Week 2 NFL Power Rankings
Much Like a good Sandwhich, the two end pieces of the Rankings stay roughly the same, the bad teams are still bad, and the good teams are still good, its the meat of the rankings that have changed quite a bit. Lets see how everyone looks this week.
32.(30) Miami Dolphins
Not much to say about this team here, they were dominated in every area of the game Sunday against Houston. They could not stop the run game, Arian Foster and the rest of the running game ran all over them, Andre Johnson was not covered at all, and J.J. Watt wasn't blocked, from the opening kickoff till Ryan Tannehill's last interception, this game was an overall failure.
The only bright spot I took from this game? Tannehill didn't look atrocious, he just doesn't have a supporting staff. He showed good arm strength and accuracy that led the 'Fins to draft him so early in the draft. He should give Dolphins' fans some hope...not this year though...or next...or next
31.(31) Cleveland Browns
No movement here. Yup, the Browns lost this week, you'll see that a lot with the Browns, but hey, at least they put up a fight against the Eagles. Sure, they lost, but you know what, they were in the game all 60 minutes. I doubt anyone in Cleveland is complaining about a one point loss to a team that most assume (myself included) will win the NFC East. The Browns showed me something I haven't seen from them in a long time, toughness, especially on the defense, which was outstanding, the secondary and linebacker units will make this team palatable for Cleveland this year.
That being said, the offense was equally abysmal. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden struggled from the first snap, completing just 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards, and 4 picks. How bad was he? His quarterback rating was...wait for it...out of 158.3...HE HAD A 5.
In a game where the defense did their part, the offense is the sole reason for a loss and the team's No. 31 overall ranking.
30.(30) Seattle Seahawks
Tough loss to the Cardinals this week, more of a choke job really. The Seahawks won't be able to find many positives from this game, but there were a few. Russel Wilson (who is 5'11, a midget if your a quarterback) was solid for the most part, solid enough that he might have won the starting QB job going forward...at least until Matt Flynn comes to form...if he comes to form.
The defense looked solid, keeping the game close when the offense couldn't generate points. There's enough potential here that if the Seahawks can find a spark on offense, they'll be able to rise up the board. The glaring thing this team needs right now...a healthy Marshawn Lynch...and some clutch.
29.(32) Arizona Cardinals
The NFL is a tough place to play, and you get wins when you get them, and the Cards got one this week. The Arizona Cardinals survived an injury to quarterback John Skelton and came away with a win thanks to backup Kevin Kolb's go-ahead drive. They were not great by any stretch of the imagination, but you know what? They were good enough to win late. The defense stepped up as well.
That being said...the offense is still a huge concern for the Cardinals heading into week 2 against the Patriots. Skelton went out injured and the mobile Kolb had to move around in the pocket to make plays. The offensive line allowed only one sack, but that's as much a credit to the quick throws of the quarterbacks. Further complicating matters was the fact that the run game remained grounded by the same offensive line problems.
28.(28) Indianapolis Colts
Probably not the start Andrew Luck wanted in his first NFL contest (four turnovers.) But lets all remember, the Colts are still rebuilding, and when he wasn't turning the ball over, Luck looked very good at times. Reggie Wayne had an unbelievable game, he clearly still has it. Despite allowing 41 points, the defense did show some flashes, even with Dwight Freeney going out, its a small something...but its something.
The offensive line really needs to improve, Luck was constantly under pressure with the elite pass rush Chicago has, and that alone shut down Indy's offense.
Its going to be a bumpy road for the Colts, but there is promise.
27.(27) Oakland Raiders
The only good thing coming out of this game for the Raider's is that Darren McFadden finally appears to be back...and healthy. That will be an important thing because after watching that game Monday night, it appears the Raiders will be relying on him a lot this season, rushing 13 times for 86 yards. McFadden showed he still had the breakaway speed that made him a fan favorite when he was drafted. The defensive front seven also looked strong, constantly putting pressure on Phillip Rivers.
All that being said, besides McFadden, The Raiders offense just stunk up the joint. The Raiders have good wide receivers, but play after play, Carson Palmer just kept going to McFadden, but he had too, because his O-Line was so bad he just kept getting pressured all game. Hell, even their special teams were bad, not looking very good for Oakland this year, duh.
26.(22) Jacksonville Jaguars
It goes without saying, but with this team it all starts with Blaine Gabbert and MJD. Gabbert looked very strong in the preseason, and he continued his play into the regular season. Everyone picked on Gabbert last year for his poor play making and lack of pocket presence, but Gabbert clearly focused on that during the off season and came out Sunday a new composed and accurate self.
So many players, when they do the whole “holdout” thing struggle into the season and see their production slip, see: CJ2K, but that clearly wasn't the case here, MJD looked like his old self, okay maybe not 100% old Jones-Drew, but he was able to take a lot of pressure of Gabbert on offense.
But saying all that, it was still a loss, and a tough one in overtime. Coming into the season, the defense was supposed to be a strength of this team but allowing 26 points TO THE VIKINGS is not a good defense. Adrian Peterson racked up nearly 100 yards on a still recovering knee and allowing Christian Ponder to only throw 6 in-completions was just too much for this team to overcome.
25.(19) Carolina Panthers
Good news for the football world: It would appear Cam Newtons phenomenal season last year was not a fluke and there won't be a sophomore slump, for this week at least. Newton was excellent Sunday, throwing for over 300 yards, and he showed much of the energy that we all came to enjoy last season. The defense steeped up as well, holding the Bucs to just 16 points.
Why didn't they win? The run game...where was it? I spoke of this team having a 3 headed monster out of the running back spot, but that was nowhere to be seen. Normally, if the running game had been working from the running back spot, you would have seen Newton running, but because the running from the RB's was not there, Newton was forced to throw the ball a lot more.
24.(29) St. Louis Rams
Yes, they lost. But losing by 4 points to the Lions when your projected to be one of the worse teams in the league is a big win for this team. Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan were superb in forcing Matthew Stafford into poor decisions—and that led to three first-half interceptions by the Lions quarterback. The fact this team was hurt going into this game and were able to stick around is a major moral victory.
As good as the defense looked, they couldn't finish the job. By the fourth quarter, Stafford was back on track and was finding openings without missing a beat. It also looks like the problems the Rams had last year with their offensive line have carried on into this season, with Bradford under pressure most of the game.
23.(24) Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson is back, and that is very good news for the Vikings. Christian Ponder had a surprisingly effective day, working the ball down field, but he put the team in a good position when the team could run it in, which this team needs to do as a running team.
The defense was hot and cold, and the cornerback play is still an issue. For as good as the run game was, the passing game will have to be much more complex if they want to win games. And where was Jared Allen? The guy who led the NFL in sacks last year and almost tied the single-season sack record was invisible on Sunday against a quarterback who couldn't stay in the pocket last year.
22.(23) San Diego Chargers
A win is a win, and the San Diego Chargers will take it. Moving to 1-0 on the schedule puts the Chargers in an early tie with the Denver Broncos as the division leaders. The San Diego defense settled down in this game, showing up in the second half and completely shutting down the Oakland run game. Melvin Ingram looked like he could be the player the Chargers hope he will become. The Special teams play of the Chargers was particularity effective.
However, for as good as Phillip Rivers looked at times, he looked terrible at others. He struggled to set his feet in the pocket, which led to overthrows on wide-open receivers. The offensive line let Rivers and the offense down in this one
21.(16) Buffalo Bills
BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD. The best thing that happened to the Bills in their game against the Jets is that the game came to an end. You can't take much good away from a 48-28 thumping, especially when the game wasn't as close as the final score might indicate. If the Bills are even going to dream about having a chance this season, they have to get over this game NOW.
There was nothing good about the absolute beat down the Bills suffered at the hands of the New York Jets. Fred Jackson's injury is the lasting black eye from this punch in the face, and it's an injury that will severely limit what Buffalo can do over the next four to six weeks. The offense wasn't great with Jackson; \they'll be in even more serious trouble without him.
20.(21) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defensive line played an amazing all-around game, shutting down the Carolina Panthers run game and keeping Cam Newton from getting comfortable as a runner. That alone was good enough for the Bucs to get their first win in 11 games. The rookies played very well in this one.
the passing game on offense was missing however. Josh Freeman didn't take many chances down field, and his 16 yards passing in the second half left the door open for the Panthers. For the Buccaneers to compete in the NFC South, they need Freeman to open things up offensively.
19.(18) Tennessee Titans
After a strong showing in the preseason, the Tennessee Titans pass rush looked very good against the New England Patriots. Before going down with an injury, Jake Locker looked solid at quarterback. Locker wasn't blowing the doors off the defense, but he was showing why the Titans made him the starting quarterback. Very good runner as well.
That being said, An injured Jake Locker and a loss isn't how the team wanted to end the first week of the season. Chris Johnson looked terrible, rushing for just four yards all game on 11 carries. The Patriots aren't known as an elite defense, but they bottled up Johnson without much trouble. The offensive line did struggle to push the Patriots defense, but Johnson was going down at first contact too often. The Titans have talent, but with or without Locker, the team simply did not play well enough versus the Pats, in every aspect.
18.(26) New York Jets
Admit it, we all knew the Jets would lead the NFL in points in week one, come on, we all knew they would. But seriously, this just goes to show you that preseason means absolutely nothing. Mark Sanchez must have been saving his touchdowns for the regular season, tearing apart a Buffalo defense that was supposed to be elite. Sanchez was phenomenal in the opener, giving us all good reason to reevaluate our opinions on the QB. If this is the Sanchez the Jets will play with all season, a wild-card berth is an absolute possibility.
However, there are things to be concerned with. An injury to Darrelle Revis will change the fundamentals of the Jets defense in every way. Revis left the game early with an apparent head injury, and he could miss the next game. All in all, this was a very good game for the Jets. They've quieted many of those who doubted Rex Ryan's ability to get this team playing together as a unit.
17.(13) Kansas City Chiefs
If you ignore the score and just watch the game, the Chiefs didn't look terrible. Matt Cassel played a very solid game. His stat line doesn't accurately reflect the interception that bounced off his receiver, or the dropped passes of his targets. Cassel was good, not great, in a game that showed he can be the leader of this team. The best news is that Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles are back.
After keeping the game close until halftime, the Chiefs rolled over and let the Atlanta Falcons run all over them. The hope is that the absences of Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis are to blame for the team's massive capitulation on Sunday—not a schematic or coaching problem.
