Week 11 of the NFL season is in the books and it was an ugly week with a lot of low scoring games, blowouts, and sloppy games. In the three games of the week, the Broncos handed the Chiefs their first loss of the year, by the final score of 27-17, as Peyton Manning played spotless all game. In game two, the Panthers used a late rally to edge the Patriots 24-20, to improve to 7-3 and drop the Pats to 7-3. And finally, the Saints dropped the 49ers down in the Super Dome, 23-20, to improve to 8-2 and drop the Niners to 6-4, in a hard fought battle. The Saints are 9-2 (thanks to a Thursday night victory against Atlanta) and the Falcons are horrible this year at 2-9, meanwhile the Saints still only lead the NFC South by one game over Carolina, with both meetings still to come.
Last week I went 10-4 with my picks, improving my overall record from 84-53 to 94-57. In my picks ATS, I went 0-4 with my picks, a disastrous week, dropping my record from 20-22-1 to 20-26-1. Here’s my week 12 picks.
Detroit Lions over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Houston Texans or Jacksonville Jaguars
Green Bay Packers over Minnesota Vikings
Kansas City Chiefs over San Diego Chargers
Carolina Panthers over Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears over St.Louis Rams
Baltimore Ravens over New York Jets
Oakland Raiders over Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts over Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants over Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos over New England Patriots
San Francisco 49ers over Washington Redskins
On Monday night the New York Post reported exclusively that New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, GM Sandy Alderson, and assistant GM John Ricco met with agent Jay-Z at a hotel in Manhattan to talk about his client, free agent second baseman, Robinson Cano. Sandy Alderson had already stated this fall that he doesn’t see the Mets, in any way, signing a player to a $100+ million contract. That would have immediately taken Cano, OF’s Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo off the board. So what’s the deal with this meeting for Cano? Is it a play to get fans to buy season tickets and put hope into the fans, or are the Mets finally listening to the fans and willing to open the checkbook and sign a mega free agent and improve the offense?
In my opinion, this is all BS. It’s just a ploy to get the fans excited and to make it seem like they’re actually doing something. We all know that there’s no way the Mets are diving into the $100 million contract pool again, at least just yet. Robinson Cano isn’t just only going to get more than $100 million, but he’s going to come awfully close to $200 million and the Mets have never come close to giving out that type of contract before. The most expensive contacts that the Mets have ever given were the $138 million extension to third baseman David Wright, and the $136 million contract given to starting pitcher, Johan Santana. And we all know how that Santana contract turned out.
Also, the Mets have a competent player at 2B already, and it’s Daniel Murphy. Murphy has improved quite a bit defensively at second and has shown to have a solid bat for the position. Murphy can hit .290+, add in a handful of doubles, and 5-10 homers. Now, there have been a lot of rumblings that the Mets may trade Murphy this off-season as a few teams like him a lot and have inquired about him. So the Mets could sign Cano and trade Murphy, but, and in my opinion, instead of throwing $125+ million at Cano, shouldn’t the Mets be giving Wilmer Flores a shot to start at second base with his elite prospect bat? Flores has shown he can hit at all levels in the minors and was given some looks with the big league club but struggled a bit with consistency and injuries. You could possibly add a really solid bat at second base at the league minimum, instead of signing Cano to a mammoth contract that could handcuff the franchise for years. Not to mention, Cano lollygags and takes plenty of plays off during games. He has shown not to hustle out grounders and gap hits, and be a lazy player. Why throw so much money at a player who doesn’t have a high drive for the game?
I’m not saying that Cano isn’t an elite talent, he’s arguably the best second baseman in the league, but he does have flaws and has yet to show he can be a leader as well. I’m also not saying that Flores can or will be the next Cano, but I firmly believe that he can be a very solid hitter at the major league level, albeit with below-average defense. Flores will cost next-to-nothing, while Cano could cripple the franchise with the contract he’ll get. All of the Mets’ money this off-season would undoubtedly go towards Cano, which shouldn’t happen. The Mets need to spread the money around (if they even have any), and address the numerous needs they have, like shortstop, two corner outfielders, backup catcher, and back-end of the rotation. As much of a beast Robinson Cano is, he is not what the Mets should be targeting at this moment. Second base is not a top need, and his new contract could severely backfire.
It doesn’t matter anyway though, as this is all just a way to get excitement into the fans and instill some fear in the Yankees to pony up the money to re-sign Cano. Robby wants to be a Yankee, the Yankee’s want him back, and no other teams are going to come close to giving Cano what he wants. Still, it’s going to take some time before Cano and the Yankees finally agree on a new contract, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if a team like the Dodgers, Tigers, Rangers, or Nationals swoop through and make a strong run for Cano or at least, offer big money. Ultimately though, I see Cano in pinstripes next off-season and coming nowhere close to playing in Queens for 81 games a season.
And one other thing, this meeting was initiated by Cano’s other agents, Brodie Van Wagenen and Juan Perez, so there’s a good chance that the Mets are just kicking the tires as they have nothing to lose by meeting with Cano’s agents. This will sell a few extra tickets and get the Yankee’s attention a bit to up their offer and save themselves from losing their biggest offensive piece. It’s good strategy by Cano’s agents, but shouldn’t they have instead met with Magic Johnson, who partially owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and actually has the money to sign Cano? Meeting with the Mets isn’t exactly too much of a threat and won’t instill much fear in the Yankees, as the Mets has slashed payroll for three straight years and supposedly only have $30 million to spend this off-season. This is all just a big joke and pathetic ploy by both the Mets and Cano’s agents to instill hope in the Mets’ fans and instill fear into the Yankees. Unfortunately, I don’t see it working out well for either parties and this will just backfire on both ends.
Seriously, how pathetic. The Mets think it’s a big joke to put hope in the fans that they’re actually willing to spend, and spend on a superstar like Cano. No one’s falling for it and this will only enrage the fans even more when the Mets don’t even come close to being a serious contender for Cano’s services. The jig is up Wilpon’s, Alderson, and company, time to put up or shut up. And what do I mean by “put up or shut up”? I mean, spend money to improve this sad team already or sell the team and get a serious GM in here who doesn’t make jokes about the teams financial situation. This isn’t funny anymore and the fans deserve better and deserve a championship caliber team again.
Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books and we have finally seen both winless teams win their first games of the season! The Jacksonville Jaguars upset the Tennessee Titans in Nashville by the final score of 29-27 to earn their first win. We also had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win game number one by upsetting their cross state rivals, the Miami Dolphins, 22-19. Buccaneers cornerback Darrell Revis made the game clinching interception with 1:35 remaining on a deep pass to Mike Wallace. We are now assured that there will be no winless team in the NFL this season. The Kansas City Chiefs remain 9-0 for the time being and are the only undefeated team left in the NFL. Who would’ve known that the team with the worst record last year (2-14) would be the final undefeated team the next year and be almost a lock for the playoffs? Sports sure are strange sometimes.
Last week I went 6-7 with my picks as we saw lots of upsets. That downgrades my overall record from 78-46 to 84-53. In my picks ATS, I went 3-1, with my only loss being that I took the Bengals -1.5 at the Ravens, who won the game outright, 20-17 in overtime. I improve in my overall picks ATS from 17-21-1 to 20-22-1. Here’s my week 11 picks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Atlanta Falcons
New York Jets over Buffalo Bills
Detroit Lions over Pittsburgh Steelers
Philadelphia Eagles over Washington Redskins
Chicago Bears over Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals over Cleveland Browns
Houston Texans over Oakland Raiders
Arizona Cardinals over Jacksonville Jaguars
San Diego Chargers over Miami Dolphins
Seattle Seahawks over Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants over Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints over San Francisco 49ers
Denver Broncos over Kansas City Chiefs
Carolina Panthers over New England Patriots
Now that the 2013 MLB season has ended, it’s now time to find out where all the free agents will be signings and which teams will get stronger for the 2014 campaign. Yesterday we saw free agent OF Marlon Byrd sign a two-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Philies. It was the first big free agent signing off the off-season and should jump-start some more deals in the very near future. I’m going to predict where the top 10 free agents will go in this piece (and no, Marlon Byrd wasn’t in my top 10), and we will see how well I did once all 10 players sign. 13 players were given a one year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from their 2013 teams and all 13 turned down the offers. So if any of those 13 players sign with a new team, the new team will have to forfeit their 2014 first round draft pick. If the new team has a top 10 pick in the 2014 MLB draft, they will then have to give up their second round pick.
The clear-cut top free agent is New York Yankees second baseman, Robinson Cano. The elite middle infielder possesses slick fielding abilities, a good batting average, and serious power for a second baseman. Cano is everything you look for in any player, not only just a second baseman. Back in September a report came out that Cano wanted a 10 year, $300-310 million contract, which turned off everybody. I don’t see how anybody can be willing to give any player that long of a deal and that much money, let alone Cano, after what has happened with the Alex Rodriguez deal and Albert Pujols deal. After the disasters of the A-Rod and Pujols deals, I don’t think any player will ever get a 10 year deal again, with exceptions for Angels OF Mike Trout, Nationals OF Bryce Harper, and Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, who are all still in their early 20′s and would have to sign extensions with their teams now. The top free agent starting pitcher is Masahiro Tanaka, from Japan. Tanaka is 25 years old and is expected to go through the MLB’s posting process soon. Tanaka is regarded to be not as great as Yu Darvish, but still able to be a reliable #2 pitcher in any teams rotation.
With my predictions, I will have the player’s name first, position second, and old team third. Afterwards, I will put what I think their new deal will be and with what new team at the end of a short summary about the player and their situation. Here are the predictions…
1.Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees – Most people expect Cano to return to the Yankees because many other teams will not be willing to meet Cano’s contract demands and because the Yankees will be missing a large portion of their offense if Cano were to leave. I agree and believe that Cano and the Yankees will meet somewhere in the middle on a new deal.
Prediction: 8 year, $181 million, New York Yankees.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers.
2.Jacoby Ellsbury, CF/OF, Redsox: Jacoby Ellsbury is a tough case because he’s another player whose game relies heavily on his speed and defense. Ellsbury is 30 years old and has Scott Boras as his agent, so it will not be easy whatsoever to make a deal happen with Ells. Ellsbury hasn’t been known to produce power outside of his MVP caliber 2011 season where he hit a whopping 32 homers. Ellsbury is pretty much a case of a player who holds great speed (which will disappear more and more as he ages), great defense, and will get extra base-hits thanks to his speed. Some people think Boras will try to top Carl Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million deal that he signed with the Redsox in the 2011-2012 off-season. I don’t think that’ll happen.
Prediction: 6 years, $117 million, Seattle Mariners.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: Boston Redsox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs.
