Friday, October 31, 2014

Devils finally win a shootout! Josefson grounds Jets!

Michael Ryder tied the game late in the third period (2) to wake the New Jersey Devils from an offensive slumber.
Jacob Josefson took care of the rest as the Swede scored the only goal in the shootout and gave the Devils two points in a 2-1 win that saw the team win their first shootout since the 2012-13 season.
Cory Schneider had 24 saves in the win.
The Devils next face Columbus on Saturday in a game that I might not have coverage of due to Ohio State football....

Hell Raisers

1) Cory Schneider might have played his best game all season.
He just missed on saving his only allowed goal and was sharp otherwise.
Encouraging to see him bounce back after the Pittsburgh debacle...

2) So who is to blame for that goal? Try the matchup of Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky,who got back on a breakway and then allowed Blake Wheeler to split them for the goal.
Peter DeBoer realized the error and split the two up,but the damage was done.
Perhaps the two could have been paired together in the past,but at this point in their career-it's a bad match.
Salvador was moved with Adam Larsson,while Zidlicky teamed with Jon Merrill

3) Jacob Josefson may have seemed like a surprise pick for the shootout,but in hindsight-it does look like his skills are a good fit.
Easy to say that now,but of the Devils whopping four shootout goals last year,Josefson did have one of them...

4) Player of the night might not have been any of the three mentioned-That's because it was Damon Severson,who broke up a 3 on 1 and a 2 on 1 on plays that had either scored would have ended the game.
I was dubious of adding another young defenseman to find playing time for,but thus far Damon Severson has been the surprise player of the season...

5) The Devils used Adam Larsson over Eric Gelinas and I thought Larsson played very well.
Larssn showed a bit more of physical play than usual and made smart decisions with the puck.
It's amazing what happens when young players get ice time.....


Won't be no 82-0

The game could never equal the hype,but no one (me included) saw the New York Knicks ,coming off a home opening loss,traveling to Cleveland and upsetting the Cavaliers in the homecoming of LeBron James 95-90.
The Knicks didn't turn the ball over and managed to have an answer each time the Cavaliers scraped their way back into the game.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 22 points with Kevin Love adding a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds.
LeBron James finished with 17 points but on a poor shooting night of 5 of 15 for the game.
Cleveland hits the road to Chicago and the Bulls tomorrow night.....

Swashbucklings

1) LeBron James was bad for him.
Eight turnovers and six of his 17 points at the line.
James looked to me to make one error in judgement-he didn't drive to the basket.
When James doesn't drive to the basket,he doesn't build up early fouls and the defense has to respect the drive and allow the uncontested jumper.
Didn't happen tonight...

2) Not a lot of help from the bench-just 12 points with six each from Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova.
That is going to put pressure on the starters for more minutes.
Let's see how that plays out as the season moves on.

3) Shawn Marion and Mike Miller are expected to be the keys to the second unit.
Neither scored a point and Miller saw just three minutes of play,
Interesting to watch...

4) Kevin Love finished with 19 points,but 12 of them came in the first quarter and often Love seemed isolated from the offense.
That's going to come in time.,

5) For all the hype of the David Blatt offense,I saw a lot of confusion and standing around.
Tons of pick and rolls and everything but what the offense was said to be.
It's game one,but Blatt looked a bit overcome by the moment.

6) Loved all the hype and pregame intros,but I could have done without the Spike Lees and Justin Biebers being around.
Some of that is part of being the best,but somehow I don't see this around the San Antonio Spurs...

7) This game looks bad and it was,but the bigger game is against the Bulls on the road.
Chicago is the only threat to the Cavaliers in the Eastern conference and this game can set the stage for future battles.

8) Anderson Varejao's game is hustle and yet I often saw him out-hustled a bit.
Perhaps that was confusion and will adjust over time,but again something to watch,..

Back later with the Devils win over Winnipeg

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tonight,we're gonna take no prisoners-a Cleveland Cavaliers preview

The phrase above is from the song "Tonight's the Night' which was used by the Cleveland Cavaliers as a fight song in the Orange and Blue years with Mark Price and the group at the Richfield Coliseum in the early 90's,but the lines from that song (except replace orange and blue with wine and gold) make me think of this years Cavaliers-a team that has the capability of yes,winning the NBA title..

We'll start up front with the forwards,which should be the strength of the franchise with the return of the game's best player in LeBron James at small forward.
James and the skills that he brings to the table are clearly not needed for me to expand upon as without James none of this would be currently happening for the Cavaliers.
Anytime that you have the best player in the world on your side,the only thing that you have to worry about is injury.
The Cavaliers imported Shawn Marion from Dallas to add depth to the small forward position,is one of the top defenders in the league and brings underrated offensive skills as well.
Marion is 36 and the team would be well suited to regulate his minutes as best as possible to save his legs.
James buddy and long range shooter James Jones may not see large amounts of PT during the regular seasn,but shooters tend to find more playing time in the postseason.

Kevin Love brings a terrific player to Cleveland from Minnesota and he had better considering the cost (the incandescent Andrew Wiggins for one).
Love brings a shooter that can score in the low post and adds one of the best rebounders in the game as well.
Love adds to Cleveland what Chris Bosh brought to the James-led Heat teams and even more.
Matchup issues with Kevin Love plagued teams in the past,imagine what will trouble them with having to worry about LeBron James as well.
Tristan Thompson will be the second team anchor as he will be the key backup to Love at power forward and Anderson Varejao at center.
Thompson should thrive in this role rather than being a player to depend on with the first unit.
Veteran Lou Amundson will be the energy player that hustles a lot and challenges for the team lead in bumps and bruises...

Anderson Varejao won the starting center spot over Tristan Thompson in training camp and his rebounding and hustle will mesh well with Kevin Love.
The issue with Varejao ,as always,will be can he stay healthy?
If he can,the Cavaliers will be good enough in the paint,if not,look for Cleveland to be forced to make some kind of a move.
Varejao is somewhat undersized,so he could wear down under the pounding and his all over the court play.
Veteran Brendan Haywood will backup Varejao and will be able to help against slower and more physical players.
Never an offensive presence,Haywood will add some situational rebounding and occasional shot blocking to the second unit.
Seven foot rookie Alex Kirk made the team as an undrafted free agent from New Mexico and could develop into a defensive specialist with some development...

