Tag Archive | "brett kettyle"

Raiders botch opportunity to catch Tebow


Al Davis must be rolling in his grave after his Raiders. In a game between the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions that had playoff implications for both teams, the Cardiac Cats were the better team, even if it took all 60 minutes to prove it.

The Lions (9-5) didn’t ice the win over the Raiders (7-7) until Ndamukong Suh blocked a 65 yard field goal attempt as time expired to preserve the Lions 28-27 win. In Suh’s first game back from a two-game suspension for stomping a Packers lineman on Thanksgiving Day, last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year didn’t make a ton of plays but he put the exclamation point on a big comeback win.

After both quarterbacks took turns dissecting the opposing defensive backfields in the first half, the Raiders seemed to take control of the game midway through the fourth quarter.

After Sebastian Janikowski hit a 51 yard “chip-shot” field goal, Aaron Curry recovered a fumble for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 13-point lead with under eight minutes to play. The Lions marched down the field to get within six but the Raiders got the ball back and had a chance to run out the clock.

After getting near midfield, the Raiders were forced to punt, and Shane Lechler nailed a beauty. The ball was downed on the two yard-line and even the Raiders weak pass defense seemed ready to stop the Lions with under three minutes to play and no timeouts remaining.

But Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson teamed up again and seemingly breezed down the field. Johnson hauled in two long passes before drawing a pass interference call to give the Lions first and goal at the Raider six. Two plays later, Stafford found Johnson in the end zone for the winning score with 39 ticks on the clock.

Megatron finished with 214 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns on a day, one a 51-yard perfect strike from Stafford. Although Lions receivers ended the day with at least eight dropped passes, Stafford still threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns while his counterpart, Carson Palmer, tallied 367 yards and a score. Neither QB threw an interception and both spent their time avoiding heavy pressure much of the day.

The teams came into the game as the top two penalized teams in the NFL and that trend continued. The Lions finished with nine penalties for 72 yards and almost shot themselves in the foot on their last drive. After getting into the red zone they had what appeared to be a costly holding penalty before Oakland bailed them out on the next play when Raiders CB Stanford Routt got called for pass interference on Johnson, setting up the Lions winning score. The Raiders were penalized 10 times for 86 yards in the game.

The Lions are in good position to clinch a playoff berth after the win and with the Bears and Giants losing are likely to be headed into the postseason for the first time since 1999.

The Raiders on the other hand lost an opportunity to catch up to Denver after Tim Tebow and his Broncos lost to the Patriots.

Used with permission of the author.

Brett is the editor and a contributor for www.BravesFTW.com. He has covered MLB and the Braves for numerous websites and is a regular contributor to Sports Climax. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

 

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Verlander adds MVP to hardware collection


For the first time since 1992, a pitcher has won one of baseball’s MVP awards. Justin Verlander, winner of the Triple Crown and the AL Cy Young award took home the honors in a split vote that saw six different players receive a first place vote.

Dennis Eckersly was the last pitcher to win the award when he did so with the Oakland Athletics in 1992 and Roger Clemens was the last starting pitcher to win back in 1986.

It’s been over 10 years since Pedro Martinez finished second back in 1999 with a season that was more impressive than Verlander’s and it seemed a long shot for Verlander to win even after absolutely dominating the American League and being one of only two star players on a Detroit team that went on to win a Division Title.

As with most major award voting, a strong case can be made for other candidates, but Verlander seems incredibly deserving for leading a Tigers team into the playoffs after many writers picked them to finish behind Chicago and Minnesota.

According to baseball-reference.com’s WAR formula, Verlander tied for the AL lead with 8.5 WAR. The player he tied with, Jose Bautista didn’t make the playoffs and played on the fourth place Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista finished third in the voting.

According to the Fangraphs version of WAR, there were other players (even one other pitcher, CC Sabathia) that finished with a higher number than Verlander.

But in the old school stats, which so many times dominate award voting, Verlander cleaned up. The pitching Triple Crown was an incredible accomplishment, and Verlander also led the league in innings pitched and WHIP while coming in second in xFIP.

Verlander is the fifth Tigers player to win the MVP award. Despite the fact that hitters have won the award the vast majority of the time, all five of the Tigers winners have come on the mound.

Used with permission of the author.

Brett is the editor and a contributor for www.BravesFTW.com. He has covered MLB and the Braves for numerous websites and is a regular contributor to Sports Climax. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLB, Recent BuzzComments (0)

Indians overachievers in MLB; who are the fails?


In 2010, the San Diego Padres surprised everyone by leading the NL West for most of the year despite being predicted to finish fourth or fifth. While the Padres eventually fell short, teams picked to finish near the bottom of the division would love to be this year’s surprise team.

That team so far has been the Cleveland Indians. Despite dropping two in a row, the Indians have the best record in baseball (30-17) despite being picked to finish fourth or fifth in the division by just about everyone.