16.(24) Washington Redskins
Hey, This RG3 kid ain't half bad. The Redskins were dominant, and even when the New Orleans Saints fought back, the team was able to fight point for point to keep their lead and win a game that no one thought they had the right of winning. A big reason for that was the rookie quarterback.
Where Washington can look to get better is on defense. Allowing 25 points is too much, I don't care who you are facing.
15.(10) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles won, no got injured and LeSean McCoy is one of the best runners in football. Other then that, Otherwise, there's not much good to write home about for Philadelphia. The defense allowed just 16 points, but they were playing the Cleveland Browns...with a rookie quarterback who threw for 188 yards.
At times it looked the Eagles were trying to loss this game. Michael Vick threw the ball 56 times, all while Andy Reid ignored his top-ranked running back McCoy. The general thought around the league was that the only good part about the Browns would be their pass defense, and in that respect it looked like Reid was trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
14.(14) Pittsburgh Steelers
No change here for the Steelers, yes they lost, but they didn't look like a loser. Ben Roethlisberger is back to being Ben Roethlisberger. In a good way. The Steelers offense rolled—despite playing in the Mile High atmosphere, despite drops by Antonio Brown and despite multiple injuries on the offensive line. Big Ben was the captain this team needed for a tough, hard-fought game against a very good defense. The Pittsburgh defense also looked solid in limiting Peyton Manning. Ike Taylor matched up well—save for one play—against Demaryius Thomas, and the loss of Ryan Clark and James Harrison weren't major factors throughout the game.
The O-line wasn't great. Injuries are to blame, especially once Marcus Gilbert went down, but overall, this unit gets a poor grade for their play. The Steelers were in this game all along, but the offense could have been much more effective with some strong protection. On the flip side, the Steelers were able to keep this game close, but in the fourth quarter they couldn't stop the Broncos from running through the middle of the defense. The major hurdle is to find a starting five who can consistently line up and protect the passer, and then to get healthy on both sides of the ball.
13.(12) Cincinnati Bengals
Well...no one got injured...other then that, its back to the drawing board for the Bengals. If there was one bright spot for Cincinnati, it has to be slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. His ability to catch and run will give the Bengals a nice option outside of A.J. Green in the passing game.
The Bengals entered half time trailing 17-10 and managed to lose 44-13. The Baltimore Ravens took Cincy to the woodshed in the second half, pulling away in every way imaginable. The Bengals must find a way to protect Andy Dalton better.
12.(15) Denver Broncos
Okay, I was wrong, Peyton Manning isn't done quite yet. No. 18 looked like the future Hall of Famer we've all come to know and love. He was lacking the old arm strength, but other then that, it was good old Manning, and by old..I mean wise, he still can command a game like no ones business. Demaryius Thomas and the wide receivers played great.
Only thing I can complain about...the defense allowed too many completions. Other then that, a very solid showing.
11.(11) Detroit Lions
You can't complain about a win, and the Detroit Lions were able to put the St. Louis Rams away. This one was too close for comfort, though. The fact that the team was able to overcome so many turnovers by Stafford was encouraging. The Team will have to improve all around if they want to move up.
Still have to worry about three interceptions in the first half and allowing the St. Louis Rams to score 23 points.
10.(6) New York Giants
Losing to the Dallas Cowboys always hurts, and the New York Giants' weaknesses were exposed in this one. Eli Manning was rattled by dropped passes and hard hits, which forced him to make questionable throws that killed drives. The defense was supposed to anchor this team, but the feared front four produced just two sacks Romo was too easily finding targets when flushed from the pocket.
The Giants' key players did what they're supposed to. Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul and Hakeem Nicks all played well enough to win on Wednesday night. The team was in position to win several times, and as we saw last year, if the Giants aren't put away early they can hang around and make a run late.
9.(5) New Orleans Saints
While the offense generated a ton of points, their game plan was flawed. They failed to try and establish a run game, opting instead to continue dropping Drew Brees back against a pass rush and secondary that was causing problems. The rhythm of the offense was terrible in Week 1, which is where the loss of Sean Payton really shows up. For the Saints to bounce back, they need the offense to find more balance, but the real key is on defense. Allowing 40 points to a rookie quarterback isn't going to cut it. The defense never got going. Griffin was able to stand tall and find time to throw without any real struggles.
Brees had a big day with 339 yards and three touchdowns, but ultimately that wasn't enough. The good news is that the Saints can now regroup and figure out what's working and what's not. Against the Panthers next week, they have an opportunity to get back on track.
8.(17) Dallas Cowboys
A win over the Superbowl Champions...not a bad way to start the season. The Dallas Cowboys were better than the 24-17 final score would indicate. The offensive line did a fine job protecting Tony Romo against a front four that was hyped as the best in the game, which only sacked Romo just twice all game. However...I thought Romo would end up choking in this one...just like they always do...but they didn't!
I want to know if Dallas can keep up the hype, they've knocked off the champs, but now they have a big target on their back. Romo looked good, but he showed he still prone to make the stupid mistakes hes always been prone to.
7.(9) Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan and the offense were rolling on Sunday. Julio Jones scored twice, Ryan ran another in and the passing game in general looked as good as it ever has during Ryan's time in Atlanta.
The Falcons did win, but they also beat up a Kansas City team missing three starters on defense.
6.(7) Chicago Bears
The Bears didn't play their best football Sunday, and that is concerning when your playing the Colts. The mark of a good team is that even on their worst of days, they find a way to win. The Bears didn't have their best day, especially in the first half, but they were still 20 points better than the Indianapolis Colts—a huge margin of victory no matter the opponent.
Brandon Marshall had a big game for fantasy football players, but a look at his actual play will leave many disappointed. Marshall dropped too many passes, leaving Jay Cutler out to dry twice in the end zone. For the Bears' passing attack to really take off, Marshall can't have two dropped touchdowns. Chicago's schedule is also going to get a lot tougher as well.
5.(4) Houston Texans
When you get to the Top 5, the Rankings get really tough to move up and down, that's the case for Houston here, who stays pat despite a win, against the Dolphins. J.J. Watt is quickly becoming one of the NFL's most dominant defenders. We saw it in the 2011 playoffs, and that same ability was on display again this week. Watt and the Houston defense did exactly what was expected of them against the Miami Dolphins. Arian Foster and Andre Johnson looked like their regular All-Pro selves in this one. Johnson led the way for the passing game, and Foster's two touchdowns contributed to a 20-point win.
The Houston Texans will win a lot of football games if they play like they did in this one. They are my Super Bowl pick moving forward.
4.(8) Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens turned a seven-point game at halftime into a 44-13 beat down on the strength of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and a defense that didn't look like they miss Terrell Suggs at all. There is an absurd amount of talent on this team all-around, and it was on display Monday. Baltimore was able to get pressure off the edge by blitzing Ray Lewis more, but rolling in Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan, and by adjusting the scheme so that someone was consistently pressuring Andy Dalton. And it worked.
On offense the Ravens couldn't have looked better. Joe Flacco showed off his arm strength and Torrey Smith's first game in his second season was a great start for a player with breakout potential.
Hard to find anything bad to say about the Ravens...but didn't we see this last year?
3.(1) Green Bay Packers
Losing at home in Week 1 is tough, but there are correctable issues here. The offensive line played fairly well, but the ball has to come out faster. Running against the 49ers is almost impossible, but if the Packers can establish more of a run game moving forward, it will give Rodgers more time to execute off play action and a moving pocket.
However, on the plus side, Rogers still looked like an MVP candidate, Clay Mathews is still a beast. Bottom line: The Packers still have more talent than most teams in the NFL. One loss is easy to overcome, its up to them to do it.
2. (2) New England Patriots
Surprise...The Pats are still elite. Offense rolled through a very good Tennessee Titans defense en route to 34 points and an easy Week 1 win. The Boston TE Party was in full effect with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez each scoring a touchdown,. And if they couldn't get any better, THE PATRIOTS FINALLY HAVE A RUN GAME! Stevan Ridley went over 100 yards and put the ball in the end zone.
The defense is tougher, younger and faster. They made Chris Johnson look like Laurence Maroney in the back field, knocked Jake Locker out of the game, and held Tennessee to just 13 points.
Only bad thing to say about the Pats is the O-Line is still a concern. Not as bad as they looked in preseason, they were much improved from what we last saw of them. Still, defenders were able to get to Brady, just ask his nose.
1. (3) San Francisco 49ers
Knocking off Green Bay in impressive fashion puts the San Francisco 49ers in the driver's seat in the NFC. It's early, but the 49ers are clearly the team to beat in the NFC as of this morning.
The offense was very efficient on Sunday, with Alex Smith working on quick reads and making timing-based throws to keep the Packers secondary and pass rush off balance. It worked well, as San Francisco was able to keep a comfortable lead all game.
NFL Replacement Referees: B
While I, like the rest of us I'm sure miss the actually NFL Referees, I give the Replacement Refs a B for this week, missed some calls if you go to deadspin.com they point out all the missed calls, nothing major, some holding calls, some pass interference calls, but I think even the regular refs would have missed them. But they did make some fundamental errors, and the one that sticks out in my mind was giving Seattle a 4th time out when they already used them up, that was just bad management by the Refs and something I think would not have happened if the NFL Refs were in place.
The reason I think the league will be relatively safe while the NFL/Owners and Refs work out their differences is because the game now-a-days pretty much runs itself. Referees will never be responsibly for missing a touchdown that may or may not have been in bounds or if a player has possession, or whether a player turns the ball over or not because all of those plays are now automatically reviewed without a coach's challenge, the owners made sure they put that in the CBA, which makes me think whether they saw this lockout coming.
Right now, the NFL has let teams know to prepare for Replacement Refs for the first 5 weeks of the season, and unless one of them really botches a call, the advantage is with and will remain with the NFL and the owners. But I still feel the game will be better managed with the real officials, then the ones we have now, but for now, as long as the focus remains on the teams in the shiny colors, and not the zebra's, we should still all be able to enjoy our football.
My Picks for this Week (9-7 Last Week(9-7 Overall))
Gotta do better to defend my crown!
Green Bay over Chicago
There’s going to be a lot of points given up this week, with most of them coming through the air. Aaron Rodgers' and Co. get back on track with a momentum-building win in a very tough game.
