Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’

During the regular season the Chicago Cubs tied for 14th in baseball with a batting average of .256. They finished 13th in home runs with 199. They struck out the 9th most in baseball with 1339 strikeouts, but they led baseball in walks with 656.

In the post season combined the Cubs are hitting .185; that’s 8th out of the 10 teams that made the playoffs. The New York Mets are 9th at .133 and the Baltimore Orioles are 10th at .100. Of course the Mets and the Orioles only had 1 post season game to put up their numbers. The Cubs have had 7 post season games. The Cubs have 7 post season home runs. That’s the lowest number of the 4 teams still playing. They’ve struck out 63 times in the post season which is 3rd out of the 4 teams still playing. Only the Cleveland Indians have struck out less than the Cubs. They’ve walked 17 times which is 3rd again they are ahead of the Cleveland Indians out of the teams still in the post season.

You can see how things have really went down in the playoffs. Now the Cubs are facing better pitching in every game than they would in the regular season. There’s a reason why people say “Good pitching beats good hitting”. Now after putting up 8 runs in Game 1 it looked as though the Cubs might be out of there slump. 7 innings of Clayton Kershaw and 2 innings of Kenley Jansen put the Cubs bats right back into a slump as they combined to shut them out and even the series at 1 game apiece. In Game 3 last night the Cubs failed to score again. This time it was 6 innings of Rich Hill, an innings of Joe Blanton, 2/3rd of an inning from Grant Dayton and an inning and 1/3 from Jansen that did the job as the Dodgers took the game 6-0.

We’re moving on to Game 4 tonight and the Cubs are turning to veteran John Lackey to try and even the series at 2 games apiece. Lackey was 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA during the season. Lackey lasted 4 innings and gave up 3 runs while getting a no decision in his NLDS series start. The Dodgers are going with 20-year old rookie Julio Urias as their Game 4 starter. Urias was 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in the regular season. Urias has not made a post season start, but did come in in relief and threw 2 scoreless innings. Is it a must win for the Cubs tonight? If they where to lose Game 4 tonight would they see Kershaw as the Game 5 starter in Dodgers stadium to try and close out the series.

The Toronto Blue Jays got there first win in Game 4 of the ALCS 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians. Aaron Sanchez went 6 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna all pitched an inning after Sanchez. None of them allowed a run while Cecil and Osuna each struck out 2 batters. Corey Kluber made the start for the Indians. He lasted 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7. Dan Otero worked a scoreless inning out of the Cleveland bullpen, but Bryan Shaw really struggled. Shaw pitched just 1/3rd of an inning and gave up 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned and walked 1. Mike Clevinger followed Shaw and gave up 1 run on 1 hit while walking 1 and striking out 1 over an 1 2/3rd.

Josh Donaldson provided some power for the Blue Jays going 1 for 3 with a solo home run. Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 4 and drove in 2 runs. Ezequiel Carrera had 2 hits; one being a triple and drove in a run. Kevin Pillar had the other RBI for the Blue Jays. The Indians only had two hits in the game and they where both doubles. Tyler Naquin had one and Roberto Perez had the other with Perez’s double driving in the Indians run.

Marco Estrada comes back to start Game 5 for the Blue Jays. Estrada pitched a complete game in Game 1, but took the loss. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits over 8 innings in Game 1. The Indians are going with Ryan Merritt as their Game 5 starter. Merritt has one career start and 11 career innings all this past season. Can the Blue Jays even the series? Or will there season be over after Game 5.

Mr. Fantasy had a very good Week 6 in our pick contest going 12-3 to take the win for the week, Schaumburg Stu and I tied at 9-6 while Dan the Man was a game behind us at 8-7. Overall for the season Schaumburg Stu is still in the lead at 56-36. Dan the Man is in 2nd with a record of 52-40. Then it’s Mr. Fantasy and I tied at 48-44 on the season. We’ll see if someone has a big Week 7.

It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be without there starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for to 6 weeks. Roethlisberger had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Steelers where informed of the timetable by Dr. James Bradley who performed Roethlisberger’s surgery on Monday. Pittsburgh was hoping to have Roethlisberger back by Week 9, but it looks like it’s going to be a little longer before he can return. Roethlisberger has thrown 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while totaling 1685 yards while completing 64.2% of his passes. The Steelers are 4-2 and if it’s just 4 weeks that Roethlisberger misses he’ll miss this week’s games at home against the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh’s bye week is Week 8. Then there’s a road game against the Baltimore Ravens and then a home game against the Dallas Cowboys. If it’s 6 weeks Roethlisberger is going to  miss you can add road games against the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. The 1st place Steelers turn to Landry Jones as their starter. Jones is 1-1 in 2 career starts, but has played in 11 career games. Jones has 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his career and completes 57.1% of his passes. Can the Steelers hold on to 1st place while “Big” Ben is out? If he misses 6 weeks or 5 games; what will the Steelers record be in the game Roethlisberger misses?

