Tagged with "MLB"
Sports Friday with Hal: Lazy Summer Friday
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Baseball Red Sox Pawtucket Dodgers Tigers Royals MLB NFL ProFootballFocus.com

Happy Friday, Gabbers!


Busy one for me today...on the road for training at work so a couple quick hits. Besides, for someone who can accused of being emotionally distant, I sure dug deep the past two weeks for my  Don Zimmer tribute and my Father’s Day and sports. Heck, I’m spent.



My (Twitter) buddy Steve Palazzolo at ProFootballFocus.com (OK, I doubt he knows who I am, but I enjoy his analytical articles) but he had a great piece this week examining where quarterbacks in the NFL throw the ball as far as distribution to receivers, backs, and tight ends (Link is here: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/06/18/qbs-in-focus-pass-distribution/ - not sure if it is free content or subscription only).


Anyway, a couple of key points:


First while discussing throwing the ball to wide receivers:


“Tom Brady led the league with 473 passes to receivers detached from the formation”


“Ryan Tannehill with the highest percentage of his attempts in this area at 81.9%”.


Surprising considering how maligned the New England wide receivers were last season. That said, with tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiving running back Shane Vereen injured the ball had to go somewhere.


Also, is this an indication of how underrated Tannehill is leading the Dolphins attack or an indictment of Tannehill in recognition he throws short passes and has no help out of the backfield and at tight end?


When throwing to outside the numbers/sideline wide receivers:


“Tannehill led the way with 274 attempts to outside receivers.”


“Peyton Manning’s...29 touchdowns to outside receivers led the league.”


With age increasing and  no Eric Decker in Denver, is Manning going to replicate those numbers? I doubt it, but Denver does need to save some money for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.  Remember, it was former head coach Josh McDaniels who wisely picked Thomas over Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft.  Denver is still reaping the rewards of that decision.


When it came to throwing to slot receivers, Palazzolo wrote:


“Most would probably expect Brady to lead the way in attempts to the slot, but it was Drew Brees’ 214 attempts that paced the league while Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck led with 37.3% of their passes targeting the slot (includes all players lined up in slot).”


I think this is more about having limited production out of Danny Amendola and having to move wide receiver Julian Edelman all over the field to get favorable match-ups with such limited options after injuries wracked the squad in the second half of the season.  Ditto for Andrew Luck in Indianapolis with Reggie Wayne injured and T.Y. Hilton moved all over the formation.


With throwing passes to running backs, obviously having Darren Sproles helped this and the Saints will have a hard time replacing Sproles this season:


“Brees leads this group as well with a league-high 197 attempts and 1243 yards on throws to running backs.”


“16 of Matthew Stafford’s league-leading 58 drops came from running backs.”


Cam Newton benefitted from a league-high 11.3 YAC per completion on passes to running backs out of the backfield.”


“Tannehill threw to running backs out of the backfield on only 10.4% of his passes, the lowest percentage in the league.”


For Tannehill, the running backs were terrible runners and worse receivers, so he cannot be blamed there.  For Stafford, Reggie Bush was supposed to be the remedy to the passing game, so seeing the backs averaging a drop per game is hideous. Cam Newton had better find his running backs in 2014 in the passing game, because he has no receivers to throw the ball to in the passing game.




Is there a more fun team to watch in 2014 than the Kansas City Royals? (OK, not for the gabbers with much love for the Detroit ballclub). Kansas City has streaked to first place on a winning streak and seem balanced and consistent on offense and in the rotation.


Kansas City took two games against the Yankees, two more against Terry Francona and the Indians, and then three more against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. For a team that was four games below .500 (26-30) on June 1, the Royals are are hot while the Tigers got cold. Detroit enjoyed a season-high seven-game lead on May 18, then dropped seven of eight to allow its American League Central challengers—the Royals included—to tread water or catch up.


A huge key to the Royals’ rise has been the apparent return of Eric Hosmer’s power. Hosmer slugged 17 homers in 159 games last year, pretty bad for a “power-hitting” first baseman. At the end of the day on June 6, Hosmer was hitting .260 BA/.300 OBP/.352 SLUGGING. Hosmer began to turn his season around on June 7, when he slugged a homer in an 8-4 win over the Yankees. He went deep again two days later and again on Sunday.

