Time to see what’s happening with this week’s Battle of the Cro-sades—27 May through 2 June 2012. We’re almost in the dog days of summer… ALMOST. My Orioles are still looking like the real deal… actually, most teams have playing very consistently (for better or for worse). We’re down to the NBA Final Four (OKC, San Antonio, Miami, and Boston). And we get to start the Stanley Cup (if anyone cares).
After a pretty .500 debut, I followed up with another .500 week. Except I kicked ass at figuring out what to expect in the NBA… and I proved I know nothing about hockey/MLS.
Let’s do it.
My current stats:
17-18 (10-10 last week)
- 8-8 MLB (4-5 last week)
- 9-7 NBA (6-2 last week)
- 0-1 NHL
- 0-2 Soccer
27 May 2012
KANSAS CITY ROYALS @ BALTIMORE ORIOLES—Brian Matusz is red-hot. Jake Arrieta is not. Damnit. Look for Matusz to stay hot for at least one more start. Because Kansas City pretty much sucks. At baseball. And football too. PICK: ORIOLES
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES @ ST. LOUIS CARDINALS—One team is 25-23. The other team is 25-22. Does it really matter which team is which? Both are disappointing records for the teams attached. And the scheduled starting pitchers for this game are equally disappointing: 4-4 Roy Halladay against 3-5 Adam Wainwright. At least Wainwright can say he’s still journeying back from injury. Then again, Philadelphia just lost another heartbreaker**. PICK: PHILLIES
WASHINGTON NATIONALS @ ATLANTA BRAVES—The Braves have lost 6 straight. Gio Gonzalez is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA. Bad timing? Yeah. If you’re the Braves. Too early to pencil Gio in for the Cy Young? PICK: NATIONALS
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER @ SAN ANTONIO SPURS—Game 1 of the West Finals. Is Durantbrook ready for the San Antonio juggernaut? I don’t think so. Not yet, at least. Chalk another up for the Spurs. Btw, I’m jealous that TNT gets the West Finals and ABC/ESPN gets the East. I’ll allow it only because I know Charles Barkley has been planning his river walk for a week now. PICK: SPURS
28 MAY 2012
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS @ ATLANTA BRAVES—First the Braves get 6-1 Gio Gonzalez… then they get 7-1 Lance Lynn? A 7-1 Lance Lynn that plays for a disappointingly-solid Cardinals? The 7-1 Lance Lynn that I picked up in my fantasy league after Michael Pineda robbed fantasy owners everywhere? Sweet, ATL. I can see your losing streak hitting at least 8. PICK: CARDINALS
WASHINGTON NATIONALS @ MIAMI MARLINS—Three starting pitchers with Z as an initial are scheduled to pitch today. This game has two of them (the other: San Francisco’s Barry Zito). Zimmermann and Zambrano. I don’t care about this game. But when was the last time a Z faced a Z**? PICK: MARLINS
**Uhh… probably the last time Zimmermann faced Zito. Or Zito faced Zambrano. Or Zambrano faced Zimmermann.
BOSTON CELTICS @ MIAMI HEAT—Game 1 of the East Finals. Despite most of the country, I think the Celtics wanted this matchup a lot more than Miami did. I know, it’s not a popular choice. Dwayne Wade and LeBron are supposed to be the greatest duo ever. But guess what. Almost no one said Boston would make it to this round. I’ll have more to say about this in another column. I’m loyal to a fault. PICK: CELTICS
29 May 2012
DETROIT TIGERS @ BOSTON RED SOX—Another surprise. Entering this week, one time is 22-24. The other team is 23-23. And again, it doesn’t matter. No one thought the super-powerful Tigers (Verlander included) would be sucking. It feels surreal that the Red Sox are still struggling (unless you predicted it). But keep your eyes open… that wall in right is real short. Prince is real strong. And Daniel Bard… is a pitcher. PICK: TIGERS
KANSAS CITY ROYALS @ CLEVELAND INDIANS—I’m going to hell for this one. I can’t help it. Will Smith just recently made his big-league debut for the Royals. The Yankees kicked his ass. In front of his family! Haha! I hope it keeps happening just because look at those expressions! Ouch! PICK: INDIANS
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER @ SAN ANTONIO SPURS—Game 2. It’s gonna get closer. Might take a 4th quarter run. But I think the Thunder is the right team for the job. The Thunder should scare the Spurs because they will adapt so fast. If Game 1 is a Spurs blowout, Game 2 is a thriller. If Game 1 is a Thunder win, Game 2 is a Thunder beatdown. Patience, OKC… PICK: SPURS
30 May 2012
BALTIMORE ORIOLES @ TORONTO BLUE JAYS—It feels like this week is loaded with something-1 starters. I guess that’s the way baseball goes. Until they get to 2 losses. I don’t think many people would have Jason Hammel on this pseudo-impressive list though. Especially not Jason Hammel of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s the same guy that I didn’t care about when we got him in exchange for Jeremy Guthrie—I just wanted Guthrie gone. And now who looks like a genius? PICK: ORIOLES
