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Free agent pitchers are going to fly off the shelves this winter

Blogged under Bloglockers,Free Agency Previews,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Monday 28 October 2013 at 12:05 pm

Free agent pitchers are going to cash in big time this winter in Major League Baseball.  Here is where I see the best 39 pitchers available this winter landing:

RIGHTY STARTING PITCHERS:

1. James Shields, Kansas City Royals – The Royals made the easy decision to pick up Shields’ $12 million dollar club option for 2014.

2. Matt Garza, Texas Rangers – The Rangers ante up to keep Garza in the fold.

3. Hiroki Kuroda, Seattle Mariners – The Mariners ante up for Kuroda to be their #3 starter in 2014.

4. A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates – Burnett comes back for one more year.

5. Ervin Santana, Kansas City Royals – The Royals ante up to keep Santana for 2014.

6. Ubaldo Jimenez, New York Yankees – The Yankees take a shot on Jimenez, hoping that he can keep up his dominance that he showed in the second half of 2013 for the Indians.

7. Ricky Nolasco, Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays take a shot on another pitcher who was really solid for the Marlins.

8. Bartolo Colon, Texas Rangers – The Rangers outbid the A’s on a 1-year deal for Colon.

9. Bronson Arroyo, Washington Nationals – The Nationals want a solid innings eater for the back end of the rotation and Arroyo fits the bill.

10. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees – The Yankees try to stay relevant all over the world by inking Tanaka for the starting rotation.

11. Tim Hudson, Philadelphia Phillies – Tim Hudson gives the Phillies a solid replacement for the suddenly toast Roy Halladay.

12. Dan Haren, Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are looking for a workhorse type veteran for the starting rotation and they find one in Dan Haren.

13. Josh Johnson, Houston Astros – The Astros sign Johnson to an incentive laden one year deal.

14. Scott Feldman, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies find a nice starter for the back end of the rotation in 2014.

15. Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins – The Twins find a nice starter who is still young and has some upside left.

LEFTY STARTING PITCHERS:

1. Jason Vargas, New York Yankees – The Yankees get an Andy Pettitte clone style wise in Jason Vargas.

2. Scott Kazmir, Cleveland Indians – Kazmir returns to the Indians to reward them for the chance they gave him last year.

3. Joe Saunders, Minnesota Twins – Saunders is at his best pitching in big ballparks like Target Field.

4. Bruce Chen, Kansas City Royals – The Royals reward Chen for pitching well for them last year.

5. Erik Bedard, Atlanta Braves – The Braves look for a veteran for the back end of the rotation.  Bedard proved last season that he still has something left in his gas tank.

6. Paul Maholm, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies find a nice veteran for a bargain price.

CLOSERS:

1. Grant Balfour, New York Yankees – Balfour has the attitude and stuff to replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees’ closer.

2. Joe Nathan, Detroit Tigers – Joe Nathan opts out of his contract with the Rangers ($9 million bucks) and he signs with the Tigers.

3. Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays pick up their club option for 2014, valued at $4 million bucks on Janssen.

4. Fernando Rodney, Oakland A’s – The A’s get a solid closer for less money than Balfour was going to make in 2014.

5. Joaquin Benoit, Cleveland Indians – The Indians get Benoit to replace Chris Perez as their closer.

6. Brian Wilson, Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays find a closer to replace Fernando Rodney.

7. Jose Veras, Detroit Tigers – The Tigers pick up Veras $3.25 million dollar option for 2014 to serve as the set up man.

RIGHTY RELIEVERS:

1. Joe Smith, New York Mets – The Mets bring back Joe Smith.

2. Francisco Rodriguez, Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies bring in K-Rod to set up for Papelbon in 2014.

3. LaTroy Hawkins, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies get themselves a live arm for the back end of the pen.

LEFTY RELIEVERS:

1. Matt Thornton, New York Yankees – The Yankees get another big time arm to set-up in front of Grant Balfour in 2014.

2. Javier Lopez, Washington Nationals – Lopez would fill a huge need at the back end of the pen for the Nationals in 2014.

3. Scott Downs, Cleveland Indians – The Tribe gets a lefty reliever that they can trust.

4. Mike Gonzalez, Chicago White Sox – The White Sox get a nice lefty for the pen.

5. J.P. Howell, Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers re-sign Howell.

6. Boone Logan, Los Angeles Angels – The Angels get themselves a nice arm for the pen, filling a huge hole.

7. Manny Parra, San Diego Padres – Parra is a perfect fit for the Padres.

8. Oliver Perez, Houston Astros – The Astros sign Perez with the idea of dealing him next July.

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Looking into my crystal ball about free agents in Major League Baseball

Blogged under Baseball,Free Agency Previews,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Monday 28 October 2013 at 11:36 am

Looking into my crystal ball about free agency in baseball this winter, here is a look at where I see the top 46 position players landing for 2014 and beyond:

CATCHERS:

1. Brian McCann, New York Yankees – No way that the Yankees use the same motley crew at catcher for 2014.  McCann is the best catcher on the market and he has a good lefty power stroke.

