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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giants hand Kansas City a Royal Drubbing in Game One

Hunter Pence hit a two run homer in the first inning to cap a three run start against James Shields and the San Francisco Giants never looked back as the Giants handed the Kansas City Royals their first post-season loss of the season and cruised to a 7-1 win in game one of the World Series.
The Giants would score two runs in each of the fourth and seventh innings before Salvador Perez's solo homer scored the only Kansas City run.
Madison Bumgarner allowed the sole run in seven strong innings on the mound.
The Giants will attempt to grab both games of the first set in Kansas City with Jake Peavy taking the ball for San Francisco against young fireballer Yordano Ventura for the Royals.

Giant Steps

1) Hunter Pence's first inning homer might not have ended this series,but it sure ended this game as the Royals were feeding off the energy of a screaming crowd at Kaufman Stadium and the Giants quieted the gathering before the home team even was able to pick up their bats.

2) As much as I enjoyed the win,the best part might have been Hunter Pence correcting Erin Andrews on one of her constant errors (as in most nights that she holds a microphone) as Andrews rambled on about Pence's pre-game speech and topic.
Pence corrected her that the topic she referred to was wrong and he didn't give the speech.
A flustered Andrews looking much as she did with Richard Sherman stammered and hawed a bit.
I know I'm not an Andrews fan and get tired of seeing her all over Fox broadcasts,but this was funny beyond her.
Athletes get hammered for giving canned answers and Pence actually listened to the question and then picked it apart....

3) Madison Bumgarner was beyond dominant again.
Big Game James? The title of Big Game might need to go elsewhere in this series.
Bumgarner worked his way out of a second and third,no one out in the third without giving up a run and was never threatened again other than the Salvador Perez homer.
The homer ended Bumgarner's World Series scoreless streak at 21 and a third-not bad work....

4) Gregor Blanco walked in another run and that gives Blanco two for the post season.
Blanco has become almost as valuable walking as hitting....

5) Hunter Pence was 0 for 11 career against James Shields before his homer.

6) You just have a feeling now that the younger Royals are going to have to find something that they haven't had to deal with yet-adversity.
The Royals for the first time have a must win game ahead of them and no,I don't count the wild card game,that was a game that both teams dealt with the one game aspect.
Now the Royals will have to play from behind,which isn't as easy as playing with a lead..

7) Wrapping up with this-I love Kaufman Stadium.
It is the best of the 70's parks and the additions through the years have only enhanced it,not ruined it in search of revenue,I'm looking at you Baltimore and Cleveland.
It's not PNC or AT&T,but it's pretty good and I like watching games played there.....

Devils self-destruct in OT loss to Rangers

The New Jersey Devils have lost all momentum from a speedy start as they lost their third game in a row,this one to the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime at the Rock in Newark.
Cory Schneider allowed the game winner 2;42 into the overtime term to the Rangers Kevin Klein and the Devils had to settle for the one point evening.
New Jersey had a 3-1 lead in the third period before allowing two unanswered Ranger goals to tie the game.
All three of the Devils goals came on the power play,goals to Adam Henrique (3 PP),Jaromir Jagr (1 PP) and Jon Merrill (1 PP).
New Jersey takes two nights off before hosting Dallas Friday night....

Hell Raisers

1) I can blame Cory Schneider on the last goal as one that he could have had.
However,I didn't think that any of the previous three stood out as goals that looked especially poor.
Schneider is an easy target for some right now,but he isn't at fault for the current streak of losses..

2) I will blame his help as Marek Zidlicky had an especially poor night.
Zidlicky was very sloppy with a errant pass up the ice that resulted in a turnover that quickly tied the game at 3-3.
Zidlicky will always be a players that will need his offense to override his defense,but that play was dumb no matter the player..

