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Blazers Fan

Damian Lillard leads wild Blazers comeback in Oklahoma City 115-111 in OT posted by Blazers Fan

Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers came out on top in a wild point guard match-up against Russell Westbrook 115-111 in overtime in Oklahoma City.

The Blazers comeback would not have been were it not for a boneheaded series of plays from Westbrook. Westbrook was the biggest reason the Thunder were winning but a useless personal foul in the backcourt coupled with a technical allowed the Blazers to cut the lead to seven with no time coming off the clock.

Then Lillard came down and hit a deep three off a screen. In the blink of an eye the lead went from 10 to four.

Aldridge and Lillard combined for 32 of Portland’s final 42 points.


Another key to Portland’s success late was head coach Terry Stotts decided to match the Thunder’s 3-guard line-up with Steve Blake and bring in more athleticism in Dorell Wright. Wright didn’t play since his crucial role in Friday’s 3OT win against the Spurs.

Wright didn’t have the 3-point barrage he had against San Antonio but grabbed some crucial rebounds and had a nice tip in in overtime to give the Blazers breathing room.

The Blazers capped off an incredibly successful trip with wins against the Spurs, Pelicans and Thunder without Robin Lopez and getting two of those without Nicolas Batum. The Blazers are nearing the end of a grueling December which had 10 of 16 games on the road.

The Blazers are succeeding when schedules and injury continue seem to say they shouldn’t.

And with 7 of the next 10 days off, the Blazers have earned a considerable amount of rest. They are banged up and sick and certainly need it. Although Lillard and Matthews have played every night, you could tell with the amount of miscommunications the Blazers had tonight they were running out of gas.

Continue reading "Damian Lillard leads wild Blazers ..."


Rangers Fan

Neal Cotts posted by Rangers Fan

Born March 25, 1980, Neal Cotts is a MLB pitcher with the Texas Rangers. Cotts played for his college, Illinois State University, and won the honors of All-Missouri Valley Conference for his team. When he finished college, he was ranked all-time fifth in strikeouts, when he struck 263 in only three seasons, playing for the Redbirds. In 2001 draft, Cotts was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

Cotts started his professional career, playing the 2002 season for Modesto, a Single-A team of the California League. In 28 starts, he won 12 games. However, during the off-season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. For the 2003 season, Cotts was ranked third prospect in the franchise's system. He began the season playing for Birmingham, a Double-A team of the Southern League. He posted 131 strikeouts, 9-6 record, and 2.12 ERA. In August 2003, Cotts earned his first win against the Texas Rangers, when he pitched for five innings and allowed five hits. However, the season ended with Cotts posting 1-1 record and 8.10 ERA.

In 2006, the Chicago Cubs acquired Cotts in a trade, but in May 2007, he was optioned to play Iowa, a Triple-A team, when Cubs recalled Sean Marshall, a left-handed pitcher. In 2007, Cotts was again signed to a one-year contract by the Cubs and he started playing for Triple-A teams. He was recalled in May 2008, after the Cubs traded Scott Eyre, their veteran pitcher.

In January 2010, Pittsburg Pirates signed Cotts for playing minor league, but he was released in September, when he had to undergo hip surgery. In November 2010, Cotts signed a contract with the New York Yankees, but he was again released by February 2011 due to his physical issues. In 2012, Cotts signed a contract with the Texas Rangers but he was assigned to minor league. In May 2013, Cotts was back in the Major Leagues when he pitched against Oakland, but his performance has remained poor up to now.

Continue reading "Neal Cotts"


Richard Kagan

Devils Beat Rangers in OT posted by Richard Kagan

New Jersey beat the NY Rangers in game 6 in OT to oust the Rangers from the Eastern Conference Finals.  I live in NY and follow hockey and admit I was rooting for the Devils to prevail 3-2.  They did when rookie Adam Henrique scored early in OT to send New Jersey in the Finals, the fourth with Martin Brodeur as goalie.  Brodeur is on his way to the Hall of Fame when his career ends, and it is fitting that he reaches the Finals to try to go out on top. 

Offensively, the Rangers are challenged.  They have a great goalie in Henrik Lunqvist, who literally, carries this team on his back, every game.  The Rangers just don't have the firepower.  You can't win the Cup when you score 2-3 goals a game.  It's just not going to happen.  You have to put the puck in the net and give your goalie a night off, so to speak.  Let the wingers or centers be accountable.  NY had a great run.  The Devils are the better team.

