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Posted on: September 11, 2010 8:16 pm
 

NFL Week 1 Predictions

This is my first non-Nationals and/or baseball related blog entry...plz take it easy on me, lol.
Ok, here we go:

It is too late to predict the Saints over Vikings, but like most people I had em'. Favre wasn't ready, and the Saints simply were better.

The Broncos at Jaguars is a tough one for me. The Jaguars run game is one of the leagues best, but Orton is the better passer of the two QBs. The Jags are at home in a fairly even match-up. I got the Jags.

Next is Oakland at the Titans. This one isn't hard for me in the least. Vince Young took a big step forward in the second half last year, and has arguably the best RB in football in his corner. Titans win this one with ease, although they may not win by more than 10 or so.

Lions at Chicago is very interesting. Cutler is possibly the least clutch QB in the league and Stafford showed he may just be able to play at the NFL level. Chicago only helped themselves in the off-season with the addition of Julius Peppers, among other. I'll take the Bears, but the Lions will give em' a close one.

Bengals at the Patriots is next. This game is also hard to judge. Many aren't giving either team much hype, even though they both deserve more credit than they're receiving. As much as I actually would like to see the Bengals pull this one out, I have Tom Brady and his top notch receiving core in this one. He'll be out to prove that his team still has a deep play-off fun in them. Expect the game to be high scoring though.

The Browns at Bucs is a match-up of the best of the worst. I like Josh Freeman's ceiling as an NFL starter, but I think Delhome teases Cleveland fans and finds "it". Browns over Bucs.

Miami at Buffalo is a real easy match-up. Miami and 2nd year starter Chad Henne shouldn't have to worry about a defense that lacks much star power. At least Buffalo fans can get excited over C.J. Spiller. Dolphins get win number 1 over the lonely Bills.

Carolina at the NY Giants is another easy one. The Giants and Eli Manning are out to prove they are still a legit NFC East, and NFC contender. I like Matt Moore and see a decent year out of him, but a healthy Giants D, along with a sharp Manning should make this match-up a winner for the G-Men.

The Colts at Texans will be a shootout as usual. This game is definitely the one that is the closet to call. I'll go out on a limb and pick Houston. With a run defense that still isn't impressive, and a young man in Arian Foster looking to make his mark, and not to mention Matt Schuab and the league's best receiver in Andre Johnson, I call Houston in the final minutes.

The next game is the Packers at the Eagles. I'll admit that I'm not a fan of anything Philadelphia that isn't a television show. This game isn't much different. Packers (while over hyped) will roll over the Eagles. Kolb has been great against average to below-average teams. The Packers don't fit that bill.

Arizona at St. Louis is another match-up of very poor teams. I'm not a fan of Derek Anderson or Sam Bradford seeing his first action, but Anderson has been to a pro bowl, and does have at least 2 receivers who are better than any of the Rams. Cardinals win this battle of the futile.

Next is another NFC West battle; It is 49ers in Seattle. Both teams have QBs that are easily in the bottom half of the league in quality starters in Hassleback and Smith. The 49ners have the better D and running game. The "12th man", won't factor in this one. 49ers win and take their first step forward in taking a week West divison by storm.

Now I've come to the night game. The Cowboys are in Washington to face the Skins. If McNabb were healthy and/or still in Phily, I might pick the Eagles...but Tony Romo should lead his team to victory with ease. Cowboys are my pick over the Redskins.

Then there are the two Monday night games. First I'll take the Ravens at Jets. I personally don't believe the Jets are overhyped...or at least not nearly as much as Baltimore. Both defenses are tough, but the Ravens are missing Gaither on the starting line, and Rex will most definitely exploit that. Flacco is much better than Sanchez, but I've got the Jets at home with a good running game and the best CB in the league on their side.

The Chargers at K.C. has me wishing that the Chiefs could become a much better, and maybe even playoff caliber team, if only for one night...but sadly that won't be coming true anytime soon. Chargers should win without much problem.

Lastly is my team, the Steelers at home against the Falcons. I'm not impressed with their defense or Matt Ryan. Turner should have a great year, but much like the Ravens, teams don't run well vary often against the Steelers. Dixon will also be keeping the defense busy with his arm and legs. The Steelers edge out a close, and relatively low scoring affair at home.

