Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gameday: USC At Oregon



On Saturday, the game of the week was USC at Oregon. Could Oregon break USC's reign as Pac 10 Champions and have the inside track for the Rose Bowl? Well yes, the Ducks won in convincing fashion.

This game proved 2 things. 1. Neither team will play for the National Championship. Although both are far better than Iowa. This Oregon team is for real and might be playing the best football in the country.

2. Oregon's opening game loss to Boise St. only bolsters Boise's BCS resume.

But enough about the game.

Eugene, Oregon is a great college town! If it wasn't for the weather, it might be worth attending. I've been to Eugene 3 times now and I think I saw the sun for a combined total of 45 minutes. No wonder weed is so popular in the Northwest. Well, weed is popular everywhere.

But the best thing about Eugene and the University of Oregon? The cheerleaders/dance team. Incredible! The stories you've heard are all true. Yes, the squad consists of countless hot girls, but what really makes them stand out is there dance moves. The choreography is amazing! It's so great that it makes me wonder if the coaches frequent the local night clubs.

I've been to just about every major college football stadium. I've been on the field for some of the biggest college football games in the past 10 years. The Oregon cheer squad ranks up there with the best. In fact, they might be the best. It's a toss up between Oregon and Texas.

USC has the Song Girls, very rich in respect and tradition. UCLA's girls don't get enough credit because they always seem to be in the shadows of USC. But UCLA is solid when it comes to cheerleaders. The last few years, I think the Texas Longhorns' squad has been the best, because honestly, you can't beat those uniforms with the chaps.

But the Oregon squad is greatly underrated. There must be 50 of them, and they're all smoking, lovable and overall just seem to be up for a great time. I'm sorry Austin, but after last weekend, the Oregon girls get the slight edge. But not by much.

I had a great view from the sideline of Saturday's USC/Oregon at Autzen Stadium. How great was the view? Let's just say it was sometime in the second quarter when I realized there was an actual football game going on, between two top 10 teams nonetheless.

I mean, you the throw the Song Girls and the Oregon Cheer Squad together in the same stadium and who cares about football. But after I picked my jaw up from the ground to take a look back at the screaming crowd, not one person was staring in awe of the real treat for this Halloween. I'm thinking, "What a waste!" Nearly 60,000 crazy college football fans and not one was concerned about where the real action was, the sidelines.

I never thought I'd be a fan of a Mariah Carey song, but that "Obsessed With Me" song, total lap dance song.





























Hold The Champagne


It just wasn't going to happen in Philadelphia.

The baseball season will go at least one more game. Chase Utley was once again the spark for the Phillies as he set the tone in the bottom of the first inning with a 3 run homer off A.J. Burnett. Before that ball reached the leftfield stands, you just knew tonight would not be the night for the Yankees or A.J. Burnett.

Now it's Utley who's auditioning for the role of "Mr. November" over Alex Rodriquez. Utley went on to hit a solo shot in the 7th inning giving him a record tying 5 round trippers in a World Series.

Burnett had pitched lights out in Game 2, the Yankees' first win of the Series which greatly changed the momentum of the Series. But with the season Burnett had, you just had the feeling that he would not get 2 quality starts in a row on the game's biggest stage.

Joe Girardi could have started Chad Gaudin and used Game 5 as a throw away game. Going against Cliff Lee neither really stood a chance. But that's all hindsight now.

As much as Girardi has been criticized this postseason, what about Charlie Manuel. So far Girardi's decision to go with a 3 man rotation has been brilliant. All 13 of the Yankees postseason games, their starter had gone 6 or more innings. And the Yankees are 1 win away from a World Series title.

Why wouldn't Manuel give his best pitcher and, besides Utley, his best player a chance to start 3 games? Throwing Joe Blanton out in Game 4 was almost like giving that game away. Why not Lee in Game 4 and then a possible Game 7. If Manuel went with Lee in Game 4, Philadelphia could very easily be up 3-2 in this series.

Throwing Blanton in Game 5 would have made much more sense. You knew the Phillies were set to explode. With Burnett pitching, that means you have Jose Molina and Burnett batting 8 and 9 in the lineup, 2 for sure outs. Last night was a wasted start for Lee.

Even worse, Manuel was determined to leave his ace in for the entire game. The Phillies led 6-2 after 6 innings. They led 8-2 after 7 innings. And Manuel left Cliff Lee in the game! What does that tell you about Manuel's confidence in his bullpen. Like Game 1, you could see Lee start to wear out around the 100 pitch count. And as Lee stayed in to start the 8th, the Yankees's bats awoke and jumped on Lee for 3 runs in the 8th.

So Lee went 7+ and threw 112 pitches. Now, he definitely won't start a Game 7 and if the Phillies need him for relief, he'll have to come in off of only 2 days rest.

Burnett owned it after last night's horrible performance saying, "I let 25 people down. I let a whole city down."

But before it was all said and done, NY had runners on the corners with no one out and Derek Jeter representing the tying run in the 9th. Jeter is "Mister Clutch" and he really had a chance to pile on his legacy. That double play was huge! And it let the Phillies survive to live another day. Maybe that was the ideal time to bunt.

So the positives for the Yankees after last night's loss?

1. They most likely won't have to face Cliff Lee again.
2. They went to Philadelphia and won 2 of 3.
3. The Yankees were down 8-2 after 7. They could have easily rolled over and died. But like championship teams, they hung in there and battled. They got to Cliff Lee and they were in position to tie the game in the 9th.
4. If it goes 7, the next 2 games are at home.
5. In the last 3 games, Mariano Rivera has made 13 total pitches. So he'd probably be ready for a possible 9 out save in Game 6.
6. Ryan Howard has lost his swing.
7. Again, if there is a Game 7, Philadelphia really doesn't have pitcher. Cole Hamels wants the season over and has been nothing like his dominant self from last year. The Phillies are left to start rookie J.A. Happ on the road in Game 7 of the World Series.

Tomorrow night's Game 6 is a dream matchup for MLB. Phillies/Yankees in the Bronx. Pedro vs. Pettitte. Can it really get better than this?