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The Cleveland Indians took Game 1 of the ALCS 2-0 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. Corey Kluber showed why he was a Cy Young candidate pitching 6 1/3rd innings of shutout baseball against a very good hitting Blue Jays line up. After Kluber the Indians went to their bullpen; first to Andrew Miller to hold the game for and 1 1/3rd innings and to closer Cody Allen for a 1 inning save and a 1-0 lead in the series. Kluber gave up 6 hits and walked 2 while striking out 6 batters. Kluber’s pitch total piled up as he reached 100 pitches over his 6 1/3rd innings. Miller did give up a hit, but struck out 5 while Allen struck out 1 batters in his inning of work.

The Blue Jays got very good pitching out of Marco Estrada, but just couldn’t give him any runs to work with. Estrada saved the Blue Jays bullpen pitching an 8 inning complete game. Estrada gave up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6. A 2-run home run by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor  in the bottom of the 6th inning was the only real mistake Estrada made. Estrada was able to get through the game on just 101 pitches.

The Indians got 6 hits in the game and 3 of them where by Lonnie Chisenhall. Interestingly Chisenhall got his 3 hits while seeing just 4 pitches. Lindor was 2 for 3 with a run scored and 2 RBI’s. Carlos Santana had the other Indians hit while Jason Kipnis scored the other run after he walked in front of the Lindor home run.

The Blue Jays got 7 hits in the game with 2 Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders each getting 2 hits a piece. One of Encarnacion’s hits was a double. Troy Tulowitzki had the other hit for Toronto. The Blue Jays may be dealing with an injury as 2nd baseman Devon Travis left the game in the bottom of the 5th inning with what was being called a right knee injury.

The teams turn right around for Game 2 this afternoon. Toronto is sending 20-game winner J.A. Happ to the mound to try to even the series while the Indians are going with Josh Tomlin as their Game 2 starter. Originally Trevor Bauer was going to get the Game 2 start for Cleveland, but he cut the pinky on his throwing finger and needed stitches. Because of the injury Bauer has been moved back to Game 3.

The NLCS gets started tonight with the Chicago Cubs hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a must win situation in Game 5 of the NLDS the Dodgers pulled out all the stops. Closer Kenley Jansen pitched 2 1/3rd innings in the game while throwing 51 pitches; so there’s a good chance he won’t be available for a closing situation tonight. Then after making a start on 3-days rest Clayton Kershaw came in to get the save in Game 5. Kershaw did only throw 7 pitches in the game, but he had to warm up and again he was coming off a start he had made on 3-days rest. So taking this all into consideration the Cubs should have a big advantage in Game 1 and maybe even in the series. The Dodgers are going with Kenta Maeda as their Game 1 starter. Maeda took the loss in Game 3 of the NLDS. He lasted just 3 innings and gave up 4 runs. The Cubs in contrast where able to set up their starting rotation and will go with Jon Lester in Game 1. Lester threw 8 shutout innings while picking up the win in Game 1 of the NLDS. There was some talk yesterday that Kershaw will try to come back for Game 2, but that it would be for just 5 or 6 innings. While the Dodgers are scrambling the Cubs are set. They know that it’s Kyle Hendricks in Game 2, Jake Arrieta in Game 3 and John Lackey in Game 4. Not only is the rotation set, but the Cubs will have a full bullpen to use if needed. That has to be a big plus for the Cubs coming into this series.

Now both teams have some hitters they’d like to see get going in this series. While Corey Seager did hit 2 home runs in the series against Washington his average was just .130. Adrian Gonzalez homered in the NLDS as well, but his average was just .200. Chase Utley at .188 and Yasmani Grandal at .125 are two other players the Dodgers would like to see start hitting. On the Cubs side both Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell where 1 for 15 (.067) in the NLDS series. Jason Heyward’s hitting struggles continued into the first round of the playoffs as he hit .083 in the NLDS. Dexter Fowler at .133 and Ben Zobrist at .188 are two other guys the Cubs would like to see get going in this series against the Dodgers. Both teams where able to advance with these hitters struggling, but it could make things so much easier for them of a few or even better all of them could get on some type of hot streak even for a game or two.

We had our fantasy hockey draft last Saturday night and I was pretty happy with the way my team came out. Then the injury bug hit me right before the season started and then into the first couple of games. I grabbed defenseman Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins late in our draft. It’s a category league and he is a solid plus minus guy though his career. Miller broke his ankle right before the season started and needed surgery on it. Miller is scheduled to be out 6 to 8 weeks. Then the season started and Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres went crashing into the boards in their first game of the season and cracked 3 ribs. There’s no real timetable for Kane’s return as Sabres head coach was quoted as saying “It’s weeks, depending on the severity, and in the oblique area it’s something you’re going to deal with even when you come back with the rotation and the discomfort.” Then believe it or not I picked up one more injury. In the first game of his season Bryan Little of the Winnipeg Jets collided with Bryan Bickel of the Carolina Hurricanes and got hurt. Little has a Lower Body Injury and is expected to be out an indefinite period of time. Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said “We’ll have a better idea of just how long in a couple weeks.” So it’s going to be weeks before they even know how long Little will be out. Hopefully your fantasy hockey season didn’t get off to the same type of start mine did. Looks like I need to get on the waiver wire.

