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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 9:10 AM


Meet the Matz!

Okay, so forgive us for the little takeoff on the 50-plus year-old theme song called "Meet the Mets" but, wow, what a debut for the new left-handed hurler for the New York Mets.

The 24-year-old Matz - born and raised on Long Island approximately an hour from Citi Field -- wheezed into Gotham City this past weekend and promptly got the call to start Sunday's regularly-scheduled game and he quickly surrendered a home run to the first Major-League batter he ever faced (see Cincinnati Reds' 2B Brandon Phillips), then whacked a two-run double and two run-scoring singles while driving in a franchise-best four runs batted in overall (no Met play of any kind had ever done that in a debut) and - last but not least - Matz threw 7.2 innings of 2-run, 5-hit, 3-BB ball en route to a 7-2 win against the Reds that capped a suspended game/regular game doubleheader of sorts and gave Terry Collins' crew a weekend sweep of the three-game series and a four-game winning streak in all.

Matz joins the cast of characters on this pitching-rich Mets' starting rotation that includes RHPs Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and the injured Zach Wheeler along with veteran LHP Jon Niese and 42-year-old RHP Bartolo Colon - yes, the Mets insist on sticking with a six-man rotation till further notice - and you have to wonder if this stocked staff plus elite closer RHP Jeurys Familia (21-of-23 saves) will have enough to get the Mets into their first real post-season chase since those late-year collapses in 2007 and '08 - or are these diamond-in-the-rough hurlers gonna need more "growing time" before they can be all considered established starters for a Mets team starving for a winning season.

Hey, maybe if Matz can get four at-bats a night in the games he doesn't start on the mound, the Mets may really have something up their sleeve!

In other MLB News/Notes ...
Here's a question that the Boston Red Sox and the San Diego Padres probably didn't think a whole lot about prior to the start of this 2015 campaign: When exactly is it time to become a "seller" in this here-and-now trade market?

The Bosox - who exited the weekend 34-43 after winning two-of-three in Tampa Bay - are eight full games back of the Rays in the American League East with the three other divisional foes all lumped at/near the top of the standings and don't look now but there are 12 teams in the junior circuit with better winning percentages than Boston's .442.

Maybe unhappy 3B Pablo Sandoval - a cultural hero in his San Francisco days -- finds a new home after just three months in Red Sox threads and maybe closer Koji Uehara (16 saves and 3.12 ERA) - a 2013 World Series hero -- can bring back some nice prospects.

Meanwhile, San Diego (37-41) - fresh off winning two-of-three at home versus Arizona - wants to shake up the deck with a squad that ranks a lowly 11th in the National League in team ERA (4.10) and 10th in team batting average (.245) - any takers out there for OF Matt Kemp (6 home runs this year) or anyone else not named OF Justin Upton?

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear in early August - can't wait!


Don't get yourself all hot-and-bothered over the news that Cleveland Cavaliers' megastar has opted out of his deal - it's 100 percent fact that "King James" will wind up back with the Cavs next year but the $64,000 question is what player(s) can Cleveland expect to add to its roster during the free agency period that officially swings into gear this Wednesday, July 1st?

Well, if we wished to offer up our two cents' worth, then don't expect one-and-done F Kevin Love to return to the Cavs - we believe Love will wind up choosing between Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers and our "early money" has 'em going to the Trail Blazers providing they act quickly and can show him another quality free-agent addition (either Atlanta's DeMarre Carroll or Milwaukee's Khris Middleton could be Portland-bound).

The Cavs could romance Memphis C Marc Gasol but right now we think he'll stay put with the Grizzlies and then there's underrated F Paul Millsaps who could be a real nice fit with James and PG Kyrie Irving.

Don't look for San Antonio to lose free agent Kawhi Leonard while we expect Chicago to re-up G Jimmy Butler but both Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clipps C DeAndre Jordan figure to be getting "change of address" slips from their local post offices - our gut feeling is Aldridge will wind up on the Dallas Mavericks with Mark Cuban's big bucks; the seven-foot Jordan likely will head to the New Orleans Pelicans.

If you're wondering about the New York Knicks, expect team president Phil Jackson to sign Detroit F Greg Monroe and maybe even Indiana F David West; the Los Angeles Lakers will be serious buyers too and you might see Brooklyn's Brook Lopez heading west and ditto (possibly) Miami's Luol Deng.

Hey, we'll keep you posted!



It's summertime and that means the annual Jim Sez report on all 32 NFL teams with our quick-hitter looks starting today with the Cincinnati Bengals, the St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers ... we list the SU (straight-up) mark including post-season games after the team name below plus check out our quickie pointspread ditties on each/every team along the way too!

CINCINNATI (10-6-1) - The Bengals could use some good news after being kayoed in the first round of the playoffs the past four years in a row and DT Geno Atkins might be the guy to brighten up head coach Marvis Lewis' life. Atkins registered just three sacks last year while rehabbing a torn ACL (he had 12.5 sacks back in 2012) but he looked strong in recent OTA action and defensive line coach Jay Hayes remarked he's "explosive" off the ball so far.

The 6-foot-1, 305-pound Atkins is in his sixth year from Georgia and his presence in the lineup is huge as the Bengals last year ranked 20th in the NFL against the rush (116.3 yards per game) and 20th against the pass (243 ypg).

Pointspread Notes - Last year's Bengals finished 8-8-1 ATS (against the spread) overall but note Cincy's just 6-10-1 verus the vig in all away games since very late in the 2012 campaign.

ST. LOUIS (6-10) - Can you believe the Rams now have not made the playoffs since 2004?

Last year's injury-riddled campaign was a major mess for seen-it-all head coach Jeff Fisher - the Rams ranked 28th in the league in total offense and were held to single digits on four different occasions and scored fewer than 20 points in half the games.

So, St. Louis is champing at the bit to learn whatever it can about the left knee of first-round draftee RB Todd Gurley who hopes to be part of the summer camp in late July - Gurley's knee is being evaluated this week by Rams' doctors and he practiced in a limited scale with other rookies a couple of weeks ago.

One other Rams rookie to watch is QB Sean Mannion (Oregon State) - the team's third-round selection could ascend faster than you think up the team's depth chart considering the 6-foot-6 slinger was a four-year starter in college while starter Nick Foles already is being met with mixed reviews (and some contract snags) so far.

Pointspread Notes - The Rams dropped their final three spread verdicts a year ago en route to a 7-9 ATS season and note St. Loo is 8-16 spreadwise against fellow NFC clubs the past two seasons.

GREEN BAY (13-5) - Nobody scored more regular-season points a year ago than these Packers (486) but that doesn't mean head coach Mike McCarthy and Company are gonna "sit tight" with the current cast of characters and so look for WR Davante Adams (38 catches for 436 yards and three TDs in 11 games as a rookie last year) to get more involved in Green Bay's offense this summer as QB Aaron Rodgers and his backup slingers are expected to spread the wealth a bit more - McCarthy himself called Adams the team's MVP for the spring practices.

Pointspread Notes - The Packers have enjoyed seven .500-or-better spread seasons the past eight years including the 10-7-1 ATS mark GB hit on in 2014. Note, however, this NFC North club is just 3-10-1 vig-wise as a dog the past three years.

NOTE: More NFL team-by-team quick hitters in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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