Football

#Allthehomeruns as Astros look to close out against Dodgers

If you watched Game 2 of the World Series, it was everything a sports fan wanted. Drama, great pitching, home runs galore and you saw the unbreakable Dodgers bullpen finally falter.

If you missed Sunday’s game, I’m sorry for you. Because it was nothing short of spectacular. You not only missed a barnburner, you missed the Astros setting records.

The ‘Stros became the first team ever to have five different players hit a home run in a game during the World Series. They are just the third team ever to hit five home runs in a World Series game overall. Between the two teams, they’ve set a record for home runs in the World Series, with 22. The total number of homeruns in this postseason ovrall? 101. The most ever.

Being a Cardinals fan, I’ve seen what I consider to be one of the best World Series games ever played. Game 6 of the 2011 WS, where Freese hits the walk off homer to send the series to the 7th game. But Sunday’s game was something else. I honestly thought the Dodgers had it in hand when they were up 4 to nothing in the 4th… but that’s why baseball, when it’s good? It’s great.  Add in a walkoff for the Astros and no one could write the script better.

Now how do the Dodgers respond? That’s tough. Clayton Kershaw looked great before he gave up those runs in the 4th.. and the former infallible Dodgers bullpen looks to have finally met its match against the top offense in baseball. Verlander has been dynamite for Houston but Hill has been extremely consistent in this postseason, and only threw 60 pitches in game 2.  My personal gut feeling? This is Houston’s year. They’re playing for a city that has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Had you asked me at the beginning of the series, I would have told you Dodgers in six. But the Stros have come back time and time again.

Here’s what will be the deciding factor: The bullpens. Both pens are exhausted, both emotionally and physically. This game will come down to whether once your team gets the lead, can you hold onto it. That’s an insanely big #hottake, but its simple and true.

However, I’m secretly hoping for a game 7.

 

 

 

 

 

Burgess fam CFB picks: The one where we’re still losing to a dog and Penn State and Notre Dame roll

Let’s be honest. The upside of my college football watching this weekend is I didn’t have to sit through an agonizing Florida game and want to pull my hair out the entire time. Thank you, bye week. But overall, I wasn’t super pumped about a bunch of the games this weekend. Louisville-FSU was lackluster since FSU has seriously struggled, not a lot of big time SEC matchups that screamed greatness and the game that I was looking forward to? Penn State and Michigan? Well… that didn’t turn into the slugfest that I thought it would. But we’ll get into that, the FSU game and the Notre Dame beat down in a little bit.

When we last checked the standings, Sarah and Larks were in first and my uncle Larry was in close second. Sarah did not have a great week this time. She went 1-9.

Thats-A-Bold-Strategy-Meme

Here are the updated standings:

  1. Larks 46-38

  2. Larry 44-40

  3. Sarah & Joe 42-42

  4. Rosemary & MK 41-43

  5. Mimi 40-44

  6. Molly & Jess 38-46

  7. Mert 37-47

There was arguably less trash talk this week in the group chat but according to my dad, here’s why:

week 8 blog

Larry is still in second place, so not exactly a victory. Second place is first loser, but nice try.

Looking at the games this weekend… just pour one out for FSU. The Noles tied it up in the 4th quarter and then just when it looks like they’re going to get the go ahead score… they fumble on the 24 yard line and then watch as the Cardinals drove 59 yards for the game winning field goal.

If you’re Louisville, you needed this win, especially after losing last week to Boston College. Defense looked better, held the FSU rush game in pretty well. FSU… it’s the never ending nightmare season. Florida State could be looking at missing a bowl game for the first time since 1982. This is also their worst start since Bobby Bowden’s last season in 2009. Noles have games with Syracuse, Clemson and Florida left. Bowl eligibilty looks slim.

Now, to a game that I thought would be closer, but a man named Sarqon Barkley had different ideas. I think it’s pretty apparent that Penn State remembered the beat down the Wolverines put on them last year in the final game of the regular season. Barkley ran all over the Michigan defense like a man possessed, racking up 161 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns.  Here’s what I mean when I say the Nittany Lions trounced the Michigan defense. The Wolverines came in allowing 223 yards per game and 3.68 yards per play. Penn State threw up 506 yards and averaged 8.3 yards per play. It was not a good day for Jim Harbaugh and company. The Wolverines have dropped out of the rankings with this loss, while Penn State moves to #2. If you want to talk about last season being a fluke for the Nittany Lions… you can’t really say that this season. The big test will be next week when they travel to Columbus and take on THE Ohio State.

