Texas Rangers at the Trade Deadline

By Lindsey Jones
Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys Writer

The Texas Rangers find themselves in an interesting position after today’s 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. They are currently 16.5 games back in the division and 3 games back in the wild card race to the Rays and Yankees. The Rangers have several impending free agents, including Yu Darvish, Andrew Cashner, Jonathon Lucroy, and Carlos Gomez, many of whom would be coveted by contending teams should the Rangers decide to sell. They also have veterans such as Mike Napoli, Cole Hamels, and Adrian Beltre who teams would also likely be interested in.

[Read more…]

Here’s The Thing -The Spurs Chernobyl Big Three

By Stephen Thomas
PSDC Funnyman and Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

Well, the Spurs are NBA Champions again, after smacking the Miami Heat around the last three games like a hooker short on her earnings. Watching them hoist the trophy, we also heard analysts talk about San Antonio’s “Big Three” of Duncan, Parker & Ginobili in terms more glowing than a Chernobyl cheeseburger, and they all kept saying “Enjoy a group of guys playing this long together, because it may never come again.” [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Atlanta Braves

By David Parks
PSDC NCAA Sports Editor

Throughout the past two decades, few North American sports franchises have enjoyed more success than the Atlanta Braves. Since division realignment in 1995, the Braves have won their division (NL East) 12 times; the second most over that span trailing only the Yankees (13). For as good as the Braves have been in making it to the playoffs, their shortfalls in the playoffs are well documented. Consider that Atlanta hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001. That’s right, it’s been 13 years since the Braves have won a postseason series. In that time, 20 teams have won at least one playoff series including the entire NL East sans the Nationals.

Atlanta’s reign over the NL East was interrupted in 2006 by the Mets and lasted up until this past season when the Braves claimed their first division title since ’05.

The 2013 edition of the Braves ran away with the division, winning an NL-high 96 games. But, unfortunately for the Braves and their fans, the season once again ended in disappointment as they were bounced in the first round by the Dodgers, 3-1. [Read more…]

MLB Playoffs: National League Division Series Previews

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru 

While waiting to see if Tampa Bay or Cleveland earns the right to be dismantled by their next opponents, here is a Reader’s Digest version of the National League Division Series.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals:
As a Cubs fan, every atom I’m made of wants to see St. Louis lose… or to see Pittsburgh win. These Central Division rivals continue a long season series in the NLDS. The Pirates have the advantage of having the entire country rooting for them, outside of St. Louis. This of course is because they are in the postseason for the first time in 22 years. That personal bias aside, here is how I see the series unfolding by segment.

Russell-Martin

OFFENSE
Advantage: St. Louis. The Cardinals have a preposterous advantage here. Their average of .300 plus with runners in scoring position is absurd. The major league average is somewhere around .260. One of the few offensive liabilities is the loss of Allen Craig. He was having a near-MVP season until he was injured, but I see the likes of Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter filling the hole left by Craig’s absence.

PITCHING
Advantage: Stinking Cardinals. A rotation thought to be weaker with the loss of Chris Carpenter continued to plug holes with the seemingly endless stream of minor league call-ups. Adam Wainwright with 19 wins leads the way in the rotation. The bullpen is a red flag though, especially the back end. That may be one of the Pirates slim chances, getting to the short relief corps.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Pittsburgh. We love to posit ourselves behind the feel good story in any playoff series, and the Pirates fill the bill. The long postseason absence has most baseball followers hoping for the feel-good, magical result. The Buccos, with 94 wins have the most wins besides the Cards, they haven’t even had 80 wins for a season since 1992.

Prediction: Cards in 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers:

OFFENSE
Advantage: Atlanta. The Braves get just a slight edge here largely due to the absence of Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. LA has played the great majority of its schedule without Kemp. In fact, the ignominious beginning to their season, up until June, was played WITH Kemp in the lineup. The remarkable final 2/3 of the season was played largely without him.

PITCHING
Advantage: Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw and his sub 2.00 ERA is enough to carry over to the rest of the staff, even games he doesn’t start.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Los Angeles. Due largely to the worst to first in one season scenario they put together. They were something like 30-3 immediately following the All-Star Break. Plus Kershaw is just awesome.