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The division series have started in the MLB playoffs. The National League has one game under it’s belt while the American League teams have played two and are on a travel day today.

We’re going to work backwards here as the last game of the day was the best game of the day. The Chicago Cubs got past the San Francisco Giants in a pitchers duel 1-0. Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto both showed why they are Cy Young Award contenders as they pitched shut out baseball for 8 innings. Cueto was great pitching 8 innings giving up 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 10 and not walking anyone. They one mistake Cueto made was giving up a solo home run to Javier Baez in the bottom of the 8th inning for the only run of the game. Lester was on his game as well as he pitched 8 innings giving up 5 hits and striking out 5 while not allowing a walk or a run. Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th and get the save. Game 2 is today 7:00 p.m. CST as Kyle Hendricks and Jeff Samardzjia are the starting pitchers as the Cubs look to go up 2-0 in the series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the first game of their division series 4-3 over the Washington Nationals. All the scoring in this game happened pretty early. The Dodgers got to Max Scherzer for 4 runs in the first 3 innings. The Nationals got back into the game putting up 3 runs on Clayton Kershaw over the first 4 innings of the game. Just as it looked like we where in for a high scoring game the runs stopped scoring. Kershaw picked up the win pitching giving up 8 hits and 3 runs while walking 1 and striking out 7. The Dodgers bullpen shut the Nationals down over the final 4 innings. Joe Blanton pitched 2/3rds of an inning walking 1. Grant Dayton also pitched 2/3rds of an inning walking 1 and striking out 1. Pedro Baez worked an inning then Kenley Jansen came in to get the save. Jensen gave up 1 hit I his inning of work. Scherzer went 6 innings for the Nationals giving up 4 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5. The Dodgers did get to Scherzer for 2 hone runs in the game. The Nationals bullpen matched the Dodgers bullpen as they didn’t allow a run either. Sammy Solis pitched 2 innings giving up 1 hit while walking1 and striking out 1. Nationals closer Mark Melancon got an inning of work in the game. Melancon gave up 2 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3 in his inning of work. Game 2 has a 3:00 p.m. scheduled start time as Rich Hill gets the start for the Dodgers and the Nationals turn to Tanner Roark to try to draw them even in the series.

In both American League series teams took 2 games to 0 leads, but I’m not sure they’re the teams the experts thought they would be. The Toronto Blue Jays went into Texas and swept the Rangers in the first two games of their division series. The Cleveland Indians held home field advantage as they won the first two games of their series against the Boston Red Sox.

The Blue Jays put up 10 runs in Game 1 of the series for a 10-1 win. Game 2 saw the Blue Jays get a little closer win at 5-3. Most if not all of the experts had the Rangers as the favorite in these first two games as they had Cole Hamels as their Game 1 starter and then Yu Darvish ready for Game 2. Hamels lasted just 3 1/3rd innings in Game 1. Hamels gave up 6 runs. walked 3 and struck out 1 in his start. Hamels was totally out pitched by Marco Estrada who went 8 1/3rd innings giving up 1 run and striking out 6 for Toronto. Darvish struggled as well pitching 5 inning giving up 5 hits and 5 runs while walking 1 and striking out 4. Darvish gave up 4 home runs in his 5 innings. 20-game winner J.A. Happ was the Game 2 starter for the Blue Jays and while he didn’t pitch great he pitched good enough to win with the support he got. Happ went 5 innings; he gave up 1 run on 9 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5. Troy Tulowitzki has been the breakout hitter in the first two games for Toronto. “Tulo” has a triple and a home run while hitting .556 with 5 RBI’s. The series heads to Toronto for Game 3 on Sunday. American League ERA leader Aaron Sanchez  (3.00) gets the start for the Blue Jays as the rangers turn to Colby Lewis to try and keep their season alive.

