Posts Tagged ‘The Chase’

How was your Week

Posted: September 17, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in Auto Racing, baseball, NASCAR, sports
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The Chicago Cubs became the first team to clinch a playoff spot when the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals last Thursday night. You can call it a back in or however else you want to describe it, but with the lead the Cubs had in the division it they where going to win it one way or another.

The Cubs have 15 games left and there’s some good and some bad in that. The good of course is you can get your starting rotation set up in the order you want it. Another good thing is that you can get players like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo some rest heading into the playoffs. Both Bryant and Rizzo have played in 142 games heading into this afternoon’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers. These last 15 games will also give the coaching staff a chance to look at the guys they’ll want to carry on the playoff roster. There’s always that last spot or two left on the playoff roster and while it may not matter as these players may not see the field you never know. The Cubs will also have a chance to get guys healthy. Jorge Soler left yesterday’s game with an injury that was reported as not being serious, but either way he’ll have time to get back to 100%. Pedro Strop should be returning soon and he’ll have some games to get ready to go for the playoffs.

There isn’t a ton of bad that goes with clinching early, but I think there are things that you have look out for. You have to make sure you don’t get complacent while your off. There is such a thing as too much rest; so you have to make sure the regulars stay sharp. I think the biggest thing that the Cubs will have to watch out for is when you have this type of lead and you get to cruise down the stretch is turning it back on again when the games count. You can add injuries in here, but you just never know when an injury is going to come up; so you can’t count that. Again there aren’t huge negatives with clinching early; it’s just stuff that the Cubs will have to look out for down the stretch.

The Chase for the Sprint Cup starts tomorrow at the Chicagoland Speedway with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400. There are 16 drivers who either won a race or qualified on points to make at Top 16. Chase Grid  Qualifying is this afternoon; so we don’t know who’s going to be on the pole, but they did have a practice session yesterday. Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest practice time, but there where four other Chase drivers right behind him. Carl Edwards was 2nd fastest with Denny Hamlin 3rd, Brad Keslowski 4th and Chase Elliott 5th. The NASCAR playoffs are starting.

We have our fantasy hockey draft coming pretty soon and while I know the top names I have a difficult time as the draft winds down finding that guy who can really help my team. It’s an auction style league; so there is some strategy on who to nominate when and try to make sure you land the guy you wanted. I found a couple of names that I think could help out a fantasy team later in the draft and I’m wondering what you think of them.

Nick Bjugstad of the Florida Panthers. Bjugstad is coming off an injury plagued season in 2015-16. He played in 67 games and put up 34 points last season. Can he get back to the player that led the Panthers in goals like he did in 2014-15.

Thomas Vanek scored 18 goals and 23 assists with the Minnesota Wild last season. In July the Detroit Red Wings signed Vanek 1-year $2.6 million dollar contract. Vanek will be looked upon to halp replace Pavel Datsyuk. Vanek has scored 40 goals twice in his NHL career and is it possible he gets close to that with the Red Wings.

Maybe I could sneak a young rookie defenseman through in the draft. How about someone like Nikita Zaitsev. Zaitsev played the last 3 season in the KHL for CSKA Moscow. He was a KHL All-Star in 2015 and 2016 as well as being named IIHF World Championship All-Star team in 2016. I know it’s tough for a rookie to make a big impact on defense, but this is a player who while considered a rookie isn’t really a rookie. Hopefully the Toronto Maple Leafs can find some ice time for him.

There’s a couple of names I’m looking at. Feel free to send me a name or two your looking at later in your draft.

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You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

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How was your Week

Posted: September 10, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, NASCAR, sports
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are in 1st place in the National League West. This may still come as a bit of a surprise to some people as the San Francisco Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star break. The Dodgers have capitalized on the terrible second half of a season the Giants are having and have built a 4 game lead in the division over the Giants. I think a lot of people thought the Giants would right their ship and over take the Dodgers for 1st place, but that hasn’t happened yet and with around 20 games to go it’s looking more and more like it won’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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Week 3 in the NFL seems to have gotten us on track with our picks as we all where into double digits with correct picks. Dan the Man won the week going 13-3. Mr. Fantasy and I where a game behind at 12-4 while Schaumburg Stu finished at 10-6. Mr. fantasy has retaken the overall lead at 29-19. Dan the Man has moved into 2nd place with a record of 28-20. Schaumburg Stu is in 3rd with a record of 27-21 while I am still in last place with my record of 25-23. Let’s see if we can continue our wining ways going into Week 4.

