Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, July 11, 2016 at 8:31 AM
THE BASEBALL UPDATE:
IT'S ALL-STAR GAME TIME IN SAN DIEGO AND WE HAVE OUR HALF-SEASON AWARD WINNERS (AND SOME FUN FORECASTS FOR THE GAME) ...
PLUS OUR NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM REPORTS CHECK OUT THE DOLPHINS, BOLTS & BEARS
It's always fun to get geared up for the Major-League Baseball All-Star Game - yes, we still detest the fact the game "counts" with the winning league getting the home-field advantage in the World Series - and Tuesday's glittery tilt in San Diego could be a long ball bash if you follow the numbers this year that claim MLB is some 1,000 home runs ahead of the pace set a year ago.
Hey, we'd love to see some cool pitcher vs. batter matchups here such as Boston DH David Ortiz hit against old friend LHP Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs and how about Washington OF Bryce Harper taking some hacks off Cleveland's Danny Salazer and maybe even a ninth-inning tete-a-tete with New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia battling Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson. Um-um good!
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 on Sunday, August 7th with the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Indianapolis Colts versus the Green Bay Packers - just cannot wait, right?
Now, to our MLB 1st-Half Award Winners ...
MVP - Daniel Murphy, 2B, Washington ... Is there a bigger difference-maker in the senior circuit than "Murf" who flew the coop with the New York Mets and landed up an All-Star in D.C. with 16 HR, 64 RBI, a league-leading .349 batting average with an OPS of .981
CY YOUNG - Johnny Cueto, RHP, San Francisco ... The Jints are baseball's best team thanks in large part to this free-agent signee who is 13-1 with a tasty 2.47 ERA and a 115-to-24 K-to-BB ratio. Three weeks ago we would have said it's Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers but his back injury kayoed from the top spot.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Bruce Bochy, San Francisco ... Three-time World Series manager has whipped this Giants team into tip-top shape and who would have imagined this to be someone other than the Chicago Cubs' Joe Maddon a few weeks ago?
MVP - Edwin Encarnacion, DH, Toronto ... We'll admit it: we're suckers for guys that can drive home runs and here's the American League leader at the break with 80 ribbies (to say nothing of his 23 dingers and .541 slugging percentage).
CY YOUNG - Danny Salazar, RHP, Cleveland ... Before you shout at us that Chicago White Sox LHP Chris Sale (14 wins) should be the first-half winner, keep in mind the Tribe's star hurler is 10-3 with a 2.75 ERA (second in the league) and 118 Ks with 46 BBs.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Jeff Banister, Texas ... Okay, so we didn't love his theatrics in that much-publicized team Rangers versus Toronto Blue Jays' brawl a few weeks back but hasn't this second-year skipper been outstanding on many other fronts?
NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM GLANCES
It is summertime and that means the annual Jim Sez report on all 32 NFL teams with our quick-hitter looks continuing today with the Miami Dolphins, the San Diego Chargers and the Chicago Bears ... and check out our quickie pointspread ditties too. Last year's SU (straight-up) records appear next to the team name below:
MIAMI (6-10) - Can you believe the Dolphins have played one playoff game since 2001? The 27-9 AFC Wild Card home loss against Baltimore back in 2008 marked this franchise's only post-season foray the past 14 years and now the Fish will enter the upcoming season ranked 23rd in rushing offense, 19th in passing offense, 26st in rushing defense and 20th in passing defense ... ugh!
Pointspread Notes - Last year's 5-11 ATS (against the spread) season was the team's worst since a 6-10 spread log back in the 2006 campaign. Overall, the Dolphins are 5-13 versus the vig in AFC East games since the start of the 2013 season.
SAN DIEGO (4-12) - The Chargers need all the weapons they can get this year after scoring 20 points or less on 10 different occasions last year and one recent good sign was that veteran do-everything RB Danny Woodhead (ankle) is expected to be healthy in time for mini-camp later this month. Woodhead is key to this offense considering underwhelming second-year RB Melvin Gordon is coming off micro-fracture knee surgery.
Pointspread Notes - Gotta hand it to the Chargers who rallied for four consecutive pointspread wins to close out the 2015 season and did you know that San Diego has failed to cover five of its last seven head-to-head clashes with the rival Oakland Raiders?
CHICAGO (6-10) - Hey, if we're gonna scoff at the Dolphins for a playoff drought in recent years than let's not forget the fact the Bears haven't gone to the post-season since 2010. If second-year head coach John Fox is gonna get this 2016 team to the "promised land" than young WR Kevin White must overcome his dropsies and Chicago's cornerback tandem of Kyle Fuller and Tracy Porter must be as good as advertised as one recent "rating" had Fuller/Porter pegged as the NFL's fifth-best cornerback twosome.
Pointspread Notes - Go back the past four years and you'll see Da Bears are 15-24 ATS as underdog sides and that includes a wobbly 2-7 spread log as pups in 2013.
NOTE: Lots of NCAA Football and NFL News & Notes coming your way later this week in Jim Sez.