3.Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Reds: Choo is a 31-year-old outfielder who possesses solid power, a solid average, and a very good on-base percentage. He can also give you a steal here and there and is a very good lead-off hitter to have. Choo is another Boras client and will look to break the bank. A report surfaced last week that Boras was looking to break Jayson Werth’s $126 million contract that he signed with the Washington Nationals three years ago. If that’s the case, many teams will bow out of the race for Choo quickly. Choo is a solid all around player, but he’s not worth more than $120 million in any universe. The Reds would like him back, but it seems as if they won’t have the money to retain him, especially if a lot of other teams are vying for Choo’s services.
Prediction: Five years, $93 million, Texas Rangers.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds.
4.Brian McCann, C, Braves: McCann is a soon to be 30-year-old, power hitting, solid defensive catcher. Guys like this don’t hit free agency often, but the Braves have Evan Gattis for behind the plate now. McCann has been injury riddled as well over the last couple of years but had a nice bounce back year this year and should have a lot of suitors and get paid well. AL teams make the most sense for McCann so he can DH and since he’s expected to garner a deal that’ll bring him into his mid-30′s and because of his big power that you will want to keep in the lineup everyday.
Prediction: 5 years, $80 million, New York Yankees.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: Boston Redsox, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers.
5.Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Japan: Tanaka is regarded as the best starting pitcher on the market and will go through the usual posting process that mostly all Japanese players go through. All teams will have a chance to bid for the negotiating rights to Tanaka and the team that bids the most will get a 30 day window to sign Tanaka to a deal and if they don’t sign him they don’t get their posting fee money back. Tanaka isn’t as polished as Yu Darvish currently is, but he’s expected to be a very solid #2 starter and perhaps in time, a teams ace #1 pitcher. Expect a lot of suitors.
Prediction: 6 years, $66 million, New York Yankees. ($62 million posting fee, totaling $128 million spent with Tanaka).
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres.
6.Mike Napoli, 1B/DH, Redsox: Napoli had originally signed a three-year deal with Boston last off-season but a hip injury made both parties renegotiate for a one year deal. Napoli stayed healthy all year and had a solid year with the Sox, hitting 23 homers, with 92 RBI’s, and accounting for an .842 OPS. The Redsox were hoping to be major players in the Jose Dariel Abreu sweepstakes but the Whitesox ultimately signed him, so the Redsox are back to negotiating with Napoli to come back again or be missing a huge piece of their offense in 2014. With not many options at first base and coming off a World Series victory, I expect the Redsox to pony up and give Napoli a new deal.
Prediction: 3 years, $44 million, Boston Redsox.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies.
7.Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals: Beltran is entering free agency fresh off of a magnificent postseason in St.Louis, where many wondered if Beltran was the greatest postseason hitter of all time after the show he put on. Beltran stayed relatively healthy during his two years in St.Louis and still has plenty left in the tank. An AL team makes a lot of sense so Beltran can DH and get days off from the field with his past knee problems. With the lack of power in free agency this winter and Beltran coming off of two strong years in St.Louis, expect a lot of suitors for him. I don’t see a return to St.Louis because of the depth the Cards have and because they have the top prospect in all of baseball, OF Oscar Taveras, who is major league ready. Beltran is also probably more likely to want to go to a win-now team so he can get that World Series ring that he deserves.
Prediction: 2 years, $30 million, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, New York Mets, St.Louis Cardinals.
8.Stephen Drew, SS, Redsox: Drew is arguably the top free agent shortstop on the market and he will cost a draft pick to sign as he turned down Boston’s qualifying offer. With the market for shortstop’s so thin, Drew figures to get a nice big deal, especially with Scott Boras as his agent. Boston would like him back, but at what costs? Drew is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game and has some pop in his bat. Drew is also a lefty and will be 31 years old on opening day next season. Hard to pinpoint what kind of deal he will get with his age, attributes, and the bevy of teams that will try to sign him.
Prediction: 3 years, $42 million, Boston Redsox.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: New York Yankees, New York Mets, St.Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates.
9.Ervin Santana, SP, Royals: Ervin Santana was traded last winter from the Angels to the Royals. The trade ending up being great for Santana, as he put together one of his best seasons in the MLB, going 9-10 (ignore the record, because the Royals offense was horrific at times in 2013), a 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 161 K’s, and 211 innings pitched. Santana was the #2 pitcher on a Royals rotation that was much improved with the acquisitions of himself and James Shields. Now Santana is a free agent, has four good seasons out of nine in the MLB, with all four of those seasons coming in the last six. Santana also has a no-hitter under his belt and is looking for a big payday this winter, as him and his agent are seeking a $100+ million contract over five years. Considering Anibal Sanchez, a better pitcher, signed a five-year, $80 million deal last winter, I don’t see Santana going over $100 million unless some team wants to go full on out of their mind and throw around money because they can. With the lack of free agent pitching this winter, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Santana got that $100 million contract, considering the contracts we’ve seen doled out over the last few off-seasons.
Prediction: Five years, $82.5 million, Washington Nationals.
Other Teams That Will Be Interested & In The Mix: New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies.
10.Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians: Jimenez finished 2010 in the top three of the NL CY Young voting with the Colorado Rockies and has since fallen off big time. The Rockies traded him in 2011 to the Cleveland Indians and Jimenez found his old form in 2013 that made him a CY Young caliber pitcher back in 2010. Jimenez finished 2013 at 13-9, with a 3.30 ERA, 194 K’s, and a 1.33 WHIP. According to MLB Trade Rumors, from April 29th onward, Jimenez posted a 2.61 ERA, and was on fire to finish the season. Jimenez will be 30 years old on opening day of 2014, so he could get a nice big deal this winter, due to the thin market at SP, his age, and his past success.
Prediction: 4 years, $60 million, Los Angeles Angels.
Other Teams That Will be Interested & In The Mix: New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres.
Other Free Agents:
Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees: Prediction – 3 years, $45 million, Chicago Whitesox.
Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers: Prediction – 3 years, $42 million, New York Mets.
Matt Garza, SP, Rangers: Prediction – 4 years, $69 million, Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Yankees: Prediction – 1 year, $15 million, New York Yankees.
Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers: Prediction – 3 years, $33 million, Detroit Tigers.
Joe Nathan, RP, Rangers: Prediction – 2 years, $25 million, Detroit Tigers.
Scott Kazmir, SP, Indians: Prediction – 2 years, $16 million, Cleveland Indians.
Johnny Peralta, SS, Tigers: Prediction – 2 years, $23 million, New York Mets.
Week 9 of the NFL season is in the books and it was a jam-packed week. For starters, the winless Bucs went into Seattle and almost pulled off an upset of the one-loss Seahawks, until the Bucs did what they do best and collapsed to lose the game 27-24 in overtime. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles tied an NFL record that Broncos QB Peyton Manning tied in week one against the Ravens, as Foles threw seven touchdown passes against the Oakland Raiders on the road, on the way to a 49-20 rout at the Black Hole. The New York Jets pulled off a huge upset at home against the previously one-loss New Orleans Saints, 26-20. Jets RB Chris Ivory ran wild for 139 yards and one touchdown, and the Jets defense stepped up and made sure they went into the BYE week over .500 at 5-4.
And then we had the sad news about two NFL head coaches. Denver Broncos head coach John Fox collapsed on a golf course in North Carolina during his bye week and underwent open heart surgery last Monday and has since been released, but will miss anywhere from 6-8 weeks. Broncos defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, who was once the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, will take over as interim head coach until Fox returns. And Houston Texans head coach, Gary Kubiak, collapsed at halftime of the Texans-Colts game on Sunday Night Football. Kubiak spent a few days at a local hospital and was diagnosed with suffering a mini-stroke, or a transient ischemic attack. A TIA is when blood flow is temporarily stopped to the brain, causing stroke like symptoms.
Last week I went 8-4 with my picks, improving my overall record from 70-42 to 78-46. In my picks ATS, I went 2-2, changing my overall record from 15-19-1 to 17-21-1. Here are my week 10 picks.
Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville Jaguars
Green Bay Packers over Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers over Buffalo Bills
New York Giants over Oakland Raiders
Indianapolis Colts over St.Louis Rams
Seattle Seahawks over Atlanta Falcons
Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens
Chicago Bears over Detroit Lions
San Francisco 49ers over Carolina Panthers
Arizona Cardinals over Houston Texans
Denver Broncos over San Diego Chargers
New Orleans Saints over Dallas Cowboys
Miami Dolphins over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 8 of the NFL season is in the books and I had a great week with my picks, and undoubtedly my best week of the year by a landslide. Before we get to my great week last week, we had a great game in Detroit last Sunday between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, which saw the games best WR, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, rack up 329 receiving yards, falling seven yards shy of tying the NFL single game record set by Flipper Anderson. The Lions came back from a 27-17 deficit with 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter and put together the game winning 80 yard touchdown drive in :50 seconds. They got the ball with 1:02 remaining and Matthew Stafford ran in the game winning one yard touchdown off a fake spike with :12 seconds remaining to give the Lions the 31-30 win. It was a great game and lived up the hype. I went 11-1, yes, 11-1, with my week eight picks and without a doubt had my best week of the year, with my only loss being that I took the Atlanta Falcons over the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona. The Cards won 27-13. I improved my overall record from 59-41 to 70-42. I went 3-1 with my picks ATS, with my only loss being that I took the Jets +5 against the Bengals, but the Bengals blew the doors off the Jets, 49-9. My overall picks ATS record improves from 12-18-1 to 15-19-1. Here are my week nine picks.
Carolina Panthers over Atlanta Falcons
Dallas Cowboys over Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints over New York Jets
Tennessee Titans over St.Louis Rams
Kansas City Chiefs over Buffalo Bills
Washington Redskins over San Diego Chargers
Oakland Raiders over Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle Seahawks over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens over Cleveland Browns
New England Patriots over Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts over Houston Texans
Green Bay Packers over Chicago Bears
The 2013-2014 NBA season has arrived and it all tipped off last night with a triple header. Last night the season tipped off with the Indiana Pacers knocking off the Orlando Magic 97-87, the Miami Heat starting their three-peat campaign with a 107-95 beat down of the Chicago Bulls in Derrick Rose’s return, and the Los Angeles Lakers upsetting the Los Angeles Clippers in a blowout, 116-103. The most competitive game throughout was probably the Magic-Pacers game, which is shocking considering how highly built up Miami-Chicago and LA-LA was. I’m sure tonight we will get even more competitive games as almost all teams will be in action and starting their seasons. The premiere games tonight are the Brooklyn Nets @ Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz, and the Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors. The only two teams not playing tonight are the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls, who both lost last night in their season openers.
