Tuesday Tennis

The greatest day of the tennis year, ‘Manic Monday’ has come and gone and now we are down to eight men left in the draw. I’m not going to brag about my picks or anything, but I will make you aware of the fact that I had six of eight quarterfinalists, and said Lleyton Hewitt was the most likely upset pick to make it there too. I’ll give myself credit for seven, but I never saw the Juan Carlos Ferrero thing coming! Continue reading

Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-28) The Dodgers are happy they don’t have to deal with the AL anymore. They went 2-4 against the AL last week and 9-9 overall. This team will get Manny Ramirez back Friday in one of their first mini slumps of the season.

2. Boston Red Sox (46-29) Boston finishes interleague play at 11-7 and retains first place in the toughest division in baseball. The Mike Lowell injury could be a minor set back for the Nation, but somehow, the Sox will find a way to overcome it as usual. Look for Kevin Youkilis to continue filling in at third, while Mark Kotsay or even Rocco Baldelli could take over first base.

3. New York Yankees (43-32) The Yankees ended interleague play on a five game winning streak. They owned the Subway Series this year 5-1, but only went 5-7 against the rest of the NL. The Yankees will take on a Mariner team that just won a series from the Dodgers, the best team in baseball.

4. Tampa Bay Rays (42-35) Three AL East teams in the top four?! The Rays are currently riding a five game winning streak and are the defending AL champions, but will they be the odd man out in this ridiculously tough division? One thing is for certain, they would love to see the NL more, they went 13-5 against the senior circuit.

5. Los Angeles Angels (41-32) The Angels actually capitalized on the inferior NL more than the Rays going a league best 14-4 in route to taking the AL West lead away from the Rangers. The Halos, much like the Rays and Yanks, take a five game winning streak into Texas for a huge series. Continue reading

Wacky Wednesday

You know the drill, we’re taking the most unusual events that happened in the past week in sports, both in the past and in the present.

June 24, 2009
Shaquille O’Neal gets traded to the Cavs in an attempt to keep Lebron in Cleveland. The Big Cactus now visits his fifth career team.
June 24, 2005
The Mets become the first NL team to hit three sacrifice flies in one inning after Bernie Williams drops a pop up.

June 23, 2003
Barry Bonds becomes the first player with 500 home runs and 500 steals.

June 21, 2005
The Yankees tally 13 runs in a single inning against the (Devil) Rays for the second time that season.

June 19, 2009
Number 1 seed Rafael Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon due to knee tendinitis. By pulling out, the world number one won’t defend his title, and may also lose his ranking if rival Roger Federer wins the tournament.
June 19, 2007
Twins color commentator Bert Blylevin says he’ll shave his head if Johan Santana throws a complete game shutout against the Mets. Hours later, Santana shaves the commentator’s head after shutting out the Mets.

June 18, 2006
The Tigers hit eight home runs in route to Kenny Rogers 200th career victory.

Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (46-24) – The Dodgers retain the best record in the league after another week. Manny Ramirez will start his rehab assignment tomorrow in Albuquerque before coming back to the Dodgers July 3 against the Padres. It was amazing to see two brothers compete against each other on Saturday when Jeff Weaver got his 97th career victory. The question for this team as we near the all star break is how many all stars will they send to St. Louis? Juan Pierre has been excellent in the lead off spot, Orlando Hudson has played superbly on offense and defense, and Casey Blake has been a reliable rock the Blue Crew could count on all season.

2. Boston Red Sox (42-27) – The month of June has been a more usual month for Big Papi. Ortiz is batting .308 with five home runs and 12 RBI. This is a big part of the reason the Sox have sprinted to a 13-5 record in the month. Another reason is the starting pitcher aside from Daisuke Matsuzaka has been on fire. Beckett, Lester, Penny and Wakefield are all on a roll, and the staff will only get stronger this Thursday when John Smoltz makes his first start of the season.