Kansas City over the Bills
If the Bills team we say this past Sunday is the real Bills team, then they are going to be in for a world of hurt. Cassel is a lot better then what he showed this week and the Chiefs should run over the Bills
Cincinnati over Cleveland
The Browns' defense was impressive against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Bengals' offensive attack will be more balanced, and the Browns showed a weakness against the run. Cincy will shut down Brandon Weeden en route to a big win.
Colts over the Vikings
The Vikings' defense will be a tough test for Andrew Luck, especially their pass rush. If Luck can find time to throw, he'll be able to get completions against the sub-par cornerbacks in Minnesota's secondary.
Raiders over the Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill couldn't get the offense going in Week 1. That should be the same case against Oakland who didn't look bad against the Chargers.
Patriots over the Cardinals
Duh. But Larry Fitzgerald will be a real test for this Patriots secondary.
Giants over Buccaneers
Giants need to put that loss to the Cowboys behind them, and with such a bad passing offense like the Bucs have, that should be easy..
Eagles over the Ravens
This was probably the hardest pick of the week, the Eagles are one of the most talented teams in the NFL on paper and the Ravens are just plain nasty, but I just have a feeling the Eagles we saw against the Browns wasn't the real Eagles, plus I know Tom, Eric, Andy, and Steve will all pick the Ravens. I will say this though, if Vick has another game like he just had...Philly may put out a hit on him.
Saints over the Panthers
The Saints shouldn't have to pass 50 times against a Panthers defense that can't stop the run. Expect a big day from Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles as the Saints pick up their first win
Houston over Jaguars
Blaine Gabbert looks good, but he will do nothing against Houston's D. Nothing to see here, moving on
Cowboys Over the Seahawks
Seattle is one of the toughest places to play for any team, but Dallas has the hot hand right now. If the offensive line plays like it did in Week 1, the Cowboys will leave Seattle with a 2-0 record.
Rams over Redskins
Robert Griffin III has proven in one game that he's going to be a nightmare for NFL defenses. The Rams have a very good defense and the overall speed to corral RG3 when he gets outside. I'm taking Jeff Fisher over Mike Shanahan in this one.
Jets over the Steelers
Two hard-hitting defenses face off, but it's New York who comes in with the hot-handed quarterback. Mark Sanchez quieted doubters in one game, and it's the New York offense that's being talked up as the reason for a 1-0 start. A banged up Pittsburgh roster is looking worse by the day.
Titans over the Chargers
The availability of Jake Locker will make the difference in this one. Kenny Britt is back, which helps the Tennessee offense, but the Titans will need more than four yards rushing from Chris Johnson to win this one. San Diego is talented, but the offensive line woes will have Tennessee dominating the line of scrimmage.
49ers over the Lions
The 49ers don't get a break after beating the Packers. The Lions were terrible in the first half as Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions. To beat the 49ers at home, Detroit has to be much more composed. It's tough to see that happening.
Falcons over the Broncos
Two of the best passing attacks from Week 1 face off in what should be a fun game. The Broncos beat a banged up Steeler team that may be overrated at this point. The Falcons' passing game, and what they can do with Michael Turner, will give them a slight edge in this one.
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.
30. Houston Astros
It’s really hard to believe that just seven years ago, this team was playing for the World Series, all is it, that team was stacked from top to bottom. But Ohh, how the times have changed, and this Astros team, is almost a glorified AAA team, they never got the production they wanted out of Carlos Lee, who will now be their everyday 1st baseman, Jed Lowrie will not be ready to begin the season (any Red Sox fan could tell you that) and they only have 2 solid starting pictures….who the organization want to deal as soon as humanely possible.
THIS Astros team will not see the playoffs this year, and with a move to the stacked AL West in the next few years, I’m not sure they ever will again.
29. Baltimore Orioles
Ohh, the problems with the Baltimore Orioles….how bad do they stink? Let me count the ways, a god awful Rotation: Check. A terrible Bullpen: Ohh yeah. Their lineup does have potential, I am a huge fan of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, JJ Hardy and Matt Weiters, but the rest of that line up is so up in the air, Mark Reynolds will either hit a homerun or strike out, and have a average of about .200, and who knows if Brian Roberts will ever come back from his concussion.
Buck Showalter is one of the best managers in the game…but even he will take a long time to turn this team around.
28. Oakland Athletics
The A’s could have themselves a bona-fide super star if Yoenis Cespedes turns out to be the hitter people think he is going to be, and from what we have seen so far, he is, but that’s a big if.
The rest of this Athletics team leaves a lot to be desired, for the love of god, they were so desperate to put butts in the seats of that massive stadium that they signed someone (Manny Ramirez) who will need to serve a 50 game suspension before he can “try” and help this time.
27. Minnesota Twins
I’ll speak for myself when I say that baseball will really be right again now that Joe Mauer is primed for a comeback season. He was never really healthy or in shape last season, and we all saw it. Mauer to me is the face of MLB, and whenever he is having a good season, baseball is having a good season.
Aside from Mauer however, I just don’t know how to feel about this team…their starting pitching is at best mediocre, their bullpen has “meh” written all over it and their entire lineup revolves around two often injured players in former MVP’s Mauer and Justin Morneau. The Twins were AWFUL last season, and I just don’t see them getting much better, even if everyone is healthy.
26. Chicago Cubs
I’m going to be as nice as I can to Cubs fans here: your team is going to stink this year, but just sit back and enjoy as Matt Garza and Starlin Castro turn into super stars, and hope that Anthony Rizzo gets called up and contribute as well.
Beyond those things, this Cubs team really doesn't have much rooting interest. New boss Theo Epstein will need time to transform the Cubs into winners.
25. New York Mets
Johan Santana is finally healthy and looked great (and healthy) throughout all of spring training. This fact alone makes me feel better about the Mets then I did when spring training started.
But even with their ace back, I still don’t have much hope for this team, they have very weak starting pitching, a weak bullpen and a very weak lineup, hitting in a very large ballpark. In the talented NL-East, they are a lock for last place.
24. Seattle Mariners
There are things to like about the Mariners. Felix Hernandez should be considered the top CY Young contender in the American League, Jesus Montero is a hitting prodigy, Dustin Ackley is a great young player and moving Chone Figgins back to the leadoff spot should get him going again.
But overall, the best word to describe this team is "meh." The rotation behind Hernandez is weak, as is their bullpen, and no power at all sends the Mariners all the way to last place in the AL West.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates
It wasn’t very long ago that the Buc’s would be all the way down in these rankings. But things are starting to come around. The Pirates have some good young talent on the way, but it'll be another couple years before it all comes together and the Pirates can use it to make a run at a division title.
This season, the best the Pirates can hope for is that their rotation will be as good as it was early in the 2011 season and that their lineup will be carried by Andrew McCutchen. Even then, the Pirates will tread water in an NL Central that is very heavy at the top.
22. Colorado Rockies
I don’t think anyone is going to question the Rockies' ability to score runs this season. They have a lineup that is deeper than it was in 2011, and it's strong in the middle with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez holding down the fort, and Todd Helton still being able to put up solid numbers even at his age, this team will be up there with the top “run scored“ teams in the league.
Pitching is a much bigger concern. The Rockies do not have a good rotation, they have Jeremy Guthrie then…..49 YEAR OLD JAMIE MOYER as their number 2 starter and their bullpen has some serious question marks hanging over it. That's an ill omen for a team that will play half its games at Coors Field.
The Rockies were pretty terrible beyond April last season. Don't expect them to be much better.
21. San Diego Padres
The Padres don’t look very strong on paper, they have a rotation that doesn’t have any sexy names in it, and a bullpen that doesn’t look as good as it did when they had Mike Adams and Heath Bell. But I’ll say this; the Padres are my sleepers this year.
Pitching and defense will be this team's M.O., and they could make a run at the NL West title if Yonder Alonso develops into a star and Carlos Quentin returns and starts hitting right away.
20. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox aren’t a terrible team, but their not great either, just good enough to avoid being horrible, but no team in the majors defines mediocrity quite like they do.
The White Sox could surprise people this season, but only if Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy all enjoy healthy and productive seasons.
I’ll pause for a minute to let you all recover from the laugh attack you’re having.
19. Cleveland Indians
The Indians overachieved out of the gate last season, and they ultimately ended up using their fast start as an excuse to make an awful trade to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Indians are just as mediocre now months after that trade as they were when they made it. They resigned Grady Sizemore, hoping he would get back to the player he once was…he’s already on the DL, Astrubal Cabrera is a solid short stop, and Carlos Santana will be one of the top catchers in the game. They'll be able to avoid a last-place finish in the AL Central, but they have absolutely no shot at stealing the division from the Tigers.
18. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been one of the most inept franchises in baseball for decades at this point, but they're headed in the right direction. There's some great young talent in the organization, and it should be fun to see what Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas can do over a full season.
The trouble is that the Royals don't have a strong rotation, and their bullpen is much weaker now that Joakim Soria is out of the picture. The Royals will be a middle-of-the-road club this year, and nothing more, but this team future is starting to look brighter.
17. Los Angeles Dodgers
The big story in Dodger land this year will be the club's transition out of Frank McCourt's hands and into, well, whoever's hands. Dodgers’ fans will be happy as long as it's someone other than McCourt.
The Dodgers have some good individual pieces in Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and Dee Gordon will lead the National League in steals if he stays healthy and consistent. But compared to the top teams in the NL West, the Dodgers just don't quite stack up. But under new ownership, this team will be able to spend money this off-season for the first time in a LONG time, a very good story.
16. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are getting there. They're not there yet, but they're close.
So it goes with the Blue Jays. They have some good individual pieces here and there, most notably Jose Bautista and breakout candidate Brett Lawrie, but they don't have nearly enough firepower to compete with the powers that be in the AL East.
Maybe next year.
15. Cincinnati Reds
They don’t really have much of a rotation besides Matt Latos; they moved Aroldis Chapman, who was having a fantastic spring as a starter, back to the bullpen to set up now closer Sean Marshall, who must now close with Ryan Madson going down for the year with Tommy John surgery.
Sure their offence looks nice, but they don’t really offer much after Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.
In short, this team falls well south of elite.
14. Atlanta Braves
A lot of people are down on the Braves right now, and for good reason. The news coming out of Braves camp this spring has been largely bad.
But look beyond the bad news and at the good stuff. You'll see that the Braves still have one of the deepest pitching staffs in baseball, which will most certainly come in handy. Plus, there's no way this lineup will be as bad in 2012 as it was in 2011. The Braves will likely get off to a slow start, but they'll come around.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks overachieved last season. We all know it's true.
