I don’t understand how the Lakers are winning all these games against good teams. I mean they just played a road back-to-back against teams with an over .500 record. I was told they only play against WNBA teams and that they’re sure to get bombed against real competition. This can’t be true because the people that told me this cover this sport for a living. I mean it’s impossible anybody could be that bad at their job right? Maybe the Lakers strength of schedule is bad because most every team they play loses to them. This team is damn good, and at this point there are probably two or three teams at most that stand in their way between them and the title. Wait until Kuzma gets his act together and this team will be really unstoppable.
Then there’s the Clippers. I see the Bucks took advantage of their weak schedule on Friday. Paul George is already in playoff form against elite teams, but hey…. at least Kawhi is well rested. I’m sure all 5 of you Clipper fans are still confident. In all seriousness though, it’s clear the Clippers are playing the long game with Kawhi, PG, and how they are approaching a lot of these big matchup regular season games. At a certain point though this team needs time to build chemistry to succeed against the elite, and since they aren’t even practicing together very much, I’m not so sure they are setting themselves up to do that.
Where has this Rams team been all season? After dismantling the Seahawks last night at the Coliseum, LA is still only on game back of the last playoff spot in the NFC playoff chase. Suddenly Jared Goff and Todd Gurley look like themselves. I’m just not sure it’s going to be in time to make the playoffs. Thanks to Sean McVay for “not being an idiot” as he claimed, and giving Gurley the ball. I’m suddenly not so worried about the Rams beating up on the Cowboys next week, and might not even be shocked if they beat the 49ers at Levi Stadium. However, it’s the Vikings schedule, or lack therof that makes me think the Rams will be watching the playoffs at home.
The Chargers actually won a game, after the destroying the Jaguars on the road. That kind of beat down makes you realize just how much this team has underachieved. They have unbelievable talent, but they can’t beat anybody at the most critical times. If only Philip Rivers could play like it was his birthday everyday. Now that their season is meaningless, the Bolts will probably win every game.
Elsewhere around Week 14, NFL Sunday’s don’t officially start until Jameis Winston throws an interception, and he did plenty of that yesterday. Let’s be honest….it was probably Bill Belichick that managed to get the Chiefs equipment sent to New Jersey. Funny how Mitch Trubisky looks like Lamar Jackson against the Cowboys. The Texans showed up dressed like Average Joe’s, and they played like Average Joe’s against the Broncos.
To College Football where Mike “Bohn-head” made a move that every Trojan fan feared. He kept Clay Helton as his head coach. I realize that the University is trying to clean up scandals and lawsuits, but one can still do that and win football games by hiring a coach that isn’t Clay Helton or Urban Meyer. Also, anybody that thinks the boosters and the fan base aren’t important doesn’t get it. The Trojans are going to cost themselves millions of dollars in donations and revenue with the poor decision they just made. If they don’t realize that, then Carol Folt and Mike Bohn are completely clueless as to the significance of USC’s place in the Los Angeles sports landscape.
As for UCLA, Chip Kelly said he’s excited for what’s ahead with UCLA football. Let’ see: the man is owed another $15 million for three more season, his job is safe, his defensive coordinator is going to take all the heat, and he doesn’t have to coach another embarrassing loss for 9 more months. Of course he’s excited!
Ok ESPN I get it. The Yankees like Gerrit Cole. I don’t need to see it in headlines 80 times. The Yankees want to make Cole a priority. That’s a cute story. I want to make Jennifer Aniston a priority as well, but that probably doesn’t matter because she won’t date me. The same goes for Cole, who we know prefers the Angels or Dodgers. Let’s be honest though, Andrew Friedman isn’t going to pay $250+ million for any player. The real question is simply whether or not the Angels are going to make a bid high enough, knowing Cole already wants to be here. They don’t actually need to outbid the Yankees.
Relax everybody. The Lakers were going to lose again at some point. Frankly, they only really played badly for one quarter yesterday that cost them. Yesterday’s game also had that “fines all around after the game for ripping refs” feel to it. The officiating has been pretty bad league wide though. I’m not sure what the point of giving these refs replay is when they still get the calls wrong. The Lakers just need to clean up the consistency on defense, and get Kyle Kuzma going. I am getting really annoyed with people pretending like they have only played against WNBA teams, and haven’t actually beaten good teams like the Mavs, Jazz, Suns, and Heat. Meanwhile Denver loses to Sacramento, and Houston loses to some tomato can and it’s all good. We get it. The schedule gets tougher, but don’t pretend like the Lake Show isn’t a contender.
Then there’s the Clippers who admittedly are good, but NBA Twitter fawns over them like they are the 1996 Chicago Bulls. The Spurs got some revenge on Kawhi on Friday, and Paul George was already in playoff form, shooting about 20% from the field. I’m still waiting for some solid media coverage about the Clippers without knocking the Lakers in the process, or trying to provide some lame Laker hater comparison. By the way, if you think the Lakers schedule is tough in December, you should see the Clippers schedule, which is littered with back-to-backs. Hopefully Kawhi puts his other part-time job on the back burner so he can actually play in those games and help the Clips.
To the NFL, where the Rams got back in the win column yesterday with a win over Arizona. Putting Blake Bortles in the game was like lighting up a human victory cigar. It was good to see Jared Goff and Todd Gurley get right because just 6 days earlier, Lamar Jackson burned the Sean McVay coaching tree to the ground. It was like watching Rams march to a slaughter house. The Rams look nothing like the Super Bowl contender of last year, but don’t count them out of the playoff picture just yet. Minnesota’s schedule isn’t so easy, and they could still blow it.
Then there’s the Chargers. Even for the Bolts, yesterday was a rough loss to the Broncos. They’ve now lost 8 games by 7 or fewer points, but have collectively outscored all their opponents this year. It’s like when the 4th quarter rolls around, they start looking around for someone to give them the Heimlich maneuver. I’ve gotta hand it to them though. It had been a whole six days since they figured out a new way to lose. Charger games are like SAW movies. They are predictable and get more outrageous every time, to the point that they are almost comical. But I still can’t look away. With all this talk about the Chargers moving on from Philip Rivers, I’m not sure how they can if they are moving into a new stadium next year. I realize he’s been handing out interceptions like he’s Oprah, but they are already pleading with people to buy PSL’s next year. I’m sure they won’t exactly be replacing Rivers with Tom Brady, so losing Rivers probably won’t help their cause.
Elsewhere around Week 13 in the NFL, Jason Garrett has reportedly been put up for sale for $5 as part of a Black Friday special at Dallas WalMart. So far, no takers. That stiff arm on Matt Ryan put him back in grade school. If you see any Eagles players on the street, kindly pick them up and put them in a waste win. You see, the Eagles are trash. The Giants lost again, and Saquon Barkley is busy liking porn on social media. The Browns just lost to a QB named “Duck”. America sleeps better when the Patriots lose. Enough said. Here’s a live look at the NFC East standings.
