Saturday, October 29, 2011

Freese Out! Cardinals Stun Rangers for 11th World Series Title!

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-Digger's Daily-

The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals capped a season to remember with a stunning seven game World Series victory over the Texas Rangers. On August 25th, the Cardinals were 10.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL Wild Card race. In World Series Game 6, twice they were one strike from losing the series. St. Louis overcame long odds - now they're World Series champions!

Texas seemed to have the championship well within their grasp. Leading the Series 3 games to 2. Leading Game 6 7-4 through 7 innings - 7-5 after 8 - 7-5 with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th until hometown hero David Freese delivered a season saving game tying 2 out 2 strike 2 run triple. Texas led again 9-7 in the 10th inning after a 2 run homer by 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton. Once again, St. Louis facing elimination with 2 outs and 2 strikes. Then it was Lance Berkman's turn for heroics as his single tied the game at 9. Up stepped David Freese to lead off for the Cardinals in the bottom half of the 11th. He lined a 3-2 meatball over the centerfield wall for a walk off Series tying home run. Cardinal fans went crazy - and analysts slammed Rangers manager Ron Washington for numerous managerial mistakes.

In decisive Game 7, Texas came out hot scoring 2 to begin the game. They would score no more. Cardinals David Freese was the man of the hour once again. His 2 run double knotted the contest. Texas pitchers were terrible the rest of the way. Walks, hit batters and falling behind in counts all game long. When all was said and done - St. Louis won the game 6-2. Local boy David Freese was named World Series MVP in addition to National League Championship Series MVP.

Texas joins the 1986 Boston Red Sox as two teams within 1 strike of a World Series title in Game 6 who then gave it all away. So many memorable moments coming out of the 2011 World Series. Here's a few of my favorites....

Game 1 - Cards David Freese scored game winner on a pinch hit single by Alan Craig. Rangers CJ Wilson became the first pitcher to lose an All Star Game, AL Division Series game, AL Championship Series game and World Series game all in the same season.

Game 2 - Rangers score 2 9th inning runs - win 2-1 - ties Series at 1 each.

Game 3 - The Albert Pujols show. 5 for 6 - 3 monster home runs to tie the record shared by Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. Cardinals demolish Rangers 16-7.

Game 4 - Derek Holland shut down the Cardinals through 8.1 innings. Rangers win 4-0. Holland would not start again. Many, including myself, still wonder why Washington didn't save Holland for Game 7 after his great Game 4 performance. Certainly to be debated for years to come.

Game 5 - Rubber game. Rangers to be World Series MVP Mike Napoli delivers game winner in bottom of 8th. Rangers win 4-2. One game from franchise first championship (51 years). Alan Craig twice thrown out trying to steal with Albert Pujols batting. LaRussa none too happy. Confusion as LaRussa didn't have closer Motte ready to come in - make shift relievers surrender game. LaRussa criticized and admits communication error between dugout and bullpen. Season on the brink.

