Sports Dynasties & Cards Starters

Another Super Bowl is behind us now….what a game…..it was entertaining throughout the game….the 41-33 win by the Eagles broke most team offensive records…..most of you watched it so no need to recap…just a couple odds & ends…
…..Eagles Coach Doug Pederson stayed aggressive throughout the entire game…he didn’t change in the 2nd half…
….Nick Foles lived up to his “history”…if he gets off to a good start in a game….he’ll have much more confidence and accuracy throughout the entire game…if he starts poorly…he plays like a #2 QB
….personally with 2:03 left in the game & the Pats loading the line….I think some type of quick play action was the call for the Eagles…if it was incomplete…it was the 2 minute warning anyway… a completion ends the game….they won anyway sooo…..
…it seemed to me that the officials didn’t throw as many flags …especially on pass plays….it gave the game a better pace
…required data: favorite commercial– Sprint commercial using artificial intelligence
…. A quick burst about Super Bowl History….
… no team has ever won more than 2 consecutive Super Bowls….and in fact….only 2 teams have been in more than 2 straight Supers….Miami was in 3 straight Supers but lost the first one followed by two championships—72-73,74 under Coach Don Shula… and of course the Minnesota Vikings by Marv Levy were in 4 straight Super Bowls….losing all 4 of them –1991-94
….Jacksonville was hoping to get into their 1st Super Bowl this year
….. it’s been a long time between drinks of the Super Bowl water for the NY Jets—Super Bowl III, 1968…was their last … and only appearance… with Joe Namath as QB
….the KC Chiefs were in 2 very early Super Bowls 1966 & 1969 but it’s been a long, long time since they were there.
….to no one’s surprise …the New England Patriots have played in the most Super Bowls—10…they are the closest NFL team to a dynasty.
But what about the dynasties in other professional sports….
Baseball…..the Yankees have assembled some terrific runs over many different eras….getting into the series and winning many of them…first long run was world series championships in 1936,37,38.39 followed closely by another win in 1941, loss in 42 and a championship in 1943. Starting again with titles in 1947, 1949,50,51,52,53 a Series loss in 1955, won again 56, lost in 1957 …that’s 13 titles in 21 years + 3 World Series losses in that same time frame! Yanks appeared in Five consecutive World Series 1960-64—winning 2 while losing 3 of them …one to the Cards. Another NYY “ 6 years series run” began in 1996-2001-winning four of the 6 World Series. Total of 27 World Series Championships, and 40 World Series appearances for the Pin-strippers.
Basketball….the dynasty title goes to the Boston Celtics….Under Coach Red Auerach the Celts won EIGHT straight title (1958-66)…they won 9 of 10 …winning it in 1956 ….the STL Hawks won title in 1957….and the Celts won 11 of 13 years as they won again in 1968 and 1969. Auerbach was able to “rebuild” his team and make the transition from Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, Frank Ramsey, Tom Heinsohn to Bill Russel, Sam Jones, KC Jones, John Havlichek, Don Nelson. …Since Free agency, the most any team can put together is 3 straight years…Michael & the Bulls & LA Lakers
Hockey…the team with a few different strings to titles belongs to the Montreal Canadians….the “habs” won five consecutive Stanley cups 1956, 57, 58, 59 ,60 then won 4 of 5 titles from 65-69, They notched more titles in 1971 & 1973 followed by another 4 year run from 1976-79. The last time that a team won two straight titles was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 & 98.
….things are looking up in local collegiate basketball front….
…Mizzou’s 15-8 record should start to raise some attention across the country. The win over Kentucky… unthinkable over the last 3 years….was a major step forward in gaining recognition. Mizzou defends and keeps the ball out of the paint very well….still the late-game ball handling skills still elude them and have cost them some losses. They are playing hard and Coach Martin rides them hard…..btw….ya wonder if Martin’s message wears out….in his 3 coaching stops of his career (MO State, Tennessee and Cal)—each stop lasted exactly 3 years…on a different point….the loss of yet another athlete @ Mizzou due to sexual issues is disappointing…. and I’m sure frustrating… to the staff and fans of the Tigers…but…for now… let’s keep the Kentucky win in mind for now 
…SLU (12-11) ….on Saturday, the Bills faced the last place team(Fordham)…clearly the Bills came out right in tune (which is more than I can say for the group of men singing the National Anthem)…they looked like …and played like… the better team. SLU took charge early by going inside to the post, using a 1-3-1 zone again and being more athletic ….they’ve won 5 of the last 6…and the loss was a 1 pt OT loss to VCU… Bills are 6-5 in the A-10 with one cupcake (LaSalle) remaining on the schedule and with all of the other remaining games seeming like winnable games….no I’m not projecting ALL wins…. but we could have an NIT team here… a 17-18 win season looks seems very plausible to me.
