Ray Jr on Sports

  1. Pirates take 3 of 4 from Tigers-The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to fight as they beat the Detroit Tigers 7-5 to take 3 of 4 in their home/away series. P Gerrit Cole (10-8) got the win and rookie 1B Josh Bell and Super Utility Man Sean Rodriguez both hit home runs. Closer Filepe Rivero earned his 11th It was a much-needed win for the Pirates after losing 10-0 to the Tigers and P Justin Verlander.
  2. NL Central Standings-despite the 57-58 record, the Pirates are still in the race for the NL Central. They still face an uphill battle because they trail Milwaukee (59-57), St. Louis (58-56) and NL Central leader Chicago (59-54). I like the Pirates chances if they can get over .500 and they have a chance to do so if they can get some victories over the Toronto Blue Jays (53-60) which starts Friday.
  3. Josh Bell-I’ve said this before, this rookie first baseman is one of the positives for the Pirates as he hit his 20th HR in the 7-5 win. Bell now joins HOF Ralph Kiner and 2004 NL Rookie of the Year Jason Bell, Johnny Rizzo and Garrett Jones as the only Pirates rookies to hit at least 20 home runs. With almost 2 months left in the MLB season, it makes you wonder if he could get 30. I think it’s possible.
  4. NL Rookie of the Year Race-Despite his incredible rookie season, don’t expect Josh Bell to have a chance at the Rookie of the Year award, because of LA Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger and his 33 home runs. He’ll probably get 40 before the year’s over. What a season for both of these young first basemen.
  5. AL Rookie of the Year? NY Yankees Aaron Judge, there’s no debate on this one. I’ll give you 99 (his jersey number), reasons why, but I’ll only share one: He leads the AL with 35 home runs and could also end up with 40 by October. He’s probably in line for the AL MVP award for the Wild Card leading Yankees.
  6. Pirates reacquire Rodriguez-In a stunning weekend move, the Pirates brought back the super Utility Player to add some power and bench help. Serpico (As he is nicknamed) hit 18 home runs last season before joining the Atlanta Braves. He even overcame a car accident, which many thought could cause him to miss the 2017 season. Rodriguez has 2 home runs since rejoining the Pirates.
  7. Indians add Jay Bruce-The defending AL Champions and AL Central leading Cleveland Indians made a move to shore up their postseason as they acquired OF Jay Bruce from the NY Mets for a prospect. They’re doing what contenders do, and I respect that. With the August deadline 3 weeks away, I think more moves will happen.
  8. Former Pirate pitcher sold for a dollar-This is not a joke. P Ernesto Frieri who played for the Pirates in 2014, was sold by the Texas Rangers to the Seattle Mariners for $1. Apparently, he’s not very good as he has a 5.14 ERA. But this isn’t the first time that the Mariners made this kind of deal. In April 2015, the team made a similar deal with the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Tony Zych. Shrewd.
  9. Steelers WR Martavis Bryant cleared for practice-The Pittsburgh Steelers received some good news when Bryant was cleared to practice with the team. He was conditionally suspended earlier this season but was allowed to practice in mini-camp. Apparently, the NFL wants to make sure Bryant has learned his lesson and I don’t blame them.
  10. Steelers play the first Preseason Friday-The NFL Preseason is here and the Steelers will play their first game vs. the NY Giants Friday night at MetLife Stadium. I have always called preseason games a glorified sparring session, and I still call it that, but I also recognize that time as the rookie’s opportunity to make an impression.
  11. Rookie QB Josh Dobbs will start vs. Giants-Heres your chance to see what the Steelers rookie QB can do as Dobbs will start vs. the Giants. With backup QB Landry Jones still out with an injury, look for Dobbs to get a serious look in this game. Also look for rookie LB TJ Watt to get his chance on Friday. It will be interesting to see what they can do.
  12. Rookies Conner and Sutton out for Friday-It’s a shame when the injury bug bites the rookies and as a result, rookie RB Conner and CB Sutton won’t play Friday as a result of their respective injuries. RB Fitzgerald Touissant and veteran Knile Davis will get the leading RB snaps. Starters Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown also will not play Friday for non-injury reasons.
  13. Le’Veon Bell’s status-It’s still the same. He’s still holding out by refusing to sign his $12 million franchise tender, although he’s sending social media pics of him working out. I think he’s selfish and unwise to hold out when he knows he has to sign that tender. He’s missing out on team chemistry in camp. It’s not just about being in shape.
  14. No Aaron Donald either-In addition to Bell, LA Rams (and current Pitt) DE Aaron Donald has chosen to hold out because he wants a new contract. As much as I dislike holdouts, I do see his point. He has already outplayed his rookie contract and he is one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL. Unlike Bell, Donald is under contract and the Rams could work out a new deal with him. This situation reminds me of when Jerome Bettis was there and he wanted a new deal. The only difference is, he didn’t hold out. But he was eventually traded to the Steelers.
  15. Pitt Football suffers potential loss-In an offseason in which they saw WR Tre Tipton lost for the season due to injury, the Pitt Panthers football team could lose another as FB George Aston as he was injured. To no surprise, HC Pat Narduzzi has no comment on the injury, but Aston is on crutches. In 2016, Aston had 10 touchdowns (5 rushing, 5 receiving) and has resembled former NFL FB Mike Alstott in this role.
  16. Browne, Ollison look like Pitt starters-As the College Football Season is 3 weeks away, it’s pretty obvious that you can expect graduate transfer QB Max Browne and RB Quadree Ollison to be starters when Pitt opens against Youngstown State. After watching both in the Spring game, I feel that both have enough experience to have earned it.
  17. Pitt Basketball adds player-The Pitt basketball team has added their 11th and final player when 6-8 forward Kenechukwu Chukwuka, a power forward from New Mexico Junior College, has committed to the team Tuesday. Chukwuka has 3 years of eligibility remaining.
  18. NBA Releases Christmas Schedule-Cleveland and Golden State will once again headline the NBA’s Christmas schedule this upcoming season. The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs will also play Dec 25th.
  19. Cavs, Warriors will also play Opening night-The NBA Finalists will also be among several teams who will open the NBA season with Cleveland playing Boston as the first game and defending champ Golden State to play Houston at 10:30. Pretty exciting way to open the season.
  20. Knicks, Rockets re-engage in Melo talks-Apparently the Carmelo Anthony trade talks are back on as the NY Knicks and Rockets are discussing trade offers. I just knew that he was going to the Cavaliers, but apparently, Melo doesn’t want to play with his best friend LeBron James. The NBA can have more drama than soap operas sometimes.

 

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