Monthly Archives: October 2021

Monday Morning Coffee

October 25, 2021

I’m so thankful that Max Scherzer saved his arm for game 7. I’m glad he’ll be nice and rested for that. Oh wait, there will be no game 7! In all seriousness though, the Dodgers were a team that just ran out of depth and ran out of gas. The pitchers looked exhausted from trying to catch the Giants and beating them in a grueling five game series. The offense could never find it’s groove, hitting just .244 with runners in scoring position. The injuries eventually caught up with them. There were plenty of terrible decisions Andrew Friedman’s computer forced Dave Roberts to make, but ultimately, they lost because they didn’t hit when it mattered. It’s the all or nothing home run or die approach that has been a problem for this team for a while now. It’s that approach will needs a bit of re-evaluation, but I doubt you’ll see it. It’s a disappointing end to the season, but it’s better that they lost to the Braves than than to the Giants, or an Astros team they would have been outmanned against. Now comes a potentially dreadful off-season, where five key free agents need to be re-signed. I would love to see all of them come back, but I have my doubts they all will, unless a few are willing take a discount.

I’m not going to sugar coat this one: The Lakers look like garbage to start the season. They were also fortunate Lebron avoided a catastrophic injury. Even with the win last night against Memphis, their offense is totally out of sync at times and completely disjointed. Their defense is now tanking like Joe Biden’s approval rating. Yes it’s early, but they didn’t even look competitive against the Suns, and the Warriors are already lighting them up without Klay. If this team is really the championship contender they say they are, they have a ton of work to do before it happens. Russell Westbrook played better last night, but looks completely awkward at times in this offense. I don’t know who Austin Reaves is, but he needs to play more minutes. My biggest fear is really that if things continue to go south, Frank Vogel will take the blame for it, and he could get canned. That would be terrible because the Lakers really lucked out when they hired him, and ended up with a pretty damn good coach. The schedule is soft, so if they don’t bank those wins now, it’s only going to get much worse, which is a huge concern. THT, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, and Wayne Ellington can’t get back on the floor soon enough.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are off to a slow start after losing to both the Warriors and the Grizzlies. Paul George is actually doing his part so far, so I can’t really bring the jokes at him like I usually do, but nobody else is really earning their paycheck so far. They’ll get the Blazers tonight, who haven’t exactly been tearing it up in their first two games either, with losses to the Warriors and Kings. If the Clips are going to stay afloat without Kawai, they are going to need Marcus Morris, Terrance Mann, and Luke Kennard to step it up. Mann has the potential to do some special things at times, but Morris and Kennard are being paid for who knows what at this point given their inconsistent production. Of course Ty Lue says he expected a slow start to slow everyone’s roll on expectations, but that’s tough to do when you’re trying to hang in the Western Conference.

To the NFL, where the Rams got by the Lions yesterday at SOFI Stadium. This game was nearly Jared Goff’s revenge, but the Rams pulled it off. I’m not sure whether to look at this as just a Sunday where they took the Lions lightly, or if there is more to be concerned about. The Lions did take advantage of the Rams on special teams with opportunistic, “smoke and mirrors” type plays. However, we may not know for sure until they play the 49ers in a few weeks, because right now their schedule is softer than tissue paper. Cooper Kupp is still a monster though, and making me think that he’s the best receiver in the NFL more and more every week. That had to have been Jared Goff’s worst nightmare, getting smashed by Aaron Donald and throwing an interception to Jalen Ramsey.

Elsewhere around Week 8, Derrick Henry is throwing more touchdown passes these days than New York Jets QB’s, as the Titans dismantled the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes just hasn’t been the same since that engagement photo was taken. The Chiefs are in last in the AFC West, The Bengals are in 1st in the AFC North, and the Cardinals are still undefeated. Is this a simulation? The Dolphins are now just 1-6, and massage therapists all over Miami are trembling at the thought of DeShaun Watson getting traded there. Sam Darnold must miss his days a a member of the Jets, because he’s suddenly playing like he’s their starting QB again. The Raiders suddenly look a lot better without Jon Gruden coaching them, Tom Brady is still putting up video game numbers, and the Colts suddenly remember how to win football games again.

