Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 29, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE JIM SEZ WEEKEND REPORT –
RED SOX-YANKEES IS CENTER STAGE THESE DAYS
BUT WE WANNA DISH ON THE OTHER AL EAST TEAMS …
NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM ACCOUNTS FEATURES
THE TEXANS AND ‘SKINS
Surprise, surprise …
The Major-League Baseball world has eyes focused on this weekend’s monstrous Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees series in The Bronx but gotta say that – top to bottom – the American League East has been one of the most fascinating divisions in the sport this year.
Let’s examine the “other” teams in the AL East:
TAMPA BAY (40-41) – No question the Rays have overachieved big-time so far (remember that Tampa Bay’s “over” wins total this past spring was only 73.5 wins) and much of TB’s claim-to-fame has been relievers-turned-short-term-starters … hey, whether you’re on board for manager Kevin Cash / management’s decision to let relivers start games or not, the fact is that it’s worked more often than not. The Rays have sent relievers Ryne Stanek to the mound for eight starts and Sergio Romo for five starts but let’s not lose sight of the fact there’s a legit Cy Young candidate on this staff: LHP Blake Snell is 10-4 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in his 17 starts. Folks, this no-name batting lineup won’t wow anyone but can we tell you that 3B Matt Duffy has 81 hits and is batting a crisp .315 and the Rays have scored 315 runs and allowed 314 runs.
TORONTO (38-43) – Prior to the start of this here-and-now season, the Blue Jays were projected to win 81.5 games but the word is the North-of-the-Border gang is gonna be “sellers” in the coming days/weeks and so don’t necessarily expect a winning season. Toronto’s pitching staff – save for lefty J.A. Happ (10 wins / 1.06 WHIP) – has been an utter disaster (ranks 11th in the AL in ERA) and who would ever have thought Yangervis Solarte (team-leading 15 HR, 45 RBI and 40 runs scored) would be the Jays’ biggest offensive threat? P.S., likely won’t be seeing the Jim Hurley Network release the Jays as plays anytime soon.
BALTIMORE (23-58) – This has been a “Murphy’s Law” team as the Orioles entered the weekend as MLB’s only sub-.300 team thanks in large part to an 11-28 home record and how about the fact the O’s are now 0-and-14 against AL West teams this year following Friday’s 7-1 loss to the LA Angels! Get this … Baltimore ranks next-to-last in the league in team ERA, dead-last in team batting average and even only 9th in the league in home runs … ugh, ugh, ugh. And to think the Birds “only” had to win 73 games this year to cash an “over play”.
Now hear this …
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We continue our NFL team-by-team summer accounts right here – and every day at Jim Sez we’ll be posting a few teams as we check out news/notes/reports. Plus, we get you some key pointspread info to boot and note a team’s SU (straight-up) record is listed next to the team name. Here’s the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.
HOUSTON (4-12) – Earlier this week in Jim Sez, we told ‘ya that the Texans are playing what’s deemed to be the “easiest” schedule in the NFL this year but a whole lot of how Houston performs depends on second-year QB Deshaun Watson who recently practiced without the use of a knee brace after he suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 9 play last year. Watson – who threw 19 TDs and just 8 INTs in barely half a season’s work in 2017 – is slated to play a number of preseason snaps while attempting to rehab and note right now the Texans are listing Brandon Weeden as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, though we won’t be surprised if Houston looks to “upgrade” this position. Did someone say Teddy Bridgewater (New York Jets)?
Pointspread Notes – The Texans lost their final five spread verdicts last year en route to a 7-9 ATS (against the spread) and overall this AFC South squad is 14-20-1 spreadwise since late in the 2015 season.
WASHINGTON (7-9) – Remember the date: January 7, 2006 … that’s the last time the Redskins won a playoff game (a 17-10 triumph over Tampa Bay) and so no wonder gridiron fans in the nation’s capital are getting a little antsy regarding this edition that sorely needs to improve the ground game that ranked next-to-last in the NFL last year at 134.1 yards per game. So, it is no great surprise that the ‘Skins already have put second-round draftee rookie RB Derrius Guice (LSU) as numero uno on the team’s depth chart at RB. Note that Guice is listed at 5-feet-11, 225 pounds and there’s some concern how he will hold up over the course of a 16-game season but be advised second-stringer Samaje Perine (603 yards rushing, a 3.4 ypc average in 2017) is being counted on to be a significant factor.
Pointspread Notes – For all the negatives surrounding this once-proud franchise, the fact of the matter is Washington’s a decent 18-13 ATS as underdogs the past three years. Take note that the ‘Skins lost five-of-six games last year against fellow NFC East foes and that included 30-17 loss (as 1 ½-point dogs) and 34-24 (as 5-point pups) setbacks against the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
NOTE: NFL team-by-team looks keep coming your way all next week right here at Jim Sez.