October 7, 2019
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.