Kyrie Irving is the only returning member of the new "Big Three" and is the youngest as well."
Irving brings about what you could ask for in the newer NBA era as he can pass or shoot.
As with Anderson Varejao,the concern is about keeping Irving on the floor as he has battled injuries in each of his professional seasons.
If he can do that,Irving brings all sorts of options and is the team leader in training.
Matthew Dellavedova was a surprise last season to make the team and became a fan favorite.
The tough defending high motor player will back up Irving and will bring a different look to the second team when Irving rests.
Well traveled veteran A.J.Price made the team as a needed third point guard with Irving's injury questions.
I wish that the team had thought about keeping John Lucas III,but Price fits the same slot...

Dion Waiters brings the type of offensive potential that reminds me of the old Detroit Pistons Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson.
Waiters hasn't always meshed well with Kyrie Irving on the floor,but with LeBron James things should change as the offense will run through him,allow Waiters to focus on scoring and maybe unleash Waiters as a top offensive threat in the league..
Mike Miller will see plenty of time as an outside threat from beyond the three point line.
Miller is an underrated defender and rebounder as well and brings a lot of the "veteran leadership" that is always wanted by teams.
Second rounder Joe Harris of Virginia reminds me of a young Mike Miller and should add shooting to loosen up the paint...

If the Cavaliers can stay reasonably healthy,they should be a lock for 60 wins and maybe as high as the high 60's.
I would say they should be the Eastern Conference favorite and should be in the finals.
Anything short of an Eastern Conference final trip would be considered as a huge disappointment,but I doubt that'll happen.
The Western Conference is stronger,so the weaker East should result in more wins.
This season is what long time Cavalier fans have been waiting for and I cannot wait to get the ball tipped off!

No Doubt Who's the Best-Bumgarner finishes Kansas City! Giants World Champions!

The San Francisco Giants did enough against Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie to overcome the Royals bullpen and Madison Bumgarner entered the game with most expecting him to give two or three innings of work coming off a complete game just two days ago.
Instead,they got five innings of shutout pitching to earn a save and the result gave the Giants a 3-2 win and the World Championship in the game seven win...
Jeremy Affeldt was the winning pitcher after entering the game in relief of Tim Hudson in the second and pitching two and a third innings and keeping the Royals off the scoreboard..
The Giants started the second inning with consecutive singles by Pablo Sandoval,Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt before scoring two runs on sacrifice flies by Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford.
Kansas City would even the game in the bottom of the inning off of Tim Hudson,who was sent from the game with two out with Alex Gordon bringing home one run on a double and Omar Infante scoring Gordon on a sac fly to tie the game up.
San Francisco would score the series winning run in the fourth inning as Michael Morse singled home Pablo Sandoval for the deciding run against Kelvin Herrera and tagging starter Jeremy Guthrie with the loss...

Giant Steps

1) What more can be said about Madison Bumgarner?
Five shutout innings and only two hits on two days rest.
First pitcher in World Series history to record a five inning save.
That is called being a gamer and the Giants are going to have this throwback pitcher for a long time to come.
Madison Bumgarner might be the most deserving MVP of a World Series in a long time...

2) Key play of the game?
Joe Panik's diving stop of Eric Hosmer's seemingly up the middle base hit,flipping the ball to Brandon Crawford with his glove to force the mercurial Lorenzo Cain and then Crawford getting Hosmer at first (after a replay appeal) to end a Royals threat in the third.
Panik's callup from Fresno was the addition to the Giants lineup that they needed to solidify after running through everyone from soup to nuts all season before Panik....

3) Hosmer might have been safe had he ran through the bag instead of trying to slide into first.
Didn't he learn anything in Little League?
Where have you gone,Jason Hamby???

4) Key play number two-Pablo Sandoval tagging up to move to third on a Brandon Belt flyball to left.
That allowed Sandoval to trot home on Michael Morse's single instead of trying to score from second for the run that won the series.
You don't expect slow runners to tag at second on a flyball to left,but hustle won this day,,,

5) Give plenty of credit to Jeremy Affeldt for getting the Giants to Madison Bumgarner.
Affeldt closed the door on Tim Hudson's mess in the second with no further damage and added two more innings.
Don't forget to give Affeldt his due for pitching more than he is used and doing so effectively in the clutch...

6) The scary play was the Alex Gordon hit in the ninth.
Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco were playing back in "No Doubles" position,but Blanco forgot to keep the ball in front of him and the ball rolled to the wall.Perez then kicked it and I thought there was a chance that Gordon would try to score.
The play would have certainly have been close and what a play to possibly end a series on!

7) In most other World Series,the MVP would have been Pablo Sandoval,who had three hits in game seven,hit well and played strong defense.
Sandoval is now a free agent and either the Giants or someone else is going to have to pony up at the bargaining table to bring home the panda

8) Bruce Bochy might have punched his ticket to Cooperstown as a manager.Three world titles and the tenth to do that feat.
All of the other nine are in the Hall of Fame...

9) You can make the argument that this one has an asterisk because of the wild card and I might agree,but you play by the rules of the game at the time they are played.
Bochy frustrates me at time,but he's in when he's ready to quit....

10) People have been critical of Ned Yost's tactics all through the post-season and the SABR crowd kills him and I think it's deserved,but you cannot deny his class as he was extremely gracious and kind after such a tough loss.
I might not want Ned Yost as my manager,but as the face of my organization? Anytime...

11) Very happy for former Hagerstown Suns on the team,but especially Michael Morse,who was a Sun for two games a few years back.
Morse didn't big league anyone on his Hagerstown rehab stint,spent time with the fans inside and outside the stadium and I'm very happy for him...

12) Now Bud Selig is officially gone and I'd like to thank him in Battlin' Bob style.
Thanks for screwing up everything that you touched!

13) I'll take the championship,but I still hate the wild card.
I know the Giants are nowhere to be found without it and I'm happy about the title,but the wild card still feels wrong to me...