One question I have. Does Girardi intentionally throw at Utley the way the Phillies did to A-Rod? Probably not. I don't think he would stoop to the Phillies' level?

Monday, November 2, 2009

27 Outs Away From 27



The NY Yankees are 27 outs and Cliff Lee away from winning their 27th World Series. If the Yankees do win this title, the two plays that will forever be linked to this championship both involved Johnny Damon.

Game tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth, two outs and Brad Lidge on the mound. Johnny Damon had one of his biggest at bats of his career. (Funny how is other biggest AB was his grand slam in Game 7 for the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.) Damon fought long and hard before finally driving a 3-2 pitch for a single. On the next pitch, Damon made one of the greatest plays of this World Series. Damon stole second base and then made the biggest heads up play in the history of the World Series. With no one covering third, Damon continued running and swiped third base.

This totally rattled Lidge, as he plunked Mark Teixeira to put runners on the corners for Alex Rodriquez.

A-Rod stepped up in the clutch on the biggest stage of the game. 2 weeks ago, that last sentence seem preposterous. A-Rod delivered with what he said was the biggest hit of his career. His go ahead RBI double put the Yankees on top on gave game's greatest closer the chance to put the Yankees up 3-1 in the series.

A-Rod only has 2 hits in the World Series, but his two hits maybe the two biggest hits of the series. His 2 run shot in Game 3 sparked the Yankees' bats as they ran away with Game 3. And last night's 2 out double was pure epic.

After A-Rod's homerun in Game 4, he was hit by a pitch twice. And then in his first at bat last night, Joe Blanton beamed A-Rod. That's dirty play by Charlie Manuel. If you're scared to pitch to A-Rod, intentionally walk him. You don't need to start anything but hitting him. And last night's play, the umpire warned both dugouts which basically meant that if C.C. Sabathia went a little too inside, he'd be thrown out. This is what the Phillies have resorted to.

The Phillies are a great team. They're defending champions. But the Yankees are the team coming up with the big plays in the clutch.

Joba Chamberlain came in the 8th inning and was looking like the Joba we all knew. He struck out the first 2 batters and got ahead of Pedro Feliz 1-2. But Feliz got a hold of a Joba fastball and sent it into the leftfield seats. Game tied 4-4. Joba went on to strike out the side, but it looked like his one mistake could have potentially lost the series.

Mariano Rivera has carried this team on his back. Last night was his 11th appearance in 13 of the Yankees' postseason games. In 14 1/3 innings, Rivera has 13 K's and a 0.63 ERA. Last night's 8 pitch save was his 39th career postseason save. He faced 3 batters last night, and not one ball left the infield. Mark Teixeira was responsible for all three put outs. In the last 2 games, Rivera has recorded 5 outs on 13 pitches. Can you say World Series MVP?

If the Yankees have the lead in the 7th inning tonight, does Girardi go to Rivera for a 9 out save?

The Yankees have a 3-1 series lead while Teixeira/A-Rod/Robinson Cano have a total of 5 hits! Hell, Andy Pettitte has as many hits in the series as Teixeira. But no matter how much Teixeira has struggled at the plate, his defense at first base has made up for his poor hitting.

What's been killing the Phillies? Ryan Howard is 3-17 in the series with 10 K's!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is 40 The New 27 For The Yankees?


In the end, it was Mariano Rivera on the mound as his teammates rushed after him to celebrate the Yankees' 2009 Pennant. Rivera pitching to Posada in the ninth inning of a series clincher. How fitting. The scene was reminiscent of the glory days. A decade ago when it seem legit that Derek Jeter may someday have 10 rings.

And there was Rivera, Posada, Jeter and Andy Pettitte, the "Core 4." Flashbacks of the late '90s, when they were all much younger. Wow! Has it been that long? Was I really 24 years old the last time the Yankees won a World Series. At the time, a Yankees Championship was taken for granted. It was another page in the calender. When Halloween rolled around, the Yankees had just finished another parade down 5th Avenue.

But nearly 10 years later, the Core 4 are still performing like champions. And last night, they got one final step closer.

The ALCS against the Angles, the Yankees got the monkey off their back, in so many ways. The Angels had owned the Yankees since 2002, both in the regular season and again in the postseason. The Yankees haven't been to the World Series since 2003.

The Yankees defeated the Angels 4-2 in a drama filled series with Games 2 and 3 going extra innings. But what will be remembered most, was how Joe Girardi managed games. But now it's all said and done, and Girardi in his first postseason as a manager, is 7-2. Not too shabby considering the Yankees swept the hottest team in baseball going into the playoffs, the Twins, and needed only 6 games to finish off one of the best teams in baseball, the Angels.

It's the postseason, it's New York, every move is greatly dissected by people who hadn't played the game for at least 20 years, or probably never of played the game at all. Girardi never panic button. He managed every game of the series like he did every game of the year. He managed the way that won his team 103 games.

Nobody criticized Girardi until after the fact. The middle relief, which was a huge part of the team's success, failed a couple of times against the Angels. You're in a championship series. You're playing a great team, you can't win em all. After Game 3, Girardi said if a manager never made a mistake, his team would win a 162 games.

Everytime Girardi went to the bullpen, he was criticized. He was criticized when he didn't go to the bullpen. It's the Playoffs, what manager doesn't dig deep into his bullpen for the best possible matchup?

He was first questioned in last night's game during the bottome of the 4th. And yet this was the inning the Yankees came to life and scored 3 runs to take over the game. With runners on first and second, no one out and the 9 hole hitter at the plate. Conventional wisdom calls for a bunt in this situation. That's exactly what Girardi did with Melky Cabrera, and it worked perfectly. The Yankees had the tying and go ahead runs in scoring position with one out and the leadoff hitter coming to the plate.

Yes, Melky was batting over .400 for the series, but if anything, that just meant he wasn't due for a hit. No one would have been surprised to seem him hit into a double play in and kill the inning. Girardi did what every other professional manager would have done. And it paid off.