2. A.J. Pierzynski, Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies need another bat, as Carlos Ruiz has faded since use some PEDs.  Pierzynski is a good fit for the City of Brotherly Love.

3. Carlos Ruiz, Texas Rangers – The Rangers need a catcher to replace Pierzynski, so they are going with Ruiz.

4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Chicago White Sox – The White Sox need a catcher badly as it was a black hole last year.  Salty is a good fit.

5. Kurt Suzuki, Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays are looking to deal J.P. Arencibia this winter and go in a new direction behind the plate.  Suzuki is a decent player who will come at the right price.

6. Dioner Navarro, Miami Marlins – Navarro is going to be looking for ABs.  There will be around 500 of them available in Miami.

7. John Buck, Seattle Mariners – Buck will be a good mentor for Mike Zunino behind the plate.

8. Geovany Soto, Tampa Bay Rays – Enough of Jose Molina already.  Soto has good power and he would be a good partner behind the plate with Jose Lobaton.

FIRST BASE:

1. Kendry Morales, Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are desperate for a DH that can hit the ball for power.  Morales would be a nice addition for the lineup.

2. Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox re-sign Napoli and give him what he’s worth this time around.

3. Justin Morneau, Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays net themselves another Canadian ballplayer to replace Adam Lind at 1B.

4. Paul Konerko, retirement – Paul Konerko does right for the White Sox by calling it quits.

5. James Loney, Pittsburgh Pirates – Loney would give the Pirates a smooth defensive 1B with a nice line drive swing.

6. Adam Lind, Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays decide to pass on James Loney’s defense for Adam Lind’s power at 1B.

7. Corey Hart, Houston Astros – The Astros get Corey Hart on an incentive laden one year deal.

8. Mike Morse, Chicago White Sox – The White Sox take a flier on Morse because of his big time righty swinging bat.

9. Lyle Overbay, Seattle Mariners – The Mariners ink Overbay to push Justin Smoak at 1B and to DH some.

10. Mark Reynolds, Milwaukee Brewers – Reynolds gives the Brewers a nice platoon partner at 1B for Juan Francisco.

SECOND BASE:

1. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees – No one will outbid the Yankees for Robinson Cano.

2. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays ante up and pick up Zobrist’s $7.5 million dollar option for 2014.

3. Omar Infante, Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles get a dependable and very solid two way player in Infante.

4. Mark Ellis, Detroit Tigers – Ellis is a perfect fit in Detroit, as he loves to get dirty.

5. Brian Roberts, Toronto Blue Jays – I can see the Jays taking a shot on Roberts on a 1-year, heavily incentive laden deal.

6. Kelly Johnson, Miami Marlins – The Marlins need help at 2B, 3B and LF and Johnson can play all of those positions while also swinging a good lefty power stick.

SHORTSTOP:

1. Yunel Escobar, Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays pick up Escobar’s $5 million dollar club option for 2014.

2. Jhonny Peralta, Pittsburgh Pirates – Peralta is not being brought to Pittsburgh for his mitt.  His power should help the Pirates’ offense.

3. Stephen Drew, New York Mets – Drew will be a nice improvement over Ruben Tejada, at least in 2014.

4. Clint Barmes, Minnesota Twins – Barmes is the Twins’ kind of player.

THIRD BASE:

1. Michael Young, Los Angeles Angels – The Angels have a hole at 3B and they give Michael Young a one year deal to play there.

2. Juan Uribe, Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox bring in Uribe to push Will Middlebrooks at 3B for 2014.

LEFT FIELD:

1. Nate McLouth, San Francisco Giants – The Giants need an improvement in LF and they get in by signing McLouth.

2. Raul Ibanez, Texas Rangers – The Rangers sign Ibanez to DH for them in 2014.

3. David Murphy, Cleveland Indians – The Indians sign Murphy to platoon in RF with Drew Stubbs.

4. Jason Kubel, New York Yankees – The Yankees take a flier on Kubel to provide some lefty power.

5. Delmon Young,  Houston Astros – Delmon Young is chasing ABs and he gets his chance for a lot of them in Houston.

CENTER FIELD:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Chicago Cubs – Theo Epstein brings Ellsbury over from the Red Sox for big bucks!