Last year in my 2012-2013 NBA predictions, I went with the Miami Heat over Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, but instead we got the Miami Heat over San Antonio Spurs in seven games, and it was a classic game six and seven, the rest of the series, not so much. I was correct on LeBron James winning the MVP award as well. I was right on seven of the eight eastern conference teams making the playoffs as the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t make it like I thought they would and instead the Milwaukee Bucks got in. I got six out of my eight western conference teams right as I missed on the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks, and the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors got in.
In free agency the big splashes were Chris Paul re-signing with the Clippers and center Dwight Howard spurning the Los Angeles Lakers and signing with the Houston Rockets to pair with shooting guard James Harden to try to create a new powerhouse in the West. SG/SF Andre Iguodala signed with the Golden State Warriors to create an even stronger Warriors team that surprised us all and was the sixth seed in the West last year and upset the three seeded Denver Nuggets in round one in six games. PG Brandon Jennings and SF Josh Smith both went to the Detroit Pistons to the shock of everyone, and with Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Brandon Knight already in Detroit, the Pistons expect to make some major noise in the East. The Brooklyn Nets acquired PF Kevin Garnett and SF Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics and Doc Rivers left Boston to become the new head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics then hired Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who has a mighty tough task transitioning from college ball to the NBA. It was a very busy off-season and we expect an even more fun regular and postseason.
Here are my season predictions. * means playoff team.
1.New York Knicks (52-30)
2.Brooklyn Nets (50-32)*
3.Toronto Raptors (37-45)
4.Boston Celtics (35-47)
5.Philadelphia 76ers (19-63)
1.Chicago Bulls (55-27)
2.Indiana Pacers (53-29)*
3.Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38)*
4.Milwaukee Bucks (40-42)*
5.Detroit Pistons (32-40)
1.Miami Heat (64-18)
2.Washington Wizards (41-41)*
3.Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
4.Orlando Magic (26-56)
5.Charlotte Bobcats (18-64)
1.San Antonio Spurs (56-26)
2.Houston Rockets (52-30)*
3.Memphis Grizzlies (51-31)*
4.Dallas Mavericks (40-42)
5,New Orleans Pelicans (30-52)
1.Oklahoma City Thunder (58-24)
2.Denver Nuggets (49-33)*
3.Minnesota Timberwolves (44-38)*
4,Utah Jazz (41-41)
5.Portland Trailblazers (38-44)
1.Los Angeles Clippers (55-27)
2.Golden State Warriors (53-29)*
3.Los Angeles Lakers (42-40)
4.Sacramento Kings (29-53)
5.Phoenix Suns (20-62)
#1 Miami Heat over #8 Milwaukee Bucks 4-0.
#2 Chicago Bulls over #7 Washington Wizards 4-0.
#3 Indiana Pacers over #6 Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2.
#4 New York Knicks over #5 Brooklyn Nets 4-3.
Eastern Conference Semifinals:
#1 Miami Heat over #4 New York Knicks 4-2.
#2 Chicago Bulls over #3 Indiana Pacers 4-3.
Eastern Conference Finals:
#1 Miami Heat over #2 Chicago Bulls 4-3.
#1 Oklahoma City Thunder over #8 Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1.
#2 San Antonio Spurs over #7 Denver Nuggets 4-2.
#3 Los Angeles Clippers over #6 Memphis Grizzlies 4-3.
#4 Golden State Warriors over #5 Houston Rockets 4-3.
Western Conference Semifinals:
#4 Golden State Warriors over #1 Oklahoma City Thunder 4-3.
#2 San Antonio Spurs over #3 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3.
Western Conference FInals:
#4 Golden State Warriors over #2 San Antonio Spurs 4-3.
#1 Miami Heat over #4 Golden State Warriors 4-2.
NBA Finals MVP: LeBron James, Miami Heat.
NBA MVP: LeBron James, F, Miami Heat.
Other That Will Be In The Mix: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks – Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs – James Harden, Houston Rockets – Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors – Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Scoring Champion: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder.
Others That Will Be In The Mix: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – James Harden, Houston Rockets – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors – Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – John Wall, Washington Wizards – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets.
Others That Will Be In The Mix: LeBron James, Miami Heat – Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies – Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder – Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors – Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks.
NBA Coach Of The Year: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls.
Others That Will Be In The Mix: Mike Woodson, New York Knicks – Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets – Mike Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers – Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder – Kevin McHale, Houston Rockets – Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors – Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers.
All NBA First Team: PG – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors. SG – James Harden, Houston Rockets. SF – LeBron James, Miami Heat. PF – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. C – Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets.
Week 7 of the NFL season is in the books and it was a high scoring last-minute to win it type week. We had quite a few great games in week seven. We saw Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos get handed their first loss of the season in Indianapolis against Andrew Luck and the Colts, 39-33. We also saw Geno Smith and the New York Jets come from behind to defeat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 30-27 in overtime on a Nick Folk field goal, after the original field goal attempt was missed and negated due to a controversial penalty on the Pats for shoving their own player to get a better shot at blocking the kick. So the refs threw a flag for a 15 yard penalty and the Jets got a second life and Folk would not disappoint with his second chance. The Bengals and Lions faced each other in Detroit in a game that featured the two best wide receivers in the game. The Lions’ Calvin Johnson and the Bengals’ A.J. Green had great games but it was Megatron who had the better game and highlight reel catch as he caught a touchdown pass over FOUR defenders. The Bengals got the last laugh though as they won 27-24 on a Mike Nugent 54 yard field goal at the buzzer. Last week I went 8-6 with my picks to improve my overall record to 59-41. I went 2-2 with my picks ATS last week, hitting on 49ers -3.5 at Tennessee and Chargers -7.5 at Jacksonville. I missed on the Bears in a pick em at the Redskins and the Ravens +2.5 at Pittsburgh. My overall record in picks ATS is 12-18-1. Here’s my week eight picks…
San Francisco 49ers over Jacksonville Jaguars
Detroit Lions over Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants over Philadelphia Eagles
Kansas City Chiefs over Cleveland Browns
New Orleans Saints over Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots over Miami Dolphins
Oakland Raiders over Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos over Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons over Arizona Cardinals
Cincinnati Bengals over New York Jets
Green Bay Packers over Minnesota Vikings
Seattle Seahawks over St.Louis Rams
Picks Against The Spread:
San Francisco 49ers (-15) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (No Home Team, Game Played in London)
New Orleans Saints (-11) vs Buffalo Bills
New York Giants (+5.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
New York Jets (+5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Rumors have been swirling that the Detroit Tigers may shop SP Max Scherzer this off-season and if they get a good enough offer, they’ll deal the ace right-hander. Scherzer headlined a Tigers rotation in 2013 that also featured 2011 Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander, a flame throwing, strikeout, innings eating machine in Anibal Sanchez, and the unheralded Doug Fister, who is their #4 starter and could be so many teams’ #2 starter. The Tigers’ season was ended last week after they lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS in six games with the elimination game at Fenway Park. It was a great season for the Tigers after getting swept in the World Series in 2012 by the San Francisco Giants. The Tigers defeated the Oakland A’s in the ALDS in five games for the second straight year. Last year they swept the New York Yankees in the ALCS, but unfortunately found trouble with the Yankees’ biggest rival this year in the ALCS. The Tigers finished the season at 93-69 and most likely have the eventual AL MVP in Miguel Cabrera (.348 AVG, 44 HR’s, 137 RBI’s, .442 OBP, .636 SLUG, 1.078 OPS) and AL Cy Young winner in Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA, 240 K’s, 0.97 WHIP, and .198 BAA in 214.1 innings). The Tigers might also have the AL Comeback Player Of The Year in C/DH Victor Martinez, who came back from a torn ACL and batted .301, with 14 homers, 83 RBI’s, and a .355 OBP. With all of the talent and star power on this Tigers team, it’s somewhat surprising how they didn’t win the AL pennant.
Now this rumor of the Tigers possibly trading Max Scherzer this winter, in my opinion, is complete and utter nonsense. Do I think the Tigers would listen to offers for Scherzer? Of course, any player should be listened for, excluding Miguel Cabrera. Do I think a team would be willing to meet the Tigers’ asking price for Scherzer? No. Scherzer just had one of the best seasons for a starting pitcher, is 29 years old, and is in the middle of his prime. The Tigers would be asking, or should be asking, for any teams 3 best prospects for Scherzer and I just don’t see a team trading that for a pitcher. The reason the Tigers will listen to offers and maybe trade Scherzer is because he is entering the final year of his contract and would bring a huge haul back to Detroit.
Trading Scherzer weakens this team a lot and would be a big mistake. At the moment, Scherzer is the Tigers’ best pitcher and for a team that is a World Series contender and probably a few bullpen additions away from making it back to the Fall classic, the Tigers cannot and absolutely should not trade Scherzer. The kid finally found his absolute potential this season and is quickly one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. I don’t think the Dodgers would trade Clayton Kershaw, I don’t think the Red Sox would trade Jon Lester, I don’t think the Rangers would trade Yu Darvish, and I don’t think the Angels would trade Jered Weaver. If you trade Scherzer, you’re downgrading the team significantly and losing your best pitcher. Sure, you’d still have Verlander and Sanchez, but having Scherzer to go with those guys creates a huge three-headed monster for a playoff series. Scherzer pitched great in the playoffs, it wasn’t his fault that the Tigers didn’t win all his games, it was the offense. Despite having Cabrera, Martinez, Prince Fielder, Johnny Peralta, Torii Hunter, Omar Infante, and Austin Jackson, the Tigers’ offense looked anemic at times in the playoffs, against the A’s and Red Sox. Of course the Tigers faced some great pitchers in the playoffs, but to look so bad at times is mind-boggling for a team that has a top five offense. As long as the Tigers correct their mistakes on offense, they can make it back to the World Series. Pitching isn’t a problem, the offense was.
A lot of people also say that the Tigers aren’t willing to pay Scherzer what he’ll want. The Tigers have spent a lot of money the last few years (Verlander extension, Martinez, Fielder, Hunter). Pitching wins championships and the Tigers should keep their pitching intact and pay Scherzer. If the Tigers have the money to be paying all these other guys big money, they have the money to pay Scherzer. The revenue and sales the Tigers make has gone up the last few years, which gives Tigers owner Mike Ilitch more money to pay for players. Scherzer should be kept around and payed, because this Tigers team WILL win a World Series with him. Trading Scherzer only weakens the team and brings them back to the pact, which is something they can’t afford to do with not having won a World Series in 29 years, 30 come next season.