14) Give some credit to Bruce Bochy for playing Juan Perez in left for Travis Ishikawa,
The Giants lost some hitting,but Perez's long running catch in Madison Bumgarner's first inning saved a run and changed the complexion of the game.
I doubt Ishikawa makes that catch in the massive Royals outfield and that might have saved the game.

15) Finally,I'm happy.
I'm happy because I've become invested in this franchise over the last ten years and I feel even more a part of it than 2012 and especially 2010.
That said,a Giants title is joyful,but I don't know if I could keep it together if the Indians ever won one..
I like the National League game better and watch more Giants games,but the Indians still rank as number one in my heart even through dull rosters,boring uniforms and prepping to kill off Chief Wahoo.
Maybe someday.....

Back later with the Cavaliers season preview....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pounded in Pittsburgh,Devils crushed 8-3

The New Jersey Devils started fast-as in a goal nine seconds into the game fast as Dainius Zubrus zipped a shot (2) past Marc-Andre Fleury for the quick lead.
The Devils looked to be on the way as goals by Jacob Josefson (1 shorthanded) and Tuomo Ruutu (2) in the first five minutes of the second period had given New Jersey a 3-1 lead.
Little did we know that was as good as things would get as the Pittsburgh Penguins would score seven (yes SEVEN) unanswered goals on the way to a 8-3 win in Pittsburgh,
Cory Schneider hit the showers early and Scott Clemmensen mopped up in a disheartening final period.
The Devils host Winnipeg on Thursday...

Hell Raisers

1) The final 35 minutes of game time seemed to be interminable and not just because my moronic neighbor decided to invite an equally idiotic friend over to bang the drums while he played the guitar.
Between those two jackasses,seven goals and a pounding headache,I was looking forward to going to work for goodness sakes!

2) It was nice to see Jacob Josefson convert a breakaway for a shorthanded goal.
Josefson rarely converts those opportunities and perhaps this could help his confidence some.

3) Cory Schneider was bad in goal.
Schneider's inability to find the puck led to the first goal and whiffed on the third and fourth goals.
Just a bad night.No excuses.Just have to hope that it happens less often...

4) Three more power play goals allowed.
Bryce Salvador on the ice for at least two of them.
Bleech.

5) Mike Cammalleri out with a jaw injury and Reid Boucher called up from Albany.
Cammalleri's jaw isn't broken,but no word on his status for the Winnipeg goal.

What a grind this was.I'll be back tonight with Game Seven and time permitting a Cavaliers preview

Two blowouts,yet a good day

Today was one of those simple days that made me not think about sports and it's a good thing too as the Giants were crushed in game six of the World Series and the Devils were pounded in Pittsburgh by the Penguins,
I may be back later with a review of the Devils defeat,but then again maybe not-I might just let these two ride.

Devil's Backbone State Park was one of the two closest parks to my childhood home growing up.
Both of them being a bike ride away,albeit a long bike ride,I occasionally would go to one or the other,but I always preferred Devil's Backbone.
So yesterday after discovering just how super the weather was going to be,instead of going out for our weekly lunch with the lovely Cherie,we decided for a simple picnic lunch with a turkey sandwich on wheat (no cheese and yes,I know) with a few chips from the greatest mixture known to man-Jones Salt and Vinegar (I still have them from my parents trip out weeks ago) from Ohio and the local Gibble's red hots.

I haven't been there in years,but Cherie suggested that for lunch and other than the pictured man-made waterfall and bridge,the place hasn't changed much and no,that's not me in the picture!
I wouldn't even know how to cast a line and even though I'd be more likely to fish than hunt,I'd doubt any prowess at either.
We just spent lunch talking about various topics-family,sports,Kindle Fire and how the e-book world will affect the physical copy and memories that you share after 27 years together.

It wasn't that you did anything special that was costly or a long trip,it was being with the person that you care about most and just sharing things.
Perhaps not the most interesting blog post to the outside,but one that you need to write every once in a while.
This is after all more than a sports blog and giving credit to the person that means the most to me needs to be noted once in a while.
You don't have to go to London to have a great day with the one you love most...

I may be back later with the Devils loss in Pittsburgh or maybe not,but I'll have a look at Game Seven of the World Series after tonight's game.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cooking in the TRS Kitchen

A new series for some of you to either give a try or get some help with your kitchen work.

I'm going to occasionally start with some recipes from either Cherie's kitchen or from some other friends and even from cruising the net...

Today,we will start with a very basic recipe that I just served (and Cherie made) at a recent work meeting that was a huge hit and pretty easy to make..
It's a chicken salad that can be thick enough to be used as a dip and light enough for sandwiches if you prefer.
Keep in mind,that you can stick to the basics or add stuff that I (or you) like .
For me,I might add dill relish,green pepper,onion etc or for a buffalo chicken salad,some Frank's (or your preferred hot sauce) would add some zip if you wanted to go that way..

1 large can of chicken (located in the tuna section) or you could use chicken of your choice
1 block of cream cheese
1 packet of dry ranch dressing.
Other optional items.

Mix well and it will get a bit thick.
Simple and easy to make that anyone can do it.
The taste is pretty good too....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sloppy perhaps,but Browns still defeat Raiders.

It may have not been the most visual win ever and it certainly was not the most exciting,but a win counts the same either way and the Cleveland Browns earned a victory in the W column with a 23-13 triumph over the Oakland Raiders by Lake Erie.
Both Cleveland touchdowns came in the final quarter to burst the dam open and put the game away.
Andrew Hawkins caught a four yard pass from Brian Hoyer for one score and Ben Tate slammed up the middle from five yards out for the final touchdown.
Billy Cundiff was three for three on field goals earlier in the game to account for the rest of the Browns points.
Cleveland improved to 4-3 and will host Tampa Bay next Sunday...

Brownie Bits

1) I walked away from this one with a disappointing feeling competing with good feelings.
Disappointed that the Browns didn't have a great game,but feeling good because they didn't have a good week against Jacksonville and lost.
Sometimes progress isn't always when you play well.

