Posts Tagged ‘Kris Bryant’

The NFL season is hallway over as Week 9 just went into the books. Schaumburg Stu and Dan the Man tied for the lead in our picks going 9-4 for the week. Mr. Fantasy and I also tied, but we where a game behind at 8-5. Overall Schaumburg Stu is in the lead at 74-46. Dan the Man is in 2nd pace with a record of 70-50. Mr. Fantasy and I are even toed overall at 64-56. Here’s hoping things go well in Week 10 starting tomorrow night when the Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns.

Since we are at the halfway point of the NFL season let’s look and see who’s been a fantasy find and who’s been a bust for your team. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was ranked 122nd at draft time. Ryan is the highest scoring quarterback in my league and would’ve been a steal for whoever got him. On the other side Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was the 36th ranked player at draft time. Wilson has been banged up most of the season and it’s shown in his drop to 115th overall in the current fantasy rankings. Melvin Gordon of the San Diego Chargers was ranked a #60 going into the draft. Gordon is the top running back heading into week 10. Another running back who’s back at the top of the board is DeMarco Murray of the Tennessee Titans. Murray was ranked 44th coming into the draft and he’s just 11 fantasy points behind Gordon for the top running back spot. I don’t ever hold injuries against players; so it took me a while to find an under performing running back. I finally came across Ryan Matthews of the Philadelphia Eagles. Matthews was ranked 59th overall going into the draft. Going into Week 10 Matthews is ranked 102nd. A couple of wide receivers who’ve played well are Terrelle Pryor Sr. of the Cleveland Browns. Pryor Sr. was ranked at #95 going into the draft. Heading into Week 10 Pryor Sr. is 8th ranked wide receiver and 39th overall. Rookie Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints was at #119 going into the draft. Thomas is now ranked 48th overall and 11th among wide receivers. Wide Receiver has turned into the marquee position in fantasy football and a lot of owners took DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans in the 1st round. It’s understandable because Hopkins was ranked 7th overall heading into the draft. Hopkins is now ranked 106th overall and 34th among wide receivers. At tight end let’s give a little love to Jimmy Graham of the Seattle Seahawks. It seems to have taken a season for Graham to find his role in the Seahawks offense. That showed in Graham’s pre-draft ranking as he was #135. Going into Week 10 Graham is 90th overall, but is the 2nd highest scoring tight end behind only Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers. Jack Doyle of the Indianapolis Colts would’ve been quite a find for a fantasy owner at tight end. Doyle was ranked down at #213 overall going into the draft. Doyle took advantage of the injury to Dwayne Allen and has moved up to #116 overall and is the 4th highest scoring tight end this season. I own Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles in one of my leagues and let me tell you he’s a bust. Ertz was ranked #88 overall and was the 7th ranked tight end. Ertz is now ranked overall at #467 and is the 29th highest scoring tight end this season. It’s tough to draft a Defense/Special Teams because you just never know how things will go. The Carolina Panthers where projected as the 3rd best Defense/Special teams unit coming into the draft. Going into Week 10 the Panthers Defense/Special Teams unit is the 10th highest scoring this season. The Minnesota Vikings Defense/Special Teams unit was the one to have. The Vikings Defense/Special Teams unit was projected to be #8 going into the draft. As we head into Week 10 the Vikings Defense/Special Teams unit is the top scoring one in fantasy football. Kickers fall into that hit or miss category as well and I never understand why someone jumps up to take a Kicker. Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts was ranked #4 going into the draft, but is the top scoring fantasy Kicker this season. Matt Bryant of the Atlanta Falcons was ranked #3 going into the draft and is just 1 point behind Vinatieri. Roberto Aguayo was the lowest ranked Kicker coming into the draft and he’s stayed there this season. The only Kickers Aguayo has outscored are Robbie Gould; who’s only played two games with the New York Giants and Patrick Murray who was cut by the Cleveland Browns early in the season.

Major League Baseball announced there nominees for the various post season awards, Here’s who was nominated for what award.

NL MVP: Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals and Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

AL MVP: Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox.

NL Cy Young: Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago, Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals.

AL Cy Young: Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals.

AL Rookie of the Year: Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees, Tyler Naquin of the Cleveland Indians and Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers.

NL Manager of the Year: Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals, Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs.