3. New York Yankees (38-31) – Losing four of six to the Nationals and Marlins was an unexpected road bump, and the team’s 9-10 record this month shows they’ve been a bit mediocre. Alex Rodriguez (batting .153 in June) was benched two games, but I’m not sure that’s how you motivate a fragile guy like that Mr. Girardi.

4. St Louis Cardinals (39-31) – The Cards jump into first in the NL Central for the first time in a while thanks to an impressive 5-1 week. During the week, the club has seen their offseason acquisition of Khalil Greene come through. He’s hit three home runs in eight at bats.

5. Detroit Tigers (38-31) – The Tigers had an impressive sweep over the Brewers, and are currently riding a four game winning streak. The emergence of Rick Porcello has been a key to the Tigers’ success. This team could be very dangerous in the playoffs will a combination of Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and now the rookie Rick Porcello. Continue reading

Wimbledon Preview

rafaelkneepainNadal/del Potro’s Quarter
Winner: Andy Roddick emerges after Rafa Nadal makes an early exit leaving the one seed blank. Del Potro capitalizes on the opportunity to theoretically take the number one seed, but loses to Andy Roddick, who is much more battle tested on the grass. Andy has as much confidence as anyone on the tour right now, and will be hungry for a third showdown with Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon.
Dark Horse: Lleyton Hewitt’s exhibition victory over Rafael Nadal will give him a lot of confidence heading into Wimbledon even though the defending champion pulled out. He faces a very tough task it Juan Martin del Potro, however, in the second round. Del Potro hasn’t played any grass court warmups, but has been Mr. Consistent during the past year. Dmitry Tursunov is fresh off a grass court championship, but he played a depleted field. He’s also the type of guy to have a major let down, after winning a championship, even if it is Wimbledon. He more accurately should be called the “wild card” in this section since he could go down in the very first round, or he could be very challenging for del Potro in round 3. Paul-Henri Mathieu can also potentially make a little run since he would have to face Tomas Berdych, Mr. Inconsistent, and Nikolay Davydenko, who missed his grass court warmup tournament because he couldn’t get a visa in time.
Early Exit: David Ferrer and Radek Stepanek have their own mini-section, but both seem to be likely to make an early exit. Ferrer has been dropping steadily in the rankings since the middle of last year, while Stepanek has been battling injuries and age. If you had to bet – and tennis absolutely wants none of this anywhere near their sport! – it’s more likely Ferrer goes down before Stepanek.
Best potential match: We just need to look at the second round to find the upcoming del Potro against Lleyton Hewitt. Whoever wins this match should also have a great match against Andy Roddick in the quarters, but Roddick will prove to be too much. Continue reading

Wacky Wednesday

June 17, 2004
The Nashua Pride of the Atlantic league have a Richard Nixon bobblehead day to remember Watergate on its anniversary. They give free admittance to anyone named Woodward or Bernstein, and have 18.5 minutes of silence matching the time missing in the tapes.

June 16, 2009
Sammy Sosa becomes the second player revealed as testing positive for steroids in 2003.

A man loses his house betting on the Royals. The game he bet on was the one where the Royals blew Zack Greinke’s 3-1 lead culminating with a walk off hit off a seagull.

June 15, 2009
Artie Lange blows up Joe Buck’s first show on HBO, using many obscenities we can’t repeat. Joe Buck tucked his tail between his legs. He was completely speechless, he didn’t know what to do. He later said it was the longest 8 to 9 minutes in his life. Good thing this whole Artie thing happened for Buck though, because aside from Lange’s rant, the show was really flat and boring.
June 15, 1999
One-handed pitcher Jim Abbot get his first career hit for the Brewers.

June 14, 1996
Cal Ripken Jr. sets the new record for consecutive games played at 2,216.

June 12, 2009
Milton Bradley throws a ball into the stands with only two outs, allowing Brendan Harris of the Twins to score.
June 12, 1997
After 126 years of baseball, the first ever interleague series are played.