By the time the 8th inning came around, the NY media were praising Girardi. He went with his best weapon, Rivera, to seal the deal, and that paid off. The bottom of the 8th, he called two sacrifice bunts on consecutive batters. How did that turn out? Pure genius, huh.

And don't forget it was Girardi's call to go with a 3 man rotation. Does anyone praise that move? No.

And Joe Torre will be watching from home.

So now it's on! The 2 best teams in baseball will play for all the marbles. The way it should be.

It's cheesecake vs. cheese steak. Broadway vs. Broad Street. C.C. Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee, that's gotta hurt Cleveland.

Some notes for the World Series.

Derek Jeter has played in 132 postseason games, the entire Phillies franchised has played a total of 83 postseason games.

The Yankees led the league with 244 homeruns. The Phillies were tied for second with 224 homeruns. So expect the long ball.

The Yankees batted .283 for the season, the Phillies .258.

I'm taking the Yankees in 6.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Girardi Criticized, Angels Cut Series 2-1


Joe Girardi faced the biggest game of his young managerial career, and everyone claims he failed miserably. Girardi had a lot of questionable moves, but this was just his 6th career game as a manager in the postseason, people are suppose to make some mistakes. And in the playoffs, every move is under a microscope.

After Anaheim's 5-4 Game 3 win, no one remembers that Girardi had been a perfect 5-0 in his first post season stint as manager of the NY Yankees. No one remembers how he was 2-0 in extra inning games in these playoffs.

Girardi's biggest blunder was when Brett Gardner was caught stealing with no one out in the top of the 8th. Gardner was put in the game as a pitch runner for Hideki Matsui. Everyone knew there was a high probability that Gardner would attempt to steal second. Girardi sent Gardner on a 0-1 pitch. Mike Sciosia called a pitch out. Gardner was easily thrown out. Score a huge one for the veteran manager.

Then Jorge Posada hit a shot over the centerfield wall. Game tied 4-4, when it could have very easily been Yankees up 5-4.

As for Girardi's micro managing in extra innings? Doesn't every manager do this in extra innings with the season on the line? Jeff Mathis batted .211 for the season. The Angels batted .285 as a team for the season! This should have been the easiest out in the lineup. That's playoff baseball in a nutshell for you. It doesn't matter what kind of regular season you had, anyone can be a hero or a goat come postseason.

Another thing, this game should never had went extra innings, just like Game 2. The Yankees were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position in both Game 2 and 3! You just went 0-16 with RISP in two straight playoff games! But then you look and the Yankees went 1-1 in those two games. I think if anything, the Angels are under more pressure because it should be them up 2-1.

As for Joba Chamberlain...I don't know where to begin. But it's obvious the Yankees didn't handle the kid correctly. I always thought he was best off in the bullpen. The guy could pitch 1 to 3 innings in relief. And he would be the closer in waiting for when Rivera was done.

Now, you try to make him a starter, he gets injured and has to visit Dr. James Andrews. Then you set up these "Joba Rules" and that just hasn't worked out. I heard someone actually criticize Girardi for bringing Joba into the an inning with one out and saying Joba's more comfortable beginning an inning. How do you buy that? I'm sure a pitcher is more comfortable having to get only 2 outs instead of 3.


Another thing I heard was that people wanted Mike Scioscia to take Vladimir Guerrero out of the cleanup spot or out of the lineup completely. WTF?! Honestly?! All Vlad has done was give the Angels two of their biggest hits in the post season. In the improbable come from behind Game 3 win in Boston, it was Guerrero who came up with the 2 out game winning hit of Jonathan Papelbon to clinch the AlDS. And then down 3-1 in the bottom of the 6th last night, it was Vlad who saved the season for his team with the two run shot to tie the game off of Andy Pettitte. Yeah, he might actually be slower than Matsui, but the guy has always been a gamer.

One other thought...You know I had to mention Mariano Rivera's performance last night. With the game on the line, Rivera got out of a jam with runners on the corners and no one out! Wow! Building on his legacy, Rivera's postseason ERA is now 0.72!

It would have been nice to go up 3-0 and pretty much march to the World Series, but the Yankees basically need to split the next 2 in Anaheim. They have their ace available for two games. They have possibly two home games left. And both A.J. Burnett and Pettitte pitched solid against the Angels. The Yankees are still in control of this series, but now Game 4 is that much more bigger.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 5 Fantasy Football Studs/Duds


Studs

QB-Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle)-No, not Manning or McNabb, but it was Hasselbeck who led all QB's in scoring for Week 5.
His line-18/30/241 yards and 4 TDs-27 points

RB-Ahmad Bradshaw (NY Giants)-Last I checked, about 30 minutes till kickoff, Bradshaw was listed as out. So of course I didn't start him. Yeah, I was pissed.
11/110/2 TDs, 1 reception for 55 yards-28 points

RB-Michael Turner (Atlanta)-A top 5 pick in most drafts, Turner is finally getting started after a somewhat slow start.
22/97/3 TDs-27 points

WR-Miles Austin (Monmouth College, Dallas)-I needed to pick up a wide receiver for Week 5. I looked at Austin hard, but thought, Tony Romo is so over rated. I already had failed with Roy Williams, I couldn't take my chances on another one of Romo's targets. I went with Tory Holt instead, hoping for a return to glory weekend.
10/250/2 TDs-37 points

WR-Roddy White (UAB, Atlanta)-Another Falcon who put up big numbers in their blowout win at San Fran.
8/210/2 TDs-33 points

TE-Kellen Winslow (Tampa)-The lone bright spot for the Buccaneers.
9/102/2 TDs-22 points

Defense-Seahawks-In their 41-0 beatdown on Jacksonville, Seattle's defense had a touchdown return while posting a shutout-25 points

Duds

QB-David Garrard
(Jacksonville)-A fantasy hero a week ago, Garrard finally fell back to earth with a dismal performance at Seattle.
18/31/188 yards, 2 fumbles-3 points

RB-Chris Johnson (Tennessee)-Nothing has gone remotely right for the winless Titans.
9/34, 2 rec/9 yards-3 points. This guy went for 45 points in Week 2.

