kansas City won’t have any high tension games going down the stretch to end the regular season. I’m kind of on the other side of this and while I get it that a team can’t turn it on and off as needed I think Kansas City is in a great spot. Kansas City has 28 games left in the regular season; they are 82-52 and like I mentioned 13 games ahead in the A.L. Central. This can work to Kansas City’s advantage. They’ll be able to get their pitching rotation in whatever order they decide. They should also be able to get some players like Kendrys Morales (133), Eric Hosmer (131) and anyone else they thin needs a day off as their regular season comes to an end. While Salvador Perez is one of the better young catchers in baseball; he has caught a lot of games this season (117) and if Kansas City can get him some time of as their season wraps up he’ll be at or close to at the top of his game going into the Division series. Kansas City made one of the bigger moves at the trade deadline giving up 3 players to get Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds. Cueto has made 7 starts for Kansas City; he has a 2-4 record with andERA of 4.21 not the top of the rotation pitcher they thought they where getting in the deal. Cueto has really struggled in his last 2 starts. He gave up 7 runs (6 earned) on 13 hits over 6 innings 2 starts ago to the Boston Red Sox and in his last start he gave Cueto gave up 6 runs on 8 hits over 5 innings against the Baltimore Orioles. Now with the lead the Royals have in their division they’ll be able to let Cueto go out and continue to work on whatever he needs to as he faces American League hitters on a regular basis for the first time in his career. Kansas City will also be able to use the rest of the regular season to evaluate the bullpen. While the Royals bullpen is still one of the best in baseball closer Greg Holland has battled injuries off and on all season and while he has saved 29 games his ERA is on the higher end for a closer at 3.83. Any time Holland has had to miss games due to injury Wade Davis has filled in and has been very good. Davis has picked up 13 saves in place of Holland this season. Davis also has a record of 7-1 and an ERA of 0.97; yes you read that right his ERA is under 1. Kansas City still has Kelvin Herrera setting up games before Davis and Holland and they’ve even gotten Ryan Madson helping out in the bullpen. Madson hadn’t pitched since 2011 because of injuries. Kansas City brought him into spring training and it’s paid off for them. Madson has appeared in 55 games for Kansas City this season; he has a 1-2 record with an ERA of 2.45 over 51 1/3rd innings. Madson has also gotten 2 saves this season out of the Kansas City bullpen. As good as the Royals bullpen was in the playoffs last season if Holland is 100% and with the addition of Madson believe it or not it might be better this season. Having as big of a division lead as the Royals do will allow them to get Holland rested and healthy and not worry about the bullpen. Also with the re-emergence of Madson not all the closing duties will fall on Davis and he’ll be able to get some days off down the stretch. So I have to wonder if Kansas City have a big division lead is really an issue.

I believe that I’ve mentioned on Sports Time Radio podcast that I watch way too much of the MLB Network. Earlier this week they had a plug that they would be discussing the race for the National League Cy Young award. I sat through the commercials and waited for them to start talking about it. After a couple of boring segments and another commercial break they finally said let’s look at the Top 3 contenders for the N.L. Cy Young award. Teammates Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner where the 3 names they threw out. Greinke may be the front runner for the award as he is 15-3 through 27 starts with a fantastic ERA of 1.59. Kershaw is 12-6 with an ERA of 2.16 over 27 starts. Bumgarner has started 27 games as well and is 16-7 with an ERA of 2.96. Three very good  candidates, but for some reason they seem to have overlooked a top Cy Young Award contender. Now I don;t know if it’s because he’s not a big name like the other 3 pitcher they brought up, but Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs should really of been mentioned with the other 3. Arrieta has more wins (17) than any of the 3 pitchers they brought up and his ERA (2.11) is 2nd in the National League among starting pitchers behind Greinke. Why was Arrieta left off of their list? He’s pitching for a winning team as the Cubs are in control of the last N.L. wild card spot and he just threw a no-hitter which the MLB Network did completely devalue after he pitched it. I don’t understand the stupidity of not looking at every pitcher especially one that’s putting up the numbers Arrieta is this season. The sad part is I’m sure there are a lot of guys who work for or appear on the MLB Network that hold votes for the end of the year awards and if they’re not believing in Arrieta he’ll have no chance at winning anything no matter how well he pitches or if his team makes the playoffs.

