Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Giants’

Hey there, Chicago

While your own Cubs continue to demonstrate why they are the number-one ranked team in Major League Baseball, the San Francisco Giants have struggled mightily, losing five straight before finally managing to break out against Barry Bonds and the Miami Marlins, 8-1 Friday night, on Orange Friday, at AT&T Park.

For those of us keeping the spotlight focused on on Jeff Samardzija, who made his first start Friday night in his own home park, it was a gratifying performance. He went seven-and-two-thirds innings against the fish, limiting them to a single run, and lowering his ERA to 3.00 and his WHIP to 1.26.
After three road games to begin his stint with San Francisco, Samardzija took advantage of the friendly confines of AT&T, not to mention the clutch defense backing him up. The Shark’s strong early season prowess is taking the pressure off of Madison Bumgarner, especially in light of the team’s sluggish start to the year.
Speaking of strong starts, big ups to Jake Arieta for hurling his second no-hitter over his last eleven starts, proving once again that he is the reigning king of all National League starting pitchers. It was not that long ago (June 26, 2014) that Tim Lincecum tossed his second no-hitter, both against the San Diego Padres, and there is no getting around the surge of electricity one of these gems sends through the organization.
Astonishingly, this was Arieta’s 24th straight regular season quality start, going back to last June 21st. Having surrendered a total of only seventeen runs over those 178 innings, has helped him forge a 20-1 mark during this stretch.
The presence of such a master within the clubhouse, is a key component to any serious playoff contender. The staff must have a guy whose stuff is good enough on any given day, to completely stifle an opponent and pick up a sagging rotation.
Jake Arieta is that guy for the Cubs, just as Madison Bumgarner is that go-to guy for the Giants. Prior to Arieta’s meteoric rise to the top, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, called the shots from the top. On paper every team has a top dog.
How much the team relies on that staff leader, becomes amplified when the stress of playoff ball creates a pressure cooker so volatile that the ace cannot hold up under all that hype. Should he stagger in that capacity, so would his team.
You can probably guess where I am going to with this line of reasoning. If you glance quickly at Bumgarner’s stats right now, (1-2, 3.91 ERA, 1.39 WHIP), you would see numbers that belie his elevated status on the team.
In fact you would see that MadBum’s career statistics do not come close to say, Kershaw’s numbers during the regular season, but then again, Kershaw’s regular season numbers shine compared to his postseason efforts.
Jake Arieta also experienced technical difficulties in this area last October.
For him to have had back-to-back starts in the playoffs, in which he gave up four runs, shows that even the best of them are challenged under the microscope of the playoffs. Nothing dictates he will ever have a similar problem again, but the uncertainty must linger in the back of the collective Cubs consciousness.
The Giants have no such impediments in their thinking process. They know what to expect from Bumgarner when October arrives, so they do not worry when things do not go as well during the grind of the regular season.
When it comes right down to it, San Francisco has suffered from inconsistency during the regular season in all three of their recent world series runs. They had four extended losing stretches in 2010, five in 2012 and seven in 2014.
Seven times during this most recent title run, the Giants lost four or more consecutive games, or experienced periods in which they won only once during prolonged stretches, baffling their fans and resurrecting the term “torture” for Giants followers.
But not surprisingly, these nosedives seem to better prepare the Giants for adversity, which makes sense when you think about it. If a team never struggles, it does not learn how to address hard times when they arrive.
Timing is everything.
For now the Cubs are on top of their division, and the Giants are near the bottom. Until that changes, my words are only so much hot air being blown about, like the mighty wind whipped up, when LA’s Yasiel Puig takes one of his mighty cuts, and whiffs.
That’s it for my at-bat today. See you next week.
@bellspringsmark

