New England Now 4-1, Wins 21-0 Versus the Northeastern Nitro
The New England Intensity won their 4th straight game of the 2012 season, defeating the Northeastern Nitro 21-0 Saturday night in Schenectady, NY. A gorgeous ride west to upstate New York along the bright green tree-lined Mass Pike with deep blue skies overhead and warm temps all around almost gave the feel of a vacation rather than a business trip. Fortunately, the Intensity got right down to business against the physical Nitro squad, scoring twice in the opening quarter—a TD pass from QB Rebecca Lopez to Lisa Vincent and a TD run from Vincent a few minutes later. Tricia Donovan ran in a 2 point attempt after a high snap precluded Lola Kantak from making a PAT try. Vincent averaged over 6 yards per carry and Nikia Speed averaged over 5 yards per carry (most of her yards coming after contact) in her first game back carrying the ball [after a lower limb injury earlier in the season]. Rookie Heather Eagleson bowled her way into the endzone in the 2nd quarter for her second TD in as many games to put NE up 21-0.
Lopez was a very efficient 8 for 15 with a TD and 3 first downs. Donovan, in impressive fashion, turned a short screen pass into a 32-yard gain on a 2nd and 30 play. She’d lead the team with 40 receiving yards. Lopez spread the ball around well, as 6 different receivers caught passes in this game. Seeing her first action throwing the ball this season, Rookie Christine Sampson linked up with Erica Adams on a 9 yard play late in the game, good for a first down. New England’s balanced offensive attack (nearly 50/50 in pass/run yardage) set them up to outgain their opponent in total yards yet again. The tough home squad did not quit, and actually gave the New England D a scare on a few occasions--especially on the ground. The Blue only allowed 41 passing yards on 21 attempts, but did give up 121 rushing yards and 7 first downs by way of the run.
Charlene Casey led the way for the Intensity again, tallying 13 tackle assists (good for the team lead in that category), she also had a solo tackle and a fumble recovery. Fellow mauler-in-the-middle, Kate Miechkowski collected 10 tackle assists, while Speed—playing in front of many fans (she lives in Rochester, NY) did not disappoint . . . she led the squad with 3 solo tackles, had 5 assists, a forced fumble and a pass defended. Erica Adams Vincent turned in 6-assist efforts, with Vincent notching 2 solo tackles, Adams one and two passes defended. Rounding out the top performers on D were Coco Edwards (6 tackle assists), Lisa Close (3 assists and a sack), Erin Diette (1 solo tackle, a forced fumble and half a sack), Brenna Leveille—who also averaged 38 yards per kickoff—(half a sack and 2 assists), Donna Bruce (3 assists, an interception and a fumble recovery), Andrea Covelli (1 solo, 3 assists) and Stacey DeLuca (1 solo, 2 assists and a pass defended). New England, along with most of the league, has the Memorial Day weekend off before their 4-game road trip continues—they’ll square off against the Southern Maine Rebels in Portland on 6/2/12.
Article By: Craig D'Alessandro
Its been the big topic in town since he showed up in Boston and started raking the ball; will Kevin Youkilis be Wally Pipp’d by Will Middlebrooks. (I’ll wait while you look up the significance of Wally Pipp on Wikipedia.)
If you listen to any of the shows that I have partaken in over the years, you know doubt have hear me singing of the praises of Middlebrooks, saying “look out for this kid in a couple years, he’s going to tear the cover off the ball” and look what happened this year, in the minors he did exactly that at Pawtucket, hitting .333, 9 home runs, 27 RBI’s and a OPS 1.057, obviously deserving of a shot to show his potential in the majors. The problem at the time was the Red Sox already had a franchise starter over at third and Kevin Youkilis, and when he was healthy, there was no way, knowing this organization the way I do, that they were going to start a kid down in AAA, regardless if he was the next big thing or not, over a long time starter, and yes, it’s a money thing.