RB-DeAngelo Williams (Carolina)-Another top 5 picks in most drafts has been a weekly dud.
18/40-3 points

RB-Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville)-MJD was a number one overall pick in a lot of drafts. The guy has been a total bust so far. He had 9 points last week, and this week:
12/34, 5 rec/23 yards-5 points

WR-Randy Moss (New England)-A huge disappointment this year as everyone thought the Patriots would get their 2007 swagger back. Not so much.
1/36-3 points. 3 points kind of seems generous.

WR-Terrell Owens (Buffalo)-I think it's safe to say this guy's reputation as a big time receiver is over. He's been a dud basically every week. Through 5 games, TO has 12 receptions, 202 yards and 1 TD. Yeah, Roddy White and Austin Miles had better numbers for a receiver in one week than TO has in 5 games!
4/44-4 points

Defense-Jacksonville-Are we seeing a trend here? This was a terrible week to start anyone on the Jaguars. I know, they had a solid week last week, but that shows just how bad the Titans are.
Their defense gave up 41 points for -6 points.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Joba vs. Hughes


In just a few hours, the NY Yankees will play their first postseason game since 2007. That seems like 15 years ago.

The last time the Yankees were in the postseason, Paul Byrd was shutting down the Bronx Bombers as Cleveland won the ALDS 3-1. That's right, Paul freakin Byrd!

The Yankees lost Game 4, 6-4. This was also Joe Torre's last game as NY's manager. They had 12 hits, 3 walks and only mustered 4 runs, a typical Torre managed Yankees team.

Chien Ming-Wang lasted 1 inning, giving up 4 runs. A sign of things to come?

This was also the series featuring Joba Chamberlain and the "bug game." This was Joba's sensational rookie season as he was dominate coming out of the bullpen as the perfect setup man for the great Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees had another hot prospect rookie pitcher in Phil Hughes. Hughes was considered to be the starting pitcher of the future for the Yankees.

Well, two years later the roles are reversed. Since the middle of last season, the Yankees have moved Joba to the starting role. They've monitored his pitch count, gave him a visit to Dr. James Andrews and even put into effect the "Joba Rules."

Joba has shown flashes of brilliance as a starter, but he's also been wild and inconsistent.

This season, Hughes was shaky again as a starter thus making Joe Girardi move Hughes to the bullpen. It may have been one Girardi's smartest moves of the season.

A look at Joba vs. Hughes as relievers:

2007-08 Joba: 50 games, 3-2, 60 innings, 1.50 ERA, 79 K's, 20 BB, 39 hits, 10 ER,
opponents batting average-.182
2009 Hughes: 44games, 5-1, 51.1 innings, 1.40 ERA, 65 K's, 13 BB, 31 hits, 8 ER,
oba-.172

Wow! Pretty similar. So what's this mean?

1. The Yankees are stacked in the bullpen.
2. It's a good thing Brian Cashman didn't pull the trigger on the Hughes/Cano/Melky trade for Johan Santana.
3. Joba probably has lost his job in the bullpen.
4. Joba really better have a couple of solid starts in the postseason or Cashman may have second thoughts of not trading Joba for Roy Halladay.

Let's go Yankees!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week 4 Fantasy Studs and Duds


These points are from ESPN Fantasy Football

STUDS

49ers Defense-39 points
-2 defensive TDs, INT, 2 fumble recovery

Aaron Rodgers-30.6
-26/37, 384 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int

Ronnie Brown-27.5
-20 rushes, 115 yards, 2 TDs

Rashard Menhenhall-35.1
-29 rushes, 165 yards, 2 TDs

Steve Smith (Giants)-29.4
-11 rec, 134 yards, 2 TDs

Jermichael Finley (Packers/Texas Longhorns)-27.8
-6 rec, 128 yards, 1 TD

DUDS

Braylon Edwards-0
-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Terrell Owens-6 points
-3 receptions, 60 yards

Reggie Bush-2.4
-6 rushes, 37 yards

Darren McFadden-.2
-6 rushes, -3 yards, 1 reception, 5 yards

Titans Defense- -3 points
-gave up 37 points

Michael Bush (Raiders) -.6
-3 rushes, 10 yards, 1 reception, 4 yards, 1 fumble

Yes, the Raiders are horrible.

Monday, October 5, 2009

NFL Week 4 Recap


Let's start with the two best games of the day:

Ravens at Patriots

This game lived up to the hype. Joe Flacco actually outplayed Tom Brady, but it was a dropped ball on fourth down by Mark Clayton that decided the game. Down 27-21 with time running out, the Ravens had no trouble driving the ball against the Patriots. Flacco hit Clayton right between the numbers which would have given Baltimore a first and goal.

It's safe to say that this is not your 2007 New England Patriots.

The Ravens defense has now gone 39 straight games without allowing a 100 yard rusher.

Jets at Saints
A lot has been said of New Orleans' high flying offense. But it was their defense that outscored the offense 14-10. Darren Sharper had 2 interceptions, returning one for 99 yards and putting a dagger in the Jets.

Enough with the Mark Sanchez/Joe Namath comparisons. Sanchez was awful, committing 4 turnovers. Sanchez has benefited from a solid Jets defense.

Drew Brees was held for under 200 yards for the second consecutive game.

New Orleans is for real.

Bengals at Cleveland

Cincinnati blew a 14-0 lead and were down 20-14 late the fourth quarter. Carson Palmer hit Chad OchoCinco for what seemed to be the winning touchdown. However the Browns blocked the extra point and the game went to overtime tied 20-20. You had the feeling that the Bengals were going to come up with every way imaginable to lose a game.

The Bengals are a freak play deflected pass to Brandon Stokley from being 4-0.

Cleveland has lost 10 straight games. Braylon Edwards failed to catch a pass for the first time in his career. He had gone 61 straight games with a pass reception.

