NFL Picks: Week Seven

Last Week: 11-2-1

On the Season: 57-31-1

Byes: PHI Eagles, TB Buccaneers

Thursday: Had @NE Patriots over NY Jets

Early Games:

ATL Falcons vs. @BAL Ravens (-6.5, UPSET) (O/U: 50.5, OVER)

TEN Titans vs. @WSH Redskins (-5.5, UPSET) (O/U: 46, UNDER)

SEA Seahawks (-7, OVER) vs. @STL Rams (O/U: 43.5, UNDER)

CLE Browns (-5, UNDER) vs. @JAX Jaguars (O/U: 44.5, UNDER)

@IND Colts (-3.5, OVER) vs. CIN Bengals (O/U: 51, OVER)

@BUF Bills (-6, UNDER) vs. MIN Vikings (O/U: 43.5, UNDER)

@CHI Bears (-3.5, OVER) vs. MIA Dolphins (O/U: 48.5, OVER)

NO Saints vs. @DET Lions (-2, UPSET) (O/U: 47.5, OVER)

CAR Panthers vs. @GB Packers (-6.5, UPSET) (O/U: 50.5, OVER)

Later Games:

@SD Chargers (-3.5, OVER) vs. KC Chiefs (O/U: 45.5, UNDER)

ARI Cardinals (-4, OVER) vs. @OAK Raiders (O/U: 45, UNDER)

@DAL Cowboys (-5, OVER) vs NY Giants (O/U: 48, OVER)

@DEN Broncos (-7, OVER) vs SF 49ers (O/U: 49.5, OVER)

HOU Texans vs. @PIT Steelers (-3) (O/U: 45, UNDER)

NFL Picks: Week Six

Last Week: 11-4

On the Season: 46-29

Byes: Kansas City and New Orleans

Thursday: Had IND Colts vs. @HOU Texans (OVER)

Early Games:

@TEN Titans (-4.5) vs. JAX Jaguars (UNDER) (O/U- 43, UNDER)

BAL Ravens (-3.5) vs. @TB Buccaneers (OVER) (O/U- 44, UNDER)

DEN Broncos (-10) vs. @NYA Jets (OVER) (O/U- 48.5, OVER)

DET Lions vs. @MIN Vikings (-2) (O/U- 43.5, OVER)

NE Patriots (-3) vs. @BUF Bills (OVER) (O/U- 45, UNDER)

CAR Panthers vs. @CIN Bengals (-7) (UPSET) (O/U- 43.5, UNDER)

PIT Steelers vs. @CLE Browns (-1) (O/U- 47, UNDER)

GB Packers (-3) vs. @MIA Dolphins (OVER) (O/U- 49, OVER)

Later Games:

SD Chargers (-7.5) vs. @OAK Raiders (OVER) (O/U- 44, OVER)

DAL Cowboys vs. @SEA Seahawks (-8.5) (UPSET) (O/U- 47.5, OVER)

@ARI Cardinals (-4) vs. WSH Redskins (OVER) (O/U- 45.5, UNDER)

@ATL Falcons (-3) vs. CHI Bears (UNDER) (O/U- 55, OVER)

@PHI Eagles (-2.5) vs. @NYN Giants (OVER) (O/U- 51.5, OVER)

SF 49ers (-3.5) vs. @STL Rams (OVER) (O/U- 44, UNDER)

 

NFL Picks: Week Five

Last Week: 7-5

On the Season: 35-25

Byes: OAK Raiders and MIA Dolphins

Thursday: Had @GB Packers over MIN Vikings

Early Games

@CAR Panthers (-2) vs. CHI Bears (OVER)

@TEN Titans vs. CLE Browns (-1) (UPSET)

@PHI Eagles (-6.5) vs. STL Rams (UNDER)

ATL Falcons vs. @NY Giants (-4) (UPSET)

@NO Saints (-10.5) vs. TB Buccaneers (UNDER)

@DAL Cowboys (-6) vs. HOU Texans (OVER)

@DET Lions (-6) vs. BUF Bills (OVER)

@IND Colts (-3) vs. BAL Ravens (OVER)

PIT Steelers (-6.5) vs. @JAX Jaguars (Game in London) (OVER)

Later Games:

@DEN Broncos (-7.5) vs. ARI Cardinals (UNDER)

KC Chiefs vs. @SF 49ers (-5) (UPSET)

@SD Chargers (-6.5) vs. NY Jets (OVER)

@NE Patriots vs. CIN Bengals (-2.5) (UPSET)

SEA Seahawks (-7.5) vs. @WSH Redskins (OVER)

MLB Postseason and World Series Predictions

October Baseball is here. Eight teams enter the Division Series, but only one will be crowned World Series champions. So who will take home the Commissioner’s Trophy?