But the stars seemed to align perfectly a few weeks ago when Youk’s back started to act up…again…and was placed on the 15 day DL. It was perfect, a star player goes down, and you bring up the hot prospect in the middle of his hot streak, and it ended up paying off immediately. There's no doubt that Will Middlebrooks started his major league career about as good as we would've liked to see. By adding him into the then-struggling Boston lineup, the Red Sox started to produce more runs and win more games. There in lies the problem though that we all do whether we like it or not, we see a star replacement come in over an injured player, and immediately question the future standing of the player he is replacing.
Think back to two years ago, when Daniel Nava was called up because the Red Sox were crippled with injuries all over the team, he hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the majors, and everyone expected him to become the next Babe Ruth, and what happened? He cooled off tremendously and the starters got their jobs back, in fact, the last time he saw the majors is his current tour of duty, in which he is just as on fire as when he first came up.
And now look at our situation with Will Middlebrooks, his early surge allowed many to discuss the future of Kevin Youkilis in a Boston uniform and whether he'd have a job once he came off of the disabled list. I, for one, thought that trading away Youkilis was Boston's best option since Middlebrooks had been so hot.
The problem is I live in reality-ville and that is not a realistic achievement at this moment in time. The problem is Kevin Youkilis doesn't have ANY trade value at the moment, since he's been injured and didn't play well at all while he was healthy. The other problem is now Will Middlebrooks has cooled off mightily since his hot start and might need some time back in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Would it really be the worst thing if they optioned him back and allowed Youkilis to get some time?
Two weeks ago: Most fans would come after you with pitchforks and torches
Now: Probably the better idea.
In Middlebrooks' first 12 games of his career, he was hitting .300/.340/.640 with five doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI. Now, the bad thing is it seems as if he's starting to lose his touch and maybe his confidence at the plate, and other teams are starting to get a book on Middlebrooks and learn his approach to the plate. In his last six games, he's hitting under .200 and has struck out 12 times in 23 at-bats. That doesn't look good any way you try to put it.
The Red Sox are going to have to give Youkilis some time if they plan on dealing him before the trade deadline, which definitely is a possibility. Give him a couple weeks in order to reestablish his trade value and hopefully a decent deal lands on Ben Cherington's desk. Ideal trade scenarios would involve any of : The Diamondbacks, the Orioles, though I doubt that one, the Dodgers need a corner infeilder, the best fit as of right now, The Phillies, however, don’t rule out the possibility of a return to his hometown of Cincinnati .
This way, Boston can pickup some help, probably in the bullpen and they can still get the most out of their future third baseman.
Kevin Youkilis is currently doing rehab assignments in Triple-A Pawtucket, and a decision is going to have to be made rapidly.
What will Boston decide to do with the duo of Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks?
Thankfully, that’s not my decision to make.
Meet The New Faces of The New England Patriots From The 2012 Draft!
The 2012 NFL Draft is in the books, and I have to say this was one of the more exciting drafts in recent memory. So many trades made, so many players being drafted to Teams where I didn’t think they would be fits. Players that should have gone early going late and players going late that should have been early.
But as far as the Patriots go, the work has just begun for the New England Patriots' seven draft selections. For them, the arduous journey will continue through rookie mini camp, training camp and preseason games. If everything goes well, these Patriot greenhorns will stick around. If not, then roster cut-down days may be the last time you ever hear of them.
Head coach Bill Belichick saw something in Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Tavon Wilson, Jake Bequette, Nate Ebner, Alfonzo Dennard and Jeremy Ebert. But the jury is still out when it comes to their immediate impact. The burning question is: How will these players fit into New England's system next season?
Round 1, Pick 21: Chandler Jones, Defensive End, Syracuse
Chandler Jones is a beast of an athlete, who stands at 6’5” 265Lbs.
He has a massive wingspan of 35.5” inch arms much like his brother Arthur and Jon “Bones” Jones.
When Jones fully devolves, we are looking at possible the Patriots version of Jason Peierre-Paul, he will be able to bat down passes from the line of scrimage, evade blockers, and wrap up NFL quarterbacks.