Game 6 - Where to begin? Called one of the best games ever despite sloppy defense, poor managerial decisions, bad base running. In a move - or lack thereof - which I believe will haunt manager Washington for years to come - was his indecision in the top 5th. Rangers were leading 4-3, 2 outs, bases loaded. This is where Texas could have blown the Series open. Instead of sending a pinch hitter to bat for starting pitcher Lewis, after much confusion, Washington lets Lewis hit - and strike out. Rally over. Bases loaded stranded. This was a major snafu. Lewis was cooked one inning later.
Holliday getting picked off 3rd by Napoli with bases loaded, score tied at 4, almost sunk the Cards. It was a huge moment of the game. Cards inning ended 1 out later. Holliday might have scored on soon to come wild pitch had he not been picked off. Crucial moment Cards were able to overcome.
One of the Cardinals biggest hits - and most over looked of the entire Series - was Alan Craig's 8th inning solo home run to shave Texas lead to 2 from 7-4. At the time, everyone was ready to hand the trophy to Texas.
Then came the 9th inning. Texas leading 7-5, one out, Albert Pujols steps up to the plate in what could have been (should have been) potentially his final at bat as a St. Louis Cardinal. Pujols started the rally with a line drive double to left center. Berkman followed with a walk vs Rangers flame throwing closer Feliz. Up stepped Freese with 2 outs. Rangers OF playing very deep. It didn't matter. Freese absolutely hammered a fast ball off the right field wall. Texas players who were waiting to celebrate were suddenly stunned. Freese tied the game, 7-7. It looked as though the Cardinals were poised to win right there but Feliz got the final out. Bush Stadium fans going berserk - until - Hamilton's two-run blast put Texas ahead by two 9-7. Rangers dugout jubilant and relieved.
Washington's next mistake was not letting his closer come back out for a second inning of work. Here it is, season on the line, championship glory within reach - and Washington pulls his closer for old man Oliver. Two hitters later, the tying runs were on base after two feeble singles. Rangers blew another 2 run lead - again with 2 outs and 2 strikes.
David Freese homers to win it in the 11th redeeming himself from an earlier error of a dropped pop up to third. Just like that Freese became Series MVP front-runner knocking Napoli off to the side.

Game 7 - Ian Kinsler picked off first. Kinsler's base running was atrocious. He was nearly picked off again by Molina a few innings later. Rangers seemed done for the season after Feldman's bases loaded borderline call walk to Molina made the score 4-2. CJ Wilson then relieved and hit struggling Furcal with his first pitch, 5-2.
Rangers set a record for most walks. They handed out 41 free bases in 62 innings. They hit batters, played poor defense, pitched from behind. One of the worst performances (except for Holland) ever recorded. Sloppy and very "un"-clucth.

Clutch - MVP Freese 21 post-season RBI is a Major League record!
Rangers back to back World Series losers.
Albert Pujols final game as a Cardinal after 11 stellar seasons?
Is LaRussa done in St. Louis?
Arthur Rhodes earns a World Series ring after 20 big league season's (1st World Series).
Tony LaRussa wins 3rd World Series in 33 year managing career. 2nd Cardinals Series title. Funny, only 4 100+ win teams in 33 years.

Much will be written of the 2011 World Series. Most attention will surround Texas twice being within 1 strike of winning. Rangers players all know the Series was lost in Game 6. Nolan Ryan's facial expressions this Series were priceless. Jubilant, angry, stunned disbelief.

Congratulations St. Louis Cardinals!

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 8

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-Digger's Daily-

Green Bay's dominating game is second to none through 7 weeks. They're playing head and shoulders above all others. New England @ Pittsburgh and Dallas @ Philadelphia represent the featured games for Week 8.

8-5 again last week brings my season W/L total to 65-38 (63.1).

Week 8 (home team in CAPS)
RAVENS 24 Cardinals 10
PANTHERS 33 Vikings 28
TEXANS 35 Jaguars 17
GIANTS 45 Dolphins 10
Saints 41 RAMS 6
TITANS 24 Colts 10
Lions 27 BRONCOS 24
BILLS 38 Redskins 21
Bengals 17 SEAHAWKS 14
49ERS 21 Browns 17
Patriots 34 STEELERS 30
EAGLES 31 Cowboys 24

Chargers 28 CHIEFS 21
(Bye: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, Oakland, NY Jets, Tampa Bay)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Football Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

There's a new sheriff in town. LSU is #1 on every poll - at least for now. Only a few regular season games remain. It's do or die time for teams seeking a crack at playing in the BCS Championship.