2) The play of the game is shown above as Donte Whitner's pop on Darren McFadden ended a Raider drive that could have given them the lead (9-6 Browns at the time) and sparked the Browns to scoring their two touchdowns of the day.
Whitner's hit sent the ball flying right to Joe Haden,who returned the ball 34 yards.
That is the type of play that Whitner was signed to provide and he was able to give in this game...

3) The defense looked the best that it has all season in the win,although before getting too excited consider the competition.
Still the pass rush was improved and the secondary had a nice day.
Progress comes in small steps.

4) Paul Kruger had three sacks,a forced fumble and several hurries of Derek Carr and clearly was too much for the man blocking him,
I don't think Kruger is ever going to be an elite pass rusher,but I bet he can have the production of one if paired with another effective pass rusher....

5) Justin Gilbert is beginning to show why he was the highest rated corner (By me at least) and had his second straight solid game.
Cornerback is the toughest position in the league to step in right away and there are going to be struggles with any young player at the position,
I hope that this is just the beginning for Justin Gilbert...

6) Second straight week for a less than strong running game and I am growing concerned.
If you struggle to run against the Jaguars and Raiders (29th against the run)
,what will happen against better opposition?
Could this be on the line? Sure, to a degree.
The Browns just lost an elite center for the season in Alex Mack and you won't replace that this season,so of course the line isn't what it was,but they had better figure something out....

7) However,the runners aren't doing their part either
Ben Tate did score a touchdown,but averaged under two yards a carry for the game on fifteen carries and Terrence West added only eleven on seven totes.
What's missing on that? Isaiah Crowell,who caught one pass and carried the ball once for a yard.
Kyle Shanahan,who said three backs was a nice problem to have earlier in the season,recently said he wished one would break out of the pack.
Tate is the guy getting the action for now,but who knows who it will eventually be...

8) Another less than sterling performance from Brian Hoyer.
I like Hoyer,I do,and I'm not screaming for Johnny Manziel either.
Yet.
Hoyer was more accurate in this one (19 of 28) and he didn't get intercepted,but still too many erratic throws and too many drives ending in field goals.

9) A real cheap shot by Brandian Ross of the Raiders,who KO'ed Jordan Cameron with Cameron down on the ground after his only catch of the game.
Cameron left the game after the 21 yard gain with a possible concussion.
The Browns need to be gaining weapons,not losing them...

10) I came away impressed with Derek Carr in the loss for Oakland.
I thought he stayed in the pocket despite the rush and finished with over 300 yards despite limited weapons.
If the Raiders can keep him healthy,they might have found a winner in Carr......


Bumgarner Dominance puts Giants one game away!

Madison Bumgarner continued to show why fans may look back at the 2014 postseason as the year of MadBum as the Giants lefthander tossed a complete game shutout in the final game of the season at AT&T Park in giving San Francisco a 5-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Brandon Crawford finished with three runs batted in to lead the San Francisco offense.
The Giants can become the world champions for the third time in five years with one victory in Kansas City.
Game six will feature a rematch of the second game with Jake Peavy for the Giants and Yordano Ventura for the Royals...

Giant Steps

1) Madison Bumgarner might be the best big game pitcher since Bob Gibson.
That is a heavy statement to make,but it is at least worth considering.
0.29 ERA in four World Series starts and add that to the playoff games and he's the best.
Take that,Clayton Kershaw!

2) Juan Perez broke the game open in the eighth with a two run double off the wall and this might sound maudlin,but sometimes these things happen for a reason.
Perez was good friends with the Cardinals Oscar Taveras,who was killed in a car accident earlier in the day and was told during the game.
Perez broke down in the dugout and the normally light hitting outfielder came through in the clutch.
Funny how often that works out,isn't it?

3) Brandon Crawford with three RBI? Another stat that one would not expect.
Crawford plays for his glove,but he seems to see the ball well against James Shields...

4) Conflicting stats- team that wins game five when a series is tied at 2-2 is 27-14 overall.
Team that leads the series 3-2,but travels to the other city for the final two games are 2-8 since 1982.

5) More Bumgarner numbers? Check this article out of Jayson Stark's file.
Dominating.

6) AT&T Park was loud last night in the final game there all season and it deserved to be.
The Giants have given lots of memories and this was a great way to send things out.
See you all Tuesday for game six!

Back later with a look at the Browns ugly win (but still a win) against the Raiders....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ohio State slinks out of Happy Valley with 2 OT win 31-24

The Ohio State Buckeyes rolled over the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first half to the tune of 17-0 and quieted the white out crowd in Happy Valley.
The problem was that in the second half,the Buckeyes just rolled over and with a few seconds to go in the second half,Penn State kicked a field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime in front of a suddenly aroused crowd.

However,the Buckeyes managed to awaken from their slumber long enough to score both times that they had the ball in overtime and Joey Bosa personally ended the game in overtime with a play that had to be seen to be believed as Ohio State escaped with a 31-24 two overtime win.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for over 100 yards and a score,while J.T.Barrett threw for a touchdown and rushed for both of the OSU scores in the pair of overtimes.
Ohio State improves to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes will host Illinois next Saturday night in their last game before the big showdown vs Michigan State.....

Olentangy Offerings

1) The game ending "throw/stampede" by Joey Bosa,where he basically ran over/tossed the blocker into Christian Hackenberg to end the game is the type of play that you generally see on old NFL Films highlights.
Bosa has to be a contender for the Outland and Lombardi trophies this year and should be the morning line favorite next season for those two awards.

2) I have to give Penn State and their crowd credit-they were loud and proud (of what I have no idea) and the "We are" bunch certainly packs their place,but I have one question-How smart do you look to have a "white out" when your team wears blue for the game??

3) To the white elephant err Lion in the room-the officiating.
Now Vonn Bell's interception clearly hit the ground and should have been overruled,but supposedly there were issues with the replays available to the officials.
Cannot blame them for that,although you could have called it right in live action.
The time expiring before Sean Nuernberger's 49 yard field goal was another botched call.
Not a good night,but....

4) There were some blown calls that went the Penn State way as wel,l most notably a very soft roughing the passer call on Curtis Grant on the drive that saw Penn State tie the game.
Big 10 officiating has always been less than strong historically and that has not gotten any better in 2014..