But not by much. The D-Backs have two outstanding pitchers at the top of their rotation in Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, they have a deep bullpen and they have a lineup that will hit a ton of home runs.
I shudder to think how good this team could be if the top arms in the system get called up and start contributing immediately.
12. St. Louis Cardinals
Just like the Brewers, don't assume the Cardinals are helpless just because they lost their big slugger over the off-season.
Pujols' offense will be replaced at a reasonable margin if Carlos Beltran hits like he did last year, and David Freese and Allen Craig can both stay healthy and productive. In addition, improved health will make Matt Holliday an MVP candidate.
The bigger concern with the Cardinals is Chris Carpenter's health. The Cards have the depth to account for his absence in the short term, but not the long term. They won the World Series without Wainwright, but they can’t without their ace…or can they?
11. Miami Marlins
On paper, the Marlins are as strong as any team in baseball and they were clearly the winners of the off-season. They have a talented rotation, a solid bullpen and a lineup that is full of both power and speed.
The one big "if" is health. Several of the Marlins' key players are injury-prone (Reyes, Ramirez, Morrison, and Johnson) and that's a big concern. If the injury bug bites this team in 2012, disaster will ensue. If the injury bug doesn't bite, the Marlins will shoot up these rankings in no time at all.
10. Boston Red Sox
The back end of Boston's rotation is very iffy, I like the addition of Doubront, I’ve liked him for years, not sure how I felt about Bard when the decision was made to make him the 5th starter, but with the move that Andrew Bailey will be out till the All Star Break, the move makes a lot more sense, Alfredo Aceves was solid in the bullpen all year last year, and Bard collapsed in September…I know, I know, so did everybody, but if Aceves and be solid and Bard can develop his change up, things will look up for them.
The top three pitchers in Boston's rotation are all rock-solid, and its lineup will score a ton of runs this season. The Red Sox are not as horrible as many people think they are.
9. Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder is out of the picture, but don't think his departure has crippled the Brewers, they still have Ryan Braun, and I love the Brewers offence. They still have one of the deepest rotations in the National League, not to mention one of the deepest bullpens. If their pitching holds up, they'll have more than enough offense to pile up wins.
8. Washington Nationals
I'll be the first to admit it. I'm higher on the Nationals than most.
The thing I love most about the Nats is their starting rotation, which is young, deep and talented, but it’s not without its red flags. We're finally going to see what Stephen Strasburg can do over a full season, but you still have to worry about that elbow. Gio Gonzalez is a strikeout artist with a high ceiling, but too many walks and the long ball will kill him. Jordan Zimmerman was sneaky-good last season and Edwin Jackson is a fireballer who can be unhittable on a good day, but on a bad day, he can‘t get anyone out. The Nats lineup is far from perfect, but it has some thunder in it, Bryce Harper will be a star when he is up full time. Once Drew Storen comes back healthy, their bullpen will be elite.
7. San Francisco Giants
Buster Posey is back, and the Giants made some under-the-radar moves (i.e. trading for Melky Cabrera) over the off-season that will help them score more runs. Their pitching staff is led by three co-aces in Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, and their bullpen is the best in the National League. If they stay healthy this season, the Giants will win the NL West by 10 games.
6. Philadelphia Phillies
At the end of the 2011 season, the Phillies were the best team in baseball by a wide margin. They've gotten worse ever since, as injuries have robbed them of key members of their lineup, losing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard at the start of the season hurts bad and their bullpen lost some depth over the off-season, Madson would have been smart to retain, but smart on the Phil’s to not.
Even still, the trio of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels is so good it borders on being unfair.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
I maintain that the Angels have a deep and talented rotation, but the Rays are right there with them. The Rays have easily the best rotation in the AL East, and it will be one of the best in the majors when all is said and done. A lot of people have doubts about this offense, and I'm one of them. Carlos Pena and Luke Scott were nice additions but age is sure to affect them and they will both hit between .200 and .240, but Evan Longoria is still the best third baseman in baseball and Desmond Jennings has the potential to be even better than Carl Crawford.
4. Los Angeles Angels
OMG! Albert Pujols is an Angel!
Yes he is, and while he is a major addition to an already great team, what makes the Angels great is their starting rotation. The Angels have more talent one through four in their rotation than any team in the majors. Their bullpen has its issues, but the Angels starting pitching and improved lineup will make them slump-proof this season.
3. Texas Rangers
The Los Angeles Angels made all the big moves this off-season, but the Rangers are still king out in the AL West. Their lineup is still ridiculously strong with bats like Hamilton, Cruz Beltre and Napoli, and their starting pitching staff is still pretty deep despite the loss of C.J. Wilson. I have personally been following Yu Darvis’s career since 2006, he will win a CY Young award. But I have my doubts about Joe Nathan, he never seemed like the elite closer he used to be before Tommy John Surgery last season, but I love the rest of Texas' bullpen. Another trip to the World Series is not out of the question.
2. New York Yankees
There are some question marks hanging over the back end of the Yankees starting rotation, but they're strong as can be everywhere else. Their lineup is one of the deepest and most powerful in baseball, and their bullpen is the best bullpen in baseball, substantially. Despite their rotation concerns with Pineda having a bum shoulder, Pettitte not being ready for a while and Kuroda never pitching in the AL before, they can rest easy knowing CC Sabathia is going to win close to or more than 20 games.
1. Detroit Tigers
On paper, this Tigers team is absolutely stacked. The Tigers have a top-heavy rotation led by Justin Verlander and Doug Fister, and the middle of their lineup features two MVP candidates in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Their bullpen is anchored by a guy in Jose Valverde who didn't blow a single save last season. This team will be competing for AL pennants for years to come.
AL East Winner: New York Yankees
The AL East to me is going to be once again the toughest Divison in baseball, and the proving ground for any team that wants to win the World Series, but out of the Contenders in the East, I really like the Yankees the most. Their pitching may not be the best, but their offence sure as heck is, The Yankees take the East.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
There really is explanation needed here, the difference between first and second in the AL Central will be about 15 games. Detroit just has too much power, both on the mound and in the box; Detroit takes this division by the All Star Break.
AL West: Los Angeles Angles
Both Contending teams in the West are going to make the playoffs this season, and seasons to come, but I game the Angles a slight lead in terms of the division just because I really like that rotation 1-4, Albert Pujols doesn’t hurt much either
AL Wild Card 1: Texas Rangers
See above, replace “Angels” with “Rangers” and Albert Pujols with “Josh Hamilton”
AL Wild Card 2: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are going to fight all season, and by the break they should have Andrew Bailey, Carl Crawford, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill back, those additions will be just as good as making trades, and put them just over the hump, that will be their competition, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wild Card: Texas Rangers
In the battle of the two wild cards, I give the nod to the Texas Rangers, I just love their offence 1-9 and their rotation has the potential to be one of the best in baseball 1-5, better then the Red Sox 1-3.
NL East: Miami Marlins
At this stage of the rankings, I don’t know how I can’t give the East to Miami, 1-25 on their roster it looks like the best in baseball, time will tell, this team has the potential to have a worse collapse the last years Red Sox.
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers
Too much offence, best bullpen in the Divison, should be able to take this Divison even with tough competition from the other teams.
NL West: San Francisco Giants
The NL West will cetin ally get a lot stronger in the coming years, with the Padres looking better and the Dodgers finally able to spend money, but for now easy pick: San Francisco runs away with this Divison.
Wild Card 1: Philadelphia Phillies.
Philly is going to do very good this year, their rotation should be solid as always, but missing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to start off the season will just be to much for them to take the division from the Marlins, Phillies get into the postseason easy.
Wild Card 2: Washington Nationals
I am a BIG believe in the Nationals this year, their rotation has the potential to be the best in the National league and their offence isn’t shabby either, especially if Worth can turn it around and Bryce Harper is the phenom I hope he is.
Wild Card: Washington Nationals
Yup. That just happened
While I believe that the Phillies are one of the best teams in the NL…I think the Nationals can beat them, I love their offence, their bullpen blows Phillies away, and much like the Phillies, they have pitchers that could be #1’s on a lot of other teams…but they’re younger and can throw harder, I think that and their bullpen give them the edge.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
To me, this team is the closest thing to a perfect baseball team that I’ve seen, Power, Speed, Average, Amazing pitching, great defense. If they or the Rangers don’t make the Series, I’ll be very disappointed.
They spent so much money trying to make this team the best it could possibly be, and I think it has the potential to be that team, new ballpark, new manager, new closer, new feel, new attitude?…health?…stamina? Let’s hope, because if this team has that, they should make it to the end…but if they don’t, they might not even make the playoffs.
World Series Champion:
Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim
Follow me on Twitter @CraigSNSW and @WGAO_SNSW
Cincinnati advances to sweet 16 for first time since 2001 with a 62-56 victory over Florida State
Kansas comes from 11 down in the 2nd half too eliminate Purdue 63-60 in the exceptional 32 round.
NFL FREE AGENT TRACKER
116 Main Street
Your Source for Good Nutrition!
According to the Denver Post, the Dolphins are currently negotiating a contract with free agent Alex Smith that would pay him $8 million annually. The Dolphins are so desperate, after losing out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, that they're now willing to significantly overpay a borderline NFL starter at near the level of franchise quarterback money.
The New England Patriots reach agreements with WR Brandon Lloyd and WR Anthony Gonzalez
Matt Flynn has agreed to terms with Seattle on a 3-yr contract worth up to $26M w/$10M guaranteed.
Wilmington defeats franklin 3-2 in division 2 hockey state championship
Hudson defeats Medway in high school hockey division 3 championship
Burlington defeated Milton 6-2 in Division 1 Championship
Division 3A Groton-Dunstable defeats South Hadley 4-3
In the Division 1A Championship Malden Mauls B.C. High 3-1
Boys Division 1 Basketball State Final Springfield Central over Brockton 67-46, First state title since 91 back in day of Travis Best
Girls Division 1 State Final Andover over Holyoke 61-45
Carl Crawford (wrist) took swings Friday for the first time since his setback earlier this month. Crawford took 15 swings with both hands and told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he felt fine. The setback was caused by pushing himself too soon, so the Red Sox will be extra careful this time around. He's expected to begin the season on the disabled list.