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Hey there, Chicago!
I relish the opportunity to wax on about the San Francisco Giants here on SportsTimeRadio because simply put, the Giants and your Chicago Cubs are destined to meet in October. At least put it this way, the Giants will be there and I expect you’d back that up with a resounding, “Don’t you worry about our Cubs.”
First off, I’m sorry to see Kyle Schwarber go down especially the way the whole play unfolded. San Francisco lost Hunter Pence the first week of spring training last year and the team never fully recovered. Of course, Pence means much to the soul of the Giants but still, here’s hoping that Schwarber is back on the diamond in the most timely of manners. No team nor its fans wants to get a leg up on another club through injury.
Looking at the Cubs’ complete roster though, with its depth, leaves me to believe that my opening statement is accurate: The Giants and Cubs will compete against one another in the 2016 playoffs. The last time that happened was in 1989, when San Francisco prevailed four games to one, only to lose to the Oakland A’s in the infamous Earthquake Series.
I first appeared on this show in November of 2014, when Dan called to ask about my “Dynasty” piece on the Giants. I had written that three titles in five years, while stellar, did not make a dynasty because the rule of thumb is continuous success over a decade. That’s ten years, not five.
Since then I have appeared every few weeks when there are some lively topics to bat around, not so often when there isn’t much going on. When Pablo Sandoval was in the news only a year ago in December, with all of his palaver about wanting a new challenge in Boston, I was chiming in with my nickel’s worth routinely. I see now that the rotund one is back in the news with his recent disharmony with Boston management.
I feel bad for The Panda because he was so easy to like, but like the tragic hero, he has a flaw. His flaw is not so much the excess weight he carries around, but the fact that he refuses to acknowledge that the weight is the albatross that keeps him so locked into his decline.
For the Giants, of course, it meant that Matt Duffy was able to step right into the slot and not only make fans forget Pablo, but introduce us to “The DuffMan!” Duffy is now in his second season and fits in well with the all home-grown Giants infield.
Most recently, the decision to keep the red-hot Trevor Brown over Andrew Susac as Buster Posey’s back-up behind the dish, has paid off handsomely. The UCLA grad from Newhall, California has produced an early line of .385/1.154/1.538; in thirteen at-bats, the rookie has five hits, three of them big flies. 
The Giants like Posey’s offensive numbers much more when he is playing first, but they also like those three world series rings that Posey has delivered. Buster wasn’t playing first base when his three-time underdog Giants beat some pretty impressive American League powers to acquire their three rings.
I imagine there are Cubs fans who are keeping an eye on Jeff Samardzija for a variety of reasons. Though The Shark may have worn out his welcome in the home town, he has been embraced by the Giants, who have a reputation for rolling out the red carpet for new arrivals. It doesn’t hurt that Samardzija will be pitching half his games at AT&T Park, with one of the best pitching coaches in the game in Dave Righetti.
The Cubs have been ranked number one amongst MLB’s elite since the first preseason power polls were released. Nothing has occurred to change that. The Giants have hovered somewhere in the middle of the top-ten so far.
I imagine both teams are exactly where they would like to be. I know the Giants relish being the underdog and it still amazes/amuses me that they frequently get so little respect. 
Respect is a commodity that must be earned and the Giants have three recent titles in their resume that assures me they have the necessary credentials. Recent success does not guarantee continued success, but it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. 
See you next time.
Mark 

Even though it is currently snowing where I live the Major League Baseball season starts tomorrow (Sunday) for 6 teams. The season starts with the St. Louis Cardinals at the Pittsburgh Pirates. Adam Wainwright starts for St. Louis while Francisco Liriano gets the opening day start for Pittsburgh. The 2nd game features the Toronto Blue Jays at the Tampa Bay Rays. Marcus Stroman makes the start for the Blue Jays and it will be Chris Archer starting for Tampa Bay. The final game of the day is a World Series rematch as the New York Mets visit the Kansas City Royals. Matt Harvey is starting for the Mets while Edison Volquez is the Royals opening day stater.

As we always do, we’ve made our selection on which teams and player will have success this season. Here’s what we’ve picked for the 2016 baseball season.

We’ll start in the American League East. I have 1st New York Yankees 2nd Toronto Blue Jays 3rd Boston Red Sox 4th Tampa Bay Rays 5th Baltimore Orioles.

Dan the Man has 1st Blue Jays 2nd Yankees 3rd Red Sox 4th Rays 5th Orioles.

Mr. Fantasy has 1st Blue Jays 2nd Red Sox 3rd Yankees 4th Orioles 5th Rays

Schuamburg Stu has 1st Blue Jays 2nd Yankees 3rd Rays 4th Red Sox 5th Orioles.

In the A.L. Central I have 1st Kansas City Royals 2nd Chicago White Sox 3rd Detroit Tigers 4th Cleveland Indians 5th Minnesota Twins.