In a surprise the Indians used Trevor Bauer as their Game  starter. Corey Kluber has been battling an injury and was pushed back to Game 2 to give him some extra rest. With Cy Young favorite and 22-game winner Rick Porcello line up to start Game 1 the Red Sox looked like a heavy favorite. Bauer didn’t have a shut down type of outing, but he kept the Indians in the game and their bats came through. Bauer pitched 4 2/3rd innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6. Cleveland went to there bullpen set up of Andrew Miller 2 innings and the win, Bryan Shaw who gave up a run in 2/3rds of an inning and Cody Allen 1 1/3rd of an inning getting the save as they took Game 1. Porcello pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits with 3 of those hits being home runs while striking out 6. Drew Pomeranz 2 1/3rd innings, Joe Kelly 1/3rd of an inning and Koji Uehara 1 inning didn’t allow a run, but the Red Sox where unable to pull of a comeback win and the Indians took Game 1 5-4. The extra day of rest really helped Kluber, He pitched 7 innings giving up 3 hits and while he did walk 3 batters he didn’t allow a run and stuck out 7. The Red Sox countered with David Price who has had his post seasons struggles and they continued yesterday. Price lasted just 3 1/3rd innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits; one of them a home run. Price walked 2 and struck out 3 as he fell to 0-8 in his post season career. Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw each pitched a scoreless inning in Game 2 to lock down the Indians 6-0 win and a 2-0 lead in the series. The series shifts to Boston Sunday at 3:00 p.m.for a must win Game 3 for the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz will be called on to keep the Red Sox season alive at home while Josh Tomlin is the Game 3 starter for the Indians.

Admit it you didn’t have the Blue Jays or the Indians winning the first two games of their series. Now the question is will we see either the Rangers or the Red Sox be swept out of the playoffs.

Tonight is the Sports Time Radio fantasy hockey draft. It’s an auction style draft and since we’re a Chicago based league we’ll see how much some of the Blackhawks go for. I’ve had some success in fantasy hockey and while I haven’t won the league yet maybe this will be my year. I am woefully unprepared. With the baseball playoffs going on I’ve been distracted, but I have stayed up to date with the injuries; so that should help me out. The draft is at 7:15 p.m. tonight; so I have some time to still get ready. Wish me luck.

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How was your Week

Posted: September 10, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, NASCAR, sports
Tags: , , , ,

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in 1st place in the National League West. This may still come as a bit of a surprise to some people as the San Francisco Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star break. The Dodgers have capitalized on the terrible second half of a season the Giants are having and have built a 4 game lead in the division over the Giants. I think a lot of people thought the Giants would right their ship and over take the Dodgers for 1st place, but that hasn’t happened yet and with around 20 games to go it’s looking more and more like it won’t.

On Friday night the Dodgers got some much needed help for their starting as Clayton Kershaw return. Kershaw hadn’t pitched for Los Angeles since June 26th. Kershaw threw 66 pitches over 5 innings giving up 5 hits and 2 runs (both earned) while striking out 8 against the Miami Marlins. Kershaw did take the loss as the Marlins took the game 4-1, but more importantly for the Dodgers there where no after effects from Kershaw’s outing and he should be in the starting rotation for the rest of the regular season and of course the playoffs. Kershaw should make 4 starts the rest of the season with his next one being September 13th or 214th against the New York Yankees. There’s talk of the Dodgers going to a 6-man rotation down the stretch.

Kershaw return became even more important for the Dodgers as Scott Kazmir who was also close to returning from injury had a set back and has had to go back on the disabled list. The Dodgers are also waiting for Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy to return from injury. With all their injuries the Dodgers have used 15 different starting pitchers this season. Will Kershaw’s return and the acquisition of Rich Hill along with Kenta Maeda be enough to help the Dodgers make a playoff run?

After Teddy Bridgewater was injured the Minnesota Vikings season was in a bit of turmoil. Minnesota went out and traded a 2017 1st round draft choice and a conditional 2018 draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford. Minnesota kicks off it’s season on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. That meant Bradford had a little over a week to get the Vikings offense down and be able to make audible calls. Minnesota’s head coach Mike Zimmer had kept it quit on who the Vikings starter would be for Week 1. Zimmer even said yesterday he had made a decision on who would start, but wasn’t going to announce it. There are now reports out there that Shaun Hill will make the start Week 1 against Tennessee with Bradford as the #2 quarterback. During practices this week it looked like Hill would get the start. Hill took the majority of the first team snaps on Monday and Wednesday with both quarterbacks getting an equal share of snaps at Tuesday’s practice. Do to the timetable of the trade Hill getting the start shouldn’t be a big surprise. The question should be; how long will Hill be the starter? I would think that Bradford is the starter for the Week 2 Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers.

Tonight is the last night for a driver outside the Top 16 to punch his or maybe her ticket to The Chase with a win. Denny Hamlin starts on the pole tonight for the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond International Raceway. Kyle Larsen starts 2nd with Matt Kenseth 3rd. Jamie McMurray goes off 4th with Kurt Busch rounding out the Top 5. McMurray is the first driver in the starting line up who doesn’t have a win this season, but  McMurray is currently hanging on to a spot in the Top 16. Chase Elliott and Austin Dillion are the other two drivers who would qualify for The Chase on points right now. Elliott starts tonight’s race 34th while Dillion starts 8th. McMurray has a 22 point lead over 17th place Ryan Newman while Dillion is 31 points ahead of Newman and Elliott has a 39 point lead on Newman. Kasey Kahne is the 18th place driver 44 points out of The Chase and it’s looking like Kahne will need a win to get in. Kahne has won a race at Richmond before, but it was back in 2005. Could Kahne or another driver without a win on the season pick one up tonight and grab a spot in The Chase?