That was a predictable outcome with USC getting blown out by Notre Dame in South Bend on Sunday. If only Brian Kelly would stop playing musical quarterbacks, the Irish might actually get to that elite level. As for USC, I feel like every week we’re just watching the same undisciplined Trojan team take the field, and look completely unstructured. It makes everyone ask themselves who they want as the next head coach, and James Franklin seems to be the favorite to win the job. However, after watching Penn State’s offense over the weekend struggle with lowly Illinois, I’m not sure how fired up people are going to be about bringing that offense to USC.

Meanwhile, UCLA blew a great opportunity to give themselves credibility with a win against Oregon. It was a close game, but Chip Kelly could have validated himself and his success this season with a win. That wasn’t the case though, as Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Bruin offense just couldn’t make enough big plays when it mattered. On the bright side though, UCLA still has a chance to meet Oregon again in the conference title game, which could actually give them a shot at the Rose Bowl. They’ll need ASU to lose a game or two, but if the Bruins show up every week, which is a big if and all, they could have a nice finish to the season.

Finally, I was told that the LA Kings were going to be much improved this year. Their 1-3-1 record so far suggests that I was lied to. Now they might be without their star defenseman Drew Doughty for a period of time. On one hand I’m happy to see that they are finally putting some of their kids in the lineup like Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, and Tobias Bjornfot. However, it’s obvious now this is going to take time to see which prospects can play right now and which can’t. Through five games, they are already trending toward the bottom third of the league in goals allowed. They also seem to be allergic to hitting people these days. It’s like we’re watching the 1990’s LA Kings all over again. Right now this still feels like a painful rebuild from hell, but here’s to hoping it’s just early.

Kings' Drew Doughty injured on illegal knee-to-knee hit by Stars' Jani Hakanpaa. Hakanpaa was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit, which came after Doughty entered the Dallas zone near the boards and passed the puck inside.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 18, 2021

The Dodgers are down 0-2 in the NLCS against the Braves, and you can thank that to all the over-managing Andrew Friedman is doing. I feel terrible for Dave Roberts, since all these idiots out there think he is the one making these ridiculous decisions. Why did the computer put Julio Urias out there and why does the computer think it has to use every single damn player on the roster in these games? The Braves are a good team, but nobody has beaten the Dodgers like they have beaten themselves in these first two games. The offense has been horribly inconsistent, and they’ve had numerous opportunities to put these games away, yet they haven’t. They are just 1-15 in the series with runners in scoring position. I sure hope the Boys in Blue plan on sweeping these middle three games of the series at home and not get cute, because this Braves team isn’t going to let the Dodgers come back on them again if they go up 3-1 this year.

Before we jump to the NFL, let’s look back at their series against the Giants. Honestly, do you really think any Dodger fan cares about the fact people are focusing on a blown check swing call that was the final play of the series? Before you become prisoner of the moment remember: THE DODGERS WERE CHEATED OUT OF A WORLD SERIES TITLE BY THE ASTROS. Who cares about a check swing? It’s a shame people are talking about that instead of how great of a series it was. But if you’re still stuck on the check swing, if you were paying attention, the entire series had poor calls around check swings and poor calls all around. The Dodgers are also doing this without Max Muncy, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May, so I have no sympathy for the Giants, who got every break in the book to get to this point in the season. They had a great season, but the Dodgers made just a couple of more plays to get by them. As for the rivalry, it just felt so personal. Bay Area folks thinks LA is soft. LA folks think the Bay Area should shut up and keep living with their 12 roommates and collecting their $800K salaries from Google while living paycheck to paycheck.

To the NFL where the Rams dismantled the New York Giants yesterday in the Big Apple. Cooper Kupp looks like the best receiver in the NFL, and Matthew Stafford continues to look solid in Sean McVay’s system. However, McVay thumbed his nose at the win, citing that the offense started too slow. That may be true, but it’s an east coast game at 10:00 am PST, which is when most of these guys would be just coming out of their pajamas if they were at home. It was really nice to see the defense return to form though, because the last few weeks the Rams defense has been pretty average. The good news is the schedule is soft for a few weeks so they can keep banking wins while fine tuning the offense. The bad news is that the Arizona Cardinals are a house of fire and won’t stop kicking the crap out of teams. There’s time to get it together before they meet again. In the meantime, Matt Stafford is out here throwing no-look passes like he’s Magic Johnson.

