Sports Dojo MLB Awards

Dojo AL MVP- Mike Trout over Miguel Cabrera

As the year was going on, I got caught up in the Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis hype. They both had a shot at the Triple Crown at one point, but Davis took off with the homers and Cabrera got hurt and started to have a severe drop in production. Mike Trout, slow and steady, kept putting up another unbelievable offensive season.

I am taking Trout’s slow and steady greatness for this selection. Lets remember how old Trout is…

Trout has also done something during his first two seasons that is outrageous. In the past 50… FIFTY years there have only been 13 seasons where a player has had a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) above 10, according to Fangraphs. There are 3 people that have done it more than once: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays and Mike Trout. Cabrera has never done it, and his career high WAR of 7.6 came this year. Mike Trout is just on another level.

Mike Trout

Year Age G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 21 157 716 589 109 190 39 27 97 33 7 110 .323 .432 .557 .988 328

Miguel Cabrera

Year Age G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 30 148 652 555 103 193 26 44 137 3 0 90 .348 .442 .636 1.078 353

Mike Trout has more doubles, steals, walks and runs than Cabrera. He also has a ridiculous slugging percentage for someone who has 33 steals. Since 2003, only 5 players have had as high or higher slugging percentage and as many or more steals as Trout in 2013: Alfonso Soriano (2006), Hanley Ramirez (2007), Ryan Braun (2011), Matt Kemp (2011), and Mike Trout (2012). Anything look similar about these seasons? Well, besides Soriano, every player on that list either won or finished second in MVP voting in their respective league. Soriano’s numbers were ridiculous that year because he went 40-40. He wasn’t close to winning MVP because his team was awful and he had a poor batting average (.277) for an MVP without 50 homers.

Of course, the last stat I threw out there reminds you that Trout may have had a worse season, but he didn’t. He had 3 less homers, but 12 more doubles. The power was still there, but some balls didn’t quite make it over the fence. The biggest improvement was in his strikeout rate and OBP. First, he did have similar strikeout totals this year, but remember he didn’t play a month last year. His strikeout percentage (K/PA) dropped 2.8%, while his walk percentage (BB/PA) rose 4.9%. This led to a .033 point jump in OBP. The more you are on base, the more you can help your team. Trout did more this year to help his team, but his team was just worse than last year.

Mike Trout sliding into 2nd base (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Mike Trout sliding into 2nd base (Photo Cred: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

I am praising Trout’s OBP and how valuable it is, and I haven’t mentioned how Cabrera’s OBP is actually .010 points higher than Trout’s. Obviously, it is a better OBP. However, would you rather have a guy who could cause an out because he is on the bases or a guy who can create runs with his speed? Cabrera’s OBP is better, but Trout’s is more valuable because he can get into better scoring position for his teammates and force errors with his speed. “But Greg, Cabrera hit 17 more home runs than Trout!” Trout was the league leader in runs. The scoreboard counts runs not home runs. Home runs are just another way to produce runs.

To finish off why I’m right, Trout plays a much more difficult position and plays better defense than Cabrera. Trout has to cover a tremendous amount of ground in the outfield, while Cabrera isn’t very good at covering his small area around 3rd base. Cabrera managed to cost his team 9 more runs on defense than Trout from an easier defensive position.

Case Closed.

For this year, like I did in my 2012 AL MVP piece, I will say who I think the writers will vote for.

Baseball Writer’s Vote- 1. Miguel Cabrera 2. Chris Davis (53 home runs will give him enough votes to finish 2nd) 3. Mike Trout

Dojo NL MVP- Paul Goldschmidt over Andrew McCutchen

Every award is tough to pick this year, except NL and AL Rookie of the Year, but this award was one of the toughest for me. I know that the voters will probably pick Andrew McCutchen over Paul Goldschmidt because of the Pirates triumphant return to the playoffs, and McCutchen was their best player all year. However, I would argue that the Diamondbacks would not have finished with a .500 record without Goldschmidt, and his defense and batting statistics are mostly better than McCutchen’s.