After last year’s 4-8 season, which still makes me giggle, Notre Dame looks insanely solid this year. 3 turnovers by USC, 2 coming off an interceptin and a fumble by Sam Darnold and Notre Dame ran rampant all over the field.  USC now has 19 turnovers on the season… #hottakealert but that’s not a good statistic. Also not a good statistic? Sam Darnold is responsible for 16 of those turnovers. It also helped that the Irish defense held the Trojans to just 76 yards rushing.. minus 4 in the first half. Big time game for the Irish next week against ranked NC State, who the Irish lost to last year in a monsoon.

Now, I will say this before I go. We have all these analysts who spend HOURS studying the games and who will win based off yardage and defense and all these other stats. But Malarky has only one week this season where he’s been under 500 in his picks for the week. I’m not saying this is fool proof.. but there’s something to be said about picking games… based on which mascots a dog would like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blues outhustle Blackhawks, have great start to season

For the city of St. Louis, there is nothing better than beating a Chicago team. And with the Cardinals missing the playoffs for the second straight season (I don’t want to talk about it, I’m still grieving for the lack of October baseball in my life), the Blues having a good start to their season is just what the city wants to see.

Last night the Blues faced off against longtime division rival, the Chicago Blackhawks. And while they came out on top, especially in the first two periods, stifling a usually very productive and physical Chicago team, there are some areas of concern, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The pros of what we saw last night? Mega goal production from Jaden Schwartz. The man is finally healthy and it showed. A hat trick, physical play, and he had a goal in each period. Schwartz has 5 goals already and if he continues to stay healthy… we could be looking at a great season from him.

Here’s the other thing that’s promising about the Blues so far this season: Jake Allen. The Blackhawks are the Blackhawks for a reason. They find a way to score goals and create opportunities (see the 10 goals they scored against Pittsburgh earlier this season).  Allen not only stopped 22 out of 24 shots on goal, those two goals he gave up were on the power play. It’s still early in the season but Jake the Snake is looking very stellar this early on. We’ll see how he holds up as the season goes along.

Now for the cons. Power play. Y’all. You cannot go 0 for 5 on power play. It’s just not going to get you very far in the season if you can’t take advantage of being a man up. This inefficiency with the power play is what cost the Blues the series against Nashville in the playoffs last year. It’s early, but there has to be something done about that. Or this is a big glaring problem that is going to bite St. Louis in the ass come later in the season.

Blues face the Avalanche tonight. Alexander Steen returned against the Blackhawks yesterday and while the Blues are still without Jay Bouwmeester, the lineup is handling the holes left by injuries.

But if there’s an open net situation with the Blues on attack? Expect them to go 0-for-52. The Blues couldn’t hit the open net last night except when they were 90 feet away. Might need to work on that, boys.

Weary Cubs look to pull postseason magic to stay alive

If you’re a fan of baseball… then the NLCS has been great if you’re a Dodgers fan or just hate the Cubs. The Dodgers bullpen has been pristine and their lineup has been dynamite.

But here’s the thing about this series: the Cubs aren’t hitting. And I don’t mean just a few players in the lineup. I’m talking the entire lineup.  Now what do I mean by this? I mean in three games, the Cubs have scored a combined 4 runs to the Dodgers 15. Yes. Cubbies have been outscored 15-4. Another thing to consider: Jose Quintana has the second highest batting average on the team. The man is a pitcher. I’m all for #pitcherswhorake but that’s not what you want during the NLCS.

Here’s another example you know the batting situation is bad for the Cubs. When with the bases loaded, Yu Darvish was allowed to bat. The Dodgers had a 2 run lead and were confident enough that the Cubs wouldn’t produce another run the rest of the night, so they let their pitcher bat.