Week six of the NFL season is in the books and it was a thrilling week with lots of last second nail biters. The game of the week between Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots saw one of the more crazier finishes all season. The Saints led 27-23 with 2:24 remaining and would end up picking off Tom Brady on the next drive. After that the Pats would hold the Saints to a three and out that was helped with the Pats using their final timeout and two minute warning still oncoming. The Patriots got the ball back with 1:13 remaining and Tom Brady would do what Tom Brady does best and he’d lead the Pats down field 70 yards for the game winning touchdown drive, capping it off with a beautiful 17 yard touchdown toss to Kenbrell Thompkins in the corner of the end zone with five seconds remaining to give the Patriots a come from behind 30-27 victory over New Orleans, handing the Saints their first loss of the season. It was a very amazing game and I didn’t even mention how the Seattle Seahawks got a legitimate scare from the Tennessee Titans in Seattle, hanging on the beat the Titans 20-13. These Titans seem legit through six weeks. I went 9-5 with my picks last week, improving my overall record from 42-30 to 51-35. In my picks ATS last week I went 0-4 further worsening my record from 10-12-1 to 10-16-1. I’m having a really rough year with my picks ATS. Here’s my week seven picks.
New York Jets over New England Patriots
San Diego Chargers over Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins over Buffalo Bills
Detroit Lions over Cincinnati Bengals
Chicago Bears over Washington Redskins
Philadelphia Eagles over Dallas Cowboys
Carolina Panthers over St.Louis Rams
Atlanta Falcons over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers over Tennessee Titans
Kansas City Chiefs over Houston Texans
Green Bay Packers over Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens over Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos over Indianapolis Colts
New York Giants over Minnesota Vikings
Picks Against The Spread:
Chicago Bears (PK) @ Washington Redskins
San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) @ Tennessee Titans
Baltimore Ravens (+2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
San Diego Chargers (-7.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Week five of the NFL season is in the books and it was a jam-packed exciting week with lots of close games. Their were three tremendous games as we saw the Indianapolis Colts hand the Seattle Seahawks their first loss of the season in Indianapolis by the final score of 34-28. We also saw Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos march into Dallas and rally to defeat the Cowboys 51-48 in what will most likely go down as the game of the year. And finally in the third installment of my tremendous games the New York Jets went into the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday Night Football and upset the Atlanta Falcons as 10 point underdogs with a field goal as time expired to win, 30-28. I’ve had two extremely poor weeks in a row with my picks but last week took a turn for the best as I went 9-4 to improve my overall record to 42-30. In my picks ATS I went 3-1, with my only loss being that I took the Panthers (-2) in Arizona, where they would lose to the Cardinals 22-6. Overall my picks ATS have improved from 7-11-1 to 10-12-1. I’ll be over .500 after this week thanks to these picks…
Kansas City Chiefs over Oakland Raiders
Philadelphia Eagles over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers over Baltimore Ravens
Detroit Lions over Cleveland Browns
Minnesota Vikings over Carolina Panthers
Houston Texans over St.Louis Rams
New York Jets over Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals over Buffalo Bills
Seattle Seahawks over Tennessee Titans
Denver Broncos over Jacksonville Jaguars
San Francisco 49ers over Arizona Cardinals
New Orleans Saints over New England Patriots
Dallas Cowboys over Washington Redskins
Indianapolis Colts over San Diego Chargers
Picks Against The Spread:
New Orleans Saints (+2) @ New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts (-1.5) @ San Diego Chargers
Minnesota Vikings (-2) vs Carolina Panthers
New York Jets (-1) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos (-27) vs Jacksonville Jaguars – I couldn’t stay away from this game!
As we all know the Cleveland Browns traded star RB Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts three weeks ago. Now there are rumblings that the Browns may be listening to offers for WR Josh Gordon who has been unstoppable since returning from his two game suspension to start the season. Gordon exploded onto the scene last season after the Browns took him in round two of the supplemental draft in August of 2012. Many people ridiculed the pick but the Browns are the last ones laughing as Gordon has been a straight beast since landing in Cleveland as he puts up numbers every week and is quickly becoming one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Now many of you are probably thinking “well if Gordon is this good, why would Cleveland trade him?”. That’s a good point, but if you didn’t realize that they traded another young stud, their ex RB Trent Richardson, whom they took number three overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, then you’d realize that the Browns don’t know what they’re doing. Sure the Browns got a first round pick for Richardson, but this kid was expected to be the face of the franchise and the next Adrian Peterson in the NFL, but after just one season and two games this year, Cleveland shipped him out and got a solid haul for him from Indy. Many wonder what Gordon could net Cleveland since he’s performed better than Richardson over the last year. If the rumors are true that Cleveland is listening on offers for Josh Gordon, then I have three teams that should undoubtedly make strong pushes for to acquire Gordon’s talents.
New England Patriots: The Patriots have surprised some people, including myself, with their 4-1 record through five games this season even after many injuries to key players and the disappearance of Steven Ridley in the run game after his very good rookie year last year. The Patriots lost RB Shane Vereen in week one in Buffalo to a broken wrist and he’s out until late this season. The Pats have been without TE Rob Gronkowski due to back and forearm surgeries in June but will finally get Gronk back this week against New Orleans in Foxborough. The Patriots also lost new WR Danny Amendola, formerly of the Rams, to a groin injury in week 1 but just got him back. There is also the departures of WR Wes Welker to Denver and Brandon Lloyd in free agency. And finally, there was the loss of TE Aaron Hernandez, who was arrested in late June for his involvement in the murder of Odin Lloyd. The Patriots released Hernandez and Hernandez is still awaiting the decision of the legal system. So with that, the Patriots have been extremely thin for weapons for QB Tom Brady. With Amendola back in the fold and Gronkowski returning, Brady gets some major help but with how good they’ve played without those guys, adding a guy like Josh Gordon would only elevate New England to the next level and perhaps make people believe the Pats as a legit Super Bowl contender, especially in the weak AFC. You could put Gordon at the 1, Amendola at the 2, Julian Edleman, who has played great so far this season, in the slot, and Gronk back to tight end, and when you have that, you have a powerful offense. You’d also have to think that the performance of RB Steven Ridley would improve as teams would focus more on the Patriots’ passing game and Gronkowski is a very good blocking tight end that would help big time with Ridley’s protection and running room. Also, the Patriots have never been afraid to trade draft picks. Just imagine seeing Tom Brady throwing to Josh Gordon every Sunday, scary good thought, isn’t it?
Detroit Lions: I think this is a no brainer. The Lions can only focus on the Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson connection so much. Nate Burleson is an okay receiver but the Lions definitely need a legit number two receiver to Megatron and Gordon would be the perfect fit in the Lions’ young nucleus. Gordon would take so much attention off Megatron and open up the passing game big time for Stafford and everybody else. It also lessens the targets for Johnson, who has been hurt this season and could definitely use fewer hits every week. Stafford has already thrown for 5,000 yards in a season in his career (2011) and 4,900 (2011 & 2012) twice. If he’s been doing that with Megatron as his main target and not much of a great supporting cast around him, imagine what Stafford would do with a legit number one receiver playing opposite of Megatron? The results would be outstanding and it opens up the running game even more for their new RB, Reggie Bush, who has been very solid running the ball and catching the ball. The Lions would become one of the very best offensive teams in the league which would greatly mask their defensive problems and perhaps allow the Lions a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs. Hey, as good as Calvin Johnson is, the Lions have to get Stafford a legit number two option to line up opposite of Johnson on Sundays.
Carolina Panthers: This spot would’ve gone to the Houston Texans had they never drafted WR DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson in the first round of this years NFL Draft, but since the Texans finally got Andre Johnson an actual number two to his number one at WR and gave QB Matt Schaub another weapon, the Panthers take this spot. The Panthers have one of the best young QB’s in the league in Cam Newton, who took the league by storm in his rookie season in 2011, although he didn’t have many weapons outside of the aging Steve Smith at WR. Now, with the Panthers being very close to finally knocking back on that playoff door, Cam needs another receiver other than Smith. Plus Smith is 34 years old and the Panthers have to replace him sooner rather than later and Josh Gordon would be a great addition to Carolina to give Cam another weapon in the passing game and be Smith’s eventual replacement. A QB-WR combo of Cam Newton and Josh Gordon, respectively, would be amazing to see for the next 5-10 years for the Panthers. The Panthers are very close to being a playoff ready team and adding a young stud at WR for Cam Newton is very crucial. With New Orleans back to being New Orleans, Tampa Bay still not being able to put all their talent together, and Atlanta, PERHAPS taking a step back, the Panthers need to make their move now and this off-season to make a run in the NFC South, because I believe they’re very close to being the team they envisioned a couple of years back when they drafted Cam Newton number one overall out of Auburn in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Week four of the NFL season is in the books and once again it proved to be a very tough confusing week for me when it came to my picks. In week three I went 7-8 with my picks, which accounted for my worst week ever when making picks. In week four I went 7-7 with my picks, just one game better then the previous week. This is not acceptable and I WILL improve on this, so don’t worry. In last weeks picks against the spread I went 1-4, just like the previous week, with last weeks only win being the Cardinals +2.5 in Tampa Bay. It has surely been a tricky season so far and it can only go up from here. Here are the week five picks…
Kansas City Chiefs over Tennessee Titans
Baltimore Ravens over Miami Dolphins
St.Louis Rams over Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals over New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts over Seattle Seahawks
Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions
New Orleans Saints over Chicago Bears
New York Giants over Philadelphia Eagles
Carolina Panthers over Arizona Cardinals
Denver Broncos over Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers over Houston Texans
San Diego Chargers over Oakland Raiders
Atlanta Falcons over New York Jets
The 2013 postseason has arrived and we are officially one game in as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 last night in the NL Wild Card game to advance to the NLDS to take on the number one seeded St.Louis Cardinals. Tonight we will see the AL Wild Card game, which pits the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays in Cleveland. Cleveland won the first wild card spot and Tampa Bay tied with Texas for the second wild card spot, forcing a game 163 wild card tiebreaker in Arlington, Texas, in which the Rays won 5-2 behind a dominating performance by ace David Price. The Rays stud ace tossed a complete game, allowing two earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Price historically had horrible numbers against the Rangers but he made us all forget about that after a masterful performance in possibly the biggest start of his career. Tampa Bay once again sneaks into the playoffs in the last game of the season after the historic 2011 collapse by the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card race, allowing the Rays to win the 2011 wild card after beating the New York Yankees 8-7 in 12 innings on an Evan Longoria walk-off homer, his second home run of the game. If you remember, the Rays were down to the Yanks 7-0 in that game. All of that after the Baltimore Orioles stunned the Red Sox at Camden Yards winning on a walk-off of their own to end the Red Sox’s season. That would end up being the greatest final day of the MLB season in recent memory and maybe even of all time. So if I’m the Indians, I’m not looking at the Rays as pushovers of any kind in this years AL Wild Card game.