Well, that is it. My picks for all the games this weekend. I'd like to see just how close my guesses will be. Plz comment.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 9, 2010 11:41 pm
 

Should Adam Dunn be an All-Star?

I'm going to go ahead and say this. Adam Dunn is the most underrated player in both leagues. AL, and NL. The guy has played an average, and at times below average 1B, where he is fielding .993 this year (which is right inline with the league average for the position I might add). He hit 2 more HR's tonight, and just missed a 3rd one, and he hit 3 against Garland and the Padres two nights ago to secure the series win. He is currently tied with final vote winner Joey Votto of the Reds for the most Home Runs in the National League. He is currently hitting .279, with 22HR's and 57rbi to go along with a .365 OBP, and .568 Slug percentage. The argument can easily be made why he should be on the All-Star team. I mean the guy regularly averages 40+ a year and has only 1 AS game appearance and the year he made it he only had 27 on the year in his sophomore season. 

The only reason I can see for why Charlie Manuel didn't add him to the team would be due to the overflow of 1B already on the roster, and the fact that about a 4th of Dunn's HR's have come of late, but in an AL park with the DH rule and a redhot Dunn, you can't have too many big sluggers avaliable to pinch hit...at least in my opinion.

So I think Dunn should be an All-Star...at least over the likes of Ty Wigginton, Omar Infante, and Dunn's own team mates
Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Capps. Unfortunately he was snubbed, just like a lot of other players like Mat Latos of the Padres, and Mike Pelfrey of the Mets, just to name a few more. 

Sidenote: I don't know if Dunn was invited to the HR Derby. He has the typical make-up of your pure power hitter. If he wasn't I will be at a totally loss for how Dunn is consistently snubbed in various ways. Also, I'm a Nationals fan, so there is a slight bias here, but the numbers don't lie.
Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:38 am
Edited on: June 18, 2010 10:38 pm
 

Riggs, Time to Shake Up the Nats Lineup

As it stands now, The Nationals are 31-35 in the Nationals League East and while they are one of baseball's biggest surprise, sadly, they are once again in the cellar. While the Nats have added one of the most hyped pitching prospect since Ben McDonald, the team has won just one game other than Strasburg's first two starts, and it seems the rest of the staff has started to feel the pressure.

I'll remind you of the Nationals rotation as it currently stands prior to today's game: Livan Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, John Lannan, J.D. Martin, and Luis Atilano. Of the 5 pitchers the only one I could see clinging to this staff (or more like, I would like to see stay other than you know who) would be J.D. Martin. He scrapped his way through the minors and up until his last start seems to have gotten a little better with each start, going back to last year. It seems like Livan is coming back down to Earth after yesterday in Detriot, although i want to see him throw strikes after 0-2 and get beat first before i truly pass judgement. Lannan just seems to have lost it, a minor league assignment or missed start or two is in order for him to try to get it together. Luis Atiliano can't seem to decide if he's the real deal or not. One start he impresses me, then the next is ok, the next bad, and then he's good again. I think he or Lannan could be destined for long relief when the likes of Zimmermann, Olsen, Wang and Detwiler return. They may even be packaged in a deal for a bigger bat or starter.

As average the staff looks overall (even with Stras), nothing can really be done for several weeks, so the only thing that can be seemingly done is to shake up the starting lineup, and let the team's non-performers know that this team wants to win and won't take non-production for very long, no matter what you did last year (I'm talking to you Nyjer).

Adam Kennedy, Nyjer Morgan, and Willie Harris really upset me. While many people would blame Jim Riggleman for playing them, I understand that they need playing time to stay sharp, but the time is fast approaching when their roles with the team need to be re-evaluated.
On the other hand, they all 3 have track records of being solid and productive in their respective roles. Harris has been a great bench player. Kennedy, a solid defender and bat, and Nyjer a great defensive player and offensive spark plug. But, not one of them is playing even a notch below what they should be. Willie Harris is swinging at the first pitch off the bench and flying out nearly as often...at least his defense hasn't suffered. Not letting Willie hit in big opportunites off the bench is the only viable soultion I can see. Kennedy's failure is seemingly heighted by the fact when he makes an error to extend an inning that a big HR seems to follow, but his bat is still cold as ice at this point. He isn't hitting and he isn't fielding the ball. I say he should be playing 1st during interleague and Adam Dunn DH, so that the defense can suffer less and both Adams can be in their most productive roles and Kennedy be allowed to get back on track. Nyjer, I think simply needs to be benched. His attitude is that of a child. His defense has improved in the weeks following the glove throwing incident versus the pitiful O's, but he still isn't walking, hitting much over .250 and he still refuses to try to read pitchers before stealing. A demotion of some sort may be the best thing for him.

