Posts Tagged ‘New York Yankees’

Alex Rodriquez (A-Rod) played in his 2784th career game last night as the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3. Now an August 12th game normally wouldn’t get this much attention, but it was A-Rod’s last one with the Yankees. After 12 seasons in Yankees pinstripes the team was parting ways with A-Rod. He was to be released right after last nights game and would then sign a one year deal with the team to be a Special Advisor. There was one year left on Rodriquez’s player contract and I guess the Yankees figured they might as well do something with him since they where paying him anyway. A-Rod went 1 for 4 in the game. He hit a double and he drove in a run. It ended up being a bit of an odd week leading up to A-Rod’s last game. At first Yankees manager Joe Girardi said A-Rod could play as much as he wanted. It was a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox and then last nights game, but when the games against the Red Sox came up there was no A-Rod in the line up. As the manager Girardi has complete control over the line up card and I have no issues with him not wanting to play A-Rod. The issue I ended up having was when he used the lame excuse of he was trying to put the best line up on the field for the team t win. Now A-Rod was having a bad year hitting right around .200, but your best line up to win with had Mark Teixera and Aaron Hicks in it. Both of these players are hitting under .200. What’s the real reason Girardi kept A-Rod out of the line up; who knows, but I’m not buying the best line up to win deal. I know I’m floating into Dan the Man territory here, but what if Yankees management wanted to keep A-Rod on the bench and out of the line up. I know that might seem weird, but the Yankees are going to pay A-Rod $21 million next season to pretty much do nothing. He was just 4 home runs away from the 700 home run mark and his contract has “Marketing Bonuses” in it for home run milestones. Is there a chance that Yankees upper management just didn’t want to give A-Rod anymore more because I’m sure there was a bonus waiting for him at 700 career home runs. Rodriquez had also asked Girardi to play 3rd base in his final game and was told no. Girardi did allow A-Rod t start the 9th inning at 3rd base before he was removed so he could get one final ovation from the home crowd.

Rodriquez has the numbers that a Hall of Fame career should have. He’s a career .295 hitter and has 3115 career hits. I mentioned the 696 home runs, but you might not remember that back in 1998 A-Rod stole 46 bases and has 329 career steals. He is a three time MVP (2003, 2005 and 2007) and finished 2nd in the voting twice (1996 and 2002) and 3rd in the voting once (2000). He is a 14 time All-Star and two time Gold Glove winner and won the AL batting title in 1996. A-Rod exceeded his rookie limits on 1995, but if he hadn’t, with the year he had in 1996 he would’ve won Rookie of the Year easily. He led the league in hits once, doubles once, runs scored 5 times, RBI’s twice and home runs 5 times. It’s easily a Hall of Fame career and then as your looking at his player card  you notice that there are no stats for the 2014 season. As we all know A-Rod was suspended that season for his use of performance enhancing drugs. So as you look back at what is statistically a great career you have t wonder when the PED use started. His numbers where great right out of the gate. In 1966 he hit .358 with 54 doubles, 36 home runs and 123 RBI’s. Those are great numbers for a 20 year old in his first full major league season, but was he clean? There have been unsubstantiated rumors that A-Rod was using PED’s all the way back to high school. Unless the voters change the way they’ve handled the Hall of Fame voting since PED’s have become an issue it looks like A-Rod will be on the outside looking in.

The NFL pre-season kicked off this week and already fans are out of control. In the Chicago area where I live fans where already on the ledge because the Chicago Bears lost their pre-season opener 22-0 to the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Did I mention that it was the first game of pre-season. These people need to take a deep breath and relax. There are still 3 more pre-season games on the Bears schedule before they open the season for real on Sunday September 11th on the road against the Houston Texans. I understand that a fan wants his team to look good, but if they don’t the game you just went nuts about doesn’t mean anything. In Week 1 of the pre-season sometimes the most important thing is to get through the game healthy. Also let’s be fair here; if you had the Bears going to and or winning the Super Bowl this season you have another set of issues that need to be looked at. I fully understand that football is king when it comes to the 4 major sports, but if you’re giving up on your favorite team after Week 1 of the pre-season because they lost you might want to look for a new sport. With the way the NFL is now and the rules about hitting in practice tackling is so bad that even in Week 1 and Week 2 of the regular season some teams are still acting, looking or even playing like it’s still the pre-season. Again simple take a step back, take a deep breath and relax.

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So the rumors started yesterday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are seriously interested in trading Yasiel Puig. We heard these same rumors last season, but Puig is still with the Dodgers. Is this the season the Dodgers deal him? While it seems as though he’s been around longer this is just Puig’s 4th season in the majors and he is just 25 years old. Remember Puig came out of the gate like a sure fire superstar. Puig came in and played 104 games in 2013. He hit .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI’s and added 11 stolen bases. There are some people out there who have identified him as the Rookie of the Year, but he actually finished 2nd to Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. Puig also picked up some MVP votes that season and finished 15th in that voting. In 2014 Puig played 148 games hitting .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBI’s and making his first All-Star team. He also picked up some MVP votes after that season and finished 19th in the voting. Puig was injured for much of the 2015 season. He played in just 79 games. He hit .255 with 11 home runs and had 38 RBI’s. The Dodgers where hoping a healthy Puig would bounce back t numbers more like his first two seasons, but he hasn’t. In 76 games Puig is hitting .256 with 7 home runs and 32 RBI’s this season. If the Dodgers do find a taker for Puig; which player will they get? Let’s take a look at some landing spots for Puig.

How about the New York Yankees? Take it easy Yankees fans I don’t think you’ll be getting Aroldis Chapman for Puig, but there are some options for these teams to deal. A more likely trade that could happen between these two teams is Puig for Carlos Beltran. Beltran is 39 years old, but is having a good season. He’s hitting .301 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI’s. If Clayton Kershaw’s return is pushed back with his injury the Dodgers are going to have to find a way to stay in contention for a wild card spot and adding some offense might help. Beltran has been able to stay healthy this season and has appeared in 88 games this season for the Yankees. Another plus for the Dodgers is Beltran is in the last year of his contract and with the young outfielders they have in their system he won’t be in the way. Beltran is owed about $8 million for the rest of this season while Puig is under contract for two more years at $7 million apiece. It’s two teams with plenty of money; so swapping salaries shouldn’t be an issue. The Dodgers could get some offensive help to put between Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez while the Yankees can get a young outfielder they can build around.