As for the Chargers, they got smoked by the Ravens in Baltimore. I knew the Bolts might have a hard time stopping the run, but Lamar Jackson and the Ravens run game made them look like high school tacklers. The Charger receivers were also dropping balls like it was New Years Eve. It wasn’t their night and makes you second guess if they really are among the cream of the crop in the AFC. Nevertheless, the rest of their schedule lights up from here, with a game against New England coming up. What was extra weird about this one was seeing Justin Herbert struggle. I’m not even sure that’s ever happened in his NFL career, but it’s also tough to put up numbers when the other team dominates you on time of possession all day. For now, let’s just chalk this one up to a tough day, while there are likely much better days ahead for this squad.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 6, they found Jon Gruden on emails talking like he was playing Call of Duty against a teenager, so the Raiders fired him and then they went out and beat the Broncos. The Chiefs beat the Washington Football Team, and leaked emails showed that Andy Reid has 10,000 Grubhub receipts from the last decade. The Jaguars got by the Dolphins in London, and not only do we send crappy teams overseas, but we also send crappy referees. They might as well give Aaron Rodgers the keys to the city of Chicago, because he still owns the Bears as he shouted in the Packers win over the Bears. The Bengals beat the Lions, and Detroit is wondering if they can return Jared Goff to the Rams like a Macy’s department store. The Colts beat up the Texans, and Houston is probably wondering why TY Hilton finally played like he was 10 years younger against only them. The Cowboys outlasted the Patriots, and Jerry Jones celebrated by basically making out with his son. As for Thursday Night Football, the Bucs had more trouble with jersey swaps than playing against the Eagles.

To College Football where USC had a bye, but UCLA picked up another win, this time on the road against Washington. They are now 5-2 and 3-1 in the PAC-12. For a second there it felt like the Bruins were doing everything they could to give that game away and let the Huskies back in it. Thank God Dorian Thompson-Robinson decided to show up in the final quarter to help put the game away. I really have no idea what we will get on a game-to-game basis with DTR and Chip Kelly. Now here comes #9 Oregon. If Chip Kelly really wants to make something out of this season, he’s gotta win that game, and he needs DTR to come up big. I’m skeptical they can do it, but if there’s any hope left to winning the Pac-12 South and going to the Rose Bowl, this is where it has to happen. Plus, there has to some extra motivation for Chip against Oregon right? Right? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking at this point.

Finally, the NBA season gets underway on Tuesday, and the Lakers will get things going by hosting the Warriors. However, I’m not so sure they will really get things going because they have looked like crap in the early going. They don’t sound concerned about going 0-6 in the pre-season, but I’m even more concerned about it when I listen to the players talk. They all sound like they realize it’s going to take time to sort out chemistry and get on the same page. I get that, but the Lakers also had a bunch of new players during the 2019-2020 season, and it didn’t top them from coming out hot and eventually winning a Championship. These guys sound more like they are ready for an afternoon nap rather than an NBA season. There’s also the mounting injuries that are occurring to every good wing the Lakers have. They might want to consider bringing in Avery Bradley for the time being, who was waived by the Warriors. As part of the deal though, Bradley should have to stay in a 3-star Orlando hotel for 3 months since he bailed on the Lakers when they were in the bubble.

Finally, the Clippers are also gearing up for the season as well. They’ll open the season on the road against the Warriors on Thursday. It’s going to be up to Paul George, Marcus Morris, and Terrance Mann to carry the load with Kawhi out for a while. I’m sure the Clippers are feverishly trying to unload a can of coke and a bag of Dorritos for John Wall, but I don’t think the Rockets are into the idea of taking back Luke Kennard. Wall would definitely make the Clippers interesting, but for now, it doesn’t look like that’s happening. In any case, this team is still good enough to stay afloat in the West.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 11, 2021

The Dodger offense gives us more ups and downs than riding a bunch of roller coasters and Six Flags Magic Mountain. They responded on Saturday night with a Championship level performance, blowing out the Giants 9-2, and tying the NLDS Series 1-1. This series is an absolute coin flip. Max Scherzer going in game 3 against Alex Wood feels like a huge advantage, but we said the same thing a few weeks ago when Walker Buehler was on the mound, and we thought the Dodgers were gonna take the division. It would really help if Cody Bellinger turned into at least half the player he was two years ago. He finally showed flashes of it on Saturday, but the Boys in Blue will need more from him if they expect to win this series. Prior to that, I don’t know who was worse: Bellinger or Joe West? This is a classic series that may very well go five games, and whoever wins will probably win the World Series. Buckle up Dodger fans!