Now even though Mr. Fantasy and I will be at our money league fantasy football draft Dan the Man is going to step in and talk to Chris Olmstead from BeyondtheFlag.com tomorrow (Sunday) on Sports Time Radio. They’ll preview the Bojangles Southern 500 for you. The race is at Darlington Speedway and is a Sunday night race. You’ll want to listen to Chris as he makes his Top 3 picks on which driver will end up in victory lane.

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

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime.  

The World Series got under way last night in Kansas City as the Royals hosted the San Francisco Giants. The Giants took the 1st game of this World Series 7-1 on the strength of Madison Bumgarner left arm. Bumgarner pitched 7 innings allowing just 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 5. Javier Lopez and Hunter Strickland pitched an inning apiece out of the Giants bullpen to wrap up the Game 1 win. The Giants wasted very little time getting to Royals Game 1 starter James Shields putting together 5 straight hits in the 1st inning highlighted by a Hunter Pence 2 run home run and had a 3-0 lead on the Royals before Kansas City had even batted. Shields lasted just 3 innings giving up 7 hits and 5 runs. San Francisco added 2 more runs in the top of 4th off of Shields and then 2 more runs off of Danny Duffy in the top of the 7th inning. Salvador Perez accounted for the only Royals run with a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th inning. For the Giants, Pence was 2 for 3 with 2 RBI’s and 2 walks. Pablo Sandoval also added 2 hits for the Giants going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s. Game 2 is tonight in Kansas City with Jake Peavey takes the mound looking to give the Giants a 2-0 in the series. The Royals counter with rookie Yordano Ventura as their starting pitcher. While it’s not a must win game for Kansas City tonight you’d have to think they need a win so the series doesn’t go to San Francisco down 2-0.

Week 7 was my week in the picks we do for Sports Time Radio. I went 12-3, Schaumburg Stu finished 2nd with a record of 11-4, Mr. Fantasy was 10-5 in 3rd and Dan the Man was at the bottom last week going 9-6. For the season I have taken a 1 game lead at 66-39-1 over Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy who are at 65-40-1 while Dan the Man has dropped to the bottom of the standings at 62-37-1. Will make out Week 8 picks on Sunday’s show from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on www.blogtalkradio.com; so we’ll see how those picks go.

As you know if you’ve listened to the show Mr. Fantasy picks a high scoring player at each position and also makes a sleeper pick for the week as well. What he didn’t know this week was that I had a friend (Greg) who is a long time fantasy player makes picks against him. Neither guy knew who the other would be picking but they only picked one position the same. So let’s see how their picks went. At quarterback they both went with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. Luck finished 10th among quarterbacks for Week 7 with 17.38 points. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was the highest scoring quarterback of Week 7 with 35.11 points. At running back Mr. Fantasy went with Arian Foster of the Houston Texans while Greg went with DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys. Murray ended the week in 5th place among running backs while Foster was the 11th highest scoring running back of the week. Murray had 28.20 points while Foster had 23.50 points; Matt Forte led all running backs with 31.65 points in Week 7. At wide receiver Mr. Fantasy selected Steve Smith Sr. of the Baltimore Ravens while Greg took Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith finished in 45th place among wide receivers for Week 7 while Brown end the week in 8th place. Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos was the leading scorer at wide receiver with 35.35 points, Brown had 22.23 points while Smith had 8.95 points for Week 7. At the tight end position Mr. Fantasy picked Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins while Greg picked Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers. Reed finished 17th among tight ends while Olsen was in 2nd place. Reed scored 9.15 points for the week while Olsen had 16.75 points. Gavin Escobar of the Dallas Cowboys scored 20.75 to lead all tight ends in Week 7. At Kicker Mr. Fantasy picked Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens while Greg went with Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts. Nick Folk of the New York Jets led all kickers for Week 7 with 15 points. Tucker scored 9 points and ended the week in 13th place while Vinatieri scored 12 points and finished in 7th place for Week 7. For sleeper picks Mr. fantasy selected Chris Hogan wide receiver of the Buffalo Bills who scored 8.05 points for Week 7 and ranked as the 53rd among wide receivers. Greg selected Daniel Thomas running Miami Dolphins who scored 9 points and finished 37th among the Week 7 running backs. It looks like Greg may have gotten the better of Mr. Fantasy for Week 7. Will have to see how the Week 8 picks work out. Just so everyone knows I use the scoring system that is customized for our Yahoo league.