Another possible landing spot for Puig could be the rebuilding Atlanta Braves. It might sound odd to some people as the Braves are on their way to losing 100 plus games this season and possibly next season as well. It would actually give the Braves a chance t look at Puig and decide if he could be part of their rebuilding as his contract was coming to an end after the 2018 season. If so they could try to resign him or if not they could just let him go into free agency. The tough part would be figuring out what the Braves could send back in return. I don’t think the Dodgers would be interested in Nick Markakis. With the Braves rebuilding they’d want to hang on to their young players. Could the Braves out together a package featuring someone like Chase D’Arnaud or Jace Peterson with a pitcher or two thrown in be enough to get the Dodgers to send them Puig. It’s a deal that the Braves need to look into the question will be can they find a player or players that would interest the Dodgers enough to trade them Puig.

Could another rebuilding team like the Milwaukee Brewers be a team that could step up and tried to add Puig. It could be an easy deal if the Dodgers where willing to accept Ryan Braun and what’s left of his contract for Puig. Braun is signed through 2020 with an option for 20121. He’ll receive $20 million next season and in 2018, $19 million in 2019, $17 million in 2020 with a $15 million dollar option for 2021. Braun is 32 years old and it seems as though his power has been in decline. While Braun is still a home run threat he’s not the same player who hit 41 home runs in  2012. In 77 games this season Braun is hitting .313 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI’s. If the Brewers are going to truly rebuild they need to find a way to move Braun’s contract and this could be the answer they’ve been looking for. The issue may be will the Dodgers who have some talented young outfielders be willing to tie themselves down with Braun until 2020. Don’t forget that the Dodgers are going to be paying off Carl Crawford’s contract for the next couple of seasons.

Let’s reach out for one more team here and add the Toronto Blue Jays to the list of teams that could be a good spot for Puig. Jose Batista is injured and in the last year of his contract. Don’t forget that Batista is looking for a big payday at the end of the season and adding Puig could allow the Blue Jays to let Batista walk. Edwin Encarnacion is also in the last year of his contract and has been recruited by David Ortiz to sing with the Boston Red Sox and take over his role with them next season.  At 25 Puig along with Devon Travis would be the youngest player on the Blue Jays roster. The difficult part again here is finding someone to send back to Los Angeles in a deal. Ezequiel Carrera has had a solid season for the Blue Jays; so maybe they could add him into a deal with a young pitcher like Drew Hutchinson and a couple of bullpen pieces for Puig. This is the tough part about making a deal. While it looks as though Puig would be a good fit for the Blue Jays and their future it’s difficult to fin the right set of players to send back to the Dodgers to make a deal.

There are four interesting options for Yasiel Puig. Do the Dodgers finally go through with their plan to deal Puig or will he still be there at the end of the season? Remember this is a different front office talking about trading Puig this time; so maybe he ends up being dealt this time. Would you like to see your favorite team acquire Puig? Or do you have a better landing spot than the four I picked for him. If you do let me know.

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Last weekend the NASCAR series was at the Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500. Now there are plenty of people out there who watch NASCAR just for the accidents.If you happen to be one of those people this race did not disappoint you. Only 21 out of the 40 cars that started finished on the lead lap. Some of the top drivers got themselves caught up in accidents and in the cases of Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. they got caught up in two accidents. If you haven’t seen the video yet you should look for the one where Earnhardt Jr, is involved in his second accident of the race. As he’s driving his steering wheel comes off in his hands and he has to grab the connecting rod to try and steer the car. This second accident took Earhardt Jr. out of the race and he ended up finishing 40th. Now Talladega races can get wild as they are restrictor plate races and the cars run together in big group at or around 200 miles per hour.So that normally means when one car starts to crash they take quite a few cars with them. It can also work out to your advantage if you’re in the right place at the right time when these accidents take place. Brad Keslowski ended up in the best plat at Talladega as he led 46 laps and won the race. Kyle Busch cane home 2nd with Austin Dillon in 3rd, Jamie McMurray in 4th and  Chase Elliott who started the race on the pole came home 5th. Tony Stewart was credited with a 6th place finish, but got out of the car at the first caution and Ty Dillon spent most of the race in the car. According to NASCAR rules the driver that starts the race gets credit for where it finishes. Stewart just returned from a back injury and his doctor advise him to get out of the car and allow Dillon to substitute. Dillon did qualify the car and it was set up for him. Stewart ended up running about 50 laps before giving way to Dillon. Matt Kenseth’s run of bad luck continued. He led 39 laps and look to have a car that could contend, but he got caught up in an accident with Danica Patrick and had to settle for a 23rd place finish. On the Sunday Sports Time Radio podcast Chris Olmstead gave us his 3 drivers to look for in victory lane. He did take Earnhardt Jr, but being that it was a restrictor plate race just about everyone would’ve pick him. He did netter with his other two drivers as Kyle Busch came home 2nd for him and his other choice was Chase Elliott who finished 5th. The Sprint Cup series heads to Kansas Speedway for the Go Bowling 400 on Saturday night.


I thought this was a bit of an odd story. The National Football Leagu has warned it’s players that if they’re traveling to China or Mexico they have to be careful about any meat they might eat. Any meat produced in China or Mexico may potentially contains Clenbuterol, which is banned under the league’s performance enhancing substance policy.  The independent administrator of the NFL’s drug testing program sent out a memo to players warning them of this possibility. Clenbuterol is a muscle-building and weight-loss stimulant. Oddly the NFL has scheduled a Monday Night Football game in Mexico City on November 21st. The Oakland raiders will take on the Houston Texans in that game. The Raiders also hosted a fan fest as part of the NFL draft this past Saturday in Mexico City. Last season Houston’s left tackle Duane Brown tested positive for Clenbuterol after he took a trip to Mexico on the Texans bye week and ate Mexican beef. After a month long process, Brown was finally cleared in April, sources said, allowing him to avoid what would have been a 10 game suspension. Hopefully NFL players take notice and don;t have t go though the same situation as Brown did. Now this just isn’t an issue that the NFL is dealing with. In 2011, five players on Mexico’s national soccer team tested positive for Clenbuterol, and the country’s federation ruled the positive tests were caused by contaminated meat. Then again at the 2011 Under-17 World Cup held in Mexico, FIFA found a majority of all players tested had traces of Clenbuterol in their system. Mexican cattle ranchers are banned from using Clenbuterol as a growth enhancer, but reports suggest that it is still used widely.