3) Two more goals allowed on the penalty kill and that makes opponents four for the last six.
For a team that prides itself and is built on defense,that stat is not going to cut the mustard.
What on earth is Andy Greene doing? Greene's side allowed both goals on the PK.
Just a thought,is Greene trying so hard to cover for Bryce Salvador that he is making his coverages vulnerable?
I hope so,because the other alternative is that Andy Greene has suddenly gone bad after signing a long term contract...

4) Goal and an assist for Adam Henrique,Nice night for the Henrique line in general..

5) Adam Larsson made his season debut and I would say that he looks tentative when handling the puck,but it's understandable.
I have sometimes been accused of being a Larsson apologist,but the guy is afraid to make a mistake because if he does-he sits down.
Eric Gelinas sat in favor of Larsson and who knows what Peter DeBoer is going to decide for Friday's scratch,but this is not how you develop a defenseman,

6) I did like some of the offense,I thought Damian Brunner drove the net well,especially on the play that resulted in Jaromir Jagr's first goal of the season,which started with Brunner and I thought some of the play late in the third period was very good in creating chances.
However,there still isn't enough of that and too much of the hockey version of standing around shooting long range bombs.

7) Finally this-the atmosphere was lacking for a Ranger game.
A qualifier-I don't go to Devils games.
I don't live near the team and I have never been to Newark,but it seemed like a sanitized bunch.
Although I did like the Empire theme for opponent penalties over the previous Big Girls Don't Cry,it seems like the Devils are more concerned with taking away what fans like (goal songs for one) than bringing in the die hard people that rock the house.
I watch on TV,but I came away last night with the impression that the crowd was lacking for some reason and for a Ranger game,that should not happen.

I'm still at work and I'm already wore out.
I hope to make time later today to hammer out a post for game one of the World Series...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cleaning out the inbox-Sports Version

I've been so busy with coverage that the inbox has become quite filled.
As a result,I'll be splitting the inbox into two sections,sports and non-sports,which I'll reserve for another slow day!
We start with a terrific read about the best local TV broadcasting team in baseball and the main reason that that I became a Giants fan,but it's more than a baseball article-its about friendship between Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper.
Krukow is quietly (for such an vocally upbeat guy) battling a muscle disease called Inclusion-Body Myositis that atrophies the muscles to the point of eventually requiring the use of a wheelchair.
It is nice to see that the two guys that make a team enjoyable to watch are good guys off the field as well...

Steve Wulf of ESPN looks
at the Cleveland Indians and their attempts to slowly step away from Chief Wahoo the beloved Indian logo.
Now,I am very sensitive to the Native American resentment of the Washington Redskins name and I can even see some problems with Wahoo,but I have to admit I'd miss the old guy.
Another issues for me is the dullness of the current Indians caps,the block C is painfully dull.
I could be fine with a return to the wishbone C (similar to the Reds) in either red or black as the team used in the 60's and early 70's,but the hat that I like the best that would not look like a ripoff of the Reds is the 74-78 hats.
I would like that best of all...

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an article on a player that will likely be the Ohio State quarterback three or four years down the road in Massillon quarterback Danny Clark,who is committed to OSU,despite being just a high school sophomore.
Always interesting to hear about these guys before they hit the big time....

We wrap with two different articles on the recent football boom in Mississippi.
SBNation takes a look at the differences in the fan bases at Ole Miss and Mississippi State,while Wright Thompson,a tremendous ESPN writer and Mississippi native.takes another tack in looking at the Mississippi people and how the programs affect a poor southern state's psyche....

That cleans the sports side until the next slow day when we hit the non-sports side...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Horrible Hoyer leads Browns to Florida Failure

One week after your idiotic author wrote that the Cleveland Browns may have finally turned a corner,the same old Browns showed up and chunked a clunker in Jacksonville against the formerly winless Jaguars in a 24-6 loss.
I'd like to add some offensive highlights,but other than Andrew Hawkins finishing with five catches for 112 yards-I can't find any.
The now 3-3 Browns will host Oakland next Sunday...

