BOB’S WORLD SERIES PICK: BOSTON RED SOX IN 6-MAX GAMES OVER DODGERS...
IS IT EXPECTING TOO MUCH FOR THE BILLS TO BE COMPETITIVE?
This is the 2018 Fall Classic matchup Major League Baseball and the FOX Network most wanted to see: Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Boston Red Sox.
The World Series starts Tuesday night in Boston.
Probably not a coincidence, but these two teams had the highest25-man player payrolls this season (No, 1 Boston $167,955,780) and No. 2 Dodgers $160,502,596, according to spotrac).
The Red Sox justified their No. 1 payroll stats with a MLB-best 108-54 record in the regular season. The Dodgers sputtered for much of the season but came on fast down the stretch to finish 92-71.
Boston was 7-2 in the American League playoffs and the Dodgers were 7-4 in the National League playoffs, outlasting Milwaukee in Game 7 on the NLCS.
Why the Red Sox should win:
They’re clearly baseball’s best team this season. When the league championship series began, they were co-favored with Houston to win the World Series. Then they eliminated the defending champion Astros in five games.
Boston has an excellent starting lineup, depth and versatility. They have more team speed (125 stolen bases) than the Dodgers (75 stolen bases) and play better defense (77 errors to 100). The Red Sox outfield defense is among the all-time best.
The Red Sox are tough to beat at Fenway Park (57-24) and won’t be bothered by playing without a DH in the games in Los Angeles. Probable AL MVP Mookie Betts could possibly move from right field to second base in order to keep DH J.D. Martinez’s bat in the starting lineup. He’s an adequate glove in right field and an excellent hitter.
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was a weak link offensively for the first half of the season but has been productive since at the bottom of the lineup. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi is my sleeper pick for World Series MVP.
Boston has one terrific starter in Chris Sale (assuming he’s healthy) and two other solid starters in Rick Porcello and David Price, who hopes to continue to prove he’s no longer a guaranteed post-season choke artist.
Boston’s bullpen performed above expectations in the AL playoffs and offset a few poor outings by closer Craig Kimbrel.
Why the Dodgers might win:
They might break out offensively. They’re not as consistent as the Red Sox. They had a team batting average of .218 in the NL playoffs and prevailed despite disappointing production from several key players.
Justin Turner and Max Muncy are the lineup’s steadiest bats. Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger. Chris Taylor and Yasmani Grandal are streaky hitters capable of getting hot at the right time.
It will be interesting to see how manager Dave Roberts uses Grandal, who struggled mightily at the plate and behind the plate in the playoffs. Reserve Austin Barnes is a better receiver but a puny hitter.
Shortstop Manny Machado is a soon-to-be free agent. How will he respond on the big stage? David Freese, Matt Kemp and Brian Dozier are veterans who might have some big moments left.
Los Angeles has as much overall pitching as Boston. Clayton Kershaw offsets Sale and closer Kenley Jansen is at least as effective as Kimbrel.
BOB’S PICK: Boston in six games.
ANOTHER LOST SUNDAY TWEETING ABOUT THE BILLS
I didn’t want to be nasty and sarcastic entering Sunday’s Buffalo game at Indianapolis. I even as hopeful and optimistic. The Colts (1-5) were looking up at Buffalo (2-5) in the NFL standings. The Las Vegas oddsmakers tabbed Indianapolis as a 7 ½-point favorite. I figured that slight would fire up the Bills.
No such luck – and I don’t mean Andrew Luck.
Here are the tweets:
“I’ll be tweeting Bills highlights and lowlights of today’s game in Indianapolis. The cBills must be angry about being 7 12/2-ppoint underdogs to a 1-5 opponent.”
“My pick: Indianapolis 17, Bills 13.”
(After LeSean McCoys’ second straight runs on Buffalo’s first two plays) “What do you think the Colts were looking for?...He’s hurt.”
(After5 the first quarter ended 0-0): “I’m liking Buffalo’s defense more-and-more by the minute.”
“The Bills defensive unit has a chance to earn some well-deserved national recognition today.”
“I guess Chris Ivory is a fair ‘change of pace runner’, but when he’s your ‘pace runner’, you know your offense is in serious redouble.” (Ivory actually had a strong game).
(After the Colts took a 6-0 lead) “Has a 6-0 deficit ever looked so insurmountable?”