 Paul Goldschmidt

Year Age G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 25 160 710 602 103 182 36 36 125 15 7 99 145 .302 .401 .551 .952 332

Andrew McCutchen

Year Age G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 26 157 674 583 97 185 38 21 84 27 10 78 101 .317 .404 .508 .911 296
Paul Goldschmidt after a walkoff home run against the Miami Marlins (Photo Cred: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

Paul Goldschmidt after a walkoff home run against the Miami Marlins (Photo Cred: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

When you take a closer look at the statistics, you will see how Goldschmidt outperformed McCutchen in so many ways. Goldschmidt had more homers and RBI’s than McCutchen and actually led the NL in those categories. Goldy only had an OBP .003 points lower than McCutchen’s, but his slugging was .043 points better. This gave Goldschmidt the NL leading OPS of .952 and McCutchen an OPS of .911. Goldy clearly put up the better numbers at the plate.

You say, “Now Greg, McCutchen was so much better on the bases with 12 more steals.” I would argue that Goldschmidt was just as effective on the base paths and that his effectiveness is more valuable than McCutchen’s. McCutchen stole 27 bases on 37 attempts so he was successful at stealing a base 73% of the time, and Goldy going 15 on 22 was 68%. They are nearly as effective on the bases and Goldschmidt steals much more than the average first baseman. Since 2000, there have only been 15 other occasions where a first basemen has had 15 or more. While outfielder’s over that span have had over 27 steals 141 times. 15 steals from a first basemen is more valuable than the 27 from an outfielder.

To just finish off how I believe Goldschmidt has been the best player, and thus, the MVP in the NL, his defense saved 13 runs above the average first baseman, and McCutchen only saved 7 runs above the average outfielder. Better defense for his position, better hitting, and more value on the basepaths… Goldschmidt>McCutchen

Baseball Writers vote – 1. McCutchen 2. Goldschmidt 3. Clayton Kershaw

Dojo AL Cy Young- Max Scherzer over Chris Sale/Felix Hernandez

I feel like I am going to say the same thing over and over again, so I’ll just say every big award (MVP and Cy Young) were tough. The AL Cy Young had about 5 guys who could win the award and it feels like that happens every year. I am not going to talk about Yu Darvish (too many walks and not enough innings) and Anibal Sanchez (not enough innings) because I have them as 4 and 5, respectively. As you can see, I am going to be picking at small things to decide this award and I am not going to count the W-L record. If I did, Scherzer would win in a landslide, like I think he will in the actual MVP voting.

Name Team W L GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP WAR
Max Scherzer Tigers 21 3 32 214.1 10.08 2.35 0.76 0.259 74.40% 36.30% 7.60% 2.9 2.74 6.4
Chris Sale White Sox 11 14 30 214.1 9.49 1.93 0.97 0.289 77.00% 46.60% 12.50% 3.07 3.17 5.1
Felix Hernandez Mariners 12 10 31 204.1 9.51 2.03 0.66 0.314 75.10% 51.40% 10.00% 3.04 2.61 6

Powered by Greg Danchik’s Awesome Excel Skills and Fangraphs

Max Scherzer (Photo Cred: Chris O’Meara/AP)

Max Scherzer (Photo Cred: Chris O’Meara/AP)

Everyone will point to Max Scherzer‘s W-L record, but he did more than that. He averaged over a strikeout an inning en route to having the second best strikeout total in the AL. Batters had an average below .200 against him over the whole year. He averaged less than a runner on base per inning with a WHIP of .970. Tack that on to having a Fielder Independent Pitching (FIP) below 3 runs. You’ve got yourself a dominant pitcher with a lot of wins. A wins leader, not because his team’s offense was really good, but because he gave his team the chance to win every time out.

Chris Sale narrowly misses on the Cy Young because well, Scherzer was really really good, but also for a few other reasons. Sale also struck out over a batter an inning, but he didn’t do it at the level that Scherzer did. He had a FIP of 3.17, which was much higher than Scherzer’s, relatively speaking. He gave up home runs at a higher rate, which would indicate his stuff isn’t as good.