The Indians were the hottest team in September, going 21-6 in the final month of the season, and ending the regular season on a 10 game winning streak to storm from behind and win the first wild card spot and assure themselves of home field in the Wild Card game. Their finish was so strong that no one has mentioned how the Indians fell only one game behind the Detroit Tigers in the race for the AL Central division title. They say that all you need once you reach the playoffs is to be hot and that’s exactly what the Indians are, so you can in no way count them out,although my pick won’t exactly back that statement up and I’ll explain why. The Rays were also good in September, finishing the month with a 17-12 record and going 9-2 in their final 11, including the game 163 in Texas. Those two losses almost ended up being costly to the Rays though, as they were in the final series of the season in Toronto and they only had a one game lead on Cleveland for the first wild card spot going into Toronto and ended up coughing up that first wild card spot and almost choked the second wild card spot away had they not won the series finale against the Blue Jays.
I’m purposely making my 2013 MLB playoff picks after the NL Wild Card game and before the AL Wild Card game because I felt as though my NLDS picks could be different depending on the outcome of the Pirates vs Reds game, but that my ALDS pick wouldn’t be any different no matter if the Rays or Indians win the AL Wild Card game. There’s another obvious hint at one of my ALDS picks and that’s where I’ll get started with my picks. So without further ado, here are my 2013 MLB playoff picks.
AL Wild Card Game: Tampa Bay Rays over Cleveland Indians 7-3 - I believe the Rays pull this out because of all the postseason experience they have over the last few years and because they have one of the best managers in the game who game plans better then anyone else. They’re also throwing out another young stud from their rotation, Alex Cobb, who has been excellent this season and has performed down the stretch. I don’t like the fact that the Indians will start Danny Salazar, who is a rookie that only made 10 starts this season in a winner-take-all playoff game when he isn’t in the top three of the Indians’ starting pitchers, in my opinion. I understand Justin Masterson is overcoming an injury, but how could you not work your rotation around to get Ubaldo Jimenez (who is pitching lights out lately) or Scott Kazmir (who has had a really solid 2013 campaign and is a long time veteran) the ball in this crucial game? As hot as the Indians are, I gotta ride with the Rays, who do everything right. Sorry Cleveland!
ALDS: Boston Red Sox over Tampa Bay Rays in four games (3-1) - The Boston Red Sox went from last in the AL East in 2012 to the best record in the American League in 2013 thanks to a great offense and a much improved rotation. The Red Sox bolster four starters that you can pitch in a big game if you need them (Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, and John Lackey) and an offense that can match up with any other offense. Lester had a dominant second half of the season, Peavy has pitched very well since he was acquired from the White Sox in July, Buchholz has been dominant in all starts even after missing the middle of the season with a neck injury, and Lackey has had a great year coming off of Tommy John surgery. The offense is revamped thanks to the additions of Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli, who had come up with big hits all season, alongside the usual beasts in that lineup already, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. You put those guys together with young kids like Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts, and Mike Carp, plus role players like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew, and you got a very good looking offense. The bullpen has been solid as well. Tampa will be coming off a tough September and two very crucial winner-take-all games and will be in Boston for games one and two and I just think that will all take its toll on them as much as they never give up. This Boston team is just too strong and will be well rested.
ALDS: Detroit Tigers over Oakland A’s in four games (3-1) - Before the season began I had picked the Detroit Tigers to win the 2013 World Series in seven games over the Washington Nationals. Obviously my Nationals pick in the NL was way wrong, but I still like my AL pick a lot and will be sticking with them. Detroit bolsters the best rotation of all the playoff teams in my opinion, and have a rotation that is perfectly built for a playoff series. When you have a 20+ game winner going in game one, a former Cy Young AND MVP winner in game two, a young strikeout innings eating machine in game three, and then another pitcher who would be some teams’ game two starter going into the playoffs, you have a great rotation. As shocking (at least to me) and great the offense has been this year for Oakland, I just can’t see them doing damage to the Tigers’ rotation of Scherzer, Verlander, Sanchez, and Fister. Plus, behind Bartolo Colon, I don’t see this A’s rotation being as good as last years when they took the Tigers to five games in the ALDS. The Tigers offense just got back Johnny Peralta from the biogenesis suspension, to go with an already great lineup that consists of the likely AL MVP in Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Omar Infante, Torii Hunter, and Peralta’s replacement at shortstop, Jose Iglesias. This lineup is very experienced and knows what it’s like to play in the World Series after having been there in 2012. Although Oakland finished with a better regular season record than Detroit, I don’t think their strong enough to beat them in a playoff series.
NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers over Atlanta Braves in three games (3-0) - I bet this is the biggest shocker to you guys, but this wouldn’t really surprise me. The Dodgers boast a star powered offense that I believe is the best in the NL playoffs and a three headed monster at the top of the rotation in Kershaw-Greinke-Ryu. I also like some of the developments in their bullpen too. I think with Atlanta’s offense having so many high number strikeout guys and the Dodgers having guys who know all about strikeouts, it’s a recipe for disaster for Atlanta’s offense. And with the Braves not having anyone of big notice in their rotation against a tough to beat offense, I don’t like their chances even more of beating LA. I see Kershaw and Greinke doing their thing on the road to start the series against Medlen and Minor, respectively, and Ryu, the home field, and the inexperience of Julio Teheran being too much for Atlanta in game three at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers and their star studded team take their show to the NLCS in convincing fashion.
NLDS: St.Louis Cardinals over Pittsburgh Pirates in five games (3-2) - After a thrilling NL Wild Card game victory over the Reds, the fun ends in the NLDS for the Pirates. With a few days off, a red hot rotation and one of the best bullpens in the game, the Cardinals stop the Pirates’ party with all that pitching they have. I would’ve had this series going four games had Allen Craig been healthy, but without one of their best hitters, the Cards suffer just a bit to have this series go the distance. I believe the home team wins every game of this series as well. As good as the Pirates’ pitching has been all year and the new acquisitions to their lineup, I just think the Cardinals’ pitching is just that much better and is what will have them go deep into the playoffs, if they get deep. Their offense is very good as always but when Allen Craig went down with the foot injury, that was a big loss and hurts them. Craig had become one of their leaders, but with the emergence of Matt Carpenter (.318 AVG, 11 HR’s, 78 RBI’s, .392 OBP, .481 SLUG, .873 OPS, and an amazing 6.6 WAR) this year and the usual guys like Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, and Matt Holliday there, this offense won’t slip enough for the Pirates to get into the NLCS. It was a fun ride for the Pirates this year and hopefully they can build off it next year, but the Cardinals aren’t going down just yet.
ALCS: Detroit Tigers over Boston Red Sox in seven games (4-3) - The two most complete teams in the AL go head-to-head in the ALCS and I will stand by my preseason pick of Detroit. I just love that rotation too much to go against it and that offense is ridiculous, but I’m sure some of you would say that about Boston too, and I couldn’t totally argue with you, but I just see this Detroit team as just a bit more powerful and they will only excel off of last years World Series appearance. As good as a playoff rotation of Lester-Peavy-Buchholz-Lackey is, I like Scherzer-Verlander-Sanchez-Fister more and can’t see a reason to go against it. Great turnaround season from the Red Sox though, that’s for sure.
NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers over St.Louis Cardinals in seven games (4-3) - Another exciting LCS as the Dodgers prevail over the Cardinals thanks to a healthier, tougher, well rested offense and the two aces at the top of their rotation. This Cardinals team is well managed and fights through every play, so they will in no way be an easy elimination. The Cards are praying that Allen Craig will be back for this series, but if anything he’ll be back for the World Series, if they make it. I just find it too hard to go against a rotation that has the likely NL Cy Young winner in Clayton Kershaw and a former AL Cy Young winner in Zack Greinke, and an offense that boasts Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford. Too much power pitching and power offense in my book.
WORLD SERIES: Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games (4-3) - I guarantee that if this is the 2013 World Series, it will go down as one of the greatest ever. Two great rotations and two heavyweight offenses going punch for punch for the biggest prize in the sport? I wanna see it right now! Just think of the pitching possibilities, Kershaw-Scherzer, Kershaw-Verlander, Kershaw-Sanchez, Greinke against either of those guys. The possibilities are endless and two of the best offenses in the sport going against those really great pitchers only makes for better television, story telling, and baseball. Who wants to see Miguel Cabrera vs Clayton Kershaw? Who wants to see Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez vs Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander? I know I do and that’s why this series will go the distance and will be an instant classic. Detroit gets the edge because of their rotation being deeper, them having home field, and having the best hitter on the planet, with a tremendous supporting cast around him. These two teams are very similar with the great rotations, offenses, and then their inconsistent bullpens, so you’d have to expect seven great games and a heavyweight bout. I love this match up and I don’t see anyone stopping these two teams from making the World Series.
Week three of the NFL season is in the books and it was a very, very ugly week for me and my picks as I have gone under .500 for the first time in my writing career. With the upsets of the Browns over Vikings, Colts over 49ers, Dolphins over Falcons, Panthers over Giants, and Titans over Chargers, I was completely thrown off and had my worst week ever. I went 7-8 with my picks last week, losing a game on my overall record this season to 26-19. I went 1-4 with my picks ATS last week, with my only win coming on the Chicago bears laying two points against the Pittsburgh Steelers and winning that game 40-23. My overall picks ATS suffers greatly and goes from 5-3-1 to 6-7-1. With my worst week ever in the books, I really hope this will be my last week under .500 ever again, although I’d be lying if I said I was confident because I don’t see too many comfortable match ups this week. Here we go…
Pittsburgh Steelers over Minnesota Vikings
Baltimore Ravens over Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals over Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts over Jacksonville Jaguars
Seattle Seahawks over Houston Texans
Arizona Cardinals over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chicago Bears over Detroit Lions
Kansas City Chiefs over New York Giants
New York Jets over Tennessee Titans
Dallas Cowboys over San Diego Chargers
Washington Redskins over Oakland Raiders
Denver Broncos over Philadelphia Eagles
Atlanta Falcons over New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints over Miami Dolphins
Picks Against The Spread:
Chicago Bears (+3) @ Detroit Lions
Dallas Cowboy (-2) @ San Diego Chargers
Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ Buffalo Bills
New York Jets (+3.5) @ Tennessee Titans
Week two of the NFL season is in the books and boy was it filled with a lot of close games. The two biggest games of the week were blowouts unfortunately though as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos beat up on little brother Eli Manning and the New York Giants 41-23 at Metlife Stadium. In the other big game of the week the San Francisco 49ers made their way to Seattle to take on their arch rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, in a clash of possibly the two best defenses in the league. In what was a very anticipated game, the Seahawks stomped down on the 49ers by the final score of 29-3. In week three the big match ups figure to be the Texans @ Ravens, Rams @ Cowboys, Packers @ Bengals, and Colts @ 49ers. Last week I went 10-5 with my picks and improved my overall season record to 19-11. I also went 4-1 with my picks against the spread and improved my overall picks ATS to 5-3-1. This week those numbers will improve again.