5) J.T. Barrett was very effective running between the tackles where Penn State was supposedly strongest entering the game.
Barrett is more of a power runner than Braxton Miller was and that is much effective against defensive tackles,where the bulkier defenders resides.

6) Barrett was less than impressive passing though as he finished with just 75 yards and no pass completed of 15 yards or more.
Some of that was due to the next point,but Barrett certainly was nothing to get excited about on this night with his arm...

7) Barrett might not have been great,but much of this reminded me of the Virginia Tech loss where the coaching staff reined the calls in,became one dimensional and didn't try to make plays.
Remember the adage-when you play not to lose,you often do.

8) Ezekiel Elliott might not be Carlos Hyde,but he's pretty dependable and I think he'll be even better next seasn when this offensive line is improved.
Elliott always runs hard,is willing to stick his nose in and block and doesn't need to be taken out on third downs.
I like Elliott and hope he doesn't get overlooked because he isn't Carlos Hyde...

9) The offensive line was better in the first half than the second like the rest of the team,but they might have been the key difference in losing the lead.
The line didn't open the same holes for Ezekiel Elliott and really didn't give J.T. Barrett a ton of time in the pocket either.
Penn State's defense is far better than their offense,but the line will need to pick up their play against Michigan State.

10) I really like the young linebackers and think that they will be even better with experience.
Joshua Perry had a terrific night against Penn State and Darron Lee was strong as well.
Between these two,Ohio State will be back to having a dominant linebacking corps in no time..

11) In conclusion.I usually like Brad Nessler as a play by play man,but he seemed awfully one sided doing this game.
Perhaps it rubs off from being paired with former Nittany Lion quarterback Todd Blackledge,but last night was not one of Nessler's better performances....

Giants rally past Royals and tie World Series

The San Francisco Giants fell behind early as the dealings of starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong were either hammered or could not find the strike zone.
After the Royals had batted in three innings,the Giants were on the ropes,down 4-1 and Vogelsong gone from the contest,
Things looked bleak and Twitter was blowing up (Me too,but mine was a bit different) ,but ten runs and a seemingly never ending flow of singles later.the Giants had an 11-4 victory and a stunning tie of the series at 2-2.
Yusmerio Petit was the winner after bailing Vogelsong out with three innings of scoreless relief.
The series concludes its San Francisco portion tonight with a rematch of game one with Madison Bumgarner for the Giants against James Shields for the visiting Royals...

Giant Steps

1) What was I screaming about on Twitter when most were throwing in the towel for the series?
It wasn't that.I still had faith,I was hollering about the decision to Ryan Vogelsong.
The mediocre righty may have walked just one batter,but his command was way off and that forced him to come in with fat pitches to overcome problems in the count.

2) Yusmerio Petit continues to come up big in his breakout season.
Petit has so often bailed the Giants out when needed the most and he did so again in this game.
Petit should have every opportunity to join the Giants rotation next season in my opinion...

3) Hunter Pence finished with three hits and three RBI and continued to be the media darling of the series with his style of play and image.
Pence can be a frustrating player to watch over the course of the season with his wild swings and undisciplined play,but he is one of those players that I think could have slipped comfortably into any era of baseball.

4) The Royals may have done the Giants a favor in starting Jason Vargas.
Vargas is a bit of a soft tosser and the Giants tend to do best against those types of pitchers.
Now the question is-can the Giants win two of three against pitchers that throw a bit harder..

5) Key hit?The two run single by Pablo Sandoval to break the four all tie in the sixth.
Sandoval may be winding his Giants career down (free agent),but he will be missed for his clutch play...

Sorry for the shortness of this post,Another long night at work and a bit brain muddled.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Royals take Game Three 3-2

The sixth inning featured four of the five runs that were scored in the game,but the run in the first inning is what made the difference as the Kansas City Royals took a two games to one game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the World Series with a 3-2 win in San Francisco.
Eric Hosmer's single off of Javier Lopez in the sixth was the actual winning run to boost the Royals to a 3-0 lead  before the Giants would trim the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning for the eventual final score.
Game 4 is Saturday night with Ryan Vogelsong for the Giants against Jason Vargas for the Royals...

Giant Steps

1) Full points to Eric Hosmer for the game winning hit and he deserves it after hanging in there for eleven pitches against LOOGY Javier Lopez.
That's exactly what you hope for in those situations...

2) Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals didn't strike out a batter or walk one.
Putting the ball in play? Um,yeah.

3) Great defensive play by the Royals has been a consistent theme in this postseason and Lorenzo Cain made two sharp plays in the outfield.
I may not have liked it,but this team is very slick with the leather...

4) The Royals bullpen has been outstanding and that continued in this game as the bullpen did not give a hit up after Jeremy Guthrie was removed from the game.
If the Giants are going to pull this series out,they will need to do better against the Royals starters,which are their achilles heel.

5) Tim Hudson had his highlights,but for the second straight game,Bruce Bochy might have tried to squeeze an extra inning out of a pitcher that might have been better served pitching less.
Hudson allowed just four hits and I generally am not a fan of burning relievers so early,but in the cases of some of the Giant starters,the quicker hook might have been a better idea to consider in this series when you look at the difficulties against the Kansas City bullpen,...

Another shootout starts with same finish-Devils lose to Stars

The New Jersey Devils had a chance to set the agenda in their first shootout of the season.
What they did was return to the old ways as they were quickly dispatched with two misses and Cory Schneider allowed two goals and just like that,the Dallas Stars skated away with the two points in a 3-2 shootout win.
Eric Gelinas and Damien Brunner each scored their first goal of the season for the New Jersey goals.
The Devils will travel to Ottawa tomorrow night.
There will likely be no coverage of that due to the World Series and Ohio State playing at the same time...

Hell Raisers

1) Hate to start with the shootout issues already,but Cory Schneider did not look good in his two goals allowed and tell me why Jaromir Jagr,who has professed his dislike and lack of skill in the shootout is shooting second???

2) None of this matters if Cory Schneider stops the second goal off the stick off Patrick Eaves on a very stoppable shot that should have been a routine save.
Of all the reasons that this game was lost,I might circle that play on the scoresheet as the reason for this loss.
You simply cannot have your number one goaltender make those type of mistakes.