Felix Hernandez (Photo Cred: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Felix Hernandez (Photo Cred: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Now for King Felix. Felix was dominate for a bad team, much like Sale was. Hernandez actually had a better FIP than Scherzer at 2.61, but it is not a huge difference. The thing that locked it up for me was his HR/FB rate. Felix Hernandez pitches in a park that gave up the 10th least amount of home runs, and Scherzer pitched in a park that let up the 13th most home runs. Yet on 10% of his fly balls, Hernandez gave up a home run (23rd highest in the AL). Like Sale, I would say that this is an indication of how good his stuff is, however it still wasn’t as good as Scherzer’s.

These are the reasons I would pick Max Scherzer for AL Cy Young. Obviously, I had to really nitpick with this award, but it led to Scherzer as my winner.

Baseball Writers – 1. Max Scherzer 2. Felix Hernandez 3. Chris Sale

Dojo NL Cy Young- Clayton Kershaw

I just didn’t really think there was anyone that compared to him. Adam Wainwright was in it before he had a couple of struggles towards the end of the year. I think Jose Fernandez would have been in the conversation had he pitched some more innings and the same is true for Matt Harvey. But they weren’t able to pitch enough innings to compete with Kershaw, so Kershaw stands alone.

Clayton Kershaw (Photo: Cred: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw (Photo: Cred: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

To start, Kershaw had an ERA of 1.83 and struck out 232 batters. Since 1984 (roughly the beginning of the Steroid Era), only 2… TWO pitchers have had an equal or lower ERA and as many or more strikeouts. One of those seasons was Dwight Gooden‘s 1985 sophomore season, and Pedro Martinez‘s dominant 2000 season (Side note: Pedro did that in the AL, where he had to deal with DH’s, not pitchers. It was also the height of the Steroid Era.).

Kershaw’s advanced stats also indicate he deserves the Cy. He was second in the NL in FIP, had a HR/FB of 5.8%, and walked 1.98 batters per 9 innings. To top it all off, Adam Wainwright was the only pitcher to top him in innings.

Kershaw is going to go down in history as one of the greats. He is going to get paid like it this offseason too.

Baseball Writer’s vote- 1. Kershaw 2. Adam Wainwright 3. Jose Fernandez

Dojo AL Rookie of the Year- Wil Myers

In the AL, there wasn’t much competition for Rookie of the Year. Manny Machado was basically a rookie, but he can’t be considered because of the at bats he accumulated in 2012. The only person that comes close is Jose Iglesias. Iglesias’s value comes 100% from his defense.

His bat was good at the beginning of the year with a .367 average, but he only had a .235 average in the second half, which is closer to the career average that is expected of him. His presence in Detroit saved them during the Johnny Peralta suspension, but Wil Myers presence in Tampa provided a much needed bat to team up with Evan Longoria.

Wil Myers

Year Age G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 22 88 373 335 50 98 23 13 53 5 2 33 91 .293 .354 .478 .831 160

The Rays refused to call up Myers before June, and it almost cost them a spot in the ALDS. However, they still made it there, and Myers is a big reason for that. He homered at a pace that would have led to 24 homers over the whole season. He also had a great batting average for a rookie to add on to an OPS of .831. All of his offense helped spark a Tampa Bay run that almost led them to a division title. You will also notice that when Myers started slumping at the end of the year, the Rays fell out of contention for the AL East and the Sox pulled away.  Wil Myers is the Dojo AL Rookie of the Year, but he would have had major competition if any of the top 5 NL guys were in the AL.

(Side note- I came really close to calling the amount of Myer’s homers in my Top Prospect Tuesday. Also if Myers wants to maintain or improve his batting average and become a true star, he is going to have to raise his poor, to say the least, BB/K ratio of .36.)

Baseball Writer’s Vote- 1. Wil Myers 2. Jose Iglesias 3. Brad Miller

Dojo NL Rookie of the Year- Jose Fernandez over Yasiel Puig

If Matt Harvey was eligible, he would win, but like Machado, he isn’t. Jose Fernandez is a close second to Harvey though. Yasiel Puig presents a good case as well, but Fernandez’s domination prevails.