What if anything will the New York Yankees do. General Manager Brian Cashman mentioned yesterday in the New York papers that things had to change with this team, but what. After last nights 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles the Yankees are 8-16 and in last place in the American League East. Now it is still very early in the season, but the Yankees find themselves 6 1/2 games out of 1st place. Now of course you can always make a change at manager, but is this really Joe Girardi’s fault. I’m sure you’ve heard the term; you can’t fire the players; so Girardi may end up being the fall guy for the Yankees. Maybe the Yankees record has more to do with the fact that only Masahiro Tanaka has an ERA under 3.00 at 2.87 in the starting rotation. The other starters C.C. Sabathia (5.06), Nathan Eovaldi (5.46), Luis Severino (6.31) and Michael Pineda (6.33) round out the Yankees rotation. Also no Yankees starting pitcher has more than 1 win. While the bullpen will get some help soon as Aroldis Chapman will be returning from suspension. Of course the back end of the Yankees bullpen has been good. Delin Betances has appeared in 12 games covering 11 2/3rd innings. He has 5 holds, 24 strikeouts, a WHIP of 0.94 and an ERA of 3.09. Andrew Miller has been handling closer duties while Chapman is out. Miller has appeared in 10 games pitching 10 innings. He has 5 saves, 16 strikeouts, a WHIP of 0.40 and an ERA of 0.00; so he hasn’t given up an earned run. Stat wise the hitting looks to be pretty solid. Chase Headley does appear to be struggling hitting just .147. Alex Rodriquez (A-Rod) isn’t hitting for a high average (.194), but does lead the team in home runs with 5 and is tied for the team lead in RBI’s with Starlin Castro at 12. Of course A-Rod strained a hamstring last night running out a ground ball and looks like he’ll end up on the disabled list. Now the Yankees are an older team with a lot of high salary guys coming to the end of their contracts. Can you fix this team? or do you just hope they come around as the weather warms up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The NFL season officially opened Thursday night in New England as the Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21. Now the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates as the Steelers added a touchdown with 3 seconds remaining in the game t get it to that 28-21 final score. Now I’m sure that all of the fantasy football players out there had their Patriots and Steelers in there line up as that would’ve paid off for them. Tom Brady was 25 for 32 for 288 yards and threw 4 touchdowns. Ben Rothlisberger was very good as well going 26 for 38 and 351 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. With Le’Von Bell suspended the Steelers turned to veteran DeAngelo Williams to run the football and he did well. Williams carried the football 21 times for 127 yards, but didn;t get the goal line carries as Will Johnson got the Steelers rushing touchdown. On the Patriots side it was journeyman Dion Lewis get the most carries in Week 1. Lewis rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries, but did get into the end zone. Lewis did factor a little bit in the New England passing game catching 4 passes for 51 yards while Williams only caught 1 pass for 5 yards for Pittsburgh. If a fantasy owner played either Williams or Lewis he got very good value out of them in Week 1 even without a touchdown from either running back. The receivers is where fantasy owners cashed in on this game. Antonio Brown led the Steelers in receptions with 9 for 133 yards and scored a touchdown. Heath miller added 8 catches out of the tight end position for 84 yards. If you happen to be in a very deep receiver league Darrius Heyward-Bay 4 catches for 58 yards and Markus Wheaton 3 catches for 55 yards would’ve picked up some points for you. It seemed as though New England picked up right where they left off last season. Julian Edelman led the team in receptions with 11 for 97 yards, but it was tight end Rob Gronkowski catching all the touchdown passes from Brady. Gronkowski caught 5 passes for 94 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. The other New England passing touchdown went to another tight end as well, but it was Scott Chandler who had just that 1 catch for 1 yard, but it went for a touchdown. It seems as every year someone thinks that Danny Amendola will finally have a break out season; especially since he’s been with New England. Amendola was targeted 3 times and he caught 2 of those passes for 24 yards. If your league scores defensive players Will Allen had 8 tackles to lead the Steelers and also had a sack. Rookie linebacker Bud Dupree had the Steelers other sack on the night, but added just 2 total tackles. Dont’a Hightower was the Patriots leading tackler with 8; he also had a sack. Jabaal Sheard and Malcolm Brown also picked up a sack apiece for the Patriots. There was only 1 interception in the game and New England’s Duron Harmon was the player who made that interception. It’s always difficult to get the right defensive players in your line up, but hopefully you had the right ones in this game and they put up some points for you.

I don’t think we’ve ever talked about tennis on the Sports Time Radio podcast and I don’t watch tennis except for a highlight here or there, but I have to tell you I was disappointed to hear that Serena Williams lost her semi-final match at the U.S. Open yesterday to Roberta Vinci. Williams won the first set of the match 6-2, but lost the next two sets 4-6 and 4-6. It was a gigantic upset by Vinci; who was unseeded coming into the U.S. Open. It was Williams’ first loss in a Grand Slam singles match this year and ended her bid for the first calendar-year Slam since 1988. Williams had won 26 straight matches in grand slam competition and 33 straight matches overall until Vinci defeated her. It was also the first time in her career that Vinci had taken so much as a set from Williams. Williams lost a three-set match for only the second time this year, her record now 18-2. Vinci will play Flavia Pennetta, another Italian, in Saturday’s final.. Earlier Friday, Pennetta defeated No. 2 seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3.It’s the first time in the U.S. Open era that two Italian women will meet in a major final. Pennetta defeated Vinci 6-4, 6-1 in their most recent meeting in the 2013 US Open quarterfinals.