Dan the Man has 1st Royals 2nd White Sox 3rd Tigers 4th Twins 5th Indians.

Mr. Fantasy has 1st White Sox 2nd Tigers 3rd Royals 4th Indians 5th Twins.

Schaumburg Stu has 1st Royals 2nd Indians 3rd Twins 4th Tigers 5th White Sox.

In the A.L. West I have 1st Texas Rangers 2nd Seattle Mariners 3rd Houston Astros 4th Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 5th Oakland A’s.

Dan the Man has 1st Rangers 2nd Asttos 3rd Mariners 4th Angels 5th A’s.

Mr. Fantasy has 1st Astros 2nd Rangers 3rd Mariners 4th Angels 5th A’s

Schaumburg Stu has 1st Astros 2nd Rangers 3rd Angels 4th Mariners 5th A’s.

My A.L. wild card teams are the White Sox and the Mariners. Dan the Man has the Astros and the Yankees. Mr, Fantasy has the Red Sox and the rangers while Schaumburg Stu is going with the Yankees and the Rangers.

We’ll move into the National League starting in the East. I have 1st Washington nationals 2nd New York Mets 3rd Miami Marlins 4th Atlanta Braves 5th Philadelphia Phillies.

Dan the Man has 1st Nationals 2nd Mets 3rd Marlins 4th Braves 5th Phillies.

Mr. Fantasy has 1st Mets 2nd nationals 3rd Marlins 4th Braves 5th Phillies.

Schaumburg Stu has 1st Mets 2nd Nationals 3rd Marlins 4th Braves 5th Phillies.

In the N.L. Central I have 1st St. Louis cardinals 2nd Chicago Cubs 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates 4th Cincinnati Reds 5th Milwaukee Brewers.

Dan the Man has 1st Cubs 2nd Cardinals 3rd Pirates 4th Brewers 5th Reds.

Mr. Fantasy has 1st Cardinals 2nd Pirates 3rd Cubs 4th Reds 5th Brewers.

Schaumburg Stu has 1st Cubs 2nd Pirates 3rd Cardinals 4th Reds 5th Brewers.

In the N.L. West I have 1st San Francisco Giants 2nd Arizona Diamondbacks 3rd Los Angeles Dodgers 4th Colorado Rockies 5th San Diego Padres.

Dan the Man has 1st Giants 2nd Diamondbacks 3rd Dodgers 4th Padres 5th Rockies.

Mr. Fantasy has 1st Giants 2nd Dodgers 3rd Diamondbacks 4th Rockies 5th Padres.

Schaumburg Stu has 1st Giants 2nd Diamondbacks 3rd Dodgers 4th Padres 5th Rockies.

My N.L. wild card teams are the Mets and the Cubs. Dan the Man has the Mets and the Diamondbacks. Mr Fantasy has the Pirates and the Diamondbacks and Schaumburg Stu has the Pirates and the Nationals.

In the World Series I have the Rangers beating the Nationals. Dam the Man has the Giants beating the Astros. Mr. Fantasy also has the Giants beating the Adtros and Schaumburg Stu has the Cubs beating the Astros.

We also made our picks for some individual awards. For Manager of the Year I have Robin Ventura (White Sox) in the A.L. and Bruce Bochy (Giants) in the N.L. Dan the Man has Jeff Bannister (Rangers) in the A.L. and Terry Collins (Mets) in the N.L. Mr. Fantasy has John Farrell (Red Sox) in the A.L. and Bruce Bochy (Giants) in the N.L. Schaumburg Stu has A.J. Hinch (Astros) in the A.L. and Joe Maddon (Cubs) in the N.L.

For Rookie of the Yaer I went with Jose Berrios (Twins) in the A.L. and Orlando Arcia (Brewers) in the N.L. Dan the Man has Alex Bregman (Astros) in the A.L. and Corey Seager (Dodgers) in the N.L. Mr. Fantasy has Byron Buxton (Twins) in the A.L. and Steven Matz (Mets) in the N.L. Schaumburg Stu has Blake Snell (Rays) in the A.L> and Corey Seager (Dodgers) in the N.l.