Lions at Bears
Matt Stafford is actually a pretty good quarterback. Stafford was 24-36 for 296 yards and 1 TD. Not bad numbers for a rookie QB on the road against the Bears defense. Detroit can score some points, but their defense is miserable.

This game was actually tied 21-21 at half. But Johnny Knox returned the opening kickoff of the second half 101 yards to the house. Detroit could only muster 3 second half points. The Lions leading rusher was Kevin Smith. His line: 19 rushes for 30 yards and 2 TDs.

Jay Cutler is not everything the Bears hoped for. Cutler was 18-28 for 141 yards and 2 TDs. If he had actually thrown the ball his receivers instead of Green Bay's defense, the Bears could be 4-0. And let's not forget Chicago's defense biting on a play action bomb to the Packers in Week 1.

Seahawks at Colts
Yes, Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the NFL. No Marvin Harrison, no Alex Gonzalez, no problem. Manning was 31-41 for 353 yards and 3 TDs.

Indianapolis has now won 13 straight regular season games.

Titans at Jaguars
Rumors started last week of Jacksonville moving the team to Orlando. There's been talk of their home games being blackout. But here the Jags sit at 2-2. David Garrard was a fantasy stud, 27-37 for 323 yards and 3 TDs. Who started Mike Sims-Walker (Central Florida)? MSW caught 7 passes for 91 yards and 2 TDs.

Jaguars dominated the Titans despite Maurice Jones Drew rushing the ball 6 times for 14 yards! Wow!

And what the hell happened to the Titans. Tennessee is now 0-4! after going 13-3 last year.

Giants at Chiefs

This Kansas City team could actually go 0-16. Steve Smith has emerged as a prime time performer. He's even overshadowed Carolina's Steve Smith. NY's Steve Smith caught 11 passes for 134 yards and 2 TDs. The Giants will be tough to beat. Not only has Eli Manning looked just as good as his brother, but their defense is tough and the backfield of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw is deadly.

Eli did leave the game in the second half with a non contact heel injury. David Carr is the Giants backup QB. The Manning brothers are now 8-0.

Peyton Manning 97-137, 1336 yards, 9 TD, 3 Int
Eli Manning 79-125, 1039 yards, 8 TD, 2 Int

NY Giants Steve Smith 34 receptions, 411 yards, 12.1 avg, 4TD (4 games)
Carolina's Steve Smith 15 receptions, 190 yards, 12.7 avg, 0TD (3 games)

One bright note for the Cheifs. Apparently they brought their mascot "Warpaint" back in the mix as a tribute to the 50 year anniversary of the AFL. I only saw it for a second, but after the Cheifs score a touchdown, a girl dressed up in Chief paraphernalia rides across the field on a horse. That's a pretty good idea, but the girl is definitely wearing too much clothing. She'll more likely be a rare occurrence considering just how dismal Kansas City is this year.

Raiders at Texans
Not much on this game. Oakland is flat out horrible and JaMarcus Russell doesn't seem to have the making of an NFL quarterback. Steve Slaton had 1 rushing TD and 1 receiving.

Buccaneers at Redskins
Same with this game. If there was a Toilet Bowl in the NFL, this was it. For how bad the Redskins are, they're 2-2. Hey, so are the Cowboys.

Cowboys at Broncos
I think it's safe to say that Tony Romo is the most overrated QB in the NFL. He loses Jessica Simpson, loses TO and he's still mediocre at best. Dallas came into this game averaging 193.7 yards rushing. They finished this game with 74 yards on 25 attempts.

Romo continued to go after Champ Bailey all game. Bailey intercepted Romo inside the 5 and knocked down the would be tying touchdown pass at the end of the game.

Is Denver's defense that good!? The 4-0! Broncos have only allowed 26 points through 4 games!

For Dallas, will Roy Williams please show up! After 4 games, Williams has 11 receptions for 214 yards and 1 TD.

Bills at Dolphins
Miami finally got in the win column and for now salvaged their season. It was Chad Henne's first career NFL start and the former Michigan QB looked decent, 14-22, 115 yards and 1 TD. However, when your offense rushes for 250 yards, it's kind of hard not to look good. Ronnie Brown carried the ball 20 times for 115 yards and 2 TDs. Ricky Williams had 85 yards on 16 rushes.

Trouble continues for TO. He caught just 3 passes for 60 yards. Trent Edwards threw 3 picks.

Rams at 49ers
35-0. Need I say more. The second time this season the Rams have been blanked. They were shut out by Seattle in Week 1 28-0. Mike Singletary has his defense playing his style of ball. The 49ers allowed 177 total yards including 5 sacks and scored 2 defensive touchdowns.

The 49ers are a Brett Favre miracle TD away from being 4-0.

Chargers at Steelers
This game was a route at halftime. Unfortunately no one saw the final quarter. Pittsburgh went up 28-0 in third quarter before the Chargers woke up. The Chargers got a TD on a punt where Jacob Hester ripped the ball away from the returner and took it to the house. Throw in an onside kick and San Diego had made it a 35-28 game! But the Chargers defense was atrocious and just could not stop the Steelers. Pittsburgh held on 38-28.

Rashard Mendenhall rushed 29 times for 165 yards and 2 TDs.

Misery in Missouri. The Chiefs and Rams are 0-8. Both teams look horrendous.

Cleveland's Maohamed Massaquoi (Georgia) led all NFL receivers with 148 yards.

Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 AL East Champions!


What a difference a year makes. A year ago, we were watching a melodramatic celebration as the NY Yankees closed out 85 years of history at the original Stadium. The Yankees had just defeated the Baltimore Orioles, but there would be no post season play for the first time in 13 years. Joe Girardi was under fire as former manager Joe Torre was leading the LA Dodgers to a division title. The Yankees had no starting pitching. And the Red Sox had been a better team than NY for 5 years.

The Yankees addressed these problems during the off season by acquiring Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira. Little did we know, Nick Swisher may have been the biggest pickup giving a kind of spark and personality the clubhouse needed so much.