The Nats have two guys that are red hot right now in Roger Bernadina and Mike Morse. Bernadina seems to get better with each day and is learning how to play RF quicker than we could have hoped. The benching of Morgan would open up center for Bernie to return to his natural position and allow Morse's .400+ bat to insert itself into RF. I will note though that Morse's defense is the reason he hasn't found a home as a starter anywhere, but RF is a spot where he couldn't hurt the Nats anymore than Kennedy at 2B or Nyjer in CF (around the wall).

Now is the time Riggs. Shake up the lineup, give the pitchers a little more support, and win some games in interleague. If the Nats can't win at least today and the majority of it's games between the White Sox and Royals, their ship might just be sunk in the NL East.

Posted on: February 9, 2010 1:53 am
Edited on: February 9, 2010 1:56 am
 

Orlando Hudson? No my name's Adam Kennedy!

Hey everyone, I don't know how many people have actually read my blog before, but regardless it is time for entry #3.

As a Nats fan I was as about as pumped as can be when i first heard the Nationals were players for Orlando Hudson...last season, which only added fuel to the fire when it appeared they had little competition for the middle infielders' services yet again. Days turned into weeks, I was checking Nationals.com and Mlbtraderumors constantly with the same old story, the Nats were low-balling him. Whether they were offering him 3, 4, or 5 Million (as i heard all 3 numbers during and after negotiations), he still wanted more, he was reported to have asked around the neighborhood of 9 million...at that price tag, I’m not disappointed.

The more i thought about it, he wouldn't have fit no matter how many friends he had on the team, or how much he wanted to play for the Nats. He just wouldn't have fit having to play with the wrong kind of chip on his shoulder. To be underpaid (in his eyes), injury-prone and being on a team that will still be lucky to sniff .500; just seems like a formula for disaster, or at least disappointment.

This is where i turn my attentions to Mr. Kennedy, Adam Kennedy. Kennedy had a very solid, and very under the radar style of comeback last season with the Oakland A's. He hit .289 with 11HR’s, and 63 RBI’s (not to bad for a guy on a horrid offensive team, we Nats fans can relate to that in years past). Now with no money grubbling, and a much lower price tag of 1.25 Mil with a 2 Mil club option. Basically, the Nats get a very similar version of Orlando Hudson on a two for one special. Even if they got him 1 Year for 3 Mil, it only cost 3.25 Mil for 2 years of Kennedy, I don’t know how that kind of deal can upset you.

So to wrap it all up, the Nationals get a “poor man’s” O-Dog on a 2 for 1 clearance special, and he’s got the right kind of chip on his shoulder, he’s got something to prove. He wants to show that he still has something left in the tank, and I got a feeling he will be one heck of a 7-8 type hitter and will save the Nats from the potential disaster that is Cristian Guzman playing 2B.

Look up Nats fans, got nowhere to go but up from here and Mike Rizzo and the guys are making the right kinds of moves.

Go Nats 2010 and beyond, 9 days til’ Pitchers and Catchers!!!

Posted on: January 17, 2010 2:19 am
 

The State of the Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are considered by the many, including the smart, casual, and ignorant fan as the worst team in baseball, and the Nationals are out once again (for the third year in a row) to prove their critics wrong.

The 2009 season started in the worst possible way for the Nats, opening up with 7 straight losses (including Opening Day, believe me i was there, the thought of Daniel Cabrera pitching still makes me sick). It was a combination of horrid defense, starting pitching, relief pitching... the only non-anemic part of the team was offense which showed signs of life more often than not, but was still not nearly enough. The bad play continued through the all-star break (26-61). Exit skipper Manny Acta, enter interim manager Jim Riggleman. While the Nats didn't play .500 baseball, they improved in every aspect of the game, and played at a much more respectable clip of 33-42, which is not amazing but is proof that the players reacted postively to the change and wanted to play hard for their new skipper. The Nationals also became the first team in major league history to lose their first 7 games, and win their last 7 games...While it is an interesting stat, it is not something to brag about. 

So, a bad season overall, but several nice bright spots, and reasons to be hopefully this year and beyond.

