Swihart Makes History, Red Sox Catch Mets

The Red Sox caught the Mets and beat them in extras 6-4.  In the 10th tied 3-3, Blake Swihart hit a ball that appeared to go high off the padding of the center field wall for an inside the park dinger by Swihart.  Even though replays later appeared to show the ball hit above the wall, the call stood making Swihart the first Red Sox player with an inside-the-park HR since September 9, 2011 and the first Red Sox catcher in over 70 years.  They weren’t done as JBJ singled and Mookie Betts doubled.  Josh Rutledge then hit a sac fly that drove in Bradley Jr.  5-3.  Mookie Betts scored when Xander Bogaerts singled in the next at bat.

In the bottom of the inning, Junichi Tazawa struggled after the first 2 outs.  He walked 4 straight, giving the Mets their 4th run.  Good thing the Sox got those insurance runs.  He appeared to hurt his back on a double play that stopped Wilmer Flores from advancing after a single.  Craig Breslow was the only Sox left in the pen and got Cespedes to fly out to earn the save.  Tommy Layne who pitched the 9th got the win.  Carlos Torres, who gave up the inside the park homer took the loss.

The Mets scored first off Henry Owens in the 4th inning.  The Sox rarely win when their opponents score first.  Wilmer Flores doubled and Travis d’Arnaud singled him in.  1-0 Mets.  In the 5th David Wright singled and Michael Cuddyer drove him in with another.  2-0.  But the Red Sox answered with a 7th inning rally.  Big Papi got it started with a solo shot to center and JBJ went deep to drive in Swihart, who had singled and stole second.  3-2 Red Sox.  The Mets tied it up in the bottom of the inning.  Yoenis Cespedes walked and David Wright singled him to second.  Ogando walked the next two batters for the first of two runs scored on walks by New York.

In the 8th, Sandoval hit a ball about 2 inches that was ruled in play for an easy out.  He was thrown out of the game for arguing the call.  Josh Rutledge took over second and Brock Holt moved to third.

Tommy Layne kept the Sox alive in the bottom of the 9th.  Then Swihart made history to spark the 3-run 10th.

Watch today’s game at 4:05 pm.  It’s Jacob DeGrom, the surprise ace for the Mets, and Joe Kelly for the Sox.  Kelly is undefeated in August, going 5-0 through 5 starts.  He hopes to continue his streak after an extremely disappointing first four months.

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NFL In Detail 2.0: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals won’t be as good as last year, because of lowered ability in the veterans, but new signings will help prevemnt disaster.  A much better squad of linebackers on defense, and add-ons of Chris Johnson and Jermaine Gresham on offense.

Training Camp & Fantasy Preview

QB

Carson Palmer should be OK as he returns from his season ending 2014 injury, but threat of re-injuring his knee is moderate to high still.  So, the Cards held onto Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas as their trusty backups.  But if they lose Carson Palmer, the window of opportunity in Arizona will begin to close.

RB

Andre Ellington has more backup if he gets hurt again.  Ellington should be fine alone, but the additional pressure of Chris Johnson makes the Cardinals running game much improved.  Plus, if needed, they still have more backups in Stepfan Taylor, Marion Grice, Kerwynn Williams, even Robert Hughes, and they drafted David Johnson.

WR

I see a comeback year for both Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.  That closes the window for John Brown, Jaron Brown and Ryan Spadola.  Although they still are good, Fitzgerald and Floyd should return to leading the team in reception yards.

TE

After losing Rob Housler to Cleveland, Arizona couldn’t just count on Troy Niklas to be the starting tight end.  So they signed Jermaine Gresham from the same state, but from the Bengals in Cincinnati.  The Bengals were fine, as they should depend on Tyler Eifert, on IR all season in 2014 after his 2013 rookie breakout.  Gresham really helps the Cards, and is a much better starter than Housler, although they could’ve used Housler as a backup.

Def.

As I mentioned before, additions and resignings of line backers Sean Weatherspoon, Matt Shaugnessy and LaMarr Woodley is great, and resigning Patrick Peterson.  Plus, the small defensive signings just means more pressure vs this improved D.  But the defensive line and rest of the secondary is still weak, like last year’s Cardinals defense as a whole.

NFL In Detail 2.0: Minnesota Vikings

I know, you probably think the Vikings are better than this but besides AP and maybe Mike Wallace, what’s so different this year than in 2014?

Fantasy Outlook and Training Camp Battles

QB

They did bring in Shaun Hill in the off season, but he’s a backup to second year probable stud Teddy Bridgewater.  Bridgewater is by far the best second year QB, followed by Derek Carr of Oakland, Blake Bortles of Jacksonville and Johnny Manziel of Cleveland.

RB

Adrian Peterson should have a bounce back year after he was suspended for 15 games of the 2014 season.  He should be a top 5 or top 10 maybe running back again in 2015.  When Peterson last played the full year in 2012, he dominated.  After 2013 injuries, and 2014 suspensions, can he rebound to finally meet his expectations?  If not, they’ll have to resort to Matt Asiata, using Jerick McKinnon and Joe Banyard as backups.

WR

Everybody thinks Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright will keep things up, but I think that the playoffs of the 2014 fantasy season were kind of a fluke.  One, Mike Wallace is a clear lock for the starting position.  Two, give third year man Cordarrelle Patterson another chance by placing him in the #2 slot.  Three, lower Charles Johnson in your tiers, make sure he is at least two tiers below Patterson.