A-Rod lied about steroids and was exploited. He then missed the first month and a half of the season. The Yankees got off to a terrible start. C.C. got off to another one of his patented slow starts. Chien-Ming Wang turned into the Jake Delhomme of baseball. They dropped the first 8 games against Boston. And the new Stadium was being referred to as "Coors Field East." Of course everyone was writing the team off. Major trouble in Yankeeland.

But then something happened around the time A-Rod returned in mid May. The NY Yankees became the best team in baseball seemingly overnight. They won 9 of the final 10 games against Boston, leaving the season series tied at 9-9. Derek Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's team record for career hits. Mark Teixeira had an MVP type season. Sabathia and Mariano Rivera should both finish in the top for the Cy Young.

Since the All Star Break, the Yankees are 49-19! All this with basically a 4 man rotation. You have to give major credit to Joe Girardi. He could have hit the panic button back in May when the New York Media were calling him out. But he stepped up to the plate. He did a magnificent job with a depleted bullpen where he found a home for Phil Hughes.

The Yankees had a walkoff win just about every 11th game (14 total). Every walk off win was followed by the old pie in the face routine brought on by A.J. Burnett.

The Yankees have won 100 games for the first time since 2004 and it's the team's first division title since 2006. Order is restored.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your 2009 Cy Young Winner


Funny how ESPN and Sportscenter had rarely mentioned Zack Greinke or the Kansas City Royals. But when Greinke shuts down the Red Sox, Sportscenter devotes 20 minutes to Greinke. And now today, everyone is talking about Greinke and giving him the Cy Young.

Greinke shuts out the Red Sox for 6 innings, in September, and now everyone outside the Midwest is bowing down. Hello! The guy has been doing this all year. You have to give Sports Illustrated props. They put Greinke on the cover back in May. Or maybe vice versa. Greinke did not succumb to the SI cover curse.

Well, he did start the year 8-1. He's currently 15-8. So he's 7-7 since. But his ERA is 2.08! In the American League! If he pitched in the NL, it would probably be just over 1.

At the start of September, I would have given the Cy Young to Mariano Rivera. Yeah, he is one of my favorite baseball players of all time, but at age 39, he has been having one of his best years ever. Mariano's Cy Young bid ended last Friday with Ichiro's walkoff homerun. Rivera had converted 36 straight save opportunities.

But Greinke's numbers don't lie. His 2.08 ERA is best in MLB. The next in the AL is Felix Hernandez with a 2.45 ERA. Greinke is second in the AL with 229 strikeouts. In fact, he has 229 strikeouts to 47 walks!

He is second in MLB with 6 complete games. Roy Halladay leads the Majors with 7.

Greinke's last 4 starts-against the Angels, Indians, Tigers and Red Sox, 3 of them playoff teams-he has pitched 26 innings, giving up 1 ER and 27 K's.

If Greinke pitched for the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels, he would have at least 25 wins. Something tells me he'll pitching for one of these teams in the near future.

One Giant Fall


We all know what Plaxico Burress did was stupid. But the punishment he is facing is ridiculous. I'm not a fan of Burress or the Giants, but in this case, the punishment clearly does not meet the crime.

The guy is spending the next 2 years of his life on Riker's Island for shooting himself in the leg!

Donte Stallworth killed a person while driving drunk and got a month!

I know the New York judicial system said they would not let Plaxico off easy because he was a celebrity.

But what about Martha Stewart? Martha Stewart lied and cheated the stock market. She spent 5 months in a prison "camp!" This is the furthest punishment away from 2 years at Riker's.

What is really unbelievable is production has not started yet on the reality show, "Plaxico on Riker's."

I don't know what was a bigger mistake by Burress-shooting himself in the leg or the lawyer he hired. I mean this has to be the worst lawyer ever! The guy is the real life Lionel Hutz.

None of this ever would have happened if Burress threw the gun in a dumpster or the Hudson River.

It's really sad that the guy had to say goodbye to his 3 year old son and won't be present when his daughter is born.

Wouldn't it be enough punishment the day Burress has to explain to his kids why he went to prison?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rumble In The Bronx


Well that was just about the last thing the Yankees needed. Since May, the Yankees have been the hottest team in baseball. Everything has been going their way. They certainly didn't need a bench clearing brawl in last night's meaningless game. Now, it looks like they'll be without Jorge Posada for 4 games.

Yeah, I guess it can't hurt to give Posada a little more rest. But an incident like this could really hurt a team's momentum. The Yankees have lost 3 of their last 5. Uh, oh. Time to hit the panic button?!

How meaningless was last night's game with the Blue Jays? New York sent Sergio Mitre to the mound against Roy "I own the Yankees" Halladay. The Yankees should have just called up the Scranton or Staten Island teams.

Halladay is 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA in his career vs the Yankees. Makes you wonder why the Red Sox didn't land Halladay. I mean, imagine Beckett, Halladay and Lester in the postseason!

Mitre is 3-3 with a 7.63 ERA in 9 starts with the Yankees. New York is 5-4 in games Mitre has started. That's how good the 2009 Yankees are.

For the entire season, the Yankees have basically been playing with a four man rotation. And the last month you can make it 3 1/2 as they prepare Joba for the post season.

New York has been dragging around two dead horses in Mitre and Chad Gaudin, who goes tonight for the Yanks. Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin pitching back to back! You got to be kidding me! Yet, the Yankees will probably win 100 games.

The Yankees are 3-0 in Gaudin's 5 starts.

And Mariano Rivera has pitched a total of 4 innings in September.

And now with Dice-K's performance against the Angels last night, the Red Sox may have the best starting rotation. But remember, this year Dice-K is 2-5 with an ERA over 7. Along with Tim Wakefield, you never know what you're going to get with these two.

In his last 5 starts, Josh Beckett is 1-2 with 6.10 ERA. Wow! But considering his postseason success, none of that really matters.

Clay Buchholz is 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA in his last 5 starts.

But obviously Jon Lester is currently Boston's ace. His last 5 starts: 4-0, 1.51 ERA, 35.2 innings, 35 K's, and 20 hits. Ooooh.