It’s really nice to see USC is upset about apparently erroneous reports that Clay Helton should be fired. Perhaps they should be steamed over the fact that they are 13-11 in their last 24 games. I don’t know whether or not Clay Helton is going to remain the USC Head Football Coach. But I do know that the University Leadership has already fumbled this process like a 4th string running back. The fact they have not provided any clarity one way or another spells indecisiveness and disaster. One could also argue that by not firing Helton, the school will lose about $200 million in donations from alums, while saving only $20 million to keep him. I’m already skeptical that this new leadership team will come up with an elite replacement if the job becomes available.
On the other side of town, for about five minutes Bruin fans got excited when they heard rumors that Chip Kelly and UCLA might mutually part ways. That unfortunately, was not true after Kelly refuted the rumors. In other words, you can expect one more year of this mess before both sides move on. My favorite part of the Chip Kelly era is when Chip was hired, UCLA fans were saying “imagine Chip’s Oregon teams but with more talent?!” Then Chip went on to purge all that talent, replace them with walk-ons and 3-stars, & then tell us UCLA sucks because it doesn’t have talent. Kelly has been so bad he should face a class action lawsuit for destroying a football program. Chip Kelly isn’t even the Steve Alford of College Football. That’s how bad it is. It’s not going to get better for a while.
Speaking of UCLA, the basketball squad performed like we expected in Maui. They beat the second tier teams, and couldn’t hang with anybody in the Top 25. I realize they put up a good fight against Michigan State for a while, but this team is what it is. I’m already severely questioning if they are going to make it to the NCAA tournament. On the other hand though, thank God for Bill Walton. While some of you hate him, you fail to realize that he is providing great entertainment value on the ESPN broadcasts. He might be the highest man on the planet, but he’s a National treasurer and I hope he lives to about 150.
Finally, the baseball Hot Stove hasn’t felt very hot this off-season for the Dodgers so far. I can’t say I’m surprised though. Every day you can find some rumor connecting the Dodgers to names like Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor. However, in reality, this is not what Andrew Friedman does. Friedman was probably shopping for some 99 cent reliever on Black Friday, and will probably look for some useless starter on Cyber Monday. As for the Angels, Mike Trout is like that woman you’ve been married to for years that’s subtly telling you that you need to buy her something nice. Trout went on the MLB Radio Network last week and said he’s waiting by the phone to hear the Halos made a big acquisition. Memo to Billy Eppler: dude is telling you to sign Gerrit Cole.
The Lakers are 14-2. Lebron has never gotten off to a start this good with any team. Hey Jackie McMullon and Brian Windhorst….not bad for a team that is “a work in progress” right? I can’t wait to see what they look like when they do, because they are already a defensive juggernaut. Weird because I thought they were supposed to be flawed defensively, and that Rob Pelinka was a novice. Where are all those people now? It’s a long season, and a lot can happen between now and June, but if this team stays healthy, no reason they aren’t going to be a legitimate title contender. These ESPN NBA analysts are more inaccurate than a Southern California Weather Man.
As for the Clippers, they have been finding the win column as well now that they have Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the floor together. There’s a lot of skill set duplication with these two, but defensively, they can be very good when they want to, which we saw on Friday against the Rockets. That was a great game to watch between two very annoying teams that deserve Oscar Awards. James Harden is a phenomenal player, but his ability to manipulate referees into sending him to the foul line makes the game very unwatchable. As if that’s not annoying enough, Doc Rivers might as well be defending the three-point line since he’s so far onto the court in the 4th quarter. Then there’s Patrick Beverly who is out here acting like he just got tazed.
Speaking of the NBA, I can appreciate the idea of Adam Silver’s radical proposals. I love the idea of re-seeding at the conference finals to insure the finals are played with the two best teams. That’s a good compromise as opposed to seeding 1-16 to start the playoffs, which would cause additional travel fatigue for some teams. As for the in-season tournament, as long it doesn’t replace the All-Star game, I’m in favor. This could reduce tanking, load management, and make some of of the smaller market teams more relevant. If executed properly, it has great potential for success. You can thank the Clippers load management of Kawhi for getting the league to its breaking point on this issue.
To College Football, where I’ve never seen a weirder UCLA-USC game then Saturday at the Coliseum. Both teams fan bases wanted the other side to win, all because of the fate of Clay Helton. That’s right….UCLA fans want Helton to stay to keep the team in mediocrity, while USC fans want Helton gone to get back to being an elite program. Then it was almost like Helton and Chip Kelly were trolling each other with all the timeouts they called at odd unnecessary moments. 52-35? Cute flag football game guys. In typical UCLA fashion, the offense put up some points, the defense was awful, and Kelly was wildly idiotic. A perfect summary of the season. Get ready for another season of that. Meanwhile, the Trojans will probably make it to some mediocre bowl game, while we await the fate of the underwhelming Helton. Hopefully they don’t wait too long to decide for their sake, since their recruiting rankings are sinking like the Titanic.
I was really beginning to wonder if UCLA basketball was any good, but I got my answer after they lost to Hoffstra at home on Friday. That’s this season’s version of a Cal Poly loss, which they suffered at home in the recent past. Since Mick Cronin is telling us his team is a work progress, maybe next year he should schedule the likes of Bluefield State, Arkansas Pine Bluff, Redlands, and Hampton, who all scored fewer than 50 points in a game this week. Now I see why UCLA was picked to finish 8th in the PAC-12 by the media. Unless Mick Cronin can draw something on a white board other than a clown face, I’m pretty sure things are going to get a lot worse for the Bruins when they start facing tougher competition in Maui next week.
In the NFL, we can now add Philip Rivers to the long list of things we need to apologize to Mexico for. Rivers was awful last week against the Chiefs in Mexico, and has been looking very washed up the last few weeks. For the few of you left who are only “sticking with the Chargers because of Rivers”, you might want to start thinking about what you’re going to be doing with your Sunday’s next fall. We’ve been saying for several seasons the Bolts need to find a successor to Rivers in the draft, but they’ve been stubborn about it. Now it’s about to catch up to them. That’s just one of many problems for a team that has no fan base, and is about to move into a new stadium where they will be even more of an embarrassment.
The Rams don’t play until tonight against the Ravens at the Coliseum. However, they better bring everything they’ve got. If they lose this game, you can pretty much put the nail in the coffin on their playoff hopes for this season. I sure hope Sean McVay is planning on giving the ball to Todd Gurley about 30 times in this game, and milk the clock on every possession. Otherwise, Lamar Jackson is going to dismantle them piece by piece and it’s going to get ugly at the Coliseum.
Elsewhere around Week 12, The Patriots got the benefit of another critical call in their win against the Cowboys. The refs have to be having Thanksgiving dinner at Bill Belichick’s house. The Packers play like cheese heads when they play in the state of California. Jameis Winston recorded his 100th career turnover against the Falcons. To celebrate, all fans in attendance received a coupon for a free Apple turnover from Betty Crocker. The Jaguars made the Titans look like the the ’72 Dolphins. The Raiders lost to the Jets, and their playoff hopes are disappearing faster than a Democrat’s hopes to become President. The Steelers benched Mason Rudolph in favor of Delvin Hodges and got a win, but the real laughs were in Cleveland, where Browns fans were swinging at Rudolph pinata with a football helmet. These guys are killing it!