NCAA Top 20 (8 weeks completed)
1 - LSU
2 - Alabama
3 - Boise State
4 - Stanford
5 - Oklahoma State
6 - Clemson
7 - Kansas State
8 - Oregon
9 - Oklahoma
10- Arkansas
11- Michigan State
12- Nebraska
13- South Carolina
14- Virginia Tech
15- Wisconsin
16- Houston
17- Michigan
18- Penn State
19- USC
20- Cincinnati

Is Green Bay capable of pulling off a perfect 16-0 season? There's only one game vs a Super caliber team. Packers are off this weekend gearing up for their toughest remaining contest at San Diego November 6th. If Green Bay successfully knocks off the Chargers then this team will sit in prime position. Any guess as to which team tops our NFL rankings?

NFL Rankings(7 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - New England Patriots
3 - Pittsburgh Steelers
4 - New Orleans Saints
5 - Baltimore Ravens
6 - San Francisco 49ers
7 - Detroit Lions
8 - San Diego Chargers
9 - New York Giants
10- Buffalo Bills
11- Cincinnati Bengals
12- Houston Texans
13- New York Jets
14- Atlanta Falcons
15- Chicago Bears

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baseball 2011 - Players of the Year

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-Digger's Daily-

The current Major League Baseball season will soon conclude. Texas and St. Louis are currently battling for the World Series championship (tied 2 games each). Award announcements will be made shortly after the Series concludes. All World All Sports has put together our players of the year position by position - our Gold Glove selections - and our picks for the major awards.

Players of the Year (by position - click player name for individual statistics)
1B - Miguel Cabrera (DET)
2B - Robinson Cano (NYY)
3B - Adrian Beltre (TEX)
SS - Derek Jeter (NYY)
LF - Alex Gordon (KC)
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
RF - Jose Bautista (TOR)
C - Alex Avila (DET)
DH - Victor Martinez (DET)
SRHP - Justin Verlander (DET)
SLHP - CC Sabathia (NYY)
MR - David Robertson (NYY)
CL - Jose Valverde (DET)
MGR- Jim Leyland (DET)

AL Awards
AL MVP - Curtis Granderson (NYY)
AL Cy Young - Justin Verlander (DET)
AL Rookie - Jordan Walden (LAA)
AL Comeback - Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
AL Manager- Jim Leyland (DET)

AL Gold Gloves
1B - Mark Teixeira (NYY)
2B - Dustin Pedroia (BOS)
3B - Evan Longoria(TB)
SS - Jhonny Peralta (DET)
LF - Alex Gordon (KC)
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
RF - Nick Markakis (BAL)
C - Matt Wieters (BAL)
P - Dan Haren (LAA)

Players of the Year (by position - click player name for individual statistics)
1B - Prince Fielder (MIL)
2B - Brandon Phillips (CIN)
3B - Pablo Sandoval (SF)
SS - Jose Reyes (NYM)
LF - Ryan Braun (MIL)
CF - Matt Kemp (LAD)
RF - Lance Berkman (STL)
C - Yadier Molina(STL)
SRHP - Roy Halladay (PHI)
SLHP - Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
MR - Tyler Clippard (WAS)
CL - John Axford (MIL)
MGR- Kirk Gibson (AZ)

NL Awards
NL MVP - Ryan Braun (MIL)
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
NL Rookie - Freddie Freeman (ATL)
NL Comeback - Lance Berkman (STL)
NL Manager - Kirk Gibson (AZ)

NL Gold Gloves
1B - Joey Votto (CIN)
2B - Neil Walker (PIT)
3B - Placido Polanco (PHI)
SS - Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
LF - Ryan Braun (MIL)
CF - Chris Young (AZ)
RF - Andre Ethier (LAD)
C - Yadier Molina(STL)
P - Hiroki Kuroda (LAD)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Random Ramblings

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-Digger's Daily-

Random thoughts evolving from recent events in the sports world.