NASCAR’s regular season ends tonight at Richmond International Speedway with Joey Logano on the pole for the Federated Auto Parts 400. Logano won the pole with an average speed of 126.470 just edging out Matt Kenseth; who had a qualifying speed of 126.357. Brad Keslowski; Logano’s Penske racing teammate will start 3rd with Kyle Busch starting 4th and David Ragan rounding out the Top 5. Ragan is the top qualifier who doesn’t have a win this season and if he wants to get himself into next weeks Chase he’ll have to find a way to turn that 5th starting spot into a trip to victory lane. Tony Stewart is the next highest qualifier who doesn’t have a win; Stewart starts 10th tonight. Dan the Man’s favorite driver Clint Bowyer is holding on to the 16th and final Chase spot going into tonight’s race, but if someone who doesn’t have a win finds a way to get one Bowyer could be knocked out of the Chase. Bowyer is however just 10 points behind the 15th place driver Paul Menard; so if either driver has a bad night and that outside driver gets  a win they could be knocked out of the Chase. The other 3 drivers without wins who are in the Chase right now are Jamie McMurray; who clinches a Chase spot just by starting tonight’s race; so he’s as good as in. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon are the other two drivers without wins that will qualify for the Chase unless something almost impossible happens to them. It will be interesting to see if someone outside of the Chase can get a win and find their way into it tonight, but none of those drivers have really shown they can jump up and get a win. Will find out tonight when they take the green flag at Richmond.

It’s the New York Yankees hosting the Toronto Blue Jays in a series that may end up deciding the American League East. Toronto took Game 1 yesterday 11-5. Toronto got to Yankees rookie pitcher Luis Severino right out of the gate scoring 5 runs in the 1st inning highlighted by a Josh Donaldson (38) and Justin Smoak (17) home runs. Severino didn’t last long pitching just 2 1/3rd inning giving up 6 runs on 8 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. David Price started the game for Toronto, but while he did get the win he only lasted 5 innings. Price gave up 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7, but did throw 96 pitches over his 5 innings. LaTroy Hawkins relieved Price and gave up the other 3 runs (2 where earned) to the Yankees, but the Blue Jays still had a 9-5 lead at that point. Russell Martin (18 & 19) capped off the Blue Jays scoring with his second home run of the night; a 2-run shot to make the final score 11-5. The teams play a doubleheader today with Game 1 being Marco Estrada vs Michael Pineda on the mound. Game 2 feature the return of Marcus Stroman who’s missed the entire season to this point after tearing the ACL in his left leg during spring training. Ivan Nova is the Yankees listed starter for Game 2 of the twin-bill. Toronto takes a 2 1/2 game lead into the doubleheader tonight; so will they extend that lead, have the Yankees cut into or will we just get a split?

Some tough news for the Yankees as it was announced yesterday that 1st baseman Mark Teixeira will miss the remainder of the season as an MRI reveal a fracture in his leg. Teixeira was having a bounce back season for the Yankees. While his batting average was a little low at .255 he was supplying power for te Yankees with 31 home runs and he has driven in 79 runs. It looks like rookie Greg Bird will replace Teixeira in the Yankees line up. Is this the injury that hurts the Yankees the most?

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When the Detroit Tigers and Dave Dombrowski mutually agreed to part ways on August 4th most baseball experts didn’t think he’d be out of work long. Yesterday Dombrowski was hired by the Boston Red Sox   to be their president of baseball operations, effective immediately. General manager Ben Cherington declined the opportunity to continue as GM but has agreed to assist Dombrowski during the transition. It’s being reported that former Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren is hte guy the Red Sox would like to have take over their general manager position. Don’t forget that during John Henry’s three seasons (1999-2001) as owner of the Marlins, Dombrowski was his general manager. The relationship between Dombrowski and Owens helped the Red Sox in their quest to hire Dombrowski, who had also been talking to other organizations. Dombrowski lead the Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997 and built American League pennant-winners with the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and ’12. There were reports that the Toronto Blue Jays had what was described as “serious conversations” with Dombrowski. It seems like the report of those talks prompted the Red Sox to give Dombrowski full power over baseball operations. Dombrowski takes over a Red Sox team that is currently 53-66, 13 1/2 games behind the 1st place New York Yankees and last in the A.L. East. Dombrowski will have the remaining 43 games to look at this Red Sox team and get the off season set up.

After the Toronto Blue Jays took over 1st place in the A.L. East last week a lot of the experts wrote the New York Yankees off and thought they would start to fade back in the division. It turned out not to be the case as the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays over the weekend to reclaim 1st place. With consecutive victories over the Minnesota Twins to start this week the Yankees find themselves with a 1 game lead on the Blue Jays going into today’s games. Of course a 1 game lead isn’t much to bank on, but it’s a lot better than were most experts had the Yankees at after they slipped out of 1st place. Now I am in the camp that thinks the Blue Jays will pass the Yankees and win the A.L. East, but i wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Yankees find a way to hang onto a wild card spot. Just the Yankees being here at this point in time during the season is a bit of a shock. I don;t remember anyone picking the Yankees to contend for a playoff spot be it a wild card or division title, but here they are. You have to wonder how they’re doing it. The Yankees are 7th in the A.L. in team batting average at .255. They only have 1 regular hitting over .280; Brett Gardner is at .283. They are however 2nd in runs scored with 567. They trail only the Blue Jays who lead the A.L. with 630 runs scored. The long ball has been helping the Yankees as well; they are 3rd in the A.L. with 159. Mark Teixiera leads the Yankees with 31 home runs. The last time Teixeira hit over 30 home runs was 2011. Don’t forget that Alex Rodriguez has 25 home runs for the Yankees as well. The Yankees on base percentage is .324 good for 4th in the A.L. their slugging percentage is .430 good for 2nd in the A.L. and they have an OPS of .756 which ranks 2nd in the A.L. The Yankees don;t have a starting pitcher that jumps off the page at you as only Nathan Eovaldi has more than 10 victories; he’s 12-2 this season. The key appears to be the back end of the Yankees bullpen. Andrew Miller has 27 saves and an E.R.A, of 2.08. Dellin Betances has a 6-2 record out of the bullpen an E.R.A. of 1.14 and also picked up 7 saves while Miller was out injured. Justin Wilson has appeared in 55 games with a 4-0 record and an E.R.A. of 2.66 out of the Yankees bullpen. Left handed set up man Chasen Shreve has pitched in 43 games has a 6-1 record and an E.R.A. of 2.09 for the Yankees. Remember last season the Kansas City Royals made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series last season using a 3-headed bullpen monster. Do the Yankees have a similar set up in their bullpen and if they get into the post season and have a lead after 6 innings is this bullpen lock down enough for them to go a long way. Of course the Blue Jays are going to be difficult to hold off in the A.L. East and there are 5 teams with in 4 1/2 games of the second wild card spot.

