Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE JIM SEZ WEEKEND UPDATE –
MLB & NFL NEWS/NOTES
True, the Major-League Baseball All-Star Game is still a month away (July 17th at National Park in Washington) but we’re sure hoping that the powers-that-be in the bigs find a place on the respective National League and American League rosters for the following under-the-radar and oft-underappreciated players/pitchers:
NICHOLAS CASTELLANOS, OF, Detroit – The Tigers may wind up being happy with a near-.500 record this year but their star rightfielder is putting up superior numbers: Castellanos is hitting .305 with 34 RBI and 32 runs scored and this dude just “gets it” as we witnessed in a recent visit to MLB Network’s High Heat show.
DAVID PERALTA, OF, Arizona – This past Thursday night the Diamondbacks’ lefthand-hitting star whacked two home runs in a 6-3 win against the slumbering New York Mets and so he entered Friday’s action with 14 dingers and 36 RBI along with an .854 OPS. Peralta has struck out just 20 times in 240 at-bats and we just hope he doesn’t get lost in the clutter of outstanding outfielders in the NL.
MILES MIKOLAS, RHP, St. Louis – Let’s face it: When teams look back at better-than-expected seasons, usually there’s a starting pitcher or two that surprisingly rose to the occasion. Here’s the Cardinals’ story for ’18 so far as Mikolas sports a 7-2 record with a 2.43 ERA in his 13 starts and how about his 63-to-9 K-to-BB ratio? The NL All-Star Game roster will include Washington RHP Max Scherzer, New York Mets RHP Jacob de Grom and Chicago Cubs’ LHP Jon Lester – for sure – but here’s hoping a spot’s left for Mr. Mikolas.
In other MLB News & Notes …
Hard to believe there are so many teams with horrible home records the first two-plus months of this 2018 season. The Baltimore Orioles – horrible wherever they play – are 10-21 at Camden Yards and more than a handful of these games saw the O’s as betting favorites (ugh!); The Kansas City Royals are 10-23 at home this season and they entered this Fathers’ Day weekend off back-to-back home losses to the Cincinnati Reds – egads!; And speaking of the Cincy Reds, they’re 11-23 as hosts this year as the NL’s next-to-worst pitching staff (4.86 ERA) continues to get roughed up at the tiny Great American Ballpark …
Looking for a couple of teams that might make some hay in the next couple of weeks? The San Francisco Giants – yes, now without 3B Evan Longoria (fractured hand) till further notice – follow up this weekend’s series at the Los Angeles Dodgers with seven consecutive home games against Miami / San Diego. Bruce Bochy’s club will have payback on its minds after losing three-of-four in Miami this past week.
Another team that could heat up is Colorado. The Rockies are in the midst of a three-game weekend series at Texas and then head home for seven games against the New York Mets / Miami Marlins. No doubt the Rockies have bottomed out at home (see 11-19) but this could be a real beneficial stretch for the Coors kiddies …
Finally, don’t look now but the San Diego Padres have won their last five consecutive series – and that includes two-of-three wins in St. Louis earlier this week and two-of-three wins last week against NL East front-runner Atlanta. The Pods (34-38) – who bested the host Braves 9-3 on Friday night thanks in large part to a five-run seventh inning – may be MLB’s most improved team to get no national attention.
Now hear this …
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THE NFL REPORT
One of the most talked-about defensive units in the league this year figures to be the Detroit Lions under first-year head coach Matt Patricia – obviously, the “Do Your Job” former defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots molded units that normally got a whole lot better as the season wore on. Well, Patricia will be under the microscope here with a Lions’ defense last year ranked a lowly 26th in overall “D” – 17th versus the rush and 26th versus the pass. If the early reports out of Motown are correct, then expect Patricia to play CB Teez Tabor opposite All-Pro CB Darius Slay. P.S., the Lions will open the 2018 season with a Monday Night Football home bash against the New York Jets – and all signs point to the J-E-T-S starting rookie QB Sam Darnold (USC) and so won’t that be an interesting opener for Patricia and his cornerbacks …
Lastly on this Father’s Day weekend, the quarterback triumvirate of Archie Manning / Peyton Manning / Eli Manning is the most famous father-and-son combo in league history but how about Howie and Chris Long (both now Super Bowl champions), Clay, Bruce and Clay Jr. Matthews and Bob and Brian Griese?
Happy Dad’s Day to all!
NOTE: Catch all the Major-League Baseball news/notes in the next edition of Jim Sez and we’ll continue to dig into all the key NFL news items from here through training camps, so don’t miss out!