Timing couldn't be worse for millionaire crybabies. Players vs owners remain far apart on negotiations. The blame finger points towards everyone involved. It doesn't matter which side you're rooting for - or against. Bottom line is two weeks of games have been wiped out. As these greedy folks attempt ironing out their differences - or finding common ground - the people losing out most are middle America. How many ticket collectors, food vendors, beer sellers, parking lot attendants, maintenance crews, security personnel, ushers, now find themselves out of work? It effects far more than just stadium/arena folks. How about the pizza shop which loses thousands of dollars without fans? Transportation systems? Parking garages? Local cabs? Bus service? Parking meters? Local corner newsstand? Hotels? Restaurants? Air travel? All are taking a direct hit during economic times when the cost of everything - especially lost wages/revenue - soars. It's become a crippling domino effect.


Did everyone catch the post-game clip of what transpired between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh & Lions coach Jim Schwartz ? Wow. Harbaugh's rough handshake/shove of Schwartz nearly caused a bench clearing brawl. Surging SF had just beaten previously undefeated Detroit and Harbaugh seemed to shove Schwartz aside. Schwartz then verbally went after Harbaugh. They soon had to be separated. Players and coaches from both teams were involved trying to keep them apart without starting a melee between themselves too. Quite the spectacle. Catch the YouTube video here

New feud brewing? Rex Ryan vs Norv Turner? Ryan's big mouth was at it again. Ryan has since apologized for dissing Turner over comments made to reporters earlier this week claiming - "Well, I think I would have had a couple of rings," Ryan said. "I'm telling you, those teams were loaded."
Turner's response: "I hadn't seen his quote and I was a little bit surprised by the call," Turner said. "And then after I saw the quote, I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed (New York) the last couple of years."
These two teams go toe to toe this weekend at MetLife Stadium. It should be a bruising game - and San Diego victory.

It's World Series time. One game and one unfortunate distinction/record recorded. Texas Rangers starting pitcher CJ Wilson became the first pitcher in Major League history to lose an All Star Game, American League Divisional Playoff game, American League Championship Series game and World Series game all in the same season! That's got to hurt an ego. Don't forget - the American League All Star Game loss meant the National League representative would have World Series home field advantage. Wilson served up a game winning homer to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder meaning St. Louis hosts 4 of 7 games if needed.

Welcome to the show Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes (StL) appeared in his first ever World Series game last night after 900 regular season games. Manager LaRussa summoned Rhodes from the bullpen to get out Texas slugger Josh Hamilton in the 8th inning. Hamilton's been struggling at the plate nagged by a lingering groin injury. Manager Washington (Tx) plans to shift Josh from CF to LF. Rangers need their slugger who looks out of synch due to the groin issue.

It appears Theo Epstein is soon to officially take over GM duties of the Chicago Cubs. He was a main architect of Boston's jinx breaking 2004 World Series winning squad. Can he reverse another curse? Chicago's gone over 100 years without a World Series title. Cubs will be paying a hefty price tag. It's been reported Epstein is set to earn over $15million! You've got to be kidding me? I guess it's desperation - once again - in the Windy City. Theo's hands will be challenged to systematically transform the Cubs into winners. Good luck. While credited with helping Boston win a World Series - he must also be credited with handicapping Boston's payroll for years to come after several bad contracts (John Lackey, Carl Crawford). Cubs already have contract troubles which questions why they're interested in gambling $15million on a GM?

Potheads busted! #1 ranked LSU Tigers suspended three players for testing positive for a synthetic type of marijuana in a university administered test. Not cool fellas. These 3 players - cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon and tailback Spencer Ware - will not be forgiven anytime soon if LSU loses this weekend vs rival Auburn. They've let down a lot of people from fellow players, coaches and student body. Exactly how long these 3 will be out of action has yet to be determined. Simpleton's weren't thinking or didn't care.
Get ready for regular season NCAA hoops. The first poll of the year was released and North Carolina is the near unanimous #1 pick in the coaches poll (30 of 31 1st place votes). Pretty high praise indeed as experts expect UNC to roll through the regular season after finishing 29-8 a season ago. Defending champion Connecticut and a host of other noteworthy teams set out to prove the pollsters wrong.