Then, the other issue with the Cubs in this postseason has reared its ugly head: the bullpen. I really can’t wrap my head around it. Carl Edwards Jr, who appeared 73 times during the regular season for the Cubs.. has been less than stellar in this postseason. And that’s putting it mildly. The most recent debacle to add to Cubs’ fans list of grievances is when he walked Darvish with the bases loaded. To illustrate how off the mark he’s gotten, his 2017 postseason ERA is 11.97.

The Dodgers bullpen as a whole against the Cubs? They haven’t allowed a run and have only allowed 2 hits. And they’ve struck out 13.

Some may ask, but the Cubs have almost the same team as last years. While correct, the pitching is not as dominant as it was last year. And the Dodgers are not the same team they were in 2016’s NLCS. Gone are the bullpen woes and the spotty hitting. Instead, you have a team that lives and breathes each other. Kind of like what the Cubs had last year.

Do I think the Cubs are done for? The Dodgers are up 3-0. It doesn’t seem like their pitching or bats are going to let up. Alex Wood is a good pitcher. I will point out that after the All Star break he posted a 3.89 ERA with 13 home runs allowed in 12 starts. But his last three starts in the regular season, he allowed 4 runs over 18 innings, striking out 15 and walking 2.

But its October. That’s the magic of postseason baseball. Jake Arrieta is on the mound for what could be his last start in a Cubs uniform (he’s a free agent at the end of this year.) The Cubs are hanging on by their last straw. It’s about to strike midnight. The defending champs need to either find more magic or Cinderella will turn back into a pumpkin. I would recommend someone’s bats getting hot. Or this is the last game at Wrigley til 2018.

The one where Larks reclaims the lead, #upsetcity and Florida is complete trash

Hey, what’s up, hello. Sorry I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks. Life got a little crazy but I’m here to catch you all up on where the standings are.

Last we saw, my mother was in first place, with my dog Malarky and my uncle Larry close behind. I was in dead last, having been complete trash and had 3 straight weeks of 3-7 picks. I’m still debating on whether I need an analyst, who will be referred to by a code name, to protect respective parties, in case they have trash picks as well.

Back to the matter at hand. The standings:

1. Sarah and Larks 41-33
2. Larry 39-35
3. Joe 37-37
4. Mimi 36-38
5. Ro and MK 35-39
6. Molly and Jess 34-40
7. Granny 33-41
Live look at my mom upon realizing she had dropped out of first and is still losing to a dog:
ari gold
But back to more important things. The games this weekend. First, we have to talk about Syracuse and Clemson.
This was not a game we picked, but it was a game to take note of. Obviously because Syracuse upset Clemson but for other reasons as well.
I’m not going to take away what the Orange pulled off. Home field, roaring crowd, and with Clemson’s Kelly Bryant already nursing a sore ankle… everything seemed to align for the Orange.
There’s also the little fact that the Syracuse defense limited Clemson to 113 total yards rushing… and only 39 in the first half. This is a Tigers team that has been averaging AT LEAST 230 yards rushing this season. You add in the fact that Bryant left the game after the first half with a concussion and you have a recipe for a great upset. And I love a good upset. Unless it’s against one of my teams. Then I’m just annoyed and grumpy. But we’ll get to the dumpster fire that is the Florida Gators in a little bit.
Moving over to the other upset, the game we did pick, (8) Washington State at California.
If you haven’t seen this touchdown run, you are missing out or are not on social media, don’t watch tv/are Patrick Star and live under a rock.
ross bowers flip .gif
For more context, Ross Bowers mother is a gymnastics coach. Regardless, this is still awesome and we should just all be in awe of it.
Back to the point at hand: THERE WERE 7 TURNOVERS BY THE COUGARS. I want to know where the Washington State team that beat USC was last week, because they were nowhere to be found against Cal. Every time they seemed to put a drive together, the Bears’ defense was there to get an impressive stop, with the aforementioned 7 turnovers and, in case you weren’t aware, 9 sacks.
If y’all haven’t figured out that I picked Washington State in this matchup, you should be aware by now.
Cal’s defense was the star of this game, absolutely smothering the Cougars and limiting them to just 3 points. Mike Leach put it perfectly when he told ESPN that they were “pathetic.”
In a word? Woof.
Looking for another team that was pathetic, but more so on offense? Let me turn your attention to the Florida Gators.
After a horrendous loss to LSU at home last weekend on a missed extra point, which is made even more embarrassing since LSU had just lost to Troy…. the Gators were needing a comeback of sorts.
Enter the Aggies.. who played well against the number one team in the country, Alabama.
I’ll be blunt. This game did not end well for the Gators.
Here’s what you saw: Felipe Franks is still a few years away from being the good quarterback he could be. The guy missed open receivers down the field all night, and except for a great play he made with his legs in the fourth quarter, which was a broken play, was completely mediocre. The offensive line is still in total disarray, which is evident by the fact that Franks was sacked 5 times. Then, Johnny Townsend sends a punt directly to the Aggies top playmaker, Christian Kirk, who returns it 43 yards to set up a game winning field goal.
Florida is trash. And they aren’t even fun to watch. It’s painfully agonizing every game and a nailbiter, but not in the good way.
Thankfully, Florida has a bye week this week before gearing up to most likely get beaten by double digits by Georgia.
I’ll be back next week with the blog as well as a preview on a game of the week later this week. Slowly climbing my way back into the rankings in CFB picks. Our trash talk has died down some but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of material next week now that Larks has reclaimed the top spot.
I should mention that Sarah also is tied for first, but as Larry put it, that doesn’t really count.