San Diego Chargers over Tennessee Titans
Minnesota Vikings over Cleveland Browns
New England Patriots over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Houston Texans over Baltimore Ravens
St.Louis Rams over Dallas Cowboys
New Orleans Saints over Arizona Cardinals
Detroit Lions over Washington Redskins
Green Bay Packers over Cincinnati Bengals
New York Giants over Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons over Miami Dolphins
San Francisco 49ers over Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks over Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Jets over Buffalo Bills
Chicago Bears over Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos over Oakland Raiders
Picks Against The Spread:
St.Louis Rams (+3.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Chicago Bears (-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) @ New England Patriots
Minnesota Vikings (-7) vs Cleveland Browns
Week one of the 2013 NFL season is in the books and week two is already one game in. In week one of my 2013 NFL picks I went 9-6. In my picks against the spread (ATS), I went 1-2-1, I was correct with the Seahawks laying 3.5 at Carolina, I was wrong with taking the Giants +3.5 at Dallas and the Texans laying 4 at San Diego, and I tied with the Bengals getting 3 points at Chicago. Week one is always the toughest week to predict and week two figures to be a better week for me. Without further ado, here are my week two picks and for the record I took the Patriots on Thursday night against the Jets but took the Jets with the points, as they were getting 11 at game time.
Philadelphia Eagles over San Diego Chargers
Baltimore Ravens over Cleveland Browns
Houston Texans over Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts over Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers over Buffalo Bills
Atlanta Falcons over St.Louis Rams
Green Bay Packers over Washington Redskins
Dallas Cowboys over Kansas City Chiefs
Chicago Bears over Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Detroit Lions over Arizona Cardinals
Oakland Raiders over Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos over New York Giants
Seattle Seahawks over San Francisco 49ers
Cincinnati Bengals over Pittsburgh Steelers
Picks Against The Spread:
Dallas Cowboys (+3) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) vs Cleveland Browns
New Orleans Saints (-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Jets (+11) @ New England Patriots – WIN
Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season is officially underway as the Denver Broncos destroyed the defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, 49-27 on Thursday night in Denver, Colorado. Peyton Manning and the high-powered Broncos offense absolutely torched the Ravens defense with a fast paced offense and two new key additions to the passing attack. Peyton Manning tied the NFL single game record with SEVEN touchdown passes, yeah, seven touchdown passes on opening night against the defending champs and a defense that isn’t too shabby. Manning was the first quarterback to toss seven touchdown passes in a game since Joe Kapp of the Minnesota Vikings in 1969. The game was very close at halftime though with the Ravens leading the Broncos 17-14, but in the second half the Broncos just went full beast mode and Manning played like a robot. It was a great way to open the 2013 NFL season and I also picked the Broncos to win the game and if you don’t believe me, go scroll down my twitter and check my prediction @ScoreboardSteve. If the Broncos play like this on a weekly basis, they may go undefeated, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves after one game. Their defense has some question marks still, as we have to see if they can hold up without LB Von Miller, who will miss the first six games because of suspension. Either way though, Denver looks like one of the top teams in the league and Baltimore could definitely use some help in their secondary. I’m not buying that, that was the Ravens team we will see all season and I’ll stick by my prediction of the Ravens winning one of the two wild card spots and returning to the playoffs this season.
We have quite a few more marquee big game match ups to go in week one still and here they are: Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys, and the Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins. So the NFL did a very good job with their week one scheduling and it should be a fun and exciting first Sunday of the football season. I did very well in my regular season and playoff picks last season, although I was wrong on the biggest pick of them all, the Super Bowl. In the Super Bowl I picked the 49ers over Ravens, 27-24. Hopefully I get it right this year. Here are my week one picks.
New England Patriots over Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers over Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints over Atlanta Falcons
New York Jets over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs over Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals over Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns oer Miami Dolphins
Seattle Seahawks over Carolina Panthers
Minnesota Vikings over Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts over Oakland Raiders
St.Louis Rams over Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers over Green Bay Packers
New York Giants over Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins over Philadelphia Eagles
Houston Texans over San Diego Chargers
Picks Against The Spread:
Cincinnati Bengals (+3) @ Chicago Bears
Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) @ Carolina Panthers
New York Giants (+3.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
Houston Texans (-4) @ San Diego Chargers
The 2013 NFL season is 25 hours away as the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos take battle in Denver to open the season tomorrow night. In a rematch of last years AFC Divisional Playoff match up, where the Ravens upset the Broncos 38-35 in Double Overtime, en route to their Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers 34-31, the Broncos look for big revenge, especially with the addition of WR Wes Welker through free agency and RB Montee Ball through the draft from Wisconsin. I think we all know that Denver will have the most high-powered offense this season and may be the clear-cut favorite in the AFC, but the loss of LB Von Miller for the first six weeks on a defense that already lost LB Elvis Dumervil in free agency to the Ravens will be hard to swallow and could really force Peyton Manning and the offense to put up a lot of points the first six weeks to make sure they stay atop the AFC and not fall too far behind early in the season. Baltimore lost a lot of leadership on the team in ILB Ray Lewis (retirement) and S Ed Reed (free agency), but made up a little bit for it with the addition of LB Elvis Dumervil, the return of DB Ladarius Webb (injury), and S Matt Elam (draft, Florida). I don’t think the defense will be as good as it was with Lewis and Reed, but it won’t drop off too much with those additions. I do question the offense a bit, especially with the injury bug hitting the tight end position and the trade of WR Anquan Boldin to San Francisco. Is Torrey Smith ready to be the full-time #1 wide out? Can Flacco replicate what he did during last years Super Bowl run? Who will be Flacco’s second option? Should be a very interesting season for Baltimore.
Last year my Super Bowl pick was the Houston Texans over New York Giants and boy was I wrong. The Texans would be crushed by the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs, and the New York Giants didn’t even make the playoffs. I didn’t even pick the Broncos to make the playoffs last year and I had the Ravens losing to the Texans in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs. I also had the Kansas City Chiefs as the most improved team and I couldn’t have been more wrong after they had the worst record and #1 pick in the draft, which I thought the Miami Dolphins would’ve had. And had the Dolphins gotten the number one pick, I thought they’d take QB Matt Barkley out of USC, who ended up going to the Philadelphia Eagles in round four. Very bad predictions from me last season, so lets hope I made a complete 180 this season. So without further ado, here are my 2013 NFL season predictions, and don’t be afraid to add yours in the comments section.
* Indicates Wild Card Winner
1.New England Patriots (10-6)
2.Miami Dolphins (7-9)
3.New York Jets (4-12)
4.Buffalo Bills (4-12)
1.Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
2.Baltimore Ravens (11-5)*
3.Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
4.Cleveland Browns (5-11)
1.Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
2.Houston Texans (11-5)*
3.Tennessee Titants (4-12)
4.Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
1.Denver Broncos (14-2)
2.Kansas City Chiefs (5-11)
3.Oakland Raiders (4-12)
4.San Diego Chargers (3-13)
AFC Wild Card Round:
3 Indianapolis Colts over 6 Houston Texans
5 Baltimore Ravens over 4 New England Patriots
AFC Divisional Round:
1 Denver Broncos over 5 Baltimore Ravens
2 Cincinnati Bengals over 3 Indianapolis Colts
AFC Championship Game:
1 Denver Broncos over 2 Cincinnati Bengals
1.New York Giants (9-7)
2.Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
3.Washington Redskins (8-8)
4.Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)
1.Green Bay Packers (12-4)
2.Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
3.Chicago Bears (8-8)
4.Detroit Lions (8-8)
1.Atlanta Falcons (12-4)
2.New Orleans Saints (11-5)*
3.Carolina Panthers (6-10)
4.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)
1.San Francisco 49ers (14-2)
2.Seattle Seahawks (12-4)*
3.St.Louis Rams (8-8)
4.Arizona Cardinals (2-14)
NFC Wild Card Round:
3 Atlanta Falcons over 6 New Orleans Saints
5 Seattle Seahawks over 4 New York Giants
NFC Divisional Round:
5 Seattle Seahawks over 1 San Francisco 49ers
2 Green Bay Packers over 3 Atlanta Falcons
NFC Championship Game:
5 Seattle Seahawks over 2 Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl XLVIII:
1 Denver Broncos over 5 Seattle Seahawks
Super Bowl MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos.
NFL MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Offensive Player Of The Year: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Defensive Player Of The Year: Aldon Smith, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Coach Of The Year: Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Tavon Austin, WR, St.Louis Rams
Defensive Rookie Of The Year: Jarvis Jones, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Comeback Player Of The Year: Brian Cushing, LB, Houston Texans
Executive Of The Year: Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Most Improved Team: New Orleans Saints
Most Disappointing Team: Arizona Cardinals & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacksonville Jaguars select Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville with the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Arizona Cardinals select Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson with the #2 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
San Diego Chargers select Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina with the #3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. (The big shocker, Clowney falls to #3 after two big QB needy teams select 1 & 2.)
The 2013 MLB All Star Game is two weeks away and the all-star game voting ends tomorrow night. With players’ stats not likely to change dramatically between now and then, I will release my ballot for which players I think best deserve to make this years mid-summer classic at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
Without a doubt, the toughest positions to make a selection for are AL first base, AL third base, NL catcher, NL first base, NL second base, and NL outfield. 34 players from each league get to make the game, and even after that, there will still be a few players who will unfortunately have to be snubbed. The offensive production has been amazing this year and a lot of guys who deserve to start, won’t be able to. I will also be making the pitching selections as well, not just position players picks. I’ve done this the last two years, and I haven’t missed on many players at all. Lets see if I can keep the hot streak going.
American League Starters:
C – Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins: .316 AVG, 8 HR’s, 28 RBI’s, .399 OBP, .474 SLUG, .873 OPS, 3.7 WAR.
1B – Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles: .331 AVG, 32 HR’s, 83 RBI’s, .406 OBP, .731 SLUG, 1.137 OPS, 4.1 WAR.
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Boston Redsox: .323 AVG, 5 HR’s, 47 RBI’s, .405 OBP, .445 SLUG, .850 OPS, 4.1 WAR.
3B – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: .364 AVG, 26 HR’s, 85 RBI’s, .454 OBP, .670 SLUG, 1.124 OPS, 4.9 WAR.
SS – Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers: .308 AVG, 7 HR’s, 37 RBI’s, .368 OBP, .451 SLUG, .819 OPS, 2.3 WAR.
OF – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: .315 AVG, 13 HR’s, 53 RBI’s, .390 OBP, .540 SLUG, .930 OPS, 3.4 WAR.
OF – Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles: .293 AVG, 15 HR’s, 59 RBI’s, .315 OBP, .482 SLUG, .797 OPS, 2.0 WAR.