On the ice, I love how the Kings had won 4 of their last 5 games going into Saturday, but were in no danger of jeopardizing their lottery status. LA is still firmly in last place in the Western Conference, and only the Red Wings are worse than them in the entire league. The Kings also lost to Coyotes twice this week. The same Coyotes team that is suddenly one of the best defensive teams in hockey, and has almost as bad of an offense as the Kings. It just so happens the Coyotes are near the top of the Pacific Division. Funny how that works. You would think a Kings team that won two Stanley Cups this decade with a defensive focus would know that’s how you become competitive quickly, but apparently they decided to be like everybody else and chase speed and offense. Downright foolishness. The Kings just keep losing, while their fans would rather be watching re-runs of Temptation Island, because they’ve gotten so boring.
Finally, the Mid-Season Finale of The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case. Where do I buy that Christmas sweater that Chris Hardwick was wearing? Chase the enemy on their own territory…..real smart Carol. Why didn’t she just take out an arrow and kill Alpha right then and there? I think the group is gonna need a Genie to get out of that cave where the herd is. Father Gabriel is now the biggest badass on the show. Can’t wait to see what Negan’s reaction is to all this I never thought Eugene would break through the friend zone with Rosita, but he finally did. Even super nerds can find some action people! I appreciate the show putting the music books in the proper Dewey decimal aisle in the post-apocalyptic library. Judith should have cut that guys head off for what he did to Ace. Great episode, but this is my face when I found out the show won’t be back until February 23rd of 2020!
The Lakers are 11-2, and they have the best record in the NBA. They also have an identity: defense, owning the paint, and passing. After 6 years of getting laughed at by the league, things are looking up. Speaking of looking up, I think it’s fair to say that Kobe’s daughter is taller than Kevin Hart. Then again Snoopy is also taller than Kevin Hart, so that’s not saying much. It was nice to see Kobe and Lebron sharing a moment last night, as well as Kobe and Dwight Howard. In just one month, Dwight has managed to buy into his role beautifully, negotiate a peace treaty between KCP and his haters, and give Kobe some love publicly. I definitely didn’t see this one coming.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are winning across the hallway as well. Does Kawhi have another job? I mean I know millennials usually have a side hustle, and Kawhi is a part-time NBA player at this point, so it would only make sense. I’m thinking the Clipper season ticket holders should be entitled to “load manage” his or her games and inform the team that 10-20 games during the season won’t be paid for so that their finances will be strong come playoff time to handle those jacked up ticket prices. By the way, the Clippers are 8-5 and everybody things everything is chill. If the Lakers were 8-5 people would be calling for Vogel’s job, and be saying Lebron is washed.
That Rams-Bears game was sloppier than happy hour with Lindsay Lohan, but thank god Mitch Trubisky stinks. On one hand, the defense is playing great and it was nice to see Todd Gurley get 25 carries. On the other hand though, Jared Goff isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in anyone right now. Given Goff’s footwork in the pocket the last few weeks, he’s either auditioning for the “Happy Feet Live” production, or to be a part of the next ‘Dancing With The Stars” cast. Either way, it looks like his schedule will be open as of January 4th. Then again, I’m beginning to think the reason why they’ll never win a Super Bowl is because they were once the Cleveland Rams.
Elsewhere around Week 11 in the NFL, Myles Garrett and Happy Gilmore are the first ever athletes to take off their equipment and use it as a weapon. Too bad the Steelers got the worst punishment of anyone when Mason Rudolph wasn’t suspended by the league. Things have gotten so bad for the Redskins that the fans were chanting “sell the team”. Nelson Agholor couldn’t catch a rash at a poison ivy convention. Lamar Jackson is a human video game. Don’t look now but the Raiders are actually in the playoffs, and suddenly trading away Khalil Mack doesn’t look so bad.
USC might go 8-4, end up in the Alamo Bowl, and Clay Helton could still be fired. I realize that everyone wants this man gone, but how fair is everyone being? His team has been decimated by injuries, yet he still hasn’t even entirely been eliminated from Rose Bowl contention. Also, since Trojan fans keep saying all they really care about is winning the Pac-12 and making it to the Rose Bowl, and everything else is gravy think about this: Clay Helton has already won a Rose Bowl. If that’s all you care about, then Helton is your guy. If not, then you’re a bunch of liars. I’m going with liars.
So much for UCLA turning things around. The Bruins got bombed by Utah on Saturday by a score of 49-3. UCLA should never lose to Utah in football, and certainly not in blowout fashion. The Bruins were doing it with smoke and mirrors against a crummy Pac-12 South, but they were finally exposed. Nobody does more with less than this program. In fact, nobody pays more for less than the Bruins, with this ridiculous Chip Kelly contract. It’s been a disaster from the start, and will not end anytime soon.
Elsewhere around college football, don’t let Baylor blowing a 28-3 lead over Oklahoma distract you from the fact that Texas lost to Iowa State. The Atlanta Falcons can’t catch a break. Baylor blows a 28-3 lead, the Falcons were just minding their own business, and the internet ropes them in and makes fun of them for blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl against New England. Notre Dame should not sell out home games every week if plan on blowing out top 25 teams every time. They should also stop raising ticket prices. Has anyone seen images of the new Longhorn Patio they are building in Texas? It looks like a uterus. I guess that makes sense since you can’t spell that without “UT”.
Congratulations to Cody Bellinger & Mike Trout on winning the NL & AL MVP’s, respectively. These guys both had amazing seasons, and they rightfully earned the awards. For those of you wanting to poke fun at their lack of playoff success, or playoff involvement, lay off. That kind of criticism is only allowed here on Jock Talk LA. In all seriousness though, this isn’t the NBA. A guy can have a great regular season, win the MVP, and it can have nothing to do with the playoffs, or even making it. That’s just the nature of the game. Speaking of the playoffs though, this story about the Astros electronically stealing signs to win the 2017 World Series makes sense. I always knew that Andrew Friedman was so cheap that he wouldn’t even buy the anti-virus software to prevent this from happening.
Finally, a new episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. Imagine Michonne coming back to Alexandria: they lose Negan, everybody gets sick, they lose Lydia, and Siddiq gets killed. How the hell are they going to survive without her? How did Lydia not know that Dante was Whisperer? Is Rosita hitting up one of those apocalyptic med spas for some eyebrow waxing? Not sure its possible to look that good given everything going on . If you’re a doctor on this show you are definitely destined to die. Carol is at her scariest when she is offering people food. Now she’s playing the long game because wait until all the Whisperers see that Lydia is actually alive. Heck she might have even let Negan out to infiltrate the Whisperers. Calm down ladies. Daryl’s shirt is going back on in the next episode. Looking forward to the mid-season finale next week!
Look guys, the Lakers weren’t going to go 81-1. They were going to lose some games like last night. They need some help with their 3-point shooting. Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma shouldn’t be shooting that many either. However, let’s look at the positive. Alex Caruso looks like a 7th grade math teacher, yet every now and again he’ll posterize opponents, not to mention play some solid defense and make plays. I’m also not sure who this impostor is that is wearing a Dwight Howard jersey. Whoever he is, he’s playing amazing defense, buying into his role, and being an excellent teammate. For all the crap I’ve given him, he’s been amazing thus far. As for Anthony Davis, he’s been great too. If he’s really dumb enough to go to Chicago this off-season like he suggested though, then it just goes to show you that basketball players really do need to stay in school. It’s still relatively early, but this team is fun to watch. Now they just have to find a way to beat the Clippers.