Brownie Bits

1) Addressing the elephant in the room,Brian Hoyer was awful.
Overthrowing receivers,unable to convert key plays,completing just 16 of 41 and generally looking overmatched.Hoyer was horrible.
Consider that and realize that it wasn't all his fault as you'll see below,but now we will see if Brian Hoyer is a building block or a blazing comet as now there is a book on how to stop him and we will see if he can make the adjustments to continue as a viable NFL starter...

2) The Browns had played well using a punishing running game,
Jacksonville put seven and eight men in the box to shut down the run and didn't bite on the Hoyer play action.
Ben Tate led the Browns with 36 yards on 16 carries,

3) More on the run.
Explain to me why in short yardage situations,why the bigger backs (Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell) seemed to be on the bench for the more dance happy Terrence West?
West attempts in the game ,after a week of being inactive,didn't exactly keep him in the hearts of Browns fans as his tippy tap running style brought more Trent Richardson to mind than Kevin Mack..

4) How many times do you hear about the value getting turnovers and it generally is true,but this game proves that isn't an absolute.
The Browns picked off Blake Bortles three times (two by Tashaun Gipson) and I thought the defense played passably although the tackling problem still exists and needs to be addressed...

5) Two plays that swung this game and can be blamed on the coaching staff and not the offense.
Number one -2nd and two at the Jacksonville 25,Browns up 6-0 near the end of the first half.
Two handoffs to Terrence West (see number three point) gain one yard,so we move to fourth and one.
Field goal makes it a two score game,Browns go for it and end the drive with a Hoyer overthrow of Jordan Cameron.

6) The other? The Browns are early in the fourth quarter down 4,but fourth and five at the Jacksonville 43.
Mike Pettine sends the punt unit out and then sends the offense back out,Jacksonville appears confused,but the Browns were just as befuddled.
Apparently,there was not a called play.Hoyer takes the snap,pitched to Ben Tate for next to nothing.
Either the ball shouldn't have been snapped or call a play.
Outsmarting yourself....

7) More coaching staff-The game is still just 10-6 Jacksonville and the Browns force another punt.
Instead of steady veteran Jim Leonhard to catch the punt,it's Jordan Poyer,who has the ball hit his facemask,Jacksonville recovers inside the ten-TD results and game over.
Fumbles happen,but A) Poyer tried to catch the ball inside the ten,usual rule is let it go from that spot and B) Why Poyer and not Leonhard?

8) You don't lose a Pro Bowl player in Alex Mack and not feel it.
This "next man up" nonsense has always made little sense to me as yes,you hope the "next man up" will play well,but if you expected that,the player usually would not be a backup.
John Greco moving to center and Paul McQuistan to guard turned Jacksonville's Sen'Derrick Marks into the second coming of Bruce Smith.
No one could block this guy and McQuistan in particular was abused by Marks.
This cannot become a trend or this is going to haunt Brian Hoyer,who struggled with time to throw all day,all season...

9) The Browns narrowly missed another momentum turner with Jacksonville leading 7-6 in third quarter play and Josh Scobee attempting a field goal.
Cleveland puts an excellent rush on and Jabaal Sheard bursts through the line for what looms as a huge block.
However,Sheard overruns the ball a bit,it sails under his armpit and wobbles through for three Jaguar points-that is typical Browns,..

10) The receivers didn't help Brian Hoyer other than the 65 yard catch and run that inflated Andrew Hawkins numbers for the day.
Other than one nice sideline catch by Taylor Gabriel,I don't remember any special efforts by the Browns pass catchers..

11) Finally,this-The Browns fan base got pretty excited last week.This game shows why you have to try to take them as close to the same as possible.
I don't want to hear about trap games.
It likely was,but true contenders avoid these traps and fans along with yes,the coaching staff got a bit cocky this week,myself included.
Pittsburgh was a great win,but the team gave back much of the gains with this loss.
Getting caught in the possibility of being 6-2 after three games against bad teams and listening to the hype,this game was a bad effort.
Moving on,time will tell if this was a minor setback or being exposed before they reach  maturity....