Continue reading "Devils Beat Rangers in OT"


Richard Kagan

Kings vs. Rangers? posted by Richard Kagan

It is pretty certain that LA will come out of the Western Conference playoffs.  What remains much more in doubt is the Rangers-Devils series.  NY has a 1-0 lead in the best of 7.  But this series is by no means over.  The Rangers play almost the oppositie of LA.  They grind it out, slow down the game, and let their goalie become the anchor of defense.  A goal or two is usually all the Rangers need to win a game.  That pattern may remain in the Eastern Finals, but it will be sorely tested if NY plays the LA Kings. 

The sleeping giant, that is the LA Kings, has woke up with a vengence.  The Rangers play like the the little engine that could.  It huffs and puffs its way toward the finish line. 

Continue reading "Kings vs. Rangers?"


Joe Halstead

The Detroit TIgers Must Approach This April Like the Playoffs posted by Joe Halstead

It is said- and correctly so- that while a pennant may not be won in April, a pennant may be lost in April.

On this note, the Detroit Tigers have immediate cause for concern. Their early schedule- in the month of April alone- includes two more games against Boston, a three-game home series with the Tampa Bay Rays (April 10-12), a four-game home series against the American League Champion Texas Rangers (April 19-22) and, just to pour a bucket of salt water over the wounds incurred, a three-game series in the Bronx Apr. 27-29.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland is known for using his entire roster liberally. OFers Clete Thomas and Andy Dirks, and 2Bmen Danny Worth, Ramon Santiago and, eventually, Brandon Inge, might see significant playing time.

But, should they?

The Tigers made substitutions in the 2011 post-season out of necessity. They were beat up, and running out of players. Luckily, some of those substitutes stepped up in a big way, such as UT Don Kelly and Santiago.

However, the Tigers are at nearly 100% health, and they need their front line to do battle with the American League's best. 

So, here's hoping that Leyland doesn't tinker with his team too much. Obviously, he wants OF Delmon Young to continue what he's been doing for the Tigers since last August, which is to drive in runs. Surely, Leyland would also like to see one of his second basemen grab the brass ring. So far, all we have are multiple second basemen who play competently enough to hit .250 and turn the double play when necessary.

Ah, maybe, that is, until now. 2B/OF Ryan Raburn had the Spring Training of his life, batting over .400 for a stretch, eventually cooling a bit to a .268 average. However, he still slugged .661, having hit 6 HRs, 2 2Bs and a 3B. That accounts for nine of his 15 hits in the spring.

Continue reading "The Detroit TIgers Must Approach ..."


David

Edgar Martínez’s case for Cooperstown posted by David

One of the most talented hitters of the nineties did not receive enough votes for induction to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, but I’m hoping Edgar Martínez does not have to wait too much longer.  I don’t expect him to be elected in 2011 because too many voters don’t think a Designated Hitter is a full-time player.  (Martínez came up as a third baseman, but injuries forced him to become Seattle’s regular DH in 1995.)  In my opinion, if a poor defensive player can make it to Cooperstown based on his offensive contributions, then someone who does not play a defensive position should be able to do the same.

Martínez’s career stats include a .312 batting average, .418 on-base percentage, .515 slugging percentage, 2,247 hits, 309 home runs, and 1,261 RBIs.  His best season came in 1995, when he slugged .628 while leading the AL in batting average (.356), OBP (.479), OPS (1.107), doubles (52), and runs (121).  Despite his monster year, Martínez still finished third in the MVP race.  Fifteen years later, he remains the only designated hitter ever to win a batting title.

Martínez was a seven-time All-Star, won five Silver Slugger Awards, and had one of the biggest clutch hits in postseason history – a two-run double in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS that sent the Mariners to their first-ever Championship Series.  Seattle had been trailing the Yankees 5-4 and were three outs away from being eliminated from the playoffs; the turn of events sent the Yanks home instead after having blown a 2-0 series lead.  For the series, Martínez had a Ruthian line of .571/.667/1.000 and 10 RBIs – nine of them coming in the last two games.