By: Craig D'Alessandro
|Tom Brady’s legacy is still intact, even after Super Bowl|
By: Tom Nappi
According to CBS Joe Paterno died hours ago but according to Fox and ESPN, Joe-Pa is in critical condition due to lung cancer, which was confirmed by his son Scott Paterno. Some will remember Joe Paterno as one of the greatest coaches in NCAA Football history and perhaps he was, but too think that his career and life should be honored because of that is ludicrous! Joe Paterno or otherwise known as Joe-Pa by the Penn Staties, is a man who was one of the many in that twisted place called Happy Valley, Pennsylvania too cover up countless rapes and abuse to little children by former Penn-State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. If you read the grand jury report which you can find online: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4181508116.PDF you will see that the allegations against Sandusky date back more than 20 years, and you will also find that there were countless cover-ups or people keeping their mouth shut for years, while little children in Jerry Sandusky's "Second Mile Charity" were getting abused and raped.
If you do not know the story by now, you probably live under a rock but the basis of the story is Mike McQueary who was with the team in 2002 witnessed Jerry Sandusky having anal sex with a little boy in the locker room showers, he told Joe Paterno who told the athletic director Tim Curley who pretty much did nothing with the information. Sandusky was no longer with the team around the time of McQueary's witness to the incident but still reserved an office on campus for years after and was still bringing children from the "Second Mile Charity" around campus and more than likely doing unspeakable things. Allegations would come out throughout the years, dating all the way back to the late 70's and be ignored by all figures of authority including local police who stuck 1 investigator on a child abuse case involving multiple children!
The reason McQueary's allegations went no further than they did sooner was because everyone from Penn State staff and higher-ups, town officials, local police, school teachers at the elementary school across the street covered the entire thing up and one of those people who took the situation no further to seek justice for the children who were victimized was perhaps the highest figure of all in Happy Valley, 61 year veteran football coach Joe Paterno! The only reason Jerry Sandusky was not revealed or held accountable for his actions sooner is because the entire community of Happy Valley, Pennsylvania is corrupted by their football program. Besides a good portion of Penn State Students who are logical it seems a large number of the authority figures, locals or employees in the Happy Valley-Penn State community are corrupt and need a serious mental check, the fact they even continued their Football season and were entered into a bowl game, MAKES ME SICK! You may argue well that program brings a lot of money into Pennsylvania, well first off that's why town officials are more than likely corrupted by the football team but most importantly is it worth letting an alleged child rapist run wild and free and not be held accountable for his actions? I repeat, the whole Happy Valley community is corrupt and needs a reality check! (Side Note: Factor out Penn State Students with any comment I make, referring more to authority figures and town locals when questioning the mentality of Happy Valley and Good Luck with your new job Bill O' Brien, your going to need it!)
I will always view Joe Paterno as a coward, he was the most important and more than likely highest authority figure because of his contributions at Penn State and did the bare minimum too help the children that were being victimized by that monster Jerry Sandusky. As much as I love Football, a human life is far more important than anything so as Joe Paterno nears the final days of his life, dig deep into your soul and morality and then tell me how he should really be remembered and if you think there is a chance Sandusky may be innocent, go to you tube and watch the damn interview he did with Bob Costas, and if you still think so after watching the interview he may be innocent, check yourself into a mental institution!
*KEEP IN MIND THIS ARTICLE IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK*
Read More for Craig D'Alessandro's take on Joe Paterno
Andrew Bailey to Red Sox: 10 More Steps to Reclaiming AL East Throne for Boston
Andrew Bailey was finally dealt this off-season, exactly where everyone thought he would end up going. The Boston Red Sox dealt Josh Reddick and a pair of prospects Wednesday to the Oakland Athletics to land Bailey, along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney. The deal presumably solidifies the team's need for a closer since Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies and helps the Sox’s plan to move Daniel Bard or Alfredo Aceves into the starting rotation for 2012.
The deal is a step forward for Boston. Sweeney and Reddick are more or less a wash, so they improved their bullpen substantially at the cost of only two mid-level prospects. They are now closer to winning the AL East in 2012 than they were Wednesday morning.
Still, there is work to be done in order for THIS Red Sox team to be a contender. Unless the Tampa Bay Rays throw up their hands and just slot Dan Johnson in at first base, and unless the New York Yankees stubbornly stick with their current starting rotation going forward, Boston is not the favorite in the AL East right now. They need to shore up their starting rotation and (probably) bolster their outfield, finding a partner for Sweeney in right field. Here are 10 things they must do in order to head to Florida in February as divisional favorites.
1. Fix Carl Crawford’s Plate Approach
Call it trying to do too much or simply reading pitches less well than he once did, but Carl Crawford's problems in 2011 trace back primarily to terrible plate discipline. He swung at drastically more pitches outside the strike zone in 2011 than he ever had before: 37.9 percent of all bad balls, up from a career average of 31.5 percent. Therefore, he posted the highest strikeout rate of his career (nearly 20 percent of all plate appearances), and his worst walk rate since 2005. In laymen’s terms, when ever the Red Sox didn’t need an out and Carl Crawford was at the plate, Crawford got out, whether it was a ground out, fly out, or strike out, Crawford always found a way to stop a rally in his first year in Boston.
It shouldn't be terribly hard to fix this. When Crawford chose pitches well, he could still drive them. Neither his bat nor his feet seemed markedly slower last season than they had been before. He simply couldn't find the right mental approach at home plate. Assuming the Sox can remedy that, Crawford should bounce back and make theirs, by an even wider margin, the league's best lineup.
2. Sign Edwin Jackson
Matt Garza is available, and Matt Garza is better than Edwin Jackson. He's maybe five or 10 percent better, though, and he's likely to cost 15 or 20 percent more than Jackson. The Chicago Cubs will not deal Garza for fewer than two long-term assets, and the Red Sox do not need to drain their farm system depth further just for that marginal advantage.
Instead, Ben Cherington should spend some money (hardly a scarce resource in Boston) on Jackson. He's underrated, really, a young guy with a top-flight fastball who makes life Hell for right-handed batters and who has pretty good control. He would slot in nicely in Boston.
Lets Look at Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson during the 2011 season:
Matt Garza went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA in 31 games, 198 innings pitched with a Strikeout per 9 innings of 9
Edwin Jackson went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 games, 199.2 innings pitched with a Strikeout per 9 innings of 6.7
Pretty similar if you ask me. The Key difference here is, Garza is going to take a lot more to get then Jackson and your basically getting the same result, why deplete your farm system even more then it already is when you can sign basically the same pitcher in free agency.
3. Trade for Marlon Byrd
The Garza deal would cost Boston more than it would be worth. This trade, however, could be the right one on which to pull the trigger, for both the Sox and their departed GM, Theo Epstein.
Your current right fielders signed for this season are Ryan Sweeny, Mike Aviles, Darnell McDonald and Ryan Kalish….not very exciting right?
Byrd could be part of an otherwise lopsided trade for an Epstein/Jason McLeod cheese ball, which would take care of compensation for Epstein's defection to the Cubs. Alternatively, the Sox could simply package two players to whom Epstein took a special shine and receive Byrd straight up.
Either way, the player they would receive would be a constant. Byrd will be paid $6.5 million in 2012, hardly a hardship, and would be a virtually ideal platoon partner with Ryan Sweeney.
He is a center fielder by trade, which would make him more than adequate to cover the cavern that is right field at Fenway Park, and he could rack up a bunch of doubles with his line-drive, pull-conscious right-handed swing. As a bonus, Byrd could be insurance against injury to Jacoby Ellsbury.
4. For Whichever reliever they try to convert into a starter, follow the Alex Ogando model
The Red Sox are going to attempt to turn one of if not both of their most effective relievers into a starter this upcoming Spring Training. If its Alfredo Aceves, it won’t be that much of a change, he has always been a starter and has handled it well, it was just the fact he worked so well out of the bullpen in recent years that the Red Sox decided to keep him there.
Daniel Bard on the other hand is a different story. While he had also been a starter while in college and in the minors, it never really worked out for him, at one time posting an ERA over 10 in a season, it was after this (and the discovery of a 100 MPH fastball) that the Red Sox decided to convert him into a reliever, where he has excelled over the past 3 seasons.
Daniel Bard has, in theory, three pitches. It's the effectiveness of his third pitch that seems to have captivated the Red Sox. They think they can make him an effective starter by simply asking him to pace himself and throw his decent changeup more often.
That's not the right model for this scenario, though. Instead, Boston should simply ask Bard to reel in his fastball a tad, and be the same two-pitch pitcher he has been the past three years. He just needs to do it every fifth day, to 25 batters, instead of every other day to five. The model, in fact, is Alexi Ogando.
Last season with Texas, Ogando moved from exclusive relief work to exclusive starting work without a change in repertoire at all. He threw his fastball three percent more often in 2011 than in 2010; his slider three percent less; and his changeup exactly as often, 4.8 percent of the time. If Bard follows that regimen, he has a chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter for the Sox, and if he does that, the Sox become AL East favorites.
5. Sign Darren Oliver
With the addition of Bailey, the Red Sox seem to have a strong overall bullpen. Mark Melancon now slides into a setup role. Bobby Jenks doesn't slide into anything, but he'll probably plop into more of a seventh-inning slot, pun intended. Alfredo Aceves is a terrific right-handed long man; Andrew Miller fills that role well from the left side.
Still, the relief corps is missing something. They need a lefty specialist, someone to get key outs against the likes of Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. Darren Oliver is perfectly suited to that gig. Boston can bid a bit more for those services than other teams, so this is a no-brainer.
6. Take Control of the Clubhouse
Clubhouse factors are overstated. Teams get far too much credit for their cohesion when they win, and when collapses happen, those same squads get far too much blame for lacking focus.
That said, the Red Sox do have a lot of established veterans on the roster, and sometimes, getting those players to watch video, work on what's not working and stay in premium shape can be tough. Baseball is about day-to-day adjustments, and too many veterans get lazy about those things.
That's why Bobby Valentine was the team's choice to take over as manager. He's a man of boundless energy, the kind that rubs off on everyone he encounters. The Red Sox need his constant kinesis to keep themselves on the top of their game. If he can set the right tone for the team in the spring, they will be a more disciplined bunch come autumn.
7. Platoon to Kingdom Come
The Red Sox have depth, but too many American League teams fail to make the optimum use of their benches. Boston is in a position to be better.
In right field, Ryan Sweeney and some right-handed bat (Marlon Byrd, perhaps?) would make a terrific platoon. So would Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate (At least untill Ryan Lavarnway is ready full time.)