As the Patriots first choice in the 2012 NFL draft, the former Orangeman's pass rushing prowess gives him a leg up on the competition. Director of player personnel Nick Caserio and coach Bill Belichick made an effort to bolster the defense this offseason, and Jones figures into that mix.
Look for Jones to make a run at one of the starting defensive end spots in 2012. In the worst-case scenario, the Patriots' top pick is a third-down specialist during his first season in the system.
I would project Jones to fit into the “Elephant” role with the Patriots, Jones is the prototype for the 'elephant' position that was made famous in these parts by Willie McGinest, The position made a comeback last season when Andre Carter and then Mark Anderson filled the role.
Alabama's Dont'a Hightower provided the Patriots with great value at pick 25. He's a run stopper and a pass rusher, all in one.
The 6'2", 265-pound athlete can play any linebacker position in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Based on the flexibility of players like Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and others, versatility is music to Bill Belichick's ears.
With inside linebackers Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes coming into the prime of their careers, Hightower will likely set up shop at one of the outside linebacker spots. In a 3-4 front seven, Rob Ninkovich could use some help at the opposing outside linebacker position. In a 4-3 scheme, however, the Crimson Tide product could be nipping at Ninkovich's heels on the depth chart.
Look for Hightower to make an immediate impact with the Patriots this season. His playing time may come at the expense of Ninkovich, but his role also relies upon New England's defensive formation. I believe the Patriots picked the Next Ray Lewis in Hightower and I expect huge things from him.
Round 2, Pick 48: Tavon Wilson, Safety, Illinois
With the Patriots' second-round selection, they drafted a head-scratcher: Tavon Wilson.
I really and truly believe that Wilson would have been available later in the Draft, maybe even undrafted, although there were rumblings that the Chargers on the very next pick.
Nonetheless, the Patriots' front office chose the Illinois defensive back because they were interested in his talents. He's a feisty defender in both pass and run situations. Wilson's multi-faceted game is why he went in the second round. At 6'0", 205 pounds, Wilson is built to play safety. However, he's also got good burst, running a 4.52 40-yard dash.
I think that of the positions that he will see this season, maybe occasional Saftey play, but I expect him to contribute a lot on special teams.
During his first professional season, Tavon Wilson will fit into New England's defensive backfield as a backup safety and special teamer. He's not flashy, but he will fight to stay on the field no matter if it's first down or fourth down.
Round 3, Pick 90: Jake Bequette, Defensive End, Arkansas
Arkansas' fifth-year senior Jake Bequette has been compared to Mike Vrabel, That said, the 6'5", 274-pound pass rusher also has the size to line up at defensive end in the NFL.
Bequette knows how to put pressure up on the quarterback, registering 10 sacks in 2011 for the Arkansas Razorbacks. With the athleticism to play as stand-up pass rusher in sub packages, and the girth to put his hand in the dirt, Bequette will find his niche as a rookie.
Bequette has the potential to fight for a starting gig, but that appears unlikely to happen as a rookie with the acquisitions of Trevor Scott and Jonathan Fanene. Anticipate the stout pass rusher to work primarily as a backup defensive end and situational outside linebacker on blitzes. But a strong off-season and training camp could net him a starting job, possibly opposite Jones
Round 6, Pick 197: Nate Ebner, Safety, Ohio State
In the sixth round, the Patriots went for a special teams ace Nate Ebner.
Youtube “Nate Ebner Ohio State 7’s” Watch that video then imagine that man going after the kick returnee on special teams.
Ebner was named Most Valuable Player of the Rugby World Cup in both 2007 and 2008. The Ohio State prospect did not play a lick of football in high school. But his proficiency as a rugby player helped him excel as a Buckeyes special teamer, collecting 30 career tackles.
At 6'0" and 205 pounds, Ebner is built like a rock. However, he also has proven to fly like a rocket down, running a 4.47 40-time and leaping for a 39-inch vertical at Ohio State's Pro Day.
Nate Ebner plays with heart and is perfect for special teams duty. If he makes the Patriots 53-man roster, he will jump right into the special teams fold. He could very well become a Foxboro favorite, just like Larry Izzo is still admired for his special teams play.