As spring training begins…. concerns about the Cardinals starting rotation still remain… Here’s a detailed look at the prospective starting rotation
…Carlos Martinez….unquestionable considered the ace of the staff…looking at 2017.. 12-11, 3.64, 20 of his 32 starts were considered “quality” starts…a stat devised by the agents to make their starts appear to be better than one might consider…..3 or less runs in 6 innings…Carlos was removed immediately after 6 innings or during the 6th inning in 19 of this 32 starts…his only start less than 5 innings was his last start.. Carlos was removed right after the 5th inning or in the 5th inning on 7 occasions….on these 5-inn outings his pitch count 100, 101, 102, 80, 101, 80, 118, 89 but the Cards were losing so he was removed. He had 3 complete games….high for 2017 standards and two 8 inning games. Carlos had a good opening day outing against Cubs but the rest of April was rather weak….he’s a better pitcher statistically than I had thought in the past. I would keep trying to push him upwards in his pitch count..he’s 26 years old…in the absolute prime of his career…..l’d shoot for 7 & 8 innings as often as possible for two reasons…he is your BEST….why not have your best pitcher on the mound instead of your 2nd/3rd or 4th best relief hurler? Leave him in longer..let him “work his way out” of jams. He averages 15.3 pitches per inning….get that extra out of your BEST.
…Michael Wacha’s norm was 5-6 innings …he went longer than 6 innings only 3x…he was removed in less than 5 innings EIGHT times….he requires more rest between starts….he went 6 innings in his first 4 appearances of April 2017….than he went 6 innings only FIVE other times throughout the May, June, July and August!!…It’s clear that he lost some stuff as the season unfolded. His 4.1 ERA is deceiving… Wacha threw a 9 inning shutout….if you remove that one outing, his ERA is 4.73..so what we saw routinely was a pitcher giving up 2 or 3 runs in 5 innings and then he was gone…draining the bullpen for 4 innings in the vast majority of his outings…..btw…his 9 inning shutout came after a 11 day break (All-Star) …so his arm was fresh….why not…either….give him 5+ days of rest every start OR…use him as your bridge man….come in relief every 2-3 days for 2-3 innings….that would take off some of the pressure…and innings …from the bullpen
…Adam Wainwright..clearly in the twilight of his career…..seems to have a terrific personality and work ethic but….he is 36 years old….last year’s win total of 12 is VERY misleading…his ERA ballooned to 5.11, he game up 140 hits in 123 innings, he had 2 really good outing in May and 2 good ones in June.. but he made it past 6 full innings just 4x…was removed from the game in less than 5 innings 6x….so …generally he’s a 5 inning (6x) or 6 inning (5x) pitcher. If he was the ONLY pitcher on the staff holding such a short outing expectations…it might be OK….but he isn’t… much of what I said about Wacha applies to Wainwright..more rest, consider long relief….he’s not a strong, reliable starter any longer. If…..if the Cards do have Wacha & Wainwright in starting rotation…I would have one of them before Martinez and one after Martinez (who should be going deeper in games)
..Luke Weaver….his 2017 stats startled me at 1st glance….7-2, 3.88 era, sparkling 72 strikeouts to 17 walks, batting average against him just .254, he’s only 24 years old….his 2017 numbers were far better than in 2016….so those are all GOOD signs….let’s hope that he keeps improving…and the Cards will require that of him with the 2-W’s going about 5 innings each of their starts…his 1st start of the season for the Cards was July 27..3 of his 4 starts in August were good, his first 4 starts in September were also strong but in the last 2 starts he performed poorly….was he worn out? Word got around on him? More tape on him? Maybe it was because the competition was 2 strong teams (Cubs & Brewers)…at any rate…that’s a bit worrisome to me..but not a huge negative when you consider his significant step upwards from 2016 to 2017….he looked bigger, stronger and a better fast ball…he did go from 1 win to 7 wins….let’s hope…anticipate… a full season will bring 12-15 wins.
..Miles Mikolas…who knows? His 1st stint in MLB was good enough to earn him a trip to Japan to play ball…I’m assuming …since he did lots of relief work in his career…that he’ll be another 5-6 inning pitcher at best.
…Jack Flaherty….I’m not nearly as high on this “prospect” as the Cards….he seemed to get through the batting order once and then the bats began booming against him….in 5 starts his stats don’t dazzle you… 0-2, 21 inn, 23 hits, ERA-6.33, whip 1.5
…Alex Reyes…coming up by Mid-May….this could be the game changer…I’m hoping that the Cards will consider my 6 man rotation …especially for him….I think that he’ll be the #2 man in the rotation if given the proper rest between starts.
….pitcher ???…..he’ll come to the Cards in June sometime to bolster the starting rotation…maybe through a trade or maybe another “prospect”
What’s going on in the MLB Free Agent market these days?
….I’m thinking that once the two top players sign … Yu Darvish (Pitcher) & JD Martinez (OF) sign …at top-dollar prices…resulting in the rising value of ALL of the other free agents sign…we’ll see more action…the other top starting pitchers include Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb. Dropping significantly in the field players level after Martinez is the level of Eric Hosmer, & Mike Moustakas. I think a couple of the teams that have improved themselves are…
…LA Angels….they signed the TOP free agent….at least according to the experts… Shohei Ohtani (23 ). Ohtani is a pitcher/player and only 23 years of age….the Halos also signed a SS –Zach Cosart. Cosart has been a Cincy Red for 6 years…a regular for 5 years…he’ll probably move to 3B with the Angels . So LAA will have a much sharper fielding infield of Cosart, Andrelton Simmons-SS, IanKinsler (just obtained from Detroit) & CJ Cron @ 1B…Albert will be DH extradonair.