The most intriguing platoon possibility, though, might be at shortstop. Both Marco Scutaro and Jose Iglesias bat right-handed, but whereas Scutaro is primarily an on-base threat for the bottom of the batting order, Iglesias is a prospect with elite defensive skills.
That creates an interesting opportunity. When ground-ball mavens Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz start, the Sox could put the glove wizard Iglesias at shortstop and save some runs. When Josh Beckett takes the mound, Scutaro could provide offensive punch without costing the club. This is the Ideal scenerio, however with Iglesias in my mind about a year away still (his offence is still terrible) I expect a lot of Nick Punto this season.
8. Rebuild the Training Staff
The 2011 Red Sox did lack pitching depth, but realistically, it never should have gotten as bad as it did for them. They had Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield and (after the trade deadline) Erik Bedard on hand.
Yet, those players had an awful time staying healthy down the stretch. Lackey's and Matsuzaka's problems were arm and workload-related, and likely inevitable.
In the cases of Beckett, Lester and Buchholz, though, the Sox lost starts that should have gone to their top hurlers, because they all recovered on a much slower schedule than expected. That failure traces back to the training staff. If the Red Sox can find a group of athletic trainers who will keep ankle and back injuries to the lowest level of impact possible, they will get much better.
9. Put together the Right Lineup
The Red Sox struggled to find the right lineup throughout 2011. The slow emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury as a superstar and the failure of Carl Crawford to find his usual rhythm made it hard to know where people belonged.
In 2012, more questions might pop up, but this is my ideal lineup set for the team come Opening Day:
v. RHP v. LHP
With those personnel in that arrangement, Boston should lead the AL in runs scored again in 2012.
10. Find pitching at the Trading Deadline
It's clear that the current market for starting pitching favors sellers. C.J. Wilson got more than he was worth. The Padres and A's extracted more from trading partners for Mat Latos, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez than anyone expected they would. Yu Darvish cost $51.7 million, and that was just to start talking.
Edwin Jackson is a great option, but even if they add him, Boston might need an extra arm down the stretch. The way to get it, though, would not be to continue paying through the nose and adding pitching at the current top-dollar prices.
Instead, if the Sox wait for July, they should be able to add Wandy Rodriguez or a comparable hurler at a much more reasonable cost.
Craig’s Top ten MVP picks not named Aaron Rogers
10. Jimmy Graham Saints- In less than two years, Jimmy Graham has revolutionized the tight end position. True, the position had been trending toward the more athletic, pass-catching type of player for years. But Graham has taken that idea to a whole new level. If Calvin Johnson is a receiver in a tight end's body, then Jimmy Graham is a tight end in a receiver's body. 1,101 yards, 80, receptions, 8 touchdowns.
9. Tim Tebow- He's racked up 11 touchdowns and 1,290 yards on 198 attempts for a 48.5 completion percentage. His quarterback rating is an 83.9 for the season. That's middle of the road, folks. The only number that really matters in the Tebow for MVP argument is seven. That is how many wins, in eight games started, he's led them to. In the process, the Broncos have gone from predicted door mats of the AFC to a lock for the AFC West title. Talent and stats alone do not win MVP titles. Those things have to lead to wins. Tebow is a winner personified. For that, he deserves MVP consideration.
11 touchdowns, 1,290 yards, 48.5 completion percentage, 83.9 qbr, 7-1 as a starter.
8. LeSean McCoy Eagles- "It's hard to soar like an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys." Such is the life of LeSean McCoy, the NFL's second-leading rusher. The Eagles have been dreadful this year. Despite high-priced free-agent signings and high expectations that earned them the nickname "The Dream Team," they won't make the playoffs. Clearly that has nothing to do with McCoy, who has definitely soared. He is the lone bright spot in this dismal season for the Eagles. 1,172 yards, 17 touchdowns, averages 90 yards a game. 0 fumbles
7. Rob Gronkowski Patriots- The only thing Rob Gronkowski does is score touchdowns. Actually, that is a complete exaggeration. He does much more. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would both tell you that. .But as far as MVP consideration goes, his touchdown numbers are what puts him in the discussion.
16 touchdowns- 71 receptions- 1,088 yards
6. Maurice Jones-Drew - Even before Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay, MJD deserved to be in the MVP discussion. He is the NFL's leading rusher with 1,222 yards and is doing so on a team with a rookie quarterback and a passing game that is probably the worst in the NFL. He's scored seven rushing and three receiving touchdowns this year while averaging the highest yards-per-game average among running backs.
1,222 yards, 10 total touchdowns, 94 yards per game
5. Wes Welker- In 2011, Welker is having a career year. He is arguably the most complete receiver in the game. He may not have the most touchdowns, but he has already eclipsed his previous high with three games remaining. He will also easily beat his previous high in yards. He's averaging more yards per catch, and he already has 100 receptions for the year as well. Gronkowksi might get most of Brady's red-zone attention. But without Welker, the Patriots might never get to the red zone. He is the perfect fit for New England's system and knows how to find seams and openings in the defense that other receivers would miss.
100 receptions, 1339 yards, 9 touchdowns
4. Calvin Johnson- Johnson was unstoppable in the red zone early on in the season, . The tides have changed for Johnson and the Lions since then, though. The loss of Matthew Stafford's hand injury had the most impact of his lack of production since. But the biggest reason for Johnson's drop in production—he only has three touchdowns in his last eight games—is that defenses are putting two or three defenders on him on every play. Defenses are forcing Detroit to key on other receivers.
72 receptions, 1,121, 12 touchdowns, nine tds in 5 games
3. Eli Manning- The 2007 Super Bowl MVP should be in the discussion for the 2011 regular season MVP. He is having his best year as a pro. Manning's already thrown for more yards then ever before, and he will likely surpass his previous high in touchdowns. Plus, he's taking care of the ball. His interception numbers are way down from last year. Victor Cruz has been a revelation. But without Manning, Cruz would be just another unproven slot receiver on a bad team.
4,105 yards, 25 touchdowns, 12 ints, 95.5 qbr, 14 4th quarter touchdowns
2. Drew Brees- Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a single season will be shattered by Drew Brees this year. It's not a question of if—it's a question of when.
Touchdowns, 11 ints, 105.9 qbr, 336 ypg
1. Tom Brady- Saying Tom Brady is an MVP candidate is like saying its going to be cold during the winter.
4,273 yards, 33 touchdowns, 11 ints, 106 qbr, 328 ypg
*Obviously Aaron Rogers is your MVP this season, there is no one even close to his production, he has a 123 QBR, over 4,000 yards, and 39 touchdowns and will more then likely lead his team to just the Third ever undefeated Regular season, he is a freak of nature this season.
Here are the Tom Nappi Week 15 NFL Power Rankings, (#) - Last Week
If the Team is not bold there is no shot in hell they will make the playoffs.
Power rankings are in order by teams that have best shot at the Super Bowl!
I will adjust this after Monday Night Football but notice the MNF matchup is pointless as it is between 2 awful teams!
Here is a pic of God's Favorite Tim Tebow who did it again in week 14, a last minute comeback against the Bears and the Broncos win 6th straight 13-10!
32-(32) Indianapolis Colts (0-13) - Awful, they continue to throw the season, shameful, awful, horrible.
31-(31) St. Louis Rams (2-11) - Why did Sam Bradford go from first to worst?
30-(25) Tampa Bay Bucs (4-9) - How the heck is it possible to give up 41 points to Jacksonville? The Bucs are terrible.
29-(26) Cleveland Browns (4-9) - Peyton Hillis one and done One great year and that could be it and the Browns are consistently awful.
28-(30) Minnesota Vikings (2-11) - They could have very well beat the Lions this week, if the refs saw the face mask on the last play of the game, they are looking better every week and I think Ponder will eventually be a good QB.
27-(18) Kansas City Chiefs (5-8) - Head Coach Todd Haley just got tanked after a beating by the Jets, the injury of Cassel wrecked the Chiefs already questionable season.
26-(23) Buffalo Bills (5-8) - Is it just me or are the Bills getting worse and worse every week? 37-10 beating by the Chargers this week.
25-(22) Miami Dolphins (4-9) - Dolphins took a tough loss this week to Philly but they have serious potential to upset the elite.
24-(28) Washington Redskins (4-9) - Most of the Redskins losses have been very competitive games, they have potential to upset playoff teams and you can never under prepare for the Redskins deadly pass rush.
23-(29) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) - They ran over the Bucs this week, so they have potential to end some seasons as bad as they have been. Maybe its the fact Jack Del Rio is gone!
22-(24) Carolina Panthers (4-9) - Don't every underestimate Cam Newton, he is by far rookie of the year, if Panthers ever get a defense to support him look out!
21-(27) Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) - Vick is back and so is some winning in Philly, they will not make the playoffs but they could upset playoff contenders. A nice 26-10 beating of the Dolphins this week.
20-(20) Seattle Seahawks (6-7) - MNF was a Seahawk Slaughter Fest 30-13 over the Rams.
19-(21) Arizona Cardinals (6-7) - They beat the 49ers this week 21-19. I love the wild wild NFC west, Cardinals could win out and grab a NFC wild card. Don't count on it though.
18-(19) S.D. Chargers (6-7) - I hate how the Chargers win in december and suck every other month, I think Tebow will hold them from the AFC West title this year however!
17-(17) Chicago Bears (7-6) - A major shot at the Wild Card in NFC took a major hit this week because of Marion Barber, who runs out of bounds with the lead and less than 2 minutes left honestly! Well the Denver Tim Tebow Divine Interventions got to the Bears this week.
16-(16) Oakland Raiders (7-6) - Probably the most undisciplined team in the NFL. Detroit, K.C. and Chargers left, with the way they have been playing, the Raiders are dead!
15-(15) Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) - Rams, Cardinals and Ravens to finish out the season, must win at least 2 of those games to stay in playoff contention after blowing a must win game against the Falcons this week.
14-(12) Tennessee Titans (7-6) - Still a shot at a Wild Card even though the division was clinched with the Jags and Colts coming up, Titans will have to win out the rest of the season.
13-(10) Detroit Lions (7-6) - Should have lost to the Vikings but a missed face mask call in the last play of the game, the Lions look undisciplined and the defense is playing not close to as good as the beginning of the season.