Toronto's Phil Kessel is on fire scoring at least one goal in 4 straight games. He's tallied a league best 7 goals in 5 games along with 5 assists topping the NHL with 12 points.
Washington Capitals off to another fine beginning in 2011-12. Eastern Conference leaders undefeated and untied after 5 games (5-0-0). Western Conference sports Detroit perfect after 4 contests surrendering a league low 5 goals against.
Columbus starting out in the opposite direction losers in all 5 games.

NASCAR (In memorandum)
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was tragically killed Sunday in the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas. One of racing's good guys leaves this world way too soon. Click link to: In Memory of IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon. Rest in peace.

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 7

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-Digger's Daily-

Week 6 produced a few stunners. New Orleans shocked by Tampa. Detroit fell from the unbeaten ranks to surging San Francisco. News of Carson Palmer coming out of retirement to take over QB duties in Oakland. Freak plays, big injuries and coaches nearly brawling.

What's in store for the season's seventh week? It's anyone's guess. Is there a new coaching duel brewing between San Diego and New York Jets? Rey Ryan's flamboyant mouth sounded off again claiming if he'd been selected Chargers coach instead of Turner then San Diego would already have won multiple Super Bowls. Hey - I seem to remember similar statements from Ryan promising Super Bowl victories in New York the past two years. Adding to the mix of Sundays Chargers @ Jets is former Bolts now playing for the Jets wanting revenge against their former team. Expect tempers to be boiling.

It's a good thing World Series games take place this weekend. NFL schedule lacks thrilling match-ups on paper.

Speaking of guesses - 8 correct last week (out of 13). Not impressive unless money was on the winners. Overall, after 6 weeks of picks - the crystal ball has a cumulative season record of 57-33 (63.3%). Here's this weekends winners and losers including two out-on-a-limb shutout predictions.

Week 7 (home in CAPS)
Chargers 31 - JETS 17
BUCS 24 - Bears 20
PANTHERS 30 - Redskins 14
LIONS 28 - Falcons 27
BROWNS 17 - Seahawks 14
Broncos 28 - DOLPHINS 10
TITANS 30 - Texans 27
Chiefs 30 - RAIDERS 21
Steelers 27 - CHIEFS 3
Packers 48 - VIKINGS 6
COWBOYS 24 - Rams 23
SAINTS 44 - Colts 0

Ravens 27 - JAGUARS 0
(Bye:  Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, NY Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco)

2011 Football Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

College's top 9 remain unchanged from our last rankings segment. The creme of the crop has a strong grip on the top spots - for now. All World All Sports rankings have no weight on official collegiate rankings. NCAA ranking system continues to be a hot topic of water cooler conversation. Our rankings try to cut through the dust of official ranking systems by incorporation our own added little rankings ingredient.

NCAA Top 20 (6 weeks completed)
1 - Oklahoma
2 - LSU
3 - Alabama
4 - Boise State
5 - Wisconsin
6 - Oklahoma State
7 - Stanford
8 - Clemson
9 - Oregon
10- Arkansas
11- Kansas State
12- Nebraska
13- Michigan State
14- South Carolina
15- Virginia Tech
16- West Virginia
17- Houston
18- Michigan
19- Georgia Tech
20- Washington

NFL rankings keep getting more and more interesting. This past weekend: Detroit finally lost. Tampa stunned New Orleans. Jets won ugly over Miami. Quarterback changes coming in Minnesota, Oakland, Denver and Washington. Jets coach Ryan disses Bolts coach Turner claiming he (Ryan) already would have won a few rings in San Diego. Funny -- hasn't Ryan promised/predicted his Jets would be NFL champs the past 2 years? Go figure. The wacky world known as the NFL continues.