2. Shin-Soo Choo, New York Mets – The Mets are going to try to get back into the race in 2014 and it begins with Choo.

3. Coco Crisp, Oakland A’s – The A’s pick up their $7.5 million dollar option for 2014.

4. Curtis Granderson, Arizona Diamondbacks – The D-Backs need another big bat and they get one in Curtis Granderson.

5. Chris Young, Detroit Tigers – The Tigers get Chris Young to platoon in LF with Andy Dirks in 2014.

6. Rajai Davis, Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays looks to add speed back to the lineup, so they sign Davis.

7. Franklin Gutierrez, Texas Rangers – The Rangers add Gutierrez to help replace Nelson Cruz in RF.

RIGHT FIELD:

1. Carlos Beltran, Kansas City Royals – Carlos Beltran goes back to where his career started, as he gives the Royals the big bat they have been seeking for a while for RF.

2. Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners – The Mariners finally ante up for a big time hitter for the outfield.

3. Marlon Byrd, St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals sign Marlon Byrd to replace Carlos Beltran in RF.

4. David DeJesus, Cincinnati Reds – The Reds sign DeJesus as insurance in CF if Billy Hamilton isn’t ready for Prime Time.

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Get your Fantasy Basketball sleepers here!

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Fantasy Sports,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Tuesday 22 October 2013 at 4:10 pm

Everyone knows who the stars are in the NBA, but the teams that win the championship in Fantasy Basketball clean up on the sleepers.  Here are ten guys that can help you win a championship and you can take them a in the middle to late rounds of your Fantasy Basketball draft:

Jeff Green, SF, Boston Celtics – The Celtics are in a rebuilding mode and they are going to need someone to pick up the slack offensively to help replace Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.  I look for 27-year old small forward Jeff Green to be the man.  He missed the entire 2011-12 season due to heart surgery, but he came back and played well for the Celtics in 2012-13.  Green played in 81 games (17 starts) for the Celtics last year and he averaged 27.8 minutes, 12.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.  Green has now played in 396 games (280 starts) in his first five years in the NBA and he is averaging 32.4 minutes, 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Cody Zeller, PF, Charlotte Bobcats – 21-year old PF/C Cody Zeller was the Bobcats’ first round pick in last June’s NBA Draft.  He is going to start alongside center Al Jefferson to give the Bobcats a rock solid combo in 2013-14.  Zeller played in 36 games for the Indiana Hoosiers last year and he averaged 29.5 minutes, 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocked shots per game.  Zeller played in 72 games in his two years in college and he averaged 29.0 minutes, 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game.

Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Chicago Bulls – 24-year old Jimmy Butler will be the Bulls’ starting shooting guard in 2013-14.  He really broke out during the playoffs last year, subbing for an injured Luol Deng.  Butler played in 82 games (20 starts) for the Bulls last year and he averaged 26.0 minutes, 8.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 steal per game.  Butler has now played in 124 games (20 starts) in his first two years with the Bulls and he is averaging 20.1 minutes, 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game.

Samuel Dalembert, C, Dallas Mavericks – 32-year old Samuel Dalembert is a good reb0under and a very solid defensive player.  He played in 47 games (23 starts) for the Bucks last year and he averaged 16.3 minutes, 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 1.1 blocked shots per game.  Dalembert has now played in 774 games (605 starts) in his first 11 years in the NBA and he is averaging 25.2 minutes, 8.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 1.9 blocked shots per game.

JaVale McGee, C, Denver Nuggets – 25-year old JaVale McGee will be the starting center for the Nuggets this year and he is probably going to average at least 30 minutes per night.  That means that he is going to have huge rebounding and blocked shot numbers in 2013-14.  McGee played in 79 games (0 starts) for the Nuggets last year and he averaged 18.1 minutes, 9.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game.  McGee has now played in 354 games (153 starts) in his first five years in the NBA and he is averaging 20.5 minutes, 8.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 1.9 blocked shots per game.

Nick Young, SF, Los Angeles Lakers – 28-year old small forward Nick Young is going to start for the Lakers and he isn’t shy about shooting the ball.  Young played in 59 games (17 starts) for the 76ers last year and he averaged 23.9 minutes, 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.  Young has now played in 416 games (122 starts) in his first six years in the NBA and he is averaging 23.1 minutes, 11.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game.

Reggie Jackson, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder – 23-year old Reggie Jackson is going to start at point guard for at least the first four weeks of the 2013-14 season for the Thunder, due to Russell Westbrook’s knee surgery.  He will then become the Thunder’s sixth man.  Jackson played in 70 games (0 starts) for the Thunder last year and he averaged 14.2 minutes, 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.  Jackson has now played in 115 games (0 starts) in his first two years in the NBA and he is averaging 13.0 minutes, 4.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.  He did put up big numbers in the playoffs last year for the Thunder while replacing Westbrook, who was injured.

