Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 9:18 AM
Memo from the American League to the National League when it came to Interleague play this 2012 season ... Take that!
The AL clubbed the NL to the tune of 142-to-110 in Interelague play this season -folks, that's a 56.3 percent winning rate for the junior circuit -- and note that included the AL going a nasty 11-4 in Sunday's action as the Tampa Bay Rays even snagged a doubleheader sweep at the host Philadelphia Phillies.
So, Interleague is history for yet another season and all everyone learned is that the NL has taken two steps back in its head-to-head dealings with the AL but maybe no loss on Sunday was more painful than the New York Mets' 6-5 setback at the hands of the archrival New York Yankees in the ESPN Sunday Night Game.
Yes, the Yankees bashed two more home runs including the game-winning solo blast in the top of the eighth inning off the bat of 2B Robinson Cano (16 HRs) and afterwards second-guessers were rightfully at Mets manager Terry Collins' door -as in why did he stick with journeyman RHP Miguel Batista to start a second inning in relief when he could have (and should have) brought in LHP Tim Byrdak? Even Collins admitted he blew it and so the Yanks wound up winning two-of-three at Citi Field after sweeping the Mets two weekends ago and you could almost sense that the bubble might now burst on Collins and Company.
Hey, it's tough to beat a better team with a short-handed and rotten bullpen, you know!
In other MLB News & Notes ...
Okay, so Interleague Play is over till next year when -as you know -there actually will be at least one Interleague Game each/every day thanks to the fact the Houston Astros are getting shifted over to the American League West -but who were the biggest Interleague winners and losers here in 2012?
Glad you asked!.
NEW YORK YANKEES (13-5) -Now that the Bronx Bombers have beaten the cross-town rival Mets five out of six times this year it's back to all-American League play now and boy, did Joe Girardi's team feast off the likes of the Mets and the Washington Nationals (beat them three in a row in the nation's capital a couple of weeks back) and the most underrated aspect of the Yankees' dominance over the NL was a bullpen that really is coming together following the season-long loss of closer Mariano Rivera. Can someone please give lefty specialist Boone Logan a round of applause?
TEXAS (14-4) -If only the Rangers would fare as well against NL teams when it comes to World Series play! Okay, so that's a low blow against a really good Texas team that's dropped the last two Fall Classics -in five games to pitching-rich San Francisco and in an epic seven-game series against the ultra-clutch St. Louis Cardinals -but this year the Rangers rock-n-rolled in Interleague play and even got a weekend boost from RHP Roy Oswalt in his Friday night comeback win against Colorado.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS (12-6) -Not a bad week for the Halos who just finished up winning two-of-three against both the San Francisco Giants and the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers but date back a bit further and you see two-of-three wins against visiting Arizona preceded by two-of-three wins at the Dodgers and so it's fair to say that LAA is coming together at the right time and how about that key 10-pitch at-bat by Albert Pujols that resulted in a big walk in Sunday's 5-3 win against the Dodgers?
MIAMI (5-13) -One month after sporting baseball's best mark at 21-8, the Fish have floundered in June and that means this NL East squad was battered by American League sides and how about the fact Ozzie Guillen's gang lost five six Interleague games (including getting swept three straight in Boston this past week) until yesterday's stirring 9-0 home win against Toronto. The Marlins needed a former AL hurler to turn the tide for 'em as LHP Mark Buehrle (6-8, 2.55 ERA) was masterful while yielding no runs and seven hits in seven innings of work but it was the offense that finally perked up after scoring a total of 21 runs in that six-game losing streak. Still, if Miami isn't in the chase for either the NL East crown or one of the league's two wild card berths, then one reason folks will offer is because the Marlins played .278 ball against AL squads ... simply unacceptable!
COLORADO (2-13) -Here's the worst team in Interleague play this year and all we can say about these bumbling Rockies is that they were lucky they didn't play AL competition all last week (see two-of-three losses in Philly) or else Jim Tracy's gang might even be worse than this .133 winning rate against the other league. Whew!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have put a highly successful 2012 NBA Playoffs in their rear-view mirror as the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the NBA Finals and now out attention's 100 percent focused on all the Major-League Baseball Winners! Check in with us either right here online or else at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily and nightly MLB winners.
NBA DRAFT NOTES
FOUR PLAYERS THAT COULD BE FIRST-ROUND STEALS
The NBA Draft is on tap for Thursday night in Newark and -surprise, surprise -there figures to be a whole lot of wheelin'-and-dealin' in Round One as often is the case but when all the dust clears here are Four (4) names that figure to be major steals whether teams trade up for them or not:
JEREMY LAMB, G, CONNECTICUT -Most draft "experts" believe this smooth-shooting former national champion will get gobbled up somewhere in the top 13 picks (see NBA lottery selections) but gotta believe that this 6-foot-5, 180-pounder will enjoy a long and illustrious career and shame on anyone picking after the sixth or seventh draft spot if they don't grab Lamb. There is some talk that Lamb's somewhat modest physical statue could preclude him from playing a full 82-game regular season but we say that's nonsense and Toronto at #8 would be wise to pluck this former UConn star as he'll thrive in the team's European-style open offense. Most likely will be picked somewhere between #12-to#16 but should go higher.
TERRENCE ROSS, G, WASHINGTON -This 6-foot-6, 195-pounder may be "buried" on the west coast where those Wednesday/Thursday night games don't end till 1 a.m. ET but don't sleep on this guard who averaged 16.4 points per game last season. Ross is generally rated somewhere between the 19th-thru-25th pick in this week's NBA Draft but the truth of the matter is he offers major value and word to the wise for teams selecting in the mid-teens (and we mean you, Philadelphia at #15 and Houston at picks #14 and #16) is that Ross can create his own shot and could be a key sixth-man type for these squads. Maybe Ross can be a modern-day Brandon Roy without the knee problems -we'll see.
DRAYMOND GREEN, F, MICHIGAN STATE -Was there a college hoop player that brought more intangibles and more leadership skills "to the table" than this 6-foot-7 stud who played four years under ace head coach Tom Izzo? The answer is "probably not" and that's why Green figures to be a first-round steal come Thursday night at "The Rock" even though the draft big-wigs believe he may be a touch too slow and too limited in his leaping ability to make a big-time splash. Gut feeling is Green will fall to very late in Round One -we've seen some forecasts claim Oklahoma City at #28 or Chicago at #29 are "make-sense" destinations -- but don't be entirely shocked if the always-cerebral Boston Celtics leap at this former Spartans star with the #21 overall pick.
DREW GORDON, F, NEW MEXICO -Again, if you believe the draft "hype" than this 13.7 ppg and 11.1 rebounds-per-game guy won't get nabbed till Round II but this 6-foot-9, 245-pounder with great ball skills should go higher and aforementioned Okie City would be wise to snap 'em up near the end of the first round. Gordon can thrive in NBA-land in an up-tempo game plus his good touch 'round the rim -note he shot 54 percent from the field in his four-year college career that included two seasons at UCLA. If he slides right out of Round I and has the sort of career we envision, than more than a few NBA general managers will get called on the proverbial carpet by their bosses. Trust us!
NOTE: Catch our NBA Mock Draft in Wednesday's edition of Jim Sez.