OF – Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Redsox: .298 AVG, 1 HR, 29 RBI’s, .361 OBP, .404 SLUG, .765 OPS, 2.8 WAR.
DH – David Ortiz, Boston Redsox: .317 AVG, 16 HR’s, 57 RBI’s, .407 OBP, .602 SLUG, 1.009 OPS, 2.2 WAR.
SP – Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers: 13-0, 3.09 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 139 K’s, 3.2 WAR.
C – Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
C – Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
1B – James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays
1B – Edwin Encarnarcion, Toronto Blue Jays
2B – Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
2B – Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
3B – Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
3B – Josh Donaldson, Oakland A’s
OF – Torii Hunter, Detroit Tigers
OF – Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
OF – Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
SP – Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
SP – Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
SP – Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
SP – Bartolo Colon, Oakland A’s
SP – Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians
SP – Chris Sale, Chicago Whitesox
SP – James Shields, Kansas City Royals
SP – Kiroki Kuroda, New York Yankees
SP – Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
RP – Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
RP – Grant Balfour, Oakland A’s
RP – Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
RP – Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers
National League Starters:
C – Yadier Molina, St.Louis Cardinals: .352 AVG, 6 HR’s, 45 RBI’s, .394 OBP, .500 SLUG, .894 OPS, 3.6 WAR.
1B – Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: .301 AVG, 20 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, .379 OBP, .551 SLUG, .930 OPS, 4.0 WAR.
2B – Matt Carpenter, St.Louis Cardinals: .324 AVG, 8 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, .397 OBP, .495 SLUG, .893 OPS, 3.7 WAR.
3B – David Wright, New York Mets: .308 AVG, 13 HR’s, 43 RBI’s, .393 OBP, .530 SLUG, .923 OPS, 4.7 WAR.
SS – Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers: .320 AVG, 11 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, .352 OBP, .495 SLUG, .847 OPS, 3.2 WAR.
OF – Carlos Beltran, St.Louis Cardinals: .304 AVG, 19 HR’s, 50 RBI’s, .345 OBP, .539 SLUG, .884 OPS, 1.9 WAR.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: .294 AVG, 23 HR’s, 61 RBI’s, .363 OBP, .604 SLUG, .967 OPS, 3.6 WAR.
OF – Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers: .308 AVG, 12 HR’s, 37 RBI’s, .348 OBP, .553 SLUG, .901 OPS, 4.8 WAR.
SP – Matt Harvey, New York Mets: 7-2, 2.27 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 141 K’s, 4.5 WAR.
C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
C – Wilin Rosario, Colorado Rockies
1B – Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
1B – Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
2B – Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants
3B – Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
SS – Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres
SS – Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
OF – Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
OF – Dominic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies
SP – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
SP – Adam Wainwright, St.Louis Cardinals
SP – Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh Pirates
SP – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
SP – Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals
SP – Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
SP – Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
SP – Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
SP – Shelby Miller, St.Louis Cardinals
SP – Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs
RP – Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
RP – Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
RP – Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
RP – Edward Mujica, St.Louis Cardinals
When it came to my National League team, I would have started Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but with him injured and likely to miss the ASG, I omitted him from my ballot entirely. I’m also not a fan whatsoever of the “every team needs a player to represent them” rule when it comes to the All-Star game, because although Cubs starter Travis Wood is having a nice season, I don’t entirely feel he deserves a roster spot over a couple other pitchers in the NL, along with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve when it comes to position players in the AL. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do though, right? Well, this is my first and final All-Star ballot for 2013 and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Now lets see how many of my picks match with the actual picks when they’re announced on Sunday. Enjoy the 2013 All-Star Game everybody!
NBA Free Agency is upon us and it is time to make my predictions on where the top free agents will be landing. This is one of my favorite times of the year, as the NBA offers up the best free agency period of the four major pro sports. Once midnight strikes on July 1st, millions of rumors start flying around, just like right now. Teams and players can verbally agree to deals whenever, but no deal can be official or finalized until July 10th. The time period between July 1st & 10th is absolutely chaotic and loads of fun. The two premiere free agents this summer are Clippers point guard Chris Paul & Lakers center Dwight Howard. We all pretty much know now where CP3 will wind up, but it’s totally up in the air on D12. This free agent class isn’t totally star-studded like 2010 was, but it’s pretty solid with second tier players, behind the two superstars headlining. So how about we get to the predictions, shall we?
1.Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: It’s a foregone conclusion that CP3 will return to the Clippers with the acquisition of head coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers climbed to a 56-26 record and home court in the first round (although they got beat in six games by Memphis). Many thought that CP3 would leave the Clips because of tension with ex head coach Vinny Del Negro and the team not improving from their previous playoff exit in 2012. Then came the rumors of the Clippers possibly trading for Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett of the Celtics. Those rumors died down, until they revived again and a trade was agreed to, except only Rivers would be headed to LA. No matter what though, with the addition of a top five coach and an already very good supporting cast in Los Angeles, plus the fact that not many teams can afford to offer CP3 a max contract, it made it virtually a given that Chris Paul would return to the Clippers on a max deal. (Old Team: Los Angeles Clippers)
2.Dwight Howard, C, Houston Rockets: There are five main suitors for Howard’s services, the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, and Golden State Warriors. I crossed the Hawks off because although it is Howard’s hometown, he will in no way win a title there and Atlanta doesn’t seem like his type of city. I then crossed off the Warriors because they have a tight cap situation, have Andrew Bogut at center, and I don’t know if they could trade Bogut with his injury history. Plus, I think the Warriors need to focus more on bringing back Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. When it comes to the Mavericks, although there have been plenty of rumors of how Dwight would love to have his own team, something he wouldn’t have in any of the other cities, I don’t see him winning a title their, plus Dallas will be running out rookie Shane Larkin out to the point, and Dirk is aging and declining quick. As much as Dallas may not sound so nice, I wouldn’t totally cross them off as a serious contender yet. Then it comes to the Lakers and Rockets. Dwight already has a very rocky relationship with the Lakers, the team is badly aging and injury plagued, and that goes for all three of Kobe Bryant (35 years old at the start of next season, torn Achilles), Steve Nash (39 years old, fractured leg in 2012-2013 and a season ending hamstring/hip injury), and Pau Gasol (33 years old at the start of next season, concussion and torn plantar fascia in his right foot in 2012-2013). I don’t see Dwight winning a title with that aging group, and eventually Kobe and Nash will retire real soon, and Gasol may be on a new team soon. That’s why I see Houston as Dwight’s best destination. The Rockets boast a very young team, a rising superstar in shooting guard James Harden, an okay point guard in Jeremy Lin, and a very solid role player in Chandler Parsons. The Rockets have the room to offer Howard a max deal and Texas has no state income tax. I believe Houston offers Dwight Howard the best situation to win a title and he’ll be paired up with a younger superstar and can make a lot of noise in the West. Lets not forget that the Rockets can then trade current center Omer Asik somewhere for more assets. And yet another thing, the Rockets have a very well-respected coach in Kevin McHale, who during his playing days with the Boston Celtics, was a very good big man like Dwight is now. I just see the Rockets as too good of a fit for Howard, and think their young nucleus will really entice Howard. (Old Team: Los Angeles Lakers)
3.Josh Smith, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons: Reportedly there are five-six serious suitors for Josh Smith, who is a big versatile forward who can score, rebound a little, and block shots. He is a bit of a headcase and doesn’t listen sometimes and makes really questionable decisions on the court, which might keep him from getting any max contract offers. Atlanta wouldn’t mind bring J-Smoove back, but Detroit and Boston are expected to chase Smith hard and the Pistons are reportedly going to offer big money when free agency opens, and I think the biggest offer will get Smith. I just don’t see the Celtics offering a boatload for Smith, who is a risk on a big money deal. Atlanta doesn’t seem keen on offering a lot of money and are more focused on Dwight Howard. I also don’t see anyone being as interested as Detroit obviously seems. Big money offer from Detroit gets J-Smoove.
4.David West, PF, Indiana Pacers: David West has remained healthy and played extremely well during his time with the Pacers and he loves this team. The Pacers exceeded all expectations and pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals this year, and West had a big part in that. West will be Indiana’s biggest priority and I see a deal working out. Reportedly, most other teams like Memphis and the Clippers have interest in West, but they all already have set in stone power forwards, and I don’t see West going to a backup role after a very successful two years with Indiana. (Old Team: Indiana Pacers)
5.Brandon Jennings, PG, Milwaukee Bucks: Jennings doesn’t get talked about as much as the more premiere superstar point guards, but Jennings can hold his own and can light up the scoreboard on any given night. Jennings is a restricted free agent, so Milwaukee can match any offer they want. With Monta Ellis and J.J. Reddick most likely out-of-town, the Bucks need to keep one of their guards, and they believe in Jennings. Jennings will be a hot commodity, but Milwaukee can match. (Old Team: Milwaukee Bucks)
6.Andre Iguodola, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets: Although Iguodala opted out of the final year of his deal, Denver still really wants him back, plus he wants to win, and I believe Denver has what it takes to surprise us all and win the Western Conference with all their youth one of these years. Iguodala is reportedly Denver’s number one top priority and I wouldn’t bet against their management when wanting to lock up their own players. Plus, with opting out, Iggy allows himself to get a longer extension anyway, why else would he turn down $16 million? We all know he isn’t a $16 million player annually. (Old Team: Denver Nuggets)
7.Al Jefferson, C, Utah Jazz: The Jazz have a very tough decision to make on which free agent to retain: center Al Jefferson or power foward Paul Millsap? I think they go with the former, although they have Enes Kanter as their center of the future, I don’t feel he’s close to ready to being a starting center in the NBA, but the Jazz also have Derek Favors, whom they acquired in the Deron Williams trade with the Nets in 2011 to take over for Millsap at PF. I feel like Favors is better prepared to fill in for Millsap, then Kanter is for Jefferson. The Jazz could also let both walk and have a lot of cap room, but they will not be very good whatsoever next season, and Jefferson is one of the more underrated centers in the NBA. A handful of teams will pursue Jefferson, but I think Utah brings him back with the biggest contract offer. (Old Team: Utah Jazz)
8.Monta Ellis, SG, San Antonio Spurs: There will surely be solid interest for Ellis, but with how inconsistent he is and how much of a ball hog he is, some potential suitors will shy off. Ellis is very capable of being the second scorer on a good team, and that’s why he’s not staying in Milwaukee. Reportedly, the Knicks, Spurs, Nuggets, Suns, Mavericks, and Bulls have interest in Ellis, but a few of those teams won’t be able to afford him. The Spurs could add Ellis and let go Manu Ginobili, or have Ginobili take a pay-cut to come back and still try to sign Ellis. I believe Ellis under coach Greg Popovich would be perfect for him, because Pop would keep Ellis under control with his shooting and having the veterans on the team would help Ellis a lot. I definitely see a good fit here. (Old Team: Milwaukee Bucks)
Other free agents and teams I think they will sign with – Andrew Bynum (DAL), Tyreke Evans (SAC), Nikola Pekovic (MIN), J.R. Smith (NYK), O.J. Mayo (CHI), Paul Millsap (BOS), Tiago Splitter (SAS), Tony Allen (MEM), Kevin Martin (MIN), J.J. Reddick (POR), Jeff Teague (ATL).