Continue reading "Edgar Martínez’s case for Cooperstown"


David

A new champion is crowned posted by David

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who are World Champions for the first time since moving to the west coast more than 50 years ago.  Their last title in New York came in 1954, when Willie Mays made “the catch” that will be played on highlight reels forever.  The Giants came unbelievably close to not even making the playoffs this year, but the fans who claimed that watching their team was “torture” are now the happiest fans in baseball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Matt Cain?  The San Francisco hurler was nearly untouchable throughout the playoffs, outshining staff ace Tim Lincecum, who had a bad outing in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.  In three postseason starts, Cain allowed only an unearned run over 21.1 innings of work, going at least 6.2 innings in each outing and providing a huge boost to his team’s hunt for glory.  He might be the best #2 starter in the majors, but Matt Cain looked like the second coming of Cy Young when it mattered most for the Giants.

How about Brian Wilson?  The flamethrower’s postseason numbers included six saves (in seven chances) and a win in 11.2 innings pitched, allowing just an unearned run.  Additionally, Wilson allowed no more than one hit per appearance while anchoring the San Francisco bullpen.  Wilson gave Bruce Bochy the confidence this postseason usually reserved for Mariano Rivera’s manager when handing his closer the ball in October (or November).

How about the fantastic class of rookies in the postseason?  Stephen Strasburg wasn’t among them, but Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Danny Valencia (Twins), Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland (both Rangers) would make an incredible young team if they all played together.  In fact, even top prospect Domonic Brown, who compiled just 62 regular-season at-bats, was on the Phillies’ playoff roster.  Expectations will be high for this talented group, and here’s hoping none of them experiences too much of a sophomore slump.

Continue reading "A new champion is crowned"


Richard Kagan

Sox In Race To Win It posted by Richard Kagan

The Chicago White Sox won a big game 5-3, against the Texas Rangers.  Alexei Remirez hit a big two run blast in the 6th inning for the winning Sox.  The Sox climbed back in the race on a sorching hot streak.  They cooled off a bit on this road trip, dropping two out of three to KC, and then righting themselves with a big win tonight.  This coupled with losses by the Twins and Detroit give Chicago a fighting chance to do some damage right before the All-Star break. 

Right now, they would have to be one of the surprise teams in the AL.  Not because of where they are, but where they've been.  The Sox were in the outer reaches of the Twilight Zone before Interleague Play began.  And, then the ChiSox went on a winning streak that catapulted them back to Earth.   Things might not be so great between the manager and Ken Williams the Gen. Mgr, but winning is a healing elixir.  The team knows it can compete and is finding more confidence as the wins mount.  There is talent in the pitching staff.  Now, if some hitters can pick it up, this team should be flirting with first place soon.   Maybe then Ozzie can get some credit.  But really, it is the players who are performing well.

Actually, they need to win some games before we can laud them.  They have the talent to win this thing, now they have to go out and prove it on the field.

Continue reading "Sox In Race To Win It"


Jeff Lewis

The Chicago cubs 2010 posted by Jeff Lewis

    After two consecutive years of winning the National League Central Division, the Chicago Cubs watched their hated rivals the St. Louis Cardinals win it. In order for this not happen again, the Cubs have some concerns they have to address in order to get back to their winning ways.

    First, they have to get rid of Milton Bradley. This guy was a cancer on and off the field. He was quoted saying that he does not like the Cubs fans. I am here to tell you that the feeling is mutual. The Cubs general manager, Jim Hendry, needs to get this guy off this team no matter how. If that involves eating majority of his contract in a trade, then that's the way it needs to be done. There have been a few teams mentioned in trade talks for Bradley. The Tampa Bay Rays, the San Diego Padres, and the team that keeps getting mentioned the most the Texas Rangers. It doesn't matter what team the Cubs get the deal done with, as long as this guy is off the team come next year.

    Second, the Cubs need a lead-off hitter and center-fielder. These two go together, because the Cubs can fill both of these holes with one player. Coco Crisp. Crisp is a great player. He has speed, he is a descent outfielder, and he can hit. He did have a down year last year, but he played for the Kansas City Royals. Put a good team behind Coco he will shine! Look what he did in Boston an few years ago. There have been rumors that the Cubs are in the Curtis Garnderson sweepstakes. Grandy would be a good fit with the Cubs, and probably benefit from the National League style of play. The one downside to getting Garndy is that he can't hit left-handed pitchers. So the Cubs would have to find someone to platoon with Grandy in center when they are facing a lefty. With the Cubs payroll, I don't see that happening. Crisp should be Hendry's guy, but we will see what happens.

