Greg Kaplan (Rangers fan) and Mike Aurigemma (Bruins fan) put their differences aside to get together and talk about the positives, negatives and eventual outcomes from this series. Naturally, they decided to put a little something on the line as well to amp up the stakes.
GK: And so we meet again, Michael. After the Bruins pulled off the miracle of all miracle comebacks and the Rangers curb-stomped their way through Game 7, we’re set up for a New York-Boston playoff showdown, NHL version.
Lay it out for me Mike. What have the Bruins done well so far in the playoffs that should have me, the Rangers fan, concerned?
MA: As a Ranger fan you have to be worried about the way the Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton line has played so far throughout the playoffs. This is the kind of line that if they really get their head in the game they are extremely tough to stop mainly because of the physicality of Horton and Lucic. This was the line everyone was worried about and people even wanted Lucic benched at times and at one point in the season he was a healthy scratch. Now that they have turned it on you have to worry if you are a fan of the opposing team if you can stop them. With that being said there are still issues for the Bruins that we will also touch on throughout this.
First, I want to hear your side of how the Rangers have been playing of late. Obviously shutting down Ovechkin is no easy feat. Read more…
It’s hard to believe we’re already into the sixth week of the 2013 MLB season. It’s even harder to believe some of the story lines we’ve had to keep track of thus far, from the struggles in Tinseltown to the domination of the Cardinals pitching staff.
It’s worth reminding everyone that anything before Memorial Day should be taken with a grain of salt. However, that hasn’t stopped fan bases from packing it in or panicking. I mean, would it be baseball if people weren’t always a little panicky?
**NOTE: RECORDS ARE FINAL AS OF 5/12**
1. Texas Rangers (+0, 24-13)
The bullpen trio of Joe Nathan, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross has allowed a total of five runs over a combined 48 innings. That includes 36 strikeouts against 10 walks, plus 11 saves (all from Nathan) and 13 holds. That’s how you make games shorter and win ballgames.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (+0, 23-13)
All five starting pitchers on the Cardinals staff (even with Jake Westbrook going to the DL) have ERAs under 3. Do you understand how remarkable that is? And though it’s not official yet, Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.58 ERA, 10.05 K/9, 0.88 WHIP) is all but locking up the Rookie of the Year award six weeks into the season.
3. New York Yankees (+2, 23-13)
I don’t know what’s more unlikely, Vernon Wells putting up a .295/.343/.530 with 9 HRs, 20RBI, 4 stolen bases and 19 runs, or that some Angels fans actually miss him and that type of production. I mean, seriously, how is Vernon Wells (VERNON WELLS!) the best this season out of a group including Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos? That’s why they play the games, they say.
4. San Francisco Giants (+2, 23-15)
Everybody was kung fu fighting! The Kung Fu Panda is off to a rip-roaring start, hitting .320/.363/.483 with 6 HRs, 26 RBI, six doubles and 21 runs. The funny thing is, there’s probably a good chance this year Sandoval will actually deserve to be the starting third baseman for the National League in the All-Star game. But, there’s not a chance in hell that David Wright doesn’t get the start with the game being in New York, in his home park. You know, what should have happened last year is going to happen a year later. That’s just how it works.
5. Cincinnati Reds (+4, 22-16)
There’s no sugar-coating it, Shin-Soo Choo has been an absolute blessing for the Reds this year. He’s provided stability at the top of the order and in center field, which had been a huge question mark for a number of years. That, and he’s producing at an All-Star level, hitting .309/.451/.547 with 7 HR and 17RBI, 10 doubles, 29 runs and four stolen bases. Scott Boras won’t have enough zeros to ask for on the end of his contract when he hits the open market after this season. Read more…
Inspired by a brilliant post on the popular site Buzzfeed, Greg Kaplan and Vinny Ginardi decided to come together after a long lay-off and figure out what the shootout line-up would be if the Mighty Ducks were in that situation.
Mighty Duck #1: Adam Banks.
VG: He’s the best player to wear a Duck’s jersey and it’s not even close. Sure, he may get hurt all the time, but let’s not forget that Banks got asked to move up to varsity from JV in D3. It’s always been clear that Banks is far more talented than his Duck teammates, and there’s nobody I’d have more confidence in to find the net in a shootout.
GK: There was never a Duck that possessed the all-around talent that Adam Banks had. If you were to compare these Ducks to an actual an actual NHL team today like the New York Rangers, Banks would be Rick Nash. Nash is the unquestioned most talented player on the Rangers, but everybody rallies around Ryan Callahan, who is also the captain (we’re getting there!). Callahan may get the attention and the headlines, but it’s Nash’s skill that makes all of his teammates better. Adam Banks made every Duck better, and open ice to him is like a theme park. As long as he stays healthy, he’s your #1. Read more…
Going into the year, there was a lot of hope and optimism that even if the New York Mets weren’t going to be competitive, there were players on the roster that could take the next step in their development and have some significant growth. While in some situations, what we’ve learned seems to be less optimistic for the future (like the continuing conundrum of Lucas Duda, is Ruben Tejada really the shortstop of the future, can Ike Davis ever put together a full, productive season, etc.), there is one story line that hasn’t only lived up to expectations, but tied 25-pounds of C-4 to them and decided to build something bigger.