AL Manager of the Year: Jeff Bannister of the Texas Rangers, Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles and Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians.

I’m sure there where names you expected to be on this list as I did that didn’t make it. It doesn’t appear they looked very hard in the National League as there are 4 Cubs, 4 Dodgers and 4 Nationals nominated. At least the American League nominees are a little spread out. There are 3 Indians, 2 Tigers, 2 Red Sox and 1 nominees each from the Astros, Orioles, Rangers, Yankees and Angels. Feel free to put your winners in the comments and we’ll see how you do against who they pick.

I have Bryant as NL MVP, Betts as AL MVP, Lester as NL Cy Young, Porcello as AL Cy Young, Seager as NL Rookie, Sanchez as AL Rookie, Roberts as NL Manager and Francona as AL manager.

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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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Wrapping up their trip to Oak Town, Kyle Hemdricks gets the nod trying to grab his 11th win of the season.  He’s taking on A’s 24 year old Valparaiso, IN native, Sean Manaea who’s looking for his fourth win of the season.

Manaea would give up a singe I’m the first to Kris Bryant but ends up picking him to end the first inning.  The second inning would see Ben Zobrist doubling and Jorge Soler singling but no runs score.  The third inning would see Matt Szczur doubling and Dexter Fowler and Bryant walking to load the bases.  Zo would ground into a double play to end the inning.  Manaea would retire six straight to make it through five unscathed.

Through five innings Hendricks gives up a single in the first and second but then retires the next nine batters straight.  Bryant leads off the top of the sixth with his 27th home run of the season for the first run of the game.  Kyle retires his 12th straight batter in the bottom of the sixth.

Jorge Soler leads off the seventh with his seventh home run of the season.  This prompts A’s skipper to make a call to the pen and bring in Ryan Dull.  He gets the first out but gives up a single to Javier Baez who does get caught stealing.  Szczur singles on a close play but is challenges and over turned to end the top of the seventh.  Kyle adds three more to the list after not allowing a hit since the second inning.  

The A’s decide to bring in Andrew Triggs for the eighth to see Dexter Fowler who leads off with a single.  Kris Bryant reaches first on a walk promoting another pitching change.  Marc Rzepczynski enters the game to try prevent the Cubs from adding to the board but he gives up an RBI double to Anthony Rizzo.  Ben Zobrist grabs an intentional walk to load the bases and Liam Hendriks is brought in to strike out Addison Russell, then  Jorge Soler.  Wilson Contreras grounds out to end the inning.  

Marcus Siemen takes Kyle out of the game after 100 pitches as he hits a one out solo home run.  Kyle gets a standing Ovation from all the Cubs fans in attendance as Pedro Strop enters the game to end the eighth.  

Chris Smith, first star since 2010 enters the game to hold the Cubs from adding to the board.  He gets the first out but Szczur lays down a bunt for a hit.  Fowler gets called on strikes.  Kris Bryant gets into a full count, takes the next three pitches foul but flys out to end the inning.  Aroldis Chapman to enter the game for the save opportunity.  He gets the first two batters to ground out. Stephen Vogt steps into the box and takes would be strike three to left for a single.  Khris Davis gets called out a 104 mph fast ball for the save.  

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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I, what most NBA experts saw as a surprise, saw Russell Westbrook sign a 3-year contract extension to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Most if not all of the experts that cover the NBA expected Westbrrok to follow Kevin Durant out of Oklahoma City when his contract expired after the 2016-17 season. Even though Westbrook has a new deal there’s no guarantee that he’ll be with Oklahoma City long term. Westbrook’s new contract replaces the final year of the deal he was under. He’s also signed for the 2017-18 season and has a player option for the 2018-19 season. We see a lot of these player options in contracts now because of the escalating salary cap number. With the new contract Westbrrok gets a raise for the 2016-17 season. He was originally due to make $17,769.374 for this coming season, but under his new contract that salary jumps to $26.5 million. That will also be Westbrook’s salary for the 2017-18 season and it would also be that for the 2018-19 season if he doesn’t opt out of the contract.