(After Charles Clay lost a fumble on the Indianapolis 11-yard line) “Awful giveaway. The Bills can’t afford to be careless with the football.” This obviously was by far the most significant play to the game. Bills had a chance to go ahead 7-6. Instead, the rout was on.
(After the Colts took a 14-0 lead) “McCoy will not return today due to a head injury. The Bills won’t return today due to a dead injury. Sorry.”
(After an interception by Derek Anderson cost the Bills a chance for a token field goal late in the first half) “It took Anderson almost a half to do his Nathan Peterman impression.”
(With the Bills trailing 24-0 at halftime) “I’ll be back to tweet the second half...It’s my job...but I’d prefer to watch the Patriots at the Bears.”
“Remember when Buffalo was third in the NFL in total defense? Like about one hour ago.”
“Reminder: The Colts are 1-5.”
“Well, the Bills aren’t playing well, but at least they’re undisciplined.”
“A feel sorry for Buffalo’s defense. It is being double-teamed by the offense of the Colts AND the Bills.’
“Brian Daboll (offensive coordinator) checks his play sheet. It is blank.”
“Has the defense run out of gas or is it demoralized? This is getting ugly fast. Clay’s lost fumble was the turning point.”
(When the Colts were ahead 24-0) “You think the Bills are demoralized? What about Buffalo fans? The players are being paid for this. The fans on a day off hopes to watch a competitive game between two poor teams with a combined 3-9 record.” Now they’re both 2-5.
(When the Bills fell behind 24-5) “Let’s see now...six field goals plus one more safety equals a 25-24 victory. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
(Final score: Colts 37, Bills 5) “I’m tweeted out! To be continued next Monday night.”...The Bills will host New England on prime-time Monday Night Football. It doesn’t seem fair.
2-5 IS BAD ENOUGH FOR THE BILLS...BUT IS BEING COMPETITIVE TOO MUCH TO EXPECT?
Fans in WNY are accustomed to loyally supporting the Buffalo Bills and being disappointed – last season’s unexpected playoff berth being an exception – but it is even worse when the team is not competitive.
Here are the six NFL teams with records of 2-5 or worse after Week 7 (*the New York Giants play Monday night):
Buffalo 2-5 record; losses by 44-11-22-7-32 (total 116); AVG margin of defeat 23.2 points
Indianapolis 2-5 record; losses by 11-4-3-14-8 (total 40); AVG margin of defeat 8.0 points
Oakland 1-5 record; losses by 20-1-8-16-24 (total 69); AVG margin of defeat 13.8 points
New York Giants 1-5 record*; losses by 5-7-15-2-21 (total 50); AGG margin of defeat 10.0 points
Arizona 1-6 record; losses by 18-34-2-3-10-35 (total 102); AVG margin of defeat 17.0 points
San Francisco 1-6 record; losses by 8-11-2-10-3-29 (total 63): AVG margin of defeat 10.5 points.
The Cleveland Browns, coming off a 0-16 season, are 2-4-1 this season, but their four losses were by a total of 33 points, including three in O.
AROUND THE NFL...
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a mess. QB Blake Bortles was benched Sunday after losing two fumbles in a 20-7 home loss to Houston to drop to 3-4. There even is a rumor that the Jags might trade with the Giants for Eli Manning.
+++Green Bay is an early 8 ½-point underdog Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams. It would be the largest underdog role for QB Aaron Rodgers in his Packers career.
+++Most unlikely development Sunday was Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker missing a field goal in a 24-23 home loss to New Orleans. Including the NFL postseason and two years of college football, he had converted 316 straight extra-point attempts.
+++Hardly anybody is shedding tears for Dallas owner Jerry Jones, but his Cowboys lost 20-17 Sunday in Washington when a zebra called a dubious penalty on the long snapper for illegal procedure to push the potential game-tying field-goal attempt five yards back. The kicker clanked his attempt off the post.
+++The Kansas City Chiefs are the NHL’s only perfect team against the Las Vegas point spread (7-0) after Sunday night’s 45-10 home romp over Cincinnati.
+++Maybe in a few years Josh Allen will make us glad that the Bills passed on selecting Patrick Maholmes or Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL draft.
+++Cheers to 33-yead-old future NFL Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson who was in his old Pro Bowl form – speed and moves --with 24 carries for 99 yards in the home win over Dallas.