Mr. Fantasy and I found out that we will be picking in the 7th spot of our co-managed team or as we call it on the podcast our money league team. There are 14 teams in this league; so we are right in the middle and I have to tell you I couldn’t hate this position more than I do. I’ve never enjoyed drafting in the middle of any draft. Now I don;t need to be in the top tier of a draft; I’m just as happy to be at the back end of a draft. If I could some how end up with the last pick of the first round in any snake style draft I’d be thrilled with that. I really enjoy getting those back to back picks and it makes me feel as though I control the draft and I can start runs with my picks. Now Mr. Fantasy is working on trying to trade this pick. We’re not even looking for anything if someone wants to move up to the #7 spot; we just want to move down that badly. Now we where in the middle of our money league baseball draft and where unable to deal out of that spot; so I’m hoping the same thing doesn’t happen to us with the football league. Besides just being in the middle of the draft I also don;t like what the draft board might look like when it gets to the 7th pick. The top running backs should be off of the board and it’s probably too early to take a quarterback. Now there would be players like Dez Bryant and Rob Gronkowski on the board, but I;m not as sold on them as I would like to be to take them at #7. There are some interesting running backs that are ranked a little farther down the draft board; so we could reach for on of them, but who wants to take a reach pick in the 1st round. I just don;t know; so here’s hoping he can come through and make a deal for us.

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I get it people missed the NFL, but the reactions to how teams played is a little over the top. The New England Patriots lost their pre-season opener to the Green Bay Packers 22-11. Now we know that the outcome of these games don’t matter at all, but the analysis was out of control Jimmy Garoppolo went 20 for 30 in the loss for 159 yards and threw 1 interception. Pretty average numbers for a pre-season game, but I saw a breakdown of his play and the expert was just destroying Garoppolo because he was sacked 7 times. While I get it; you never want to see your quarterback get sacked that many times, but it’s the first game of the pre-season for the Patriots. Garoppolo is expected to fill in for New England’s regular starting quarterback Tom Brady if he ends up having to miss any games because of the Deflatgate situation. It just seemed kind of dumb to me that the Patriots season was pretty left for dead if Garoppolo had to start any games if or when Brady is suspended. Did I mention that it was the first week of the pre-season for New England. Maybe it should’ve been called over reaction week.

The other thing I got quite a laugh about with pre-season was the way they where playing up the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks game. It was being billed as a re-match of the 2014 Super Bowl and they wrote how the Broncos would be out for revenge. I guess I understand that you’re trying to get people to watch the game on television; it was the late game on the  NFL Network last night. Now Denver beat Seattle last night 22-20, but does a 2 point win in their first game of the pre-season get them their revenge for losing a Super Bowl? Peyton Manning didn’t play; neither did Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson threw 1 pass in the game. Revenge; really!

Kobe Bryant has said that he’d like to play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Now I would have no problem at all if they just gave Bryant a spot on Team USA; he’s earned that type of award. Bryant has come out and said that he doesn’t want to be a token on Team USA in Rio de Janeiro, but that he wants to earn his spot on the team. Remember that this is Team USA where Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook come off the bench and Klay Thompsom is more or less used as a role player; is there room for Bryant? Don’t forget that Bryant had a relatively minor role in 2012, when he ranked sixth on the team in minutes per game. Now if the 2015-16 season is Bryant’s last in the NBA he’s not going to go out on top with the Los Angeles Lakers. Wouldn’t the best image for the ending of Bryant’s career be with a gold medal around his neck and holding an american flag.

I noticed that the Dallas Mavericks have signed center JaVale McGee to a contrtact, but I didn’t see how long it was for; I’d have to guess it’s just for one year. McGee has averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his seven NBA seasons. The 7-footer has played 382 games with Washington, Denver and Philadelphia. McGee was waived in March by the Philadelphia 76ers, two weeks after he had been acquired in a trade from the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in his 23 combined games last season for the two teams. The Washington Wizards selected McGee 18th overall in 2008 after he declared for early entry in the draft after his sophomore season at Nevada. McGee’s father, George Montgomery, was a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1985. His mother, Pamela McGee, played in the WNBA. Remember the Mavericks had originally signed free agent D’ Andrea Jordan, but he changed his mind and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers. McGee has a similar skill set to Jordan on the court; so the Mavericks may be looking for him to fill some of the role they had planned for Jordan to fill before he went back to the Clippers.

The Toronto Blue Jays finally lost a baseball game last night. The Blue Jays entered the game on an 11 game winning streak and looked like they would make it 12 with David Price on the mound and a 3-0 lead going into the top of the 8th inning. After Chase Headley doubled home the Yankees first run off of Price Aaron Sanchez came out of the Blue Jays bullpen to replace Price with Yankees on 2nd and 3rd base. Carlos Beltran came off the Yankees bench to face Sanchez and hit a 3-run home run to right-centerfield to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead in the game. Dellin Betances pitched and bottom of the 8th inning for the Yankees and after New York couldn’t add to their lead in the top half of the 9th inning Andrew Miller came in to try and close the game out for the Yankees. Russell Martin flew out to leftfield for the 1st out of the inning. Chris Colabello pinch hit for Ryan Goins and drew a walk. Cliff Pennington came into the game to pinch run for Colabello. Kevin Pillar singled to center with Pennington moving up to 2nd base. Ben Revere came to bat for the Blue Jays and during his at bat Miller threw a wild pitch to move the base runners up to 2nd and 3rd. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run on 2nd Miller struck out Revere for the 2nd out of the inning. Wouldn’t you know it that the next hitter for the Blue Jays was Troy Tulowitzki. Now the Blue Jays haven;t lost a game that Tulowitzki has started for them and I was wondering if they would intentional walk Tulowitzki and face Josh Donaldson with the bases loaded, but the Yankees choose to have Miller pitch to Tulowitzki. Of course the count had to go full and Tulowitzki fouled off 7 pitches in this 12 pitch at bat. Finally Miller got Tulowitzki to swing and miss on a slider to end the game and a 4-3 win for the Yankees. The win not only ended the Blue Jays winning streak it out the Yankees back in 1st place in the A.L. East by a 1/2 game. Game 2 of the series is at Noon today. The Yankees will have Masahiro Tanaka starting on the mound for them and the Blue Jays are going with Marco Estrada. Tanaka is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his last 3 starts while Estrada is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last 3 starts. Do the Blue Jays bounce back today? Or will the Yankees add some more room to their A.L. East lead??

