Who wins the NL Cy Young??

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Dickey, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Capuano or Cain, we have been in for one of the NL’s most dominant pitching seasons since – well – ever!! While ESPN counts down the top quarterbacks for next year, they’re forgetting these incredible pitchers that have been absolutely dominant right now.

R.A. Dickey has mastered the knuckleball. With two one-hit games in a row, he dominates opposing batters. His E.R.A., an astounding 2.00, and the average of an opposing batter an incredible .194, he’s up and running this year. He might be one of the oldest Cy Young pitchers ever at 37 (he would only be second to Gaylord Perry & Roger Clemens). He has blown past batters with 103 strikeouts, fourth in the league. He is pitching nearly flawlessly, has 11 wins, and if he continues on this astonishing pace, he will win the Cy Young.   CY-O-METER: 9.5/10

Stephen Strasburg is the strikeout man. The king of K’s, forward and backwards, and blows by batters with not only a fastball going up to 97, but with a change up that goes down to 80. His E.R.A is 2.46, and has only 23 earned runs in 84 innings. He’s pretty young at 23, but so are the rest of the Nationals. There are two reasons to say no to him, though. He has had some bad games, and he might leave after late August. Which means that, even if he continues his stuff until then, the people who choose will use that against him, since other pitchers had more games with more numbers to use. CY-O-METER: 7/10

Gio Gonzalez (Oh look, another Nats pitcher) is playing great at his new team. If you look at him, he’s always smiling, and he has good reason to. All of his stats are literally identical to Strasburg’s, except for a couple where he’s a point or two below or above. People haven’t noticed him, and he has gone by quietly (well, he isn’t actually quiet, or at least he wasn’t when I talked to him) by the predictors. But he could be a sleeper in this competition. CY-O-METER: 8/10

Matt Cain ‘s perfect game might be all we remember of him this year. But it certainly hasn’t. With his E.R.A below 2.35, his strikeouts at 100, and his record at 9-2, he was just particularly more dominant on that one night he had his perfect game – but he has been dominant all year long. He hasn’t been noticed since his perfection was accounted for, but since he has, people have noticed he has a chance at this. CY-O-METER: 8.5/10

I am predicting R.A Dickey right now, but as baseball continues to twist and turn, so will my prediction.

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LeBron, LeBron, LeBron – ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!

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I turned on my usual SportsCenter this morning, knowing the Heat had won. There was a segment about LeBron. I was fine with that, as I assumed a lot of attention would be played towards him, winning MVP and all. But as I looked down the SportsCenter sidebar, I saw that the next five segments all had King James’ name in it, and at the top, a memo telling you Dick Vitale would be giving reactions on LeBron’s leading them to the championship. I felt as if I should be singing the song, Di, Di Ainyu, (Which, paraphrased, means, ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH ALREADY!!)

The Heat won the NBA Championship. Congratulations Miami, the Heat, LeBron, Chris Bosh and D-Wade. The best team won over the season, and it was a great run. That’s really all there is to say.

 I get the fact LeBron is a great player – he is. He can do things other players take years to develop, but just because he wins a championship doesn’t mean it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I get it. He’s been there and failed, he’s a changed man, etc, etc, etc. It’s a great story.
But I feel as if they’re forgetting something – the rest of the team won the championship, too! Usually, when there’s a championship, the first five to ten segments are about the team. This time, the first 7 segments were about LeBron. Only LeBron. LeBron’s press conferences, multiple reporters’ reaction to LeBron’s winning, LeBron interviews, LeBron trophy presentation….
“It’s about darn time”, was what LeBron said in his umpteenth interview when asked what was going through his head when the clock hit 0.00. And I think now that it’s over, it’s about darn time we stop paying so much attention and think so so much about LeBron.

The Rangers: Is it finally their year?

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2 years ago, the Angels were favored to win the AL West, but during the summer, the Rangers got past them and became the team to beat in the west. They were upset by the Giants.

1 year ago, it looked as if the Rangers would win it this time, for sure. But the miracle Cardinals claimed the title for their own.

Now, the Rangers rotation has been boosted and taken away from, the lineup is one of the best in baseball, but the question remains again: can they finish them off?

They were one strike away from world series glory, then one strike away again, but still couldn’t capitalize on all those great chances.

Josh Hamilton is dominating this season. With over 60 RBI, and 20 home runs, with a batting average of .332, he’s on track for his second MVP award in three years.

While most rookie attention is directed towards the Nationals’ 19 year old phenom, Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish, the 25 year old from Japan isn’t half bad right now. An ERA of 3.57 and 88 strikeouts is pretty good, (although as a Nats fan, it’s hard to see somebody as good pitcher with an ERA over 3.5.)

While the rest of the rotation lacks what Yu has, it’s made up for by the incredible team batting average – .282. That’s everyone.

Which means literally, every three batters, you have a 28% chance of seeing a hit. Compared to the second best team OPS, they’re 15 points ahead. Little numbers make a big difference in this game.

Even though all those incredible statistics say “YES!!”, a part of me says no. And here’s why.

They’ve been there before. Twice, in fact. And coming so close, is killer to your confidence. And while too much confidence can come back to bite you – when LeBron said the famous “Not 5, Not 6..” only to lose the NBA finals that year, too little will also kill you.

And after coming in to the 2011 season with so much, I’m not sure anymore. But one thing is for sure – they’ll make it interesting.