NFL WEEK 8 EARLY ODDS...BILLS +13 ½ VS. PATRIOTS
Thursday, Miami at Houston -7...Sunday, Philadelphia at Jacksonville (+3) in a clash of disappointing 3-4 teams...Cleveland at Pittsburgh -7 ½....Denver at Kansas City -10...NY Jets at Chicago -6 ½...Washington at NY Giants +1...Seattle at Detroit -2 ½...Tampa Bay at Cincinnati -6...Baltimore at Carolina +1...Indianapolis at Oakland (+1)...San Francisco at Arizona, the Game of the Weak is appropriately a pick-em game...Green Bay at Los Angeles Rams -8 ½...Sunday night, New Orleans at Minnesota -1 ½...Monday night, New England at Buffalo +13 ½.
BROCKPORT GOLDEN EAGLES KEEP ROLLING
The College at Brockport Golden Eagles crushed visiting Buffalo State 65-7 before 3,471 appreciative fans Saturday afternoon at Bob Boozer Stadium.
The Golden Eagles, 7-0, outgained Buffalo State 608 yards to 163 and held the outmanned Bengals to minus-48 yards rushing on 13 carries. Brockport quarterback Joe Germinerio set the school career record with 6,701 yards passing.
Brockport plays at Utica Saturday. Senior Day will be home Nov. 3 versus SUNY Cortland.
1997-1998-89 YANKEES WERE THE LAST WORLD SERIES REPEATER
For the 18th consecutive season, there won’t be a World Series repeat winner. The last team to win consecutive world championships was the 1997-1998-99 Yankees.
Here are the last 17 World Series winners and (losers):
2001 – Arizona (Yankees)
2002 – Anaheim (San Francisco)
2003 – Florida (Yankees)
2004 – Boston (St. Louis)
2005 – White Sox (Houston)
2006 – St. Louis (Detroit)
2007 – Boston (Colorado)
2008 – Philadelphia (Tampa Bay)
2009 – Yankees (Philadelphia)
2010 – San Francisco (Texas)
2011 – St. Louis (Texas)
2012 – San Francisco (Detroit)
2013 – Boston (St. Louis)
2014 – San Francisco (Kansas City)
2015 – Kansas City (Mets)
2016 – Cubs (Cleveland)
2017 – Houston (Dodgers).
In the past 17 World Series, there were 12 different winners and 13 different losers.
+++Comedian Amy Schumer says she won’t appear in any Super Bowl 53 commercials as a show of support for Colin Kaepernick and NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest against racism and police brutality...I am against racism, respect the police and I’m pretty sure I’ll get through the Super Bowl telecast minus a commercial featuring Amy.
+++The Rochester Amerricans (5-2-0-1 record) have the No. 1 power play in the 31-team American Hockey League: 12-of-34 for #5.3 percent. They’re 29th in penalty killing: 24-of-35 for 68.6 percent...Victor Olofsson leads the league in scoring: 5 goals + 9 assists for 14 points in 8 games.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...
Monday, October 22
Muhammad Wilkerson 29...Deontay Wilder 33...Robinson Cano 66...Heath Miller 36...Allen Rossum 43...Miroslav Satan 44...Ichiro Suzuki 45...Otis Smith 53...Keena Turner 60...Butch Goring 68...Wilbur Wood 77. Jeff Goldblum 66, Catherine Deneuve 75 and Christopher Lloyd 80 are invited to the birthday party.
Tuesday, October 23
Jordon Crawford 30...Keith Van Hoe=rn 43...LaVar Ball 51...Al Leiter 53...Doug Flutie 56...Mike Tomczak 56...Pele 78. Weird Al Yankovic 59 and Ang Lee 64 are invited to the birthday party.
ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...
79 years ago (1939), NBC became the first network to televise a pro football game; the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-14 at Ebbets Field...68 years ago (1950), the Los Angeles Rams beat the Baltimore Colts 70-27...52 years ago (1966), Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins scored his first NHL goal...51 years ago (1967), Ben Hogan captained the United States to a 23 ½-8 ½ victory over Great Britain in the Ryder Cup...43 years ago (1975), the Cincinnati Reds beat the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 3 in the 72nd World Series...18 years ago (2000), German Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher won his first of five straight World F1 Drivers championships.
108 years ago (1910), the Philadelphia Athletics beat the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 1 in the seventh World Series...97 years ago (1921), the Green Bay Packers played their first NFL game, a 7-6 victory over Minneapolis...73 years ago (1945), Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the International League Montreal Royals...54 years ago (1964), American Joe Frazier outpointed Germany’s Hans Huber for the heavyweight gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics...25 years ago (1993), the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 to win the World Series.