Round 7, Pick 224: Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback, Nebraska
Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard had first-round talent, but allegedly punched a police officer days before the draft. Consequently, the Patriots took a low-risk, high-reward shot on the Cornhusker cornerback in the seventh round.
Comfortable in a variety of positions, the 5'10", 205-pound defensive back has a chance to prove his doubters wrong. I feel that Dennard is best in zone coverage and must overcome a poor showing at the Senior Bowl.
Alfonzo Dennard's role on the Patriots depends on the success of young cornerbacks Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling and Sterling Moore. If the aforementioned struggle, Dennard might be thrust into action. Yet if these corners play well, then Dennard won't make much of a difference early on. He has the potential to be a starting-caliber corner in the NFL, but must mature and learn the defense first. Dennard will see the field in nickle or dime packages, yet time will tell if the risk is worth the reward.
Round 7, Pick 235: Jeremy Ebert, Wide Receiver, Northwestern
New England finally went offense with their final draft pick. Northwestern wide-out Jeremy Ebert is just 5'10", but he's nifty in space and ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Experienced as a slot receiver, Ebert joins the mold of both Edelman and Wes Welker. Yet his chances of making the 53-man roster look slim.
It's a numbers game, and Jeremy Ebert is simply on the wrong side of the depth chart at this point in time. Odds are, Ebert is cut at the end of the preseason. However, a shifty slot receiver with special teams expertise could land on the practice squad and his speed might make him a return man.
Craig D’Alessandro’s MLB Power Rankings
Month 2: May
Well one month is in the books Ladies and Gents, and what an exciting first month of baseball it was!
What is this, Opposite season?
You take a look at those standings from every division and you have to say “Wow.” There really isn’t any one division that is turning out the way we thought it would. Teams that should be doing excellent (Angels, Red Sox, San Francisco, Detroit and Miami) are struggling out of the gate and teams that should be on the bottom (Cleveland, Atlanta, Oakland, and Baltimore) are really having very good seasons to start! It is just the first month, and we usually see things like this, but that will be a interesting storyline going forward.
The Future of Tomorrow, TODAY!
We are barley a month into the season and with the aforementioned teams ( LA, WAS, and BOS) struggling out of the gate (ok not Washington, but they were getting nothing out of their left field position) we are seeing a lot of the top prospects in MLB getting the call up to the Majors to try and make an impact. The Angels have had nothing going on , and with the MAJOR disappointment Albert Pujols has been, the Angels released Bobby Abreu and called up Top Prospect Mike Trout, while he hasn’t made a great impact yet, its only a matter of time before he is raking the ball.
The Washington Nationals are actually off to one of the best starts in baseball, but they had a luxury of needing only to upgrade one spot, and luckily for them, the spot that needed upgrading could be filled by their 19 year old phenom Bryce Harper, and he has been as advertised so far, I have really high hopes for this kid.
Finally we have our hometown Boston Red Sox, with Kevin Youkilis having an injured back, and the Red Sox offence needing a boast, the Red Sox have called up top Prospect Will Middlebrooks, who had a very good first game for the Red Sox, going 2-3 with a double, and even stealing a base. If you’re a fan of the show, and you should be, you know I am not a very big fan of mister Youk, so I am really rooting for Mr. Middlebrooks here.
The Year of the Pitcher
Last year, there were 3 no hitters/perfect games in the MLB. This year we already have two; WE’RE NOT EVEN 20% INTO THE SEASON YET! And this is not a surprising Item, offence is down throughout the league, except if your name is Matt Kemp, so would it really surprise me to see a few more no hitters this season? Heck no! I love this!