Kyle Busch starts the defense of his Sprint Cup title as The Chase starts September 18th at the Chicagoland Speedway with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400.

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I’m not sure how you feel about it, but I think that the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants just opened a big 3-game series yesterday in Los Angeles. The Dodgers came into Tuesday nights game with a 1 game lead in the NL West. It appeared that the Giants had the advantage in the starting pitching match up last night as San Francisco had their ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound. The Dodgers countered with NL Rookie of the Year candidate Kenta Maeda. Looking at the starting pitching match up you might think that it would be a low scoring pitchers duel to start the series. That’s not what these two teams gave everyone last night. Bumgarner gave up a run in each of the first 3 innings and only lasted 5 innings. In total Bumgarner gave up 5 runs; all earned on 9 hits. He struck out 7 while walking 1 and giving up 1 home run. Bumgarner took the loss. Maeda picked up the win, but only lasted 5 innings himself. Maeda gave up 3 runs; all earned on 6 hits while walking 4 and striking out 4. San Francisco’s bullpen had it’s issues over the final four innings as they gave up 4 runs. Corey Gearin pitched just 1/3rd of an inning, but gave up 3 hits and 2 runs; both earned while striking out 1 batter. Will Smith came in and settled things down for the Giants pitching 1 1/3rd scoreless innings striking out 2 batters. George Kontos came in to pitch a 1/3rd of an inning and while he didn’t give up a hit he did walk a batter and allowed a run to score. Javier Lopez came in to pitch the final inning and gave up 2 hits with one of them being a solo home run. Lopez did strikeout 2 and walked 1 in that inning while giving up the 1 earned run. Jesse Chavez was the first call out of the Dodgers bullpen and he had some issues. Chavez lasted just 1/3rd of an inning giving up 2 hits and 1 run. Adam Liberatore (2/3rd) and Joe Blanton (1 2/3rd)didn’t give up any hits and Blanton struck out 2 over their 2 1/3rd innings of relief to get the ball to Kenley Jansen. Jansen did pick up a four out save his 36th of the season, but not without a little trouble. He gave up 1 run on a solo home run before closing the game out. Jansen also recorded a strikeout over his 1 1/3rd innings of work.

The Dodgers took the early lead putting up a run an inning in the first three innings off Bumgarner. The Giants did get 2 back in the top of the 3rd and where able to tie it up with a run in the top of the 5th. The tie didn’t last long as the Dodgers added 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning. San Francisco got 1 run back in the top of the 6th, but Los Angeles turned right around and added 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th. The Dodgers topped off their scoring by adding 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th and while the Giants did add a run in the top of the 9th all it did was change the number of runs the Dodgers would win by. In this case it was a 9-5 victory for Los Angeles. The win improves the Dodgers record to 70-55 and gives them a 2 game division lead over the Giants who fall to 68-57 with the loss.

Corey Seager and Justin Turner both went 3 for 4 for the Dodgers. Seager scored 3 runs while Turner drove in a run. Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 while driving in 3 runs while Andrew Toles pinch hit and then stayed in the game going 2 for 2 with a home run 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. Enrique Hernandez also went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a stolen base.

Denard Span and Angel Pagan each had 2 hits for the Giants. Span was 2 for 4 with a home run an RBI and 2 runs scored while Pagan was 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Brandon Belt and Buster Posey both went 1 for 4 and each drove in a run. Joe Panik and Eduardo Nunez where both 1 for 3 and Nunez added a stolen base. Ehire Adrianza picked up a pinch hit and an RBI as well.

Johnny Cueto takes the mound for the Giants tonight. Cueto is 14-4 with an ERA of 2.90 on the season. He is also 2-0 with an ERA of 3.63 against the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers are going wit Rich Hill who was 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA for the Oakland A’s before being traded to the Dodgers. Hill spent the past month on the disabled list with blisters on his middle pitching finger; so this will be his 1st start for the Dodgers. Hill hasn’t faced the Giants since August 22nd of 2007 when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs. Hill didn’t factor in the decision, but he did pitch 7 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hist while striking out 10. There’s really not much you could learn from that outing, but I knew that Schaumburg Stu would enjoy seeing that.

There are still 37 games left in the season for the Giants; so you can’t really say that these games are must wins, but I’m sure they would like to win 2 of 3 games in this series. Again they seem to have the advantage on the mound, but can they turn that into a win tonight?