1.Ryan Zimmerman has been locked up. 5Yr/45 Mil, and after the year he had it probably saved the Nats 15mil or so if they had waited.
2. The addition of Nyjer Morgan, and Sean Burnett, along with the subtraction of Lastings Milledge, and Joel Hanrahan.
3. The ML experience gained by a plethora of young pitchers including: Lannan, Detwiler, Mock, Stammen, Martin, etc.
4. Stephen Strasberg and Drew Storen...need i say more?
5. Prospects: those accuried from the Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel trades, as well as the improvement of prospects such as Derek Norris, Chris Marrero, Danny Espinosa, etc.

The Nationals have (so far this off-season) been one of the most active teams.

They have added mentor/complimentary players that can likely only help them. The have added the following:

1.Brian Bruney RP
2.Ivan Rodriguez C
3.Jason Marquis SP
4.Matt Capps RP
and 5. ...Possibly Orlando Hudson (fingers crossed)

In adding these players (including Hudson), they have addressed their biggest problems to some degree.

By adding a reliable back-up catcher to mentor Jesus Flores and start until he is 100%, eliminating the horror that was Nieves and Bard sharing time.

Then add Jason Marquis who will give the Nats two reliable starters to help along a long list of 3 spots to be filled.

They also helped their bullpen by surrendering their rule 5 pick for Brian Bruney and signed Matt Capps, and both should be a decent setup man and closer respectively.

So, with all that being said, the Nationals should improve from last year (fingers still crossed), but how much...i'm being cautious... I say 72-90, although i believe this team is capable of being .500.  



Posted on: February 12, 2009 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2009 7:57 pm
 

How much does Adam Dunn change the Nationals?

The Nationals of 2008 were a mess to say the least...We all know they had the worst record in baseball, but not everyone(but a lot of people) know how injuries affected this team, they went from a possible sub .500 to .500 club to, well...the worst record in baseball.

Ok, so far this off-season the Nationals have, in my opinion, done a pretty good job of improving this team from the inside, out. They obtain a 20-25 HR guy in Josh Willingham, and LHP Scott Olsen, who brings some very decent amount of potential to the table. The front office also brought in a HUGE Question Mark in the form of Daniel Cabrera...(moving on), they brought back Odalis Perez, who brought the Nats some nice bang for their buck when they signed him for dirt cheap last year, and with a similar situation happening again this year.

Before Adam Dunn signed with Washington I would have given the Front Office a C+, because they put decent effort into improving the club with a mix of talent, and potential, but they also hadn't lived up to the promise of signing a big name free agent.

Ok, Adam Dunn...has hit 40 or more HR's in each of his last 5 major league seasons, and had an OBP of .386 last year, which is higher than Bobby Abreu (who just signed with the Angels for 1YR/5 Mil) who had a .294 BA last year, compared to Dunn's .237. With these improvements, Willingham, Dunn, and a healthy Zimmerman should easily double Washington's power numbers that finished second to last in the National League in '08.

Just for a minute though, I would like to play devil's advocate, One of Washington’s BIGGEST problems last year was trying to simply put the ball in play with RISP, as opposed to swinging for the fences or simply striking out, which Dunn does a lot, his .237 BA speaks for itself. I'm not sure if Dunn can cure himself of that, but those 100 RBI's have to go somewhere...

Regardless of what happens, the Nationals have improved from top to bottom, and at the major league level, so when I compare this year’s projected lineup to that of opening day last year, I would feel much more afraid as a pitcher now, as opposed to then.

‘08                                                       ‘09

SS: Cristian Guzman                              2B: Anderson Herenandez

CF: Lastings Milledge                             SS: Cristian Guzman

3B: Ryan Zimmerman                            3B: Ryan Zimmerman

1B: Nick Johnson                                   1B: Adam Dunn

RF: Austin Kearns                                  RF: Elijah Dukes

LF: Elijah Dukes                                    CF: Lastings Milledge

2B: Ronnie Belliard                                LF: Josh Willingham

C: Paul Lo Duca                                    C: Jesus Flores

P: Odalis Perez                                     P: John Lannan

I believe Adam Dunn will without a doubt improve this ballclub, but to what extent...i guess that will be for history to decide.

If i had to predict the Nationals 2009 record i would say 84-78, they will be wild card contenders, but too much youth will hurt them a little down the stretch this year.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com