3) Damian Brunner's tying goal was looked at for quite a while after the net went off the moorings,but the bigger factor was the hand pass by Patrik Elias.
Problem was that cannot be looked at on replay and even if so it might have went off Kari Lehtonen to begin with,so it was still legal...

4) Bryce Salvador did well in a fight with Antoine Roussel that was pretty entertaining.
Exactly the type of fight that goes well with the game and not the "pro wrasslin" style bouts that used to populate the landscape...

5) Eric Gelinas returned from his one game in a suit and scored the games first goal.
Gelinas would not be my first choice in this scratched defenseman race simply because of what he brings to the offense and none of the other competitors have that aspect to their game..

6) Just a thought,Zdena Chara out in Boston with a long term (not season ending) injury.
Could the Bruins be in the market for a defender and if so,could the Devils see this as a way to open up this logjam on the blueline?

7) Great to have Doc Emrick and Chico Resch back in the booth for a little while on Chico Resch night.
The Devils did a great job with honoring Chico and the best thing that he received from the team was a very nice boat.
Rachel turns and says " Isn't this the team that claims to have money problems,yet they are buying boats?"

8) Wrapping up with this-I wasn't happy getting away with just a point against the Rangers,but I feel like the Devils stole a point tonight.
Dallas was the better team and deserved two points,but New Jersey saved a point when their play was not really deserving of it.


Pigskin Picking Machine

The PPM is back on an evening that I hopefully will have three posts on.


College
Ohio State over Penn State 32-19
TCU over Texas Tech 48-31
Washington over Arizona State 43-41

Game of the week
Ole Miss over LSU 21-13

Pro
Browns over Raiders 28-23
Packers over Saints 40-34

Game of the Week
Cardinals over Eagles 30-23

Last Week: 7-2
Season:46-15

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cleaning out the inbox-Non-Sports Version

After a night of work and following a meeting at the real road office, I have a bit of insomnia to deal with.
Considering that I have time on my hands,I thought that I would bang out the promised inbox cleaning of the non-sports variety and wipe some things out...

The rare Northern White Rhino took another step closer to extinction as 34 year old Siri passed away in Kenya.
That leaves just one breeding male in the sub-species left in the world and as you can guess,when he goes,they go.
Of course there is always artificial insemination,but still that would take some luck as well.
The Southern White Rhino is not quite so endangered with 17,000 in the wild and I suppose some cross breeding could be done with some genetic material,but the pure Northern White is on its last legs.
We really are a most greedy of species....

The rare event of literally once in a million years occurs as a comet the size of a small mountain will zoom around Mars.
Siding Spring will get as close to Mars as 87,000 miles at a speed well over 100,000 miles per hour.
87,000 miles away may seem like a large distance,but it is actually only a third of the way from Earth to our moon!
Imagine how that would look in our sky!
The Oort Cloud resident makes its home on the extreme edge of the solar system and takes just that long to make a swing around the inner planets.
It will be the first chance for humanity to have an opportunity to observe just what an Oort Cloud well,anything is comprised of and could give a wealth of information on the beginnings of the solar system.
I'm sure I'll have more on this from the various Mars orbiters,rovers etc in a future inbox cleaning...

I'm super excited about next summer's flyby Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft and now I am even more excited about NASA's decision to possibly select one or more of three Kuiper (No,not Duane) Belt targets to flyby after Pluto!
The Hubble Space Telescope found these three possibilities and now it's a matter of time before which or more gets selected for a visit.
This is the type of science that I can dig into and it only makes sense to get the most value out of New Horizons as we possibly can....

Nashville and the country music world is up in arms after the parole of John Brown.
Who's John Brown?
Brown was one of two brothers that broke into and then murdered Hee Haw and Grand Ol' Opry star David "Stringbean "Akeman  and his wife after an Opry appearance in 1973.
The article in the Nashville Tennessean by Peter Cooper was very well done, interesting and I learned a lot about the case that I never knew.
I faintly remember the incident ( I was five at the time),but remember my beloved late Aunt Edna watching the show and commenting how awful it was that Hee Haw continued to show all of these taped episodes starring a dead man.
I often feel conflicted about life sentences.
Should there be hope for rehabilitation in prison? Or should life mean life not 40 years?
I see both sides and I go back and forth on things,but I lean towards life means life.
I mean,Stringbean Akeman doesn't get to return after 40 years,so why should John Brown??

Finally a goodbye to Gerard Parkes at the age of 90.
Parkes,a well known Canadian actor,was best known in the United States for playing Doc the only non-puppet on the Jim Henson produced Fraggle Rock,which always a favorite of me with both Ryan and Rachel.
Fraggle Rock was terrific children's programming and Gerard Parkes was part of the reason that it was so loved....

I plan on something special later tonight,if I get a chance from the road office!!




Five in the sixth sinks Giants in Kansas City

The San Francisco Giants had their chances to move back to AT&T Park with a two game lead,but after one bad inning left the Giants machine leaking oil,the series will return to California tied at one after the Kansas City Royals took a 7-2 decision in Kansas City.
Gregor Blanco homered in the defeat that was given to Jake Peavy.

The series returns to San Francisco Friday night with Tim Hudson on the mound for the home team and Jeremy Guthrie for the invaders...

Giant Steps

1) The Giants did get off to a nice beginning with Gregor Blanco's homer off Yordano Ventura.
A pleasant surprise that made me think that a 2-0 lead could be likely.

2) I know Yordano Ventura throws hard,I saw him first hand in Frederick and I can understand that not everyone knows or has seen him pitch,but did Fox belabor the point of how hard he throws?
Yes,I didn't need to hear every batter about how hard the ball was thrown.
In the case of Blanco,the words of my pap came back to me "the harder it comes in,the harder it goes out".

