BlueJays vs Rangers American League Divisional Series Game 2 Primer

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Tv: Sportsnet

 Time: 12 pm Eastern

 

Well the Jays have taken round 1, in what turned out to be a very lop-sided affair. Cole Hamels stayed true to his end of regular season form and His stuff looked average at best.  The jays line up took full advantage of this and gave Rangers fans a game too forget, beating down on them to a final score of 10-1.

Multi Rbi games from Donaldson, Tulo and Jose make it really easy to cruise to victory no matter who is on the mound. Luckily, we got the treat of watching Marco Estrada work for 8 and a third masterful innings. Giving up only 4 hits and 1 earned run.

Not much to take away from this game other than Texas’ pitching needs to set up or this is going to a really quick series. Game one might just be blood in the water for a very hungry shark tank that is the Blue Jays Bats.

Today we will Have J.A Happ on the mound vs Yu Darvish. Who many Texas fans thought should have started game 1. Darvish has a chance to become a saviour in Texas, if he can shut down a red hot Jays teams and wright the ship heading to Toronto.  For Happ he will be trying to start the post season off on a good foot after having an incredible regular season.

I think this Jays roster has really bought in to the pass the baton or next man up Ideology. From a pitching stand point, Stroman gave us a solid game in the wildcard, Estrada did him one better last night and now its Happ’s turn.

 

The only question left is will Texas take it lying down or put up a fight to avoid heading to Toronto down 0-2.

 

Go JAYS GO !

 

BlueJays vs Rangers American League Divisional Series Game 1 Primer

Wild Card Game - Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 04: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after hitting a three-run walk-off home run in the eleventh inning to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Tv: Sportsnet

 Time : 4:00 pm Eastern

 

For many Blue Jay fans their wildcard game virginities were taken Tuesday night and the team did not let them down in the slightest. 2 big time home runs, a couple huge Defensive plays by Tulo and Pillar and some grade A pitching.  Stroman Started strong out of the gate, running in to some trouble in the 4th but was able to wright the ship and out last his counter part Chris Tillman. After 6 Fairly strong innings from Stroman. The Jays bull pen one upped him with 5 scoreless innings and not even allowing a hit to a very deadly and hungry Baltimore line up.  These are the type of things we will need to see day in and day out this October for the Jays to have a chance at making and eventually winning the World Series.

The team comes in as underdogs for the remainder of the playoffs and their first test is vs familiar foes in what is a rematch of last years American League Divisional series match with the Texas Rangers.  Joey Bats Heroics aside, you take away a bunch of just bone head errors from the Texas defense and the series is theirs. You better believe that bitter taste is still in any of the returning players on the Rangers roster. Mix in the Shot Odor Delivered to Jose earlier this season and the win or go home atmosphere of the playoffs and we are in for a treat of a series.

Coming into this series, were the Jays do have the upper hand is in starting pitching.  Texas can only really count on Hamels and Darvish going forward into the playoffs whereas the Jays have 4 solid starters in   Stroman, Estrada Happ and Sanchez as well as the ability to pitch Liriano out of the bullpen in long relief appearances. To counter that Texas is the best American league team at home and also lead the league in the number of wins by 1 run. Making being able to steal just one on the road and holding down home field, that much more important

This after noon the Jays have Marco Estrada on the mound versus Cole Hamels. A couple years back this would have been considered a pitching mis match of epic proportions but to end the regular Season in 2016, Hamels has struggled posting a 6.75 era in his final 6 starts. With Marco Estrada still dealing with a herniated disk in his lower back this game will be won on defense and like most post season games a little bit of magic. GO JAYS GO!

 

P.S

God bless Jose and Edwin, Clear the name of the man Ken Page and who ever really did throw that beer is going to live for ever in Toronto sports history. Yea, yea, yea It was un safe for the players involved. It was kind of like when you are playing video games against one of your friends and they are just about to beat you with time running out so you knock the controller out of their hand.  All negatives a side it really got the whole building jumping with emotion and for that they have my respect.