Puig’s case is driven by his ridiculous stats, but also by the Dodgers revival in the second half of the season. The part of the Dodger’s revival that people forget about is that Hanley Ramirez came back at the same time, and Zack Greinke started to pitch like someone getting paid $147 million should. Puig had 19 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .319 batting average in 104 games and would have easily won the Dojo AL Rookie of the Year, but he’s competing against Jose Fernandez and isn’t going to win that competition.

Jose Fernandez (Photo Cred: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Jose Fernandez (Photo Cred: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Jose Fernandez’s season is something else. Over the course of 172.2 innings, he had an ERA of 2.19, a FIP of 2.73, and 187 strikeouts, over a strikeout per inning. However, his second half was downright dominate. He had an ERA of 1.32, a FIP of 1.99, and 68 strikouts, or 11.12 K/9. He pitched for the lowly Marlins, who finished in second if the MLB was about getting the most losses. Yet, the Marlins were 18-10 in games he pitched. In other words, not including the games Fernandez pitched in, the Marlins went 44-90. The Marlins were pretty bad, but Fernandez always improved their chance of winning every time he stepped onto the field. Look for Fernandez to challenge Kershaw for Dojo NL Cy Young Awards (and NL Cy Young Awards) in the near future.

Baseball Writier’s Vote- 1. Jose Fernandez 2. Yasiel Puig 3. Julio Teheran

Dojo AL Manager of the Year- John Farrell

In an incredibly managerial season, John Farrell took a team that exchanged all of their high prices players for middle-tier players and led them to an AL East crown. I figured the Red Sox would be in the celler for a long time, but they are now competing for a World Series title. John Farrell deserves this award over anyone. The Indian’s under Terry Francona is a nice story, but they went 36-52 against teams at .500 or above. (Not that this counts in my decision, but that showed against the Rays in the AL Wild Card game).

Baseball Writer’s Vote- 1. John Farrell 2. Terry Francona 3. Joe Girardi

Dojo NL Manager of the Year- Clint Hurdle

The Pirates had their first winning season and playoff appearance in 21 years. Enough said.

Baseball Writer’s Vote – Clint Hurdle

Greg Danchik

Week 4 Spar

Joe to Greg

The first quarter of the NFL season has already gone by. During the MLB season, we broke down our awards and playoff predictions at the mid-season point. With four games under our belts, who do you think performed above/below expectations so far? We’ll leave the playoff talk for the mid-season point but do you have any favorites or maybe the “Top 2” candidates for AFC/NFC MVP and Rookie of the Year? Also any thoughts or headlines on the past weekends games.

Greg to Joe

I’m not really going to give an MVP prediction right now because it will probably look foolish by the end of the year. I mean, at this point last year, NO ONE would have said it would have come down the Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning for MVP. I just do not think it’s reasonable to do it over a quarter of a season. A mid-season awards will be in order, but you will probably want to name a dark horse  when you make those predictions. Also, I have already pegged Andrew Luck the MVP this year, so I am going to ride that ship until it goes down. Not backing down.

I do think that the Broncos have been RIDICULOUS so far, and I was not expecting that. I tweeted this awhile ago, but they are the 2007 Patriots.

 

I mean that in every sense of the word. They will blow out everyone the whole year, make the Super Bowl and lose in a blizzard to the Saints, 49ers, or Seahawks. Peyton can’t play in the cold anymore because of his neck surgery. I do not think that is a one time thing what happened against the Ravens last year. I remember specifically at the beginning of the game that there was worry about Peyton playing in the cold because he might lose feeling in his hands because of the neck surgeries. That isn’t a one time thing. That’s forever. Broncos will not win the Super Bowl, but they will make it there with no losses. Watch.

Rookie of the Year – For offense, it will end up being Giovani Bernard or DeAndre Hopkins. The Defensive ROY will be really competitive, but Kiko Alonso is proving to be a force in the middle of the Bills D and I think he could win it.

Giants and Steelers both suck because their offensive lines suck.

Matt Schaub will be the reason the Texans don’t win the division. They should try to go all in on a QB in the draft.