Speaking of those Clippers, Doc Rivers is such a buffoon. The man is like a used car salesman. I would never buy what he’s selling, and certainly not that bs he spouted last week on Kawhi Leonard really being injured. We knew all along he wasn’t, even though he fooled the NBA temporarily. I still think it’s stupid for the Clippers to do this whole load management thing for Kawhi, rather than play him fewer minutes. It just might even cost the Clippers some playoff positioning too with the way they are doing it. My favorite part about this team though is that they claim they are just trying to carve out their own identity with fans, and not worry about the Lakers. Except every billboard they create always seems to take a shot at the Lakers and not being second fiddle.
To the NFL where the Rams suffered a bad loss to the Steelers yesterday. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa, and the Rams offensive line was so bad, they couldn’t block anybody on social media if they tried. Going into the season with 2 linemen with more than 18 starts under their belts probably wasn’t the best idea, and it’s probably going to cost this team a playoff spot. This was supposed to be the easy part of the Rams schedule. Now they have to play the Bears, Ravens, Cardinals, Seahawks, Cowboys, 49ers, and Cardinals again. Even if they go 4-3 they still might not make the playoffs. That’s how brutal the NFC is. McVay needs to bring back his genius fast or else the Rams will be watching the playoffs from the couch with you and me.
Meanwhile, the Chargers returned to being the Chargers again and lost to the Raiders in Oakland on Thursday night. One team is leaving California and the other team has no fans in California. All we heard coming in was how the Raiders haven’t played a home game in 49 days. That’s funny because the Bolts haven’t played a home game in three years. That one was too easy. But seriously, Philip Rivers looked awful. Then there’s the London rumors that started floating around. I don’t think the Bolts are moving to London, but I do think they will move somewhere else in a few years. It’s already obvious they can’t sell season seats in a brand new stadium, even at discounted rates. Nobody cares about this team in LA, and it’s apparently clear to everybody but the 31 other NFL owners.
In College Football, USC got the win on Saturday vs ASU, but nobody is even talking about that. All anybody cares about is their new Athletic Director Mike Bohn. More specifically, everybody wants to know if he’s going hire Urban Meyer. If you think that Carol Folt or Mike Bohn are going to tell you right now that they are considering Urban Meyer or not, then that kind logic makes you qualified to work in the Trojan Athletic Department. Still, if Folt is going to preach integrity like she is, it’s going to be beyond hypocritical for Meyer to be hired.
Perhaps some of you forgot, but there’s another basketball team in this town not named the Lakers or Clippers. It’s the UCLA Bruins basketball team, and they’ve already played two games. The fact you probably haven’t noticed speaks volumes about how far they have fallen to LA sports irrelevancy. The Bruins are 2-0 with victories over Long Beach and Santa Barbara. However, in both games they needed to rally over opponents with inferior talent. Mick Cronin’s team is looking like a poor mans version of a Ben Howland team. They’ll have some tough tests against #3 Kansas, Notre Dame, and #9 North Carolina in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. Negan just doesn’t seem like a guy who fits in with The Whisperers. I mean they are called “The Whisperers”. Not “The Dudes That Won’t Shut The Hell Up.” Negan interacting with Beta though was pure comedy. Daryl was really giving off some Rick vibes while sitting in that porch chair. Eugene is the kinda dude who would meet somebody over the radio during the apocalypse and get catfished. I refuse to believe that Rosita is going to die because she drank some bad water. I mean of all the things to kill her in the apocalypse, it can’t be water. Carol is up to no good and Daryl knows it. Wouldn’t be shocked if she was the one who let Negan out. Apparently the Walking Dead Comic has ended. That means that the show itself may be closer to an ending than we think. Especially if the ratings keep falling. Still, looking forward to seeing where the last couple of episodes go before the mid-season finale.
Do you know what that sound is? It’s the sound of Warriors bandwagon fans running to jump back on the Lakers bandwagon after the last 5 years. It’s been years since the Lakers won a pair of road game like they did this weekend. It felt like a pair of wins filled with championship pedigree. That’s because the team is finally playing great defense and getting critical stops in the 4th quarter, as well as coming up with big plays in the 4th quarter. That’s been missing the last couple of season, but having Lebron James and Anthony Davis helps a tad to solve that problem. Even Smush Parker thinks KCP’s consistency is garbage. Imagine how good the team would be if he was consistent. Give me more Alex Caruso and less KCP, and this team will be even better. Also, for all the crap I have given Dwight Howard over the years, he’s been amazing. Things are looking good, but they need to stay healthy.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are stillwinning as well, but this load management is ridiculous. Doc Rivers said there will be no load management on Kawhi Leonard this season. He’s a liar. 5 games in, Kawhi was already resting. The concept of load management makes little sense too, especially when Kawhi is sitting against elite teams, and when the game might be so lopsided on one night, you might be able to limit his minutes anyway. You know what…..tomorrow I’m going to tell my boss I need to take a day off for “load management” to perform better in 82 days from now. Not for a sick day or vacation day. Just load management. That should go over really well with HR.
Come on Dodger fans be realistic. Stop salivating over free agents that you know Andrew Friedman will never sign. You think Friedman is going to give $200 million to Gerrit Cole? Or Anthony Rendon? Get real. This guy approaches free agency like a guy looking for coupons before shopping at the 99 Cent Store. You can be sure he’s going to look for a couple of terrible relievers with “good spin rate”, trade Corey Seager for pennies on the dollar to avoid paying him, and then tell us how great he feels about his teams chances. The Angels on the other hand will be printing money if necessary to sign Gerrit Cole. Meanwhile, my Dodger self-esteem doesn’t seem to be feeling any better after losing to the eventual World Series Champion for the third straight year.
Did the entire city of Green Bay show up at Dignity Health Sports Park yesterday? It sure felt like it when seeing all the Packer fans fill the seats at the Charger game in Carson. This time though, the Bolts did not find a new ways to embarrass themselves on the field and got a win. It figures right? The Chargers manhandle a good team, but can’t actually win against crummy teams. The Bolts fired their offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt earlier in the week, and if I didn’t know better I’d say he was hired by the Packers with the way their offensive played. Why can’t the Chargers be more consistent? Oh they have injuries you say? Well the Patriots, Seahawks, and Ravens all have injuries too, and they are in a playoff spot at the moment. That’s probably because they don’t give away football games like the way you give away your junk to the Salvation Army come tax time. Can’t say I expect their season to turn around after this win, or their stadium to start having their fans in it either. Here’s a look at all the Packer fans yesterday.