How was your week?

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We had our first few waiver wire deals in Major League Baseball yesterday. It started with the Atlanta Braves sending 3rd baseman Chris Johnson the the Cleveland Indians for outfields Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and cash considerations. There had been reports out for a while now that the Braves were interested in moving Johnson. Johnson is signed through 2017 with a $10 million dollar option for 2015. Bourn who played for Atlanta in 2011 and 12 is signed for 2016 at $14 million with a $12 million dollar option for 2017. Swisher is signed through 2015 as well for $15 million with a $14 million dollar vesting option for 2017 if he 550 plate appearances in 2016 and passes a physical. The next deal saw the Boston Red Sox send Mike Napoli and cash to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Napoli will also be returning to a team he has played for before. Napoli was with the Rangers for the 2011 and 12 seasons. Napoli is in the last year of his contract and it’s being reported that the Rangers will be responsible for paying $1.5 million of his $16 million dollar 2015 salary. The New York Mets picked up some bullpen help as they acquired left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty and cash considerations from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later. O’Flaherty had been designated for Assignment by Oakland over the weekend; so they had 10 days to trade, release him or have him accept a minor league assignment. In a corresponding move left handed reliever Alex Torres has been designated for assignment by the Mets to clear space for O’Flaherty on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. With these three deals getting the waiver period started will see if we get some more deals over the weekend.

So which division leader is going to get caught before the season ends? The New York Yankees (3 1/2), the New York Mets (2 1/2), the Kansas City Royals (9 1/2), the St. Louis Cardinals (6), the Houston Astros (1 1/2) or the Los Angeles Dodgers (3). Now the Mets may be the obvious choice, but it may be the other New York team that is in the most danger of losing their division lead. The Toronto Blue Jays have been closing the gap on the Yankees. With the acquisitions of Troy Tulowirzki and David Price the Blue Jays 9-1 over their last 10 games and are currently on a 6 game winning streak. Over that same 10 game stretch the Yankees are 5-5. Last night (Friday) these two teams started a 3 game series in New York. The Blue Jays got the win on Game 1; 2-1, but it took 10 innings. All 3 runs were scored on solo home runs. Josh Donaldson hit his 30th home run on the Top of the 1st inning to give the Blue Jays a 1-0, but it didn’t last long as Mark Teixeira tied the game at 1-1 with his 30th home run. The game stayed 1-1 until the Top of the 10th inning when Jose Bautista hit his 25th home run of the season off of Yankees reliever Branden Pinder to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Roberto Osuna pitched the Bottom of the 10th for Toronto to pick up his 9th save while Brett Cecil got the win to move his record to 3-4. Pinder took the loss in his first decision of the season; so he’s 0-1. Both teams had 8 hits apiece in the game. Bautista was the only Blue Jays player with 2 hits in the game while Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius all had 2 hits apiece for the Yankees. R. A. Dickey started the game for Toronto while Nathan Eovaidi made the start for the Yankees. Dickey pitched 7 innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 3 and walking 2; he also threw a wild pitch. Eovaildi pitched 6 inning giving up 1 run on 5 hits while also striking out 3 and walking 2. Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday afternoon in New York and David Price is starting for the Blue Jays while the Yankees are going with Ivan Nova on the mound. Price was dominant on his Blue Jays debut; striking out 11 and retiring the last 15 batters he faced. Nova has made 7 starts for the Yankees since returning from Tommy John surgery and has an E.R.A. of 3.10. Look for Brian McCann to be a key factor in the Yankees line up against Price as he is a career .563 hitter against him with 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s. Jacoby Ellsbury also has good career numbers against Price hitting .370 in 46 career at bats. Both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista average over .300 against Nova. Encarnacion at .364 and Bautista at .333 and each have 1 home run off Nova.  The Blue Jays (589) and Yankees (529) are the Nos. 1 and 2 teams atop the Major League leaderboard in runs scored; so will we see more than a 2-1 game like last nights?

On the Sunday Sports Time Radio podcasts Mr. Fantasy and I have tried to pick the best line up for Fanduel and sadly haven’t done very well. Now we’re going to continue to try and find ways to help you win money during the remainder of the season on Fanduel, but we’re also going to start taking a look at the upcoming football season. Our drafts will be held over Labor Day weekend; so we’re starting to get ready for them. If you’re interested in being in either of our league; they’re free and we run them through Yahoo. Both leagues are 20 team leagues; one is a traditional snake league style draft and the other league is an auction league. Again they are both free and if you’re interested in playing please e-mail us and we’ll send you the link to sign up. One league has 5 spots left and the other has 8 spots left. Feel free to play in one or both leagues with us. Just please be a serious fantasy football player who’ll stay through the season even if your team struggles.

I was looking at the pre-season rankings for tight ends and they have Rob Gronkowski as the #6 rated player overall. I have to tell you I don;t think I would draft a tight end that high and in one of our leagues we start 2 tight ends a week. While there’s a bit of a drop off from Gronkowski to Jimmy Graham and then even a bigger drop off from Graham to the #3 ranked tight end Travis Kelce; I’m not sure if taking a tight end at #6 is the best choice. There’s also the issue of if there’s a Tom Brady suspension. How much will that affect Gronkowski’s numbers? be it for the 4 games that’s in place right now or even 1 or 2 games if it’s brought down in court. Now I won;t be surprised at all when Gronkowski comes off the draft board in the Top 10 and while he’s a great player and the best at his position can you win your league taking a tight end that high?