12-(11) Dallas Cowboys (7-6) - Blew an 11 point lead against the Giants on Sunday Night Football with 5:00+ left, the Giants are now right back in the race and own the tie-breaker against the Cowboys.
11-(10) New York Giants (7-6) - Giants saved their season by beating the Cowboys Sunday Night, but still will likely have to win out to grab a playoff spot. It has been a very inconsistent NFC East this year and the Giants are no exception.
10-(13) New York Jets (8-5) - Jets are in line at a AFC Wild Card spot as long as they win 2 of the next 3, as far as competing with elite teams such as the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots, it has yet to be seen if they are capable.
9-(9) Atlanta Falcons (8-5) Got the job done against Carolina now has Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tampa Bay coming up, should be in line for a NFC Wild Card spot and overall has a nice all around team with upset potential!
8-(5) S.F. 49ers (10-3) The proud winners of the NFC west, now I have to say the 49ers have an outstanding defense but there offense comes up short at times and I am not sure they have enough clutchability (made up my own word there) to go far into the playoffs.
7-(7) Denver Broncos (8-5) - Broncos have won 6 straight and if you watched the game this week against the Bears, the way the Broncos won was one of the rarest most flukey things I have ever seen and Tim Tebow I am now convinced has divine intervention on his side, this guy is nothing but a winner! He sucks at throwing and I cannot emphasize that enough but he has the power of the Lord!
6-(6) New England Patriots (10-3) - Another shaky win for the Patriots as they beat the Redskins 34-27, not only did they get torched by the awful Rex Grossman, but this week even their ground defense was awful, giving up 126 yards to Roy Helu. With this kind of defense, one and done, as I am still a huge believer in the fact defense wins championships! I CAN'T WAIT TO WATCH BRONCOS VS PATS THIS SUNDAY AT 4:15PM/ET!
5-(8) Houston Texans (10-3) - Schaub may be done, but the Texans are in the playoffs after clinching the South and even though T.J. Yates is there QB they got the job done the past 2 weeks against a tough Falcons and a tough Bengals team, Patriots take note this is how defense is played, only 29 points given up in the past 2 weeks by the Texans!
4- (4) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) - Beat up on the Browns and I hate to admit it but Big Ben is one tough S.O.B. coming back into the game after spraining his ankle on Thursday nights beating of the Browns.
3-(3) Baltimore Ravens (10-3) - Chargers, Browns and Bengals left, Chargers probably the toughest game left, but have a great shot to clinch the AFC North.
2-(2) New Orleans Saints (10-3) - Drew Brees is unstoppable. Vikings, Falcons, Carolina coming up, so the Saints are in great shape for the NFC South and a Bye Week. Prediction: Packers and Saints in NFC championship, Packers win 55-48.
1-(1) Green Bay Packers (13-0) - Once again showed why they are the best and Rodgers is on a level of his own!
READ MORE CHECK OUT CRAIG's POWER RANKINGS!!!!!! THEY ARE ALMOST AS GOOD AS MINE!
|7 THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT THE PATRIOTS AFTER SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL|
Here are the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings as we are at the midpoint of the NFL season game wise!
(Rankings based on teams least to most likely to win in the playoffs!)
32) Indianapolis Colts (0-9) - No Peyton Manning + Peyton Manning System = No Team
31) Cleveland Browns (3-5) - Their only offense is Peyton Hillis and he is a mess this season, Colt McCoy is not so good
30) St. Louis Rams (1-7) - Rams got 1 fluke win against the Saints all season long, although Brandon Lloyd provides hope, but you lost to the awful Cardinals this week.
29) Miami Dolphins (1-7) - They beat the overrated Kansas City Chiefs this week
28) Carolina Panthers (2-6) - If you can't handle the Vikings this season, you deserve to be ranked no higher than this.
27) Minnesota Vikings (2-6) - No Donovan McNabb makes the Vikings a tad better, although Christian Ponder is going to get crushed against the Packers next Monday
26) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) - Blaine Gabbert looks to be getting better and better... but only 2 wins
25) Arizona Cardinals (2-6) - Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet = Good, the other 50 players = Bad
24) Seattle Seahawks (2-6) - Potential to upset some good teams, but potential to lose the rest of the season
23) Washington Redskins (3-5) - Strong start, but now playing like we all expected....BAD 4 losses in a row
22) Denver Broncos (3-5) - TIM TEBOW BRINGS HOPE, I doubted he would but they beat Oakland this week, but Tebow still can't throw
21) Oakland Raiders (4-4) - This team is like a seesaw you never know what the hell you will get
20) Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) - They lost to the Dolphins after beating the Chargers...potential but fluke team
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) - Josh Freeman is just soooo shaky this season, but still a chance at a playoff spot....no not really
18) Tennessee Titans (4-4) - I give the Titans credit there only offensive threat sucks but they still manage to play sub-par football
17) Buffalo Bills (5-3) - Much better this year, but still won't keep up with the elite
16) San Diego Chargers (4-4) - Decent QB, Awful Coaching and pretty good team in general = flukiest team in the NFL
15) Dallas Cowboys (4-4) - Tony Romo = Can't win the big game
14) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) - After Awful start, they at least started to look a little and i mean very little like the dream team they call themselves, but as the Bears showed Monday Night, Pressure Vick and you will beat them.
13) Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) - These guys are for real and Andy Dalton will be better than Carson Palmer, I will move them way up in the Power Rankings if they beat the Steelers this week.
12) Houston Texans (6-3) - Good job winning 3 in a row without Andre Johnson, not a team to be taken lightly.
11) Chicago Bears (5-3) - Jay Cutler looks much better this year and so does the O-Line but as far as making the playoffs with the Packers and Lions in your division, it may be tight but after beating the so called "Dream Team" Eagles they are a huge threat! Jay Cutler and Brian Urlacher are out for heads!
10) New England Patriots (5-3) - Good offense...usually but the worst passing defense in the league, they still could pull a rabbit out of the hat of course with the Belichick/Brady Combo but god please get a G.M. that can actually evaluate talent.
9) New York Jets (5-3) - Defense finally stepping it up and Mark Sanchez sucks passing deep but can manage the game if the run game comes through and in the last 3 weeks Jets are back to winning at their style of football.
8) Detroit Lions (6-2) - Scary good defense and a very good offense, one of the deepest and underrated rosters in the NFL...They are for real
7) San Francisco 49ers (7-1) - 6 wins in a row and will easily run away with the NFC west...Alex Smith finally looking good as expected, however 1 loss all year does not mean anything, their schedule is very weak. Huge game with major implications this week with Detroit coming up at home!
6) Atlanta Falcons (5-3) - Starting to show signs of looking like the NFC Super Bowl team all the big time so called experts expected.
5) New Orleans Saints (6-3) - Great offense, no defense, but knows how to win, and should find a playoff spot in the NFC
4) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - Good team all around as usual, but Baltimore has their number.
3) New York Giants (6-2) - I hate to say it but Eli Manning is looking like a top 5 quarterback and the receiving core and running game even without Bradshaw and Nicks still looks amazing. Defense is great as well despite a boatload of injuries...deep roster
2) Baltimore Ravens (6-2) - Looking like they have the potential to be the AFC Super Bowl contender as long as Flacco can manage the game and put some points on the board.
1) Green Bay Packers (8-0) - Undefeated, last years Super Bowl champions and Aaron Rodgers is by far the best QB in the league this year....enough said!
READ MORE TO SEE HOW CRAIG D'ALESSANDRO RANKS EM!
Bruins got their 3rd win of the season as they took down the Toronto Maple Leafs last night 6-2.
Tim Thomas got the start at goalie, he’s now 3-2 on the season.
In the 1st Period Nathan Horton, Zdeno Chara and Chris Kelly all had goals, no one scored in the 2nd period, but in the 3rd period Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin knocked in goals for the Bruins.
Mark Bartkowski has been sent back down too providence and Stephen Kampfer is in!
David Krecji saw action last night, he has been out since the early part of the season with a core injury.
According to reports The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are finishing up negotiations that would send Theo Epstein to the Cubs. The current hold up appears to be reviewing of medical records of players that the Red Sox would receive in exchange of Epstein. San Diego Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer is expected to join Theo in Chicago and would take over as Cubs GM.
The Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals played game 2 of the World Series last night, the Cards took game one with a 3-2 Victory, but in game 2 the Rangers struck back scoring 2 runs in the 9th to take game 2 2-1 and tie up the Fall Classic at 1.
Colby Lewis for the Rangers went 6.2 IP and gave up 4 hits and 1 run while Jamie Garcia went 7 scoreless innings for the Cardinals. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young both had sacrifice hits in the 9th to drive in runs. Jason Motte gave up both runs, only 1 run was earned.
A trade that would have sent Running back Ronnie Brown to the Lions has been voided after Jerome Harrison, the player that Brown was being traded for, failed his Phycial, reports are now that a Brain tumor was discovered during Harrisons Physical.
NFL Week 6
Bills - 24 Giants - 27
Colts - 17 Bengals - 27
Jaguars - 13 Steelers - 17
Eagles - 20 Redskins - 13
49ers - 25 Lions - 19
Rams - 3 Packers - 24
Panthers - 17 Falcons - 31
Browns - 17 Raiders - 24
Texans - 14 Ravens - 29
Saints - 20 Bucs - 26
Dallas - 16 Pats - 20
Vikings - 10 Bears - 39
Dolphins - 6 Jets - 24
Take a look at these final scores and read more for Craig's Power Rankings and all the Latest News about your favorite NFL Team!
NFL Week 5
Bills - 31 Eagles - 24
Chiefs - 28 Colts - 24
Cardinals - 10 Vikings - 34
Seahawks - 36 Giants - 25
Titans - 17 Steelers - 38
Saints - 30 Panthers - 27
Bengals - 30 Jaguars - 20
Raiders - 25 Texans - 20
Bucs - 3 49ers - 48
Chargers - 29 Broncos - 24
Jets - 21 Patriots - 30
Packers - 25 Falcons - 14
Bears - 13 Lions - 24
Take a look at these final scores and read more for Craig's Power Rankings and all the Latest News about your favorite NFL Team!