Early in the NHL season there are only three teams that haven’t lost a game in regulation. The Washington Capitals are 3-0 with 2 games decided in overtime or shoot outs. The Nashville Predators are 4-0 with 2 games being decided in overtime or shoot outs and the Chicago Blackhawks are also 4-0 with 1 game being decided by overtime or in a shoot out. While those teams have yet to lose a game in regulation the Montreal Canadiens with a 6-1 record have the most points at 12. The Anaheim Ducks are 5-1 and are tied with the Predators at 10 points behind the Canadiens. While Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars and John Tavares of the New York Islanders lead the NHL in points with 10 it’s Rick Nash of the New York Rangers leading the NHL in goals with 8. There are four players tied for the league lead in assists with 7; Tavares, Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, Jason Spezza of the Dallas Stars and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks are the players that are tied. While it’s very, very early in the season and these stats will change not only from week to week, but from game to game I still enjoy knowing who the league leaders are. I know there’s no real reason for it, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed looking at since I was young and I continue to do it almost on a daily basis. I always want to know who scored and who got assists. Hopefully one of your favorite players is among the league leaders or your favorite team still hasn’t lost a game.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

It may be the 1st day of October, but September went out with one of the most exciting MLB playoff games that I can remember. The American League wild card game had the Kansas City Royals finding ways to come back time after time against the Oakland A’s. The Royals scored 2 run in the bottom of the 12th inning to get a 9-8 victory and advance to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the divisional playoff series. Salvador Perez’s only hit was the game winner in the bottom of the 12th and reliever Jason Frasor picked up the win as the 6th Royals pitcher to come out of their bullpen. While both starter Jon Lester for Oakland and James Shields for Kansas City will get big money free agent contracts this off-season neither guy pitched like the staff ace that he had been during the season. Lester hung around for 7 1/3rd innings giving up 6 runs on 8 hits while striking out 5 and walking 2. Shields only pitched 5 innings for the Royals; he gave up 4 runs on 5 hits while striking out 6, walking 2 and giving up 1 home run. The Royals had 7 stolen bases in the game and Christian Colon’s in the 12th inning set him up to score the winning run on Perez’s single. Let’s hope tonight’s National League wild card game is just as exciting. The San Francisco Giants are starting left hander Madison Bumgarner who was 18-10 during the regular season. While the Pittsburgh Pirates send right hander Edinson Volquez to the mound. Volquez was 13-7 in the regular season. The Pirates line up is already up and I was surprised to see Gaby Sanchez getting the start at 1st base and Travis Snider making the start in rightfield. I’d like to bill this game as a battle of the last two National League MVP winners; Buster Posey for the Giants and Andrew McCutchen for the Pirates.

Well our Week 4 NFL picks weren’t that great. Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy tied for the winning record at 7-6. There’s a quote Schaumburg Stu and I use all the time. It’s from professional wrestling legend Buddy Rogers. In an interview he said “They don’t ask you how you won; they ask you if you won”. Hopefully I got that right; if not Schaumburg Stu will straighten me out. Dan the Man and I finished Week for with 6-7 records. For the season Dan the Man is still holding the lead at 35-26, Mr. Fantasy is just 1 game behind at 34-27 while Schaumburg Stu and I are tied at the bottom with a 32-29 record. Let’s hope Week 5 draws out some better records from us.