For the Cy Young I have Chris Sale (White Sox) in the A.L. and Adam Wainwright (St. Louis) in the N.L. Dan the Man has Dallas Keuchel (Astros) in the A.L. and Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks) in the N.L. Mr. Fantasy has Chris Sale (White Sox) A.L. and Michael Wacha (St. Louis) in the N.L. Schaumburg Stu has David Price (Red Sox) in the A.L. and Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) in the N.L.

To wrap this up our Most Valuable Player picks are. You’ll see a bit of a theme with the N.l. pick. I have Lorenzo Cain (Royals) in the A.L. and Hunter Pence (Giants) N.L. Dan the Man has Nelson Cruz (Mariners) in the A.l. and Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks) in the N.L. Mr. Fantasy has Carlos Correa (Astros) in the A.L. and Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks) in the N.L. Schaumburg Stu is going with Mike Trout (Angels) in the A.L. and yes you guessed right Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks) in the N.L.

There you go; good, bad or indifferent our picks for the 2016 baseball season. Do you agree? Disagree? or did we clearly miss a player or a team that you think we should’ve had winning an award or a division or even the World Series let us know. You can leave a comment here or on Twitter @SportsTimeRadio or go over to SportsTimeRadio.com and let us know what you think.

You can listen to Sports Time Radio on BlogTalkRadio.com You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime as well as Dan the Man @DanZeeeMan along with Mr. Fantasy @MrFanofSports

Our fantasy football drafts are getting closer and closer. We have our auction draft Saturday night and then are snake league draft is Sunday night. Mr. Fantasy and I also have our money league draft Sunday morning. They auction draft isn’t so bad as it’s just deciding on how much you want to pay for a player and hitting on that player. Oddly I always seem to think that I got a deal on a guy and he ends up having a terrible season. The money league Mr. Fantasy and I share a team in is also a snake style draft. In case you don;t know snake style means your rounds go from the 1st pick to the in our case 20th pick and then the 20th team gets the first pick of the 2nd round. It goes back down to the team who draft first overall which is the end of round 2 and then they start round 3 with the first pick and so on until the draft is done. There’s a little more on the go strategy in the snake style draft because if you get caught on a run of a position you can get stuck with a lesser player at that position. If you play your pick right in a round you can actual start the run which is where you’d prefer to be. I know Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy prefer the auction draft over a snake style draft, but I still like the snake style draft better. In our two leagues we run through Yahoo it can be tough to get your draft strategy set up as you don’t know were you’ll be drafting until 30 minutes before the draft starts. That situation is much tougher for first time player to handle; so luckily I’m not one of those this season. As the draft gets closer I look more and more forward to it and hopefully I’ll land a good draft position and hit on my players.

I mentioned that we run our leagues through Yahoo and they set up a ranking of players for you to use as a guideline. This season their Top 5 picks are all running backs. Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings is ranked #1. Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks is ranked #2. Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs is ranked #3. Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers is #4 and Le’veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers is ranked #5. Don’t forget that Bell has to miss the first 2 games of the season. He is suspended for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. I downgraded Bell for this, but I guess Yahoo doesn’t feel the same way. As four the other 3 running backs I think you could pretty much put their names in a hat; pull one out and be happy with that pick. There’s almost no way to decide between those 4 players. Peterson did miss almost all of last season; so will him be rested or rusty. I do wonder if Jimmy Graham will take away some goal line attempts from Lynch. Not that Graham is going to run the ball, but would they throw a jump ball to Graham instead of handing the football to Lynch. Who else just had a Super Bowl flashback? With the season ending injury to Jordy Nelson Lacy might be the guy to go with out of this group. Charles has had his share of injury issues and the Chiefs also signed Jeremy Maclin to help the receiving game and that may hurt Charles overall touchdowns. Now there aren’t really huge negatives with any of these players and that;s why their ranked where they are going into this weekends drafts. It really boils down to who you happen to like and then you’ll have to see how the pick works out for you this season.

