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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Must See Sports – Second Weekend of August 2011

We are into the month of August. This means we are closer and closer to one thing: FOOTBALL! This week, the NFL will tease us with an offering of preseason action. Just like artificial sweeteners, it is not quite the real thing, but it will get us by!

Thursday, August 11

NFL Preseason Football

Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers

While the kickoff time of the Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles games is half an hour prior to the start of the Seahawks-Chargers exhibition, the Birds and Bolts will be nationally televised on ESPN. Being able to see is a major plus to the viewer for events in “Must See Sports”.

The shield is BACK! 1

Friday, August 12

NFL Preseason Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs

Be sure to tune in early so you can see as much of the first units as possible. Watching Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, in his third year, should be worth watching. The same applies to Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. Both of these young men made substantial strides closer to the top of the NFL quarterbacking mountain. The game will be televised on Fox.

Freeman has come a long way very quickly since the 2009 draft. Can he lead his team to the playoffs this year? 2

Saturday, August 13

NFL Preseason Football

Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns

NFL fans will get to feast their eyes on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers as defending Super Bowl champions for the first time. Meanwhile, football fans will have the opportunity to see second year Browns quarterback Colt McCoy with the benefit of a year of seasoning. The game will be broadcast on NFL Network.

Sunday, August 14


PGA Championship - Final Round

Tiger Woods got off to a blazing hot start, within reach of the lead, early in the first round of the PGA Championship, shooting three birdies on his first five holes. Then Woods melted down like Three Mile Island, putting together a string of bogeys and double bogeys on 6 of the next eight holes. Woods then hit another birdie on his 14th hole (hole 5 on the front nine). Woods is a hot mess and is all over the place in round 1.

Adam Scott's caddie, Stevie Williams, Woods' outspoken and disgruntled former caddy, may get an encore of sour grapes and Woods has fallen so far from the lead, this morning, that he is in danger of not making the cut, while Scott is currently tied for third place. Should that happen, there are still a number of golfers worth watching, though none of them are Tiger.

Should Woods either fail to make the cut or not mount a serious challenge for the lead, many eyes will be on 2011 U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy, the 22 year old Northern Irish prodigy that many golf fans hope is the Tiger Woods of the next generation of golfers. The often brightly dressed and talented 22 year old American Rickie Fowler has had several top 10 finishes and will garner attention if he is within striking distance of the lead.

Regardless, the final round of the final major tournament of 2011 should offer a generous helping of golf action and drama.

When it rains, it pours. 3

Monday, August 15

NFL Preseason Football

New York Jets at Houston Texans

Are you ready for some football? A Monday night PARTY!! Monday Night Football is back in preseason form. If you are going to consume faux football, there are few teams made for television more than the New York Jets. The Jets have knocked on the door of the Super Bowl and their first step toward kicking it in starts on this coming Monday.

As for the Texans, they fell very short of heightened expectations in 2010. Their offense: very good. Their defense: not so good. Their pass defense: abysmal, dead last in the National Football League. No more defense…NO MORE TEXANS! The Texans have made some acquisitions in their defensive backfield, such as ball-hawking cornerback Johnathan Joseph, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Texans offensive weapons, they do not need to be “good’ or even “average” on defense to compete in the 2011 AFC playoff race. The defense just need not be reminiscent of Swiss cheese.

Rex got a "Goddamn tat" to go with his "Goddamn snack"! 4
Tuesday, August 16


San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves
Jonathan Sanchez (4-7, 4.29 ERA) – Giants vs Tommy Hanson (11-7, 3.60 ERA) – Braves

Sanchez has lost his last four consecutive decisions and has not recorded a win in over two months. This does not bode well for a slumping team (lost 10 of their last 12) in a dogfight with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the National League West lead and  is in the lower tier of teams hitting the ball. The defending World Series champs could be without newly acquired outfielder Carlos Beltran (.284, 15 HR, 68 RBI), expected to give the offense a much needed boost.

The Braves hold a healthy lead over the Cardinals and Giants for the Wild Card spot. Like the Giants, the Braves have not been setting the world on fire with their bats. However, the recent awakening of Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (.224, 24 HR, 58 RBI) and his 31 game hitting streak has given the Braves the offensive push that they may need to maintain separation from the pack in the Wild Card hunt.

Advantages: Game – Braves, Series – Braves

All good hitters break out of a slump, eventually, but Uggla has taken it to the next level. Uggla extends his hitting streak to 31 games against his former team, the Florida Marlins, last night. 4
 Wednesday, August 17


Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies
Joe Saunders (8-9, 3.61 ERA) - Diamondbacks vs Vance Worley (8-1, 2.85 ERA)

Rookie Phillies pitcher Vance Worley continues to wow the fans and mow down the opposition, striking out 12 batters in his last two starts. After an impressive seven inning outing against the Giants last Friday, Worley did stumble in yesterday's start against the Dodgers, getting touched up in just four innings of work, though in a no decision. Everyone throws a clunker every now and then and I expect young Vance to get back on his horse in this important second game of this three game series between these two National League division leaders.

This is a very possible preview of the first round of the National League playoffs and the Phillies have the best record in the majors and the National League West has the division leader with the lowest winning percentage. Joe Saunders will need to be his sharpest to gauge his possible postseason potential. Saunders has not surrendered more than five earned runs in a game since June 10 and is coming off of a very impressive July, in which he had a record of 4-1 in  6 starts with a 2.16 ERA.

Saunders and the lineup, carried in large part by outfielder Justin Upton (.300, 23 HR, 72 RBI) should provide a formidable challenge to the scorching hot Phillies, who have won 12 of their last 13 games. Still, with the Phillies at home, I have a tough time seeing the Snakes coming into the City of Brotherly Love and knocking the home team around.

Advantages: Game - Phillies, Series - Phillies

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