 

BlueJays (0-0) vs Orioles(0-0) American League Wildcard Playoff game Primer

Ballpark: Rogers Center

Tv: Sportsnet

Time: 8:00 pm Est

 

What a season it has been for the Jays. Through all the ups and downs, Injuries and Inning caps, the Blue jays have still found a way to make it to the post season for the second straight year. This time with one extra hurdle, the Franchises first ever Wildcard game.  Which will have Right handed pitcher Marcus Stroman up against Right handed pitcher Chris Tillman for the Orioles. Both pitchers have struggled this year versus the line ups they will be facing tonight. Putting the pressure on the Defense, Bats and Bullen pen to be ready to pull their weight if their number is called. It’s October and in the Mlb world that means you either clutch up and play every game at your best or go home and get ready for spring training next year. In these type of moments, you need a fiery, emotional leader to take the weight of the whole situation on theirshoulders and for that there is no one better than Marcus Stroman.

Leading me to ask this question.

 

Where has the love gone for Marcus Stroman? A little over a year ago, Stroman came back many months early from a knee injury to help the Jays secure their first playoff berth since 93’.  Any one that has followed the Jays this season knows that it been an underwhelming season, to say the least for the 25-year-old Stroman. As He finished the year with his lowest win total and highest Era of his young career.  Stroman still was able to lead the Blue jays in innings pitched as well as innings pitched per start, strike outs, walks and games started. Stroman faced 60 more batters this season than the next closest Jay’s pitcher.  With all that being Said in my opinion the Stat that really helps me understand why Stroman was named starter for this game was, that he leads the Jays in Losses Saved, with 5. Meaning that 5 times this season after Stroman had faced his last batter and left the game, with the team losing and the Jays came back to take the lead or tie. Since being named this Seasons opening day starter, Stroman has been the one to lead the charge for the Jays. Every time he goes out on the mound for Toronto he leaves it all out there.  All the players and staff know this and rally behind him every time out.

We all know what these two offensives are capable of, if pitchers start missing their spots and making mistakes. None the less, winning this wildcard showdown will more than likely be done on the back of a great pitching performance. Whether it’s a pitcher’s duel to the 9th or a slugfest fest that gets sent to the bullpen for damage control, the team with the best pitching will win.  For now, all we can hope is that the Jays play Error free ball and Stroman Allows a clean hand off to the bullpen for Osuna to close out the game. God willing, I will be writing another one of these for game 1 of the American League Divisional Series vs the Texas Ranger set to start later this week.  GO JAYS GO !!!

 

Raptors vs Mavericks Las Vegas Samsung summer league game 3 Primer

Raptors vs Mavericks Las vegas Samsung summer league game 3 Primer

 

Raptors (2-0 6 points) vs Mavericks (1-0 3 points)

Arena:  Thomas & Mack Center

Tv: Nbatv Canada

Time: 6:30 pm EST

 

As was expected before the game, Norm Powell and Delon Wright were the catalyses for the Raptors down the stretch. A game that ws really a see-saw affair with the Raptors controlling the 1st and 4th quarters but trailing during the 2nd and 3rd. Powell kept the score close with 3pt shooting and play in transition. He showed everyone he was the best player on the floor from either team that night, finishing with a game high of 28 pts. Wright controlled the pace of the game on offense for the Raptors, getting into the lane at will using an impressive euro move numerous times, keeping the defense off balance. He went on to hit the eventual game winner on a bank shot runner with 5.6s left in the game which gave the Raptors a 4-point edge (82-78), before an Adrian Payne tip it in at the buzzer capped the game off at 82-80, and a victory for the Raptors.

 

Things of note

  • Jakob Poeltl had another strong defensive game. Credited for 3 blocks, JP did a solid job contesting and changing many of the shots put up around him. Gaining some praise from team-mate Demare Carroll during a court side interview. So far he is 5-5 in two games from the field. JP hasn’t shown much focus on offense, more just letting the game come to him and executing the play when put on the spot. Legitimately excited to see more from him.
  • Bruno Caboclo finished the game with 15 points on 5-13 shooting. Bruno was aggressive on offense looking for his shot whenever he could. Shot form looked really solid. Other than one bone head foul on a 3pt shooter, he defended well coming away with 2 blocks on the game. I expect Bruno to be a full time rotation player for the Raptors this coming season. I think he has at least one big game in him this summer where he shoots very well from the floor, so look out for that.