The Royals won the first two games of their four-game tilt with the Tigers by shelling Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. On Wednesday, left-hander Drew Smyly limited the visitors to two runs in seven innings of work. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Jeremy Guthrie outpitched him.


Kansas City gave its starter a quick 1-0 edge in the top of the first, when Eric Hosmer continued his hot hitting and picked up a one-out single, stole second, and scored on an infield hit from second base on an errant throw.

Smyly settled in after that, but Guthrie was in a groove. By the time the Tigers figured Guthrie out in the seventh, the Royals were up by two. The win was the Royals’ 10th in a row. That’s a sentence no one’s been able to type in two decades!


* * *


When play began on Wednesday, the Dodgers—thanks to Red Sox Beer and Chicken washout Josh Beckett—were the only major-league team that could boast about a no-hitter this year. That’s still true. Only now they have two of them, after the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, ripped through the Rockies in L.A..


The left-hander was perfect through the first six innings, retiring all 18 batters he faced. Ten of those 18 went down via the strikeout. And Kershaw had accomplished all of that on less than 80 pitches. With the Dodgers ahead 8-0 Kershaw took the mound in the seventh poised to keep on rolling. Moments later, two ground balls to the left side of the infield would define the game’s place in baseball history.


Corey Dickerson led off the top of the seventh with a slow chopper to short, soft enough that Hanley Ramirez needed to hurry, but hard enough to give him ample time to make the play. Ramirez fielded the ball cleanly, but his off-balance throw bounced wide of first base, beyond the reach of Adrian Gonzalez. The game was no longer perfect, but the no-hitter remained intact.


Two batters later, Troy Tulowitzki put it in jeopardy. Tulo hit a rocket down the third-base line where rookie Miguel Rojas was up to the task. Rojas preserved the no-no, and Kershaw took it the rest of the way. He struck out the next three batters he faced and did the same to Dickerson with two away in the last of the ninth. His final strikeout out was Kershaw’s 15th of the evening—a new career high—and it came on his 107th pitch.


Per BaseballProspectus.com, the slider that ended the game striking out Dickerson was the 31st throw by Kershaw, the 27th that went for a strike, and the 12th at which the Rockies swung  and missed.  Yes, the curve is his best pitch and his fastball is nasty. When he has all three working, Kershaw is...well, unhittable!


Most important from that win is that the Dodgers, now just four games behind the scuffling Giants, may still have ample time to repeat as National League West champs.


* * *


I will have “my” Father’s Day this weekend after a busy weekend last week that saw us visiting the parental units and my wife busy, busy with work.  I figured I already had my Father’s Day with our trip to Pawtucket, RI for the PawSox on Sunday June 8th when we got to see Joey Votto on rehab, former Yankees starter Chien Ming Wang, and former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for the Louisville Bats (Reds minor league team).  Great game. Saw prospect Mookie Betts, ate a hot dog (reasonably priced), had a few beers, and four box seats behind first base cost less than $50. God bless minor league baseball!


Carlos Marmol, wild as ever!: 


Mookie Betts, soon to be starting in centerfield in Boston:



Justin Henry, 2007 9th round pick by the Tigers now at Pawtucket. At 29 years old, the second baseman/outfielder/utility fielder is not likely to see the show, but these are the kind of players I root for the most: he is playing on pure love of the game at this point and a dream to one day make it--even for a cup of coffee--in the show. Not much power, some speed, versatility, and over 800 minor league games and counting without an MLB at bat...but I'm rooting hard for him. Good luck, Justin.


OK, that’s all I have this week so thanks as always for stopping by to read--yes, I still miss DVT over here too on Fridays ------->  but glad for his update last month and hope he stops by again soon. Glad he’s doing well. Stormin’Norman and Sully have been killing it next door at 2.0 so be sure to swing over and visit them as well today.


Have a great weekend, all!  

Musings From The Hoodwood 6-17
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NBA NHL MLB World Cup

Not just San Diego but all of baseball...RIP to Mr. Padre.