3) I've stated in the past my frustrations with Bruce Bochy's handling of a pitching staff and it came back tonight.
I would have pulled Jake Peavy after carefully pushing him through five innings,called for Yusemiro
Petit and took my chances.
Instead five different pitchers paraded through in the pivotal sixth as part of the endless matchup game.
I have an opinion on that and it'll be held for a slow day,but trust me,baseball won't speed up until these matchup issues are solved,

4) I get how pitchers can pump themselves up with words and vent frustrations as well,but Hunter Strickland needs to settle down and for that matter so does Jake Peavy.
I like Strickland as a power arm and future closer,but he needs to take better care of his emotions or he will never be the pitcher that he could be....

5) SO after a rough night-what are my thoughts on the 3 games by the bay?
I'm not going to anoint the Royals because of their bullpen today any more than I gave the Giants the series after an easy game one.
The Royals had the advantage of a rested bullpen and then a lopsided game one loss,they won't have that by the middle part of the series,keep that in mind.
The Giants on the other hand will need to get more out of a bullpen that seems to in worse trouble by the day,,,,,


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,
Yuck..

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???

Friday, October 17, 2014

Boxing Challenge!

The boxing challenge with R.L.Malpica continues after a brief hiatus from missed communications and a lack of big bouts...
R.L. currently leads 59-56 in the battle...

WBA Middleweight Title.12 rds
Gennady Golovkin vs Marco Antonio Rubio

Both picks:Golovkin KO 4

WBA Featherweight title.12 rds
Nonito Donaire vs Nicholas Walters

TRS:Walters majority
R.L: Donaire KO 7

Pigskin Picking Machine

The PPM is back for this week with plenty of big games!

College
Ohio State over Rutgers 42-21
Bowling Green over Western Michigan 35-19
Texas Tech over Kansas 44-20
Boise State over Fresno State 50-35
Oregon over Washington 31-27

Game of the Week
Florida State over Notre Dame 34-14

Pro
Browns over Jaguars 31-14
Lions over Saints 28-24
Game of the Week
Broncos over 49ers 30-20

Last Week:6-1
Season: 39-13

Devils walloped in Washington 6-2

The New Jersey Devils managed to keep things even for a period,down just one goal after two periods before a awful stretch in the third period that resulted in a 6-2 loss in Washington to the Capitals.
The sloppy third period sent Cory Schneider from the game and Scott Clemmensen in to mop up and allow the final goal.
Rookie Damon Severson scored both goals (2 and 3) for the Devils.
New Jersey finally returns home on Saturday for their home opener against the San Jose Sharks.

Hell Raisers

1) Very nice game from Damon Severson with the two goals and he narrowly missed a third.
Put that with his eight shots on net and you have a nice evening despite a loss.
I know I've been called for more playing time for Adam Larsson,but after these four games,Severson is not the guy to take PT from...

2) Cory Schneider had a bad game.
Beaten on an angle by Chris Brown was one bad goal and by a bounce off the glass and then off the back of his leg was simply sloppy.
Even the first goal by Alex Ovechkin was a stoppable shot,although his defense didn't exactly help him.
The point is he was bad,but bad games happen-let's not write him off yet.

3) Blood and guts award to Martin Havlat,who bounced off a Capital shoulder (I think Jason Chimera) and into the referee's elbow,sending Havlat to the ice and out of the game and leaving lots of blood along the way.
Havlat did not return and no word on his status for San Jose.

4) Mike Cammalleri almost continued his goal run and did continue his point streak as he assisted on one of Severson's goals,but he was downright robbed twice on glove saves by Braden Holtby.
Nifty glove work by Holtby,but encouraged by Cammalleri's continued work on the offensive end...

5) Bryce Salvador was bad again,but no matter how much we scream-he is going to play.
Like it or not and I don't,Salvador is here to stay..

6) Wasn't happy with the loss,but I'll take six of eight possible points for a season starting four game swing on the road.
Looking very forward to Saturday night!

Ishikawa blasts Giants to NLCS Gold!

Travis Ishikawa just needed a single to score the winning run from second (pinch runner Joaquin Arias) against Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha.
Instead Ishikawa blasted Wacha's offering over the right field wall for a three run homer,a 6-3 win and a trip to the World Series as the San Francisco Giants are on their way to Kansas City on Tuesday!

Joe Panik homered earlier in the game for the Giants first homer of the series in the victory.
Jeremy Affeldt was the winning pitcher after retiring the only batter he faced-Oscar Taveras with the bases loaded with Cardinals in the top of the ninth.
The Giants will now get some time off to rest until the first game of the world series in Kansas City...

Giant Steps

1) Madison Bumgarner was voted the MVP of the series,but when he left the game,Bumgarner was down 3-2.
Bumgarner deserved better though  as after he allowed the two solo shots to Matt Adams and Tony Cruz in the fourth,he would not allow another hit through the eighth.
Bumgarner allowed Bruce Bochy the flexibility to keep his roster one step ahead of Mike Matheny because he was able to keep it together and keep the Giants in the game in a non-winning effort....

2) I've not always been in step with Bruce Bochy,but I loved his move to yank Santiago Casilla in the ninth,
Casilla has been out of this world in the postseason,but it was clear that he lacked his best command in loading the bases with two out in the ninth.
Many managers (including me at times) would have danced with the pitcher that helped get you there and there would have been a case for doing just that.
Instead,Bochy called for lefty Jeremy Affeldt to face lefty Oscar Taveras,likely expecting Taveras to be pinch hit for.
Mike Matheny stuck with his rookie lefty,who tapped the ball back to Affeldt to end the threat.
Sometimes you have to know your talent and Bochy knew that Casilla was not as sharp as usual.
Great call...

3) More Matheny.
My buddy Derreck has screaming all season about what a bad manager that Mike Matheny is and since I only see the Cardinals against either the Giants or Pirates,I could only take his word for it.
In this series,Matheny mishandled his bullpen on a consistent basis,made questionable strategy moves and seemed to make panicked moves before the game brought those moves to play.
I now can see Derreck's point and have a much better appreciation for Bruce Bochy.

4) Big fan of Joe Panik from his days at Richmond as a nice guy and I spent the early part of this game flipping back and forth between the Giants and the Devils game (recap coming later today),while watching the Giants on the internet stream.
So we see Panik's homer together and I turn to Rachel and say "Joe Panik! Great guy! that should be your favorite Giant".
Quietly,she shook her head no and I asked why not?
She just turned and said softly "Ranger fan"..
Broke me up laughing!