P.S – I’m going to be in print off of this site with a much bigger audience – more on that later.

P.P.S- I’m away from June 27-August 22, but I will have somebody getting my posts and putting them on here.

Soccer Weekly: EURO 2012 Surprises and Fufilled expectations

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The biggest continental tournament in my opinion is EURO. This is where most great clubs get their players, their stars, and this is the one time that Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t have a price tag on him – like he does august through may.

But, some things have gone differently than expected, while others have been predicted. Let’s take a look at those.

Robin van Persie and the Netherlands’ fall

This was my pick, by the way. I thought after a world cup final loss they would be pumped up and come out of the gate flying. How wrong could I be? They lost to Denmark, the one team that didn’t seem deathly in the group of death, they lost to Germany, and have only scored 2 goals in 2 and 1/2 games. Portugal and Denmark are the nine and ten teams in the world. Holland is number 4. Germany is three. They have been dominated in possession, goals, and shots on goal. Robin Van Persie, after a dominating season at Arsenal is only with one goal and has not been very effective. I thought this was the year, but I was wrong. VERDICT: SURPRISE

Mario Gomez and the Germany domination

Germany was (unsurprisingly) a favorite. But we didn’t think they would be this dominant. There have been 3 goals for Mario Gomez, who, unlike many other players, can be good in club and international seasons (WOW!). The defense and goalkeeping has, as always, been top-class. Germany came in strong and look to finish strong – if not in first. VERDICT: EXPECTED

England and France play strong

We thought they were dead. We thought it was over. After losing to at the time 74th ranked South Africa, barely getting a win over the USA, and falling on and off the pitch. Then they came out running. Tying England, beating Ukraine at home, and maybe showing hope. After a great season at Real Madrid, Kareem Benzema is not playing incredibly, but the rest of france is picking up his slack. England, after losing some of their best players to injury and suspension, gets Wayne Rooney back tuesday, and have played well and only need a draw to advance. VERDICT: Surprise

On to the quarterfinals!!

The odds of the draft

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“With the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select Greg Oden, from Ohio State University”

“With the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Seattle SuperSonics select Kevin Durant, from the University of Texas.”

A whole lot has happened since then. The SuperSonics became the Thunder, the Celtics won a championship, LeBron moved to Miami, the Wizards big three became John Wall, and the Lakers have won two championships, as well as the retirement of Phil Jackson. But, if anything, the change in the best player in the league. Two years ago, you might’ve said Kobe or LeBron. But now, it’s Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant was picked second in the 2007 NBA Draft, since the Blazers believed Greg Oden was a man they could build their franchise around. But they were wrong. Since then, he’s been hurt three times, and his PPG hasn’t averaged over 11 in the two seasons he’s played in. Why he was picked first? In college, he had 15 points and ten rebounds a game.

Kevin Durant was picked second, and after that, he would never be second to anybody again. Just this season, he’s averaged 28 points and 8 rebounds a game – the best player in basketball in my opinion.

The odds of the NBA Draft are much different than any other draft in american sports. In the MLB, only two number one picks haven’t made it to the majors, and even if they do have negatives, they are worked out in the minors. In the NFL, the constant offseason camps familiarize the rookies with the veterans, and most top 3 picks turn out very well. In the NBA, however, it’s really taking a shot in the dark.

While Andrea Bargnani has taken a slow but steady road up, Derrick Rose only needed one season to get past the 20 points per game mark. Blake Griffin brought excitement to a boring Clippers team. But other times, you fail completely or make a bad choice, with players like Kwame Brown (6.6 ppg) Greg Oden, and Kenyon Martin.

You really never know. But what I do know is that one pick can be the difference between making a playoff franchise and a lottery pick team.

The Updater: The Spurs Spark lives on

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Not again. Not this again. How many times have we seen this? How many times have we said, “They’re gone, they’re gone for good” and then this continues to happen year after year, and we all just wait, wait for somebody to put out the spark – that the Spurs have had for the last decade.

We thought they were gone last year – they were too old. But, lone behold, the first seed was their’s for the keeping. But when the Grizzlies beat them, that’s when we thought they were really gone, and the first seed was a fluke.

And then.

And then, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker came back with a combined 33 points a game, and the top three rebounders started totaling in at 21 a game. And they don’t just get points from starters – they’re all around – the top ten scorers a game all are above 8.8 points a game.

Oddly enough, the number one worry for me about this team was that their scoring wouldn’t be able to keep up with the fast moving and thinking defenses of teams like the Heat’s, who only give up about 92 points a game. But I was worried for nothing, as the Spurs have the second highest scoring total per game in the league – 103!!!

While the defense was in the lower half, it was comparable to defenses of teams like the Clippers, who are only a point less in total points given up. They also proved they could win in shootouts – they beat the Clippers and Jazz easily like that.

There are really only three teams that stand between them and another Larry O’ Brien trophy – The C’s, the Thunder, and The Heat. With the two easterners, it’s the defense that worries me – they both have good offenses and defenses, which might kill shootout opportunities, (which is what they want). The Thunder have an offense that is able to explode at any time, any place. And even on average nights, they still score the same as the Spurs, 103 points a game on average, and will keep games very close with pretty much identical stats – but completely different styles of play.

If the Spurs win the NBA Championship this year, unless they don’t have a playoff spot – I will – and you should never – count the Spurs out.