Eric Bledsoe, SG/PG, Phoenix Suns – 23-year old Eric Bledsoe was stuck behind Chris Paul with the Clippers.  But, his deal to the Suns opened up a starting job as shooting guard for him in 2013-14 and I look for him to have a big year.  Bledsoe played in 76 games (12 starts) for the Clippers last year and he averaged 20.4 minutes, 8.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game.  Bledsoe has now played in 197 games (38 starts) in his first three years in the NBA and he is averaging 19.6 minutes, 6.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Alec Burks, SG, Utah Jazz – The Jazz are in a rebuilding mode, so it makes sense for them to give 22-year old Alec Burks a shot to show what he can do with an expanded role.  Burks played in 64 games (0 starts) for the Jazz last year and he averaged 17.8 minutes, 7.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.  Burks has now played in 123 games (0 starts) in his first two years in the NBA and he is averaging 16.9 minutes, 7.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Enes Kanter, C, Utah Jazz – The Jazz decided to let Al Jefferson leave in free agency (he signed with the Charlotte Bobcats) and they are turning to 21-year old Enes Kanter at center in 2013-14.  Kanter played in 70 games (2 starts) for the Jazz last year and he averaged 15.4 minutes, 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game.  Kanter has now played in 136 games (2 starts) in his first two years in the NBA and he is averaging 14.4 minutes, 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.

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Ten guys to consider picking up off waivers this week in Fantasy Football

Blogged under Bloglockers,Fantasy Sports,Football,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Tuesday 22 October 2013 at 12:38 pm

Here is my analysis of the top ten guys to consider picking up off of waivers:

1. Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets – If the guy that drafted 25-year old RB Chris Ivory in your league gave up on him, you should consider snapping him up.  Ivory has played in 6 games for the Jets so far this year and he has carried the ball 68 times for 219 yards (3.2 ypc) and he has caught 1 pass for -2 yards.  Ivory ran the ball 34 times for 104 yards (3.1 ypc) against the Patriots last weekend.

2. Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers – With all of the injuries at WR that the Packers have suffered this year, Boykin has been thrust into the starting lineup.  Boykin got his first start last weekend against the Browns and he caught 8 passes for 103 yards (12.9 avg) with 1 TD grab.  He has now played in 6 games as a rookie for the Packers so far this year and he has caught 9 passes for 146 yards (16.2 avg) with 1 TD grab.

3. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins – 23-year old rookie TE Jordan Reed is a player on the rise for the Redskins.  He has played in 5 games for the Redskins so far this year and he has caught 26 passes for 298 yards (11.5 avg) with 2 TD grabs.  In his last three games, Reed has caught 18 passes for 242 yards (13.4 avg) with 1 TD grab.

4. Case Keenum, QB, Houston Texans – 25-year old Case Keenum made his NFL debut in a hostile environment last Sunday in Kansas City, and he played well.  He completed 15 of 25 passes (60%) for 271 yards with 1 TD pass and 0 INTs (110.6 QB Rating).  He also carried the ball 3 times for 10 yards (3.3 ypc) against the Chiefs.  Keenum has good guys to throw the ball to and he was an outstanding QB in college, so he is worth taking a flier on.

5. Josh McCown, QB, Chicago Bears – With Jay Cutler out for at least the next four weeks, 34-year old Josh McCown will take over as the starter and like Keenum, he has good guys to throw the ball to.  McCown completed 14 of 20 passes (70%) for 204 yards with 1 TD pass and 0 INTs (119.6 QB Rating).  He also carried the ball 4 times for 33 yards (8.3 ypc) against the Redskins last weekend.

6. Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 22-year old rookie RB Mike James will be thrust into the starting lineup for the foreseeable future after Doug Martin tore his labrum last weekend.  James has played in 5 games for the Bucs so far this year and he has carried the ball 17 times for 57 yards (3.4 ypc).  He has also caught 4 passes for 10 yards (2.5 avg) so far this year.

7. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts – 26-year old WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is going to get the ball a lot more moving forward with Reggie Wayne out for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL.  Heyward-Bey has played in 7 games for the Colts so far this year and he has caught 18 passes for 190 yards (10.6 avg) with 1 TD grab.  He has also carried the ball 2 times for 37 yards (18.5 ypc) so far this year.

8. Thaddeus Lewis, QB, Buffalo Bills – 25-year old QB Thaddeus Lewis has looked pretty decent the last couple of weeks for the Bills.  He has played in 2 games for the Bills so far this year and he has completed 40 of 64 passes (62.5%) for 418 yards with 2 TD passes and 1 INT (85.3 QB Rating).  Lewis has also carried the ball 12 times for 30 yards (2.5 ypc) with 1 TD run so far this year.

9. Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles – 26-year old WR Riley Cooper has been stepping up lately for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Cooper has played in 7 games for the Eagles so far this year and he has caught 18 passes for 301 yards (16.7 avg) with 2 TD grabs.  In his last two games, Cooper has caught 10 passes for 208 yards (20.8 avg) with 1 TD grab.

10. Peyton Hillis, RB, New York Giants – 27-year old Peyton Hillis stepped into a big role for the Giants last night.  He carried the ball 18 times for 36 yards (2.0 ypc) with 1 TD run and he also caught 5 passes for 45 yards (9.0 avg).

 

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The New England Patriots have lost Jerod Mayo for the rest of the 2013 season

Blogged under Big Football News,Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General,Injuries,Need to Step Up by joelapinski on Wednesday 16 October 2013 at 8:50 am

The Patriots have lost 27-year old OLB Jerod Mayo for the rest of the 2013 season due to a torn pectoral muscle.  Mayo has played in 6 games for the Patriots this year and he has 55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 1 pass defensed.  He has now played in 81 games in his first six years with the Patriots and he has 703 tackles, 9 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss, 8 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions and 18 passes defensed.  23-year old rookie Jamie Collins will likely get the first shot to “replace” Jerod Mayo in the starting lineup.  He has played in all six games for the Patriots so far this year and he has 6 tackles and 1 fumble recovery.  Collins was a second round pick in last April’s NFL Draft.  This is a huge loss for the Patriots’ D, which had already previously lost DT Vince Wilfork for the year.

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If Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought in the 1980′s, he would have lost a few fights

Blogged under Bloglockers,Boxing,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Wednesday 16 October 2013 at 8:37 am

Floyd Mayweather Jr. should thank God every day when he wakes up that he wasn’t fighting when his father was.  Mayweather is 45-0 with 26 knockouts in his career so far, but he hasn’t fought anyone the caliber of the fearsome foursome in fighters about his size in the 1980′s.  Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran were all on top of their games in the 1980′s and they weren’t shy about duking it out with each other.  Sugar Ray Leonard was on ESPN saying how easily he would have knocked out Mayweather, when he was in his prime.  Leonard did beat Mayweather’s papa (Floyd Sr.) by a TKO way back on 9/9/1978.  Leonard was 36-3-1 in his professional boxing career.  He was a darling of the judges though, as he should have lost a couple of more fights than he did.  Leonard fought three times against Roberto Duran.  He made the mistake of trying to brawl with him the first time, and he fell right into Duran’s hands, losing a unanimous decision on June 20th, 1980.  The two got right back into the ring on November 25th, 1980.  Leonard beat Duran by a TKO when he couldn’t get off the stool for the 8th round, saying “No Mas”.  Leonard and Duran fought a third time on 12/7/1989 and Leonard won by a unanimous decision.  Now to the sticky fights for Leonard.  Leonard won a TKO in the 14th round on September 16, 1981 in his first fight with Thomas Hearns.  This set up a rematch on June 12, 1989.  I was so excited that I bought the fight on Pay Per View.  Hearns beat the crap out of Sugar Ray Leonard that night.  In fact, one of the boxing analysts had Hearns winning 11 of the 12 rounds!  The decision was a travesty as they called the fight a draw.  Leonard only fought Marvin Hagler one time and he won a split decision on April 6th, 1987.  This was another fight that I thought Leonard lost as he was running away from the opening bell until the final bell, refusing to engage with Hagler.  Maybe it was karma that Leonard lost the last two fights of his career.  Terry Norris beat him by a unanimous decision (2/9/1991) and Hector Camacho beat him by a TKO (3/1/1997).  Thomas Hearns was a brawler from Detroit.  “The Hitman” was 61-5-1 with 48 knockouts in his professional boxing career.  He is probably known best for his two fights with Sugar Ray Leonard mentioned above.  He also fought Roberto Duran and he knocked him out in the second round on 6/5/1984.  He also fought Marvin Hagler, which was one of the best fights I ever saw on 4/14/1985.  Hearns and Hagler were slugging each other from the opening bell until the end of the fight.  Hearns broke his right hand in the first round of the fight, but he opened a nasty cut above Hagler’s nose.  Both fighters just kept slugging it out as Hearns wanted to get Hagler out of the fight due to his nasty cut.  Hagler must have used the cut for motivation, because he was relentless in this fight.  Hagler won by TKO in the third round.  Hearns always brought his A-Game to big fights, but somehow he lost to Iran Barkley (43-19-1) twice.  “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler was one of my favorite boxers back in the day.  He had the bald head and he looked mean.  He only fought Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard once apiece, but they were all classics.  First up was Roberto Duran on 11/10/1983.  Hagler won a unanimous decision as the fight went all 15 rounds!  On April, 15, 1985, Hagler fought Thomas Hearns and won by a TKO in the 3rd round in one of the best fights I ever saw.  Hagler fought Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6th, 1987 and it would be the last fight of his boxing career.  He stalked Leonard the whole fight, but Leonard kept running away, refusing to engage with him.  Leonard won a very controversial split decision.  Hagler was so upset with the scoring in the fight that he retired at the age of 33.  Roberto Duran was a warrior, who liked to stand toe to toe and duke it out.  He was 104-16 with 69 knockouts in the professional boxing career.  He was only 1-4 combined against Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, but he belonged in this group, as he whipped on almost everyone else in the 1980′s.