Playoff Teams:

American League:

East Division Champions: Baltimore Orioles, 96-66, Last World Series title: 1983. Second playoff appearance since 1997

Central Division Champions: Detroit Tigers, 90-72, Last World Series title: 1984. Fourth straight division title

West Division Champions: Los Angeles Angels, 98-64, Last World Series title: 2002. First playoff appearance since 2009

1st Wild Card: Kansas City Royals, 89-73, Last World Series title and playoff appearance; 1985

2nd Wild Card: Oakland Athletics, 88-74, Last World Series title: 1989. Third straight playoff appearance

National League:

East Division Champions: Washington Nationals, 96-66, never won the World Series. Second playoff appearance in three years after just one in franchise history (1981 while still in Montreal).

Central Division Champions: St. Louis Cardinals, 90-72, defending NL Champions, seeking fifth pennant in 21st century and third World Series title since 2006. Fourth straight playoff appearance.

West Division Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers, 94-68, last World Series title: 1988. Fourth division title in seven years.

1st Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates, 89-73, last World Series title: 1979. Second straight playoff appearance after 20 consecutive losing seasons.

2nd Wild Card: San Francisco Giants, 89-73. Seeking third World Series title since 2010.

American League Wild Card Game: #4 Kansas City Royals defeated #5 Oakland Athletics 9-8 in 12 innings after coming back from 7-3 and 8-7 deficits. Catcher Salvador Perez hit the game winning single in the 12th.

National League Wild Card Game: #5 San Francisco Giants defeated #4 Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 on Madison Bumgarner’s 4-hit shutout. Shortstop Brandon Crawford opened the scoring with a grand slam off Edinson Volquez.

American League Division Series:

#1 Los Angeles Angels over #4 Kansas City Royals in 5 games

Why: Going to a three-man rotation is a big risk for the team with baseball’s best record, but like the last playoff team to do so (the 2009 Yankees, who of course won it all) have baseball’s best offense led by baseball’s best player and a bullpen that improved substantially with the additions of Joe Smith, Huston Street, and Jason Grilli. Kansas City has the arms in the rotation and the bullpen to make themselves a tough out, but they won’t be able to keep up with Anaheim offensively

#3 Detroit Tigers over #2 Baltimore Orioles in 4 games

Why: Despite their star power, Detroit has underachieved in the regular season in the last four season and once again has to start the postseason on the road. However, their rotation of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander (still an October threat even after a poor season), David Price, and a much improved Rick Porcello makes them a matchup to be feared in a short series. Despite their success, the Orioles’ roster has red flags as their starting pitching finished third worst in baseball in FIP (fielding independent ERA) and 17th in OBP despite finishing fifth in baseball in ERA+ and first in home runs. The Tigers will have the choice of Scherzer or Verlander in a potential Game 5.

National League Division Series:

#1 Washington Nationals (96-66, NL East champions) over #5 San Francisco Giants (88-74, 2nd NL Wild Card) in 4 games

Why: As the old adage goes, you can’t have too much pitching. The Nationals have the best in baseball and that’s why they are clearly the favorites to win the World Series. If they hit enough, they’ll be very tough to beat. The Giants got past the Pirates because of Madison Bumgarner, one of the better pitchers in the game, but not having Angel Pagan and Matt Cain are significant losses. Even with Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson, they don’t have enough to beat the Nationals, especially with Bumgarner going just once.

#2 Los Angeles Dodgers (94-68, NL West champions) over #3 St. Louis Cardinals (90-72, NL Central champions) in 5 games

Why: The Dodgers, the team with baseball’s highest payroll, were many people’s favorites in Spring Training, and for good reason. A rotation made of Clayton Kershaw (perhaps the league’s MVP), Zack Greinke (also a former Cy Young winner), and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be very tough to beat. The Cardinals, however, counter with a terrific rotation of their own: Adam Wainwright (20 wins, 2.38 ERA), Lance Lynn (15 wins, 2.74 ERA), John Lackey (the winner in Boston’s championship clincher last year), and Shelby Miller. The Dodgers have the edge on offense to make the difference in what should be the toughest series.