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where getting damn tired of burying our people due to the scourge of cancer.

NBA: Spurs take the title

It was almost like a blind lame dog being taken out back and shot to put it out of its misery. The Heat just looked finished. The Spurs just fundamentaled the Heat into oblivion Sunday night. The Spurs won a rematch of the NBA Finals in most convincing style. Winning in 5 games that with the exception of the Game 2 squeaker was a total and complete wipeout. I called it a 5 game sweep because to be sure the Heat were lucky to get the game 2 win and to watch them get just ass-out beaten by the Spurs pillar to post in seemingly every phase of the game. I felt bad for LeBron James, though there are some that seem to want to put the Heat’s failure on James, the seemingly beleaguered swingman was really at the Alamo, trying to do everything and getting nothing done well. He did his best for the conditions but Chris Bosh had set up a lemonade stand on the corner 3 point area. He sure as hell wasn’t going to mix it up down low. Dwyane Wade was just about non-existent while role players like Ray Allen and to retiring Shane Battier were just non factors. Meanwhile the Spurs just seemed to keep coming in waves. Of course you expected the performance from Duncan, Ginobili and Parker but there were just so many other players. Role players like Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, and series MVP Kawhi Leonard were the definition of the series. I just got tired of listening to the pundits seemingly fall over themselves lauding the so-called Spurs and how they play the game the right way. The Spurs won 62 games, they weren’t underdogs, and they are a skillfully built and coached team and they have their 5th title in 15 years. 

NHL: Kings are the Royalty of the NHL

Where the NBA Finals were a five game sweep, the Stanley Cup was probably the most exciting five game series I’ve seen in a long time, three of the games were OT including the clincher. Alec Martinez slammed back a rebound in the 2nd OT in game 5 to win the Kings 2nd Stanley Cup in three seasons. Martinez became the first player to score OT winners in the conference and Stanley Cup finals.  The Kings rallied from 3-0 down in the first round and 3-2 in the Conference Semis and winning a 7th game on the road against the defending Cup Champs. But possessing more lives than a horror movie villain, the Kings just kept on getting off the mat and getting goals to win one elimination game after another and in the Stanley Cup Final kept spotting the Blue Shirts 2-0 leads in the first two games and coming back. The Rangers averted a sweep with a gutty 2-1 win after a humiliating 3-0 loss at MSG in game 3 but that only got the series back to LA where the Kings won the game in front of those lifetime hockey mavens in SoCal. I’m teasing, the Kings have hoisted the 36 pound chalice twice in the last three season proving that their first win was no fluke. Get used to seeing this team playing deep into the spring, kids. The Kings are a young team and are primed to win for a while.

Requiem for a great Padre; Tony Gwynn 1960-2014

I saw the news come across my phone Monday afternoon and was stunned. Tony Gwynn legendary Padre hitting maestro had succumbed to cancer at 54. I knew he had been battling cancer for some time and he had had malignant tumors removed from his mouth years ago but still to read that one of the finest hitters of my generation was gone just stunned me. Tony Gwynn was someone that just seemed to always get hits, always hit over .300 and was the one player you knew was going to be on the Padres when they came to town despite the frequent fire sales. He seemed like a down to earth guy and I became an even bigger fan of his on a chance meeting of Gwynn outside of a hotel in downtown Cincinnati. I struck up a conversation and was surprised that he engaged me with in lively discussion about good hitting good pitchers and how he hated the Astroturf of Riverfront Stadium. The crazy thing was that I had a bunch of baseball cards with me and one of them was his from 1983…I showed it to him and he cackled. “Boy I had a lot more hair and less of a gut.” The irony of this was my pen had exploded in my backpack and I didn’t get him to sign the card the funny thing was he said that he would have been happy to…sigh. But I was even more of a fan of his after the encounter. Other than meeting one of my other favorite players Don Baylor who was the Rockies manager in 1997 (and that was a friendly encounter as well) that was one of my most treasured memories of meeting someone famous. You look at the numbers that he posted and know why he was a first ballot Hall of Famer. 3141 hits, a .338 lifetime batting average (highest average of any player born since 1918 and with over 3000 hits) never struck out more than 40 times in any season and eight seasons where he struck out less than 20 times. According to Jayson Stark, there were 97 players who struck out 20 or more times last month. The man had 5 200 hit seasons and from the ages of 33 to 37 hit .358, .394, .368, .353 and .372 (with 220 hits!) I truly believe that had there been no strike in 1994 (Gwynn scored the winning run in the All-Star game that year, by the way) he would have hit .400. He was that locked in. He was that good of a hitter. Every season after his rookie year he hit over .300 needless to say. Tony Gwynn was a hitting machine. After he retired in 2001 he returned to his beloved alma mater San Diego State where he was the head coach and developed a number of hitters AND pitchers including one Stephen Strasburg.  He was a class act and he will be dearly missed.


