A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

WTHWWT – Week 5 (Nathan)

So, in a week where the MLB saw the Cubs and Angels get eliminated from the playoffs, and the NHL started another season, with two games over in Europe, there was another week full of upsets and surprises in the NFL. The stock market continues to hit rock bottom and the presidential candidates continue to tour the country in hopes of people’s votes. Wachovia was bought out by Wells Fargo, and the University of Michigan got blown out of the water by the Fighting Illini and Juice Williams. As society continues to go downhill, the thoughts of where this world will be one year from today is just scary and unpredictable. But when times turn rough, you can always count on these blogs to cheer you up.

Atlanta vs Green BayAaron Rodgers vs Matt Ryan. Both very young inexperienced, starting quarterbacks and Lambeau Field on the first weekend of October, it does not get any better than this. People were unsure of how Rodgers would play because of his shoulder injury, but in an attempt to beat Brett Favre’s record setting streak of continuous starts, Rodger suited up and played. In the end, Matt Ryan was the quarterback who was leaving the field as a winner. This is the third week in a row that I have had to write about the Packers which is not a good thing. Hopefully they get the team back on track on their way to Seattle to visit former head coach Mike Holmgren.

San Diego vs Miami – So as I should have done when picking my picks for the week, the Chargers will now be known as the Padres. Hopefully this will give them a reason to start winning… Miami once again surprised the league with another upset victory. The Miami Dolphins are the team that everyone is going to overlook this season. Expect the Dolphins to finish at least .500 this season. They are that good. Or that average. However you want to look at it.

Buffalo vs Arizona – If any Buffalo Bills fans thought that JP Losman was a good quarterback hopefully this week proved something to you. The only good thing JP is good for is riding the bench and maybe giving the plays to the quarterback. On his first drive, JP lost a fumble and the Cardinals subsequently scored on the following drive. Hopefully, Trent Edwards can heal up over the bye week and come back in two weeks and start at quarterback. Concussions are so unpredictable so I’m sure we won’t find out until next week whether he can play or not.

Pittsburgh vs Jacksonville – Once again, the Jaguars let me down. Their lack of a running game has imploded my fantasy teams all season long and until they find a decent tandem in the backfield, it’s going to be a long season for the Jags.  Jones-Drew and Taylor must pick it up for Jacksonville’s success. The Steelers are going to have another dominant year in their division and will end up making the playoffs once again.

So, as this will be my last blog before the NHL Season officially starts on Thursday, let me finish this by saying Go Wings… HEY HEY HOCKEYTOWN!

– Nathan

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October 8, 2008 Posted by | Baseball, Football, Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dissecting the Blue Jays

This Blue Jays team as of late has shown the MLB what it can really do once it gets rolling. It was necessary for GM J.P. Ricciardi to fire then manager John Gibbons. He had shown the Jays’ potential but could never really activate the potential when need be. So it was time for a change. Former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston replaced him and had a goal of a .500 record before the All-Star break. Toronto came close but did not achieve the .500 mark, but the message had been sent. The Blue Jays could come back into the AL Wild Card Race.

The Blue Jays lead the MLB in ERA with 3.55 and complete games (13). Ace Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett have been carrying the work load combining to pitch 437.1 innings and a combined 412 strikeouts. Unfortunately, their records have not really shown that with Halladay being 18-11 and Burnett 18-10. Still, the long innings these two pitch have helped to craft a very young bullpen still getting the hang of things. The only big name in the ‘pen is B.J. Ryan and has converted 30/34 save opportunities with 57 K – a solid season coming off Tommy John surgery. So, if you have pitching, you should be able to win games, right?

Well, let’s look at fielding, which was a problem for the Jays last year. After bringing in a slew of NL players in the offseason, the Jays are 6th in fielding percentage at .986. The defense is good, the pitching is fantastic. And the have a great offense already don’t they? With Rios and Wells? Not exactly…

Here is the struggle for Toronto: Offense. You can’t win games if you can’t get runs. Halladay doesn’t get you 5 runs for throwing a complete game, so the offense has needed to step up. Unfortunately, it has a little too late. Toronto is batting .265 on the season, good for 14th in the majors. A big problem has been missing ad that is a big bat in the lineup. Without Frank Thomas to protect young Rios and Wells, there have only been 117 homers hit out by Jays players: 25th in MLB.

Let’s focus a little bit more specifically on the offense. Believe it or not, there is not one Blue Jay that has 20 HR. The closest is Alex Rios with 17. Pitiful. Unacceptable in this day and age of the long ball. GM Ricciardi MUST address this in the offseason. If it means giving up a young pitcher or two, do it. You have got to manufacture runs. Keep in mind though, the Blue Jays have been bitte by the injury bug a lot this year, which they have the last two years. Only 3 players have played over 106 games (Overbay, Rios, Scutaro). Rios has been the money man for the Jays though, leaving me wondering if the Rios for Lincecum deal would have went through in the offseason if the Jays could do anything offensively. Rios has hit the most home runs, hits, doubles, and stolen bases. He can’t do everything though. He has got to have help. OF Vernon Wells just has never been the same since that huge deal a couple years ago.

There has been hope though! The last 30 days, the Jays are 4th in batting average, 4th in hits and the top 10 for most hitting categories in the MLB. They can do it. As much as I hate saying wait until next year, Jays fans, we are going to have to. Ricciardi will lose the big Burnett salary and hopefully can bring in some serious hitters, while keeping the main core of pitching together (Halladay, Marcum, McGowan, Litsch). Perhaps maybe bringing in a good arm or two for the bullpen. Maybe the slogan next year will be “Not the Rays, it’s the Jays!” Boston continues to get old, and the Yankees are a complete mess. It could very well be the Rays and Jays becoming the new Boston and New York. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

-Ray

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment