ALDS: Boston VS Houston Preview 

Thursday night it starts: the Red Sox are back in the postseason and look to do what they couldn’t last year, win a series and a world title. 

This Red Sox team is a much different looking team than the one that got swept by the Indians last October. 

Last year, the Sox relied on David Ortiz to carry the offense and when he went cold, the team was doomed. This year, while not nearly as prolific, the Red Sox are a more balanced offense that is much more of a small ball lineup ranking 27th in the MLB in team homeruns. 

They’ll look to build off the experience of last years humbling sweep at the hands of the Indians in their ALDS series against the Astros. 

Many are saying the Red Sox are underdogs in the series, but when you take a closer look at it this series, it’s a flip of the coin. While the Astros have the better offense, headlined by Altuve who is a ridiculous hitter, I’ll take Sale and Pomeranz over Verlander and Keuchel, and the Red Sox bullpen has been on fire in the closing weeks. 

Sale, like he has most of this season, will be the key to the series. Making his first postseason appearance in game one, he is slated to go against Verlander who is no stranger to the big stage. 

Sale led the MLB with 308 strikeouts, but the Astros are a team that hits power pitching quite well. So Sale will have to keep them off balanced by mixing his speed on his fastball which will be key along with keeping his slider tight on the corners. 

While Verlander is no scrub, when Sale is on he is the more dominant pitcher. Losing game one will be a critical blow to the Sox, so Sale has to step up and carry the Sox on Thursday. 

Another key to watch throughout the series is the teams bullpens. The Astros bullpen has been shaky at times, and the Red Sox are no stranger to late game comebacks as they’ve proven time and time again this year. 

On the other side the Red Sox bullpen has been one of, if not, the best in the MLB in the last few weeks. The recent emergence of David Price has got to have you feeling good if your a Sox fan. He looked filthy against Houston, like really filthy. That’s a really important development because Price could be the Sox answer in game three. 

On the offensive side the Sox have a lot of questions as they don’t have any proven postseason hitters. That could be their downfall, but that doesn’t mean they can’t emerge this series. Betts, Bogarts, and Benintendi have to be at their best if they hope to keep pace with the high powered Houston offense. 

Not just offensively, but they also have to be great in the field because they can’t be giving up runs to a team that will certainly do enough to score on their own. 

Overall the Red Sox are underdogs in the series and should be. But don’t count them out just yet, because this is exactly the type of team that will surprise you. 


Here We Go Again: Red Sox Edition

It’s funny how it works sometimes. After an 8-1 roadtrip everyone including myself was ready to get the duck boats. Now after getting run out of Fenway last night by the Astros, and both Sale and Pomeranz looking like garbage in their last outings, we could be witnessing the setup for another sweep.

The Red Sox offense has been good this year, not great but good enough. They currently rank 6th in the A.L in runs scored, but the offense has been inconsistent at best. While it’s been better than some people have given them credit for, they haven’t been world beaters.

Everyone was aware that if this team was going to win it was going to be because of their pitching. For the majority of the year, that has been the case. The Red Sox have a 3.73 ERA as a team which ranks 4th in the majors, and second in the A.L only behind Cleveland. But the pitching has gone south as of late. 

Pomeranz looked like a shell of himself in his last start throwing 89 mph fastballs, and lasting only two innings despite being the teams most consistent starter this year. Quickly on Pomeranz: I mentioned the velocity for a reason Pomeranz has thrown 167.2 innings this year, the second highest of his career and could very easily set a new career high. So to see him fade down the strech is a major red flag. His arm isn’t use to this workload and that could be the reason for the lack of velocity on his fastball and the break on his curveball.

Sale has the same issue as Pomeranz, the innings might be catching up to him. He has been a workhorse for the Red Sox this year especially early on, and maybe the Red Sox let him carry them too much. Sale hasn’t had two good outings in a row since August 8th and August 13th against Tampa and New York. For a guy who has a history of fading in August and September, that should have you scared to death.

But the person who deserves the most blame for Sale is Farrell. Too many times this year he has left Sale in the game for no reason. The latest example was when he sent him back out in the 8th in a game they were winning 9-0, just to get his 300th strikeout when he was slated to make two more starts. Real good way to keep your most important player fresh.

All this along with the fact that the Red Sox don’t have a Game 3 starter has to make you nervous heading into October.
Although he’s been dog crap of late, posting an ERA of 11.12 in his last three starts, Fister should still be the guy. That’s more of a reflection on how dreadful Porcello has been in his last five starts. The reigning CY Young winner has posted an ERA of 5.93, that’s definitely not what you want to see from a guy trying to make the playoff rotation.

So while Fister has not been great, he is the most experienced. Farrell is just going to have to be prepared to manage it, and not wait until it’s too late if he struggles in the third inning.

For those who disagree with starting Fister: stop and think, would you rather Fister who may give you 4 good innings, or Porcello who is guranteed to serve up at least one moonshot per start? Give me a chance of not being down 3-0 before I even settle in.

Things aren’t looking up for the Red Sox but it’s a clean slate in October. But it certainly feels like last season all over again.

3 for 3: Top NBA Long Range Shooters

Now considered one of the most important skills an NBA player should possess, three-point shooting has taken over the NBA. While many are still working to perfect the craft, others have already done so to certain degrees. Here are your top three NBA three point shooters:

3. Kyle Korver

Despite his Finals slump, Kyle Korver is still a top 3 shooter in this league. Over the course of his career, Korver has shot over 43% from behind the arc and 88% from the charity stripe. Last season, however, Kyle Korver hit threes at a 45.1% mark and was knocking down over 90% of his free throws. Korver also averaged 10.1 points per game, which although isn’t great, for nearly half of the year, Kyle was on a Cleveland Cavaliers team that didn’t need him to play the same kind of starter role that he was a part of in Atlanta. A tribute to Korver’s unique ability is his 1x all-star appearance which is basically because of his 49% three-point field goal percentage and over 12 points per game scoring. When you can earn an all-star appearance just from one ability that you do so well, you have to be considered one of the best in the league at that ability.

Korver also averaged 10.1 points per game, which although isn’t great, for nearly half of the year, Kyle was on a Cleveland Cavaliers team that didn’t need him to play the same kind of starter role that he was a part of in Atlanta. A tribute to Korver’s unique ability is his 1x all-star appearance which is basically because of his 49% three-point field goal percentage and over 12 points per game scoring. When you can earn an all-star appearance just from one ability that you do so well, you have to be considered one of the best in the league at that ability.

Over the course of his career, Korver has played for six different teams, with his longest and the best stint of his career coming with the Atlanta Hawks. During his time with Atlanta, Korver had begun the teams most energetic player to watch. Although not the greatest of NBA fan bases, when Kyle Korver pulled up for his trademark transition three, the energy in the arena was like no other. With all of that said, Korver’s career is winding down, and he may become less efficient as time goes on. But for now, Kyle Korver is still the third best shooter on the planet.

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2. Klay Thompson

When Klay Thompson gets going, there is no creature on this earth that can stop him. This is a man who scored an NBA record, 37 points in a quarter, not to mention his incredible 60 points in less than 30 minutes played. One-half of the best backcourt in the NBA, Thompson is a 3x all-star and 2x NBA champion.

Last season, Klay averaged 22.3 points per game while shooting 41.4% from behind the arc and 85.2% on free throws. Clearly a deadeye shooter, Thompson is also an elite defender who has locked up some the greatest offensive talents in the league. To summarize Thompson’s game in one sentence, I would say he is a “glorified three and d player”. He’s much, much better than you Andre Roberson’s, but at the end of the day, he is still running off screens for catch and shoot opportunities while playing lockdown on the other end of the court.

Over the course of his career, Thomspon has shot nearly 42% from downtown while averaging 2.9 three-point field goals per game. However, the past several seasons, Klay has been averaging well over 3.0 three-point field goals a game. Another advantage for Thompson is that his short NBA career has seen just seven full seasons as at 27 years old, Klay should be getting ready to enter his prime in the coming years. However, due to the overwhelming amount of success he has already seen, it seems crazy to think that he hasn’t even entered the best years of his career. Then again, there is no true way of knowing that you’re in the best years of your career until you’re out of them. With that being said, if we already have seen the best years of Klay’s career, then it was one hell of a peak.

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1. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry has revolutionized the modern NBA game. A couple years ago, you were being pulled out of the game for taking a 27-foot jumper. Then came Stephen Curry. Curry routinely knocks down 26-30 foot jumpers as they have become a key component of his game. This ability has made it nearly impossible to stop him as he will either knock down a deep three or if you choose to play up, he can just blow past you for an easy layup.

Stephen Curry has not broken the season record for three-pointers once, twice, but three different times. It was just two years ago when Curry broke the record for what can only be assumed the last time for his career, as he hit a stunning 402 three-pointers. This left just a few three-pointer records Steph hadn’t held. One of those was the single game three-point record which at the time he shared with a couple other players. But then, just a few weeks into the season, Stephen Curry hit 13 three-pointers in a fall game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Already 10th on the all-time list for three-pointers made, it is just a matter of time before Steph breaks that record as well.

Last season, Stephen Curry shot 41.1% from downtown and nearly 90% from the free throw line. However, over the course of his career, Curry has shot 43.8% from behind the arc and has averaged 3.3 three-pointers made per game. His revolutionary movement earned him his first all-star appearance, and to a certain extent, his other three all-stars, and his two MVP awards. Stephen Curry’s best season from behind the arc came in 2016, when he averaged over five three-pointers made a game, this also happens to be the season when he became the first player in NBA history to win a unanimous MVP. Coincidence?

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Do the Jets have a more prosperous future than the Giants?

No one ever thought the New York Giants would start the season 0-2. The New York Jets also share the same record but have shown signs of life. Which New York team has a more prosperous future?

Continue reading below:

Why Not Us? The Quest for 16-0. Teams That Could Make History in ’17

A feat only completed a handful of times, the quest for any NFL team to finish a season 16-0 is no easy task.

The New England Patriots, who have done it once before, were buried in talks this off season about having a legitimate shot at making history once again in 2017, but quickly dismantled those rumors after a stunning loss in Week 1 to Kansas City.

Continue reading below:

5 Takeaways and Overreactions from Week 3 in the NFL

While most headlines were dominated by Trumps comments and the players reactions, the actual games being played were quite compelling. Here are takeaways and overreactions from Week 3:

Tennessee Titans 33, Seattle Seahawks 27

Okay now it’s time to panic if your a Seahawks fan. Allowing 195 rushing yards to the Titans is bad enough, but not being able to provide any rushing offense is the more concerning stat.

Russell Wilson seemed to find some rhythm having his best start this season throwing for 4 TDs with 373 passing yards, but once again he was under way too much pressure, and was forced to carry the offense. 

Seemingly every year the Seahawks are mediocre to downright bad for the first half of the season. With their only win coming against the lowly 49ers. Maybe this start is different than most years and this is what the Seahawks are.

New England Patriots 36, Houston Texans 33

I don’t care what team you support, if you can’t tip your cap to Brady after that performance than you don’t know talent.

The Patriots showed a lot of things on Sunday, mostly bad, especially on defense. The fact that the Patriots rank dead last in the NFL in both points and yards allowed is surreal considering the fact that the Patriots were expected to have a top ten defense this year.

But let’s try and not look at the disgusting defensive performance by the Patriots and the retched safety play and marvel at Brady for a second. Brady was pressured on over half his dropbacks against the Texans, and they still somehow won. Usually in the NFL if your over 40% your going to lose let alone 50%. It just shows how amazing this guy is.

How many other quarterbacks would’ve taken the beating that Brady did play after play and gotten right back up? Even on the 3rd and forever throw to Amendola and the game winning touchdown pass to Cooks he got trucked right after he threw it.

Granted the amount of hits that Brady took is certainly alarming and cannot continue to happen. But once again Brady did what he does best: win. Brady looks ready to singlehandedly win the Patriots another title, and I’m not betting against him.

Chicago Bears 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

While most protests on Sunday were very graceful and respectful, the Steelers was just a mess. That’s what happens when you try and make 53 individuals do and think the same thing, it never works.

But wait there was even more chaos on the field than off. 

Somehow the Steelers who are flooded with offensive talent aloud themselves to get shutdown by the Bears. When are we going to admit that Mike Tomlin is not a good coach? Teams that are well coached don’t lose to the Bears, yet every single year it seems the Steelers lose 3-4 games to putrid teams.

A team that has as much talent as Pittsburgh should dominate games with their juggernaut offense, yet the mediocrity continues. Chalk it up as long as Mike Tomlin is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers they will not win another title.

Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 24

I can’t be the only one who wanted the Giants to get crushed this weekend. Jake Elliot not only hit the biggest kick of his career when he drilled in that 61 yarder, he also won himself Carson Wentz’s game check. 32k is nothing to sneeze at.