Westbrook played in and started 80 games for the Thunder last season. He averages 34.4 minutes per game. He averaged 23.5 points per game, 10.4 assists per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. On average he took 18.1 shots per game, but with Durant now wearing a Golden State Warriors uniform look for that number to go up. Westbrook is a 5-time All-Star and has finished in the Top 12 of the league’s MVP voting in four of the last five seasons. With Durant gone  Oklahoma City is clearly Westbrook’s team and I expect him to take full advantage of that.  Westbrook is a triple-double waiting to happen and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him win the league MVP award in one of both of these next two seasons he’ll be under contract to the Thunder. RW’s Career Page

Oklahoma City is going to have a different look this season than in the past. Not only is Durant gone, but the Thunder traded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis on draft night. Besides getting the #11 pick Sabonis in a trade with the Magic the Thunder also made a deal with the Denver Nuggets to acquire Daniel Hamilton the 56th pick in the draft. Oklahoma City was 55-27 and the 3rd seed in the Western Conference playoffs under 1st year coach Billy Donovan. The Thunder made it all the way to the Western Conference finals where they lost to Golden State in 7 games. Even in the tough Western Conference; the lost of Durant and the trading of Ibaka the Thunder should still be a playoff team. Can they get to the conference finals again? and if they did could they find a way to get past Golden State and into the NBA Finals?

New York Yankees 1st baseman Mark Teixeira announced this week that he’ll be retiring after the 2016 season. Teixeira is 36 years old and is in his 14th major league season. He currently has 404 career home runs and is one of just five switch hitters with 400 or more career home runs. Teixeira is a 3-time All-Star and a 5-time Gold Glove winner. His best season may have been his first one with the Yankees. He hit .292 while leading the league in home runs with 39 and RBI’s with 122. He finished 2nd in the MVP voting that season to Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins. Teixeira was the 5th overall pick of the 2001 draft by the Texas Rangers. He made his major league debut April 1st of the 2003 season. Injuries have really taken it’s toll on Teixeira the last 5 seasons. He hasn’t played in more than 123 games in any of those seasons and only played 15 games in 2013 due to injury. Besides the 404 career home runs Teixeira is a career .269 hitter and has driven in 1281 runs over his 14 seasons. Tex career stats While I don’t think Teixeira has the career numbers to get into the Hall of Fame he has been with the Yankees for 8 seasons and that can help a player in the voting.

Has anyone broken out as the National League MVP to you? Before Clayton Kershaw got injured it seemed as tough he was the front runner for the award even though he’s a pitcher and it’s a cop out to vote that way. There are some contenders, but I don’t think anyone has separated themselves from the field as of yet. Daniel Murphy is having a great season for the 1st place Washington Nationals. Murphy is leading the NL with a .356 average along with 21 home runs and 81 RBI’s. With Bryce Harper having what is considered a down year Murphy has been a huge piece for the Nationals. What about Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies? Gonzalez has good numbers this season with 23 home runs, 75 RBI’s and is hitting 320. Will there be questions about his numbers because he plays in Colorado. What may hurt Gonzalez more than anything is that it doesn’t look like the Rockies will be a playoff team. Colorado is 8 games out of the NL West lead and trail by 4 games in the wild card race. It may seem odd to talk about the standings when your looking at the MVP race, but they actual matter to the people who vote for the award. Could Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers be a surprise candidate. Seager is the front runner for NL Rookie of the Year, but with his .303 batting average, 19 home runs and 51 RBI’s could MVP also be included. Seager also plays shortstop and he plays shortstop for the Dodgers. With the injury to Kershaw and some of the other issues the Dodgers have dealt with Seager may get some consideration for MVP. Don’t forget Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Someone on the Cubs is going to get MVP votes with the year the team is having and Bryant may be the guy. He’s currently 2nd in the NL with 26 home runs; just one behind the league lead. He has also driven in 68 runs and is hitting .284 this season. It should also be taken into consideration that Bryant has played multiple position for the best team in the NL. Bryant has played most of his games at 3rd (68 games), but has played the outfield in 57 games. He has also played 5 games at 1st base; he DH’d in 1 game and even played an inning at shortstop this season. With Kershaw out of the running for this award could the cowards that can’t make a decision on an everyday player run and hide behind another pitcher. Is there a chance they turn to another Nationls player and get behind Steven Strasburg. Strasburg is 15-1 with an ERA of 2.63 in 20 starts this season. He’s struck out 161 batters this season while walking 38 guys. He has given up 13 home runs and teams are hitting .194 against him this season. Are one of these five players the NL MVP? or is these someone else out there? If you had a ballot; who do you have a top of it?