Elsewhere around Week 9, Christmas came early for everyone after the Ravens ran all over the Patriots and gave them their first loss. After the Dolphins beat the Jets, I’m waiting for Miami to fire coach Brian Flores followed by a statement that says: “Winning is something we simply won’t tolerate around here.” Meanwhile, Jets fans are off to hang themselves. Apparently Minshew Mania doesn’t travel overseas, because the Jaguars got crushed by the Texans in London. The only defense Mitch Trubisky can beat down is the Bears defense. The only difference between Kirk Cousins and Matt Moore is that Cousins is overpaid. I don’t know what happened to OBJ, but the Browns have made him disappear like David Blane. We should just save everyone time and give the MVP to Christian McCaffrey now. The Redskins are 1-8, haven’t scored a TD in a month, but Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen are reminding fans to purchase their playoff tickets.
Not much of a feel good weekend for the USC football program and their fans. The Trojans ended up taking a senseless beating from Oregon at the Coliseum. I’m not sure which was worse, the one the Ducks administered, or the one Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart gave the coaching staff at halftime on Fox. Bush and Leinart said the coaches do nothing but put the players in position to fail. They aren’t wrong. It’s going to be tough for Clay Helton to survive after that showing. Then there’s the hiring of Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn. The bad news is he was about their 6th choice. That just goes to show you how bad not only USC is now, but the Pac-12 in general. The good news is that he has no USC ties, so he’s not some Trojan Kool-Aid drinker. He’ll bring fresh thinking. Unfortunately if you’re banking on Urban Meyer coaching this team next year, I doubt it’s going to happen. There’s no way you can preach about a high character program while hiring Meyer. What’s next? Hiring O.J. Simpson as the head of a domestic abuse prevention program?
Look at UCLA football now. Suddenly these jokers are now in 2nd place in the PAC -12 South, and control their own destiny in the division. I’d be shocked if this team actually goes into Utah next week and wins. However, this is the PAC-12 we are talking about. where all the games should really be aired on Comedy Central. Any “good team” finds a way to lose every week. Nevertheless, I’ve gotta give credit to Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who mightactually be able to play quarterback after-all, and has been improving.
To the NHL, where the LA Kings are just as bad as I suspected. This team has one of the worst defense the league has seen in years, and it’s apparently caused goalie Jonathan Quick to look like the second coming of a traffic cone. It’s depressing when you think about the fact this team still has pieces from their Stanley Cup championship teams earlier in the decade, but just like your Apple IPod, they have become old and outdated. Rebuilding is fine, but the idea of building without thinking about defense and goaltending first is silly. That’s how the Kings did it earlier in the decade, and that’s also how last year’s Stanley Cup Finalists did it. It’s gotten so bad though even Luc Robitaille’s wife won’t go to the games anymore.
Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case. I forgot how much I missed Negan until we saw an extended look at him in this episode. I also never thought I would be so excited to see him kill Brandon, who was more annoying than a nagging housewife. I know we’re all cheering for the whole “Caryl” thing to go down, but Connie and Daryl seem like they are really a thing. Ezekiel can’t seem to catch a break. He loses his pet, his Kingdom, his kid, Carol, and now he has cancer. I don’t know about you, but this Magna woman looks amazing and it’s the apocalypse. For those of us who know what happened in the comics, it’s pretty awesome to see Negan finally meeting with the Whisperers. Alpha is getting more and more terrifying by the second, but she needs to die. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!
It’s been three games and there’s more good news about the Lakers than bad. They look pretty good, especially at the defensive end. Lebron and AD look dominant with improving chemistry, and they are going to get Kyle Kuzma back soon. The bad news is that the offense is a little bit too much hero ball, KCP is garbage, and the Clippers have scary potential in a head-to-head matchup. Coming into Sunday, KCP had 1 point and no field goals in 48 minutes. This dude needs to change his name to Kentavious Caldwell “Poop”. Amazing that he’s on an NBA roster but Carmelo Anthony isn’t. Keep your fingers crossed the AD shoulder injury isn’t anything serious, and the train will keep moving and piling up wins.
Meanwhile, the Clippers looked impressive in their first two games, then wet the bed against the Suns. I’ll admit it. This team has the potential to be great, and it’s going to take some serious offensive discipline to break through their elite defense. That is of course when they decide to play defense, which they didn’t do on Saturday night. The NBA must have been so shocked the Suns are winning, they had to drug test DeAndre Ayton, resulting in his 25-game suspension. Also memo to Doc Rivers who thinks the Lakers shouldn’t be counting their Minneapolis Championships. In that case we shouldn’t count those bs Celtic titles before the modern era either, which would give the LA Lakers twice as many titles over Boston.
Bold strategy by the Bengals yesterday to not cover Cooper Kupp. I don’t think it worked out so well for them considering Kupp went off in London, and the Rams got another victory. It’s nice to see the Rams getting a couple of “get well” games against the Falcons, Bengals, and probably coming up against the Steelers. However, there are going to be some tough games ahead against the 49ers, Cowboys, and Seahawks. Where is Sean McVay coming up with these wild plays? It’s like he’s been studying the Madden playbook on Xbox. When we get into these tougher games, the difference is going to be how much the Rams can lean on Todd Gurley, which is still a big question mark at this point. For that reason, I’d like to see more of Darrell Henderson.
Then there’s the Chargers who finally played a team that blows it in the 4th quarter harder than them. Keenan Allen was dropping balls like it was New Years Eve in Times Square, and the Bolts were missing field goals like it’s a weekly tradition. Still, the Bears said “hold my beer” and failed to execute in the 4th, and missed the game winning field goal. The Chargers won, but this team is an even bigger flop in LA than they were in San Diego. At 3-5, I can’t see them beating out KC for the division, I don’t care how many healthy bodies they get back. They aren’t catching the Chiefs, and probably won’t even catch the Raiders either. The Bolts are impossible to trust in close game, and you can almost guarantee that will happen in the coming weeks in the most critical moments. It would almost be surprising if that didn’t happen.
Elsewhere around Week 8, the Patriots beat up the Browns, and Cleveland managed to throw an interception on a pitch in the process. That’s the most “Cleveland Brown thing” that I’ve heard. Sam Darnold threw three more interceptions for the Jets in the loss to the Jaguars, and should probably be working at the snack bar. The 49ers managed to hang 51 points on the Panthers, and nobody even notices how average Jimmy Garoppolo is. You know your football team is bad when you throw 4 touchdown passes and still lose to the Lions. Welcome to being a New York Giant Daniel Jones. Funny how the Raiders are missing a good pass rusher after trading Khalil Mack. “Knock on Wood” if your’e with me. Drew Brees is back and the Saints are still rolling. The Saints v 49ers game at the end of November is going to mean everything for home field in the NFC. The Broncos might actually be good if they had a quarterback, except, John Elway couldn’t find one if his life depended on it.
So if the Trojans make it to the Pac-12 Title game or even the Rose Bowl does Clay Helton keep his job? The question may not be all that unreasonable at this point. It was shocking enough that Helton kept his job last year. He has more excuses this year after the team is losing starters left and right, yet still winning. The Trojans got another win in the Pac-12 after beating Colorado on Friday night. The conference is dumpster fire, yet somehow, they are leading the Pac-12 South. If USC is morally above hiring Urban Meyer, then who else would take the gig that’s s clear-cut upgrade? It’s been fun looking at all these guys low on the depth chart for the Trojans. Hopefully for the sake of USC fans, they can find a coach there too.
