Author Archives: timmers1277

2011 US Open Headlines

Prior to the Bruins game 6 win over the Canucks, I realized the US Open was going to start on Thursday.  After the game was over, I decided that writing a US Open preview would take my mind of the upcoming Game 7.  Boy was I wrong.  Therefore,  I have decided to only take a look at a few of the story lines for golf fanatics can ponder this weekend.

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the US Open

A week ago, Tiger Woods announced his withdrawal from the 2011 US Open.  This is the first time since 1994 that Tiger is not going to play in the national championship.   (Keep in mind, Tiger was just graduating high school in 1994).  Tiger’s decision to withdraw came at the advice of doctors.  His doctors have finally gotten through to him that if continues to play, he could do more damage to his already ailing left knee and Achilles tendon.

Honestly, I think this is a good decision for Tiger.  His knee is obviously in bad shape and he reportedly tweaked it at the Masters earlier this year.  I think sitting this one out will not only help his injuries, but also help his psyche.  He clearly has not been himself since his infidelities caught up to him.  He’s also within 4 Major victories of catching the Golden Bear (Jack Nickolaus).  Hopefully he can use this time off to heal, regroup and come back rejuvenated.

Can Phil Mickelson overcome his US Open demons?

Phil Mickelson has never won the US Open.  Not only has he never won, but he has finished in 2nd place on 5 separate occasions.  That’s right, 5 runner-up finishes.  And now with Tiger out, “Lefty” has a chance to overcome his demons and finally secure the US Open Championship.

Do I think he can do it?  Absolutely.  Do I think he will do it?  No. 

The field this weekend is deep, very deep.  The PGA tour has had an influx of young guns.  Guys are coming onto the tour younger, stronger and ready to play against the seasoned veterans.  This year Phil has played some great golf.  He’s made the cut in all 12 of the tournaments he entered.  He has one win in 2011 (Shell Houston Open) and four top 10 finishes.  Pretty impressive, but not dominant.  I think one of the younger guys will take this major.

Are we going to see another major collapse?

Over the past 5 years, golf fans have witnessed several collapses on the final day of major tournaments.  But none are as well known Dustin Johnson at last year’s US Open and Nick Watney’s at the 2010 PGA Championship.

Last year, Dustin Johnson went out on Saturday and put up an insane 66 in 3rd round of the US Open at Pebble Beach.  This put him first place and the final group on Sunday.  This was when things went horribly wrong.  When it was all said and done on Sunday, Johnson finished with an 82.  After watching Graeme McDowell celebrate his win on the final green, Johnson left without even addressing the media.

At the PGA Championship last year, Nick Watney was in a great position on the Sunday.  On the 17th hole, Watney made a birdie to give him 1 shot lead with 1 hole to play.  Watney shanked his drive on the 18th but showed great poise and perseverance.  He scrambled to get onto the green and then missed a makeable putt that would have sealed the win.  Then something bizarre took place.  Watney was forced to take a 2 stroke penalty.  Apparently his wayward drive on 18 actually landed in a bunker.  However, with people standing in this supposed bunker all week, Watney didn’t know it was even a bunker.  So he stepped up, took his stance, grounded his club, and took his shot.  What did he do wrong?  He grounded his club.  According to the Laws of Golf, players are not allowed to ground their clubs while in a bunker.  Thus, the rules official penalized him 2 strokes and that spelled the end for Watney.

I don’t foresee anything like Watney’s collapse happening this year.  But there is always the possibility of blowing up the way Johnson did last year.  It’s golf and anyone who has ever picked up a club knows that self destruction is just one swing away.  Hopefully that does not happen this year, but you can never rule it out.

Can Ernie Els rekindle the flames of his 1997 win at Congressional?

In 1997, at the young age of 27, Ernie Els won his first US Open at Congressional Country Club.  Congressional will also host this year’s national championship.  So, can Els get his game back on track and win another here?  I don’t think so.

Els has won 3 Major Championships: Two US Opens and a British Open (the REAL Open Championship).  He holds two World Golf Championships and seven World Match Play titles.  In addition, he was recently inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame.  Given all those accolades, I still don’t think Els can win this week.  In his past 5 tournaments, Els missed the cut 3 straight times before posting a tie for 16th and a tie for 61st.  He’s simply not on top of the game anymore.

Predictions?

In all honesty, I have no clue who will win this thing.  As I said before, there are tons of young bucks who are very capable of winning: Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day, Martin Kaymer, etc.  The only thing I can predict is an enjoyable golf tournament.  Congressional is a beautiful country club steeped in history.  There will be great shots and lousy shots.  In the end, there will be one winner….but I have no idea who that will be.  Just sit back and enjoy the tournament.

-Mersy

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Statistical Look at the 2011 Red Sox

It’s hard to believe the baseball season is almost half way over.  I’ve been so caught up in the Stanley Cup playoffs, I’ve watched very little of the Sox this season.  Last weekend when they swept the Yankees, I only watched 2 or 3 innings of the whole series.  It’s June and I’m still watching hockey…..and it’s great.

This morning I decided to get myself up to date on the sox.  I took a look at the statistics pages on mlb.com and found some great stuff.  Last weekend’s sweep of the Yankees helped propel the sox into first place.  They are 2 games up on New York, 4 games up on Tampa Bay.  Here’s a quick look at the AL East standings:

 

W

L

PCT.

GB

BOSTON

38

26

0.594

New York

35

27

0.565

2.0

Tampa Bay

34

30

0.531

4.0

Toronto

32

33

0.492

6.5

Baltimore

30

32

0.484

7.0

As I looked at the team statistics a few things jumped out at me:

  • The Sox lead MLB in runs with 336; leading the Reds and Yankees by 9 and 15 runs respectively.
  • The Sox are 2nd in MLB (1st in the AL) in hits with 618.  That averages out to 9.6 hits/game.
  • The Sox lead MLB in RBI’s with 324.
  • The Sox are 2nd in OBP, at .347.  They trail the Cardinals by .002.
  • The Sox are 2nd in batting average with a .274 team average, just .001 behind the Cardinals.

