Written on May 22nd, 2013 by Niles Pender Baseball Comments
By Niles Pender: While quality starting pitching is important to the success of a baseball team, having a potent lineup is also very helpful. With a good middle of the order, teams are able to stay in many games that they otherwise have no business of winning when their starting pitching struggles.
Very few teams have a potent 1-2 punch in the middle of their order, which is why several teams are always near the top of the standings. Smaller market clubs have a difficulty affording the large contracts power hitters command, which is another reason why few teams have a lethal middle of the order combination.
Perhaps the best 1-2 offensive punch in the major leagues is Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder for the Detroit Tigers. When Prince Fielder joined the Tigers last season, many experts predicted the Tigers would make it to the World Series, which they ended up doing before being swept by the San Francisco Giants. However, after one season in the American League, Prince Fielder may be even better in 2013 than he was in 2012 as he has had time to learn the tendencies of American League pitchers.
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Written on April 29th, 2013 by Niles Pender NHL Comments
As the NHL playoffs approach, the fans of the 16 participating teams will be anxiously watching every game and analyzing every play. For casual fans, playoff hockey is a great way to spend a Tuesday evening. Which teams and players should all fans be keeping an eye on as the playoffs get set to begin?
The Canadiens are the second seed in the east just a year after finishing near the bottom of the conference. However, it seems as if Montreal may have overachieved just a bit. As the season closed, they had to pull their goaltender in three straight games. That hadn’t been done in over a decade. Although they are a high seed, it will be hard to see them going far.
Toronto Maple Leafs-
The Leafs haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004. Will they be able to get over the playoff jitters to advance past the first round? Not only is all of Toronto expecting them to do well, the Boston Bruins are a tough opponent.
Washington started the season rather slowly. However, their fortunes turned when Alex Ovechkin started playing better. The only problem is that he is streaky in the playoffs. If he doesn’t continue his dominant play, it could be lights out for the Capitals after one round.
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Written on April 19th, 2013 by Niles Pender NBA Comments
PG Chris Paul’s arrival in Los Angeles two seasons ago instantly transformed the young, ultra-athletic Clippers from a talented, yet dysfunctional team into arguably one of the league’s top half-dozen. A natural leader, Paul’s innate ability to find the right player in the right spot makes him invaluable on a team loaded with scorers, and it doesn’t hurt to have athletic freaks such as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan flying in for high-percentage alley-oops.
Paul’s numbers (17.0 ppg, 9.6 apg, 3.8 rpg, 2.4 spg) demonstrate his effectiveness and importance. He’s also among the NBA’s best at on-the-ball defense, making it difficult for the opposing offense to run their plays.
Before his season-ending Achilles injury last Friday night, Kobe Bryant was carrying the Lakers to the postseason virtually by himself, which appeared to be a hopeless exercise a month ago. They still made it, but without their leader-in-every-way.
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Written on April 9th, 2013 by Niles Pender NCAA Comments
Cardinals defeated Wolverines to win the Men’s NCAA Championship
By Niles Pender: The Men’s NCAA basketball championship game lived up to all of the hype with the Louisville Cardinals defeating the Michigan Wolverines 82-76 in what was one of the more exciting tournament championship games in recent memories.
With two storied programs squaring off in the title game, this year’s championship game had something for everyone.
Watching the first half, college basketball fans knew they were in for a special game. At the start of the game, the Michigan Wolverines jumped out to a quick start with the nation’s best player, point guard Trey Burke, scoring the first seven points for the Wolverines. However, after picking up two early fouls, Burke was forced to miss a significant portion of the first half.
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