Anything big you got from this week and award predictions if you wanna

Joe to Greg

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning (Photo Cred: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning (Photo Cred: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Broncos remind me a lot of the Patriots from 2007. I think Peyton Manning has just as good, if not better, as Tom Brady was in 2007. It really is fun to watch, but I can’t wait for Peyton to come into New England on November 24th to play under the lights. A great Brady-Manning duel in the making. Meanwhile, I’ll sit on predictions as well. I didn’t know if you had any glaring candidates, but Luck is an interesting one to watch.

I’ve been very impressed with the Saints and Drew Brees so far. Don’t sleep on them coming out of the NFC depending on if they can clinch a higher seed than Seattle. Seattle should get the award for most inconsistently great team. They are a completely different team on the road. They have a big game coming up against the Colts in Indy so that should be an interesting game to watch.

The Texans confuse me. There’s a huge game for them coming up in San Francisco Sunday night, but I feel better about San Fran. The Texans gave up a huge lead to San Diego in Week 1 (but held on to win) and gave up a late lead against the Seahawks this past week (and lost)…They don’t have any excuses for that loss against Baltimore; Baltimore just flat out beat them, but combine that with a shaky overtime win over Tennessee and the 2-2, Texans very well could be 1-3 or even 3-1…(Quick fantasy note: In Chris’s ESPN league I traded Ben Tate and Eddie Royal for Steven Jackson and Michael Floyd…I already have a Frank Gore/Stevan Ridley/Danny Woodhead as RB’s plus a combination of Megatron/Steve Smith/Kenbrell Thompkins/Hakeem Nicks/Julian Edelman as WR’s…my logic behind this was basically Stephen Jackson coming back for Atlanta strong and putting up good numbers once he’s healthy. I didn’t mind giving away Tate or Royal because as good as Tate is playing as a backup, he’s on the Texans and Foster will continue to get looks, and Eddie Royal was more of a buy low/sell high option…any thoughts?).

While I know you wont make any predictions about the NFL. Do you have any expectations or high hopes for your fantasy teams after seeing how they’re coming together? Any thoughts for Week 5?

Greg to Joe

Fantasy football… well my team is top tier in the Yahoo league. I have finished second for the ten dollar weekly price twice, but I have won every one of my matchups. So I am top of the standings and I think I will be contending for a title in that league. With the trade I just made with Grant (was agreed upon, but never accepted in the actual league), I think I will be good to go this week as well. In ESPN, I feel like I have a really good team despite my 2-2 record. The record is coming from poor line up management. My bench is this magical place where players, who should perform poorly, play well. It’s actually quite depressing, especially the loss to Dan…

I like the trade you made, but I think I would rather have Tate than Jackson. If you think you will be able to hold up with the running backs you have now, Jackson could pay off later. I just wouldn’t be too surprised if Foster goes down, and Tate just takes off. Getting something for Royal was a great decision though. His scores were not going to be consistent all year. Actually, I doubt he scores more than 2 touchdowns the whole year. Good move to sell him.

Seahawks home crowd is referred to as the 12th man

Seahawks home crowd is referred to as the 12th man

Seattle is not good on the road, and I am not sleeping on the Saints. I honestly think the only way that the Seahawks make the Super Bowl is if they have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I think their crowd changes the whole game. They are so loud. I am obsessed. I’ll say it. They can’t play defense without the crowd behind them. I think the Colts will push around the Seahawks like they pushed around the 49ers. I am pretty high on the Colts, but even I am surprised at how well they have played. Luck will be leading them to a division crown.

To switch gears a bit, I am watching the Wild Card playoffs game, and the Indians cannot beat a good team. Also, Alex Cobb is filthy. I have never watched him pitch before, but he is awesome. It is insane. So who do you think will win the World Series? Also, who do you think will become a household name by the end of the playoffs that isn’t now?