In NASCAR The Chase is two weeks old and the two drivers moving into the 2nd round by winning races are both from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Two weeks ago at Chicagoland Denny Hamlin (#11) picked up the win to advance and last week at New Hampshire it was Matt Kenseth (#20) who found his way into victory lane and punched his ticket to the Contender Round. There’s 1 more automatic bid at stake as the drivers go to Dover International Speedway. Now after Dover the 4 lowest drivers will be eliminated from The Chase and there are some interesting names that are in trouble. There is a chance tat at the end of the race this weekend we’ll see Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dan the Man’s favorite driver Clint Bowyer all gone from The Chase, It looked like Harvick was going to win his way into the 2nd round, but ran out of gas while leading the race allowing Kenseth to go by him for the win. Don’t forget that Harvick had an incident with Jimmie Johnson at Chicagoland. Harvick ended up blowing a tire after his and Johnson cars touched and ended up finishing 42nd. Harvick hung on to finish 21st last week in New Hampshire and finds himself in almost a must win situation t advance. Bowyer is also looking at a must win to move on situation heading into Dover, but not because of anything that happened on the racetrack. Bowyer’s car failed inspection at Chicagoland and NASCAR penalized him 25 points and suspended his crew chief. Bowyer and his team are appealing the penalties, but the points are listed in The Chase standings. Busch’s Chase got off to a good start with a 9th place finish in Chicagoland, but had an accident last week in New Hampshire and finished 37th. Busch isn’t in as dire of a situation as Harvick and Bowyer find themselves in, but he’ll need a good finish to move into the 2nd round. Earnhardt Jr. would move on to round 2 with the standings the way they are right now, but he’s only a few points ahead of that 13th spot and if he has a bad finish he could fins himself out of The Chase. Earnhardt had a good 12th place finish in Chicagoland and last week finished 25th. It would be difficult to see drivers like Earnhardt Jr, Harvick, Busch and Bowyer gone from The Chase, but that’s what makes this format exciting.

If you’re a baseball fan you’e probably heard the term good pitching beats good hitting. This statement is really suppose to apply in the playoffs. With the National League playoffs pretty much set which team has that good pitching to move along. Now the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates will have to use one of their top pitchers just to move into the Division Series when the face each other in the Wild Card game. Most teams will go to a 4 man rotation; so let’s look and see who might be in the best position rotation wise.

The Pirates would probably go with Gerrit Cole in the Wild Card game and if they win they’d go to Francisco Liriano followed by A.J. Burnett. That gives the Pirates a solid 1, 2, 3 and then they would have their choice of Charlie Morton or left-handers J.A. Happ or Jeff Locke. That’s not a bad playoff rotation.

I think everyone in the Chicago area would let out a collective groan if Jake Arrieta doesn’t start the Wild Card game. If the Cubs where to move on they’d have Jon Lester ready for Game 1 of the NLDS. After that it gets dicey for the Cubs. Kyle Hendricks is coming off a good outing on Monday against the Kansas City Royals. That performance may have given Hendricks a leg up over veterans Jason Hammel and Dan Haren, but which ever way the Cubs choose t go it could get interesting.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best 1, 2 starting pitching combination in baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke after that who knows. Veteran Brett Anderson has put up solid numbers this season; so you’d think he might be #3 in the rotation. Then is it Mike Bolsinger, Alex Wood or Carlos Frias making that next start.

With the season ending injury to Carlos Martinez it seems as though the St. Louis Cardinals just have to decide what order they’re going t throw their pitchers in. Cardinals opponents should see Michael Wacha, John Lackey, Lance Lynn and Jamie Garcia in some order. The decision for the Cardinals is what to do with the returning Adam Wainwright. Wainwright is going to work out of the bullpen for the remainder of the regular season and maybe he won’t be stretched out enough to start a game, but is he is do the Cardinals plug him into the rotation or stick with the pitchers who got them here.

While the Cardinals look to have a very good situation as far as starting pitching goes the New York Mets may have even a better one. The Mets have Matt Harvey, Jacob deGroom and Noah Syndergaard set and ready to go. The Mets have some very good choices for that 4th spot. They could go with a solid veteran like Bartolo Colon or someone like Jon Niese, but there’s also young left-hander Steven Matz. While the sample size on Matz is small just 6 starts; he is 4-0 with an ERA of 2.27. Where will the Mets go?

Is there a pitcher out there who can go on a run like Madison Bumgarner did in the post season last year for the San Francisco Giants on their way to a World Series win. Either way it’s the post season and it should be exciting.