So without further Adie, your MSEN MLB Power Rankings:
No. 30: Minnesota Twins (Previous: 27)
Josh Willingham (.353 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) remains the team's offensive leader, while Joe Mauer (.325 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI) continues to show he is finally healthy. However, they may have the worst pitching staff in baseball, and that will continue to keep them near the bottom of the rankings. Maybe the Metro dome would help them out…ohh wait…
No. 29: Kansas City Royals (Previous: 18)
Two losses to open the week pushed the Royals' losing streak to 12 games, but they rallied to take the final two games of their series with the Indians before splitting two games with the Twins for a modest 3-3 week. However, they are still 0-10 at home on the season. Which is really to bad, since the Royals have one of the best Parks in baseball.
Alex Gordon (.232 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI) has begun to turn things around after moving out of the leadoff spot, and if Eric Hosmer (.188 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI) could follow suit it would go a long way towards helping the team find some consistency.
No. 28: San Diego Padres (Previous: 21)
The Padres had a tough draw this week, facing the Nationals and Giants. They managed to win one game in each series for a 2-4 week.
Their pitching is starting to come around, and their bullpen has been terrific, but that doesn't mean much when they are not scoring runs. Carlos Quinton should soon be making some rehab assignment, and if he’s healthy he can be a force at the plate, Chris Denorfia (team-high .282 average) has moved into a starting spot in left field, but it's going to take a lot more than that for the Padres to turn things around.
No. 27: Houston Astros ( Previous: 30)
The offense has been solid, led by Jose Altuve (.373 BA) and J.D. Martinez (19 RBI), but the team desperately needs someone in the rotation to step up alongside Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.72 ERA). But still…
No. 26: Miami Marlins (Previous: 11)
So far, the team has been perhaps the biggest disappointment in all of baseball, and it starts with their superstars as Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez are both hitting .205, while Josh Johnson sports a 5.34 ERA. Ugly, ugly start for the Fish, pull it together Boys!
No. 25: Chicago Cubs (Previous: 26)
The Cubs are in the midst of their best stretch of the season thus far, as they took two of three from the rival Cardinals before completing a 4-2 week with a victory over the Phillies on Sunday.Tony Campana (.435 BA, 6 SB, 6 R) has provided a spark taking over in center field for the departed Marlon Byrd. The starting rotation has also impressed, with Matt Garza throwing seven innings of one-hit ball to cap the week.
No. 24: Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous: 23)
The Pirates it seems can’t score a run to save their lives, dead last in the MLB but their pitching has been very impressive so far, ranking third in all of baseball.
No. 23: Oakland Athletics (Previous: 28)
The A's have struggled to find any consistency so far this season. They took two of three from the White Sox before dropping two of three to the Orioles over the weekend.
Despite having the worst team batting average in all of baseball at .205, the A's have managed to stay competitive thanks to their pitching staff. Recent call-up Jarrod Parker (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks) could make the rotation even better after looking strong in his first start. Now they just need to find someone who can hit the ball.
No. 22: Colorado Rockies (Previous: 22)
A 2-4 week saw the Rockies drop two of three to both the Pirates and the Mets, although they did explode for 18 runs on Friday.
They acquired a good deal of starting pitching depth in the offseason, and they are already dipping into it as former A's starter Guillermo Moscoso was called up with Jeremy Guthrie on the disabled list. The rotation has undoubtedly been their weakness to this point, with just one starter (Jamie Moyer, 3.14) with an ERA under 4.00
.No. 21: Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 4)
After giving them the benefit of the doubt through the first three weeks of the season, a 1-5 week and the third-worst record in the American League simply can't be overlooked. The Angels were swept by the Rays and dropped two of three to the Indians before eking out a 2-1 win on Saturday.
The call-up of uber-prospect Mike Trout, who was hitting .403 in Triple-A, could be the spark the team needs to get things going. A hot streak by Albert Pujols (.216 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI) certainly wouldn't hurt either.
No. 20: Seattle Mariners (Previous: 24)
The Mariners swept the Tigers in Detroit to open the week before dropping two of three to the Blue Jays at home, but they have to be happy with a 4-2 week against two of the league's top teams.
They tallied 30 runs in their four wins and just two in their two losses, a sign of how their season will go as they have the pitching to compete but will only be as good as their offense allows them.