Joe to Greg

I think this years playoffs is the best in recent memory for starters. I love the Pirates and their momentum with that crazy crowd from the other night. That place was going nuts, and they should be given an RBI or something for that home run they caused. Poor Johnny Cueto. I’m very high on the Red Sox representing the AL for a couple of reasons. They announced their rotation to start the ALDS today (Game 1: Lester, Game 2: Lackey, Game 3: Buchholz) and I’m glad they put Buchholz in the three hole because he’s undefeated on the road. It speaks to the quality of his starts, but he didn’t play the whole season so I take some of his stats with a grain of salt. Lackey deserves a shot to pitch at home because he’s had his best year since coming to Boston, from what I’ve seen at least. I haven’t even mentioned their bullpen which is pretty close to lights out (with the exception of the Baltimore Orioles game Saturday night which I attended). Also seeing some recent news about Miguel Cabrera being hurt has me concerned for the Detroit offense. You can never turn your back on their starting pitching though. It’s scary. I expect a Boston-Detroit ALCS and in the NL I’m going with the Cardinals to knock off the Dodgers and my official pick is Boston in 6 (AL receives home field advantage). What are your thoughts on the World Series?

To answer your question about a breakout player, I like Clayton Kershaw from the Dodgers. I just love to watch him pitch, and I think he can be lights out for the Dodgers. You can obviously argue that he is a huge name in the game, but he has a huge impact on the Dodgers’ success so it should be entertaining to watch. There are a couple young guys I like but it’s so hard to judge who’s going to become that household name until the games get underway. Any good predictions for a player to watch? Any other thoughts on MLB or NFL? Or even your thoughts on the shocking news that the Philadelphia Flyers lost their first game of the season tonight!

Greg to Joe

I posted my whole playoff situation this morning. I have Cardinals over Rays in 7. Baseball is truly a game that’s a marathon and it is decided by a sprint. Like how would you feel if you won a marathon and then at the end they say, “Actually Joe… you have to beat the top 10 finishers in a 100m dash to be the true champion.” Obviously, it is because of the money, and what I am going to suggest will never actually happen, but I am going to suggest it anyway. It should be decided like the Premier League does. Make a table, and make every team play each other the same amount of times. It would show the true champion.

For your breakout player, it’s definitely hard for me to call Clayton Kershaw a breakout candidate for this year’s playoffs. He is already a Cy Young award winner (should have two), and will be getting his second (should be third) this year. He is the best pitcher in baseball and will be paid as such this offseason. It will be the biggest contract to a pitcher ever.

Wil Myers (Photo Cred: Carlos Osorio/AP)

Wil Myers (Photo Cred: Carlos Osorio/AP)

My personal breakout player will be Wil Myers. I know that I talk about him all the time, but he gives the Rays a lineup that can survive in the playoffs. I am picking them to make it to the World Series, and he is going to need to become a household name to do so. He is true old school. No batting gloves, no tape, no nothing. Just a little bit of dirt and pine tar. The former Royals’ prospect that hit 13 homers with a .293 batting average and a .357 wOBA (one of the better indicators for success at the plate). He has been slumping a little bit, but he will make himself known within the next month. And just to toot my own horn, I predicted 14 homers for Myers this year when he got called up.

Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

Dojo Playoff Predictions

World Series Trophy (Photo Cred: CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP)

World Series Trophy (Photo Cred: CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP)

Who’s going to win the World Series this year? For my selection in this week’s poll, I picked the Cardinals. However, you all know I have been tooting the horn of the Tampa Bay Rays all year. I think they have the best overall team in the AL, but Wil Myers missing the first two months cost them a division title. So that’s going to be my World Series matchup, but how do we get there?

NLDS

Dodgers in 3 against the Braves- Both are streaky teams, but I think that the Dodgers will win both games in Atlanta behind Kershaw and Greinke. Then, the Dodgers come home to a crowd that hasn’t had a playoff game since Manny Ramirez was around. Remember Pittsburgh’s crowd on Thursday? It won’t be as rowdy, but it will be LOUD.

Cardinals in 4 against the Pirates- Pirates get one at home, but the Cardinals are a superior team, and it will show.

ALDS

Rays in 5 against the Red Sox- The Red Sox are built on power, but the Rays pitching staff will shut them down. I know the Red Sox led the season series, but they only have a .200 batting average against the Rays this year. The Red Sox walk off in a game at home, but lose the other two, including Game 5.

Athletics in 5 against the Tigers- This pick is the one that makes the least amount of sense. The Tigers are the better team to pick for one series, but I am giving the Athletics the win here, mostly because of Justin Verlander‘s postseason (and current season) struggles. Verlander gets roughed up twice, in Game 2 and 5.