World Cup Stunner: US Shocks Ghana

To hear most pundits tell it. The Americans had no chance in the World Cup. Put in the so-called group of Death with Germany, Portugal and Ghana the Men’s National team stood little if any real chance of making it out of group stage but it took all 30 seconds not minutes, mind you seconds for the Americans to put a stamp of legitimacy on their appearance in this World Cup. Clint Dempsey snaking through the Ghanan defense and nailing a kick just inside the far post gave the Americans not only a stunning 1-0 lead but their fastest ever goal scored in World Cup play, it was a lead that held for 80 minutes. It held through a tough injury to star Jozy Altidore and a brutal kick to the face of Dempsey. It was hold through the humid late autumn air at Arena das Dunas in Natal but you knew the Black Stars who have grown quickly into an American nemesis would find an equalizer, on a slick back heel pass Asamoah Gyan to Andre Ayew who lasered a shot past a befuddled Tim Howard. The Americans looked heartbroken and ace play by play man Ian Darke said as much. A tie might be all the Americans could salvage with dreams of what might have been. But the Yanks had one more twist on the story in the 86th minute Graham Zusi bent a beauty of a ball to the box off a corner and young John Brooks a mid-game sub was literally Johnny on the spot. Brooks headed a clean redirect past the keeper and raced away with the stunned look of someone who couldn’t believe that he might have put the winner home. The Yanks hung on the final three minutes of regulation and 5 agonizing minutes of stoppage time to get a 2-1 win, three crucial points and a morale boosting avenging win. Combine this with a 4-0 beatdown of Portugal by Germany means the Americans face a staggered Portuguese team that suddenly looks beatable and a win Sunday could get them through the group stage before facing the powerful German squad. The nation as a whole reacted more with a “whoa!” than anything. This won’t make futbol the national game or grow it any more than it is here, a niche sport but for a while it will hold the national attention for a little while longer.


Phat Dap

More like condolences to Steeler Nation who lost their hall of fame coach Chuck Noll over the weekend at 82. I was never a Steelers fan but I respected the way they played under Noll and could respect how he took a 1-13 team in 1969 to its first playoff win 3 years later and its first of four Super Bowl wins two years after that. Noll made the Steelers what they were a tough, feared team that won and punished its opponents in the process his 209-156-1 is still the Steelers all-time best as a coach. A legend not only in Steeler country but in football.

Head Slap

To Portugal’s Pepe who compounded his stupidity in a questionable foul on Germany’s Thomas Mueller by racing back to the German star, standing over him and getting right in his face almost head butting him. Pepe got himself a greeting card from the game ref…it was red. A red card not only means you are felina non grata (cat not welcome) at the current match but the next match as well. It was one in a series of missteps by the Portuguese team that was a high favorite but now after getting housed by the German team is in serious danger of getting left behind in the group stage.

Quick Hits

The Royals??? Are they for real

I love football but it’s a week before summer starts, I don’t want a countdown to football yet

I wish the NFL would stop talking about football overseas

Did they really blow the pitch up at Wembley filming 24?

That’s it for this week but before I go I want opinions. Would a video blog here every once in a while be interesting. Give me your thoughts. Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!