 

 

 

Game of the Week: (14) Miami at Duke

So, after a look at how I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks, I needed to do something different. Shake things up, get my mojo back, whatever it is, trying to shake the bad karma out and bring in better vibes. So, let’s take a look at one of the games we picked this week: (14) Miami at Duke

Looking at Miami and Duke, everyone should remember the last time the Hurricanes were in Durham. That would be 2015. Where the most insane 8 lateral, last play in a football game occurred. This is also the play that later the league said shouldn’t have counted and got two officials suspended as a result.

Duke is looking at its best start in more than 10 years. This is only the sixth time the Blue Devils have won their first four games since 1960. Quarterback Daniel Jones has looked good for the Blue Devils so far, leading his team to a beatdown of Northwestern, and then taking down Baylor and rival North Carolina.

Miami has had a topsy turvy season so far. With Hurricane Irma causing games to be cancelled or postponed, the Hurricanes did not look so great against Toledo last week til the back end of the game.  It’s hard to say how good Miami is, without really having a lot of evidence to go off of. Miami does have Malik Rosier at the helm at QB, who started in that 2015 matchup between these two teams when Brad Kaaya was out with a concussion.

Here’s what I think is going to need to happen for each team: Duke is going to have to stop Miami’s run game. Mark Walton rushed for 204 yards against Toledo last week and played a big part in the 2015 last play. The Hurricanes could also potentially be getting back Ahmmon Richards, who’s been out with a hamstring injury. He set a Miami freshman receiving record last year.

For Miami, it’s going to be a long game if Daniel Jones can wreck havoc on their secondary. That was what Toledo exploited early in the game last week. This is already a secondary that is young and it was up in the air how good they would be. The other thing to worry about with Jones is his ability to extend plays with his legs. The Blue Devils’ receivers are a talented bunch, and if Jones can get to them easily, then I’m just a hot take away from saying this is going to be a bad night for Miami.

As for my prediction? And hopefully my family doesn’t read this and try to copy my picks, but I’m taking Duke and the points. I think the experience of Jones at the helm, the need to avenge what happened in Durham two years ago, and the fact that Duke football is looking at its best start in a few years, I’m going with the Blue Devils. Miami will make this a game, but I think Jones exploits the secondary and wins a close one.

 

But hey, if you don’t like my analysis, go with Lark’s route: which mascot would he rather be friends with? He’s in third in our standings for a reason.

Burgess family CFB picks: The one with dumpster fire picks for 3 weeks straight

So, after last week, it was looking pretty rough for me. 2 straight weeks of going 3-7. Tied for last with my grandmother and my Aunt Molly. Basically in the running for the golden toilet trophy, awarded to last place (We still have not named said trophy, taking suggestions now). To make matters worse, my dad, otherwise referred to as Joe or JJ, decided to rub salt in the wound.

Joe: MK I need your picks this week.

Me: Why?

Joe: Because I want to pick opposite you. So when you go 2-8, I’ll go 8-2.