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On Monday Tim Duncan retired from the NBA after 19 seasons. Now after a career like Duncan’s you might expect a little fanfare to announce his retirement. There was no gigantic goodbye press conference called. There was no cool Instagram video posted. There was no picture on Twitter making the announcement. As a matter of fact I don;t think social media was involved in making the announcement at all. So how did Duncan go out; the San Antonio Spurs out out a simple press release announcing his retirement. It’s almost the way you’d expect Duncan to go out. While Duncan wasn’t looking for the spotlight as he was retiring and didn’t seem interested on having one more retirement type season, but after the career he had if he would’ve wanted that who could’ve blamed him.

San Antonio selected Duncan with the #1 pick in the 1997 draft. Duncan entered the NBA after winning 3 player of the year awards in college. He was named AP Player of the Year, Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year and he also won the John R. Wooden Award. Duncan then went on to win the 1997-98 NBA Rookie of the Year award. That was just the start of the awards that Duncan would win throughout his career. He won 5 NBA Championships with the Spurs and was named Finals MVP. 3 times. He won 2 NBA MVP. awards and he did it in back to back seasons; 2001-02 and 2002-03. Besides winning the MVP twice Duncan finished in the Top 5 of the voting 9 other times. Duncan also made 15 All-Star teams and was named MVP of the 1999-00 game. Duncan played in 1392 games; he averaged 19.0 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game while playing an average of 34 minutes a game. Duncan should go down as one of the best to every play the game and I’ve even heard some experts mention he should be in the Top 5 all-time. One of the things I found more interesting about Duncan’s 19 year career was the fact that he played all 19 of those seasons with one team and he had the same head coach Gregg Popovich for all 19 of those seasons. By comparison Kobe Bryant just wrapped up a 20 year NBA career that saw him play for 10 different head coaches. That begs the question; will we ever see a player with this long of a career play for just one head coach?

Now there is no better All-Star game than the Major League Baseball All-Star game. It’s far and away the closet to the actual game that is played during the regular season. While the National Hockey League did improve their game last season and it was a lot more watchable than it had been. Of course it is a three on three game and it’s different than what they do in the regular season. The National Football League Pro-Bowl is a huge joke. In a way it’s almost understandable. Football is a very physical game and the last thing a team or even a fan base needs is for it’s Pro-Bowl player to get injured going all out in an All-Star game. The biggest joke out of all the All-Star games has to be the fiasco the National Basketball Association puts on. There is absolutely no defense played and you have to believe sooner or later we’re going to see an NBA All-Star team score 200 points in the game. Baseball is so different because it’s difficult to fake. In the other All-Star games you can make it look like you’re trying without really trying. In baseball though there’s still a pitcher on the mound and unless he’s willing to serve one up t the hitter and make himself look bad he’s going to pitch to that batter like it’s a regular game. Ever now and then you get a blowout in the MLB All-Star game, but the majority of the time you get a close well played game like last nights.

Tuesday on the Sports Time Radio podcast Dan the Man selected the National League  to win the All-Star game. Of course we know by now that he was on the wrong side of that pick as the American League  picked up a 4-2 victory to claim home field advantage in the World Series. What I still don’t know and I haven’t been able to find out is; why was the NL the visitors? I thought for sure with the game being played at Petco Park in San Diego that the NL would be the home team. I’ll have to do a little more research and try to figure it out. Now the NL got off t a quick start as Kris Bryant hit a solo home run in the Top of the 1st off of Chris Sale to give the NL a quick 1-0 lead. The A.L. turned it around in the bottom of the 2nd inning getting a solo home run by Eric Hosmer to tie the score and then a two-run home run by Salvador Perez put the AL up 3-1 and it turned out to be a lead they would relinquish. Hosmer and Perez both hit their home runs off of their former teammate Johnny Cueto. The AL added a run in the Bottom of the 3rd inning. David Ortiz drew a walk and then Edwin Encarnacion came into to run for him and allow Ortiz to walk off the field to a big crowd reaction in his last All-Star game. Xander Bogaerts doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for the AL It was Hosmer again who came through for the AL with a single to left field off of Jose Fernandez to bring Encarnacion home and put the AL up 4-1. The NL did get a run back in the Top of the 4th inning. Buster Posey drew a one out walk. Anthony Rizzo singled moving Posey to 3rd base. Marcel Ozuna singled to center off of Aaron Sanchez to drive in Posey and cut the AL lead to 4-2. The NL got 10 hits in the game with Daniel Murphy being the only guy with 2 hits. The AL got 8 hits in the game with Hosmer and Jackie Bradley Jr. each getting 2 hits. The AL used 10 pitchers in the game with Corey Kluber getting the win and Zach Britton picking up a save. The NL used 9 pitchers in the game with Cueto being the pitcher who took the loss. Hosmer was voted the games MVP.