The 2013 NFL Draft is finally upon us as we are five hours away from the start of the event. The Kansas City Chiefs hold the all important number one pick and it is almost a certainty that they will take an offensive tackle. Consensus says they’ll take Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckle, but the last two days there has been rumblings that they may take Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher. Unless the Chiefs trade the number one pick, which is a possibility, it looks like they’ll be taking an offensive tackle to protect their new quarterback, Alex Smith. After that pick, the draft is completely wide open and anything can happen. Many experts, NFL reporters, and NFL general managers are saying that this will be the most unpredictable NFL draft in a very long time, and for some, in their whole careers. Their not many prospects at all that people are absolutely crazy about and that’s why this draft is so unpredictable. There may well be a lot of trades tonight with some teams trying to move up and some teams trying to move back. There are more teams interested in moving back, then up. The New York Jets, St.Louis Rams, and Minnesota Vikings each hold two first round picks, and those three teams very well could be the three most likely teams to trade down. With this draft so wide open and no concrete plans yet for any picks, expect a lot of “WOW!” moments and quite a bit of trades. This draft is heavy on the offensive and defensive lines, and not so much at the skill positions, especially running back and quarterback a little bit, depending on how you view this years quarterbacks, and if you’re me, you’re not too impressed with this year’s crop of quarterbacks.
In this mock draft I enlisted the help of two friends, Joe and Kevin, who both know their stuff when it comes to football and the draft, to make this a more fun and interactive mock draft, rather than me doing it all by myself. You can follow Joe on twitter at @JoeyReg14. I’d add Kevin’s twitter handle, but he isn’t involved in any social media sites, so you can’t follow him anywhere. We did not inflict any trades in this mock as that is way too unpredictable and not needed at this point. If you have any questions or points you want to make to us about this mock draft, feel free to tweet us, you can also find me on twitter at @ScoreboardSteve. Enjoy our mock draft and enjoy the 2013 NFL Draft tonight!
1.Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckle, OT, Texas A&M
2.Jacksonville Jaguars – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
3.Oakland Raiders – Sheriff Floyd, DT, Florida
4.Philadelphia Eagles – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
5.Detroit Lions – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
6.Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
7.Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
8.Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
9.New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
10.Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
11.San Diego Chargers – Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
12.Miami Dolphins – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
13.New York Jets – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
14.Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
15.New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
16.St.Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
17.Pittsburgh Steelers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
18.Dallas Cowboys – Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
19.New York Giants – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
20.Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
21.Cincinnati Bengals – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
22.St.Louis Rams -Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
23.Minnesota Vikings – Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
24.Indianapolis Colts – Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
25.Minnesota Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
26.Green Bay Packers – Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
27.Houston Texans – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
28.Denver Broncos – D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
29.New England Patriots – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
30.Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
31.San Francisco 49ers – Zack Ertz, TE, Stanford
32.Baltimore Ravens – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The 2013 NBA playoffs are finally upon us and that means it’s time to make my predictions. We had a great regular season as we saw a lot of long winning streaks, including the Miami Heat winning 27 straight (good for the second longest all time behind the 1971-1972 Lakers who won 33 straight), the Los Angeles Clippers won 17 straight games, the Denver Nuggets won 15 straight games, and the New York Knicks won 13 straight games. The Chicago Bulls happened to snap both the Heat and Knicks’ win streaks within a three-week span at the end of the season.
We also saw Lakers SG Kobe Bryant score his 30,000th point, but we also saw the future NBA hall of famer go down with a torn achilles at the end of the season. LeBron James became the youngest player to reach the 20,000 point plateau. The most unfortunate and sad news of the season came on February 18th, when Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away from kidney failure. Buss had been battling cancer since 2012 and hadn’t attended a single Lakers game the whole season due to being hospitalized for months. Jerry Buss was 80 years old when he passed away.
Now let’s get to my NBA first round playoff picks.
(1) Miami Heat over (8) Milwaukee Bucks 4-0. MVP: LeBron James.
(2) New York Knicks over (7) Boston Celtics 4-2. MVP: Carmelo Anthony.
(3) Indiana Pacers over (6) Atlanta Hawks 4-2. MVP: Paul George.
(4) Brooklyn Nets over (5) Chicago Bulls 4-3. MVP: Joe Johnson.
(1) Oklahoma City Thunder over (8) Houston Rockets 4-1. MVP: Kevin Durant.
(2) San Antonio Spurs over (7) Los Angeles Lakers 4-2. MVP: Tony Parker.
(3) Denver Nuggets over (6) Golden State Warriors 4-2. MVP: Wilson Chandler.
(4) Los Angeles Clippers over (5) Memphis Grizzlies 4-3. MVP: Chris Paul.
WrestleMania 29 is in the books and after having a few days to re-watch the matches and think about how it fared, I can finally write my review and let you know if the biggest sports spectacular was a stud or dud. WrestleMania itself has always been a huge deal every year and the WWE always tries to make it bigger than the previous years event.
Now let me add that this years WrestleMania did not have a good build up and almost had no build at all. Part of this has to do with having part-time stars in some of their biggest matches. The Rock recently had his new “G.I. Joe” movie come out and wasn’t on every Monday Night Raw to hype and build his WWE title match against John Cena. Brock Lesnar also has limited dates in his contract, so he can’t make every show, although he was there more than The Rock, but his match buildup against Triple H wasn’t handled too well either. The best buildup was easily the CM Punk vs The Undertaker match, with Punk mocking ‘Takers late manager Paul Bearer, who passed away in early March. Punk stole his sacred urn and played mind games after mind games with the Undertaker and eventually beating ‘Taker down on an episode of RAW with the urn and pouring ashes out of the urn onto Undertakers beat down body. Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship had a very solid build but it felt like Swagger and his manager Zeb Colter were more interested in getting all immigrants out of the USA, rather than focusing squarely on Del Rio and his title. With the lower card, Chris Jericho vs Fandango had a solid short build, Ryback vs Mark Henry didn’t have a great build at all, Team Hell No vs Dolph Ziggler and Big E Lankston didn’t have a good build either, and The Shield vs Sheamus, Randy Orton, and The Big Show actually had a pretty solid build. Let’s get to the review of each match now.
1.The Shield defeats Sheamus, Randy Orton, and The Big Show: I saw many people question the decision to open the show with this match but it was a well paced match and delivered. There were some cool spots in this match including when Randy Orton caught Seth Rollins in mid-air with an RKO after he jumped off the top rope. Roman Reigns would immediately spear Orton after that RKO and Dean Ambrose, the legal man, would cover Orton for the win. Another cool spot was when The Shield put Sheamus up for the triple powerbomb and Big Show would spear all three members to save Sheamus. Very good match and all six men delivered.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
2.Mark Henry defeats Ryback: I said this before the match started and I’ll repeat what I had said, this match had more of a chance to be a big stinker, rather than a WrestleMania classic. Once the match ended, I was proven right. This was a very slow-paced match and had a horrible ending. The ending came when Ryback would pick Mark Henry up for his finisher, Shell Shocked, only to have Henry grab the ropes and collapse right on top of Ryback for the win. The biggest head scratching thing was after Henry won, Ryback would perform Shell Shocked on him, so a very weird ending.
Rating: 2 out of 10.
3. Team Hell No defeats Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship: This was a solid match and you got everything you expected. Big E Langston looked impressive in his first career match and the veterans Kane, Bryan, and Ziggler did what they always do, and delivered a good tag team match. A nice ending as well when Kane chokeslammed Ziggler and tagged in Bryan for a top rope splash to win the match.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
4.Fandango defeats Chris Jericho: I actually liked this match more than a lot of other people. Both guys kept the match well paced and gave it all they got, even in the short amount of time they were given. A very solid technical match and we finally got to see Fandango in the rind and he impressed. This was an underrated match at WrestleMania.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
5.Albert Del Rio defeats Jack Swagger to retain the World Heavyweight Championship: A weird beginning to this match as Jack Swagger’s entrance wasn’t even shown to the pay-per-view audience. This match was okay all around, but it never seemed to fully click to me. They got about 10 minutes for the match, but I would’ve preferred a longer match. Anyways, it was your typical match and was okay at best, which is unfortunate because I was really looking forward to this match.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
6.The Undertaker defeats CM Punk: This was the match of the night and an all world display by ‘Taker and Punk. Both guys put it all on the line and put their bodies through hell to give the audience what they wanted to see. There were some awesome spots in this match, like CM Punk delivering a diving elbow from the top rope as Undertaker layed on the spanish announce table, although the table didn’t break, I don’t know if that was a screw up or it really wasn’t supposed to break. Another nice spot was Undertaker reversing out of a GTS by Punk and turning it into a tombstone to win the match. The match of the night and a great display by arguably the greatest ever and the best in the world right now.
Rating: 10 out of 10.
7.Triple H defeats Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred Match: A lot of people didn’t like the fact that these two were having a rematch of their Summerslam match, because that match didn’t live up to the expectations. Well, their rematch at WrestleMania was fantastic and delivered on all accounts. This was a very brutal physical match up and both guys put their bodies on the line so the fans could see a great match up. Chairs, steel steps, a sledgehammer and the spanish announce table were used in this match to batter and bruise each guy and boy was each guy battered. There was barely any blood at all, thanks to this PG era that the WWE is in, so it took away from the intensity of the match. Outside of that, this match delivered and had a good ending with HHH locking in the kimura lock on Lesnar a few times, DDT’ing Lesnar into the steel steps, blasting him with a sledgehammer, and pedigreeing Lesnar onto the steel steps for the win. Very, very good match.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
8.John Cena defeats The Rock to win the WWE Championship: A lot of people, including myself, weren’t so happy about The Rock and John Cena having a WrestleMania rematch, let alone a rematch that involved the WWE Championship. Although it wasn’t surprising, we had to deal with it and enjoy it as best we can. This match seemed very similar to their original match at WrestleMania 28 in Miami, although I give this match a tad bit better of a performance. As usual, The Rock seemed as if he couldn’t keep up with Cena in this match due to poor cardio, but he still gave it his all and delivered a very solid match. The crowd was really into this match and although we all knew Cena was going to win, there was a moment or two that I really thought The Rock would retain the title. A solid ending when Rock and Cena would literally keep reversing out of multiple “Rock Bottoms” and “AA’s”, until Cena could finally plant an AA onto The Rock for the victory and to get the WWE title back around his waist.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.