Those are some pretty impressive statistics for a team that started the season with a 2-10 record after the first 12 games.  Adrian Gonzalez is leading the team at the plate with a .338 average and a league leading 58 RBI’s.  What an awesome signing that he was.  Watching his at bats is a thing of beauty.  The way he can drive ball to the opposite field (off and over the monster) is something we haven’t seen in a while.

While the Sox are dominant at the dish this season, the pitching staff has provided only mediocre numbers this season.  Here are a few highlights:

  • As a team, the Sox have 38 wins and a 4.13 ERA.
  • The Sox are 10th in MLB (2nd in the AL) in strikeouts with 462.
  • The Sox have given up 221 walks, putting them at 7th in MLB and 3rd in the AL.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are leading the team with 5 and 8 wins respectively.  Beckett is leading the team with a 2.06 ERA over 83.0 innings.  As Aaron pointed out, this Josh Beckett is throwing like its 2007 all over again (20-7, 3.27, 194 K’s, and only 40 BB’s).  Coming into the season, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Beckett.  I’m sure many of you felt the same way.  It sure is a pleasant surprise, isn’t it?

While the bull pen has not been as stable as I hoped, Papelbon has managed to rack up 12 saves.  That is still 7 saves behind league leaders Leo Nunez (Florida Marlins) and Houston Street (Colorado Rockies).  He’s not the same Papelbon we saw in seasons past.  From 2006 to 2010, Papelbon averaged 37.6 saves per season.  While he may not be as dominant in 2011, as long as he is above average for the 2nd half of the season, I think we’ll be in a good spot come playoff time.  At that point, you can throw all the statistics out the window.

The 2-10 start is a thing of the past.  They have an 8 game win streak currently and are 13-4 since May 24th.  After the series finale against Toronto this afternoon, the Sox have Monday off (Game 6 of Stanley Cup Finals) and then resume play with a 3 game series in Tampa.  Following that, the Sox come home for 3 against the Brewers and Padres.  Then they finish June in Pittsburgh and in Philly.

Keep up the winning ways Sox and you’ll make this is a very fun season…after the Bruins take home the cup, of course.

Mersy

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Finger Wagging = 10 min. Misconduct

According to Pierre LeBrun at ESPN, NHL VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy told him any player caught “finger wagging” in a scrum will receive a 2 minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  In addition, the player will receive a 10 minute misconduct penalty.

Ummm…..what?  You’re really planning to hand out 10 minute misconducts for wagging a finger?  Can’t say I’ve ever seen that at a hockey game.

On top of that, Mike Murphy had these comments today:

“We made the right decision on Alex Burrows. I spoke with Alex. But I’m not here to speak about that. I’ve dealt with that. We’ve moved on past that. We will deal with the issues of the series, the chippyness that’s going on.

“We’ve addressed it with the teams as early as this morning. I will be speaking with both general managers and coaches before the day’s over about the crap that we are seeing, the garbage that is going on, some of the issues.”

Mike, do you really think you made the right decision on Alex Burrows? The dude chomped on Bergeron’s finger.  If that’s not a 1 game suspension, I don’t know what is.

Even after not having the balls to suspend Burrows (surely to upset his fellow Canadians), he [Murphy] is mute after Game 2 when Lapierre taunts Bergeron with the first finger wagging incident.  Also during the Game 2 pre-game on NBC, Henrick Sedin jokingly introduced his twin brother and “vegetarian” line mate Alex Burrows.  That’s classy….might as well start the taunting on the pre-game show.

If he had any common sense Murphy would have started the warnings after Game 2.  He screwed up the Burrows decision citing inconclusive video evidence and the series was heading down an ugly path.

Look where we are now: Horton’s in the hospital, Rome has been suspended.   And now you want to “deal with the chippyness that’s going on”?  Sometimes it’s obvious when the referees lose control of a game, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Mike Murphy has lost control of this series.

-Mersy

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Stamkos Eats Puck

This is what being a hockey player is all about.  Steven Stamkos was blasted in the face with a Boychuck bomb last night.  The play happened 5 minutes into the 2nd period and Stamkos was back on the ice (albeit with a cage) 5 or 6 game minutes later.  That’s good old fashion hockey toughness.  It’s what we love about the game.  It looks like the puck got mostly visor, but the visor then cut or broke the nose?  I can only imagine how much that hurts.  Well done Steven Stamkos.  The 21 yr old is not your typical soft superstar, thats for sure.  He will be one of the best players in the league for the next decade plus.

-Mersy

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Stanley Cup Finals!!!

Stanley Cup Finals, here we come!!!  What an amazing Game 7 last night.  Horton’s goal at 12.27 in the 3rd AND Timmy Thomas pitching a shutout was the difference.  I’m not going to break down the game right now, but just take a look at the piece of hardware the Bruins are playing for:

Clear your schedule for the next week and a half.  We have hockey to watch for the next couple of weeks.  Here’s the schedule:

  • Game 1: Wednesday, June 1 in Vancouver at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Game 2: Saturday, June 4 in Vancouver at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Game 3: Monday, June 6 in Boston at 8 p.m. ET (Versus)
  • Game 4: Wednesday, June 8 in Boston at 8 p.m. ET (Versus)
  • Game 5*: Friday, June 10 in Vancouver at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Game 6*: Monday, June 13 in Boston at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Game 7*: Wednesday, June 15 in Vancouver at 8 p.m. ET (NBC)


-Mersy

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