May 19

Summer Sports Update

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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With the college football season still just over three months away, let's take a look at what are some of the other things going on in the world of sports. The MLB Season is heating up (literally) and the NBA playoffs are getting down to the nitty gritty. The PGA guys are still out there knocking it around, and the US World Cup squad is getting its gear together to get ready to jet off to South Africa. Here are my thoughts on this early summer sporting day...

MLB Update. As we get closer and closer to the season's halfway point, some teams are starting to pull away, while others are starting to fade away. It is this time of year that I always start to feel bad for the Kansas Cities and Baltimores of the MLB world. They just simply do not stand a chance against these big market teams such as the New York and the California teams. Anyway...

And has anyone ever noticed that the NL has 16 teams while the AL has 14 teams? This just seems kind of odd to me. In the NL, you have eight teams over .500 and eight teams below .500. In the AL, there are eight teams over .500 and six teams under .500...

The best teams in the game right now are Tampa Bay in the AL, and Philadelphia in the NL, both in their respective Eastern divisions.

The top pitchers right now are Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies and Tim Lincecum of the Giants. Jimenez leads the majors with seven wins (tied with Tyler Clippard of Washington) and also has the best ERA in the game at 1.12. Lincecum is leading the majors with 69 strikeouts.

The top hitters right now are Andre Either of the LA Dodgers and Paul Konerko of the White Sox. Either is batting nearly .400 and also leads the big leagues with 38 RBIs. Konerko is the MLB leader with 13 homers.

The Braves have scratched and clawed their way back to respectabilty and  (almost) the .500 mark. They sit at 19-20, with a series against the first place Reds (Central division) about to get underway from Turner Field. The pitching has been solid, and if the hitting can come around, the ATL could put together a nice season for Bobby Cox (who got ejected once again last night!).

NBA Playoffs. It is looking a lot like it is going to be the Celtics vs the Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Celtics are making quick work of the Orlando Magic, going up two games to zero, with games three, four and five set to be played in Beantown. Things are not looking up for Orlando, but that is partly their own fault.

Yes in Game one, the Celtics came out on fire and laid a whooping on a team that had won 14 straight. When you win that many in a row, it is almost certain that a loss is headed your way. But the sad part for the Magic is that they came out fired up for game two to even things up, and they still couldn't win. Down the stretch, two critical plays cost the Magic the game. The first play was actually two plays (well two free throw shots). Vince Carter missed both with just seconds remaining, basically putting his team in a desperation situation.

When that desperate situation came (second play I'm referring to), JJ Redick secured a rebound, but advanced the ball before calling timeout, forcing his team to inounds from the backcourt. Not very headsy ball.

Boston is playing very well as a team right now, and I see them taking care of business rather quickly over the Magic. Orlando may steal a win, but Boston will advance. With Rajon Rondo running the point like he is, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce knocking down shots right and left, the Celtics are tough. Throw in Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis, and I think this team may be better than their NBA title team of 2008.

As for the Lakers, the defending NBA champs look like they are ready to defend their crown. You hate to say it is a one man show out there, but basically Kobe Bryant is showing why many feel he is the best in the game. All he did in game one was put up 40 points in the Laker win. The Suns and LA play tonite in game two, and I expect that just like Boston, LA is on its way to the finals. Yes folks, for the second time in three seasons, these two legendary franchises appear to be on a collision course to determine who is the best in the world.

World Cup. In less than a month, the action will be underway from South Africa and the World Cup - soccer's biggest event and the biggest sporting event in the world. The USA has a roster full of healthy and excited players eager to show the world that we over here in the States can play a little futbol ourselves. The key dates to mark down for American soccer fans are June 12th, 18th and 23rd as the team faces England, Slovenia and Algeria, respectively....Fair well in those three games, and the round of 16 starts June 26th...I can't wait!

PGA Tour. With the first of four majors behind us, and 22 events in the book, Ernie Els is the top player on Tour right now (at least FedEx Cup-wise) having played in 11 of those. He is followed by Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson. Tiger Woods is 147th. The next tournament on Tour is the HP Byron Nelson Championship from Irving, Texas. The next major for these guys is the US Open June 17th-20th from Pebble Beach.



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