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The New York Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-2 last night in New York. In the bottom of the 1st inning Alex Rodriquez (A-Rod) hit his 13th home run to right center field off of Justin Verlander to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It was the 667th home run of Rodriguez’s career, but more importantly on this night it was his 3000th career hit. With his home run Rodriguez became the 29th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 3000 hit milestone. Rodriguez is also the 3rd player who’s 3000th hit was a home run; the other 2 are Wade Boggs and A-Rod’s former teammate Derek Jeter. Rodriguez, who will turn 40 next month and is the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Derek Jeter did in July 2011. Compared to the celebration four years ago for Jeter’s accomplishment, there was noticeably less buildup for Rodriguez’s chase of 3000 hits. Rodriguez’s previous admissions of performance-enhancing drug use and season-long suspension in 2014 created a much different feeling. Four years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays applauded in unison for Jeter’s homer; on Friday, the Tigers mostly declined to acknowledge the moment, though a few opponents did tip their caps. After the game’s final out, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera offered Rodriguez a congratulatory hug. Rodriguez joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro as the only players to log both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Rodriguez, who played seven seasons (1994-2000) in Seattle Mariners and three (2001-03) for the Texas Rangers before collecting 1,465 hits and counting with the Yankees.

Zack Hampie is the fan who caught Rodriguez’s 300th hit and he has told the Yankees that he won’t be giving the ball back. On his Twitter account Hampie posted a picture of the baseball mention that he “Got it authenticated by @MLB” and also said :I’m keeping it”. Hampie elaborated further on why he wouldn’t give the baseball back to Ropdriguez to saying “I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me” Hampie went on to say ” I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I’m not giving it back for – I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and fully autographed bats, because I don’t collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this baseball is so meaningful to me. I can’t believe that I got it. If you had caught Rodriguez’s 3000th hit; want would you do with the baseball?

Now that Rodriguez has reached the 3000th hit milestone; who’s next on the hit list. Ichiro Suzuki has 2886 career hits; so it looks like he’ll be the next player to get to 3000 hits. After Ichiro it’s Adrian Beltre with 2657 hits, Albert Pujols with 2587 hits, Tori Hunter with 2386 hits and Carlos Beltran rounds out the list with 2373 hits. I would think we’ll see Beltre and Pujols become members of the 3000 hit club before their careers end, but I’m not sure if we’ll see Hunter or Beltran get to 3000. Including Rodriguez these are the Top 6 players in career hits right now; so those 5 players are the closest to 3000 hits.

How do you feel about Rodriguez joining the 3000 hit club? I consider myself a fan of the Seattle Mariners and used to root for him. The Mariners selected Rodriguez with the 1st pick of the 1993 amateur draft. As I mentioned before Rodriguez did miss all of last season because he was suspended for P.E.D. use. While Rodriguez has won a slew of awards and made countless All-Star teams; he’ll also be coming up on 700 home runs very soon. All of these numbers are tainted for me as I always wonder where he’d be if he hadn’t taken P.E.D.’s.

How much more can the Washington Nationals take? Some how the Nationals are just 1/2 game out of the lead in the National League East behind the New York Mets. I’m not sure if any team has had more injuries to key players than the Nationals have. The Nationals season started with Anthony Rendon missing the first 2 plus months of the season along with Jayson Werth missing some time. Denard Span also missed some games at the start of the season. Werth returned played 27 games and then fractured his left wrist and will be out until at least August. While Span has returned to play full time Rendon suffered a set back working his way back and while he has returned he’s been in only 15 games for Washington. 1st baseman Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week with left foot plantar fasciitis and there is no timetable for hi return. Nate McLouth was going to be the Nationals 4th outfielder, but he hasn’t played a game this season due to injury. McLouth was just moved to the 60-day disabled list as he felt pain in his shoulder earlier in the month while swinging a bat. The pitching staff hasn’t been immune to the injury bug either. Doug Fister is just returned from his injury on June 18th pitching 5 1/3rd innings against Tampa Bay. Fister struck out 3 gave up 9 hits and 5 runs while taking the loss. Steven Strasburg has a left  trapezius strain and has just started a minor league rehab assignment and the Nationals expect him back in the starting rotation by the end of June. Craig Stammen got off to a great start out as a set up man this season. Stammen got in 5 games covering 4 innings and hadn’t given up a run until he had an issue with his forearm. Stammen ended up needing season ending surgery on that forearm. Aaron Barrett was working out of the Nationals bullpen and has appeared in a team high 30 games this season. Barrett ended up on the disabled list this week with a  right biceps strain. There’s no timetable set for Barrett’s return. Then there’s Bryce Harper. Harper hasn’t been placed on the disabled list, but he did suffer a mild left hamstring strain when he slipped on the outfield grass making a throw home. Now this brought out a lot of talk about how baseball handles rain delays and especially the way they remove the tarp. After seeing replays of Harper’s injury I’m not sure the way they removed the tarp had anything to do with Harper getting hurt; it really just looked like he didn’t get good footing making a throw and injured his leg. Even if you’re not a fan of the Nationals or Bryce Harper with the season he’s having you don;t want to see him get hurt. Now if you are a fan of the Nationals can they handle an injury to Harper were he misses time? Being a baseball fan I understand that teams are going to have to deal with injuries, but a lot of those teams weren’t picked to go to and in some cases win the World Series.Can the Nationals live up to those expectations? and will they suffer any more key injuries this season?

So how was your week?

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We move to the mound to take a look at each teams five man rotation for the coming season. Every team except the Cubs have a starter who’s going to miss some time and in one case the entire season. Let’s start in New York with pitching.