American League Championship Series: 

Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Angels in 6 games

MVP: 1B Miguel Cabrera (DET)

Why: The Tigers have the most talented rotation and a great offense, the Angels have the best offense and a dynamic bullpen. The Halos’ weakness will be starting just three pitchers (Jered Weaver, Matt Shoemaker, and C.J. Wilson), which will be a road-block for them to even get to the ALCS.

National League Championship Series:

Washington Nationals over Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games

MVP: RHP Stephen Strasburg (WSH)

Why: Both are loaded on pitching and have offenses that can score. However, the Dodgers seem to be more top heavy than the Nationals, who seem to have absolutely no weakness on their whole staff.

World Series:

Detroit Tigers over Washington Nationals in 7 games

MVP: Max Scherzer

Why: This may be one of the lowest-scoring World Series in years; that’s how good the pitching is. However, the Tigers have a little more star power, especially on offense, and they will finally get the job done this year after three consecutive playoff failures

NFL Picks: Week Four

Last Week: 11-5

On the Season: 28-20

Thursday: Had @WSH Redskins over NY Giants\

Early Games:

GB Packers (-2) vs. @CHI Bears (OVER)

@HOU Texans (-3) vs. BUF Bills (OVER)

@IND Colts (-7.5) vs. TEN Titans (UNDER)

CAR Panthers vs. @BAL Ravens (-3.5) (UPSET)

@NY Jets vs. DET Lions (-2) (UPSET)

@PIT Steelers (-7.5) vs TB Buccaneers (UNDER)

MIA Dolphins (-4) vs. @OAK Raiders (Game in London) (OVER)

Later Games

@SD Chargers (-13) vs. JAX Jaguars (OVER)

ATL Falcons (-3) vs. @MIN Vikings (OVER)

@SF 49ers (-4.5) vs. PHI Eagles (OVER)

@DAL Cowboys vs. NO Saints (-3) (UPSET)

NE Patriots (-3) vs. @KC Chiefs (OVER)

Keith Olbermann is horribly wrong in his vitriolic rant about Derek jeter

Keith Olbermann is tonight’s Worst Person in the World.

No rational person thinks Derek Jeter is the greatest baseball player ever or even the greatest shortstop or Yankee. He is still an all-time great player with the sixth most hits in history, a career .309 average, five World Series rings, 14 All-Star appearances, and several other accomplishments.

Keith Olbermann is a smart guy and a brilliant TV man. He also knows a lot about baseball. However, he has made a career of using his TV platform to attack people, especially those who disagree with him (cough cough Republicans cough cough) His current show on ESPN2 is hit and miss. This is a miss.

Olbermann has some good points about Jeter’s place in history and the hype around his career and retirement, but he ruins it with his vitriol-filled agenda.

I’m going to rebuke Olbermann’s main argument in his diatribe and explain why he is full of it.

“Derek Jeter never won an MVP”

A lot of great, Hall of Fame players have never won MVP.  Awards are often subject to a group of sportswriters, some who often have an agenda. There are seasons where Jeter should have won the MVP.

In 1998, he finished third in the voting but had a higher WAR than everyone except Alex Rodriguez, who finished ninth, and Roger Clemens, who is a pitcher.In 1999, he finished sixth despite having the highest OPS and average of his career. His OPS that season was 75 points higher than winner Pudge Rodriguez.

Then in 2006, he was absolutely robbed as a Chicago voter gave him a sixth place vote, thus Justin Morneau (who wasn’t even the second-most valuable player on his own team) took home the award. He then finished third behind Joe Mauer who hit .365 in 2009.

Besides, how many great, Hall of Fame players never won an MVP? Just to name a few: Wade Boggs, Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk, Mike Piazza, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Roberto Alomar.

“Derek Jeter isn’t dying/dead, so why the farewell tour?”

Honestly, I am fed up with people saying they’re fed up with the farewell tour. Is it a bit too much? Absolutely, but it’s a product of the era we live in with the internet and social media. There was no outrage when Cal Ripken, Jr. got a farewell tour and played in the All-Star Game despite having the worst season of his career. There was no outrage when Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera got gifts from other teams.

Are the jersey or cap patches and merchandise really ridiculous? Maybe, but it’s good for the team’s (and league’s) revenue. I don’t like Steiner being involved, but it’s good capitalism. Are the commercials by Jordan/Nike and Gatorade really that ridiculous? They were well freaking done.

“Derek Jeter has the 6th-worst OPS since 1960″

The man is 40 years old coming off an ankle fracture that knocked him out for basically all of last year. How many players can still do it at 40? Cal Ripken, Jr. batted .239 with a 70 OPS+ in his final season at age 40, and he got his well-deserved farewell tour.