To the NBA, where the Lakers are just a week away from starting the season. It’s good to see Anthony Davis healthy for now, but Russell Westbrook looks like he hasn’t touched a basketball in months. Trevor Ariza probably won’t either now that he’s out for the next 8 weeks with a foot injury. I don’t love to put a lot of stock in preseason results, but it sure would be nice if the Lakers found the win column a little more often. They sure don’t seem concerned, but maybe it’s just the fact I am still traumatized by the win-less pre-season back in 2012, when the Kobe-Nash-Gasol-Dwight Howard team didn’t live up to expectations. Speaking of Pau, he deserves a big time congratulations on a fantastic career after he announced his retirement. This guy is one of the greatest European players in NBA history, and also among the greatest big men in Laker history. He resurrected the Lakers in the 2nd half of the Kobe era, and made watching the team fun again.

To the NFL, where the Rams rebounded nicely against the Seahawks on Thursday night. They also took Russell Wilson’s finger in the process, like we were watching “The Blair Witch Project”. I’d really like to see the Rams involve Robert Woods more, as they did on Thursday night. He’s another huge weapon, but Matt Stafford ignores him sometimes like he’s some crazy ex-girlfriend. The schedule is looking great for the Rams though for the next 4 weeks. They’ve got an amazing opportunity to seize the division, so they should take every advantage of it.

Only the Browns could lose a game in which they scored 40 points and had 500+ yards, and 0 turnovers. The Chargers were the beneficiaries, improving to 4-1 on the season. Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler look like they are playing in the arena league right now with the stats the are putting up, and the Bolts are looking pretty good. The only game the Chargers have lost was to a Cowboys team that is pretty good. The Bolts look like a playoff team right now, but I’m not counting out Kansas City just yet. The Chiefs have too much talent to think they aren’t going to get their act together at some point.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 5, England has said that if we ever send the Jets and Falcons to play there again, they will consider it an act of terror and declare war against the United States. Mason Crosby was kicking like he was drunk, but he came through in OT to help the Packers beat the Bengals. The Chiefs lost to the Bills, and you know that always means Patrick Mahomes fiancĂ© is complaining about the refs. The Bears beat up on the Raiders, then the Raider fans beat up on each other. The Jaguars lost to the Titans, and Urban Meyer’s wife is about to enter the transfer portal.

To the College ranks where the Trojans got embarrassed by Utah on Saturday at home. USC and penalties. Name a more iconic duo…..I’ll wait. This team is a disaster and it’s probably a good thing because it’s exposing everything they need a quality coach to fix. Also, you have to wonder about Urban Meyer, and if he’s doing everything in his power to try and get out of the job in Jacksonville. Even if that’s true though, you have to wonder even more if the administration would hire him with all the controversy he brings to the table. This is one I’m keeping an eye on.

I’m also keeping an eye on the ups and downs of the UCLA Bruins. UCLA went on the road and smoked Arizona, and I still have no idea who this team is. They stink one week, and then they can look elite in another. I’m not so sure that’s acceptable because this is about as good as it’s going to get for Chip Kelly, with so many experienced kids at his disposal. I still think his biggest problem though is at quarterback, where Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the symbol of these week-to-week ups and downs. That mediocre development is largely on Kelly though. DTR was not great over the weekend, but it didn’t matter because the Bruins ran the hell out of the ball. We’ll see which Bruins team shows up next week at Washington.

Finally, nice episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen it and want to watch it later. Pope’s death definitely took me by surprise. Even more surprising was seeing Leah do it, and then seeing her turn on Daryl. Maybe it was the fact that Daryl sliced up one of her brothers like some sashimi that turned her. I bet most of you also missed the fact that one of the Reaper’s named “Deavor”, was on both “The Bold and The Beautiful” and “All My Children.” We’re a third of the way through the final season, and it’s actually been pretty good. I’m looking forward to seeing this show come back in February. It might not be with all the characters we wanted, but they’ve done a decent job re-inventing the show.