NFL Rankings (5 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - New England Patriots
3 - Baltimore Ravens
4 - San Diego Chargers
5 - Detroit Lions
6 - San Francisco 49ers
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Pittsburgh Steelers
9 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10- New York Giants
11- Buffalo Bills
12- Cincinnati Bengals
13- Oakland Raiders
14- Houston Texans
15- New York Jets

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Game On! 2011 World Series Begins Tonight

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-Digger's Daily-

It's time. Baseball's Fall Classic begins tonight. 2011 World Series features two teams sporting explosive batting lineups. Back to back American League Champion Texas Rangers hitters are on fire led by ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz. National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals are led by soon to be free agent star slugger Albert Pujols.

All indicators suggest the 107th World Series will be quite different from past classics. We could be treated to a hitters special. Baseball purists love to boast great pitching beats great hitting. This often rings true. 2011 doesn't feature great starting pitching. It does bring us two teams with red hot lineups.

Rangers slugger Cruz set an all time playoff record with six monstrous home runs and 13 RBI. Not bad for a seventh place hitter. Texas lineup is very deep. It all begins with 2B Ian Kinsler who was a 30/30 man this season (32 HR, 30 SB). Rangers hitters erupted for 39 runs in ALCS vs Detroit. Toss in 17 2B, 7 HR, .286 team BA and one can easily overlook how dreadful their starting rotation performed. Starters left too many fat pitches down the middle as Tigers hitters feasted on mistakes. Cardinals hitters will need to continue scoring early and often because the Rangers bullpen has been lights out shutting down opponents all season long.

This is not your typical NL team. Starting rotation is not considered upper echelon. This is a hitting first team. Future Hall of Fame 1B Albert Pujols leads the Cardinals attack. One of the hottest of all playoff hitters is David Freese who seems to be smack in the middle of all Cardinal rallies. Freese (.545, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R) and Pujols combined to score 12 and drive in 18 during Cards 6 game romp over Milwaukee. As a team, Cards hitters finished the NLCS with a .310 BA, scored 43, 16 doubles and 8 big flies. St. Louis starting rotation has been hit too. Same as Texas, it's been relievers saving the day.

Here's a link to's Game 1 statistical breakdown

Game 1 Lineups Rangers @ Cardinals
Texas (projected)
1 - 2B Kinsler
2 - SS Andrus
3 - CF Hamilton
4 - 1B Young
5 - 3B Beltre
6 - LF Cruz
7 - C Napoli
8 - LF Murphy
9 - SP Wilson

St Louis (projected)
1 - SS Furcal
2 - CF Jay
3 - 1B Pujols
4 - RF Berkman
5 - LF Holliday
6 - 3B Freese
7 - C Molina
8 - 2B Punto
9 - SP Carpenter

Keys to the Series:
(1) Both teams need big time performances from starting rotations. Neither rotation has shines thus far minus a solid game or two. If Carpenter and Garcia get hot Texas could be in trouble. Wilson leads the Rangers staff. He'll have to find top form to hold down the Cards. Edge: Cardinals
(2) Defense - giving away outs will kill your chances - especially in World Series action.
(3) Bullpen - recent pitching strength of both clubs must stay hot in WS. Giving away walks vs these lineups sets up big innings.
(4) Can Cards hitters keep up with Rangers sluggers when Series shifts to Arlington?

World Series Predictions
Albert Pujols plays his final game as a St. Louis Cardinal.
CJ Wilsom pitches his final game as a Texas Ranger.
Tony LaRussa manages his final game for St. Louis.
Pujols hits over .400
Freese produces 16 runs/rbi
Berkman bats under .200
Hamilton hits over .400
Both teams: 270+ BA, 4.00+ ERA
Home teams win all games.
Carpenter lone starting pitcher tossing 6 or more innings/game.
Freese or Motte MVP
Cardinals win in 7

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Case You Missed It...