5) So I travel to the road office and after listening to the game on the road,I killed the 10 minutes between shifts until I can flip to the game.
I see that Michael Morse is pinch hitting for Madison Bumgarner against Trevor Rosenthal,hard throwing Cardinal reliever.
Rosenthal in for Adam Wainwright after a gutsy outing from the aching St.Louis Ace.
First pitch that I see-Bang! Morse takes Rosenthal deep for the tying homer!

6) Travis Ishikawa's story has been an interesting one from Pittsburgh to Fresno to left field and the Giants.
Ishikawa botched a flyball in the first inning that made me immediately say '"the Ishikawa Gambit" as Christina Kahrl has been calling the Bruce Bochy decision on Twitter, finally works against the Giants.
Cherie asks me why they would do that to Ishikawa in the playoffs,I explained the lefthanded bat need overweighed the need for the preferred glove.
The homer by Ishikawa made the gambit a success.....

7) If I was a Cardinal fan,I wouldn't have a vitriol at all towards Michael Wacha,who allowed the game winning bomb.
Wacha had not pitched in almost a month (literally) and here was Mike Matheny putting him in the game with the season on the line.
One can not rationally think that this was going to result in a sharp outing and it wasn't,
In any job that you work with people,your entire goal is to put people in a position to succeed.
Matheny did not put Wacha in that position...

8) Travis Ishikawa's walk off homer was the second post-season walkoff in Giants history.
The first? Dusty Rhodes (Not the American Dream) in the Polo Grounds in the 1954 World Series against Cleveland.

9) Underrated play because it happened early in the game? Pablo Sandoval's leaping snare of a Jhonny Peralta drive and resulting double off of Jon Jay at second was what allowed Madison Bumgarner to settle in and get into a groove.
The Panda may not always look the part but he's far from a bad fielder at third.

10) More Panda-Sandoval's dive to get just enough of the ball hit by Kolten Wong that seemed to be a certain hit,to deflect to Brandon Crawford to get a force at second for the second out of the ninth was huge.
If Sandoval doesn't dive,the ball easily goes into left and one run scores for sure .
Who know what happens after that,but it could have ended differently.

11) I've picked against the Giants in the last two series and it resulted in the Giants winning.
I'm very tempted to pick the Royals in order to keep that string going,but that would be superstitious.
I like the Giants in six.....

Back later with a look at the Devils loss in Washington...





Thursday, October 16, 2014

Giant rally gives San Francisco Game Four 6-4

The San Francisco Giants rallied from a 4-1 deficit to overwhelm the St.Louis Cardinals in game four of the NLCS with a 6-4 victory in San Francisco.
Two runs in the third for the Giants cut a 4-1 lead to 4-3 before a three run sixth sent the Giants to the lead and a 3-1 lead in the series.
Buster Posey finished the night with three RBI to pace the Giant offense that once again took a little of this and that to pull a win out of the fire..
Yusmeiro Petit earned the win in relief of Ryan Vogelsong with Santiago Casilla firing the ninth for the save.
The Giants could clinch the series with a win tomorrow in game five.
Madison Bumgarner for the Giants against Adam Wainwright for the visiting Cardinals.

Giants Steps

1) The player of the game for the Giants was Matt Adams.
I know Matt Adams plays for the Cardinals,but his errant tosses from first base allowed the tying and eventual winning runs to score.
Adams was off balance after snaring Gregor Blanco's grounder and the result throw to home was in time but not on the money as Juan Perez tied the game.
Adams then made a nice play on Joe Panik's ball and tagged the bag,but his peg to second to complete an inning ending double play pulled Jhonny Peralta off the bag and caused Brandon Crawford to score the run that put the Giants in front for good.

2) Ryan Vogelsong just didn't have it and he was apparently early on.
Vogelsong allowed all four to the Cardinals in his three innings and honestly was fortunate to get away with just that as it took a sterling defensive stab by Pablo Sandoval to start a double play to end the first inning.

3) The relievers made the difference and bought the time that the Giants needed to gather the troops to make the run around the far turn.
Yusmeiro Petit threw the most with three innings,but five other relievers helped to keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard for the last six innings of the game.
Petit has been the surprise of the season on mound as he turned a flagging career that looked to be headed as AAA stalwart with occasional big league appearances and turned it into a strong swingman
that could be used as a 4th or 5th starter or as a workhorse long man....

4) Bruce Bochy is a good manager.
I know that seems like a given,but sometimes his style can be a frustrating one-during the season.
In October,Bochy's moves are thought out and he uses the numbers far more than the "old school" reputation that he has indicates.
For example-runners on second and first and no outs,Bochy pinch hits Matt Duffy for Petit to lay a bunt down.
Earlier in the game,Petit had failed to drop a bunt down in three attempts,so he was done for Duffy.
Bochy has Duffy move the runners over against lefty Marco Gonzales and then allowed lefties Gregor Blanco and Joe Panik both to face Gonzales.
The book move says lefty vs lefty favors the pitcher,but both Blanco (53 pts higher) and Panik (99 pts higher) hit lefties better than righties,so Bochy stood pat and got two more runs to win the game...

5) That's right-the run of runs scores without a hit continued in this game.
The Giants have scored 12 of their last 22 without a hit.
There is a term that goes along with such a stat-Team of Destiny.

6) Best part of this series? I have gotten to talk Giants baseball with Giants fans and find some common ground.
It isn't always easy being a Giants fan in the East (I only have ever met one),but talking the game has been fun with Giants fans ranging from other bloggers to Sacramento meteorologist Kristina Werner to LPGA (among other tour) commentator Kay Cockerill.
It's been really fun and I've enjoyed it.
Twitter can really make anyone the home team even if you are 3,000 miles away.

7) If this series is to end,I like the chances tonight with Madison Bumgarner vs the aching elbow of Adam Wainwright.
Ordinarily,this would be a matchup for the ages,but Wainwright's health puts the Cardinals in a state that that is weaker than normal for a start by their ace.
Hoping to wrap this up tonight and make their next trip to Missouri to the Western half,not the Eastern portion...