So a Red Sox/Yankees ALCS seems inevitable. But you never know what you're going to get with the 2009 BoSox. The team that went 31 consecutive innings without scoring a run, or the team that scored 25 runs in two games against the Yankees.

One stat that makes me feel comfortable: You take away the games Boston has played against the Blue Jays, Orioles and the National League and the Red Sox record is 50-45.

Other notes...

Adam Wainwright leads MLB with 18 wins. His teammate Chris Carpenter has 16. That's a pretty lethal 1-2 punch, in the National League.

Since they've been alive, 2009 college freshmen have always had a new season of Matt Groening's The Simpson's every fall. The show has broadcast 441 episodes and begins it's 21st season on September 27th. Congratulations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

College Football Week 1


It started out as a dud on Thursday. South Carolina's 7-3 win over N.C. State was highlighted by Erin Andrews' return to TV. The Oregon/Boise St. game was suppose to give us fireworks on the field and not after the game.

LeGarrette Blount's sucker punch heard round the world was probably the biggest story of Week 1. Not only did Oregon lose the game, their season is probably lost. The Ducks came in with high expectations and were considered to contend for the Pac 10. Blount played a key role as the starting RB in Oregon's offense. New coach Chip Kelly now faces an uphill battle as it looks to be a long season in Eugene.

Not only did Blount lose his senior season, but he also will lose a lot of money as his draft status is sure to fall.

But Week 1 gave us 1 one huge upset, some close calls and ended with a bang in Tallahassee as the Miami/Florida St. instant classic was reminiscent of the rivalry's past.

The biggest upset-BYU's stunning 14-13 victory over Oklahoma. Yeah, Sam Bradford left the game in the first half, but still the Sooners had much more talent on the field than BYU. Oklahoma committed 12 penalties and they failed to punch the ball in the end zone when they had 3 and goal at the one. On BYU's winning drive, Oklahoma's defense allowed the Cougars to move the chains on two third and longs and a fourth and 4.

Recently, "Big Game" Bob Stoops hasn't lived up to his name. The Sooners lost their opening game at home to TCU in 2005 so you really have to question Stoops' preparation. Now, the Sooners are no longer the best team in Oklahoma. Okie St. is now ranked 5. Wow!

Do you think Sam Bradford wishes he went pro early. There's another guy who'll lose money. I guess the moral of the story is: Leave school early while you're ahead.

Notre Dame and Michigan both won convincingly. So now everyone thinks both programs are back. These two powerhouses went a combined 10-15 last year, so it was huge for them to win their opening game against cupcakes. The Victors and the Irish face off this weekend, so one of them will be 2-0. Notre Dame's schedule is so easy that 9 wins is a gimme. And Michigan plays in a horrible conference, so anything's possible.

Which leads me to the Big 10.

We remember the Big 10 went 1-6 in bowl games last year. They opened Week 1 going 10-1. Wow! They must be back. Hold on Beano Cook! Ohio St. almost pulled a 2007 Michigan as the Buckeyes narrowly escaped Navy. The Buckeyes almost lost in the HorseShoe to a service academy!

Iowa looked good blocking back to back field goal attempts to seal the deal against...Northern Iowa!

Minnesota needed overtime to escape the treacherous wrath of the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse! A team that went 3-9 last year. A team that was starting a QB who hadn't taken a snap for five years, and that was in high school.

Northern Illinois gave Wisconsin all the Badgers could handle but Wisconsin held off the Huskies at home with a 28-20 win.

The Big 10's lone loss? How about the 37-9 shellacking against Mizzou. Yes, the Mizzou team that lost their two best players.

The Big 10 is the 5th best conference in college football, and they're barely ahead of the Big East. Barely.

Of course the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10 are clearly better than the Big 10. But now the ACC and Mountain West have gained supremacy rights over the horrid Big 10. The Mountain West! Yes. I'm afraid so. You could throw Ohio St. and Penn St in the Mountain West and they'd each lose 2 conference games. I can't wait for Big 10 conference play. Let's just say that the winner of the Penn St./Ohio St. game will go to a BCS game and get slaughtered again.

USC's 56-3 rout over San Jose St. was impressive considering the Trojans were starting a true freshmen in Matt Barkley. The Trojans also fumbled the ball twice in the first quarter. San Jose St. led 3-0 after one quarter.

A week ago, I would have said Ohio St. would finally win a big out of conference game with USC coming to Columbus. But after watching both teams' performance in Week 1, I'll take USC giving a touchdown.

Swisher Sweet!


Okay, we know the Yankees brought in big guns with C.C., Burnett and Teixeira, but maybe the most significant off season move may have been acquiring Nick Swisher.

So it was only fitting that it was Swisher's turn for the pie in face. Swisher broke a 2-2 tie with a walk off homerun in the bottom of the ninth as the Yanks have taken the first 3 games against Tampa. It was the 13th walk off for the Yankees, 7 of them coming via the long ball.

Swisher stepped up big when A-Rod was on the DL. Swish has been called upon as an everyday player with both Xavier Nady and Brett Gardner spending time on the DL. And his attitude and personality has lightened up the clubhouse.

As for Yankee Stadium being a homerun haven, Swisher has hit just 5 of his 26 dingers at the new stadium.

The Yankees are now 40 games above .500 at 90-50! They lead the Red Sox by 9 games. Since the All Star Break, New York is 39-13.

Derek Jeter is 0-12 in the series and remains 3 hits shy of Lou Gehrig's all time club record.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sox Hanging Low


The Red Sox aren't winning the AL East this year. We all realized this when they lost that 15 inning 2-0 marathon to the Yankees. That was the tipping point. That was also the game that sent fair weather BoSox fan (roughly 90% of all BoSox fans) into hibernation. But the real Red Sox fan and Yankees fan know you can't totally dismiss Boston for the season.

Boston is currently 3.5 games up on Texas in the Wild Card. They are 5 games up on Tampa. Neither team will catch the Red Sox.

Texas had a legitimate shot.