No. 19: Chicago White Sox (Previous: 20)
The White Sox have been better than expected, led by Paul Konerko (.383 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) and Jake Peavy (3-1, 1.67 ERA), and their solid start could be enough to delay what was expected to be a full-blown rebuilding season.
No. 18: Milwaukee Brewers (Previous: 9)
There is little doubt that the team misses Prince Fielder's bat, and the struggles of Rickie Weeks (.193 BA) and Aramis Ramirez (.228 BA) have only magnified the loss. Their pitching staff may be a bigger concern though, as Randy Wolf (7.17 ERA) and Yovani Gallardo (6.08 ERA) have struggled mightily.
No. 17: Cleveland Indians (Previous: 19)
The starting pitching has been hit-or-miss, and the offense has no true standout player at this point, but they continue to win games and in what looks to be a wide-open AL Central.
No. 16: Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: 6)
The unexpected trio of Carlos Ruiz, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton are the only three everyday players with respectable averages, and Kyle Kendrick has struggled filling in for an injured Cliff Lee. All-in-all, things just don't look great in Philly right now.
No. 15: Cincinnati Reds (11-11, Previous: 15)
The Reds moved to second in the NL Central with a 4-2 week, as they captured two of three from both the Giants and Astros. Jay Bruce (.296 BA, 7 HR, 17 RBI) is on fire right now, as the highly touted offense is finally performing up to expectations. If the notoriously slow-starting Mat Latos (5.97 ERA) can start pitching like an ace, Cincinnati will be in pretty good shape.
No. 14: Boston Red Sox (Previous: 10)
Led by David Ortiz (.395 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI), their offense has been solid despite a slow start from Kevin Youkilis and the absence of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Their pitching continues to be a question mark, but as long as they continue to post double-digit run totals like they did three times last week, they will win games. The recent cold spurt against the A’s concern me though, this team is so hit or miss
No. 13: Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 13)
The team finally had enough of Josh Collmenter's struggles (9.82 ERA), moving him to the bullpen and calling up touted prospect Patrick Corbin (1.67 ERA, 27 IP at Double-A) to make his big league debut. As long as they can consistently score runs, they should be able to find a rotation that works with perhaps the youngest starting pitching depth in baseball.
No. 12: San Francisco Giants (Previous: 7)
Buster Posey (.353 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI) has bounced back from his injury last season, but the offense is still struggling to score runs. The biggest stat of the week for the Giants, though, was Tim Lincecum's eight-inning, zero-run outing.
No. 11: New York Mets (Previous: 25)
New York be getting center fielder Andres Torres back from injury on Monday, shifting rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis to left field which should improve the lineup moving forward. As long as their pitching staff keeps performing like they have, the Mets are on track to do much better than expected.
No. 10: Toronto Blue Jays (Previous: 16)
Edwin Encarnacion (.310 BA, 7 HR, 20 RBI) is 5-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBI in his last three games, and he's been moved to the cleanup spot in hopes of better protecting Jose Bautista. The real story, though, has been the team's starting pitching, as four of their five starters have ERAs under 4.00.
No. 9: Detroit Tigers (Previous: 1)
they released long-time Tiger Brandon Inge and lost Delmon Young indefinitely after he was arrested and charged with hate crime harassment. They will look to get things back on track against the Royals and White Sox this coming week, and still have to be considered among the AL favorites despite these hiccups.
No. 8: New York Yankees (Previous: 2)
They drop on this list due to the news that Michael Pineda is done for the year with a shoulder injury. With Phil Hughes (7.88 ERA) and Ivan Nova (5.18 ERA) struggling and Freddy Garcia (12.51 ERA) moved to the bullpen in favor of untested David Phelps, the rotation is once again a huge question mark.
No. 7: Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 29)
Well…quite a jump here, huh? With an offense that ranks 10th in runs scored and a pitching staff that ranks seventh in ERA, the O's are doing everything well right now. Five players have double-digit RBI, and J.J. Hardy (.181 BA) and Nick Markakis (.244 BA) are not among them. Once those two get going, the Orioles could be even better.
