Baseball Heads Down the Back Stretch

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all star game 2010

Baseball Heads Down the Back Stretch

Now that the All Star game is over, we need to take a look at the standings and project what might happen from this point to the final weeks of the season.

The trading deadline is coming up and there are a few names floating around that could help a contender. Some deals have already been made. The biggest deal was SP Cliff Lee going to the division leading Rangers. He gives the team the one thing they did not really have–a true #1 starter. Even with the team’s financial problems, they decided to go for it all this year.

The Jays and Braves traded SS with Alex Gonzalez going south in a five-player deal along with 2 minor leaguers for SS Yunel Escobar and LHP Jo-Jo Reyes. The Braves needed a little more O and Gonzalez should help. Escobar has been at best inconsistent.

The Jays are in 4th in the tough AL East and have put out the word that RPs Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are available. They are looking to build for next year. Several teams might be interested in Gregg who has converted 20 of 23 save opportunities.

SP Roy Oswalt is the most attractive guy out there. The White Sox are looking at him but he is 32 and is scheduled to get 16M in 2011 and 12.

AL East

The Yanks are leading and Rays are still close just 2 games behind. Both went 8-2 before the break. The Red Sox have fallen and can’t seem to get up. They went 4-6 in the last 10 and are 5 games behind. With all the Sox injuries, it is less and less likely that they can keep up.

AL Central

The White Sox lead by just a half game over the Tigers. The Sox are depending on pitching and the long ball because they are hitting just .257 as a team. They are 3rd in home runs with 100. The Tigers are hitting .275.

AL West

Texas has a 4.5 game lead over the Angels. The Rangers have the best lead in the AL and Lee will only help them win the division. Beyond that who knows.

NL East

The Braves have profited from the Mets stumble over the last 10. The Braves expended the lead to 4 games by going 7-3 while the Mets went 4-6.

NL Central

The Reds have a been traded places with the Cards all season. That will continue as long as the Reds pitching holds up. It won’t and the Reds will fall out of the race in the middle of August. Nobody else in the division is a factor.

NL West

The Padres are 2 games ahead of the Rockies but need both a pitcher and a bat. They won’t get either before the trading deadline but still should hold on to win the NL Weak.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for http://NFLDraftDog.com and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on  and edits .

Technorati Tags: MLB,MLB Playoffs,Oswald,Lee,Yankees,Rays,Red Sox,Tigers,White Sox,Rangers,Angels,Braves,Mets,Reds,Cardinals,Padres,Rockies

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Sports Buffet for 06/15/10

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SptsBuf

NFL

The lower round rookies are beginning to sign. The deals are too scattered to give you a good analysis but look for the top picks to have some extended holdouts. The league ownership is in a penny pinching mood. The best indication of that is the fact that none of the usual sources have the financial data on the rookie deals. Given the concern over what the next CBA might look like and the economy still being in the tank, owners won’t quickly let the agents talk them into big increases over last year.

The RFAs are also signing. Today, the teams have the option of lowering any unsigned RFA to 110 percent of the salary the player made last year. In most cases the teams will do this for those players that they consider reserves or not critical to their long term plans.

NBA

The Celtics lead in the finals now 3-2. It is hard to get a handle on this series because each team looks unbeatable in one game but then lays an egg in the next one. While some of the differences in the games is due to injuries and foul trouble. But that can not explain it all.

I wonder if Boston has one more effort like Game 2 in them. If they lose tonight, they will not win the series.

MLB

The Yankees have clawed their way back into a tie for the lead in the AL East. They were helped by the Rays going 5-5 over the last 10 games. Boston has started to play a little better and is only 4 games behind.

Texas is hanging in the lead in the AL Weak. The Angels are just one game behind. Neither of them are playing well enough to worry any of the AL East teams come playoff time.

Atlanta had a 4.5 game lead last week but went 5-5 in the last 10 to allow the Mets to sneak back to just a game and a half back. The Phillies are still not playing well and have to face the Yankees this week in inter-league games.

Cincy and St. Louis are still in a tight race for 1st in the NL Central. The Padres, Dodgers and Giants are grouped together like peas in a pod in the NL West.

College football

For a while the Big 12-2 was on life support. But the keystone team–Texas–decided to stay and that kept the league together despite losing Nebraska to the Big 10+2 and Colorado to the Pac10+1. They key was MONEY!! Imagine that! The Big 12-2 promised Texas that they could have their own network deal and that saved the conference. There is a good chance that both the Big 12-2 and the Pac10+1 will add teams in the near future. Look for TCU and 1 other team (possibly Houston or Tulsa) to get an invitation to the Big 12 and Utah to get a ticket to play in the Pac 10.