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Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: November 5, 2014 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports
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11/5/14

Are you watching the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup? They started with 16 drivers in the Challenger round. After 3 races they cut 4 drivers and entered the Contender round. 3 more races and 4 more drivers eliminated to get to the Eliminator round which comes to an end this Sunday in at Phoenix International Raceway. Then 4 drivers will advance to the final race and the Championship round of the Chase on November 16th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are tied at the top of the Chase standings going into Phoenix while Ryan Newman sits in 3rd. Right now Jeff Gordon has the 4th spot in the Chase, but he holds just a 1 point lead over Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards a 5 point lead over Brad Keslowski and a 6 point lead over Kevin Harvick. None of these 8 drivers have gotten a win in the Eliminator round that would automatically advance them to the Championship. This new Chase set up seems to have made winning more important, but it also seems to have brought out a lot of anger in these drivers. Keslowski seems to be the guy that has taken that bad boy role as he’s had issues with Kenseth earlier in the Chase and then just last week after the race Keslowski and his crew had a large brawl with Gordon and his crew. Late in the race after a caution Gordon was starting on the front row with teammate Jimmy Johnson to his inside while Keslowski was lined up right behind Johnson. In the 1st turn after the restart Gordon’s car went up the track a little and Keslowski was able to move into that opening. As Gordon went back down to block Keslowski and get his car back in line, Keslowski had his car to far in the opening and the touched. The incident caused Gordon to have a tire go down and end up finishing 29th and dropping 3 spots in the Chase standings. This is what got the altercation started on pit road after the race. While the drivers avoided penalties from NASCAR their crew chiefs and crew members weren’t. Here’s the penalties from NASCAR. Three Hendrick crew members for six races for being “involved in a post-race physical altercation” and fined them each $25,000. A fourth Hendrick crew member was fined $10,000 and suspended for three races for the same offense. Gordon’s crew chief Alan Gustafson and Kasey Kahne crew chief Kenny Francis were each fined $50,000 and placed on probation for six races because “the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members.” according to NASCAR. Also suspended for six races and fined $25,000 were: Jeremy Fuller, the Kahne crew member who came from behind the scrum and threw several punches toward Keselowski, as well as Gordon crew members Dwayne Doucette and Jason Ingle; Dean Mozingo, another Gordon crew member, was fined $10,000 and suspended three races. Hendrick Motorsports said it would not appeal, and the punished team members would not face further sanctions from the organization. There’s still a couple of races left in the NASCAR season; so maybe you should start watching.

In our picks for Week 9 in the NFL I was able to come out on top with a 10-3 record. Mr. Fantasy finished 2nd with a record of 8-5 while Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu both ended the week at 7-6. For the season I am hanging onto the lead with a record of 86-46-1. Schaumburg Stu is 4 games behind with a record of 82-50-1. Mr. Fantasy is in 3rd with a record of 81-51-1 while Dan the Man is a game behind him with an overall record of 80-52-1. You can hear our picks on the Sunday morning podcast of Sports Time Radio from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. .

We’re in the 3rd week of our players challenge with Mr. Fantasy and Greg. The first two weeks where pretty even; so let’s see how the 3rd week went. At quarterback Mr. Fantasy went with Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson while Greg went with Denver Bronco Peyton Manning. Wilson was 22nd among quarterbacks with 8.18 points while Manning was 7th with 18.06 points. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the high point scorer for Week 9 with 39.90 points. At running back both guys went with Arian Foster of the Houston Texans. Foster finished with 23.15 points and 8th place among running backs. Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks was the highest scoring running back for Week 9 with 35.30 points. At wide receiver Mr. Fantasy took Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles while Greg selected Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos. Maclin finished as the #1 scoring wide receiver of Week 9 with 32.55. Sanders scored 24.36 points and was in 7th place among wide receiver’s. At tight end Mr. Fantasy went with Rob Gronkowski (again) of the New England Patriots while Greg choose Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers. Gronkowski was the #1 scoring tight end for Week 9 with 23.50 points. Gates scored 5.05 points and finished in 20th place among tight ends for Week 9. At kicker Mr. Fantasy picked Chandler Catanzaro of the Arizona Cardinals while Greg went with Phil Dawson of the San Francisco 49ers. Both kickers scored 4 points and finished tied for 11th place for Week 9 among kickers. For their Week 9 sleeper picks Mr. Fantasy went with running back Charles Sims of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while Greg selected Oakland raiders wide receiver Brice Butler. Sims scored 0 points in Week 9 and for the season as well while Butler scored 9.50 points for the Raiders in Week 9. This match up may be to close to call. Who do you think got the players challenge win this week?

