Monday, August 3, 2020

TKJ's Top 10: MLB rankings: 8-3-20

Here's my latest Top 10 MLB teams:

1. New York Yankees - (7-1): There's no question they are the best team in baseball. The only thing that can stop them is COVID-19.

2. L.A. Dodgers - (7-3): The Dodgers are still the top team in the National League and I don't think they are playing their best yet.

3. Chicago Cubs +5 (7-2): The Cubs haven't played the toughest schedule (plenty of games against the Pirates), but that offense is for real. They will have to fix that closer situation at some point.

4. Atlanta Braves - (7-3): The Braves are still loaded. The offense is great, the pitching is solid. Don't count this team out as far as winning the NL.

5. Minnesota Twins - (7-2): The Twins took 3 of 4 from the Indians. They look like the biggest threat to the Yankees at this point in the AL.

6. Houston Astros - (5-4): The Astros are the defending AL champs for a reason. The offense is still great. However, the pitching is a mess. If they can find a way to fix that they are still a big contender in the AL.

7. Cleveland Indians +3 (5-4): The Indians starting pitching is for real, but they lost 3 out of 4 to the Twins. The offense needs to improve.

8. Colorado Rockies: NR (6-2) The Rockies look to be for real. They just took 2 of 3 from the Padres. That offense is definitely strong, the question mark will be the pitching.

9. San Diego Padres -6 (6-4): The Padres have lost 3 of their last 4, but I still have faith in this young squad.

10. Baltimore Orioles NR (5-3): I can't believe my eyes. I have the Orioles in my top 10? Clearly, it's still early. But the O's just swept the Rays, that has to mean something.



Yankees Nation: Yanks continue to roll

Will the Yankees ever lose again?

There are times I'm starting to wonder. The Yankees (7-1) look as strong as ever. They went undefeated last week and Aaron Judge is on fire!

The pitching has been solid. Paxton still needs to improve and losing Kahnle going down for the season isn't great. Still the Yankees should be fine.

The offense looks almost unstoppable. Chapman should be back very very soon. The future's so bright we gotta wear shades.

The Yankees are wining blowouts, they are winning close games. They have it all right now.

There's no reason to think the Yankees won't keep things going on this very busy week. We've got 4 with the Phillies and 4 with the Rays. Hopefully we'll get them all in and extend the win streak even further.

Let's keep this train going Yankees and keep steamrolling everyone in sight.

Until next time, Go Yankees! 

DV Nation: DV thrashes Rus in Palermo first round

DV started off her new season in fine fashion. 

She beat Rus 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the second round in Palermo. DV plays Cocciaretto in her next match.

"I'm definitely a little bit surprised, especially because it was really tricky conditions," DV said. "It was very windy. So the ball was spinning a lot, was a little bit all over the court. But I'm definitely happy that I didn't forget how to play tennis, how to play matches, how to win. It's a huge relief. So I'm really happy right now."

DV had four aces and 4 DF's. She served at 56 percent first serves. She won 77 percent of her first serves and 46 percent on second serves. She was 6-for-13 on break points. She won 8 games in a row at one point and 9 points in a row at one point. She saved 3 of-4 break points.  

"Physically I'm probably more ready than ever. I'm really impressed with my runnings today. I have to look at that one point with the drop shot that I got - that was crazy. I thought I was moving really well. We did a couple of really tough weeks in Monaco, so I was definitely expecting to be fit. Tennis-wise I've been also practicing great, but you literally haven't played a match in five months and it's the first time for me, because I've never had like a big injury. So I really didn't know what to expect and he was like don't expect to play perfect, to fight every point and just try to be competitive and do your thing."

DV actually trailed 1-0 in the first set, before winning the last six games. She raced out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set and cruised to the one-hour 17-minute victory. 

"I really enjoyed playing clay the last couple of years. Clay and I were not such good friends before that. The last couple of years it's been a lot better. I've been practicing on clay through this whole period, because in Croatia we have more clay courts than hard courts. So I grew up playing on clay as well. But I don't think that made a huge difference today because in my mind I wanted to play just this tournament to get a couple matches, but then we're back on hard, back on clay. The surface change is not really a huge problem for me the last couple of years, which is great."

Great job DV! Let's get this title!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

TKJ's picks: DV will take title in Palermo

It's back! Oh how I missed it!

Tennis is back with the first tournament of the year since the pandemic in Palermo. I am back writing blogs, including tennis. I will try to make picks each week and hopefully day starting this week.

Obviously, I'm going to pick DV to win in Palermo. She is the 6 seed and quite honestly can beat any of these girls. I like her to play D.Y. in the final, in what would be a great matchup.

I've got DV beating Kontaveit in the quarters then Martic in the semis. I'll take D.Y. over Vondrousova in the quarters. Then I've got D.Y. over Sakkari in the semis. 

In the final I'll take DV over D.Y. 6-4, 6-3. 

DV Nation: DV back in action in Palermo, ready to win

DV returns this week!

She is playing in the first official tennis tournament since the pandemic in Palermo. 

It's great to have my favorite women's player back on court and ready to win another title! DV is the No. 6 seed and will play Rus in the first round and either Hercog or Cocciaretto in the second round. DV is scheduled to play Kontaveit in the quarters. 

It is on clay, not DV's best surface but she'll get it done! Martic is the top seed and Vondrousova is the 2 seed but DV can beat any of them.

DV is no longer coached by Torben, but that's OK she'll be fine. Torben was great for her, but honestly I think it was time for her to move on from him. This will be a short season, but hopefully DV can make the most of it and do some big things.

I'm excited to see her play again. Let's go DV! 

Tampa Bay Nation: Rays off to wobbly start

Tampa Bay sports is about to get going in a big way.

Yes, the Bucs are getting started at training camp. The Lightning are about to get the postseason started and hopefully win another championship.

Then of course, there's the Rays. After last weekend I really thought the Rays were picking up where they had left off last season. They took 2 of 3 from the Jays and then they won the first two against the Braves.

However, they have since lost 3 in a row (and are 4-4), including a bad one to the O's. That can't happen if you want to win a championship. The magic from last year isn't there right now, but hopefully they can get it back. The bullpen needs to do better. 

Choi is only hitting .200, Diaz .095 and Kiermaier .160. All three have to improve and get the offense going like it's capable.

As for the Lightning it's all about redemption. The 'Ning were the faves last year and were swept in the first round. Now it's their time to show who the best team is.

Until next time, go Rays! Go Lightning!

Celtics Nation: Celtics need to bounce back from defeat

OK, Celtics fans, Friday was a tough loss (119-112 to Milwaukee). We played a good team but still that was a winnable game.

It obviously hurts that Kemba only played 19 minutes, and hopefully he will be at full strength come playoff time. 

Jayson has to play better - 5 points - isn't going to get it done. You're better than that Jay and I know he will be better on Sunday. Jaylen Brown was great and Marcus and Wanamaker off the bench were also big positives.

Sunday is a must-win type game to me. I don't think Boston is going to catch Toronto for second and really it doesn't matter since there is no home court now. I'm not afraid of anybody in the first round. 

However, the Celtics need to stay in front of a surging Miami team and keep from falling to the 4 spot. The most important thing is the Celtics need to get this win over Portland and get some momentum before the playoffs.

They should beat Portland, but it won't be easy. The Blazers are playing well. If the Celtics play their game they will be fine. Let's get this! 

Until next time, Go Celtics!