The Indians are fourth in the MLB in OPS, a huge surprise for a questionable offense heading into the season. Travis Hafner has been terrific (.345/.409/.549) but the biggest surprise is Asdrubal Cabrera. In the past, Cabrera has been a solid hitter; but nobody expected him to be leading the team with 10 homeruns (his previous career high was 6).

Pitching wise, Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson have performed well over expectations thus far. With ERAs of 2.41 and 2.50 (respectively), they have stepped up while Fausto Carmona has struggled and the fifth starter spot has been a revolving door.

The Indians currently have the largest division lead in baseball and will look to make their first playoff appearance since 2007.

The Indians division rival, the Minnesota Twins is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Despite having a pair of recent MVP winners and a solid pitching staff heading into the season, Minnesota has the worst record (16-32) in baseball.

Joe Mauer has played in only nine games this year due to injury and Justin Morneau is hitting just .230, leaving the Twins with a huge hole in the middle of their order. No player on the team has more than five homeruns and Jason Kubel is the only regular with a slugging percentage above .400.

On the other side of the ball, Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano have been tremendous disappointments after both posting sub-4.00 ERAs last year. Liriano even managed to look bad while throwing a no-hitter (less than half his pitches were strikes) and has walked 32 batters in just 48.2 innings.

The National League hasn’t had the tremendous surprises that the American League has, but some teams are playing better than expected.

The St. Louis Cardinals were expected to play well, but having the second best record in the NL is a surprise given some of the performances they have received.

Stud pitcher Adam Wainwright was lost for the season before it began and Chris Carpenter has looked nothing like an ace. Additionally, Albert Pujols is hitting just .267 and went a month without hitting a homerun.

The Cardinals have held off the Reds and Brewers thus far thanks to the terrific pitching of Jaime Garcia and strong offensive seasons from outfielders Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have also been somewhat surprising this year. After finishing fifth in their division last year, the team is .500 right now and is improving faster than expected. Their revamped bullpen has shown huge improvements and new closer J.J. Putz is 13-13 in save opportunities.

No team in the National League has been a huge disappointment, but the Colorado Rockies have been playing well below their potential. After surging to the best start in the NL, the team sits just one game above .500 despite a strong young core of players.

Ubaldo Jiminez (5.44 ERA) has struggled when he’s been healthy enough to play. Additionally, Carlos Gonzalez (.251 BA) and Troy Tulowitski (.241) aren’t living up to their lengthy extensions.

With four months still remaining in the 2011 season, there is time for all the underachievers to improve and the surprise winners to fall back to earth. Only time will tell which teams will still be alive in October.

Used with permission of the author.

Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLB, Recent BuzzComments (0)

Moss will wear third uniform in same season


With his homecoming in Minnesota over before his bags were barely unpacked, Randy Moss will take his talents to the Tennessee Titans.

After spending four weeks each with the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings this season Moss will look to stick in Tennessee and help lead the Titans to a playoff berth.

Although Tennessee (5-3) had the 23rd highest waiver priority, many teams passed over Moss and his large contract. When a player is waived in the NFL, every team (except the team that waived him) can claim the player, and he is awarded to the team with the worst record.

In recent years Tennessee has struggled to find an impact player at receiver so Moss may be the answer.

Although Kenny Britt and Nate Washington have had decent seasons, Moss will add another dimension to the passing game and should become a favorite target of both Vince Young and Kerry Collins.

The Titans passing offense currently ranks just 24th in the NFL with less than 200 yards per game, and could use a boost from a former All-Pro wide receiver. Running back Chris Johnson, who rushed for over 2000 yards in 2009, hasn’t fared as well in 2010 with team’s stacking up against the Titans running game.

With Moss in the fold, Johnson, as well as Kenny Britt and the Titans other options should play better because they will receive less attention from the defense. Although Nate Washington has shown the ability to get behind defensive backs, he doesn’t carry the same respect or name recognition Moss does.

The Titans currently trail the Indianapolis Colts by half a game in the AFC South. If the season ended today, the Titans would be the first team on the outside of the Playoffs, as they are also half a game back of the current Wild Card teams in the AFC.

Despite the woeful passing attack, the Titans have scored more points than any other NFL team so far (they are second to the Patriots in points per game). With the addition of a big play receiver like Randy Moss, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Titans finish the season with a prolific offense that scores over 30 points a game.

Move over Cowboys, Vikings are the biggest train wreck – Sports Climax

Randy Moss marriage with Vikings annulled – Sports Climax

Used with permission of the author.

Along with contributing MLB and NFL material to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in NFLComments (0)

2010 MLB Playoffs: No Experience Necessary


When it comes to October baseball, people are normally quick to point out which teams and players have been on baseball’s biggest stage before.

The Phillies, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia all have postseason experience and were expected to continue playing well in October. Alex Rodriguez, on the other hand, can’t seem to escape his postseason struggles (even though he’s actually hitting .301 in his playoff career).