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The Cubs took the previous game and hope to rake game two from the Reds to break thier recent skid.  John Lackey looking to get win number 10 of the season against John Lamb hoping to get his second win. 

Lester gets immediate help with Ben Zobrist starting the game off with his 10th home run of the season.  After that Lamb would keep the Cubs bats quiet adding a couple base runners but no runs until the 5th when Matt Szczur would lead off with a double and helping his cause, Lester drives him in on a single to center.  Cubs up by 2.  

Lester would put together a great performance through 7 innings giving up 1 hit, walking 1 and hitting 1 but with one out in the bottom of the 8th, he give Billy Hamilton his 3rd home run of the year.  Cubs 2, Reds 1.  

Hector Rendon replaced Lester in the bottom of the 8th for 1 out and stays in for the 9th and he starts it off well with an out but hits Brandon Phillips and gives up a single to Jay Bruce.  He gets the second out but gives up another single to Eugenio Suarez who brings in Phillips to tie the game.  

We head to extra innings!  Fast forward to the 15th, J.J. Hoover in for the Reds, walks Zo who moves to third on Jason Heyward’s single to right.  Kris Bryant drives him in on his single to left.  The Reds decide to put Rizzo on to load the bases for pinch hitter Jason Hammel, who forces out Heyward at home but makes it to first.  With two outs and bases loaded Javier Baez, gets into a pitcher’s count but takes Hoover deep to straight away center for a grand slam to put the Cubs up 7-2.  Hoover gets out of the inning but is on the hook for the loss.  

After Rondon is credited with a blown save, the Cubs would use Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards, Jr, Trevor Cahill, Joel Peralta, Spencer Patton and Travis Wood through 15 who combine for 9 K’s and 3 hits but no walks with only Trevor and Travis giving up hits.  The bullpen holds it together and Spencer gets his first W as a Cub.   

Late night just means early day tomorrow for the Cubs and Reds, it shouldn’t affect them because we’re looking for the sweep!

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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The Cubs/Pirates series would see another main event this time on the mothership AKA ESPN.  James Taillon would be taking on Kyle Hendricks who would have a quick first inning.   Chris Coughlan would be replacing Dexter Fowler leading off with a walk and moved to third on Heyward’s single.  Bryant would strike out but Rizzo would send a soft liner to short scoring Chris.  But Taillon would get out of the inning.  Cubs up by 1.  

In the top of the second, Kyle would give two singles but would get out of the inning. In the bottom half with one out, Javier Baez would send a fly ball to left for his sixth home run of the season.  The inning would end but the Cubs would put themselves up by 2.  The Pirates would get a hit in the top of the third by Kyle would strike out 2.  

Taillon would start the bottom of the third with back to back home runs to Bryant and Rizzo to put the Cubs up by 4.  Zobrist would flyout.  Miguel Montero would reach on a soft grounder to second and then steals second but gets thrown out trying to score on Baez’s single to right.  

After striking out the first two batters, Josh Harrison would send a long fly ball to center for his third home run of the season but Kyle would get out of the inning but he’d strike out to start the bottom half of the inning and the Cubs wouldn’t add to the board.  The Cubs 4, Pirates 1.  