The San Francisco Giants lost a tough game to the Los Angeles Dodgers last night (Tuesday) 2-1 to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. I think the Giants need to find a way to win these next 2 games against the Dodgers or I believe they’ll miss the playoffs this season. Zack Greinke picked up the win for the Dodgers pitching 7 1/3rd innings giving up 5 hits; allowing just 1 run while striking out 5 and walking 1. Greinke also lowered his major league leading E.R.A. to 1.59. Madison Bumgarner started for the Giants pitching 7 innings giving up 8 hits; allowing 2 runs while striking out 8 and walking 1. Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers the lead by singling home the 1st run of the game in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead by hitting his 24th hoe run of the season off of Bumgarner in the bottom of the 7th inning. Matt Duffy drove in the Giants lone run of the night with a single to centerfield in the top of the 8th inning. Kenley Jansen got the Giants 1. 2. 3 in the top of the 9th to pick up his 28th save of the season and give the Dodgers their 2-1 win. It’s not going to get any easier for the Giants to make up any ground on the Dodgers tonight as Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers starting pitcher tonight. San Francisco will counter with Mike Leake. Kershaw is 11-6 with a 2.24 E.R.A. in 26 starts this season. Leake is 9-6 on the season, but 0-1 with the Giants. His season E.R.A. is 3/53, but it’s 3.38 with the Giants. Leake has made 24 total starts this season, but only 3 of them have been with San Francisco. The Giants traded Keury Mella and Adam Duvall.to the Cincinnati Reds for Leake on June 30th. While it’s difficult to say that tonight is a must win for the Giants, but it would be nice if they could take at least one of these 3 games against the Dodgers. Don’t forget that the Giants lost the 1st game of the series 5-4 in in 14 innings on Monday night. The Giants have 30 games left while the Dodgers have 31 games left this season. These two teams do meet for a 4 game series at the end of this month, but for the Giants to still have a chance to win the N.L. West they’ll have to cut into that 5 1/2 game lead the Dodgers have by the time that 4 game series rolls around. San Francisco is actually a game closer to catching the Dodgers in the N.L. West than they are catching the Chicago Cubs for the 2nd wild card spot. We’ll have to watch and see how the last month of the season plays out.

You can listen to Sports Time Radio on BlogTalkRadio.com

You can also follow me on Twitter @Burketime

The NFL off-season is running at full speed as teams make moves to try to get themselves under the salary cap and sign free agents. Peyton Manning restructured his deal with the Denver Broncos to give them some salary cap space. Manning knocked $4 million off his 2015 salary, but don’t worry they added a couple of bonus clauses; so he can get that money back. He’ll earn $2 million if the Broncos go to the AFC title game and then another $2 million if Denver wins the Super Bowl. Brandon Marshall was traded for the 3rd time in his career as the Chicago Bears sent him to the New York Jets for a 5th round draft pick. On a side note; Marshall is the 4th player to be traded three times in his career since 1995. The others are Randy Moss, Glyn Milburn and Sage Rosenfels. The Jets would have an interesting trio of wide receivers if they hang on to them with Marshall, Eric Decker and Percy Harvin. Harvin is due a roster bonus soon and reports are the Jets may release him. When the Marshall rumors started I was wondering what his value might be. When the Bears traded for Marshall they the Miami Dolphins two draft picks; a 3rd round pick in 2012 and a 3rd round pick in 2013. Now we have to see who the Jets decide will be throwing the football to these receivers. Marshawn Lynch is staying with the Seattle Seahawks as he signed a two year deal worth a reported $24 million. There have been rumors of holdouts and retirements involving Lynch, but with this deal those rumors should disappear. There was one retirement announced as Maurice Jones-Drew (MJD) is ending his NFL career after 9 seasons; eight with the Jacksonville Jaquars and one injury plagued 2014 season with the Oakland Raiders. Jones-Drew rushed for a career 8167 yards and led the NFL in rushing with 1606 yards in 2011. The Jaquars drafted M.J.D. in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft. He was a three time Pro Bowl selection and was 1st team All-Pro one time. It is also being reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers will release Safety Troy Polamalu if he doesn’t choose to retire. Polamula has spent his entire 12 year career with Pittsburgh. Two other long time veteran players will be looking for new teams after in 2015 as their teams announced they’ll be moving on this week. After 14 seasons and more games played than any other Indianapolis Colts player it was announced that the team won’t try to re-sign wide receiver Reggie Wayne. The New England Patriots declined the contract option on defensive lineman Vince Wilfork after 11 seasons with the team. This may be the first set of moves by NFL teams as they get ready for the draft as well as being able to sign free agents starting March 10th.