Continue reading "The Chicago cubs 2010"


Ryan Turner

8-18 Football News and MLB Waiver Wire Deals posted by Ryan Turner

Favre1. Well, Brett Favre is back. Just as he started to drift out of our minds again, BAM, breaking news on ESPN: "Favre is a Viking." As obnoxious as this story has been for the last three years, it sure will make the Vikings vs. Packers games more interesting, especially the November 1st game when he returns to Lambeau Field. My guess is the reaction will be half cheers, half boos from the fans, all boos from Ted Thompson.

2. Another quarterback who has run rampant through the media lately is Jay Cutler. He needs to shut up right now if he even wants a chance at not topping the "Number One Douche Bag of All-Time" list. His latest remarks were after the Bears' first preseason game in which they played the Buffalo Bills. He criticized wide receiver Devin Hester for not breaking up an interception on an under-thrown pass. How about this Jay? Either make the passes in the first place or be gracious if Hester does break up the interception. If Hester can't fix your screw up, man up and take the blame yourself. That's where it belongs. Peyton Manning doesn't always own the blame after a loss, but the difference between Manning and Cutler is, Manning has the record to back up those types of comments. Cutler needs to earn the right to make those types of comments. He could be in danger of losing that locker room really quickly, if he hasn't already.

3. Marc Bulger broke his pinkie on his throwing hand during Monday's practice on a snap exchange from center Jason Brown. It's not a major injury and it should only keep him out for two weeks. However, this could open the door for backup Kyle Boller. The Ravens had some decent years with a strong defense and Boller managing games. Baltimore went 9-7 in 2004, Boller's only year in which he started all 16 games. 9-7 won the NFC West last year and it could do the same this year. I'm not suggesting the Rams' defense will be anywhere close to Baltimore's, but the NFC West isn't as strong as the AFC North typically is either.

Continue reading "8-18 Football News and MLB Waiver Wire Deals"

Texas Rangers News

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Veteran relievers Joba Chamberlain, Neftali Feliz designated for assignment (Big League Stew)

Friday was another reminder of just how unpredictable and unstable the career of a mjaor-league reliever can be. Veteran right-handers Joba Chamberlain and Neftali Feliz were both designated for assignment by the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers respectively, leaving both teams with 10 days to trade, release or place the relievers on waivers. Chamberlain, 29, inked a one-year, $1 million deal with Detroit during the offseason in an attempt to rebuild his value. For Detroit, it was a cheap signing they hoped would add depth to their bullpen despite Chamberlain's up and down 2014. Chamberlain had performed well in a relief role previously for the New York Yankees, It just didn't work out in Detroit. In 30 appearances, Chamberlain posted a 4.09 ERA and a 1.682 WHIP. He struggled avoiding contact as well, striking out just 15 over his 22 innings. The final straw appeared to come in Wednesday's 9-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pitching mop up duty in the eighth inning, Chamberlain allowed three home runs in the span of four batters. He walked off thefield to chorus of boos that evening. He also walked away with a firm understanding that he'd let the fans and the organization down with his latest performance. . From The Detroit Free Press:   "I'd boo myself, too," Chamberlain told reporters after the game. "I mean, you can't be mad at it. You spend your hard-earned money to come see somebody be successful, and you don't be successful." Self awareness is a good thing to have. Better execution and better results are the name of the game though, so for now anyway Chamberlain will be forced to take a step back. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] As for Feliz, the move comes as a bit of a surprise given his past success in Texas. He was removed from the roster so veteran starter Matt Harrison could be activated from the disabled list. There's no doubt it has been a struggle for Feliz to stay healthy and remain consistent since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2012. Feliz missed the rest of the 2012 season and nearly missed the entire 2013 season, appearing in only six games.  In 30 appearances last season, he showed promise, posting a 1.99 ERA over 31 2/3 innings. He also notched 13 saves. This season, he came out of the gate slow, posting a 5.09 ERA in 17 appearances, before landing on the disabled list with an  axillary abscess on his right side. He ended up missing six weeks.  Feliz was once an ace reliever, recording 72 total saves between 2010-11. The Rangers tried moving him to the rotation in 2012, which directly preceded the elbow injury. Whether or not that was a good decision was a hotly debated topic leading up to the change and continues to be debated in wake of his injuries.  Perhaps it's a topic the Rangers have grown tired of, or more likely the Rangers have simply run out of patience. It's reported the Rangers will look to trade Feliz in the coming days. Both Feliz and Chamberlain should draw interest given their experience. Chamberlain is the cheaper option with Feliz still due $4.13 million this season, but both have appeal.  Perhaps we'll even see them swap spots as both teams look for answers.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813 [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Rangers trade former 1st-round pick Jake Skole to Yankees (The Associated Press)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers have traded former first-round draft pick Jake Skole to the New York Yankees for cash considerations and have signed three international free agents. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Donaldson homers, Blue Jays beat Rangers 3-2 (The Associated Press)