June 11, 2009
Shin-Soo Choo connects on a walk off hit against the Royals. While Coco Crisp charges, a gull finds the ball first and redirects it past the outfielder.
June 11, 2003
The Astros no-hit the Bronx bombers using an unprecedented six pitchers. It’s the most pitchers ever to combine for a no-no. It also stopped the Yankees streak of 6,980 games with at least one hit. Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner combined to make history.

Tuesday Tennis

With the Wimbledon draws being revealed in just three days, we’ll do a little preview before the draw comes out today.

The first thing that jumps out is Andy Murray’s historic victory in London. Continue reading

Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (42-22) – The men in blue have been struggling to bring home runs lately, but have just kept on winning. They’ve only scored 26 runs in their last 10 games, but have gone 6-4 in that period in large part due to their lights out pitching staff with an ERA of 3.57, the best in the majors.

2. Boston Red Sox (38-25) – Big Papi may be beginning to figure things out once again. He hit .308 last week, and is actually starting to go deep again. It’s going to be important for him to work the count. When he’s behind on the count with two strikes, Papi is batting a horrid .089. Jason Bay is really playing well, he leads the league with 61 RBI.

3. New York Yankees (36-27) – The Yankees will be happy with taking two of three to wrap up the Subway Series. The Yankees in their new blastoff zone, Yankee Stadium, have hit 64 home runs this season, 17 homers more than the second most home home runs. Compare that with only 48 homers on the road, something may have to be done about that stadium in the off season.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (36-25) – The defending champions lead the senior circuit in home runs, RBI and runs, and they actually need it considering the poor year the entire pitching staff is having. The team ERA of 4.66 is 25th in the league. They had all sorts of trouble trying to stop the Red Sox in their interleague series.

5. Texas Rangers (35-27) – The Angels are coming hard on their rear view mirror, and it will be interesting to see how the Rangers will deal with that pressure. The offense has to keep hitting well if they’re going to stay atop the AL West, however. The Rangers only scored a total of 14 runs last week, the least in the majors. Continue reading

Wacky Wednesday

Wacky happenings from the week of June 4-10 in the past and present

June 10, 2005
Red Sox play at Wrigley Field for the first time in 90 years.

June 9, 1999
After being ejected, Bobby Valentine returns to the dugout with a fake mustache and glasses.

June 8, 2007
Alberto Callaspo is the victim of the hidden ball trick by Julio Lugo.

June 7, 2009
Roger Federer gets jumped by a crazy Spanish fan during the French Open final. After noticeably being frightened, Federer would go on to complete the career slam.
June 7, 2007
Curt Schilling loses his no-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

June 6, 2006
On the sixth day of the sixth month in the sixth year of the century, the Dodgers score six runs in the sixth inning during the sixth game of their homestand.

Tuesday Tennis

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That’s the biggest story in the sporting world this past weekend. Not only has Roger Federer tied Pete Sampras with the most grand slams of all time, but he has also become the sixth player ever to win the career slam. Roger Federer will take the week off in defense of his Gerry Weber Open title due to “exhaustion”. He’s earned the rest, he has finally gotten over the hump, conquering the dirt. Federer will now go into Wimbledon without any warm up grass court matches, much like defending champion Rafael Nadal. In a week of great historical significance for the game of tennis, this week’s tournaments have lost the top two players and the draws will be depleted. With that said, this gives us a great chance to scout the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Novak Djokovic, and the Andys. Fernando Verdasco lost his first match on grass, which makes him a questionable Wimbledon choice, while Juan Martin Del Potro is also taking the week off. So what does all this mean for Wimbledon? It’s anybody’s guess, but we know one thing – Federer will be ready. The question just becomes who can have a Robin Soderling-esque run? The Queens Club potential final of Murray vs. Roddick may be a great harbinger. Also, lookout for Lleyton Hewitt! He’s poised to win it again.