NLCS

Cardinals in 7 against the Dodgers- The Dodgers avoid elimination at home in Game 6 behind a performance for the ages by Kershaw. Grienkie crumbles under pressure in Game 7 in St. Louis, and the Cardinals bullpen shuts down a Dodgers’ rally late.

ALCS

Rays in 6 against the Athletics- The battle of the small market teams.To show how small market they are… If you combined their Opening Day payrolls and then multiplied them by two, you get $251,214,544. That’s only $28,218,599 more that the New York Yankees opening day payroll. Two of the best front offices in the league. I do think the Rays’ aces will win them this series in Game 6 at home.

World Series

Cardinals in 7 against the Rays- Just like Athletics’s fans will never forget Kirk Gibson, the Rays’ fans will never forget Allen Craig. On a bum ankle in Game 5, he hits a walk off home run to keep the Cardinals alive, and the Rays won’t recover. Cardinals celebrate in an empty Tropicana Field with their World Series Championship.

Greg Danchik

EPL Weekly Review 9/25-9/30

With the completion of week 6 of the EPL, the league table is slowly taking shape. Arsenal are two points clear at the top while Liverpool and Tottenham are treading closely at their heels. This week’s fixtures caused frustration amongst last year’s the top five teams as Arsenal were the only side who didn’t drop points. The premier fixture of the week pitted Chelsea at Tottenham in a London derby. Jose Mourinho did not start Juan Mata in Chelsea’s 10 role, opting for Oscar instead.  Tottenham dominated the first half run of play as Eriksen orchestrated the offense. Soldado’s ability to hold up the attack paid off when he assisted Sigurðsson 19th minute goal. The second half provided a change of momentum when Mata entered the game for Chelsea. Chelsea drew even when John Terry headed in a Mata free kick. The Blues were controlling the match and pressing for a second until Fernando Torres picked up his second yellow card. Torres has since received a three match ban for scratching Vertonghen in the face. The man advantage shifted the momentum back in favor of Spurs until the final whistle sounded, ending the game as a 1-1 draw.

Manchester City’s away trouble persisted with a loss at Aston Villa. The first half was a heavily one sided affair as Aston Villa sat on their heels and played a defensive game. The Villans were without their star striker Benteke who is sidelined with a hip injury. The deadlock broke when Yaya Toure hammered home a corner just before half. Villa played much more attacking in the second half and drew even in just 7 minutes on an offsides goal. City scored again shortly after on another corner kick to reclaim the lead. Bakuna scored his first goal for Aston Villa on a perfect free kick to draw even once more. Brad Guzan, the American keeper, provided an assist off a booming long ball just 2 minutes later. The long clearance inexcusably split the City defenders and left Weimann on a one on one with Joe Hart. The conversion was enough to secure Villa a win and the early title of this year’s “Giant Slayer.’

Cardiff City won their first away game in the Premier League with a spare time goal from sub Jordan Mutch. This embarrassing home loss pushed Fulham into the relegation zone and may make Jol the second manager casualty of the season. Bryan Ruiz and Mutch scored near identical curlers but the latter was the winner. Cardiff City won 2-1.

Hull City and Cardiff have both been surprisingly good. Despite being recently promoted, both squads sit mid table. Hull won off a controversial penalty at home against West Ham. A long cross went untouched as Robert Brady collapsed in the penalty area under the pressure of a defender. He converted the game winning goal for his third of the season. The Hammers are just a point above relegation zone. They’re schedule gets no easier as they face Tottenham, Man City and Swansea next.

Manchester United’s troubles persisted as well, falling to West Brom 1-2. The Red Devils have fallen 8 points back of the lead. David Moyes’ side looks uninspired save for Wayne Rooney whose goal was their only of the contest. West Brom’s first goal was scored by Amalfitano, who showed incredible composure to finish a run started in his own half.  West Brom scored again in the 67th minute off of wonderful team play and a brilliant finish by Berahino. The Manchester back line showed its age.