TWD 1108 Pope death

Monday Morning Coffee

October 4, 2021

I don’t even know where to begin in this disappointing weekend. Let’s start with the Dodgers. I’m completely sick over Clayton Kershaw’s injury, and the fact he might be done for the season, let alone maybe done as a Dodger. As for the division, the Dodgers had their chances to overtake the Giants. They blew it in multiple head-to-head games that could have made up the one game difference. Since acquiring Max Scherzer and Trea Turner though, the Dodgers have gone 43-13, yet they only gained one game on the Giants. Only six teams have had a stretch like that over the last decade. That’s how good the Giants have been this season, and also how good the Dodgers have been despite all the injuries. The Cardinals have been so hot, I’m nervous as hell for Wednesdays game. Even if the Dodgers are lucky enough to survive, I can’t say I feel great about a 5-game series against the Giants without home field advantage. Not to mention, they probably will be without Max Muncy for all that as well. Dodger fans can’t possibly tell you that they are confident going into this week. If they are, they are lying like a politician.

Before I get to football, I’ve gotta mention the Angels. Arte Moreno has been put on notice by Joe Maddon and Shohei Ohtani. First Maddon said he needs reinforcements, and then Ohtani suggested he would go elsewhere when he’s a free agent unless the team improves. Given that the team’s minor league operations have not significantly improved since the reports have come out criticizing Moreno, I can’t say I’m all that confident he’s going to respond to the criticism by improving the team. There might be plenty of pitching available this off-season, but I don’t see the Halos outbidding their competitors for it. I’m not sure how embarrassed Arte has to be to take action, but nothing has seem to make him change his behavior so far. I have no reason to believe yet that this will be any different.

To the NFL, where the Rams just got dismantled by the Cardinals yesterday at Sofi Stadium. I think we better slam the brakes on all that talk of the Rams being the best team in football, because they aren’t even the best team in their division anymore. Matthew Stafford looked completely average, Sean McVay was out-coached, and the defense got completely dominated by Kyler Murray. I’m not sure what to make of the Rams yet, but we don’t have much time to think about it because they play Seattle on Thursday night on the road. Hopefully Stafford and the Rams can turn it around quickly, or else they’ll have an uphill battle in the NFC West very quickly.

The Chargers and Raiders are going at it tonight at Sofi Stadium. I have the privilege of being able to attend the game tonight, but I’m sure we’re all thinking the same thing. How many Raider fans are going to be in attendance compared to the Charger fans? We already know more Raider fans are in LA, than any other place, so we can only assume tonight is going to be ridiculous with Raider Nation. Are there actually any Charger fans in LA? I doubt it, but I’m sure all 5 of them will be in attendance tonight.

Elsewhere around week 4 of the NFL, the Jets have actually won a football game. Please find a bomb shelter immediately. This is not a drill. The world is about to end. Tom Brady didn’t cook the Patriots like I thought he would, but he still played well enough to beat his former team. The real story though was Bill Belichick actually using a pencil as a toothpick on the sideline. The Colts destroyed the Dolphins, while Jacoby Brissett was busy destroying IPads on the sidelines. Even the Bears couldn’t even lose to the Lions, as pathetic as both teams are. Patrick Mahomes was playing PlayStation out there with 5 TD’s in the Chiefs win over the Eagles. And the Seahawks let Russ Cook and and that’s exactly what he did to the 49ers in Seattle’s win over San Francisco.

So USC obliterated Colorado over the weekend, but that’s really not the story. It’s the latest buzz around the coaching search. Luke Fickell’s name has been hot, but now rumors are he won’t want to move to the west coast. If USC can find a way to land him, or James Franklin, they should be ecstatic. However, neither seem like a slam dunk to make the move west, especially given the success they are having with their current programs. Cincinnati may very well end up in the CFB Playoff this year. Penn State has built themselves a hell of a program. Living in LA may be not as glamorous as it used to. We’ll find out soon enough. On the field, let’s be honest…..none of this really matters. The team will only go so far without a real caoch.

Finally, what the hell happened to UCLA on Saturday against ASU? There’s a level of consistency that this team just hasn’t been able to achieve under Chip Kelly. They were consistent for about 2 weeks. Then they looked like the same Bruins we’ve seen for the last few years under Kelly. This time the defense let them down. They were lifeless in the 2nd half, and that tells me Kelly is just not making adjustments. So much for thinking this team might be one of the better ones in the Pac-12.