Tony Gwynn loses his battle with cancer
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres

Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died at the age of 54. The eight time batting champ played 20 years with the San Diego Padres. He was one of the greatest players of all-time with 3,141 hits, 1,383 runs, 1,138 RBI's, walked 790 times and only struckout 434 times. Tony was an 8-time batting champ, had 19 seasons of batting above .300, yet his greatest accomplishment might have been that he reached base in 75% of his times games that he played in, which was 2,440 games.

Baseball lost a great man and a great human being. RIP Tony Gwynn

My Father's Day Tribute - 2014 Redux
Category: User Showcase
This is the Father's Day post I did a couple of times in the past:

It is updated and reposted again...I miss you Dad!

My dad has been gone for more than eight years now. He was a husband, dad to three kids, a police officer, a ham radio enthusiast, loved computers, yodeling music, reading, tinkering, building things, buying cookbooks and so many other things too numerous to mention here. He took me to my first rock concert despite the fact that he didn't like rock music at all. He took me to my first Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games, and he didn't care for sports all that much. A surprising thing considering I learned he liked sports as a kid growing up.

Along with my mother, he was in the stands rooting me on when the teams I coached won championships, and he told many people how proud he was of my coaching work. He grew up without much of a stable home life, but gave my mom, my siblings and me that which he never had.
When he was in the hospital the final time, a man he arrested came to visit him and thanked him for helping him straighten out. Cops from all over the region came to his wake and the place he grew up as a child allowed his final wish to have his ashes spread on the grounds.
Of the place he grew up my father said:

I became a part of the Kurn Hattin family over fifty years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't think of the good time I had living there. 'Thank you' is too little to say for what Kurn Hattin and its friends have done for me. 

George Roberts, Class of 1958



Eight years on, and we all still miss him deeply.

He was proud of me for my coaching...I'm proud to be the son of George Roberts.

Storminnorman's Sports Blog 6-13
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB Tigers DAD

Happy Father's Day to everyone, as we near our so-called holiday. I apologize for the lateness of this blog, but I wasn't sure if Sully was doing the blog for this spot this week. or if it was myself. 

With the exception of the 3 game hiccup that has been rather disturbing, the Tigers are being their normal selves, allowing the others within their division to remain in the race and give me and IHM something to bitch about all summer outside of the ignorance of our Lions.....

Speaking of the Lions, one of my favorite moments outside of bat day in Detroit with my dad, was watching the Lions splatter Brett Favre all over the Silverdome, along with Barry (I blew  out more ACL's with my Moves) Sanders in 1996. Sure we have had some great sports moments together, but that was the best. We loaded up the motor home, drank some beer and tailgated with some Packer fans outside the Silverdome. 

Another of my favorite dad moments was 1970, my first Tiger game, Mickey Lolich was the pitcher and Al Kaline was there. We were sitting along the first base line in the upper deck, and watched Mr. Kaline hit his home run to right. Can you imagine getting to watch greats like Kaline, Killebrew, Horton, Carew and Oliva? That day we went home happy, as Mickey pitched a shutout.

Is it me or should Max Scherzer face Chris Sale at least once a week? This matchup seemed to bring out the best in Max last night as he battled Sale pitch for pitch, until Victor hit his 15th home run of the season to break the scoreless tie. By the way, Max's first complete game. Max was Max last night.Which made that night special because he finally step up like aces should and earn his paycheck..

I believe it was Sully who called this run by the Kings, what the hell happened to the Rangers? I believe it was round 1 against the Sharks, that Sully said to look out for the Kings and he was right, as they near their second Cup in 3 years.

My dad as seen above, his health not as great (soon to be 73) his back went bad enough last year to where he had to have surgery just before Christmas, doesn't slow him down to much, mostly because mom won't allow him to. He just does his chores which keeps mom happy, I always wondered, but I am not quite ready for life without dad, because he is what keeps our family sane.Probably through his wisdom, kept my marriage going during the rough times. Happy Father's Day dad.

To answer the question of the day, I believed from the beginning that the Spurs were going to end Miami's run, and now with a 3-1 lead, maybe the series will be over this weekend when they head to San Antonio for game 5.

Racing heads to Michigan, as the Sprint Cup heads to the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, known as one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR>

That's all I got, I apologize for the shortness of the blog and please stop by and visiti Hal.



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