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-Digger's Daily-

Major League Baseball Playoffs have been sensational. Nearly every game beginning in Division Series through current now has been very well played. Spectacular fielding, dramatic walk-off victories, stars living up to their reputations and (drum roll) exceptional umpires! Yes, I said it, exceptional umpires! Umps have made the correct call on all close plays. A ball or strike here and there can be questionable at times - however, rarely have we seen players jawing at umps.

Albert Pujols has put on a hitting clinic for St Louis. Five straight extra base hits earned Prince Albert intentional walks in his final two at-bats during last evening's 4-3 Cardinals victory.

Power - Nelson Cruz is in the zone for Texas. He launched his 4th post-season homer to seal the Rangers 11 inning 7-4 Game 4 victory putting Texas in a 3 games to 1 driver's seat. Cruz is the first player is MLB history to hit 2 extra inning home runs in the same series!

Speaking of intentional walks - how about the gutsy call by Rangers manager Washington intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera with 1 out and no runners on in the 8th inning! It almost blew up had it not been for RF Cruz laser throw from right to nail Miguel at home plate to end the inning.
Theo Epstein - Boston Red Sox Championship General Manager - is out. The Red Sox implosion continues. First, manager Terry Francona quit immediately following the end of the season (after Boston blew a 10 game wild card lead). Now, Epstein is out and headed to the Chicago Cubs. Suddenly, newspapers from ESPN to local Boston writers are wondering if the Red Sox are beginning to resemble the New York Mets? Poor comparison. Quite obviously, people up in Boston are growing concerned. No need. Boston has a great roster. Don't panic. Quite disconcerting is the treatment being dissed at Francona. Boston has a long history of attempting to tarnish their stars from Ted Williams to Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk etc. Management never seems to rightfully say "thank you for your valuable contributions".

Detroit Lions football. Is the 2011 team their greatest in franchise history? How's that for a great turnaround? 0-16 in 2008. 5-0 in 2011. Great job by all involved. Front office. Coaches. Players. Fans. Offense clicking. Defense dominating. Key an eye on these guys.

New York football is ugly. New York Jets were the talk of the town before regular season action began. New wide receiver weapons, defensive additions, QB Sanchez maturity, bigger than life coach and terrifying defense. What happened? They're all failing. WR Mason was benched then dumped (traded) after criticizing his offensive coordinator privately (nothing's private in NY) to head coach Ryan. At 2-3, Jets in a precarious situation. Time for concern? You betcha!

When will Eli Manning learn to protect the football? 2010 should have been his reminder. 2011 is no different. Luckily, the Giants are 3-2 but had no business whatsoever losing to Seattle at home last Sunday. It was an embarrassment. Coach Coughlin never gets enough credit. However, his players are soft in 2011. One of two things happens from here on in. Either they wake up or no longer respond to their demanding coach? Mental errors are killing this team. So is offensive line. Very few holes for talented backfield making New York a one dimensional team led by a turnover happy QB. Gasoline on top of fire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 6

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-Digger's Daily-

Roaring Lions undefeated! Detroit, for the first time since 1956, begins the 2011 football season 5-0. Not too long ago Detroit was an 0-16 laughingstock. Now they're one of two remaining unbeaten teams (Green Bay Packers). Yes, Detroit is for real and there's going to be quite a power rankings shake-up announced this week.

9 correct predictions in week 5 ups our season total to 49-28 (63.6%). All World All Sports is getting an early start on next weekend's games. Bye week teams catching their breath - Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, Tennessee.

Week 6 (home in CAPS)
LIONS 33 49ers 20
PACKERS 42 Rams 20
FALCONS 28 Panthers 24
BENGALS 20 Colts 13
Bills 45 GIANTS 30
STEELERS 21 Jaguars 10
REDSKINS 23 Eagles 20
RAVENS 24 Texans 21
RAIDERS 33 Browns 13
PATRIOTS 38 Cowboys 7
Saints 27 BUCS 17
Vikings 21 BEARS 20

JETS 24 Dolphins 7

Friday, October 7, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 5

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-Digger's Daily-

Week 5 represents the beginning of bye's. Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis & Washington get first crack at regrouping, retooling, re-energizing & fine tuning game plans. Miami's bye couldn't have come at a better time considering their starting QB Henne is done for the year.