The bottom line here is that college football has not changed all that much. I predicted that Texas would not join another conference months ago when the Big 10 was romancing it.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,RFA,CBA,Collective Bargaining agreement,Celtics,NBA FInals,Lakers,MLB,NBA,College Football,Big 12,Big 10,Pac 10,Yankees,Red Sox,Rays,Rangers,Angels,AL East,AL West,AL Central,NL East,NL Central,NL West,Braves,Mets,Phillies,Reds,Cardinals
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Sports Buffet for 06/03/10

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SptsBuf

NFL

The Browns have announced that Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown and WR Paul Warfield will no longer serve as an advisers to owner Randy Lerner. Given the history of the Browns since the team returned in 1999, the leadership of the team needs all the advice they can get. Both will be missed.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s biggest test of the suspension is not now going back with the team and participating in the OTAs. The biggest test will be how he completes what the league has asked him to do to reduce the suspension from 6 games to 4. The other half of that test will be how he behaves or misbehaves during the time from the end of the last preseason game until he gets reinstated by the league. Under NFL rules he can have no contact with the team at all during that time except for medical staff as prescribed by the terms of the suspension. If he has another incident like the ones that got him suspended in the past, there could be games added to his “unpaid leave.”

The talk around Dolphin land at their OTA last weekend was all about the passing game. QB Chad Henne has developed nicely after replacing Chad Pennington in 09. The one thing that he needs to improve on in 2010 is his TD to Int ratio. In 09 he threw 12 TDs but 14 picks. He looked even better in the OTAs. However, a lot of “want to be” guys look good in shorts.

Eagle CB Marlin Jackson is out for the season after rupturing an Achilles tendon in the team’s OTA. The team signed Jackson from the Colts to start despite his ending the 09 season on the IR.

Packer CB Al Harris is behind schedule on his recovery from knee surgery that ended his 09 season. He was expected to participate in the OTA last week but is still on the sideline.

Ram S Oshiomogho Atogwe did not sign his tender with the team. On June 1 the Rams could have increased their offer to 7M to keep their exclusive rights for him. They did not. Atogwe is now an unrestricted free agent but the Rams are still hoping they can come to a long term contract with him. He has a history of being a ball hawk. The only question is how much in this economy is he worth. The Packers and Vikings are teams that might be interested.

Lion RB Kevin Smith is not ready to participate in OTAs and will likely start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Players on that list do not count against the roster limits but only qualify if they are hurt away from football or from an injury in the previous season. Players that are on the PUP on the final cutdown day may not be activated until after week 6.

NBA

Game 1 of the Finals goes tonight. The 2-3-2 format puts the stress most on the Celtics. To win the title, in my opinion, they must win one of the first 2 games. The latest on injuries indicates that Celtics PG Rondo will play and is 85-90% while C Perkins is OK. For the Lakers C Bynum is as good as he can be expected to be with his knee problem. He had more than 70 ccs of liquid taken out of the knee on Monday.

MLB

Tampa Bay continues to lead the AL East by 2.5 games over the Yankees. The secret has been a 21-6 record on the road. As long as the pitching holds up, the Rays could be in the race for the duration.

The Twins have built a 3.5 game lead in the AL Central over the Tigers. The Twinkies have been helped by the Tigers going 3-7 over the last 10.

The Rangers lead the AL West but both the As and Angels are coming on. The Rangers were 4-6 over the last 10 while both their pursuers were 6-4.

The two best races in MLB are in the NL. The Central and West divisions are both tight. The Reds and Cards have been trading leads in the Central for a couple of weeks. Last night the Cards beat Cincy 4-1 to climb back into a tie. The Padres have the best mark in the NL with a 32-21 record but only lead the Dodgers by 1 game in the West.

The Tigers traded former All Star P Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks for P Billy Buckner and cash. The Tigers will pay all but the prorated remaining part a minimum veteran contract for Willis in 2010. Despite being a big dollar FA signing in 2008, he has only be able to start 22 games for the Tigers. In 2010 he had a 4.98 ERA and was 1-2 for Detroit.

NHL

The Flyers got back into the finals series with a 4-3 OT win yesterday. The key for Philly will be to win game 4 at home then take game 5 at Chicago. Otherwise, they could be in trouble. The Black Hawks are a lot deeper than the Flyers. As the series goes on, that should give them a real advantage.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NBA,NHL,MLB,NBA Finals,NHL Finals,Browns,Eagles,Rams,Lions,UFA,Atogwe,Brown,Roethlisberger,Steelers,Dolphins,Colts,Jackson,Packers,Vikings,Celtics,Lakers,Bynum,Rondo,Perkins,Rays,Twins,Rangers,Tigers,Angels,As,Reds,Cardinals,trades,Willis,Diamondbacks,Black Hawks,Flyers
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