No. 6: Washington Nationals (Previous: 8)
I am still very much a believer in the Nats, as their pitching (2.33 team ERA) is going to keep them in most games. The call-up of Bryce Harper should allow them to get some much deserved national attention, and also gives them a boost not many teams can find from their farm system.
No. 5: Atlanta Braves (Previous: 14)
The team pulled a shocker of sorts when they sent 2011 All-Star Jair Jurrjens (9.37 ERA) down to Triple-A, but the move corresponded with Tim Hudson coming off the disabled list so Atlanta should be fine in the short-term.
The Braves are off to a good start, but there is a ton of room for improvement across the board.
No. 4: Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: 17)
The offense has consisted almost exclusively of Matt Kemp (.425 BA, 11 HR, 24 RBI) and Andre Ethier (.277 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI), and the rest of the team needs to start hitting around them. Also of note, Ted Lilly is very quietly 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA through three starts.
No. 3: St. Louis Cardinals (Previous: 12)
Outside of Adam Wainwright (7.32 ERA), the starting pitching has been phenomenal. At the plate, World Series MVP David Freese (.333 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI) continues to carry an offense that has gotten consistent contribution up and down the lineup.
No. 2: Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: 5)
there is a lot to like about the Rays, from a deep offense that is light years better than last season to their immensely talented pitching staff. They could certainly challenge the Rangers for the top spot in the near future.
No. 1: Texas Rangers (Previous: 3)
Josh Hamilton (.395 BA, 9 HR, 25 RBI) continues to be the AL version of Matt Kemp, while the rest of the offense is doing its part with five players tallying double-digit RBI. The Rays showed that the Rangers are human, but there is still little question that Texas sports the best team in baseball right now.
New England Overcomes Mistakes to Defeat New Hampshire
The New England Intensity tallied their 2nd win of
the 2012 season Saturday afternoon over long-time
rival New Hampshire Freedom with a 4th quarter
touchdown run by Lisa Vincent (and a subsequent
2 point pass completion to Donna Bruce from
Tricia Donovan). Bruce caught a TD pass from QB
Rebecca Lopez in the 2nd for the Intensity’s first
The Blue offense, behind very effective O Line pass-
and run-blocking, moved the ball very well all game
(discounting a negative 28 yard run due to a bad snap
on a punt play, New England passed for 152 yards
and ran for 150). Vincent notched another 100+
yard day running the ball, while Erica Adams, Bruce
and Heather Eagleson all contributed positively in
the run game. Lopez spread the ball around well as
7 different players hauled in passes (Tricia Donovan
leading the way with 4 catches for 55 yards and two
Mental errors derailed what was otherwise a decent
effort with the ball for the Intensity—an interception,
5 fumbles (losing two of them), and a couple of
untimely drive-killing penalties.
Despite these errors, the home team’s defense kept
the Freedom from taking full advantage of these
miscues and pulling away. In fact, aside from
gaining almost 40 yards on their opening drive, and
a 41 yard pass play that set up their lone score in
the 2nd quarter, New Hampshire had little success
moving the ball—finishing the day with roughly
half the total yards of their hosts at Medway High
School’s Hanlon Field, and only averaging 2.3 yards
Battling the flu, LB Kate Miechkowski would still
log a phenomenal game, leading the team with 6 solo
tackles and 7.5 total tackles. Fellow LBs Charlene
Casey (2 solo and 10 tackle assists) and Lisa Vincent
(1 and 7, with a pass defended) were key parts to
the defensive effort. The D line, anchored by Bri
Giarrusso (8 solo tackles), Aimee Gauvin (5 tackle
assists) and Jennifer “Coco” Edwards (2 and 4) did
well against the run.
Head Coach John Johnson and his staff came away
from the game pleased to get the hard-fought win
against the tough New Hampshire squad but with
a laundry list of things to work on in the ensuing
two weeks (New England has a bye on 5/5 before
traveling to Manchester on 5/12 for the 2nd half of the
home-and-home with the Freedom).