Kyle would give up a two out single and gives up a two out double to Gregory Polanco but strikes out McCutchen to end the inning.  A.J. Schugel enters the fifth to get the Pirates second 1-2-3 inning.  Kyle would start off the top of the 6th getting the first out but would give up a single to Jung Ho Kang and Jody Mercer would reach on an error but Kyle would get out of the inning without putting the Pirates closer in range.  A.J. would stay in the bottom of the sixth getting the first two outs but Javier Baez would single to third and would score on new comer Wilson Contreras’s pinch hit two run home run.  Cubs are up 6-1.  

Justin Grimm enters the seventh to get the first out to be replaced by Clayton Richard putting Matt Joyce with a single and walks Palonco.  Adam Warren would come in to get McCutchen to force out Polanco at second.  With two outs, Starling Marte would triple to left scoring Joyce and McCutchen.  Jung Ho Park would send a soft grounder to Baez who bare hands it but pulls Rizzo off first scoring Marte but Harrison would ground out to end the inning.  Curtis Partch enters the game for the Bucs giving up a single to Heyward and walking Bryant.  Rizzo would single to center scoring Heyward.  Jorge Rendon would enter the game putting Zobrist on by fielders choice scoring Bryant.  Montero would get two outs by grounding into a double play.  Russel would blast his sixth home run to left center.  After 7 it’s Cubs  10 Pirates 4.  

The 8th inning would only see Heyward grabbing a single in the bottom half but neither team would score.  Adam Warren stays in the game for the top of the ninth giving up a leadoff double to David Freese who makes it to third on Polanco’s ground out to Rizzo and then scores on McCutchen’s soft ground ball to short stop.  Marte hits one in the hole reaching first and that would bring Maddon to the mound for the swap.  Pedro Strop enters the game to get a force out and strikes out Harrison to end the game. 

Kyle Hendricks would go 6 innings giving up 7 hits and 1 earned run with 12 strikeouts.  Great putting for Kyle and Cubs would sweep the Pirates on this home stand.  

@DanZeeeMan

Game 4 of the Dodgers/Cubs series puts Dodger prospect Julio Urias versus Kyle Hendricks.  Kyle starts it off with a 1-2-3 inning but gave up a leadoff single to Chase Utley who was forced out on Corey Seagers double play.  Julio copies almost identically but lured Kris Bryant into the inning ended double play.  Top of the second would be perfect for Kyle. 

Rizzo would lead off the second with a base on balls and would move over to second on Jorge Soler’s single to second.  Russell strikes out but Javier Baez sends a soft line drive to center scoring Rizzo.  Soler would end up at third on a fielding error.  Miguel Montero would ground out to second but would get credited with an RBI scoring Soler. That would be all for the Cubs, 2-0. 

Hendricks would lead off the third by hitting Carl Crawford but would get the next three batters out.  Jason Heyward would get a single in the bottom half but that would be all the Cubs action.  Kyle gets a ground out on Seager, walks Justin Turner but ends the inning getting Adrian Gonzalez to ground into a double play.  

Jorge Soler leads off with a single in the bottom of the fourth, Russell lines out but Baez drives him in with a home run to left field.  Cubs up 4-0. 

Kyle starts the 5th with a strike out but gives up a 1 out solo home run to Trace Thompson.  But he does get out of the inning.  Julio gets the first out in the bottom half but gives up back to back solo home runs to Heyward and Bryant.  Cubs up 6-1.  

Enrique Hernandez leads off with single and advances on Utley’s ground out.  Seager sends a fly ball to Soler scoring Hernandez as a sac fly.  Chris Hatcher comes into replace Urias and walks Russell but gets the next three batters out.  Cubs up 6-2.  

Hendricks and Hatcher both have perfect seventh innings but Hatcher strikes out all three batters.  Hendricks continues his perfect inning streak into the eighth.  J.P. Howell enters the bottom half giving up a leadoff home run to Anthony Rizzo for his 12th of the year.  Louis Coleman replaces J.P. giving up a single to Matt Szczur but gets both Russell and Baez out.  Montero walks.  With two men on and two outs, Maddon pinch hits for Kyle with Tommy La Stella who K’s to end the inning.  Cubs up 7-2.  

Travis Wood comes into the ninth for Hendricks getting Utley to ground out but walks Corey Seager.  However, Justin Turner ends the game with a double play Baez to Rizzo.  Cubs win 7-2 and takes the series!  

Kyle went 8 innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits with 1 walk.  He did strike out 6 batters.  

