Daily Dojo 6-25-2013

For the first time all summer, the spotlight will finally shift away from the NBA and NHL. First off, congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the Stanley Cup last night in Game 6. The Bruins notched a goal mid-way through the first period to go up 1-0 on the Hawks but the Hawks countered with a goal of their own early in the second period. With the score level at 1-1, the Bruins broke through with 8 minutes left in the 3rd period, and it appeared as if they had sealed a trip back to Chicago for Game 7. But then with the one-minute mark looming in the 3rd period, Chicago desperate for a goal, sent goalie Corey Crawford to the bench to get the extra skater. Seconds later, Bryan Bickell tied the game at 2-2. With under a minute left, the teams met for the faceoff, preparing to enter OT for the fourth time in six games but Dave Bolland sent a shot hurling towards the net that took a bounce or two before winding up in the back of the net. The Boston Garden went silent and with two goals in 17 seconds, the Chicago Blackhawks clinched the series and the Stanley Cup.

2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks

2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks

Blue Jays Acquisitions (Left to Right): Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, RA Dickey, Melky Cabrera, and Mark Buehrle

Blue Jays Acquisitions (Left to Right): Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, RA Dickey, Melky Cabrera, and Mark Buehrle

With the NBA and NHL in the rear view mirror, the MLB can finally take center-stage for the summer as teams are looking to get hot and stay hot. One team, who looked to continue their hot streak, was the Toronto Blue Jays. Winners of 11 straight games, outscoring their opponents 70-27 during the streak, the Blue Jays finally looked like they were living up the hype when they made big off season moves to acquire the likes of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and R.A. Dickey. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Rays had other plans, notching three straight home runs in an eight pitch span during the second inning to win 4-1. One of which was by Wil Myers.

One of the best tennis tournaments of the year started yesterday. The beautiful grass courts of Wimbledon showcased some of the premier players, as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Maria Sharapova all continued to show their dominance in major tournaments. To nearly everyone’s surprise, #5 seeded Rafael Nadal was eliminated in the first round of a major for the first time in his career, losing to Steve Darcis of Belguim 7-6,7-6,6-4. Other players such as Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic look to take the court during Day 2.

There is no new news regarding the Aaron Hernandez situation other than increased police involvement. There has been reports that police were using scuba gear to search through adjacent rivers and creeks close to Hernandez’s Massachusetts home in hopes of finding evidence.

Joe Meola

From Editor (a.k.a. Greg):

Big Thanks to Joe

rsz_adfasdfarsz_110120_166525066941_7511243_nI have a lot of work that I have been working through these past couple of days so I apologize for not getting to the Daily Dojo. Joe will be helping me out for the time being with Daily Dojo writing. Joe will also be helping write and contributing pieces to the site.

Interesting fact from last week

Phillies led off a game against the Nationals with a single and then a Michael Young home run. Their next hit came in the tenth inning. They were no-hit for nine innings and almost won the game. I have no idea if that has ever happened before and Baseball Reference is being no help because I cannot find the time to search through the box score of every game ever recorded. One day I’ll look into it because my research adviser suggested I look into it and I think that it is really interesting. I will write about it, but not on my off day. He’s asking me to do extra research on my off days? He cannot be serious (I’m just kidding Dr. K. It’s something I would want to look into and have fun in Oregon).

 

Daily Dojo 6-21-2013

LeBron James repeats as NBA Finals MVP, NBA Champion and NBA MVP, deservingly so.

LeBron James after Game 7 with the Larry O'Brien Trophy

LeBron James after Game 7 with the Larry O’Brien Trophy

He’s the best in the world. Some people have a problem with the way he does it, but I do not like some of the things he does either. Either way, the Heat won that game with shooting and out played the Spurs. Game 6 and 7 were two of the best sports games I have ever watched to end a series. It is right up there with the Texas Rangers-St. Louis Cardinals Game 6 and 7 in the 2011 World Series. Also, Tim Duncan is just going to be haunted for the rest of his life. A missed layup ended his season. It could be alright because this team could end up in the NBA Finals again next year with their young talent, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

In terms of LeBron’s legacy, he is one of the greatest players of all time, or rather, he is on pace to be one of the greatest players of all time. When people rank players based on how many championships they win, I think its dumb. If you ranked players based on titles, you are basically saying that it is an individual’s sport. Basketball is not an individuals game. You need a solid team to make it to the NBA Finals. The Spurs have Duncan and Parker, but they are not as good as they used to be. However, the Spurs, as a team, had such good ball movement against the Heat. This led to open shots for the Spurs, as a team. LeBron’s skills are nothing without players that can make shots. So when Donyell Marshall couldn’t make a wide open jumper in the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, it wasn’t LeBron’s fault. He made the RIGHT play, but Donyell couldn’t drain the open shot. I don’t know where to rank LeBron right now; I don’t know where he will end up in the public’s eyes. I do know one thing though. No one, who has ever played the game of basketball, has had his unique skill set. He is like Magic Johnson, except 30 pounds heavier and built like an absolute house. He’s got special skills and deserved the MVP of this series and the entire season.