Major League Baseball handed out it’s Gold Gloves for the 2014 baseball season. Here are the winners. Catcher: AL, Salvador Perez, Royals; NL, Yadier Molina, Cardinals. First base: AL, Eric Hosmer, Royals; NL, Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers. Second base: AL, Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox; NL, DJ LeMahieu, Rockies. Third base: AL, Kyle Seager, Mariners; NL, Nolan Arenado, Rockies. Shortstop: AL, J.J. Hardy, Orioles; NL, Andrelton Simmons, Braves. Left field: AL, Alex Gordon, Royals; NL, Christian Yelich, Marlins. Center field: AL, Adam Jones, Orioles; NL, Juan Lagares, Mets. Right field: AL, Nick Markakis, Orioles; NL, Jason Heyward, Braves. Pitcher: AL, Dallas Keuchel, Astros; NL, Zack Greinke, Dodgers. 3 Royals, 3 Orioles, 2 Dodgers and 2 Rockies claimed awards. Did they get it right? How did your favorite team do?

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While we don’t talk a lot of NASCAR on the show I have to say I like this new “win and you’re in format” for the Chase they have set up. Wins should be important and I don’t have to hear a driver interview at the end of a race where he’s talking about it “was a good points day”. While you can still get into the Chase on points a win pretty much gets you in. Right now Matt Kenseth is the first driver without a win; he’s in 11th place at this point of the season. They also bumped the number of driver in the Chase from 12 (twelve) to 16 (sixteen) drivers. Just that 1 (one) win is so important to a driver that I think the drivers without a win are going to really start pressing for a win as the regular season schedule winds down. There are 10 (ten) races left before the Chase starts. It’s a Saturday night race tonight for the drivers in Kentucky; so will see if a driver without a win can get one and a spot in the Chase.

Both the NBA and NHL drafts were held this week. The difference being when your favorite NBA team drafts a player he’s pretty much expected to come in and contribute right away. When your favorite NHL team drafts a player there’s a chance you may not see him for two (2), three (3) or even four (4) seasons. Top draft picks can and have come in and contribute to the team that selects them right away. The Florida Panthers are hoping this is the case with defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad was the #1 overall pick in the draft by the Panthers. With the 2nd pick the Buffalo Sabres took centerman Sam Reinhart. At #3 the Edmonton Oilers picked another center Leon Draisaitl. With the 4th pick the Calgary Flames took another center Sam Bennett and rounding out the top 5 (five) the New York Islanders picked left winger Michael Dal Colle. By position there where 9 (nine) centers, 9 (nine) right wingers, 7 (seven) left wingers and 5 (five) defenseman were drafted in the 1st round. No goalies; 0 (zero) where drafted in the 1st round. Does it surprise you that no goalies where drafted in round 1?

We covered the NBA draft in Wednesday’s blog; the day before it happened. I don’t think there where any really surprises maybe with the exception of the Orlando Magic making Aaron Gordon the 4th pick in the draft. Did any of the 1st round picks surprise you? We discussed the draft one yesterday’s show with Mr. Fantasy and Dan the Man. Dan was explaining how he dislikes the way trades our made during the draft and didn’t think it made sense. He didn’t understand and I don’t think myself or Mr. Fantasy did either. Why can’t a team who make the trade for that spot make the pick? Here’s an example; with the 10th pick the Philadelphia 76ers took point guard Elfrid Payton. There was a lot of discussion among the panel of experts covering the draft before one of them finally mentioned that their might be a trade. They even had an interview on the draft show with current 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams; who actually questioned of he’d still be with the 76ers. Interesting comments by Carter-Williams and if you’re a 76ers fan you couldn’t have been too happy with the way he was talking. Of course all of this was for nothing in the end. With the 12th pick the Orlando Magic took power forward Dario Saric. It was then announced that the Magic and the 76ers had agreed to trade Payton for Saric. Now if this was done before the 10th pick was made why couldn’t have Orlando of made that pick? I would love to say that they where trying to get a story out of Carter-Williams, but I really don’t think that’s what it was. I think they just caught a break their with his reaction. Their where a couple of trades during the draft and they where all handled this way. I don’t get it; can you explain it to me.

So Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays, Nelson Cruz of the Baltimore Orioles and Jose Abreu are all tied for the American League lead in home runs with 25. Would you like to see these three (3) players compete for the American League in the Home Run Derby? How about on the National League side. Do you want Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on your team? how about Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. I know they’ve changed to a bracket format for the home run derby, but it still doesn’t make me want to watch it. I know Major League Baseball (MLB) is trying to make this interesting, but it’s just to long for me. I can remember watching the old Home Run Derby; in black and white. It had two (2) players facing off against each other and they got three (3) outs per inning. With as many players involved in the Home Rune Derby now I’m not sure they could use that format, but for me they need to find a way to make it shorter. I understand it’s done for television and I’ll check in on it to see what’s happening, but I just can’t sit down and watch the entire thing all the way through. Can you watch it from start to finish?

So, How was your week?

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