Now we are two days into the playoffs and the most dominant pitching performances have been put in by players with no postseason experience.

Four pitchers have gotten starts in their postseason debuts so far, and they have combined for a 1.38 ERA in 26 innings. If you take Edinson Volquez out of the equation (he struggled against the Phillies, allowing four runs in just 1.2 innings) the other three starters making their playoff debuts have a perfect 0.00 ERA.

Roy Halladay started things off by throwing just the second no-hitter in postseason history on Wednesday. The Reds led the NL in runs scored during the regular season, so Halladay accomplished his feat against the NL’s most prolific offense.

Thursday, C.J. Wilson got his first playoff start against the Tampa Bay Rays and threw 6.1 shutout innings, striking out seven batters in the process. Wilson allowed just two hits and two walks against a solid Tampa Bay Rays lineup and left after throwing 104 pitches.

Tim Lincecum then finished off Thursday’s slate of games with a complete game shutout over the Altanta Braves. In what may have been the most dominant performance so far this postseason, Lincecum struck out 14 batters while allowing just two hits and a walk.

Heading into Friday’s slate of games, we will again get to see a pair of players make their postseason debuts. Both Matt Cain and Tommy Hanson (who are opposing each other) are coming off strong seasons but have never pitched in the postseason before.

As the year of the pitcher continues into the postseason, players are showing that it doesn’t take experience to shine on baseball’s biggest stage.

Used with permission of the author.

Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Roy Oswalt on fire, Phillies pull away


When Roy Oswalt waved his no-trade clause and moved to the Philadelphia Phillies, there were plenty of people left wondering if he had enough left in the tank to make a difference, never mind be the ace that he had been for so many years in Houston.

Despite a solid 3.42 ERA with the Houston Astros in 2010, Oswalt had just a 6-12 and seemed to have lost the competitive fire that helped him become a bona-fide ace during the middle of the decade.

Since moving to Philadelphia and becoming part of the Phillies “Big 3” or “H2O” pitching staff, Oswalt has silenced his critics and helped the Phillies overtake the Braves to regain the NL East lead.

When Oswalt came to Philly, the Braves led the division by 3.5 games and seemed to be cruising back toward the playoff spot that they owned during the 1990’s. Now, with the help of Oswalt, the Phillies are sitting on a seven game cushion and riding an 11 game winning streak.

Since coming to the City of Brotherly Love, Oswalt has not only regained his ace form, but pitched better than he ever did in Houston. In 11 starts with the Phillies, Oswalt is 7-1 with a sparkling 1.76 ERA and might gain some Cy Young consideration despite his mediocre overall record.

While his 3.13 FIP and 3.43 xFIP show that Oswalt might be pitching a little over his head at the moment, he has already shown that he still has the fire to pitch extremely well.

Oswalt’s last start with the Phillies may have been his best and was definitely the most important.

With the chance to essentially end the Braves chances of winning the NL East with a three game sweep, Oswalt out-dueled Tommy Hanson, allowing just one hit and no runs over seven innings in the Phillies 1-0 shutout win.

While the Phillies may have made the playoffs riding Roy Halladay, the presence of Oswalt has changed the team from good to great and made the Philadelphia Phillies the team to beat in the NL once again.

Used with permission of the author.

 Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLBComments (0)

Rockies’ “Rocktober” push led by Tulowitski


Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Garret Atkins led the way back in 2007 when the Colorado Rockies made an improbable late-season run to the playoffs and coined the phrase “Rocktober.”

Three years later, all three of those players are out of the Rockies organization but the Rockies are once again looking to make a late season push into the playoffs.

On September 1st, the Rockies sat seven games out of first place in the NL West (they were only six games out on the same date in 2007) but now find themselves just a game and a half out with 13 left to play.

A rookie who brought a boost of energy to the Rockies back in 2007, Troy Tulowitski is now leading the Rockies latest playoff charge that brings back memories of Matt Holliday’s slide to beat the Padres in a one game playoff.

On the month of September, Tulo is hitting .325 and slugging an incredible .590. His 14 homeruns this month are more than he had the rest of the season (he now stands at 26 on the year) and he hit them all within a span of 15 games.

The NL record for homeruns in September is 16, set by Ralph Kiner back in 1949. The overall September record is 17, set by both Albert Belle and Babe Ruth. Sammy Sosa has the most homeruns of in any month, as he hit 20 back in June of 1998. Tulowitski has a chance to make history if he can continue his power surge, but that’s not what he’s focused on at this point.

Although the Rockies might not finish the season by winning 14 of their last 15 games like they did in 2007, a run to the playoffs would mark a remarkable comeback for a team that was over 10 games back less than a month ago.

With a red hot Troy Tulowitski and Triple Crown contender Carlos Gonzalez leading the way, there’s reason to believe that we could be in for another long Rocktober.

Used with permission of the author.

 Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLB, Recent BuzzComments (0)


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