August 29th, 2016
I have no idea how the Dodgers are winning, but they are lucky the Giants are a pile of hot garbage. San Francisco has been one of the worst teams in baseball, and somehow, the Dodgers are putting together wins. They’ve won four of their last six games against the Giants and Cubs, and are holding down a 2 game lead in the NL West. The more disturbing piece of Dodger news that happened last week was the trade of veteran catcher AJ Ellis to Philadelphia for catcher Carlos Ruiz. This was simply another example of Andrew Friedman valuing statistics over people. Ruiz may be a slightly better player, but everybody knows how important Ellis is to both Clayton Kershaw, and as a presence in the clubhouse. If clubhouse chemistry isn’t all that important, than why is Yasiel Puig still in the minor leagues? Puig is still a more talented player than Josh Reddick, who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat at the present time. I had to laugh when Andrew Friedman said that he made the trade in order give the Dodgers the best chance to win the World Series. Did you give the same consideration when you let Zack Greinke sign with the Diamondbacks? Or when you traded Dee Gordon to the Marlins? Despite a good showing against the Cubs, it’s this type of flawed approach that makes me doubt the Dodgers will last very long, even if they make it to October.
As for the Angels, i think it’s safe to say that Tyler Skaggs has recovered from his elbow injury. He’s just as inconsistent now, as he was prior to his surgery. We’re just a few days away from September, and the Halos have faded into irrelevance in both the Major League Baseball pennant race, and the Southern California sports landscape. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Mike Scioscia gets to keep his job, however, the Halos might end up with their worst record in the last twenty years, which would naturally lead to questions about his future. Even if the results on the field can mostly be attributed to injury, one has to ask themselves if a new voice in the clubhouse is necessary to get the Angels back to respectability,
To college football, where the Bruins are getting ready to open the season next week at Texas A&M. If there’s one thing I’m really looking forward to seeing, it’s whether or not Jim Mora Jr. has finally recruited some much bigger, stronger, and more physical offensive lineman. If so, this is exactly the type of game that can be won by managing it properly. Don’t turn the ball over, control the line of scrimmage, and ultimately the Bruins can win comfortably without Josh Rosen trying to be a hero. There’s been a lot of hype around the work that Mora Jr. has been doing in the recruiting department, and although the transformation of the program takes time, we need to start seeing wins against some of the more physical teams for UCLA to be taken seriously. I like the Bruins in this one to get their season off to a nice start.
As for the Trojans, I’m curious to see how much slack Clay Helton is going to get once they lose to Alabama next week. The schedule is completely brutal, and as much talent as USC has, they have a tremendous amount of inexperience at the quarterback position with Max Browne. Just listening to Helton talk about Browne makes me think he’s just hoping that Browne can be an effective game manager that can avoid the “critical error.” To make matters worse, USC is nursing an injury to guard Chad Wheeler, who is suffering from plantar fasciitis. The Trojans are looking at Alabama as the program they aspired to be during the Pete Carroll era, but even by those lofty standards, still fell short of the Crimson Tide’s sustained excellence. Alabama has four national titles since 2009, compared to two under Caroll, and USC hasn’t finished ahead of Alabama in the polls since 2010. It could be a brutal start for USC, but if they can salvage a win or two in their first four, they have the talent to do some damage after that.
Watching the Rams 3rd preseason game against the Broncos made me think they were ticketed for another mediocre season. The team just couldn’t muster much offense against an elite NFL defense. Case Keenum didn’t do much, Jared Goff did less, and both came away with injury scares, as did Pharaoh Cooper, who might even miss the opener now with a shoulder injury. There was absolutely nothing positive to take away from this game, other than the fact it’s over now. It’s games like that that make me ask myself the annual question: why do we need four preseason games? The answer is that it’s nothing more than a money grab by the owners, but as football fans, we are the ones who are going to suffer when we have to hold our breath that our teams best players don’t get hurt in these meaningless contests.
Speaking of getting hurt, there are some things in life that are certain: death, taxes, and Tony Romo injuring his back. This may actually be a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys. They’ll be forced to move on from the Tony Romo era with Dak Prescott. Then there’s Colin Kaepernick, who’s play has actually been far more offensive than his decision to not stand for the national anthem. There’s a time and place for everything. If you don’t like the Presidential candidates this fall, that’s fine, but there’s no need to disrespect those who fought for the United States by not honoring the National Anthem. Then again, maybe Kaepernick may just be pushing for the 49ers to release him, so this could have been some form of desperation in that regard. As for the Chargers, I can’t really blame them for their position in the Joey Bosa contract dispute, however, their decision to make the negotiations public was not wise. The Bolts already have a reputation of historically playing hardball in negotiations with some rookies (dating all the way back to Eli Manning) so there was no need to perpetuate this perception by going public with the details. Here’s a look at Tony Romo’s text inbox after his most recent injury…..
Finally, I think it’s great that the USOC is holding athletes like Ryan Lochte and Hope Solo accountable for their stupidity in Rio. Don’t get me wrong, Solo and Lochte are both great athletes, who have contributed a great deal to the US Olympic success in their respective sports, especially Lochte. However, these athletes also have a major responsibility to represent our country in the best way when they go abroad, especially when we are making an effort to try to bring the Olympics back to the US in 2024. The suspension for Solo was very appropriate, and one for Lochte should be in the works too.