So Monday looks like a slow day and maybe a long overdue inbox cleaning!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Golovkin drills Rubio,Walters stuns Donaire and Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge continues in Carson California with bouts for the WBA Featherweight title and the WBA Middleweight belt along with the WBC "Interim" 160 pound title on the line...

Let's start with Gennady Golovkin,who walked through Marco Antonio Rubio in two rounds.
Golovkin destroyed Rubio like no one ever had. Rubio had been a mainstay of the lower half of the top ten/fifteen of the middleweight division for years.
Rubio had failed every time that he had challenged the elite fighters of the division having been stopped in ten by Kelly Pavlik and went the twelve round distance with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in two previous title attempts before winning one of those silly interim titles (more on that soon) against lighter competition.

In any event,Rubio lasted less than two against Golovkin,who crushed Rubio with a right hand,left uppercut and then another right hand that sent Rubio crashing to the mat.
Rubio managed to get up a hair before the ten count,but in one of those "I'm going to make it look good and protest,but I really want to pack this in" looks and the bout was stopped.

Golovkin kept his WBA middleweight title the day when Rubio couldn't make weight and Rubio vacated his WBC interim belt on the scales,but Golovkin could win that title with a win,which was easy enough.
Why is that significant?
Well,now that Golovkin has the WBC interim belt,the last line of defense for Miguel Cotto (WBC and Lineal Champ) or Canelo Alvarez (Should he defeat Cotto next year) is eliminated as sooner or later "GGG" will get his chance against one of them or they will finally be clearly exposed as ducking Golovkin rather than passing it away as for financial or promotional reasons.
Who said interim titles were all bad? I think it was me....
Golovkin is so feared that getting that interim belt may finally be his avenue to a big fight.
Andre Ward talks a good game about fighting him,but has fought just twice in three years,has promotional issues and seems less than thrilled to fight again,which considering his less than scintillating style doesn't disappoint me much.
Cotto and Alvarez are going to fight each other first for a huge payday before taking the chance of Golovkin,the unrecognized (by me) WBO title fight winner of Matt Korobov vs Andy Lee might be a target to collect another belt,but the winner isn't going to be anxious to take on GGG and then you have the AAA Al Haymon portion of the division with IBF champ Jermain Taylor,Peter Qullin and Danny Jacobs,which wants zero part of Golovkin.
Set em up and Gennady Golovkin knocks them all down-just as the game should be.

The other HBO bout saw Nonito Donaire's run finally finished as Donaire lost his WBA 126 pound title to the "regular" WBA champ Nicholas Walters.
Only in boxing can one organization have three champions in a division and one day I'll try to explain this garbage to you,but occasionally as noted above they can be a good thing accidentally.
The fight was an exciting one and well worth the watch,but what I had suspected over the last year or two finally came to pass-Nonito Donaire did not have the fire that he used to have and Nicholas Walters did.
In an exciting firefight,Walters finished Donaire in the sixth as Donaire groggily rose but was in no condition to continue.
Walters is tall for the division and has great power and a bout against Vasyl Lomachenko looks to be next on the horizon for Top Rank,who promotes both fighters.
That looks to be another good one and will continue to consolidate the featherweight division.
The bonus for this one was the extreme good sportsmanship by both fighters after the bout.
That show of respect is what our sport should be about.

In the boxing challenge,I got a point closer to R.L. Malpica as I picked Walters to win for a point,while R.L selected Donaire.
We both added two points for Golovkin's KO of Rubio and the current standings sit with R.L leading 61-59

Sharkbite! Devils lose home opener 4-2

The New Jersey Devils heavily hyped their home opener for the hockey,but just as much for their new 3D presentation for the fans as well.
Well,the presentation was tremendous.
The hockey not so much as the Devils fell behind by three goals,managed to trim the lead to 3-2 before a passing miscue allowed the San Jose Sharks to hit the empty net mere seconds after Cory Schneider left the net in a 4-2 San Jose win.
Mike Cammalleri (5) and Adam Henrique (2) scored the two New Jersey goals in the third period.
The Devils take in the Rangers on Tuesday night in their next game...