TORONTO (AP) -- Josh Donaldson hit his 18th home run, Drew Hutchison won his fifth straight decision and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 Sunday. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Dallas Keuchel dominates the Yankees with complete game shutout (Big League Stew)

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel was in peak form Thursday against the New York Yankees. Keuchel was fantastic, going nine shutout innings during a 4-0 win. Keuchel allowed just six hits. He walked one and struck out 12 during the contest. All of the Yankees' hits were singles. The team didn't have a baserunner reach second until the top of the ninth inning. Aside from the ninth, Keuchel was never really in trouble. With two outs, he allowed a single to Alex Rodriguez. A walk to Mark Teixeira put a man in scoring position for the first time all game. Carlos Beltran would also single, loading the bases. With the bases juiced and two outs, Keuchel came through. Jose Pirela grounded out to third, ending the threat and the game.  After the game, Keuchel received some high praise from one of his rivals. A-Rod didn't talk about the strike zone: "Tonight was just a complete domination...[Keuchel] made me look as silly as I’ve looked all year.” — Erik Boland (@eboland11) June 26, 2015 Rodriguez was one of the few players who managed a hit against Keuchel during the game, but he struck out in his other three plate appearances. With the performance, Keuchel lowered his ERA to 2.17 on the season. The win moved the Astros to 43-32, good for first place in the American League West. WHO WILL STOP THE ATHLETICS? The hottest team in the American League is the Oakland Athletics. After picking up a 6-3 victory over the Texas Rangers, Oakland has won five straight games. While the club sits at just 34-4 and remains nine games out of first place, there's still some hope for a second-half run. Oakland actually has the fourth-best run differential in the AL. The club has scored 41 more runs than they have allowed this year. So, why have the A's been so bad despite their strong run differential? Well, the team is just 6-18 in one-run games. That type of thing tends to even out over the course of the season, so that could lead to more wins in the second half if the team's luck turns. That's not always the case, though, particularly if a team has a poor bullpen. That's exactly what has plagued Oakland early. The club's relievers have posted a 4.16 FIP, which is good for 27th in the league. There's some hope Oakland makes things interesting by the trade deadline, but only if they can find some luck and pitch effectively in the late innings.  For now, the five-game winning streak is a start. DEGROM DOES IT AGAIN The New York Mets might be calling up another pitcher soon , but do they really need one? Jacob deGrom was fantastic again, leading the Mets to a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. DeGrom went eight innings, allowing just four hits and striking out seven. He did not issue a walk during the outing. Following the performance, deGrom has a 2.15 ERA on the year.  The start helped the Mets in more than one way as they snapped their seven-game losing streak.  After his 2014 breakout, deGrom has been basically the same pitcher in 2015. He's shown better control, however, which is partially responsible for his improved numbers.  Behind deGrom, New York improved to 37-37 on the year. The team is 3 1/2 games back of the Washington Nationals in the NL East. GIANTS TRIPLE THEIR WAY TO VICTORY The San Francisco Giants' offense broke out in the big way Thursday against the San Diego Padres in a 13-8 win. The Giants managed to score 13 runs without hitting a home run during the game. Instead, the team relied on the triple. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] San Francisco hit four triples during the contest. Brandon Belt was responsible for two of them, while Matt Duffy and Brandon Crawford each added one.  Buster Posey, who hit a grand slam Wednesday, stayed hot at the plate Thursday. Posey went 3 for 5, with two doubles. He scored three runs and drove in three.  With the win, the Giants improved to 40-34. They trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by one game in the NL West. Want to see more from Thursday's slate of games? Check out  our scoreboard . More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Beltre activated from DL and back in Rangers lineup (The Associated Press)

Third baseman Adrian Beltre is back in the Texas Rangers lineup even though it still hurts to swing the bat. In a somewhat surprising move, the Rangers announced less than 90 minutes before the start of Tuesday night's game against Oakland that Beltre was being activated from the disabled list after missing 19 games because of a sprained left thumb. ''He's not going to undo anything,'' general manager Jon Daniels said. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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