Let’s see how Mr. Fantasy did with his individual player picks for fantasy high scorers at each position for Week 4. He went with San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers to be the high scorer at that position. Rivers had a good week, but finished 6th among quarterbacks. It was Eli Manning who was the highest scoring quarterback last week. At the running back spot Mr. Fantasy choose DeMarco Murray as his high scorer. Murray finished 3rd among running backs for Week 4 as he was beat out by Matt Asiata of the Minnesota Vikings who finished 2nd and Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs who bounced back from injury to be the highest scoring running back of Week 4. At wide Receiver Mr. Fantasy went with Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers as his high scorer. Brown finished 2nd at wide receiver in Week 4 being beat out by only Steve Smith Sr. of the Baltimore Ravens. We use the Yahoo scoring system for our leagues and Smith beat out Brown by .46; so Mr. Fantasy missed by not even half of a point. At tight end this week since Larry Donnell put up such big numbers during the Thursday night football game we went with the 2nd highest scoring tight end in Week 4. Mr. Fantasy went with Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. Graham was the 3rd highest scoring tight end in Week 4. Donnell was #1 like we thought he would be. Heath Miller of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the tight end that slipped in and took 2nd place for Week 4. Another close call for Mr. Fantasy as Miller outscored J. Graham by .65 of a point. At kicker Mr. fantasy went with another New Orleans Saints player; Shayne Graham. This Graham didn’t do as well for Mr. fantasy as S. Graham finished as the 19th highest scoring kicker of the week. The highest scoring kicker for Week 4 was Blair Walsh of the Minnesota Vikings. For his sleeper pick of Week 4 Mr. Fantasy went with Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater was making his 1st NFL start after coming in to finish the Week 3 game for the injured Matt Cassell. Bridgewater himself got injured in the Vikings 41-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Even with the injury Bridgewater finished as the 13th highest scoring quarterback of the week. I’d have to say this was the best week Mr. Fantasy has had making these picks; so will see if he can keep his momentum going for Week 5.

If you’ve listened t the show you know that we’ve put together fantasy leagues for the upcoming NHL and NBA seasons. We still have a few openings in these leagues. If you’re interested in playing in the hockey league with us follow this link https://yho.com/nhl?l=26209&k=5c41b61fd37e5a63 and sign up. If basketball is more your cup of tea use this link https://yho.com/nba?l=23729&k=78c34b583aa08608 to sign up. Dan the Man and I will be in both of these leagues, but Mr. fantasy is just going to play in the basketball league.

The other game, I have Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy playing against each other is picking the winners of the MLB playoff games. I’ll also throw in one other thing to pick. I’m scoring it with 2 points for a correct pick and -1 points for a negative selection. Last nights 2nd question was; who would be the winning pitcher. They could’ve picked any pitcher on the teams roster; not just the starting pitcher. After the 1st wild card game Dan the Man has the lead 1 to -2. Dan the Man had the Royals to win the game and James Shields to get the win. While Mr. Fantasy went with the A’s to win the game and Jon Lester to be the winning pitcher. In about an hour an a half (5:00 p.m. CST) they’ll pick tonight’s game between the Pirates and the Giants; they’ll also have to predict who will get more hits Andrew McCutchen or Buster Posey. They are allowed to make the same picks.

Let’s call this.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

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The second installment of This Old Stub takes us down to Kansas City, Missouri and straight to Kauffman Stadium. What’s better than a weekend drive to experience baseball in another city and another ball park. As a kid in the 80’s, the Kansas City Royals and George Brett were talked about a lot. Between the ’85 World Series and the infamous pine tar incident. Now, I may have been too young to remember those moments but spending as much time as I watching baseball, I’ve sat through my fair share of rain delays. Before the national networks took over, and before I had cable to watch in my room, they showed a lot of baseball films during these delays and with the MLB Network needing programming for the offseason. But really starting to understand the game around 7-8, one of the greatest athletes to grace the diamond and the football field, everyone knew who Bo Jackson was. Bo was the man when I was growing up and made many highlight plays but what always stood out to me was the Royals Stadium. It was the most unique I had ever seen with the outfield having all those water fountains. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. So, when the Cubs released the 2011 schedule and I saw that they were playing down in KC, I called my dad and said, “We’re going to Kansas!” Growing up, going to a Cubs game was the one thing we did no matter what each summer and he said, “We are?”

Now it amazed me that I was not the only to have this wonderful idea because I called Royals ticket office the day their tickets went on sale and all they had were single tickets, yuck. I sat and I watched StubHub for weeks and as the Cubs seemed to decline in performance, so did the cost of tickets. In the end I was able to land Diamond Club Tickets which were about 10 rows behind home plate and paid about $90/ticket. Not bad at all.