As for UCLA, suddenly they’ve won two in a row after beating ASU. Even more shocking is the fact they control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South. Arizona State and Stanford are so embarrassed after losing to the Bruins, they are considering moving out of the conference. The strategy for UCLA must have been to shock ASU with a completely silent stadium, considering only 39,000 people showed up for the game. Even after two straight wins, I’m pretty sure UCLA had higher expectations than this when they brought in Chip Kelly.
For just a moment, I thought the Astros were cooked. I actually thought Houton was going to lose the World Series to a team whose logo was the same as Walgreen’s. Just knowing that the Nationals have won two games depresses me even further as a Dodger fan. The Boys in Blue can win 100 games over 162, but they can’t seem to win 11 games in a one-month stretch in October when the stakes are just a little higher? Nerd ball just doesn’t work in the playoffs.
Finally, a new episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it so read no further if that is the case. Judith is slicing up Walkers like a California Roll. She’s clearly getting some good training from Michonne. Poor Negan. He’s saving everyone, but he’s still getting in trouble for no damn reason. Aaron used to be a little more likeable, but these days he’s being kind of a bitch that doesn’t deserve that awesome arm he has. How long are they going to make Lydia pay for being a part of the Whisperers at one point? It’s like she’s Michael Vick even after he went to jail. Daryl and Carol are moving a little bit closer to real love, except Ezekiel can feel it, which is why he’s making moves on Michonne. Unfortunately, when you start falling in love during the apocalypse you end up dying, so Daryl and Carol might not be long. The show is just getting good again, except now rumors are flying some key characters are leaving the show. Some combination of Daryl, Michonne, and Carol could be gone, which would be another crippling blow to the show. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.
This just in. Nike will be releasing a new Lebron sneaker that is perfect for him to insert his foot into his mouth. At this point, all anybody wants is to see basketball and not hear about bs US or international politics when they watch the NBA. If I wanted to listen to a bunch of people who have no idea what they are talking about I’d just tune into CNN or Fox News. Nevertheless, on the court the Lakers appear to have the best duo in the NBA. Their biggest concern is health, but they have great rebounding and size in the paint, much improved shooting, all which complement two elite superstars. Lebron is going to be playing pissed off all year as well. They might pace themselves during the season, but this team is poised to contend for a title.
Meanwhile, everybody wants to jump on the Clipper hype train. By everyone, I mean every analyst and NBA fan that really just hates the Lakers. I’m not saying the Clippers aren’t going to be good. However, they have no lead facilitator and they have a small front court. They overloaded on wing guys because NBA Twitter believes a bunch of wing guys that play defense and score is all you need in basketball. No need for rebounding or rim protection apparently. We’ve also never seen Paul George, who is coming off double shoulder surgery, play with Kawhi Leonard. Sounds like a lot of skill duplication, yet everyone wants to annoint Kawhi and PG the best duo in the NBA. Considering PG is out for Tuesday, it’s gonna be a while before we find out just what this team is.
Did the Dodgers win the World Series while we weren’t paying attention? You sure would think so listening to Andrew Friedman talk about his team after they were upset in the first round. Apparently, the only problem is Rick Honeycutt, according to Freidman. So we’re going to do this again next year with more or less the same crew so we can pull our hair out again. This is madness! For those of you trying to convince yourself the Dodgers will go sign Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, or even an elite bullpen arm, think again. Andrew Friedman has everybody in the organization drinking his Kool-Aid, thinking that one of these years they might luck into a World Series title with his cheap skate approach to every off-season. Not only can this geek not build a reliable bullpen to save his life, but his “all or nothing” analytical approach at the plate, has resulted in a team that has no idea how to manufacture runs in the most critical moments of the postseason. This is the worst good team to be a fan of.
Meanwhile, the Angels were fortunate enough to land Joe Maddon as their new Manager. I say fortunate because the Tyler Skaggs tragedy might actually force the Halos to fire people, or even cut ties with certain players. Maddon could have easily found the job less appealing with those circumstances. Nevertheless, the Angels have real holes to fill before next season starts. More importantly, can Maddon pitch?
To the NFL where the Rams got back in the win column with a victory on the road against the Falcons yesterday. It’s weird how Jalen Ramsey was acquired, and suddenly his back is 100%. It’s like Oral Roberts is employed by the Rams on their medical staff. You’ve gotta love the Rams for going for it and feeling like their window to win is now. At this rate though, they might not have a first round pick until the year 2041. Devonta Freeman picked the wrong dude to mess with in Aaron Donald. Todd Gurley and Jared Goff made big plays, but it’s going to be a lot easier for this team to win games when they don’t allow any sacks or turn the ball over. That’s easy against Atlanta and should be next week against the Bengals. Remains to be seen if they can do it beyond that.
The Chargers really “Charger-ed” that game yesterday. Watching the 4th quarter was like watching two teams and every single referee play that game while drunk. Of course it was the Bolts who missed out on every opportunity to get that much needed win. Now their season is pretty much toast. Melvin Gordon not only fumbled away the winning touchdown, but he hasn’t rushed for more than 42 yards since November 25th of last year. This dude is losing money faster than Lehman Brothers. If the Bolts are going to just play down to inferior competition and get their secondary destroyed every week, Philip Rivers might as well ask for a trade. Can’t wait to find out how the Chargers find a way to throw away next week’s game against the Bears.
Elsewhere around Week 7, Aaron Jones, Chase Edmonds, Marvin Jones, and Jacoby Brissett each had more touchdowns than the entire Redskins team this week. After the Patrick Mahomes injury, the Patriots, 49ers, and the Madden Curse are still undefeated. Derek Carr said he was more worried about a safe landing than keeping the ball in the Raiders loss to the Packers. He is softer than Charmin toilet paper. Andy Dalton had 3 turnovers in 5 minutes. Not even Betty Crocker is that talented. Mitch Trubisky is giving Bears fans more heartburn than deep dish pizza and Polish sausage. Only the Dolphins would give up a touchdown on an onside kick.
To the college ranks where the Trojans picked up a win against Arizona on Saturday night. It’s not clear just how far into their running back depth chart USC is, but the next man up is an RC car with a football strapped to it. The Pac-12 is still awful at football, and the fact that USC can still win their division in their diminished state says everything about that. Even more wild is the fact that USC suffered 6 major injuries, yet the backups look even better than the starters. That makes you think Helton definitely has no idea what he’s doing. If the Trojans win-out or even make the Rose Bowl in this dumpster fire of a conference, it will be interesting to see if Helton does actually have a chance to save his job. A true nightmare for Trojan fans.
Meanwhile, UCLA probably wishes they could play Stanford every week. The Bruins won for the first time against the trees in over a decade. That’s right folks. The last time UCLA beat Stanford, people we’re buying houses like groceries, and the financial crisis had not even occurred. That’s very likely to be the last win the Bruins will get this season after looking at their schedule the rest of the way. 63 players have left the UCLA program since Kelly took over. Two years ago, Jim Mora Jr. and Chip Kelly essentially traded jobs. Since then, both UCLA and ESPN2’s late night show have suffered immensely.