TE

Kyle Rudolph should probably be the starter.  Remember his break out in 2013 after Adrian Peterson got carted off the field?  Well, Rudolph can be that way this year, after a rough 2014.  I think he can rebound late in the year.  Meanwhile, former Packer and teammate of Greg Jennings, (signed by Miami in off season while they signed Miami’s Wallace, although signings ate not related), Brandon Bostick.  So, the Vikings look good at tight end for 2015, signing one, keeping another.

Defense

Not many big names make up the D, but Anthony Barr, drafted top 10 in 2014, is one of my breakout player picks.  Randomly chosen, but Barr was good in college, if he’s ready for pro-ball, which in a year, he should, he’ll be just as good or almost as good here.

NFL In Detail 2.0: Washington Redskins

The Redskins are not a horrible team, but don’t have many greats on the team to help them improve much.

QB

Robert Griffin III has the starting spot, but he is likely to either struggle or get hurt.  That’s why the Skins have Kirk Cousins backing up, and Colt McCoy behind him.  However, I don’t have agreat feeling about McCoy in ’15, but I do about Griffin and Cousins.

RB

Alfred Morris will star after last year’s late season dominance, but the search for a backup is off.  Kyshoen Jarrett, Matt Jones Silas Redd and more are in the race.  Meanwhile, Alfred Morris will just have to run the ball himself.

WR

DeSean Jackson should be back to his Philly dominance and be very good, like, top 20 or even top 15, but Pierre Garcon will also have a breakout year as well.  And Andre Roberts is a third option that can be considered behind.  But nobody else who’s even decent awaits.

TE

Jordan reed can be great if he stays healthy, which he didn’t last year, so his hopes are down.  Backup Niles Paul is good, but he only got playing time when Reed was injured.  Paul will not get receptions when Reed is healthy.  So really, Niles Paul is not for real.

Defense

The defense will not be at the bottom again, and they never should have been.  Guys like Terrance Knighton, Ryan Kerrigan and DeAngelo Hall will continue to boost the defense, even with the loss of defensive back Brian Orakpo.  It will upgrade form last year, probably ranking somewhere 20-25 in fantasy football.

The Redskins aren’t great, but they have a couple good guys that will impact their performance slightly.

Marlins Come Back in Extras, Pass By Red Sox

The Miami Marlins came back in the 10th inning to win 5-4 over the Boston Red Sox.  Dee Gordon tripled and Justin Bour singled him in after Martin Prado was intentionally walked.

The Red Sox had a 4-0 lead starting in the 3rd.  JBJ tripled, and Mookie singled him in.  Mookie Betts went 1-3 in his first game back.  Then JBJ singled in the 5th, and Mookie Betts reached on an error to knock Bradley Jr. in.  2-0.  Wright had sacrificed JBJ to second before it.  In the 6th, Bogaerts and Bigf Papi singled on, and Rusney Castillo knocked in two more runs, tripling.

But Wright plus the bullpen blew it.  J. T. Realmuto singled, then Ichiro walked, sending him to second.  Then Dee Gordon singled him in.  4-1.  Ichiro also scored.  4-2.  Dietrich walked, Bour walked, and Cole Gillespie singled to load the bases in the 7th.  Ichiro hit a sac fly.  4-3.  In the 9th, Realmuto and Ichiro singled, and Adeiny Hechavarria hit a sac fly to knock in the game tying run.  Then in the 10th, Gordon did his thing and the Marlins won 5-4.  The bullpen had a big blow against the Marlins in the last five innings.  Wright should’ve pitched till like, the 7th.  The red Sox later lost the second game in the series, annoyingly getting swept.  Meanwhile, Big Papi had 5 dingers on the 8 game road trip, getting him to 491, 9 short of 500.  Which will happen first, the Sox winning 60 games this season, or Papi hitting his 500th dinger?

NFL In Detail 2.0: Tennessee Titans

The Titans are the third of these three teams I talked about in my Raiders post.  Marcus Mariota should lead the offense to victories.  They made a couple off season signings to spark the offense, but don’t even think about the defense.

QB

Marcus Mariota should be the starter, but does he match up to Zach Mettenberger, or Charlie Whitehurst?  My say is to start Mariota, and have Mettenberger be the backup again, followed by Whitehurst third, or was it the other way around before?   Whatever.  Either way, Mettenberger tops Whitehurst now.  Mettenberger led the Titans in passing yards last year.

RB

Bishop Sankey led the running backs last year, but this year, I have a feeling Dexter McCluster will breakout.  He has the space, with Greene frequently inactive, and Sankey still developing.  But David Cobb could get in his way.  Cobb is another option at running back.  So I say start McCluster, have Sankey backup, Cobb stuck in the third string, and Shonn Greene tagging along if they need.

WR

Look, you have two veterans placed in the shadow of Reggie Wayne, T. Y. Hilton, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Devin Hester, etc. Hakeem Nicks and Harry Douglas.  And two young guys in Justin Hunter, and Kendall Wright.  You need to give Nicks and Douglas more playing time, and they could finally take the spotlight and show up.  There’s no other vets to get in their way, except maybe each other.

TE

Three strong tight ends are options.  One is Delanie Walker, the clear starter.  For backups, you have Anthony Fasano, former Chief, and Chase Coffman.  Fasano should be taken as the second guy, while Coffman is left for the third slot.

Defense

This is probably the worst defensive team in the NFL.  The Titans will be a high scoring team, but also not a team to pull off a shutout.  A game in Tennessee this season is sure to be high scoring.  Only Patriot Devin McCourty’s brother Jason McCourty and rookie Cody Prewitt lead the defense.