Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pirates Sweep Brewers, hit .500 mark-Yes, you read that right. The Pittsburgh Pirates are now at .500 after beating the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 to complete the 4-game sweep and now this team is only 3 games out of first place. Amazing.
  2. Keys to the Pirates victory-Their fight. In all 4 games I saw this team trail the Brewers, only to rebound and win each game, with Wednesday’s game a walk-off winner. They’re looking like the team that were Wild Card Contenders from 2013-15. They’re refusing to lose.
  3. The Pirates Chances at a playoff berth? It will take a miracle, but they will need to win the NL Central. Yes, they are technically in the Wild Card race, but they trail WC leaders Arizona and Colorado by 7.5 games and also trail the Chicago Cubs by a game.
  4. Are the Pirates ‘buyers’ or ‘sellers?’at the Aug 1st Trade Deadline?-Good question. I think the Pirates are now buyers with their focus on the division. I honestly wouldn’t think I would say that after how they’ve looked at times this season, but now they’re contenders. I would grab a veteran starting pitcher, a reliever and possibly a 3B for the stretch run if I were GM Neal Huntington.
  5. What if the Pirates become ‘sellers?’ Then they would be foolish, plain and simple. This sudden ‘fire’ that they’ve caught will fill up PNC Park and make the city excited for the Pirates again. If the front office decides to cut costs and trade OF Andrew McCutchen, IF Josh Harrison, and P Gerit Cole, then I will once again accuse the front office of not caring about winning.
  6. Cubs catch fire too-After acquiring P Jose Quintana from the White Sox, the defending World Series Champions are once again looking like…defending World Series Champions. The Cubs are red-hot going 6-0 and sweeping both of their opponents. In my opinion, they’re still the team to beat in the NL Central.
  7. Next up for the Pirates-After an impressive 6-1 homestand, the Pirates( 48-48)will head to Colorado to face a pretty-good Rockies team(56-41) that has the misfortune of playing in the same NL West Division as the LA Dodgers (66-29) who have the best record in baseball. The Rockies know they they’re best chances at a postseason berth will come with getting one of those NL Wild Card Spots as they and the Arizona Diamondbacks trail the Dodgers by 11 games.
  8. Starling Marte returns-After being suspended for 80 games, the Pirates Gold Glove OF returned to the team July 18th and helped them win 3 of those 4 games against the Brewers with timely hits, 2 scored runs and a sliding catch. I believe the Pirates are fueled by his return and I respect his humility throughout his suspension. He knew he did wrong and apologized for it. Hopefully he’s learned.
  9. MLB trades-There were a few trades this week as the deadline looms. The NY Yankees acquired 3B Todd Frazier and 2 relievers from the Chicago White Sox for prospects, Seattle grabbed P David Phelps from Miami for prospects, Arizona gets JD Martinez from Detroit for prospects, and it’s just the beginning.
  10. 3B Sandoval may return to the Giants-After under performing and being released by the Boston, 3B Pablo Sandoval may return to the team whom he helped win 3 World Series titles as the Giants brought him in for a physical. Sandoval left SF to join the Red Sox for $95 million. Unfortunately he couldn’t live up to that contract.
  11. Steelers, Bell don’t agree to deal, will get Franchise Tag-Both parties had until 4pm on Monday to agree to a long-term deal, and even though the Steelers had a deal on the table, they couldn’t come to terms with All-Pro RB Le’Veon Bell on a new contract which means that he will play for that franchise tag of $12.1 million, which is truly a raise for Bell, but not his desire.
  12. Will Bell report to training camp? I hope he does. He has nothing to prove by sitting out because of his contract situation. The Steelers knew they had options with the Tag and they know they have options next year as well, but Bell still hasn’t signed that Tag, which means he’s not obligated to report. But if he cares about getting his team to a Super Bowl, Bell needs to be in Camp.
  13. Villanueva may sit out as well-I’m not surprised by this, but it was obvious that Steelers T Alejuandro Villanueva may hold out when Training Camp starts July 27th. Like Bell, he deserves a raise, but I don’t agree that a holdout is worth it. As I’ve stated before, the Steelers don’t blink at holdouts.
  14. NFL signings-The Arizona Cardinals inked RB Chris Johnson to a 1-year deal. It’s hard to believe he’s a far cry from the 2,000-yard rusher that he was with Tennessee. He was on pace for another 1,000-yard season in 2016 before a season-ending injury. The Dallas Cowboys re-signed LB Justin Durant to a 1-year deal. He had 57 tackles, a sack and an interception for the Cowboys last season.
  15. The ‘Blind Side’ gets cut-T Michael Oher, who’s life was turned into the movie ‘The Blind Side’ was released by the Carolina Panthers after failing a physical for concussions. He had also won a Super Bowl in 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens.
  16. Cavs, Rose nearing 1-year deal-After trade talks with Carmelo Anthony have cooled down, the Cleveland Cavaliers are now on the verge of signing another NY Knick, G Derrick Rose. They’ve offered the NBA minimum of $2.1 million. Rose has also met with the LA Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers, so I guess the ball’s (no pun intended) in his court.
  17. Will Rose help the Cavs? If he can stay healthy, absolutely. But I will also say that the Cavs will help Rose, because he needs to be in a championship environment and not have to worry about being ‘The Man.’ He was close in Chicago, but he basically wasted his time in New York. In Cleveland Rose would be an excellent backcourt mate with Kyrie Irving.
  18. Timberwolves, Wiggins close to record deal-After 2 All-Star season that included winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award, Minnesota is looking to sign G Andrew Wiggins to a long-term deal that worth $148 million. I think he’s earned that deal as he averaged 23.5 points per game this past season and will also benefit from team additions like former Bull Jimmy Butler.
  19. Lonzo Ball wins Summer League MVP-To be honest, I never knew there was a trophy for the NBA Summer League, but apparently there is as the LA Lakers rookie has won it after earning several triple-doubles. Many are comparing him to Jason Kidd, and I’m starting to believe that as well after watching one of his games. Time will tell when he faces real NBA Competition.
  20. OJ Simpson is paroled-For the first time in over 20 years, the country was glued to a story involving NFL Hall of Famer OJ Simpson as he was officially paroled after spending over 8 years in prison. He will be released from jail October 1st. I wish him the best as he gets back in the real world.

 

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