Live look at me:

eye roll

So, while I’m being slowly roasted over the coals for being the sports anchor but having an awful start to my season, my Uncle Larry was making a charge at Larks’ top spot in the standings.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.08.15 PM

For those wondering, here’s how Larks prepares each week for his picks. He puts a lot of time and preparation into each week:

IMG_1390

Moving on to this week’s games: after the improbable ending to Florida-Tennessee last week, I felt that I had to go back to picking my beloved Gators. But we’ll get into how that worked out for me in a minute.

  1. NC State at (12) FSU (-12.5)
  2. Texas A&M (-2.5) at Arkansas
  3. WVU (-21.5) at Kansas
  4. (1) Alabama (-18.5) at Vanderbilt
  5. (5) USC (-17) at California
  6. (16) TCU at (6) Oklahoma State (-13)
  7. (8) Michigan (-10) at Purdue
  8. (17) Mississippi State at (11) Georgia (-5.5)
  9. (20) Florida (-2) at Kentucky
  10. Notre Dame (-4) at Michigan State

So, the first 3 games? I went 2-1. Of course, Larry decides to toot his own horn before the noon games even reach halftime:

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.23.24 PM

Savage, Joe. Savage.

Here’s why Larry was so confident, and why I was feeling good after the first 3 games.

Larry:

NC state
Arkansas
West Virginia
Bama
Cal
TCU
Michigan
UGA
Kentucky
ND

Sarah:

NC STATE +12.5

ARKANSAS +2.5

WVU -21.5

BAMA -18.5

CAL+17

TCU +13

PURDUE+10

MISS ST+5.5

KY +2

MICH ST +4

MK:

  1. NC State
  2. Arkansas
  3. WVU
  4. Vanderbilt
  5.  California
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Purdue
  8. Mississippi State
  9. Florida
  10.  Sparty
Joe:
Free Shoes U
Aggies
Couch Burners
Satan
Antifa (CAL)
Cowpokes
Khakis
UGA
31
Leprechauns
Mimi:
FSU
Arkanas
WVU
Alabama
USC
TCU
Michigan
Georgia
Florida
Notre Dame
Molly:

1. FSU

2. Arkansas
3.WVU
4. Alabama
5. USC
6.Oklahoma State
7.Michigan
8. Georgia
9. Florida
10. Michigan State
Rosemary:
NC State
Ark
KU
Vandy
Cal
Ok St
Michigan
Georgia
Florida
Michigan State
Larks:

NC State

Aggies
Kansas
Vanderbilt
California
TCU
Purdue
Georgia
Gators
Notre Dame
Jess:
Noles
Ark
WVU
Vandy
Cal
OSU
Mich
Dawgs
Gators
State
Granny:
FSU
Arkansas
WVU
Alabama
USC
Ok State
Michigan
Florida
Georgia
Notre Dame
So, after a pretty good start… I then proceeded to turn into this after winning three games:
dumpster fire
Let’s also visit this: Florida, somehow, after looking like a complete and utter disaster the entire game against Kentucky, puts in Luke Del Rio and then takes a 1 point lead with 40 seconds left. They then WIN THE GAME BUT DON’T COVER. Heartbreak for me. That team should be 0-3, but is somehow 2-1. Devil magic is going on for that team.
Another game that hurt a lot of people? Thinking Vandy would cover against the Tide.
Mood if you’re a Bama fan (Thanks to Saturday down South for this amazing photo, I can’t stop laughing, TBH)
Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.38.54 PM
59-0. The spread was 18. Florida plays Vandy this weekend, so I have no idea how to even pick that game. Tune in next week to find out about that.
So, here’s a look at the standings:
  1. Larry (26 -14)
  2. Rosemary (25-15)

  3. Larks (24-16)

  4. Sarah, Mimi and Joe (23-17)

  5. Jess (20-20)

  6. Mert (17-23)

  7. Molly (16-24)

  8. MK (15-25)
  9. John (14-16)

BASICALLY DEAD.LAST. And only because my cousin forgot to send in picks this week. This is just not acceptable. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe bring in an analyst, or something. But the fact that I’m losing to a dog who’s picking based off which mascot he’d want to be friends with and my grandmother is downright embarrassing.