Weekend Ahead

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals is Saturday night. By now, its obvious, I really do not know anything about hockey… but I think the Blackhawks win on Saturday and I don’t think they’ll need OT to do it.

Aaron Hernandez is going to get arrested. I don’t know if he is going to be able to get out of this to play this season. Then again, there are not enough public details to make a decision. I know I won’t be touching him in any fantasy football draft, even if he is cleared to play. It is just way to risky. However, Brady is going to be fine. He’s amazing, and I REALLY hate saying that.

A couple of interesting games in baseball this weekend

Gerrit Cole vs Jered Weaver tonight: Can Weaver get his second win? Or will Gerrit Cole pick up his third career win against a team that just tattooed Felix Hernandez?

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer and Shelby Miller play against the Red Sox and Rangers, respectively. I wonder how well they will perform. I mean Scherzer has been the best Tiger pitcher (yes, better than Justin Verlander) for the past calendar year and Miller has had an amazing year so far. Can they keep it up against the number 1 and 7 teams in the majors in OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage)?

I think these three games should be awesome to watch this weekend. With MLB.tv and Bucknell being in a Pittsburgh market, I’ll be able to watch all of these games. I love baseball

 Greg Danchik

Daily Dojo 6-19-2013

I cannot believe what I saw last night. I don’t wanna hear LeBron didn’t have a good game… he was THE REASON the Heat did not lose that game in the fourth quarter. He willed that team through the fourth quarter. And I have no explanation for no timeout by Popovich at the end of the overtime EXCEPT that Tony Parker really hurt his hammy and it’s possibly torn now. We’ll see. I need another day to digest this game. Review and Game 7 prediction tomorrow.

Wil Myers only had 1 hit out of 7 at bats in his doubleheader debut yesterday. He only saw 21 pitches in those at bats. That’s only 3 pitches per at bat. That is a sign of poor plate discipline. However, I attest most of that to nerves, but it could be a sign of things to come. We’ll see. We have to give him a good sample size for a true assessment.

Zack Wheeler pitched extremely well yesterday in the night cap after Matt Harvey starred in the afternoon game. He only gave up 4 hits in 6 innings and added 7 strikeouts. However, he did have 5 walks. Luckily for him, he didn’t get lit up because that is usually what happens when you walk that many guys. He may have been lucky last night, but again, the walks could have been from nerves. Just like Myers, there needs to be a bigger sample size to give a fair assessment. Right now, the Harvey and Wheeler combo looks good for the Mets for now and the future.

USMNT wins on an Jozy Altidore goal. I didn’t watch the game so I can’t say much about it, but I did call the Altidore goal. From the highlight, it looked like a great couple of passes that led to a wide open Altidore, who finessed the ball into the net.

This is a short one, I’ll do more tomorrow. I think that the game last night just can’t let me focus on anything else.

 

Daily Dojo 6-18-2013

NBA

Game 6 of the NBA Finals is tonight in Miami. The Heat have their backs against the wall and need to respond at home with their crowd behind them. I am really back and forth on what I think will happen in this game. The Heat and LeBron could absolutely dominate the Spurs like Game 2. Or they could just fall flat on their faces, like Game 3. Will it be like Game 6 of the 2012 Conference Finals in Boston or Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Mavericks? I have no idea. The Heat are a very Jekyll and Hyde type of team in the playoffs. The Spurs are a great team and Gregg Popovich is a genius. He’s had the same big three for 11 years and he is one win away from another NBA Championship, 6 years after his last one.

After some thought, I’ve decided this… Who ever wins Game 6 of the NBA Finals will be the NBA Champion. Either, the Spurs win tonight and they are champions or the Heat win two in a row and are champions. For tonight, my pick is in… I love LeBron James and I think he’s great and I have a total man crush on him (ask Heather), but I think the Spurs end it tonight.

Danny Green shooting 1 of many 3-point attempts in the 2013 NBA Finals

Danny Green shooting one of many 3-point attempts in the 2013 NBA Finals

Danny Green has been lights out from 3-point land and I don’t think he cools off in Game 6. Manu Ginobili has finally woken up from the dead and it is going to be a big help to the Spurs going forward. Tony Parker is playing hurt and his hamstring could tear at any point, but with Manu back playing well, he does not need to be as effective for the Spurs to win. Finally, Tim Duncan wants this title and he will push his team to victory. The Heat just haven’t been the same team since the 27 game winning streak. I hope I am wrong, but I think LeBron and company will lose tonight. When the Heat are at their best, they cannot lose, but they are not at their best right now. If I am wrong, it will be because LeBron finally plays like the MVP he is. Spurs in a close one, 97-93.