….Milwaukee has been active this winter…they’ve changed the composition of the OF with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain joining them….that frees up Steve Braun…haven’t they been trying to dump him for 3 years now?…also available now is OF Domingo Santana ….30 dingers last year…but he can’t catch a cold running around nude in Minnesota these days….looks like he’s headed to the AL as a DH for a starting pitcher…Corey Knebel was outstanding as closer last year…Brewers anticipate that he’ll repeat….I’m not so sure…..LHP Josh Hader is a terrific talent who’s been brought along slowly last year as a middle reliever with limited innings…he’s only 23 years old, struck out 68 in 47 innings, ERA of 2.08 and WHIP of 0.99….HE could be the next major move…as he goes from pen into starting rotation
…Rockies went “all in” for bullpen help…..the resigning of Jake McGee with the addition of Wade Davis, and Bryan Shaw …that means that any of these guys could close in a night…a bit of extra rest should be available since there are 3 of them now in the same bullpen and that should extend their effectiveness deeper into the season.
…Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood to replace Lackey in rotation….His stats don’t look like much…..
8-15, 4.69 era, 147 inn, 136 hits, bat avg against him .250, 120 strikouts, 77 walks but consider he was on the Rockies…half of his game at Coors field….note the difference…
@ Coors Field— 3-8, 6.01 era, 70 inn, 81 hits, 58 K’s, 37 walks
Away from Coors 5-7, 2.40 era, 75 inn, 55 hits, 62 k’s, 39 walks
I think that the Cubs hit .500 in the bullpen with their signings…Steve Chishek should be very helpful while I feel like the 33 year old Brandon Morrow’s arm will fall off about June after all of those post-season appearances last year….he pitched in 14 of the Dodgers 15 post-season games….ouch!
….Phillies….yes…the doormat Phillies …made some moves that may give them a push upward…the Phils aren’t going to the Series …or even the playoffs …but they should improve substantially over last year’s 66 wins….they signed veteran 1B Carlos Santana…so they’ll have their hot-hitting rookie from last year Rhys Hoskins (OPS 1.014 in 170 AB) in left field. They supplemented their bullpen by the addition of Tommy Hunter (a 2-3 inning guy ) and Pat Neshek (closer)….the young, strong-armed starting staff of Aaron Nola (3.54 era, 184 strikeouts in 168 inng0 with 17 of 27 starts being deemed ‘quality starts”. After Nola the numbers of these young pitchers aren’t as strong…Jared Eickhoff, Vince Valasquez, Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta. Don’t be surprised if a Free agent starter signs with the Phils.
Outside the baseball world…some incredible off the field/court happenings…
…..ya think Arkansas got left holding the bag?….unable to even wait until he made it off the field, Ark Football coach was fired while walking off after losing to Mizzou…..well…..according to his contract … he’s also walking off a $11.9m buyout…he’ll be paid through Dec 31, 2020 unless he accepts another job..those earnings would offset the buyout…if he doesn’t …it’s $322,567 per month…man…where do I get that kind of job? 
….how ironical…..pot calling the kettle black….John Calipari was heard whining recently when he acknowledged that Coach K is having a banner signing season….Duke has commitments for the #1, #2, #3 and #10 top rated High school players in America! Coach Cal mocked Coack K’s pitch of, “when you come to Duke, the university and state will take care of you for the rest of your life….Coach Calicheat…oops…Cal…said that if you buy that pitch…he has” some swamp land in Florida that he could sell you, too”…I really feel for Coach Cal’s plight….yea…right 
…on the HS basketball scene..
….The #2 ranked small school Boys basketball team, Alton-Marquette, has quietly pushed their record to 24-0 after their closest win of the season…a 50-48 win over McCluer North. Leading scorer, Isaiah Ervin scored 31 points, including five 3-point baskets as the Explorers came from behind to beat the North Stars. For Head Coach Brian Diskin and his team, it was only the 2nd close game of the year. Back on Dec 1, Marquette beat Nokomis 39-36. The Explorers have won 6 games by more than 40 points, 2 games between 30-39 point margins and 5 games by 20-29 points range! They have 4 more regular season games prior to regional action.
….on the Girls Side of the court…O’Fallon HS holds a 22-3 record under 1st year Coach Nick Knolhoff. The 23-3 Panthers have won the Mascoutah and Highland Tournaments. Sr. Sydney Thurwalker leads this balanced scoring team with a 12.2 average. Also in double figures is Sr. Izzy Akoro..right at 10.0 The Panthers are looking to avenge an earlier season loss in their rematch with Edwardsville on Tuesday night.

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