 

The Coming Battle

The Mavericks’ summer league team is lead by a pair of guards, in second year player, Justin Anderson and 28-year-old Jonathan Gibson. Anderson, similar to Norm Powell, played some good rotation minutes and even got a start in the playoffs last season for the Mavericks and is expect to continue in that success coming into the 2016-17 season. Jonathan Gibson, who went undrafted in 2010, averaged 46 points a game, playing in China last season and exploded with 30 points in his first summer league game with the Mavericks in Las Vegas. The Mavericks round-out their summer league roster with a couple household names from the NCAA last season with Dorian Finney-Smith(Florida), 7-footer AJ Hammons (Perdue), and Perry Elis (Kansas). The combo of Anderson-Gibson should be the hardest test yet for Powell and Wright but I have faith That the composure and poise of the raptors two sophomores will carry them through, in what should be some what of a close game.

A win here would lock the Raptors into a top 8 seed moving into the bracket part of the Las Vegas summer league, giving them a first-round bye. Which may help Pascal Siakam get back to 100 percent and get some more minutes in this summer.

 

 

Raptors Vs Timberwolves Las vegas Samsung summer league game 2 primer

Raptors Vs Timberwolves Las Vegas Samsung Summer League Game 2 Primer

 

Raptor (1-0, 4 points) vs Timberwolves (0-1, 1 point)

 

Tv: Nba tv Canada

Time: 6pm eastern

 

The composure and poise of Delon Wright and Norman Powell really resonated well with the rest of the Raptors summer league roster.  The second year guards out assisted the entire Kings roster on their way to a 88-47 win. With the 5 raptors starters promised a spot on their regular season roster already, the difference in talent was very apparent from the start. This game was over just before half time. The Kings started off hot making 4 of their first 6 shots then went cold for the rest of the game with the Raptors holding them to 16 1st quarter points, 6 points in the 2nd , 7 in the 3rd and 18 in the 4th .

 

Things of note

  • Pascal Siakam can really run the floor. Most if not all of his 12 first half points, came off being one of the first players down the court in transition and finishing dynamically at the rim.  He looks comfortable taking the mid-range jump shot but his stroke isn’t quite there yet or at least it wasn’t during this game, with all but one of his misses coming from mid-range (6-10 on the game) At this point he has the potential to be a more talent and cheaper replacement for Bis
  • Jakob Poeltl really showed off the range of skills that gave the Raptors the confidence to draft him 9th JP finished with a stat line of 6 pts 9 rebs 2stl and 3 blocks in 22 mins of action. Reminds me of Kristaps from last year. Wiry Big needs to put on muscle but doesn’t shy away from contact. His positioning on the boards shows a lot of promise, as well as his shot selection going 3-3 on the day. On the defensive end, he moved his feet really well and even guarded a couple wing players on a few possessions with moderate success. His timing on both on ball and help defense shot blocking, as well as his ability to affect drives into the paint highlight his above average defensive capabilities.
  • Norman Powell has continued to show he is still one the biggest steals of the 2015 draft. His 3 pt shot looking great and his passing and ball handling much improved. All and all pretty laid back game from Norm. He finished with a stat line of 12 pts 7 rebs and 5 ast and 2 steals.
  • Bruno Caboclo has shown alot of improvement on the defensive end as well as improving offensive skill set. Still looks kind of awkward taking mid-range post up shot. From both the face up and fade away but it’s good to see he has the confidence to attempt the shots because its within his range. He looked very comfortable from the corners taking 3. Going 3 for 9 from deep in what was an overall shaky game from the field from Bruno.
  • Delon Wright reminds me alot of Corey Joseph. Very high IQ player but needs more in terms of offensive skills set. He positions himself well with and without the ball and provides a high energy defender. Great passer and gets into the lane fairly easily. Jump shot still not there but doesnt force the issue

Honorable mentions

  • Ej Singler (younger brother of thunder player and NBA veteran Kyle Singler) can really shoot the ball ( 4-6 from 3 )
  • Fred Van Fleet should give Delon Wright a run for his money in terms of a roster spot and playing time at the 905 level. Played very solid on both sides of the ball in limited minutes
  • Drew Crawford (son of NBA ref Danny Crawford) was a big surprise. Adaptable on D and a solid 3pt stroke. Should a key role player for the 905
  • Jalen Jones didn’t shoot the ball well from 3 and turned it over 3 times but he also had 6 rebounds to go with 7pts in 12 minutes and went 3-4 for 2pt range. look for him to play better tonight

 

On to the next

The Timberwolves let their last game against the Nugget slip away from them in the 4th.  Despite Kris Dunn’s 27 points it wasn’t enough to slow down the very talent Nuggets summer league roster. Besides Kris Dun, Tyus Jones, and Adrain Payne their roster is filled with no names. Look for the Raptors defence to continue taking no prisoners as Norm Powell and company bring Kris Dun back down to earth after his   offensive explosion in game 1 .