Finally, another solid episode of The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it so read no further if that is the case. Carol is dangling upside down and killing walkers. I’m pretty sure Alpha has no idea what bad ass Carol is capable of. Interesting that Carol’s dream about her family life includes Daryl, but after 10 seasons of this show they just can seem to get together. Negan is back so I guess I should go get my shitting pants on for the rest of the season. Eugene is getting friend zoned so hard by Rosita. I have no idea why Daryl said his dad wasn’t a truck drive after telling Carol a story about his dad being a truck driver. The fact that I’m thoroughly confused about this makes me happy that the writers are creating something interesting here. This whole Aaron & Negan dynamic is as close to them trying to re-create Negan and Rick in the comics. Afterall, Aaron also has one hand like Rick does in the comics. Although at the moment, peanut butter and jelly don’t really like each other. Good episode, looking forward to seeing this conflict with The Whisperers escalate.
I was there and it was awful. Game 5 of the NLDS was like watching a horror movie where you see people make stupid decisions, and it’s only a matter of time before the killer brutally murders someone. Yes, Clayton Kershaw didn’t come through again in the playoffs, and we all feel terrible, but there’s a much larger portion of the blame that needs to go to Andrew Friedman. Friedman is telling Dave Roberts how to manage, and he decided they were going to use Kershaw in that game 5 the night before. Yes they went with their gut rather than analytics, but that resulted in more bad decisions like Friedman and Roberts usually make in October. If I have to ask Kershaw to pitch in the 7th and 8th inning of game 5, it means I didn’t build a good enough bullpen. The same issue Friedman has had every year he’s been with the Dodgers. Kershaw might not be the same player in the postseason, but Friedman’s failures are a large contributor to the Kershaw narrative.
Speaking of awful, that’s exactly what the Rams offense was yesterday against the 49ers. All those nerds at Comic Con scored more this weekend than the Rams did. It’s definitely time to start worrying. The Rams are 2.5 games behind the 49ers, and without Todd Gurley unleashed, the offense isn’t nearly as dynamic or dangerous. The offensive line is also a big issue, and once again, they gave Jared Goff no time to make throws. The best thing the Rams have going for them is their schedule. Even though they are on the road for the next month, they have winnable games at the Falcons and Bengals coming up, followed by a bye week to get healthy. The number of 49ers fans at the game was also alarming, but I would chalk this one up to LA fans having PTSD from the Dodgers, and the Rams off to a so-so start.
On the other hand, I’m not sure what’s the Chargers excuse is for sucking and having no fans. The Chargers played a Steelers team that was playing their 3rd string quarterback, and they got blown off the field. You would think the Bolts would take the money they saved by not paying Melvin Gordon and pay for an offensive lineman or two, but no. I’m not sure if the Chargers decided to kick a field goal when they were down 24-0 because they thought it would be a good strategic move, or because they wanted to avoid the embarrassment of being shutout “at home”. The Chiefs aren’t even running away with the division anymore, but the Bolts are doing nothing about it. Philip Rivers has more children than the Chargers had fans that attended the game. Go back to San Diego already and take the Clippers with you.
Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 6, after losing to the Jets, the Cowboys have been relegated to the XFL. After the Eagles lost to the Falcons, Philly will need to make another “rage room” for their fans to break things like the Flyers did. Remember when we were told Baker Mayfield was an MVP candidate and the Browns were Super Bowl contenders? Me neither. I’m sure the Dolphins will be voting for Bernie Sanders. Under his plan, any team with 12 or more wins will have to donate a win to Miami. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota came into the NFL in the same year, and come out of the NFL in the same year. Both are now turnover machines.
We’re just a week away from the NBA season getting underway, and the Lakers have to be holding their breath already on Anthony Davis. AD injured his thumb in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Nets. Somebody needs to put this man in bubble wrap until the season starts. This team can win the NBA title , but they are going to have to run the perfect race. Not expending too much energy during the regular season, getting guys rest and keeping them healthy, but winning enough games to have favorable position in the West. Sooner than later though, Frank Vogel is going to have to play a real rotation in the preseason so this team can build some chemistry. Until then, Dwight Howard will be playing video games, slamming candy, and buying more snakes.
Oh by the way, the Clippers have also been playing NBA preseason games. Were you aware? Did you care? Well it just so happens the Clippers lost by 20 points to the Nuggets in the preseason. If the Lakers lost by 20 points in the preseason, the media would spend the next week talking about how Anthony Davis and Lebron have no chemistry, how the Lakers are dysfunctional, and can’t defend anybody. Meanwhile, nobody says anything about the Clippers because nobody gives a damn about them. Actually, the only time somebody feels the need to comment on them, it’s usually to ask the question of whether or not they are better than the Lakers, or to slander the Lake Show. That should tell you everything about their relevance in the LA sports landscape.
Then there’s the crisis the NBA is dealing with in China. We just spent the last couple of seasons hearing the players and the league stand up for freedom, freedom of speech, human rights, and racial equality. Now that China is a massive financial partner for the league, everyone is afraid to express how they really feel and rally behind Daryl Morey’s tweet against China’s dictatorship. I’m not saying the league doesn’t have a right to play it safe and not take a political stance because the financial implications are so great. However, when this is over, the league and the players shouldn’t be parading around pretending like they are political and social crusaders. Otherwise, nobody would be able to take them seriously.
I hear local grocery stores in LA are offering free tickets to USC games with their purchase of $35 or more of groceries. That’s perfect so Trojan fans can cover their heads with the grocery bags during the games. USC didn’t embarrass themselves on Saturday against Notre Dame, and their talent helped keep them in the game against a good team, but their coaching couldn’t help them win it. Not sure why Clay Helton believes in running back by committee when Markese Stepp is averaging 7 yards a carry. Don’t be surprised if Notre Dame sneaks into the College Football Playoff again. They just moved up to 8th in the AP Poll, and 4 of the 7 teams in front of them are going to play each other before the season is over. Carol Folt was ready to fire Clay Helton then she got distracted checking out referees.
Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. It was a little earlier than I thought, but I loved seeing an episode fully dedicated to the Alpha backstory. I’d love to see one dedicated to Negan as well. The fact that Lydia cleans herself off and Alpha doesn’t says everything about her character. Anybody else think Alpha was going to savagely squeeze that woman’s head like a grape? She was just playing with human remains like she’s peeling potatoes on a Sunday afternoon. Beta is like a cross between Michael Myers and Jason from Friday the 13th. Maybe the weirdest moment in 10 seasons of the show was seeing Alpha and Beta hold hands. Bummer we didn’t get to see who Beta is under the mask, but overall, good episode. Now somebody get this woman some skin care products immediately.