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Scribbles on my notebook about the National League Championship Series

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The Playoffs by joelapinski on Tuesday 15 October 2013 at 2:55 pm

The really amazing thing to me about the N.L.C.S. is that the Cardinals are up 2-1.  The Dodgers’ starting pitchers (Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu) are a combined 1-1 with a 0.43 ERA and a 0.57 WHIP.  The Dodgers’ starters have only given up 9 hits and 3 walks while whiffing 19 batters in their first 21 innings in this series!  The bullpen has been pretty good overall in this series for the Dodgers too.  They are a combined 0-1 with 1 save, a 2.16 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.  The problem for the Dodgers, is that they aren’t hitting well either.  They are a combined 23 of 108 (.213 avg, .573 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 0 homers and 5 RBIs while only walking 7 times and whiffing 30 times!  The Dodgers need more production out of outfielders Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and 3B Juan Uribe.  Puig is 2 for 13 (.154 avg, .462 OPS) with a triple, 1 RBI and 7 whiffs without a walk.  Ethier is 1 for 10 (.100 avg, .282 OPS) with 1 walk and 4 whiffs.  Uribe is 2 for 13 (.154 avg, .308 OPS) with 0 runs scored, 0 homers, 2 RBIs and 5 whiffs without a walk.  The Dodgers need that trio to start hitting the ball if they are going to come back and win this series.

The Cardinals are up in this series because of their amazing pitching staff.  Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright and Joe Kelly are a combined 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.  They have combined to give up 17 hits and 3 walks while whiffing 18 batters in their 19 2/3 innings so far in this series.  The bullpen has been even better than the starters in this series for the Cardinals.  They are a combined 1-0 with 1 save, a 0.87 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.  The relievers h Onave given up only six hits and 4 walks while whiffing 12 batters in their first 10 1/3 innings in this series, which is impressive. Only lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist has given up a run in this series in the Cardinals’ bullpen.  The Cardinals are only 13 of 97 (.134 avg, .366 OPS) with 4 runs scored in this series.  They have whiffed an amazing 24 times as a team with only 7 walks so far in this series.  Catcher Yadier Molina is the only Cardinals’ player with more than one hit in this series!  He is 3 for 11 (.273 avg, .366 OPS) with 1 walk and 1 whiff.  The Cardinals need to get Matt Holliday, Matt Adams, Jon Jay and Pete Kozma going at the plate.  Holliday is o for 12 (.000 avg, .000 OPS) with o walks and 2 whiffs.  Adams is only 1 for 10 (.100 avg, .282 OPS) with 1 walk and 5 whiffs so far in this series.  Jay is 1 for 10 (.100 avg, .191 OPS) with 1 RBI in this series.  Pete Kozma is 0 for 9 (.000 avg, .100 OPS) with 1 walk.  I have a hard time believing that the Cardinals will win this series unless a couple of guys start hitting soon.

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Scribbles in my notebook about the American League Championship Series

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The Playoffs by joelapinski on Tuesday 15 October 2013 at 12:19 pm

I’m really amazing that this series is tied up heading to Detroit, due to the fact that the Red Sox are only hitting .136 (.481 OPS) as a team so far.  The Tigers’ starting pitchers have been amazingly good so far in the A.L.C.S.  Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer are a combined 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP!  They have combined to give up only 2 hits and 8 walks while whiffing 25 batters in 13 innings so far in this series.  The bullpen has had some issues in this series.  They are a combined 0-1 with 1 save, a 3.21 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP combined so far in the A.L.C.S.  The Tigers really need Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter to start getting on base at the top of the lineup.  Jackson is 1 for 10 (.100 avg, .200 OPS) with 0 walks and 3 whiffs so far in this series.  Hunter is only 1 for 10 (.100 avg, .300 OPS) with a double, no walks and 3 whiffs so far in this series.