“Derek Jeter won just won World Series since 2000″

The MLB postseason is a massive crapshoot. The best team doesn’t always win, as we’ve seen with the 2006 Cardinals and the 2011 Cardinals. In 97 postseason games since the 2000 World Series, Jeter hit .298 with a .356 OBP and 12 homers. He hit .344 in the 2009 postseason and probably would have been the MVP of the World Series if Hideki Matsui didn’t go OFF in Game 6. Olbermann points out that Jeter hit just .200 in that fateful ALCS against the Red Sox in 2004, but the rest of the offense, including A-Rod, Matsui and Gary Sheffield, sputtered. The pitching staff, held together by duck tape all season, finally collapsed, and that is why they blew that 3-0 lead in the series. Totally asinine to blame Jeter, and he only does it to deviate from the credit Jeter gets for winning five titles.

“Derek Jeter led the league in a major offensive category only three times”

Being a leadoff or 2-hole hitter your whole career isn’t going to give you enough opportunities to lead the league in RBI. A shortstop is not going to lead the league in homers or OPS or win a batting title. Only four shortstops in the last 50 years have won the batting title. How many shortstops have lead the league in OPS? Just two. If Ichiro Suzuki never came to the US, odds are Jeter would have led the league in hits several more times.

“Derek Jeter led the Yankees in a major offensive category just 17 times”

Again, you’re not going to lead anyone in RBI as a lead off or 2-hole hitter. Again, as a shortstop you’re rarely going to lead anyone in HR or OPS. For a long time, shortstops were rarely great hitters. Cal Ripken and Robin Yount revolutionized the position in the 1980s bringing power to the position, and Jeter, A-Rod, Nomar Garciaparra, and Hanley Ramirez followed.

“Derek Jeter isn’t a Top 10 Yankee”

Olbermann makes this argument using WAR per season, thus Jeter isn’t a top 10 Yankee. Who are the Top 10 Yankees based on WAR per season? Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio. Of course. Then, Alex Rodriguez, Thurman Munson, Mike Mussina, Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, and Red Ruffing. Jeter is 11th.

Now, this just shows you how flawed WAR (wins above replacement) is. It judges you against the theoretical replacement player. The difference between guys like Ruth and DiMaggio and the average player is much bigger than the difference between the average player and Jeter. WAR should not be the end-all be all statistic in baseball; there are other factors to judge a player. Bobby Grich had a higher career WAR than Tony Gwynn. Is Bobby Grich better than the guy who won eight batting titles and struck out just over 400 times in a 20 year career?

Olbermann clearly cherry-picked this statistic to drive his agenda. Anyone who wants to make the argument that Mike Mussina, (3.88 ERA and 114 ERA+ in eight seasons with the Yankees, Graig Nettles, (career .253 hitter with a .329 OBP with the Yankees though he was a stellar 3B), Willie Randolph, and Alex Rodriguez were greater Yankees than Derek Jeter is clearly acting with malice and vitriol. This guy doesn’t even have Yogi Berra or Mariano Rivera in his Top 10. Come on. Greatness goes well beyond stats.

Derek Jeter has earned his spot in history. Nobody, not Keith Olbermann, the hacks at Deadspin, the saber-nerds, or anyone else can that away from him.

NFL Picks: Week Three

Last Week: 8-8

On the Season: 17-15

Thursday: Had @ATL Falcons over TB Buccaneers

Early Games:

SD Chargers vs. @BUF Bills (-1.5)

DAL Cowboys (-2) vs. @STL Rams (OVER)

WAS Redskins vs. @PHI Eagles (-6) (UPSET)

HOU Texans vs. NYG Giants (-1)

@NO Saints (-10.5) vs. MIN Vikings (OVER)

TEN Titans vs. @CIN Bengals (-7) (UPSET)

BAL Ravens (-2) vs. @CLE Browns (OVER)

@DET Lions (-2) vs. GB Packers (OVER)

IND Colts (-7.5) vs. @JAX Jaguars (OVER)

@NE Patriots (-14) vs. OAK Raiders (OVER)

Later Games:

@ARI Cardinals vs. SF 49ers (-3) (UPSET)

@SEA Seahawks (-5) vs. DEN Broncos (UNDER)

KC Chiefs vs. @MIA Dolphins (-3.5) (UPSET)

@CAR Panthers (-3.5) vs. PIT Steelers (OVER)

@NYJ Jets (-2.5) vs. CHI Bears (UNDER)