Did the Atlanta Hawks make a statement last night? They beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-97 last night in what may have been an Eastern conference finals preview. Atlanta got out to a 17 point lead in the 1st quarter, but they had just a 2 point lead at 81-79 going into the 4th quarter. Atlanta outscored Cleveland 25-18 in the final quarter to seal the victory. Al Horford led Atlanta in scoring with 19 points and rebounds with 9. Mike Scott came off the Hawks bench and hit seven of nine shots scoring 14 points while Dennis Schroder added 15 points off the bench as well as leading the team in assists with 8 . Jeff Teague and Paul Milsap each scored 16 points.  DeMarre Carroll drew the defensive assignment of guarding LeBron James and James struggled. James played a little over 40 minutes going 5-13 from the field including 1-4 from behind the 3-point line. James scored 18 points grabbed 6 rebounds and handed out 8 assists, but committed 9 turnovers in the game. The best part of James game was his free throw shooting was much better as he went 7-8 from the foul line. With James Struggling Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers in scoring with 20 points while Kevin Love had 14 points.  The hawks improved to 49-12 for the season and have actually won 42 of their last 48 games. Cleveland’s record falls to 39-25. Maybe Atlanta drew some extra inspiration from Dominique Wilkins. The Hawks unveiled a statue of Wilkins outside Philips Arena, wore throwback jerseys from the Dominique era, and honored No. 21 at halftime with a painting and a framed jersey autographed by all the current Hawks players. Up next; the Cavaliers: return home to face the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to complete a stretch of four games in five nights. While the Hawks travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on the 76ers.

Spring training is up and running and the defending champion San Francisco Giants lost one of their best players Hunter Pence for 6 to 8 weeks with a broken arm. While it’s very early in spring training; so Pence should be back in the line up by late April or early May. I guess if you must have an injury you’d like to have them early and get it out-of-the-way. Pence has played in every game for the Giants the last two seasons and isn’t going to be easy to replace. While the Giants aren’t a home run hitting team Pence was one of only two Giants with 20 or more home runs. Pence hit 20 home runs on the nose while Buster Posey led the team with 22 home runs. Pence was also 2nd on the team in RBI’s with 74. Posey was the team leader in this category as well with 89. Pence was also tied for the team lead in triples with Brandon Crawford; each had 10. Pence was 2nd on the team in doubles with 29. Michael Morse led the team with 32 doubles. Bruce Bochy may be the best manager in baseball at juggling his line up when needed. Look for the Giants to fill Pence’s spot with players like Gregor BlancoJuan Perez or maybe  Travis IshikawaNori Aoki may move over from left field to fill in for Pence in right field on the defensive side. The Giants also have non-roster invitee Justin Maxwell in camp; so this may be his shot to make the team and fill this role until Pence comes back from injury. This is Maxwell’s 4th team after stops in Washington, Houston and 20 games last season with the Kansas City Royals. Let’s see who Bochy chooses to fill Pence’s spot to start the season.

We covered the National League West on the podcast last night as we had four team previews. No one from the Colorado Rockies wanted to come on and talk to us. Maybe that says something about how their season might go. Tony Fischer started the podcast off talking Arizona Diamondbacks with me. You can find Tony’s Diamondbacks coverage at HeatWaved.com We talked Los Angeles Dodgers next as Scott Andres from LasordsLair.com came on the podcast with me. I wrapped up the night with two of my favorite guest. First Mark O’Neill from www.AroundtheFoghorn.com join me to talk San Francisco Giants baseball and I wrapped up the podcast talking to Billy Brost about the San Diego Padres. While Billy has left the Site FriarsonBase.com that covers the Padres he is staying involved with writing about baseball. Look for Billy’s new venture BaseballMagazine.net starting soon. You can listen to any or all of these interviews in the Sports Time Radio podcast archives. Click on Sports Time Radio and you can pick and choose the podcast you’d like to listen to.