NFL Week 4
Panthers - 29 Bears - 34
Bills - 20 Bengals - 23
Titans - 31 Cleveland - 13
Detroit- 34 Cowboys - 30
Vikings - 17 Chiefs - 22
Redskins - 17 Rams - 10
49ers - 24 Eagles - 23
Saints - 23 Jaguars - 10
Steelers - 10 Texans - 17
Giants - 31 Cardinals - 27
Falcons - 30 Seahawks - 28
Denver - 23 Packers - 49
Patriots - 31 Raiders - 19
Dolphins - 16 Chargers - 26
Jets - 17 Ravens - 34
Colts - 17 Bucs - 24
Take a look at these final scores and read more for Craig's Power Rankings and all the Latest News about your favorite NFL Team!
The Red Sox are out of the Playoff picture as they lost to the Balitmore Orioles last night in the Regualar season finale, The Red Sox had a 3-2 lead in the ninth until Jonathan Paplebon gave up a Nolan Reimold ground rule double to deep center and the next batter Robert Andino seemed to had flown out to left, however Carl Crawford bobbled the catch and the Orioles went on to win 4-3
And down in Tampa the Rays trailed the Yankees 7 to nothing but came roaring back in the late innings to tie the score at 7 in the ninth, this game would conclude in the 12th inning, where minutes after the Red Sox had lost to Baltimore, Evan Longoria hit his second home run of the night and clinched the Wild card for the Rays.
This is the second year in a row the Red Sox have not made the playoffs, something they have not done since the 2001 and 2002 seasons
The Playoffs start tommorow night with The Rays Heading to Texas to take on the Rangers and The Detriot Tigers heading to New York take on the Yankees
The New England Patriots Try to shake off their first defeat of the season as they head to Oakland to take on the Raiders. Logan Makins Returned to Practice after sitting out Wensday with an illness. Missing Practice were Albert Haynsworth (Back) Mike Wright (Concussion) Aaron Hernedez (Knee) and Sebastion Vollmer (back)
Tim Thomas will make his Preseason debut for Boston as the Bruins take on the Senotars and Nathan Horton is expected back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion in the Stanley Cup Playoffs agasint Vancuver. The Regular Season Kicks off one week from tonight as the Bruins open up their season with a three game homestand againts the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Colarado Avalanche
NBA commissioner David Stern is planning to threaten players with the cancellation of the entire 2011-12 season if the sides haven't made major progress toward a deal by the end of the weekend. The Players view this as just a negotiating tactic.
One NBA player with Job Security however may be LA Laker Kobe Bryant who said that if the NBA lockout holds over into the season and games are lost, it quote "Very Possible" that he will play in the Italian Basketball Leauge team Virtus Bologna. The Team is offerning 2.5 million dollars for Kobe to play 10 games over 40 days.
This has been Craig D'Alessandro with your Sports Report catch the Sports Blast on www.masportsweb.com
NFL Week 3
Patriots - 31 Bills - 34
S.F. 49ers - 13 Cincinatti - 8
Miami - 16 Cleveland - 17
Denver - 14 Titans - 17
Detroit - 26 Minnesota - 23
Houston - 33 New Orleans - 40
NY Giants - 29 Eagles - 16
Jacksonville - 10 Carolina - 16
NY Jets - 24 Oakland - 34
Baltimore - 37 St. Louis - 7
K.C. Chiefs - 17 S.D. Chargers - 20
Green Bay - 27 Chicago - 17
Arizona - 10 Seattle - 13
Atlanta - 13 Tampa Bay - 16
Pittsburgh - 23 Indianapolis - 20
Washington - 16 Dallas - 18
Take a look at these final scores and read more for Craig's Power Rankings and all the Latest News about your favorite NFL Team!
This is Craig D’Alessandro with your SPORTS BLAST Update, Tune into the SPORTS BLAST on MASPORTSWEB.COM and tonight on www.thelook247.com 8-midnight/et
The Boston Red Sox dropped 3 of a 4 game series to the Baltimore Orioles. Wednesday’s starter Josh Beckett went 7 and one third innings, giving up 6 runs, 4 of which come off the bat of Orioles’ slugging first baseman Mark Reynolds.
With the loss, the Red Sox Record in September falls to 5 and 16, the Sox get a much needed day off before a Pivotal 3 game series with the AL East Champion New York Yankees, who clinched the title with a day-night double header sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Current Standings in the Wild Card: The Red Sox led by 2 ½ games over the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Boston Herald is reporting that The Red Sox have tried for the last week to acquire New York Mets pitcher Chris Capuano to pitch Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees. If Capuano is acquired, he would be ineligible to pitch in the Post Season, a deal is not expected.
The New England Patriots head to Buffalo this Sunday to play the Surprise 2-0 Bills. Tom Brady will look to keep his stellar start to the season alive against a team he has fared very well against in his career with a current 17 game winning streak against the division Rival.
The Patriots announces some roster moves this week, including placing Dan Koppen on the season ending injured reserve. The 32 year old center broke his fibula in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins, The Patriots were hoping to get Koppen back late in the season, but with Dan Connelly filling in, the Pats did not want an injured player take up a spot on the 53 man roster.
Other injures include tight end Aaron Hernandez who is out from anywhere from 2-6 weeks with an MCL injury and punter Zoltan Mesko, who injured his knee in the win against the Chargers, he has since returned to practice and Safety Patrick Chung underwent thumb Surgery earlier this week, his status for the Game against the Bills is uncertain
Getting their first game action since winning the Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins opened up their Pre-season dropping the first game to the Ottawa Senators in a 2-1 overtime loss.
October 2 is officially the final day a New NBA collective Bargaining Agreement can be reached without the NBA losing out on a full season. NBA players and owners are scheduled to meet tonight but a deal is not expected anytime soon.
Week 3 was yet another crazy week with the unexpected Redskins, Lions and Bills at 2-0, there is sure to be some interesting changes in our NFL expert Craig Alessandro's Power Rankings this week. Be sure to give this a read to find out where the teams rank heading into week 4 and also for injury updates on NFL players that may be on your favorite team or fantasy team *cough* *cough* Michael Vick.
WARNING: BIG CHANGES FROM WEEK 2 HAVE OCCURRED IN THESE POWER RANKINGS
READ MORE TO FIND OUT!
This is Craig D'Alessandro With your Sports Blast Update, listen to the Sports Blast on MASportsweb.com and all new episode on www.thelook247.com 8pm/et
The New England Patriots got back to practice as they prepare for their home opener Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The Patriots are coming off a Monday night game that saw them defeat Division rival Miami Dolphins 38-24.
The Red Sox split a two game series with Toronto this week and now welcome The Tampa Bay Rays into Fenway Park for a pivotal 4 game series. The Red Sox only led the wild card postseason slot by 4 games.
Marc Savard's name will appear on the Stanley Cup along with the rest of the 2010-11 Boston Bruins after an appeal to the NHL was granted
Savard played in just 25 games due to multiple concussions. Players usually need to play in at least 41 games or the Stanley Cup finals to get their name engraved. Savard is not expected to play in the 2011-12 season
Brad Marchand has signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Boston Bruins.
The 23-year-old winger will earn $2 million in 2011-12 and $3 million in 2012-13. Marchand burst onto the NHL scene with 21 goals and 20 assists in 77 games in his full season last year
Meetings between the NBA players and NBA owners didn't go well this week, as the owners are sticking to their original position (hard salary cap), leaving the two sides very far apart. The players are seeking a more flexible salary cap so the players can make more revenue.
A crazy week of Football to kick off the NFL Regular Season. Some QB named Tom Brady threw for 517 yards to help the Pats crush the Dolphins 38-24, Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 63 yard field goal in the Raiders 23-20 victory over the Broncos. The Colts Kerry Collins experiment failed miserably after the Texans just man handled the Colts 34-7. Cam Newton in his first ever game in the NFL threw for 422 yards for the Panthers, but Carolina still found a way to lose to Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals. The Detroit Lions upset last years cinderella story Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20, and last but certainly not least, the upset of the week REX GROSSMAN and the Washington Redskins upset the New York FOOTBALL Giants 28-14.
After a week of madness read more to find out where our NFL expert Craig D' Alessandro has them ranked!
This is Craig D'Alessandro with your Sports Blast update, listen to the Sports Blast online at MAsportsweb.com
and catch a brand new episode tonight on our partner station at 8pm/et www.thelook247.com
The Start of the NFL season begins tonight as the winners of the past two Super bowls square off at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Arron Rogers leads The Green Bay Packers Against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints
A Russian plane with 45 passengers on board, including the KHL team
(LOCO-MO-TIV) (YAR-O-SLAV) crashed on Wednesday, killing 43 people. Two were left critically injured. The plane was carrying 45 passengers and crew and was transporting the Russian team for their season opener The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the plane crashed into the shores of the Volga River immediately after leaving the airport near the western city of
(YAR-O-SLAV) Russian media said the plane struggled to gain altitude and then crashed into a signal tower, shattering into pieces.
Tim Wakefield is still looking for his 200th win after the Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard Blew a lead in the eighth inning of last nights game vs Toronto. The Red Sox had a 8-5 lead heading into the eighth until Bard imploded, allowing 5 runs in 1 inning of work. The Red Sox get back at it tonight in the Series Finale with Andrew Miller pitching for the Red Sox.
Peyton Manning Will Sit out week one and his Consecutive Start Streak will end at 227 games. Manning s Injured Neck has not healed fully since he had off season surgery and will be unable to suit up for game day. Kerry Collins will start at quarterback for the Colts in the Meantime. There is currently no timetable for Manning s return.
The New England Patriots Made some some surprising cuts to trim their roster down to 53 players. Notable Cuts include 4th year pro bowler safety Brandon Meriweather, third year wide receiver Brandon Tate and Third year Corner back Darius Butler. The Patriots Also signed 5 time Pro Bowl Guard Brian Waters and tight end Dan Gronkowski, brother of Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots Kick off their 2011 season Monday September 12th against the Miami Dolphins, it is the first game for the Patriots since being eliminated by the New York Jets in the 2010 Divisional Playoffs.
This has been Craig D'Alessandro With your sports blast update, Brand New Sports Blast coming up at 8pm/et tonight on www.thelook247.com catch the encore on MSEN Right Here on MA Sports Web!
Check Out Craig D'Alessandro's NFL Power Rankings here, Craig has been a Sports Analyst at multiple radio stations for 3 years now and we are proud to have a great expert here at MA Sports Web.
Is Craig Mad about Phillip Rivers or does he think Phillip Rivers will Get mad at the result of the season?
Check out his Rankings and see where he thinks teams will finish then look back at Tom's and Joey's picks and see what the other experts think, more staff power rankings coming soon!
Read More to see where Craig has them!