Dojo Sparring – Week 6

Joe to Greg

Another week’s worth of games means another week’s worth of discussion. You and I both predicted that Adrian Peterson would come out on fire after the tragic events of his son but that never came to fruition. Denver actually got a little competition from Jacksonville and another undefeated team went down. Don’t forget that the NLCS and ALCS are going on as well. I’ll be honest, following the Patriots last-second touchdown over the Saints, I couldn’t go through another emotional roller coaster with the Red Sox in Game 2, Sunday Night. They went down 5-1 and after Max Scherzer recorded his 13th strikeout, I figured it was over. But then Scherzer didn’t come to the mound for the 8th inning and the rest is history.

Any big thoughts from the weekend’s games? And also any thoughts on the MLB Postseason thus far.

Greg to Joe

The baseball postseason has been something else. It seems like it is a normal for at least one starter per night to take a no-hitter into the 6th. It has been crazy. The Red Sox game was unreal. I was with Heather at home and we heard David Ortiz crush that ball. We looked up and saw Torii Hunter BARELY missed that ball. Had Torii caught that? The Red Sox might have been looking at a 3-0 deficit assuming Verlander pitches as well as he did in Game 5 of the ALDS. Then again, the Red Sox have been down 3-0 before and won a series so who knows. That will be a great series.

In the NLCS, the key is Hanley Ramirez. He is an absolute stud. He has finally returned to the hitter that made him the runner-up for MVP in 2009. He is a member of the 30-30 club, and he, not Yasiel Puig, was the key to the Dodgers turnaround. The Dodgers are 41-45, including postseason, when Hanley doesn’t start. If he is able to withstand the pain from a fractured rib and start the rest of the series, this series is going to 7 games.

In football, I didn’t watch a lot of the games because I was traveling a lot on Sunday. I know that the Ravens lost a very close game. The Patriots game stunned me. I saw the Saints take a 4 point lead and then we shut off the TV for dinner. I went on my phone to see the same score go final, but it hadn’t. I couldn’t believe it. Also, fantasy football is a crazy game. Random studs and duds each week, but we both got the call right about Terrance Williams. Played well with his touchdown grab.

Baseball thoughts or any interesting happenings in the NFL this week?

Joe to Greg



I didn’t even mention how close Hunter was to that ball. BARELY is an understatement. If the Sox had lost that game I would’ve called off any hope for a World Series this year. You aren’t winning 4 out of 5 games against the Tiger’s pitching staff when you’re in an 0-2 hole.

Between the two series; ALCS and NLCS, I think that the NLCS has a higher chance of going seven games. I agree that Hanley is the key and I’m expecting Kershaw to come back with a vengeance and earn a W with his expected slated start in Game 6 in St. Louis.

We both got some nice production out of Terrance Williams and I’m looking for that to continue as the Cowboys travel to Philadelphia this week for a divisional game. Some things to keep in mind for the Williams’ doubters: Miles Austin continues to drown himself in leg injuries which is evidence by his 0 receptions for 0 yards last week. Combine his ineffectiveness with the annual DeMarco Murray injury, there is a chance that Williams will see an increase in production. Murray injured his knee in Sunday nights game against the Redskins and is considered questionable for Philly as of 10/15. My baseball thoughts are more of a wait-and-see approach. As big of a supporter as I am for Boston, I enjoy watching great games more than anything and both series have had their fair share of excitement. I’m just looking for memorable moments so thank you, David Ortiz and thank you, Max Scherzer for your performances.

A quick note also, we are matched up against each other this week in ESPN. I’m already predicting a loss for myself because Drew Brees is on his bye but you never know till it’s over. I think our matchup could be a potential playoff matchup when that time comes around. I like both of our teams in this league, I feel I’m lacking a solid RB group though. My most consistent RB has been Danny Woodhead and I’ve only have him for three weeks.

I have a couple of things to bring up for the new week. One being the return of Peyton Manning to Indianapolis. There are multiple reasons I’m interested in this game. 1) I’m looking forward to just the general reception of Manning coming back to Lucas Oil Stadium. 2) How Andrew Luck will fair coming off a below-average performance Monday night against the San Diego Chargers. 3) The first REAL test for the Broncos Offense (Baltimore: 17th*, New York: 24th, Oakland: 13th, Philadelphia: 32nd, Dallas: 30th, and Jacksonville: 22nd). That is the rankings of yards allowed per game for each respective team’s defense. Clearly the Broncos haven’t met much resistance. I marked Baltimore with * because it was the first game of the season. It would be a much different game if the two teams were to play again now; although I believe the Broncos would still prevail. I also like the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry game this week. I always love watching arguably one of the best rivalries in football in action.

Any thoughts on the NFL for Week 7?

Greg to Joe

The Red Sox have been horrendous. Lets be honest. And they STILL are up 2-1. I can’t explain that. The truly only explanation is that’s how baseball is.

The Cardinals are a win away from being in the World Series and rightfully so. They are the best run organization in baseball. Period. They have so much talent at the major league level and they have the farm system to keep up the level of Major League level excellence. I just can’t wait to watch the Cardinals dominate baseball for the years to come.