So how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime you can follow the show as well @SportsTimeRadio

1/17/14

With the way the off-season started if you where a fan of the Oakland A’s where you concerned what your team would look like? I’m not even a fan of the A’s, but I couldn’t figure out what Billy Beane was trying to do with the team. There’s still about six weeks before spring training starts and who knows if the A’s are done making moves, but the team looks a lot different from last season. I think most if not all A’s fan realized that Jon Lester wouldn’t be back with the team in 2015. There was a lot of talk that if the A’s couldn’t sign Jeff Samardzija they would trade him, but I think most expert thought it would happen around the trade deadline not at the owners meetings. Even though the Samardzija deal happened a little earlier than people thought it would him and Lester being gone was kind of expected. Then Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss are traded in separate deals. Two of the three catchers from last season; Derek Norris and John Jaso where dealt. They didn’t make an attempt to resign shortstop Jed Lowrie and utility man Nick Punto was let go. Luke Gregerson was also allowed to leave as a free agent. Even though they brought Billy Butler in to be the Designated Hitter and Ike Davis to play 1st base I wasn’t all that sold on the A’s competing in the American League West, but slowly the team has come together. With the two latest deals getting Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Tampa Bay Rays and then turning around and sending Escobar to the Washington Nationals for Tyler Clippard I wouldn’t be surprised to see the A;s contending again. Mr. Fantasy and I discussed the A’s line up last night (Friday) on the Sports Time Radio podcast. I believe he’s actually more sold on them than I am. I think they needed one more power hitting threat in the batting order, but he thinks they’ll get by. Stephen Vogt will get to catch full-time, Brett Lawrie takes over at 3rd base, Zobrist will play 2nd base with Davis at 1st and as long as you’re sold on Marcus Semien as your everyday shortstop the infield is set. The outfield looks like Josh Reddick in right field, Coco Crisp in centerfield and Sam Fuld in left field with Craig Gentry as the 4th outfielder and then Butler in the DH role. The rotation has Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz and Jesse Hahn possibly set to open the season. Don’t forget they also have A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker; both of whom are recovering from Tommy John surgery, but will be back some time during the 2015 season. Clippard should drop right into the set up role in front of closer Sean Doolittle. Ryan Cook will also fit into a set up role in the bullpen. If the A’s are done do you think they can contend with this team? or do they need to make another move or two?

Staying in the Bay area the San Francisco Giants signed outfielder Norichika Aoki to a one year deal worth $4.7 million dollars. The deal includes a club option for 2016, and can max out at $12.5 million over two seasons based on the option and performance bonuses. It appears that Aoki will take over in left field for the Giants and may hit towards the top of the batting order. With the Aoki signing and Casey McGehee being brought in to play 3rd base are the Giants done this off-season? There where some rumors this week that the Giants might have some interest in starting pitcher Dillon Gee of the New York Mets. The Giants did talk to Jon Lester and there might have been some interest in James Shields, but they brought opted to bring Jake Peavey back. With Matt Cain coming off of ankle surgery and some other rotation questions are the Giants looking for another starting pitcher? On the podcast last night (Friday) Mr. Fantasy and I talked everything Giants with Mark O’Neill from www.aroundthefoghorn.com you can hear what Mark thinks the Giants might do with the rest of the off-season at Sports Time Radio.

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games, without pay, for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during their game in Boston on Thursday night. I’m wondering if you had the same question I did; what is slew footing? Here is the NHL definition of slew footing. A dangerous play where a player comes from behind an opposing skater and trips the player unexpectedly by dragging the skate so the victim falls to the ice and quite often hits his head or lands hard due to the sneaky nature of the crime. I’ve seen it done before on the ice, but didn’t know what it was called. It is however considered one of the dirtiest cheap shots a hockey player can do, particularly due to the unexpected sneaky nature of the infraction. Match penalties can be assessed by the referee when a player deliberately takes these kinds of penalties. However, sometimes players can commit the foul by accident when skating up behind a player and attempting to body check them. Even the best players in the game get accused of slew footing; Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for example in 2009 and 2010 in separate incidents. Although it is considered a severe penalty, there is often debate when slew footing penalties are examined for further suspension. Besides numerous small suspensions, a severe injury or long suspension is rarely seen.

Tomorrow we find out who’s going to the Super Bowl. I had the Seattle Seahawks facing the Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of the season; so I guess you know who I’m picking to win tomorrow’s games. I’ve been trying to get Mr. Fantasy and Dan the Man to join me on the Colts bandwagon, but it looks like I don’t have any takers. I have Dan the Man’s picks and he likes New England while Mr. Fantasy hasn’t officially made his picks I believe he’ll go with the Patriots to win as well. I’m still waiting for Schaumburg Stu’s picks for Sunday; so maybe he’ll be the one to join me on that Colts bandwagon.

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

So how was your week?

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

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

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

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

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