Prediction: Dodgers in 5

American League tomorrow.

Follow Joe on Twitter: @hinesjoe

Tim Hudson’s Ankle Destroyed By Eric Young Jr.

Tim Hudson had to leave Wednesday’s game on a stretcher after having his ankle stepped on while covering first base. Eric Young Jr. was the runner and, as you can see in the video, was visibly shaken up by the incident. At 38 years of age, a comeback seems unlikely for Hudson. That’s a tough way to go out.

2013 MLB Team Preview: Atlanta Braves

By Matthew Cafaro
PSDC Writer
 

Atlanta Braves
Founded: 1876*
Division Titles: 16**
National League Pennants: 17
World Series Titles: 3 (1914, 1957, 1995) 

2012 Record: 94-68, 2nd Place in the NL East

Key Losses: Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, Tommy Hanson, Michael Bourn, and David Ross
Key Additions: Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, and Chris Johnson

So, did you hear the Braves made some big moves in the offseason?

Yeah, getting Chris Johnson from Arizona sure should shore up their problem at third base, or at least half of it.

Seriously though, in losing the second best position player in Braves history in Chipper Jones, the Braves have done a lot this offseason to try and create excitement on the field and in the batter’s box, knowing it would take more than one good ballplayer to replace what No. 10 brought to the team since 1995. Signing B.J. Upton to slide into centerfield when Scott Boras made it known he wouldn’t allow Michael Bourn to sign a deal he believed was below market value (how’d that work out for Bourn, anyways?) and then trading for his power-hitting brother Justin shows the kind of aggressiveness in the offseason the Braves under the absentee ownership of Liberty Media haven’t shown since they acquired the team in a stock-swap with AOL Time Warner.

[Read more…]

Why the NL East is the Best Division in MLB

By Matthew Cafaro
PSDC Writer

I know ESPN, and even more reputable entities like Yahoo! Sports want you to believe the AL East or perhaps the NL West is the best division (or best two divisions) in baseball going into this year, but I’m here to tell you that is patently false and driven by hallow reasons like TV ratings and big-money free agents. The best division in baseball is the NL East, and much like the SEC in college football, they’re the best because they have two of the best teams in baseball leading from the top. What’s at the bottom (Miami) doesn’t matter, because what’s at the top (Atlanta and D.C.) is so good.

Think about it… is the AL East really the best division in baseball? Yes, everyone is saying Toronto is better (seriously, signing a pitcher closer to 40 than 30 is that big a deal?), but don’t they say that every year? Yes, Baltimore could perhaps make another run at a Wild Card, but do you trust that franchise with that owner to hold up under the strain of 162 games? Yes, Mo is back to close out games in the Bronx, but what is he now, 900 years old? Even Methuselah never had to come back from an ACL tear at that age!  Tampa Bay will do as Tampa Bay does: tease with great prospects, possibly make a run at the postseason, and then sell those young players for more, albeit younger and cheaper, prospects. And Boston, well, Boston still has insane chemistry problems and a question mark at manager. Ownership let Larry Lucchino chase away Theo and Tito and any other driving force that could take credit away from Larry Lucchino for those two World Series titles. They may have Dice-K’s money off the books, but they’re on the hook for something much worse: replacing the talent they shipped of last year.  In this division, the only real threat to actually win the World Series is the Yankees. And Mo isn’t the only old guy on the team. They’re all old and creaky, and dropping like flies in Spring Training. One team with a chance to win does not the best division in baseball make. This division is like Big Ten in college football. A lot of 10, 9, and 8 win teams that will beat up on each other and make it look impressive, but when they step outside of their own confines, they’ll have absolutely no chance of winning a title. [Read more…]

MLB Playoffs Preview: Intensity in 10 Cities, Volume I (National League)

By Chris Patton
PSDC MLB Correspondent

Under the new MLB postseason format, the intensity levels just got kicked up a notch in 10 different cities. With apologies to Ted Nugent, I decided to rank all 10 potential matchups in each league on a scale of 1 (matchup with the least history and backstory) to 10 (matchup with all the ferocity of a steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage). [Read more…]