While I am still in baseball mode I am slowly trying to start getting things ready for my upcoming fantasy football drafts. I’m noticing more and more that in one order or another Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons are ranked 1, 2 and 3. I’m trying to figure out if I end up with a top 3 pick in my drafts if I would be comfortable taking one of these wide receivers with that pick. Would it be a safer pick to take what would be your top running back on the board or grab one of these receivers. Workhorse running backs are few and far between in today’s NFL and while there is a gap between these three receiver and the next one you could get would it make more sense to grab that running back. As it gets closer and closer these are the things that will have to be figured out. Of course I know exactly what will happen. I’ll decide what more I want to make and then I won;t end up with a pick anywhere near the top 3, but that’s just how things go for me.

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Heart don’t stop. No Giant leading the vote at his respective position in 2016? Is nothing sacred? With San Francisco in first place, seven games in front of Los Angeles in the NL West, shouldn’t there be at least one? Buster Posey, maybe?

The more important question is, does any serious Giants fan care?

Recent history clearly demonstrates that the Orange and Black have been disrespected since the beginning of their successful binge in the National League, back in 2010. Every single series has listed the Giants as underdogs, including all three of the World Series confrontations.
In the current MLB Power Polls, San Francisco still takes a back seat to Chicago, a team most recently swept in a three-game series by the St. Louis Cardinals. I find this interesting because the 31-9 (77.5%) record posted by the Giants over the past 40 games compares rather favorably to that of the Cubs during the same stretch: 23-17 (57.5%).

And the Cubs are still ranked first?

So now Chicago fans have stuffed the ballot boxes to get their darlings onto the All-Star squad, and Giants fans are supposed to be miffed? 

Speaking for myself, I prefer the bling that is attached to the playoffs, rather than that which is attached to individual accolades. Do I think Buster Posey is the best catcher in the league?

I know he is.

Do I care that he may have to take a back seat to Yadier Molina? 
Not one iota.
Do I care that the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo (1B), Ben Zobrist (2B), Addison Russell (SS), Kris Bryant (3B), and Dexter Fowler (CF) starting the mid-season Classic, ahead of Brandon Belt (1B), Joe Panik (2B), Brandon Crawford (SS), Matt Duffy (3B) and Denard Span (CF)?

Not one iota.
I could look up the names of the Giants All-Stars from 2010, 2012 and 2014, but I could not name one for certain off the top of my head. It all kind of blends together. On the other hand, I haven no problem remembering who won the World Series each of those three years: the Orange and Black.
You get my drift?
It’s the big picture I am focused on, not the immediate one. In July I am thinking only of barbecues, beer and fireworks. I like to watch the All-Star game as much as the next guy, but not to see Giants players. No way. I want to see which league gets home-field advantage during the playoffs, because I prefer October’s Big Stage to July’s.
So let the Cubs bask in the glow of their July fireworks, with all the glitz and glitter of the All-Star game in San Diego, and let their fans enjoy the thrill of their players’ success. Giants players can use the All-Star break to rest up for the second half of the season, one which extends into October, when the smell of wood-smoke lingers in the air. 
I prefer those October nights when I have to bundle up if I want to see major league baseball. I enjoy the fall colors radiating in the late afternoon sun, shadows making their presence known. You know, Orange and Black.
And I love the smell of that wood smoke from the Giants’ victory bonfires.

Mark O’Neill

Jake Arrieta’s 11th start of the season and he is looking for his 10h win of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Scott Kazmir, who is looking for his 5th win of the season.  Jake would start the game off getting the first two batters in the first but would give up a line drive single to center field by Adrian Gonzalez.  That would be all the action after Joc Pederson strikes out to end the top half.  Dexter Fowler would lead off with a walk but he forced out at second on Jason Heyward’s ground ball to second base.  Bryant would strike out but with Anthony Rizzo at the plate, Heyward would steal second base. Then Rizzo would reach after being hit by the pitch.  Ben Zobrist would strike out to end the inning.  Jake would almost have a 1-2-3 second inning but Miguel Montero’s fielding error would allow Yasmini Grandal to reach first and then Montero’s throwing error would advance him to second base.  It would be Kazmir who would score the perfect inning.  In the top of the third, Jake would get the first two batters out but give up a single to Corey Seager but get Gonzalez o end the inning.  Fowler would get the only hit in the bottom half of the third but get picked off trying to snag second to make it a 1-2-3 inning.  

Jake would get his first perfect inning in the top half of the fourth but not before Joel Maddon had to challenge the tag at first on Trace Thompson.  Scott would record the same in the bottom half.  Jake would lead off the fifth by walking Grandal who would be forced out on Carl Crawford’s ground ball to short stop but he would be forced out on Kazmir’s inning ending double play.  Kazmir would continue to silence the Cub’s bats with his third consecutive perfect inning.  Both men would only see three batters each in the sixth inning.  

Jake would start the seventh inning off by getting the first two batters out but would walk the next three batters to load the bases for pitcher Scott Kazmir.  Dave Roberts would not hesitate to pinch hit for him with Justin Turner who would strike out to end the inning and bring us to the stretch.  The Cubs continuing the tradition of baseball would use the video board to show Vin Skully singing the seventh inning stretch, in honor of Harry Carrey, which was a pretty cool moment.  Sorry, I cannot give an other word for it.  They also congratulated him on 67 years in the business.  Joe Blanton would enter the game in the bottom half of the seventh and continue the silencing of the Cubs bats.  