Hell Raisers

1) First off-the hype for the 3D presentation was warranted!
Easily the best introduction of its hype that I've ever seen.
I don't know how much it cost,but it was excellent....

2) Mike Cammalleri has points in every game thus far and seems to be a player with revived spirit.
I hope that he can stay off the injury list,which has always been the bugaboo for Cammalleri,but for now he seems revived.

3) Cory Schneider ranged from excellent to meh.
Schneider did turn away a penalty shot against Tommy Wingels,but the goals by Logan Couture and especially Patrick Marleau looked stoppable in my opinion...

4) Was nice to see a Devil drop the gloves after not many brawls last season as Jordan Tootoo swapped bombs with Andrew Dejardins.
I've never been in favor of carrying one dimensional fighters,but it's always nice to have a player that is willing to swing away and still play a little...

5) The Devils have always been a team that thrived on killing penalties,but this year the Devils have struggled when down a man.
Two Shark goal were on their power play and both times Bryce Salvador was on the ice.
The slow and seemingly always a step behind the play veteran has been a liability that the Devils cannot continue to carry,
Taking a cut out of his penalty killing time would be a good start in correcting that issue...

Editor's Note;
6) This is a late addition,but I did want to add that Eric Gelinas,a guy that cannot afford to have a bad game did so,with a penalty takedown that led to a penalty shot and made the sloppy crossice pass that resulted in the mentioned above empty net goal.
When you are one of several young d-men and then in the sub-group that the coach doesn't seem to care for,games like Gelinas had against San Jose can not happen.
Unless you like watching games from the suite area.....

Back later with Gennady Golovkin's latest KO and more from the boxing world..

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Welcome to the Big Ten-Buckeyes rout Rutgers 56-17

The Ohio State Buckeyes started fast and never looked back as the Buckeyes ripped the other new kid on the Big Ten block just as easily as the first and whipped the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 56-17 at the Big Horseshoe in Columbus.
J.T.Barrett was the star of the show with 3 touchdowns through the air and two more on the ground.
Barrett threw for 261 yards and rushed for 107 more for quite a day of total offense as Ohio State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes will travel to State College next Saturday and the waiting Penn State Nittany Lions..

Olentangy Offerings

1) J.T,Barrett was phenomenal in this win and yes,I did hear the word Heisman from Chris Spielman a time or two.
Let's not put the cart before the horse though and consider who he is beating.
The opponents since the loss to Virginia Tech aren't exactly murderers row,although Maryland looks
better today with their win over Iowa.
Let's wait a few weeks and the Michigan State game before we put Barrett in the Heisman race...

2) Barrett does not have the pure speed of Braxton Miller,but he does run with a bit more power than Miller does.
Running style wise reminds me more of a Tim Tebow type than a fleet footed Miller..

3) Two more sacks for Joey Bosa.
That's about usual for Bosa against weaker teams,so no surprise there...

4) The bump and run fumble recovery and touchdown by Eli Apple has to especially sting Rutgers as Apple is from New Jersey,
Apple is the type of recruit that until Rutgers can keep players of that caliber home that they will struggle to compete in this league.

5) It was garbage time in a long decided game,but Evan Spencer's one handed snare of a Barrett pass over the middle for a score should appear on all sorts of highlights this week.

6) Barrett does know how to spread the ball around as Barrett completed passes to nine different players with no players catching more than four.

7) Is it possible to lose when your kicker kicks eight times as many extra points more than your punter punts?
Yes,.but you better plan on hanging 60 points on the board against them.

8) Ohio State didn't prove much in this one other than they keep on rolling.
Penn State on the road might be a test simply playing in front of a hostile crowd,which is a nice test for the real adventure at Michigan State.
Considering the way things are falling for the college world,an impressive win over the Spartans and run of the table could put OSU in the final four.
Who would have thought that a month ago???