The biggest story of this game is the fact that the Giants are 0-3 and essentially done. The Giants showed a little life late with a rally that finally showed hope for Eli Manning and the offense, especially with Odell doing what Odell does best. But ultimately they fell short, and the only ones they have to blame are themselves.

Overall this has been the worst possible scenario for the Giants, if they were to go 8-8 at this point I think we would all be shocked. But the person who deserves the most blame is Jerry Reese. The offensive line has been putrid and he did nothing to fix that. This offseason the Giants need an overhaul coach, GM, or maybe even a quarterback. All that is for sure is that they’re the biggest disappointment in the NFL.

Washington Redskins 27, Oakland Raiders 10

Derek Carr is a great young quarterback with a lot of potential, but on Sunday night he looked downright awful. He was under consistent pressure which was noticeably getting to him, and he couldn’t find any consistency in the pocket.

Meanwhile Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense was dynamic even without their best offensive weapon in Jordan Reed. Chris Thompson picked up a lot of slack in this game going off for 150 yards and a touchdown.

This game was more about the Redskins defense which suffocated the Raiders. If the Redskins can play like that on defense every week then they can make some noise. Considering that Prescott and Wentz are still inexperienced and Cousins is arguably a top ten quarterback, a great defense could push them up the NFC totem pole.

Top Performer of Week 3

Tom Brady: 25-35, 378 yards, 5 touchdowns, qbr 146.2

Can D’Angelo Russell Turn Things Around in Brooklyn?

Although a talented scorer with loads of potential, D’Angelo Russell made more than a few mistakes during his time with the Lakers. Whether it was ratting his teammates out, or saying he doesn’t know if he can play with the teams future second overall pick, D’Angelo Russell just wasn’t mature enough to handle the jungle that is Los Angeles. 

However, now he’s on his way to Brooklyn where there is little to no pressure due to the lack of recent success within the organization. However, he is still in New York which may not be the best city for him at the moment. With that said, let’s check out what D’Angelo Russell is capable of doing both on and off the court.

On The Court

Russell is coming off the best season of his very short career. Averaging 15.6 points per game, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds a game on just over 40% shooting from the field. Although his efficiency wasn’t the best, he was playing on a lackluster Lakers team that never had a chance at competing. However, things started to look up last season after the drama-filled first season, but we will get to that later.

Russell began to start to prove himself as an elite NBA point guard last season and should continue to take extensive strides on the court. Especially because now the sole focal point of the team will be D’Angelo Russell rather than in previous seasons where there was no real star and the Lakers were still searching for an identity. I have even seen articles predict that Russell will make his first all-star appearance next season, and I have to say, I don’t totally disagree.

In a weakening Eastern Conference, Russell has a legitimate chance at averaging 20+ points per game which would nearly secure him a spot in the all-star game. In a big market area such as New York, all Russell has to do is prove that he is the future of the Nets organization and that he is willing to do anything to help the team take the next steps in their process. This is possibly the best chance D’Angelo Russell will ever see to prove himself in this league.

Off The Court

Off the court wise, D’Angelo Russell possibly had the worst rookie season you could dream of. He not only somehow took attention away from Kobe Bryants farewell season but alienated all of his teammates after a private conversation with then-teammate Nick Young surfaced exposing that Young was cheating on then fiance, Iggy Azalea. This scandal caused Azalea to split from Young.

Russell was shunned by his teammates the following night at the team’s dinner as he sat a table all by himself. However, Russell, for the most part, was able to lay low and stay his head out of drama outside of the team facility. But his head coach at the time, Byron Scott did not have the greatest relationship with Russell and even came out and said that Russell has “some growing up to.” Scott was fired though and Warriors assistant, Luke Walton was brought in.

Walton and Russell seem to have developed a great relationship both on and off the court as there is even a quote of Russell calling Walton his “dad” after Luke congratulated him on making an appearance at the NBA all-star weekend. However, things began to take a turn for the worst this offseason after Russell began to stir up some controversy about playing with then college standout, Lonzo Ball.

Ball, who was clearly going to be the Lakers first round pick in the upcoming class is a pure point guard, which is also what Russell views himself as. I would hope this incident woke Russell up and showed him just how cruel this league can be if you don’t play by the rules. Then again, time will tell if D’Angelo has finally decided to take on the responsibility required to play in this league.

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