The Red Sox have been stifled by the Tigers’ pitching so far in this series.  They are only 8 of 59 (.136 avg, .481 OPS) with 6 runs and an amazingly awful 32 strikeouts!  Dustin Pedroia is the only guy that looks locked in at the plate for the Red Sox right now.  He is 2 for 6 (.333 avg, 1.000 OPS) with 1 run scored, a double and 1 RBI.  DH David Ortiz is the only Red Sox’ player with more than 1 RBI against the Tigers in this series.  He is 1 for 7 (.143 avg, .821 OPS) with 1 run scored, 1 homer and 4 RBIs.  The pitching staff has been solid except for Clay Buchholz.  Buchholz and Lester have combined to go 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP so far in this series.  But, the Red Sox’ bullpen has been electric so far.  They have combined to go 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in this series.

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Nine players are worth taking a flier on in Fantasy Football this week

Blogged under Bloglockers,Fantasy Sports,Football,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Tuesday 15 October 2013 at 10:14 am

Nine players are suddenly on my radar in Fantasy Football for this week.  Here is a look at nine guys to consider picking up off of waivers this week in Fantasy Football:

1. Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants – In last Thursday’s 27-21 loss to the Bears, Jacobs turned back the clock.  The 31-year old RB rushed for 106 yards (4.8 ypc) with 2 TD runs and he also caught 1 pass for 8 yards.  He has now played in 5 games for the Giants so far this year and he has carried the ball 44 times for 154 yards (3.5 ypc) with 3 TD runs and he has also caught 2 passes for 13 yards (6.5 avg).  With David Wilson and Da’Rel Scott hurting, Jacobs is going to get as heavy of a workload as his body can handle.

2. Kris Durham, WR, Detroit Lions – With Calvin Johnson still gimpy, Matt Stafford was looking for his old college buddy, 25-year old WR Kris Durham early and often last weekend against the Browns.  Durham was targeted 13 times by Stafford last weekend and he caught 8 passes for 83 yards (10.4 avg) against the Browns.  Durham has played in six games for the Lions so far this year and he has caught 16 passes for 215 yards (13.4 avg) with 1 TD grab so far this year.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys – With starting RB DeMarco Murray out for a while due to a sprained knee, it is worth taking a flier on 21-year old rookie RB Joseph Randle.  Randle has played in 3 games for the Cowboys so far this year and he has carried the ball 11 times for only 17 yards (1.5 ypc) with 1 TD run.  He has also caught 2 passes for 15 yards (7.5 avg) so far this year.  Randle is in line to start at RB for the Cowboys this weekend.

4. Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions – 23-year old TE Joseph Fauria has been a TD machine for the Lions as he caught 3 TD passes against the Browns last weekend.  He has now played in six games for the Lions so far this year and he has caught 7 passes for 66 yards (9.4 avg) with an amazing 5 TD grabs!

5. Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Cleveland Browns – 27-year old RB Chris Ogbonnaya is pushing Willis McGahee for touches in the Browns’ backfield.  Ogbonnaya got 12 touches for the Browns last weekend and he had 85 yards (7.1 avg) with 1 TD grab.  He has now played in six games for the Browns so far this year and he has carried the ball 12 times for 74 yards (6.2 ypc) and he has caught 20 passes for 153 yards (7.7 avg) with 2 TD grabs.

6. Timothy Wright, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 23-year old TE Timothy Wright has caught 12 passes for 132 yards (11.0 avg) in his last two games for the Bucs.  He has played in five games so far this year for the Bucs and he has caught 13 passes for 138 yards (10.6 avg).  Wright is from Rutgers (he played under Bucs’ head coach Greg Schiano there), so he is going to keep being involved heavily in the passing game for the Bucs.

7. Mike Tolbert, RB, Carolina Panthers – 27-year old RB Mike Tolbert has a nose for the end zone.  He scored 2 TDs (one running and one catching) against the Vikings last weekend.  He has played in 5 games for the Panthers so far this year and he has rushed for 111 yards on 31 carries (3.6 ypc) with 2 TD runs.  He has also caught 6 passes for 41 yards (6.8 avg) with 1 TD grab so far this year.

8. Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, New England Patriots – You knew that is was only a matter of time before Tom Brady found a TE he liked throwing to.  Hoomanawanui caught 4 passes for 57 yards (14.3 avg) against the Saints last weekend.  He has played in all six games for the Patriots so far this year and he has caught 8 passes for 95 yards (11.9 avg).  I look for him to have a bigger role in the offense moving forward until Rob Gronkowski is ready to return to action.

9. Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans Saints – 23-year old Khiry Robinson is second on the Saints in rushing so far this year.  He has played in four games for the Saints so far this year and he has carried the ball 26 times for 137 yards (5.3 ypc) with 1 TD run.  Robinson shares the ball in the running game with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, so he doesn’t have a big upside unless one of those guys get hurt.

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Big changes for my Top 25 teams in College Football this week

Blogged under Bloglockers,College Football,Football,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Tuesday 15 October 2013 at 9:06 am

Four previously unranked teams have busted into my new Top 25 for this week!  There were some shocking defeats last weekend as a lot of teams tumbled in my rankings, while other teams (like Missouri) moved up big time!  Here is a look at my Top 25 College Football teams for this week:

1. Clemson (6-0) – Clemson won 24-14 against visiting Boston College, as they were almost caught looking ahead to this weekend.  They host my #3 ranked Florida State Seminoles this weekend.

2. Alabama (6-0) – The Crimson Tide went on the road last weekend and they crushed Kentucky 48-7!  They will host Arkansas this weekend.

3. Florida State (5-0) – Florida State had a bye last weekend, giving them an extra week to prepare for their showdown with my #1 ranked Clemson Tigers in South Carolina.

4. Oregon (6-0) – The Ducks thumped Washington 45-24 on the road last weekend.  They will host Washington State this weekend.

5. Louisville (6-0) – The Cardinals won 24-10 at home against Rutgers last week.  They will host my #25 ranked Central Florida Knights this week.

6. Ohio State (6-0) – The Buckeyes had a bye last weekend.  They will host Iowa this weekend.

7. UCLA (5-0) – UCLA moved up two spots in my poll after burying California last week at home.  They will be playing at my #15 ranked Stanford this weekend.

8. LSU (6-1) – LSU got a nice 17-6 win over the visiting Florida Gators last weekend.  They will play at Mississippi this weekend.

9. Miami (FL) (5-0) – The Hurricanes had a bye last weekend.  They will play at North Carolina this week.

10. Texas A&M (5-1) – The Aggies won 41-38 at Mississippi last weekend.  They will host my #22 ranked Auburn Tigers this weekend.

11. South Carolina (5-1) – The Gamecocks trashed Arkansas 52-7 on the road last weekend.  They will play at Tennessee this weekend.

12. Baylor (5-0) – Baylor moved up five spots in my poll after beating Kansas State 35-25 on the road last weekend.  They will host Iowa State this weekend.

13. Texas Tech (6-0) – The Red Raiders moved up five spots in my poll after winning 42-35 on the road against Iowa State last weekend.  They will host West Virginia this weekend.

14. Missouri (6-0) – The Tigers moved up 8 spots in my rankings after thumping Georgia 41-26 on the road last weekend.  They will host Florida this weekend.

15. Stanford (5-1) – The Cardinal dropped 9 spots in my rankings after losing 27-21 at Utah last weekend.  They will host my #7 ranked UCLA Bruins this weekend.

16, Oklahoma (5-1) – The Sooners dropped 8 spots in my poll after losing 36-20 to Texas in the Red River Shootout last weekend.  They will travel to Kansas to play the Jayhawks this weekend.

17. Georgia (4-2) – The Bulldogs fell seven spots in my rankings after losing 41-26 at home against Missouri last weekend.  They are my only team with two losses that is still ranked.  They play at Vanderbilt this weekend.

18. Virginia Tech (6-1) – This is the first time that the Hokies are ranked in my poll.  They beat the visiting Pittsburgh Panthers 19-9 last weekend.  The Hokies have a bye this weekend.

19. Fresno State (5-0) – Fresno had a bye last weekend.  They will host UNLV this weekend.

20. Northern Illinois (6-0) – The Huskies had a tough time last weekend with the visiting Akron Zips, beating them 27-20.  They will play at Central Michigan this weekend.

21. Oregon State (5-1) – The Beavers have won five games in a row after losing to visiting Eastern Washington in the season opener.  Oregon State plastered Washington State 52-24 on the road last weekend.  Oregon State will play at California this weekend.

22. Auburn (5-1) – Auburn is ranked for the first time this year in my poll after thrashing visiting Western Carolina 62-3.  They will play at my #10 ranked Texas A&M this weekend.

23. Houston (5-0) – The Cougars are ranked for the first time this year in my poll.  They defeated visiting Memphis State 25-15 last weekend.  They will host BYU this weekend.

24. Oklahoma State (4-1) – The Cowboys had a bye last weekend.  They will host TCU this weekend.

25. Central Florida (4-1) – The Knights had a bye last weekend.  They will play at my #5 ranked Louisville this weekend.

Just Missed:  Nebraska, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ball State.

Dropped Out:  Florida, Michigan, Northwestern and Washington.

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