 

Okc Will Be Just Fine and May Even Win a Ring With Out Kevin Durant

Okc Will Be Just Fine and May Even Win a Ring With Out Kevin Durant

The Past

For years, going back to the year Derrick Rose won mvp, Ive been telling people to just imagine if Russell Westbrook had his own team. As in a real roster specifically built around him. Just imagine the numbers he would put up! In my opinion I think 2011 Westbrook (21.9 pts 8.2 ast. 4.6 rebs 1.9 stl ) was better than 2011 Derrick Rose ( 25pts 7.7 ast 4 rebs 1 stl). I Consider these numbers to be fairly identical due to Rose being a number 1 in Chicago , which he had been since the past year. Additionally this was Westbrooks first really good break out season as the Thunder’s number 2 Option.

The season following, even being shortened due to the lock out, Westbrook and Rose continued to have seemingly Identical numbers leading into the playoffs, where D.rose would tear his Acl and the Thunder ended up Facing the Miami Heat in the finals . Even Thought they were beat fairly decisively this series due to the drop off in efficiency of Harden and Ibaka. It acted as a coming out party for Westbrooks entrance into the top 5 players in the nba for the seasons to come.

Then 2015 happens, Kd goes down with a reoccurring foot injury leading him to play only 27 games that season. The Thunder roster, as shallow as it was with a healthy Durant, was carried for the most part by Westbrook’s mvp-like play, averaging 28 points, 8.6 Assist, 7.2 Rebounds and 2 steals a game. In the end, the Thunder didn’t make the playoffs that season due to an 8th place tie with the Pelicans, that they earned by winning the season series 3-1 on a Anthony Davis buzzer beating 3 over Kevin Durant. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei34RqCmRXQ )

The Thunder not making the playoffs this season in my opinion is what stopped Russell from being the real 2014-2015 mvp. Westbrook’s end of season stats at 28pts 8.6 ast 7.2 reb 2.1 stls are better than Curry’s 23.8 7.7 ast 4.3 rebs 2 stls. Westbrook did this while still playing as a number 2 option for 27 games to Kevin Durant that season. All with a much less talented roster than the Warriors. That being said, it also stopped a first round show down between Westbrook and Curry. Instead the Warrior went on to face The Pelicans who they swept, leading to Curry’s first championship and a undoubtable mvp this season.

The Future

Moving on from what if’s of the past, and into the what if’s of the Nba season too come. Both Oladipo ( 17.9 pts) and Kanter (18.7 pts ) Have proven in their career’s with around 23.5%-25% usage rates, that they can be effective scorers in the nba. The interesting thing to take from this that neither of Oladipo’s or Kanter’s highest percent of usage is higher than Westbrook’s lowest percent of usage as a number 2 to Durant. Meaning that Between these two, the loss of Durant and Ibaka (48.2%) usage rate is barely missed with the arrival Oladipo and Kanter(46.3%) into the starting line up, with room for Westbrook to add on a bit more usage as well.

The Okc Thunder will run with pistons firing like it did during the 2014-2015 season with Russell Westbrook at the helm, but this time he has a much greater crew to support him, assuming every one can stay healthy. The Flexibility of Andre Robertson to Defend the 1,2,3 and some times 4, as well as Steven Adams Ability to guard the 5,4, and sometimes 3, will allow the Thunder to run similar lineups and sets as they did with Ibaka and Durant. The hope of an improving 3 point shot of Robertson, Post game of Steven Adams , development of Cameron Payne and Defence of Enes Kanter would all yield tangible benefits too. All these factors tied together with the addition of Ersan Ilyasova and the 11th pick in this year’s draft Domantas Sabonis, makes The Thunder a contender for the best two-way line up in the league.

With all that Being said 2016-2017 is going to be the biggest seasons of Westbrook’s, Oladipo’s and Kanter’s collective lives. On paper it looks like it could work and have a huge impact on the league, but it’s really up to health and skill level of the players. With Westbrook entering a contract year and the Cap set to rise even more than it did for this coming season, expect Westbrook to show the league what he is worth.

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