The New York Mets have some of the best young pitching in baseball, but they’ll have to find a way to replace Zack Wheeler who has a torn UCL ligament and is going to have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2015 season. After missing all of the 2014 because he had Tommy John surgery Matt Harvey is back and has looked good in his spring training outings. Harvey is set to be the ace of this staff for a long time as long as he’s healthy. Bartolo Colon looks like he’ll fit in as the #2 starter for the Mets. As a 41-year-old Colon went 15-13 last season, but more importantly he’ll give you innings. Colon has pitched over 200 innings 8 times in his career. Jacob deGrom won the National League Rookie of the Year award last season going 9-6 with and ERA of 2.69 in 22 starts last season. Being slotted as the #3 starter will help deGrom not have to carry the load for the Mets. Jon Niese will fill one of the last two spots in the rotation. Niese was 9-11 in 30 starts last season with an ERA of 3.40 in 30 starts. Dillon Gee will be the other pitcher in the rotation to start the season. Gee made 22 starts last season going 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA You’d have to figure that either Gee or Niese will be headed to the bullpen once the Mets are ready to turnover a spot in the rotation to top prospect Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard is 31-19 in 84 career minor league starts with an ERA of 3.25. With Wheeler out for the season and the Mets looking like they might contend for a playoff spot in 2015 you have to wonder how long they’ll leave Syndergaard in the minors.

It was the New York Yankees who won the Masahiro Tanaka derby last season and you wonder if they’re second guessing themselves for that right now. Tanaka put up great numbers for the Yankees last season. He was 13-5 with an ERA of 2.77 with 3 complete games and 1 shutout, but that was all in just 20 starts. Tanaka had arm issues last season, but passed on surgery to rehab it instead. He’s reportedly healthy and ready to go, but the Yankees will need to monitor him as the problem could come back. The Yankees even talked about going to a 6 man rotation to help Tanaka. He is undoubtably there #1 starter and the Yankees need him to stay healthy. C.C. Sabathia is another Yankees starter trying to bounce back from injury. Sabathia made just 8 starts last season covering 46 innings. The Yankees will need a return close to form from Sabathia if they’re going to compete in the American League East. It seems like I’m saying this about every Yankees starter, but Michael Pineda is also coming back from a season where ha made just 13 starts covering 76 1/3rd innings. To be fair Pineda did miss some starts due to a suspension, but the Yankees could use a healthy 30 plus start season from him. Now the 4th and 5th spots in the Yankees rotation might be a little up in the air. It was thought that Chris Capuano would fill one of those spots, but he’s likely to start the season on the disabled list with a strained right quad. Ivan Nova will also start the season on the disabled list. Nova is still recovering from the Tommy John surgery he had last season. It looks like former Miami Marlin Nathan Eovaldi will find a spot in the Yankees rotation. Eovaldi made 33 starts last season going 6-14 with an ERA of 4.37. Eovaldi will have to figure out how to miss some bats as he gave up 223 hits in 199 2/3rd innings last season. Will Adam Warren be the guy to take the 5th starters spot until Capuano comes back from injury. Warren made 69 relief appearances last season picking up 3 saves and posting an ERA of 2.97.

This turned out to be a pretty easy choice for me. I’ll go with the Mets starting rotation over the Yankees. Even if the Yankees had all 5 of their starters healthy; I’d still take the Mets.

The Cubs went out and paid Jon Lester $155 million dollars over 6 years to be the ace of their pitching staff. Lester has made 31 or more starts ever season since 2008. He has a career ERA of 3.58, but he should post a better number now that he’s pitching in the N.L. The Cubs where the only team willing to offer Lester a 6th year; so will see if their gamble pays off. Jake Arrieta had the best season of his 5 years career going 10-5 with an ERA of 2.53 in 25 starts with 1 complete game and 1 shutout. I’m sure the Cubs would like to see Arrieta get into that 30 start area, but keep his ERA around where it was last season. What a split season Jason Hammel had in 2014. Hammel was good with the Cubs 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA but he was bad after being traded to the Oakland A’s 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA Hammel is back in the Cubs rotation and they’re hoping he’ll just pitch like he did when he was with them last season. You would think Kyle Hendricks has a spot in this rotation, but all the reports out of Chicago is that the front office doesn’t like him. Hendricks went 7-2 in 13 starts with an ERA of 2.46. Those look like good numbers to me, but since Hendricks doesn’t hit 90 mph on the radar gun he’s not a front office favorite. With the demotion of top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards to Triple A Iowa yesterday (Thursday) it looks like the last spot in the rotation will go to Travis Wood. Wood made 31 starts last season going 8-13 with an ERA of 5.03. The ERA will have to come down if Wood is to keep his spot in the rotation as the Cubs have a couple of other options.

Chris Sale is the best left-handed pitcher in the AL and the 2nd best left hander in baseball behind Clayton Kershaw. Sale has a foot injury and will miss opening day, but should be back right after that. Sale was a Cy Young contender last season going 12-4 in 26 starts with an ERA of 2.17. Look for Sale to be in the Cy Young conversation again. The White Sox sent four players; Rangel Ravelo, Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien to the Oakland A’s for Jeff Samardzja. Samardzija made 33 starts between the A’s and the Chicago Cubs posting an E.R.A. of 2.99 while going 7-13.  Samardzija lost a lot of close games with the Cubs last season; so if the White Sox can score fo him he might be able to turn his won-loss record around.  Jose Quintana is a very underrated starting pitcher. While his record was 9-11 his ERA was 3.32 in 32 starts last season. If the White Sox can get those numbers out of Quintana again with a better won-loss record they’ll be happy. John Danks should be #4 in this rotation. Danks was 11-11 with an ERA of 4.74 in 32 starts. Danks never turned into the starting pitcher a lot of experts thought he would, but he’s a solid guy to have in the 4th spot. It looks like Hector Noesi will start the season as the White Sox 5th starter. Noesi made 27 starts last season going 8-11 with an ERA of 4.39. Noesi will stay in the rotation until the White Sox decide if last season 1st round draft pick Carlos Rodon is ready for the majors. Rodon only has 9 games of minor league experience with 6 of those games being starts. He did make 3 starts at Triple A Charlotte last season and while he didn’t get a decision he did post an ERA of 3.00. He may be a factor in the White Sox rotation before the season is over.

These two rotations are close, but I’m going to go with the Cubs here. The 1 – 3 spots in the rotations are very, very close, but the 4th and 5th spots easily go the Cubs way and that was the deciding factor in me taking the Cubs here.

The Vs. series is off tomorrow for the regular How was your week blog to appear here. The Vs. Series comes back on Sunday with only one more comparison to do and that’s the bullpen.

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