There weren't too many shockers last weekend. I nailed 11 of 16 games raising season totals to 40-24 (62.5%). Short schedule this weekend offering a few eye-catchers with big implications. Jets travel to New England. Green Bay heads south to Atlanta. Bears roar into the Lions den. Texans hosting Silver & Black. Potential gunslinger shootout in Carolina when New Orleans comes to town.

Week 5 (home in CAPS)
STEELERS 24 Titans 23
GIANTS 48 Seahawks 10
Bengals 17 JAGS 16
Saints 33 PANTHERS 21
TEXANS 30 Raiders 24
BILLS 40 Eagles 31
Chiefs 20 COLTS 10
Cardinals 21 VIKINGS 20
Bucs 27 49ERS 23
PATRIOTS 36 Jets 20
Chargers 31 BRONCOS 7
Packers 34 FALCONS 17

LIONS 26 Bears 20

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NHL 2011-12 Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

Get ready to hit the ice. NHL pre-season is in high gear. Final cuts coming soon. Are the Bruins ready to repeat? Can the Islanders pretend to be worthy of a new home? Which star is your top pick for fantasy teams? Many questions. An entire season awaits to answer all questions.

Here's All World All Sports NHL 2011-12 predictions...

Eastern Conference
*NY Rangers
New Jersey
NY Islanders


*Tampa Bay

Western Conference
St. Louis


*San Jose
*Los Angeles

(* = playoff team)
Finals: Boston over Phoenix

2011 Football Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

Big shakeup in NCAA to 20.

NCAA Top 20 (5 weeks completed)
1 - Oklahoma
2 - LSU
3 - Alabama
4 - Boise State
5 - Wisconsin
6 - Oklahoma State
7 - Stanford
8 - Clemson
9 - Oregon
10- Texas
11- Michigan
12- Georgia Tech
13- Illinois
14- Arkansas
15- Nebraska
16- Florida
17- Kansas State
18- West Virginia
19- South Carolina
20- Auburn

NFL (4 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay
2 - Detroit
3 - New Orleans
4 - New England
5 - Baltimore
6 - Houston
7 - San Diego
8 - Buffalo
9 - Tampa Bay
10- Tennessee
11- NY Giants
12- Washington
13- San Francisco
14- NY Jets
15- Atlanta

Saturday, October 1, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 4

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-Digger's Daily-

Three weeks completed. NFL season is moving right along. Ten correct picks last weekend brings my record to 29-19 (60.4%). Great games were played in just about every NFL city. Buffalo's (3-0) stunner over New England (2-1) proves these northern New Yorkers are for real. Tony Romo worked a little late game magic to bump off hated rival Redskins. Giants disposed of Philadelphia. Naysayers are starting to take serious notice of Oakland Raiders games. They upset the Jets last weekend. Can they pull it off again Sunday vs New England?

Week 4 already represents must win games for teams struggling for consistency - and wins. Crystal ball gazing time. Here's how I see games playing out.

Week 4 (home team in CAPS)

Lions 27 COWBOYS 26
BEARS 24 Panthers 16
Bills 33 BENGALS 27
Titans 20 BROWNS 17
CHIEFS 17 Vikings 16
Redskins 23 RAMS 21
Saints 42 JAGUARS 6
Steelers 28 TEXANS 27
EAGLES 27 49ers 10
Falcons 23 SEAHAWKS 14
CHARGERS 31 Dolphins 17
Patriots 33 RAIDERS 31
PACKERS 38 Broncos 3
Jets 20 RAVENS 17

BUCS 24 Colts 10