Monday Morning Coffee

October 1, 2018

So this is really what it’s come down to? The Dodgers messed around with bad teams all season long, and now they are stuck playing a must win game this afternoon against the Rockies.  It’s absolutely must-win today because if the Dodgers have to go to Milwaukee or Chicago for a Wild Card game, they would be starting Ross Stripling or Alex Wood.  That’s like going into a gun fight with a water pistol.  If the Dodgers can make it to Thursday, I like their chances in the NLDS.  However, I don’t like their chances of getting there.  Dave Roberts is powerless against the computer that tells him to pull his starting pitchers when they are cruising in the 6th inning.  He’s become nothing more than a flight attendant that will offer you a cocktail when the turbulence hits.  Their bullpen makes me more nervous than Judge Kavanaugh after a few beers, and their offense can’t manufacture runs when they need to.  Here’s to hoping I’m wrong but the season could very well end by Tuesday.

I like how just two weeks ago, Mike Scioscia said he wasn’t necessarily going to step down as Manager as the Angels, yet the Halos basically told him he was going to.  In fact, forcing him out couldn’t have been more obvious than when they started putting up all kinds of tributes to Scioscia during the regular season finale yesterday.  He had a great run of putting the Halos back on the map and completely changing the perception of the franchise.  However, over the last decade, Scioscia’s fit with the team became a lot more of a “square peg in a round hole”.  Instead of giving him players that could leverage his small ball style, Arte Moreno mettled with the front office, forcing them to spend money on aging sluggers.  It also didn’t help that they gave him a pitching staff that all needed their arms surgically re-attached.  This team has a lot of questions to answer moving forward, starting with getting a long-term commitment from Mike Trout.

When it comes to the preseason for any sports, I usually don’t care, and I find that going to preseason games is for suckers.  You pay regular season prices to see the best players play very few minutes.  Even with all that being said, it was hard not to get excited about Lebron in a Laker uniform last night in the team’s first preseason game, so I had to catch some of it.  In the early going, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma look like they are going to be much improved.  It’s going to be a major work in progress with all the new faces on the team.  It’s always dangerous to draw any major conclusions from preseason action, but i think we can all agree one one thing: If Lance Stephenson ends up playing like garbage, Lebron needs to make it a point to blow in his ear.

What a show the Rams and Vikings put on display Thursday Night at the Coliseum.  Who says that LA can’t support an NFL team? They support winners, and now that the Rams are winning, I didn’t even see any empty seats at game time on an early Thursday evening game.  When did Jared Goff become Joe Montana? I guess he got tired of people saying he could be the only weakness on the Rams.  Yes it’s only week 4, but at the moment they are clearly the best team in football, making it look easy.  Let’s talk about more important things though, like Coach Sean McVay’s girlfriend.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to do some Googling.  Then you’ll realize that it doesn’t matter what happens on game day.  McVay is winning every time he goes home.

Then there’s the Chargers who nearly lost to a team with their hobbled backup quarterback at home. Of course I use the term “at home” loosely, since one again, about two-thirds of the stadium were filled with the opposing teams’ fans.  The Bolts should also probably start going for 2 after every score, or just have Philip Rivers start kicking for them.  How ironic as well, since they play in a soccer stadium, yet that’s their biggest issue.  That could only happen to the Chargers.  This team is destined for another mediocre 7 or 8 win season.

Elsewhere around the NFL, last week the Patriots were finished.  This week, everybody is going to say they are headed to the Super Bowl.  The Cowboys are going to throw a parade in the city of Dallas after beating the Lions.  So will the Browns, just for making it to three straight overtime games.  Since the Raiders actually found the win column, Jon Gruden thinks he’s God’s gift to coaching.  The Steelers are probably willing to trade Le’Veon to Seattle for an injured Earl Thomas.  The Ryan Fitzpatrick era is definitely over, and Jameis Winston will be celebrating by stealing crab legs and groping Uber drivers.

To the college ranks where the Trojans tried really hard to blow it, but they managed to defeat Arizona on Saturday night.  This team took so many penalties, it was like they were trying to get Clay Helton fired.  He certainly doesn’t need any more help doing that, because the man is well on his way when you consider how unprepared the team looks every week.  Helton probably shouldn’t pick up his phone if his caller ID says “Lynn”.  The sad part about all this is that USC can perform this mediocre throughout the rest of this season and still end up in the Conference Championship Game. With the exception of Notre Dame, there is nobody left on the schedule this year where if they win, Helton should get a lot of credit for.  It’s a team that is destined for mediocrity for some time to come, and at the moment, the athletic department and the administration seem perfectly ok with it.

Then there’s the disaster that has been UCLA football, which is now 0-4 after getting blown out by Colorado on Friday.  Chip Kelly is 2-19 in his last 21 football games, and with every game he looks more like the Jon Gruden of College Football.  Calling Kelly “progressive” now is like calling Donald Trump liberal.  I’m still befuddled  why he refuses to run the offense that he did at Oregon.  I also have no idea when these guys are going to actually find the win column, because it’s definitely not coming next week against 10th ranked Washington.  If the team goes winless does he end up getting fired?  This is most certainly not what UCLA thought they were getting when they moved heaven and earth to hire Kelly.  It’s getting so bad, Kelly is beginning to make Steve Alford look like a good coach.

Notre Dame had an impressive victory over Stanford, which is creating a lot more questions.  If Ian Book is really this good, why did it take Brian Kelly 5 weeks to make him the full-time starter?  He only sees him in practice everyday, unlike the rest of us.  This means that Book has either been doing it with smoke and mirrors for the last couple of weeks, or Brian Kelly has been doing too many tequila shots at The Linebacker Inn.  I guess we’ll find out soon.  Meanwhile, Alabama is still dominating it’s games so hard that students didn’t even show up this weekend so they can try and hook up with their cousins.  Great game between Ohio State and Penn State on Saturday night.  The Buckeyes got the win, but KJ Hamler ran so fast, it was like he was running away from Jerry Sandusky.

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