@DanZeeeMan
The Podcast

Game 3 of the four game home stand against the Dodogers.  Jon Lester takes on Mike Bolsinger.  It would start off pretty rough for Lester giving up a leadoff home run to Enrique Hernandez.  He’d get Justin Turner to strikeout but would give up a single to Corey Seagar.  That would be all the action in the first as he’d get the next two batters to ground out.  Bolsinger would put Dexter Fowler on by hitting him and then adding Jason Heyward to first with a walk.   

Lester’s second inning would be a turkey, striking out all three batters.  Mike would get the first out but hits Javier Baez who snags his third stolen base of the season.   Lester would have another perfect inning in the top of the third.  

Fowler would lead off the bottom half of the third with his second walk of the day.  With one out, Fowler would score on Kris Bryant’s 12th home run of the season.  That would be all the scoring in the bottom half of the third for the Cubs.  Lester would continue his perfect inning streak but with two outs gives up a double to Trace Thompson who wouldn’t score as Lester gets Joc Pederson to ground out.  Bolsinger would score his first perfect inning of the game.  A J Ellis would see the only hit as a single in the fifth.  

Lester would continue to contain the Dodgers in the sixth as Dave Roberts brings in Pedro Baez to keep the Cubs at bay.  Neither men would allow a batter in the seventh.  Lester comes back out for the eighth inning continuing to shut down the Dodgers.  Casey Fien would replace Baez and give up a two out single to Heyward but wouldn’t give up any insurance runs for the Cubs.  

Lester comes back out for the ninth getting the first two batters out.  Howie Kendrick with a pitchers count, 1-2 swings for the fences on a high fast ball only to go down swinging giving Jon his 13th complete game of his career.  

Jon goes nine innings giving up only 1 run, 4 hits.  He would not give up a walk but strikes out 10 batters.   This gives the bullpen son much needed rest but it also shows that Lester still has it.  It’s June and the Cubs are still at the top.  Octobers right around the corner! 

@DanZeeeMan
The Podcast

Jake Arreita comes into this game trying to preserve his lossless record and the boys “Trying not to Suck” would help him tremendously against left hander Brandon Finnegan.  Dexter Fowler would lead off the game continuing his hot streak with a double. Heyward would would strikeout but Kris Bryant would send a line drive to left knocking in his third home run of the season.  Finnegan would get through the first but would give up a lead off home run to Ben Zobrist. David Ross and Jake Arrieta would single but Ross would score on a force out by Fowler. The second inning would end with the Cubs up 4-0.

In the fourth, David Ross would walk and reach third on an Arrieta single up the middle.  The throw to third would be backed up by Finnegan but his wild throw to first trying to catch Arrieta would score Ross putting the Cubs up 5-0.

David Ross would lead off the top of the sixth with a line drive to right field for his first homer of the season.  Fowler would reach on a walk and move over to second on a single by Kris Bryant.  Anthony Rizzo would step to the plate belting his fifth home run of the season!  Reds pitcher Tim Melville would end up making it through the sixth but not with out giving up four runs, putting the Cubs up 9-0.

Drew Hayes would come into the seventh getting Ross to ground out but he’d end walking Arrieta.  Fowler would single, then Heyward would walk ,setting up Kris Bryant with the bases loaded.  He would do exactly what every Cubs fan wanted… Grand Slam to right field or as the MLB would refer to it this season, “Papa Slam!” Tyler Holt would come into the eighth getting the only 1-2-3 inning for the Reds.  Blake Wood started off the ninth with two groundouts to Jake & Dexter but would give up singles to Heyward & Bryant.  Rizzo would reach first on a pass ball, dropped third strike.  Matt Szczur would come into the ninth and send a line drive to right scoring Jason Heyward.  Zobrist would smack his fourth double of the season, scoring both Bryant and Rizzo!  Russell would end the inning and be the only one to go hitless.

Saving the best for last, Jake Arrieta would walk Jay Bruce in the second, Eugenio Suarez in the fourth, Scott Schebler in the sixth and to lead off the ninth.  On his 119 pitch he would get Suarez to pop up to second base, throwing his second no hitter in 11 months!

According to Jake it was “Business as usual!”

@DanZeeeMan