2007 NBA Champions- The San Antonio Spurs

2007 NBA Champions- The San Antonio Spurs

NHL

Well I was right that I was going to be wrong! Tuukka Rask is so hot right now and I think he’s just going to carry Boston to this Stanley Cup Title. But I am by no means very knowledgeable when it comes to hockey. Anything could happen.

USMNT

The United States Men’s National Soccer team plays tonight against Honduras. It is a home game being played in Salt Lake City. This game could virtually lock the United States into a World Cup birth. They have played one game less than Mexico, their main competition, but have a 2 point lead in the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings. If they win this home game, they’ll take a 5 point lead and be in total control going forward. I think they do win this game. Look for Jozy Altidore to keep his goal streak up and Clint Dempsey to add another tally for a 2-0 win against Honduras.

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey prior to 2010 World Cup clash with England

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey prior to 2010 World Cup clash with England

MLB

This big story today is that two top prospects are being called up, Wil Myers and Zack Wheeler. For more on them, check out the Top Prospect Tuesday post.

 Greg Danchik

Daily Dojo 6-17-2013

Prediction of Game 5… I was right partially:

Spurs win behind a big game from Manu Ginobili and everyone will be surprised by Dwyane Wade’s lack of production. LeBron has a usual LeBron game.

Ginobili played amazing.

Manu Ginobili layup during Game 5 of the NBA Finals

Manu Ginobili layup during Game 5 of the NBA Finals

He had a double double with 10 assists and 24 points on 8-14 shooting. It came during his first start of the season. He was the first player since Marcus Camby in 1999 to not start a game in the regular season or playoffs then start in the NBA Finals. Ginobili put the Spurs on his back and had a magnificent performance. However, Danny Green is undoubtedly the NBA Finals MVP if the Spurs with the title. He broke the record for 3-pointers made in an NBA Finals series and he has at least one game left to add on to that. LeBron had 25 points, but he looked bad. He missed a lot of make-able layups as evidenced by his 8-22 shooting from the floor. LeBron also killed a rally with his offensive foul at the end of the game. Wade played better than I expected with 25 points along with 10 assists. Game 6 should be interesting. Will the Heat perform with their backs against the wall? Or will they crumble like they did in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks? What I do know is this… LeBron James must have… MUST HAVE NBA Final MVP performances in Games 6 and 7 for the Heat to win this series. Prediction for the game tomorrow.

NHL:

I cannot predict these Stanley Cup Finals games. Got both games wrong. The Bruins were more mentally tough than I expected. However, if Tuukka Rask was not INSANE in the first period, the Blackhawks could have been up by 3 goals and maybe more. I think the Blackhawks bounce back tonight in Game 3 and win 2-1 late or in overtime… Of course I am probably wrong, and the Bruins will probably win in a blowout.

Rask is gonna get serious money this off season if he keeps performing like this. He is a restricted free agent after the season ends.

US Open:

Phil Mickelson finishes second at the US Open. Sound familiar?  For the sixth time in his career, Mickelson finished as the runner-up. This was not as bad as the double bogey on the 72nd hole of the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club.

Phil Mickelson next to Geoff Ogilvy with 2006 US Open trophy

Phil Mickelson next to Geoff Ogilvy with 2006 US Open trophy

However, this one is pretty bad. He started the day at -1 and as the only leader. He missed a putt on 16 that he could have made. Then he couldn’t put his second shot on 18 onto the green. His shot to force a playoff ended up being a difficult chip that didn’t end up going in. It gave Justin Rose the win at the 113th US Open. Rose won at one over par. Merion Golf Club was the other winner of this tournament and also probably won itself another US Open in 10 years.As Lee Westwood‘s tweet said (retweeted by me), “If merion would have played dry this week like the USGA wanted it would have been impossible.”

Confederations Cup:

Spain has such an amazing ability to pass the ball and keep possession. They absolutely dominated Uruguay the ENTIRE game and should have won by 2 goals. Uruguay got a free kick in the 88th minutes and Luis Suarez just put it away. That could end up being key in determining who wins the group. However, I think that Spain will win this thing running away and that goal won’t matter. I think Brazil is their main competition and Italy has a long shot at winning the tournament. Spain is just way too good. There three subs last night were Santi Cazorla, Javi Martinez, and Juan Mata. I mean… how good can a country get? I think they win this tournament and that only Germany and Brazil can seriously challenge them for the World Cup title next year.

Spain hoisting the 2010 World Cup trophy

Spain hoisting the 2010 World Cup trophy

Tomorrow:

NBA Finals Game 6 Prediction

Two top prospects get called up in the MLB

 Greg Danchik