For the last 6 months you’ve wondered why I just won’t lay off the Dodgers. I was ready to lay into them on Monday Morning Coffee. Then Russell Martin turned back the clock like Frank McCourt still owned the team and helped them open up a can in the 6th inning last night. This series isn’t over, but the Dodgers have the edge. I’ve always been nervous about the Dodger pen, but when you look at the Nationals’ pen it makes Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen look like Dennis Eckersley and Mariano Rivera. The Nationals have two pitchers left they can trust in Scherzer and Strasburg. They can only pitch so many innings, but at some point, the Dodgers need to him them if they are going to the NLCS. Hopefully Cody Bellinger is ready to break out because up until the 6th inning, he had disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa. Corey Seager hadn’t shown much life either and hasn’t driven anybody home since high school Prom. Meanwhile, AJ Pollock should be chained to the bench in favor of Enrique Hernandez until he figures it out. This has nothing to do with your tired “Playoff Kershaw” narrative, or that Kenley Jansen might not have it anymore. This team needs to have discipline at the plate when they are facing elite pitching. And for god sakes Andrew Friedman, did you really need to make Dave Roberts take out Hyun-Jin Ryu after 74 pitches when he was cruising? When their bullpen is dog tired this evening it could come back to bite them. Dodger baseball is sure to give you plenty of anxiety come October.
Elsewhere around the MLB playoffs, the postseason doesn’t actually start until the Oakland A’s lose in the Wild Card game. A tradition unlike any other. Why isn’t TBS using Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on these broadcasts? They would probably know as much as they do when they stick them on the March Madness broadcasts. Gerrit Cole had so many strikeouts in game 2 of the ALDS vs Tampa, if you read the box score and looked at the long list of “k”‘s and nothing else, it looks like an angry girlfriend responding to a series of texts. The Twins have been bleeding runs against the Yankees. Their best chance to win the series is if the Yankees have some plane trouble, and can’t fly back to Minnesota for games 3 and 4. Let’s just get to the Yankees and Astros already.
The Angels are just fooling everyone and are going to hire Joe Maddon right? They wouldn’t really be foolish enough to fire Brad Ausmus just one year in, and not have a plan in place…….right? Stay tuned because it’s either the Halos know something, or Arte Moreno and Billy Eppler are total buffoons. It’s one or the other and nothing in between.
To the NBA, where the Lakers opened up the preseason on Saturday night at the new Chase Center against the Warriors. I know I know. All of you “prisoner of the moment” Laker fans saw AD and Lebron play one half of basketball and you can barely stay in your shoes. Look, it’s Lebron and Anthony Davis. If you think they weren’t going to be good together you probably don’t understand basketball. However, it’s also preseason, so we shouldn’t be drawing too many conclusions, other than the fact Magic Johnson still looks like a fool on Twitter. Still, one thing that’s safe to conclude is that this team clearly looks like they are enjoying playing with each other, and are having fun in the early going. That’s something that seemed nonexistent last year. Also, watch out for Alex Caruso. He may look like a 7th grade math teacher, but he’s going to be a significant part of the rotation.
Meanwhile, I hope Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are enjoying their experience in LA so far. Everywhere they go, they are getting booed. Dodger games, Ram games, coffee shops. This is how it is, and how it should be. I’m not sure Kawhi Leonard really cares, because all he cares about are the 50 cent chicken wings he eats at Wing Stop. However, Paul George probably does care because he wanted to be loved coming back home. The Clippers also need to hope that when PG13 recovers from his shoulder injury, “Playoff P” isn’t the same dude that got locked up by Joe Ingles in the 1st round.
To the NFL, where watching the Rams play defense for 4 quarters is more frustrating than watching a Democratic or Republican debate on TV. Marcus Peters and the secondary have been burned repeatedly in the last two weeks, and their offensive line has been wildly inconsistent. Nevertheless, the last two losses are nothing to get too down about. Jared Goff is making big throws, Todd Gurley is starting to look like Todd Gurley again, and the Rams had a chance to win the last two games despite their issues. This team is still a good bet to win the division, and I can assure you that Sean McVay is going to do everything he can to fix the offensive line and clean up the secondary as the season goes on.
Is there a bigger embarrassment than the Chargers? They got manhandled by a Broncos team that was coming in winless. I would say they got beat at home, but the entire stadium was decked out in Orange, so it was most definitely not a home game. Philip Lindsay ran all over the Bolts like he was Bo Jackson. Plus the most “Charger thing” ever was seeing them turn the ball over twice inside the Denver 5 yard line. I’m not sure how much longer the Chargers plan on screwing around with games like this, but it’s sure to cost them a playoff spot. This isn’t about the injuries. It’s about lack of focus and lack of execution when it matters. That sounds like Charger football.
Elsewhere around Week 5, the NFL sent the Raiders and Bears to play in London, and England has informed the US that the next time they send these two teams to play in their country they will consider it an act of terror and will declare war on the US. The Redskins just having a 7-0 lead on the Patriots was the highlight of their season. The Vikings must be pleased they got a few dollars worth this week on their $100 million investment in Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen. Jared Cook got hit so hard in that Saints vs Bucks game, he suddenly remembered how to catch TD passes. The Dolphins are so bad, they were defeated soundly by their bye week. Dear NFL Redzone…..we didn’t need to see any of the Cardinals-Bengals. We’re good.
If Chip Kelly’s goal is to show everyone that he can evolve with the game of football, he’s failing miserably at UCLA. He’s not only shown that he can’t develop Dorian-Thompson Robinson, he can’t even re-invent a system around him that is effective. Kelly insists that his old high tempo offense is outdated, but his new offense is hot garbage. He also has gotten two great performances from Demetrius Felton in the last 3 games, yet Felton’s playing time is wildly inconsistent. This man has absolutely no idea what he’s doing, and the most alarming aspect of it is he sounds completely indifferent to whether or not he succeeds. UCLA is now losing home games to Oregon State. The team hasn’t been this bad since World War II, and back then it didn’t cost $25 million to lose games like it does now.
Thanks to a new California law, the NCAA now must allow their athletes to make money off their likeness. I wonder if that means USC athletes will get paid more than are now? In all seriousness, I’m come around quite a bit on this issue. The NCAA is one of the most corrupt organizations around, but they have tried to bamboozle people for years thinking that they are all about education and school pride. Wrong. The NCAA is about making millions of dollars at the expense of football and men’s basketball players. These student athletes don’t need to make millions of dollars, but they need money to by textbooks, and afford a meal on a Friday night. A scholarship by itself does not allow for those things. Not to mention that for the rare extremely elite athletes like Zion Williamson, they should be compensated for bringing millions of dollars to the school. We don’t stop music majors from making money on record deals while in school, so why should we stop athletes? This might be a huge advantage for USC and UCLA in recruiting until you realize they have dopes like Chip Kelly and Clay Helton in charge.
Finally, the season premiere of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. The show started off slow, but the last 15 minutes were pretty awesome. Typical… Russians interfering with the zombie apocalypse too. Elections aren’t enough. I hope Oceanside burns down at this point. Where did everybody get all this weaponry? It’s like they found a Game of Thrones rummage sale in the apocalypse. Of course Eugene was super creepy looking at Rosita while she was breast feeding. Seeing Darryl and Carol reunited was the feel good moment of the premiere, I’m sure some of you wanted to grab a tissue when the friendship bracelet came out. Of course the stare down at the end between Carol and Alpha was pretty epic too. At some point I hope Carol will make her “look at the flowers.” The show has a much different feel and isn’t the same without Rick Grimes, but they are keeping it interesting so far.