SAN DIEGO PADRES @ CHICAGO CUBS—This is awesome. Something’s gotta break. The Padres are an unimpressive 17-31… but the Chicago Cubs are an equally unimpressive 15-31. The Padres are playing an unoutstanding 5-15 on the road… but the Chicago Cubs call that bid and raise it with an equally unoutstanding 9-15 at home. San Diego starter Anthony Bass has a good 3.55 ERA so he’s got in a good spot to bend things San Diego’s way… except Chicago starter Ryan Dempster has a better 2.14 ERA. Black hole alert… PICK: CUBS
CHICAGO WHITE SOX @ TAMPA BAY RAYS—FANTASY ALERT! If you’ve got a starting pitcher that just hasn’t panned out but either you’re stuck in a deep league and most players are accounted for (I’m looking at you, Francisco Liriano. Got you so cheap in the draft—sleeper potential, I said. Thanks for the 0-5, 8.47 ERA)… or you’ve just been vainly waiting for them to snap out of it (You were a mistake, Liriano)… watch this game. Jose Quintana has looked real sharp in his debut for the Sox. But Alex Cobb has looked sharp as well—more like the pitcher Matt Moore (worst fantasy draft ever…) was supposed to be for the Rays. I’m picking up the winner in my league. Guarans. That means guaranteed. PICK: WHITE SOX
BOSTON CELTICS @ MIAMI HEAT—Game 2. I know I picked the Celtics to win Game 1. So I’ll pick the Heat here. Not because I’m suddenly not passionate about my irrational Celtics dreams. But because I think the Celtics are gonna steal one while they’re in South Beach, heading up to Boston tied 1-1. But I don’t think they’re gonna win this game and carry that momentum up to Boston looking to go up a crushing 3-1. So it means one game for each… this one being Miami’s. Also, I’m still upset that we have to listen to Mike Breen for this whole series. JVG is fine. Not Breen. PICK: HEAT
LOS ANGELES KINGS @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS—Game 1. Stanley Cup** time. Here’s what I know. I know the Devils have a goalie, Martin Brodeur, that is 40 years old and still not giving up goals. I know that Rainn Wilson likes the Kings. When in doubt, trust Dwight Schrute. And that’s how I’ll base my opinions on hockey. PICK: KINGS
**Or as it will soon be called: Arrieta Cup time.
31 May 2012
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER—Game 3. The perfect movie plot. The Spurs are like some wild space predator. Destroying everything in its path—straight M.O.. The Thunder is like the group of (American) guerrilla survivor rebels that is studying the enemy closer and sacrificing a few battles to gain research to win the war. Now the Thunder are about to make their move. They know what they needed/wanted to know. Can’t show the whole hand yet, but this is where the Thunder innocently “upsets” the Spurs with a last-second shot… PICK: THUNDER
1 June 2012
CHICAGO CUBS @ SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS—Dear Madison Bumgarner. Please ask to be traded to a team with run support. I don’t know what’s going on with Tim Lincecum—from a Giants fan view, that’s horrifying. But from a fantasy fan view, I could really use your pitching… minus the losses. PICK: GIANTS
MIAMI HEAT @ BOSTON CELTICS—Game 3. The Boston crowd at home is just effing awesome. I’d give almost anything to be inside TD Garden and just soaking up the buzz. And I would feel at home with a few thousand friends who just can’t effing stand the Heat. It must be electrifying to step on the court there. Regardless of team. PICK: CELTICS
2 June 2012
BALTIMORE ORIOLES @ TAMPA BAY RAYS—Sorry, Matusz—you’re luck ends here. They Rays are doing everything they can to keep the O’s in check. And I don’t care how hot Matusz is, Jeremy Hellickson is gonna be the cooler. Damn you, Hellickson. PICK: RAYS
ATLANTA BRAVES @ WASHINGTON NATIONALS—Remember when I said Gio Gonzalez was gonna win to start the week? And then I asked if I could pencil him in for the Cy Young. This is why I said pencil, not pen. Because I think Brandon Beachy has been just a tad bit better. PICK: BRAVES
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER—Let’s recap the week. I had the Spurs control Game 1. Then I had the Thunder challenge in Game 2, but the Spurs prevailed. In Game 3, I had the Thunder “eek” out a win. And let’s finish the progression. Game 4 is going to be the game that the Thunder blow out the Spurs. BAD. It’s coming, Spurs. Reach for the sky and just let it happen. PICK: THUNDER
LOS ANGELES KINGS @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS—Why so many days of rest between games of the Stanley Cup? Oh well, I look for the Kings to win here. Unless Rainn Wilson tweets differently. PICK: KINGS