I don’t think that Terrance Williams is going to be the biggest beneficiary from the DeMarco Murray injury. That has to be Joseph Randle. The Cowboys face defenses that are sub-par against the run and could easily dominate those teams on the ground. Brian Waters has made all the difference for the offensive line. Randle with benefit, assuming Murray is even out.

I can’t make a good lineup in the ESPN league so don’t even worry about it.

This upcoming week is Steelers’ week. That is honestly the only thing I care about. I only want to Ravens to go into Pittsburgh and dominate the Steelers. I doubt this happens, but it is honestly the only game I care about. The Luck-Manning game should be fun to watch. I think that we will get another one next year because the Colts and Broncos  will win their divisions easily. I think Peyton gets the better of Luck this time around. If Luck can find a way to lead the Colts to victory with a monster game, his shot at winning MVP just went up. Manning can start off as hot as he wants; if he can’t finish, he won’t win MVP.

My bold prediction for this week has to be New England loses this weekend unless Gronk finally comes back. And even then, I still think the Jets handle the Patriots at home.

Bold predictions for this week, and you still have a Sox World Series title even though they can’t hit in this ALCS? I still feel good about the Cards even after the loss today.

Joe to Greg

I wouldn’t go as far as to say they have been horrendous. They rightfully lost Game 1 and stole Game 2 with the help of Scherzer being pulled an inning too soon and Big Papi’s heroics. They edged out a 1-0 win in Game 3, and straight up lost in Game 4 last night because Jake Peavy just didn’t have his stuff. The first three games were all decided by one run each so sure their bats are cold, but they still managed 12 hits last night to. Just a side note on last nights game…Dustin Pedroia talked after the game about a botched grounder he could’ve turned into a double play but ended up becoming a fielder’s choice. At the time the Tigers had just scored one run, if Pedroia turns two on that play, there was already an out in the inning and they get out relatively unscathed. Instead of one run, it turned into five…I’d say that makes a big difference in the game. Detroit has dominated the pitching as expected and Boston’s lineup can’t produce runs other than Big Papi. No need to be concerned on my end, it’s a best of three now.

I don’t have many bold predictions for the week, I think now I’m expecting both the ALCS and the NLCS to go to seven games. I really hope the Ravens can win but I feel like regardless of their records, each year the Ravens and Steelers play two tough hard-nosed games. Best of luck.

Greg to Joe

Joe… I understand you a Red Sox fan, but when I made my claim, they were up 2 games to 1 and have been the worse team over the course of the series. Game 4 was decided by that Pedroia error, but the Tigers added more runs later so I still they they would have won. However, there should have been no outs on that fielder’s choice anyway because Stephen Drew was not even in the same area code as 2nd base when he got the out there.

Now onto their batting and how the Tigers have dominated them, but the Red Sox have not done so to Detroit, but the Sox have still managed to keep this series tied. Lets look at some season averages. The Red Sox had a .44 BB/K, 20.5% K%, and .271 batting average (2nd in the MLB). The Tigers had a .49 BB/K, 16.4% K%, and .283 batting average (highest in the MLB). That batting average for Detroit is much high than what I would expect from them now because Miguel Cabrera is hurt and that batting average has about 130 games from Johnny Peralta at SS and 50 from Jose Iglesias. With Iglesias in the lineup, that batting average drops. I would expect them to have a lower batting average than they did in the regular season, but the Red Sox should be similar if they weren’t being dominated. Detroit, this series, has a .41 BB/K, 20.1 K%, and a .242 batting average. I would say that the Red Sox pitchers have done well, but I think a small dip in the numbers is expected because of the colder weather, and the reasons I stated above. Now the Red Sox… they have no excuse except they have been dominated. When I made my “The Red Sox have been horrendous this series” claim, they had a stellar batting average of… .133! That’s super duper if you’re a pitcher! Except, the Red Sox are all top notch hitters, not a lineup of pitchers. Now with Game 4, they were able to raise that to .186. Still below the Mendoza line (.200, for those who did not know). Now get this, the Red Sox have a BB/K of .21 this postseason. In other words, they have 53 strikeouts to 11 walks. That’s not good. They can’t get on base or put the ball in play to even get sacrifices. Those 53 strikeouts in 140 plate appearances give them a K% of 38%! That means about 3.42 batters strike out every time the Tigers pitchers go through the lineup! If you say those stats aren’t horrendous, that’s a your judgement call, but to me, they are. In Game 2, they got lucky to have all their offensive production come at the same time so Ortiz was up with 3 men on base instead of 1 or 2. Scherzer was laboring, he needed to be taken out, but I think Leyland mismanaged the relievers. That’s how they got their lucky Game 2 victory. Game 3 was just 1 of their 4 hits went out of the park and the Tigers 6 hits were just too scattered to put together a run.

I will give the Red Sox this… Their relievers, led by former Oriole great Koji Uehara, have been great (13.1 IP, 10 K, 9 H, 8 BB, and 0 ER) and pitchers good enough, but their offense has 110% been horrendous, in my opinion.

Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

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