On Friday, August 14 the Red Sox began a 3 game series against the Rangers in Arlington. Boston held a slim half game lead in the Wild Card going in.

Texas was up 4-2 heading into the top of the 9th with their closer Frank Francisco on the mound to face the 7-8-9 Boston hitters. Going into the inning, Francisco's ERA was 2.01. When he walked off the mound, it had ballooned to 3.66.

Boston quickly jumped on Francisco and had cut the deficit to 4-3. Terry Francona sent Clay Buchholz to pinch run for Jason Varitek. The move nearly crushed Francona's reputation as a wise manager.

Dustin Pedroia drilled a ball to the left field wall where David Murphy nearly made an amazing catch. Buchholz was totally confused. He looked like, well, a pitcher running the bases. He stopped between 2nd and 3rd and then decided to make a run for home. Needless to say he was gunned down on the relay throw at the plate.

The air had been sucked out of Boston's playoff hopes.

Then wouldn't you know it, newly acquired Victor Martinez stepped up next and delivered a 2 out game winning double down the left field line. The Red Sox had been saved.

Yeah, Boston went on to lose the next 2 games of the series and were a half game out of the wild card. But if Boston had been swept, and lost Friday's game on Buchholz's baserunning blunder, that would have just killed the team's confidence and they would have left Arlington 2.5 games out.

Since that series, Boston has gone 10-3 and Texas 6-7.

Boston's lineup has been too inconsistent this year. Something we never saw during the Manny days. One week they'll fail to score a run in 31 consecutive innings, two weeks later, they'll put up 25 in two days.

Pitching wise, Wakefield will be back, but Dice-K seems highly unlikely. Josh Beckett had a really rough August. In 6 starts, Beckett was 2-1, 39.1 innings, 36 hits, 22 earned runs-a 2.03 ERA.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What A Relief


With the Yankees looking at Joba Chamberlain's future, New York got 6 solid innings from their bullpen. Joba threw only 35 pitches in 3 innings as the Yankees completed their sweep over the Chicago White Sox.

Alfredo Aceves pitched 3 innings allowing no runs and just 2 hits. Aceves qualified for the win and is now 9-1.

The bullpen came in threw 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and only 1 earned run.

With the Yankees clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th, New York broke it open with 5 runs highlighted by Mark Teixeira's 3 run home run. It was Teixeira's 32nd of the year and his 4 RBI's gives him an American League best 101.

Joba has struggled in August. In 5 starts, he's 1-2 with an 8.22 ERA. In those 5 games, he has 18 K's to 15 BB's. His ERA for the season in 25 starts is 4.38.

Joba is probably the 4th best starter in the rotation. He's had his ups and downs. The big money is how he'll contribute in the postseason. Joba's only previous postseason experience is the "bug game" in Cleveland.

The White Sox have now dropped 7 of 8 and are quickly sinking out of post season contention. And off course Ozzie Guillen chimed in.

"Well, we came to New York and visited the new Yankee Stadium. It is a very nice ballpark, and the hotel we stayed at was also very nice," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's all I have to say about these last three days."

New York is now a MLB best 82-48, 31-11 since the All Star break, and 6 games up on Boston.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meet The Mess


Now that Johan Santana is done for the season, the 2009 NY Mets have marked the franchise as one of the most tough luck teams in baseball.

That's 6 one time all stars the Mets have sent to the DL this year:
Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Delgado, Putz, Santana.
Is K-Rod next?

Here is the Mets' opening day lineup from April 6:
SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
C Brian Schneider
2B Luis Castillo
P Johan Santana

The Mets edged the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1. Santana was solid getting the W and K-Rod closed the game with a perfect 9th.

All was good in Queens. They now had the bullpen relief that had spoiled there championship bids the last few years and they were moving into a new ballpark.

Inside the box score, the Mets had 9 hits, 7 BB and were 1-12 with RISP-accumulating a total of 2 runs!

Boy was there a storm a brewin.

And this was the lineup they sent out yesterday against Cliff Lee and the Phillies.

CF Angel Pagan
2B Luis Castillo
LF Gary Sheffield
3B Fernando Tatis
1B Daniel Murphy
C Omir Santos
RF Cory Sullivan
SS Anderson Hernandez
P Bobby Parnell

Yikes! Especially considering you're relying on Gary Sheffield and Luis Castillo as your iron horses.

Lee actually lowered his ERA after the game, but honestly, does that really count?

The Mets' infield has accumulated a total of 41 homeruns this year. Last year, Carlos Delgado alone hit 38.

How could it get any worse? Well, even the die hards are getting beat up, in their own stadium!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Yankees' Biggest Nemesis


The NY Yankees finished their ten game road trip going 7-3. After taking 2 of 3 this weekend at Fenway Park, NY has 1 7 1/2 game lead on the division. Barring another epic meltdown, the Yankees will be division champs and back into the postseason after a one year hiatus.

The Yankees are now a MLB best 27-9 since the All Star break. The one team that concerns me most is the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are 25-11 since the break.

On June 11, LA was 29-29. Since then they have gone 44-16! A lot of that can be contributed to having Vladimir Guerrero back in the lineup.

The Angels are batting a MLB best .289. The Yankees are second batting .280 as a team.

How potent are LA's bats? The Angels have 8 players with at least 249 AB's who batting .300!

Their biggest concern is their pitching. The Angels are 12th in the American League with a 4.88 team ERA. The Yankees are 8th in the AL at 4.37.

Since 2002 the Yankees are 33-46 against the Angels. That includes postseason losses in 2002 (3-1) and 2005 (3-2).

NY went 2-4 against Anaheim this year.

On the other hand, since 2002 Boston is 42-34 against Anaheim. The Red Sox have owned the Angels in the postseason. Boston swept Anaheim 3-0 in 2004 and 2007. After going 1-8 against the Angels in 2008, the Red Sox beat them 3-1 in the Division series last year.

After last night's game, the Yankees finally got to Josh Beckett. You have to be more worried about the Angels than the BoSox.