Southampton stayed towards the top of the table with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Palace emerged from half time sluggish and the Saints netted two early goals. Rickie Lambert’s goal was of particular note, curling over the wall before deflecting off the post and in. Southampton face Swansea and Manchester United next. The Saints will look to defend their home undefeated record against Swansea and take advantage of the ailing Red Devils. Crystal Palace will try to fight their way out of relegation against Fulham in two matches.

The final saturday match was the league leading Arsenal away against Swansea. Aaron Ramsey returned to Wales to the sound of resounding boos. Theo Walcott’s minor surgery put Serge Gnabry into the starting lineup for the third straight game. Swansea, true to form, possessed the ball and controlled the first half. Arsenal’s backline held and took control in the second half. Gnabry scored his first Premier League goal in the 58th minute. Four minutes later Aaron Ramsey continued his incredible form, finishing a beautiful team goal that proved to be the game winner. Ben Davies 81st goal wasn’t enough to pull Swansea back and Arsenal moved to two points clear at the top of the table.

Norwich City won 1-0 at Stoke City after Asmir Begovic let in a goal uncharacteristic of him. This was just Norwich 2nd win of the season as they are adjusting to offseason squad changes. Norwich have a difficult road ahead of them as they face Chelsea and Arsenal in their next two fixtures. It will be a difficult climb back to mid table. Stoke will play ailing Fulham on the road next match. A win here will maintain early distance from the relegation zone.

Luis Suarez made his return for Liverpool after his controversial offseason. After harsh demands to leave the team and dramatic tension between him and management, Suarez stayed in Liverpool. His ban for biting Ivanovic last season finally ended and he reminded us just how good he is. Suarez put away two goals in his season debut but Daniel Sturridge continued his form as well. Sturridge put away the first of Liverpool’s 3 goals and provided the assist for the second. Sturridge sits alone ahead of league scoring chart with 5 goals. Giaccherini scored his second league goal and fifth of the season, but thats all Sunderland could manage. Liverpool now sits in second place while Sunderland is dead last with a single point.

The final match of the week was monday at Goodison Park where Everton hosted Newcastle United. Alan Pardew’s decision not to start Cabaye proved costly for Newcastle as Everton dominated the first half. Lukaku had an incredible performance for Everton, scoring twice. The loan deal was a great piece of business for Everton. Lukaku gets the starts he needs to grow as a player and avoids the pressure that comes with being Chelsea’s starting striker. The Everton wing backs created opportunity after opportunity for the Blues, running up a 3-0 lead at halftime. The second half was a change of pace for Newcastle after Cabaye was subbed in. The run of play shifted in favor of the Magpies including a near miss trickling off the post early in the half. Cabaye scored a long shot fantastically placed in the top right corner. Newcastle created a few more opportunities but to little avail. The game seemed over until Remy cleaned up a loose ball Everton failed to clear in the box. The fourth official gave 4 minutes of extra time but it wasn’t enough to complete the stunning comeback. Everton remain the only unbeaten side in the league.

 

1. Tigres vs. Queretaro F.C.

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2. West Brom vs. Man United

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3. Newcastle vs. Everton

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4. Rubin Kazan vs. Dinamo Moscow

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5. Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad

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The early League table bears many interesting headlines. The preseason favorites of Chelsea, City and United are not in the top four, Arsenal tops the table despite their lack of depth, and Liverpool has returned to title contention. However, this is very early in the season and table position could be due strength, or lack there of, of schedule. The following table compares the points accumulated this season in comparison with their identical fixtures of last season. It is meant to give a sense of relativity and a better idea of who has improved over the offseason.

While Arsenal have made their way to top of the table, they have dropped 3 points compared to their results of last season, namely, the loss at home to Aston Villa. Chelsea has dropped a significant amount of points as well. Last year, they won at Tottenham, home against Everton, and at Manchester United. This year, they drew Tottenham and Manchester United while losing to Everton. This is a loss of 7 points. However, they beat Fulham at home this year despite drawing them last year creating a net loss of 5 points. Southampton and Aston Villa are the most improved sides while Manchester United has suffered terribly.

Daniel Dicce tiene un 94% en su examen de espanol esta semana.