We packed up my mothers PT Cruiser and drove down, once you pass Joilet, IL on I-55, there isn’t much at all until you hit ST Louis, but you don’t have to go through downtown St Louis, you head west on I-72 until it ends. South on I-35 and besides the Black Wing Shaped aircraft that flew over us at only about 5-10k above us, there was nothing, you’d pass through a couple suburbs but that was about it. Great for passengers to sleep. Now we stayed just outside KC in a small town. Honesty I don’t remember, but the hotel was filled with Cubs Fans. We drove down Friday morning, ate at a local restaurant, which I love doing the food always seems to be much better. The place we ate at didn’t even have take out menus but it was great food. Little did we know, that we should have saved our appetites for the game. We were probably about 15-20 outside of KC. Of course it seemed like the longest ride there. I just remember finally being able too see the tops of the crown and as we approached closer and closer… like I’m 7 years old again and seeing my first game, the only thing that’s changed, I don’t have my mitt…the crown gets bigger and bigger. I can’t wait to get inside. We park, I’m practically running towards the gates. I’ve got all our tickets, take yours and yours and here’s yours. As soon as we get in, I already know we’re behind home plate. Lets walk around the whole park. Great part of this stadium is you get access to everything. However, I didn’t do my research and found out that day that the stadium was remodeled to add more seating to the outfield, so many of the fountains were gone but several still stood in center field and incorporated throughout the outfield. I also didn’t know that in left field, they built the Royals Hall of Fame. But on to our seats we go, to discover our tickets are checked again by security this time and he opens the glass door and let’s us in the Diamond Club. The diamond club has its own bar, gourmet chefs, servers for our entire section, separate bathrooms. To top it off at the top of the landing they have these half circle 50s diner style booths at the top and if you missed the play just look up because each booth had its own 32in flat screen. Phenomenal. I felt like VIP. Now if your looking to be on TV, you need to be in the first couple rows, I guess we were just out of view. Speaking of views, not a bad seat in the house, but that’s just me I love baseball. Our seats had almost a two in cushion and I landed myself the aisle seat. Game hasn’t even started and I can’t wait to come back here one day. After hitting the gift shop and picking up a George Brett Tee, we go back to our seats and I check in on MLB At Bat and it tells me that I just won a free Tee. I go pick it up and it’s a throw back with the old mascot Mr. Royal. How can the day get better.

Two of the worst teams in baseball but the place still drew about 45k that day and I’d have to say at least 2/3 was Cubs Fans. Once all the opening ceremonies are over, the home team takes the field with Brian Pena behind the plate, batting 7th, he begins to warm up Bruce Chen. Leading off, Kosuke Fukudome flies out to right. Starlin Castro sends a screamer to center and then moves to second on Aramis Ramirez’s single to center. With Jeff Baker in the box, Castro makes an attempt on 3rd but is thrown out by Pena. Baker sends a fly ball to right scoring Ramirez, the whole stadium erupts, for a moment its like were in Chicago. With Baker on 3rd, Catcher Geovany Soto, strikes out to end the inning. Ryan Dempster takes to the mound. Center fielder Melky Cabrera, 1B Eric Hosmer and DH Billy Butler make it a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 2, Carlos Peña (1B), Alfonso Soriano (LF), and Lou Montanez (RF) go down in order. Bot 2, Alex Gordon (LF) smacks a line drive to RF giving him a lead off single. With hopes to move him over, Jeff Franceur (RF) flies to LF. Mike Moustakas (3B) moves Gordon over to 2B on a softly hit ball to CF. Brayan Pena battles Ryan into throwing a wild pitch advancing both runners and then sac flying out to LF scoring Gordon for the home teams first run. Shortstop Alcides Escobar grounds out to end the inning. With all the excitement I forgot to make sure I still had everything in my pockets. I swear you can never keep anything in shorts pockets. Top 3 DJ LeMahieu (2B), Fuludome and Castro go down in order. Sending us to the Bot 3, where Chris Getz (2B) singles on a bunt to Dempster. Getz then gets caught trying to steal. Could have been a botched hit and run because Melky smacks a ground ball double to RF. Hosmer then Butler both manage to strike out swinging but Melky still manages to steal 3rd base. Ramirez with a lead off double to start the 4th. Baker grounds out to third, Soto walks. Man on 1st & 2cd, Peña sends a soft liner to right scoring Ramirez and the Cubs take the lead, Soto tags second on his way to 3rd, Franceur sends a rocket to Moustakas to tag Soto, allowing Peña to move to 2B. With 2 outs, Chen intentionally walks Soriano. Montanez doubles to LF, scoring Pena. Soriano rounds second, third on his way home, Gordon to Escobar to Pena and Soriano is tagged out at home. That’s 7-6-2, if your scoring at home.