The top of the eighth would bring in Clayton Richard for the Cubs who would make the game interesting by giving up three straight singles to Chase Utley, Corey Seager and Gonzalez who drives in Utley for the first run of the ballgame prompting Maddon to go to the pen and bring in Adam Warren.  He would get Joc to fly out for the first out of the inning but walk Trace to load the bases.  With Howie Kendrick up to bat, Warren would bring it to a full count getting him to fly out to Heyward but it would be scored as a sacrifice fly as Seager would score run number two of the the evening.  Yasmani would pop out to shortstop Addison Russel to end the inning.  Blanton would continue what Kazmir started with his second consecutive perfect inning.  Dodgers 2-0.

Maddon would bring Warren back out for the top of the ninth and give up two singles Crawford and pinch hitting Enrique Hernandez.  Man now on first and third and Maddon goes back to the pen for Trevor Cahill.  He would get Utley to strike out but gives up a three run homer to Seager.  Cahill would get Gonzalez to ground out and Pederson to fly out to end the inning.  The Cubs only have one more shot to win this game with Tommy La Stella leading off agains Adam Liberatore.  Adam gets La Stella and Fowler to fly out and Heywrd would go down swinging to end the game, 5-0 Dodgers.

Jake would go seven innings striking out 8 walking 4 and only giving up 2 hits.  Richard and Warren wouldn’t be so lucky giving up four rounds on five hits but they didn’t give up a walk.  Two more games to go.  Let’s Go Cubs! 

The Podcast

The Dodgers are in town coming off a pretty hot streak winning 6 of 7, starting today with Memorial Day.  Alex Wood challenges Jason Hammel.  Hammel starts off getting the first two batters out but Justin Turner reaches on an error, Heyward drops the shallow fly ball.  He would walk Adrian Gonzalez but gets Joc Pederson to pop out in fowl territory.  Ben Zobrist leading off with Fowler getting the day off, walks but that would be all for the first inning.  It would be a quick top of the second for Hammel.  Wood catches Jorger Soler looking at strike 3.  Addison Russell would single to right and then advance on Javier Baez’s quick bunt to 1st.  David Ross would single to left to load the bases for Jason Hammel who would go down on a called 3rd strike.  Up for his second at bat but this time with bases loaded, Zobrist strikes out.  

We’d have a short delay at that start of the second with what appeared to be an issue with Hammel’s hamstring after throwing one warm up pitch ending his day.  After commercial break the Cubs have Travis Wood entering the game to pitch to Alex Wood getting him to strike out then getting the next two batters out.  Heyward would leadoff the third with a K but Bryant would single despite the shift to the left side of the infield.  Rizzo would line one at Adrian Gonzalez who tags first.  Jorge Soler would reach first on a base on balls. Addison lines out to short to end the inning.  

Travis Wood has a 1-2-3 4th inning. Alex Wood gets the first two batters out then walks David Ross.  Ross would make the last out being caught trying to snag second base.  Wood has another 1-2-3 inning.   We need some runs in the bottom half.  Zobrist woul leadoff with what should have been a single turns into a three bagger on an error by Puig giving Ben a single and continuing his hitting streak to 16 games.  Heyward would hit a slow roller to Gonzalez getting an infield hit scoring Ben.  Anthony Rizzo sends a breaking ball to Puig, Heyward challenges the arm, on the relay to Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal appears to close his glove too soon and drops the ball allowing Jason to score.  Russell K’s to end the inning but the Cubs are up 2-0. 

Travis Wood starts the top of the sixth as Alex Wood is removed for a pinch hitter but it would be yet another 1-2-3 inning.  Louis Coleman comes in and gets the first two batters out.  Matt Szczur pinch hits for Wood but strikes out to end the inning.  

Justin Grimm enters the game to continue to hold the Dodgers to one hit.  Casey Fein enters the game in relief to also make it a 1-2-3 inning.  Pedro Strop prevents the Dodgers from scoring and getting a hit in the eighth.  J.P. Howell starts the bottom half of the eighth by hitting Rizzo.  Tim Federowicz makes it two outs with a 6-4-3 double play.  Russell belts a single to center to keep the inning alive.  Manager Dave Roberts enters the game getting Baez to pop out.  Hector Rondon Comes in to get his 9th save of the season!  Cubs Win! 

There hasn’t been an update on Hammel yet but I’m hoping it will be minor but the other way to look at it, is this what we can expect for the second half of the season which has been his pattern.   Travis Wood took four innings striking out four but gave up no hits or walks.  Grimm, Strop and Rondon all took three innings giving up no hits or walks also combining for four strike outs.  

I personally can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a Cubs team play this well and continuously.  One down three to go!  