There was a strong fear throughout the Mets fan community that trading away R.A. Dickey would cripple the rotation in more ways than one. First, it would obviously remove the National League’s best pitcher from 2012, which is crippling in its own right. Second, it put a massive amount of pressure on the remaining rotational pieces. And third, maybe most damning to the Mets organization and the fans, was that the move eliminated what honestly was the only must-see attraction the Mets had last year. Read more…
Even with that being said, there are a few lessons we can take away from the beginning of the season that are almost guaranteed to carry over throughout the dog days of summer, like the Marlins and Astros being historically bad, the Rangers being better than many gave them credit for in the pre-season, and possibly the swan song of a former Cy Young award winner’s career.
So, five+ weeks into the season, how do the teams stack up in comparison to one another? Let’s take a look…
**NOTE: RECORDS ARE FINAL AS OF 5/5**
1. Texas Rangers (+0, 20-11)
Let’s put a few things in perspective here five weeks into the regular season. Yu Darvish has K’d a remarkable 72 hitters in his first 45.2 innings this year. That’s a rate of 14.19 strikeouts per nine innings. Let’s assume Darvish merely matches his 191.1 innings from last year. That keeps him on pace to strike out roughly 301 hitters this year, not to mention break the single-season K/9 mark for a starting pitcher, which currently belongs to Randy Johnson’s 2001 season when he struck out a mind-boggling 372 hitters in 249.2 innings pitched. Johnson was also the last pitcher to strike out as many as 300 batters in a single season, notching 334 in 2002. So, yeah. Darvish is on pace for a very special season.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (+5, 20-11)
The Cardinals starting rotation has rightfully grabbed the headlines in the National League Central, but their offense has been quietly having a complete season from top to bottom as well. Despite only one home run, Allen Craig maintains the team lead in RBI with his 25, while Yadier Molina proves last year’s offensive output was no fluke and the outfield combination of Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday have combined for 13 home runs and 40 RBI through the first week of May.
3. Boston Red Sox (-1, 20-11)
The Red Sox were hitting fine before he returned from injury, but David Ortiz’s insertion back into the everyday line-up has taken them to another level. In his first 13 games, Ortiz has pounded out a line to the tune of .440/.473/.840 with four home runs and 17 RBI. Sure, that’s only indicative of his first 50 at-bats, but could you have asked for a better 50 at-bat beginning to a season?
4. Detroit Tigers (+7, 19-11)
Keeping in mind the “Astros Effect” (basically, any team will look much better than they might be a week after having played the Astros), six everyday position players are currently sport batting averages higher than .288. Three players (Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera) have already scored 20+ runs. Of course, there’s the start to Cabrera’s season in total, which might as well just be considered a continuation from his 2012 campaign (.385/.465/.615, 6HR 36RBI). Couldn’t ask for a better start offensively of any one collective unit.
5. New York Yankees (-2, 18-12)
By hook or by crook, the Yankees are still putting up wins despite playing without arguably their most important players (not named Robinson Cano or C.C. Sabathia, of course). We’ve talked about the success of Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells that has fueled the Bombers line-up, but credit needs to go to Hiroki Kuroda for his work in the rotation. A 2.25 ERA to start the year in his first six starts to go along with four wins and striking out nearly a batter an inning. While everyone else in the rotation has been up and down, Kuroda has been a beacon of consistency. Read more…
With the need to over-analyze a show together since The Challenge is on hiatus, Greg Kaplan and Mike Aurigemma have come together and decided to give The Amazing Race: Season 22 a chance. Each week, the two will break down what has happened, where the show is going, the team that has been eliminated and, of course, the front-runners.
To read previous recaps from this season, make sure to check out our Amazing Race page under the Pop Culture tab!
GK: Well, Mike, we did it. We successfully went through a season of The Amazing Race together, and actually had a pretty good time doing it. For maybe the first time in the history of us watching shows together, I accurately predicted which team was going to win from the very beginning. Waiver Wire favorites the hockey playing Battaglia brothers took home the cool million bucks. Were there any surprises in the finale for you?
MA: There really were not that many surprises as to how the teams finished. I thought it was expected to be honest with you. One thing I was disappointed with was that it seemed as if the second and third place teams walked away with nothing. But maybe I missed something about that. We know that in The Challenge those teams that finish in second and third still get some kind of prize. I was kind of disappointed to hear that as I think they would deserve something for getting that far and being that close.
One thing we touched on throughout this whole season was how three teams quit. Did CBS just straight up lie to us? And how do you feel about that? Read more…
When word came out a few months back that Boy Meets World was getting a reboot that would feature the daughter of Cory and Topanga, I decided to take on the task of going back and watching all the previous episodes of the series (and they said keeping Netflix DVDs wouldn’t pay off).
I’m only on disc two of season two, but I’ve had a very important realization:
How different would my life be if I never saw even one episode of Boy Meets World?
Seriously. Every episode is a life lesson that is of paramount importance to the development of a kid’s prime years. You know, puberty. Ever had a question you didn’t really want to ask your parents, and felt a little odd to ask your friends? Boy Meets World answers it for you, and with meaning.
In hindsight, hell even in the now, it’s a show that has it all. It has high school/middle school drama, sexual innuendos flying left and right, and everything in between. Boy Meets World even does the impossible: it makes English class seem interesting and full of meaningful material that goes beyond the pages of a book. I mean, really. Who knew that if you actually read the material in books like Pygmalion or Othello you could learn something? English teachers should’ve acted like Mr. Turner, then maybe I would’ve participated more. Alright, that’s unfair. I actually had an awesome English teacher sophomore and junior year, and still refused to partake in the learning. Read more…