After a play like that, it’s time to get some snacks and use the restroom. I almost forgot to check my pocket and see if it was still in there. Yup. Now back to my extra comfy seat behind home plate. Bot 4. Gordon reaches on a throwing error by Dempster. Franceur up to bat…he sends a rocket to left field and thank god Boomer isn’t calling this game in my head because that baby is out of here. 2 run homer to left and we are all tied up at 3. Moutakas & Pena get the first two outs. Escobar walks & moves to third on a line drive to center by Getz. Man on 1st & 3rd, Melky sends a screamer to left, scoring Escobar. 4-3 with Eric Hosmer ending the inning on a ground out 3-1.
The fifth inning sees Butler the only one with a hit then both teams are down in order. Still in my pocket, hope no one sees me checking my pockets. After the 5th inning, they announce that there will be a fire works display after the game. Couldn’t have picked a better game to go to. We were able to tour the park in the day, catch some partial day ball, I got a free Mr Royal tee and now a firework show, could this day get any better? No action in the 6th. Top 7, Carlos Peña doubles and causes the Royals to bring Blake Wood in from the bullpen. Sori sends Peña to third on a single to Francoeur. Blake DeWitt is brought in to bat for Montanez hitting into a 4-6-3 DP scoring Peña. We’re all tied up again, DJ & Kosuke both get singles causing a visit to the mound. Castro singles loading the bases for Ramirez, who goes down swinging. Bot 7, Tony Campana replaces DeWitt in Center, Kosuke moves to right and James Russel relieves Ryan and gets Melky & Hosmer out. Cubs bring in Chris Carpenter who walks the next two batters but gets out of the inning on a soft ground ball by Francoeur. 8th inning. Aaron Crow replaces Wood getting a 1-2-3 inning. The Cubs bring in Sean Marshall for Carpenter and he also has a 1-2-3 inning.

Top of the ninth, Alfonso strikes out but Campana reaches on a popped bunt to 3rd. He moves to 3rd on DJs single. Kosuke reaches on a force out error by Getz sending DJ to 3rd and scoring Tony. 5-4 with Castro in the box, ground ball to Melky scores DJ. Top 9, 6-4, man on 1st & 2cd, Aramis Ramirez at the plate, the pitch, ground ball to Getz, throws it Alcides, to Hosmer, 4-6-3 DP and we move to the bottom of the 9th. Reed Johnson to left and Carlos Marmol in for a chance at a save. Marmol starts with walking Getz but catches Melky looking and sends Hosmer back to the dug out swinging. Bottom 9, 2 outs with a man on first, Billy Butler doubles to right, and Getz holds at 3rd. Butler being the potential tying run, is replaced with Jarrod Dyson. Alex Gordon at the plate, the potential winning run. He sends a ground ball to Castro, throws in to Peña and the Cubs Win, Cubs Win, Cubs Win. If only Harry were still here. What a perfect day, visited a different ball park, got a free tee shirt, the Cubs won and now we get a firework show. It begins, red, blue, green explosions raining in the sky. I turn towards my girlfriend, make like I’m grabbing my bag under the seat, drop to a knee and get a crazy look and “What the hell are you doing?” I look up and spit out the words as nervously and quickly as one can, “Will you marry me?” I’m sure I heard a yes and I tried but made her put her ring on. All the while my mother photographed everything. The only way I knew how to make an already great day even better. Say what you will, I did it the only way I knew how and I will definitely not here any complaints if I ever want to go visit Kaufmann Stadium again. Of course by the time we hit the road, she posted it on Facebook. We had several phone calls, even had my cousin ask what’s the date? Pretty great weekend with my parents and now my fiancé. We now have a long drive back to Chicago. Somewhere in southern Illinois, we got good and bad news. Free tickets behind home plate at Wrigley Field that Monday afternoon. Score! But then to learn that one of my friends passed away. It hit me harder than I had expected, he was the type that always had a smile on his face and never seemed to have a care in the world. A tragic loss but as they say, the end of a life, is just the beginning of a new life.

@mantime8