The Podcast

We’re just about 10 days away from opening day and the last thing a team wants is to lose a player late in spring training to an injury. Unfortunately the Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a big loss as outfielder Andre Either was diagnosed with a fracture of the right tibia and will be out 10 to 14 weeks. Either fouled a ball off his shin in Friday’s exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The original X-rays that day revealed no broken bones, but the Dodgers said Tuesday that a follow-up CT scan showed the fracture. The only good news for Either is the fact that he wont need surgery to repair his injury. Either was being projected as the Dodgers starting left fielder for this coming season. With Either out the Dodgers will go with Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke or possible Trayce Thompson in left field. Ethier batted .294 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs in 395 at-bats last season. He also had seven triples and a .366 on-base percentage. Ethier ranked second on the Dodgers in OPS (.852) in 2015, nine points shy of Justin Turner for best on the team among those with at least 200 plate appearances. He ranked 18th in the National League in on-base percentage, 20th in slugging percentage (.486) and 17th in OPS among players with at least 300 plate appearances. The Dodgers have been bit hard by the injury bug this spring. Don’t forget they already lost left-hander Brett Anderson for an extended period of time, as his back injury will keep him on the shelf for three to five weeks. Besides Either and Anderson there is quite a list of Dodgers who are either working back from some type of an injury or recovering from an off season procedure. That list includes Alex Wood, Brandon Beachy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Enrique Hernandez, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke and Julio Urias. Seager should be back from his sprained knee by Opening Day, Gonzalez and Kendrick are at full strength from their nagging injuries and Turner is rounding into form quickly, so at least some areas are headed in the right direction for the Dodgers. The health issue is a concern for all teams, but the Dodgers will have to keep a particularly close eye on things.

It was announced this morning that Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints have agreed to a 5-year which will keep him with the team until the 2020 season. It is being reported that the deal will pay Payton in excess of $45 million. Payton, who has coached the Saints for 10 years, was already one of the NFL’s highest paid coaches at $8.5 million in his previous deal, which ran through 2017. There was a lot of speculation last season that Payto might leave the Saints for another NFL team if a compensation package could’ve been worked out. Nothing ever materialized and Payton has a new contract to stay with the Saints. In addition, the Saints are continuing negotiations with quarterback Drew Brees on a proposed 4-year contract extension, which would also keep him with the team through the 2020 season. Negotiations with Brees, who has one year remaining on his own contract, has picked up recently as the Saints have incentive to lower his NFL-high salary cap figure of $30 million for 2016.

With the NBA season winding down the Cleveland Cavaliers are still the only team in the Eastern Conference to lock in a playoff spot. Looking at the standings it does appear that the Top 6 teams in the Eastern Conference will eventually lock in a playoff spot. The question becomes; who ends up with the 7th and 8th seeds? The Indiana Pacers are holding down the 7th seed right now at 37-33. The Chicago Bulls are holding onto the 8th seed, but they are just a 1/2 game behind the Pacers at 36-33. On the outside looking in right now are the Detroit Pistons who are 37-34 and just 0.001 percentage points behind the Bulls for that final playoff spot. Then there’s the Washington Wizards who are back to .500 at 35-35 and have the longest current winning streak in the Eastern Conference at 5 games. If you’re the Cavaliers is there a team you prefer to see end up in the 8th spot? While I don’t think the Cavaliers would have any problems winning a playoff series against any of the teams listed there are some teams that might give them more trouble than others. What may be interesting is if a team can get into the 7th spot because the Toronto Raptors have had issues against some of the teams competing for a playoff spot. Is it possible we could see a #2 seed like the Raptors go out in the first round of the playoffs?

Now the Western Conference is looking a little clearer. It looks like the Top 5 teams are set and then it’s just the order of the final 3 teams that will have to play out. There is an outside chance that the Utah Jazz could take away a playoff spot from either the Houston Rockets or the Dallas Mavericks. The Jazz currently trail the Rockets by 1/2 for the 8th spot and the Jazz are just 1 game behind the Mavericks. Is it time to start wondering if getting into the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed in the Western Conference really a plus for your season. The 7th seed will get to face the San Antonio Spurs in the 1st round and the 8th seed matches up with the Golden State Warriors in Round 1. Would the Rockets, Mavericks or Jazz even win a game in a 1st round playoff series against the Spurs or the Warriors; probably not. We probably shouldn’t lock the Portland Trail Blazers into the playoffs just yet. The Trail Blazers are just 1 1/2 ahead of the Jazz; so a bad streak here in the final 10 games could have them out of the playoffs. You just know any team would like to get themselves into that 6th seed; so they could face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st round.

Barring any major upsets you’d have to think will see the Warriors vs. the Spurs for the Western Conference title and then the winner of that series would move on the play the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The outcome has looked like this for a while now and I have to wonder if this will affect the ratings of the opening round playoff games or maybe people will watch rooting for the upset?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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