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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Must See Sports – First Weekend of June 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 5-3
Last week's advantage/disadvantage record in series: 1-1
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 23-22 
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 1-3

Must See Sports is back and chock full of action!

Thursday, May 30


Eastern Conference Finals – Game 5
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat

Game 5 is the most pivotal in a best-of-seven series and this Game 5 has all of the pre-game story lines set up for it to be epic. Except for Game 3, every game has been very close and hotly contested. It is not surprising to me that Indiana has made Miami’s journey to a second consecutive NBA Championship difficult. Basketball is about matchups and Indiana’s youth, relative good health, and physical play, when all in sync, is a matchup nightmare for the slimmer, older, smaller Miami Heat.

The problem for the Pacers is that, from my vantage point, they’ve only gotten the “real” Miami Heat once in this series, in Game 3 – in which the Heat scored a franchise playoff record 70 points in the first half. The Heat appear to have been sleepwalking through the playoffs, win or lose. In Game 4 (won by the Pacers), the only player for Miami who did not appear to be going through the motions was reigning MVP LeBron James (27 PPG, 7 APG, 8 RPG, 2 StlPG). The Heat were right in the game, on the road, until James fouled out in the final minute.

This game is in Miami and the driver’s seat for control of the series hangs in the balance. Miami has not lost consecutive games since January 10th and has not lost consecutive games at home in nearly two years - since the Dallas Mavericks closed them out in Miami to win the 2011 NBA Championship.

Advantage: Heat

The Heat-Pacers series is getting real (sorta). 1

Friday, May 31

Major League Baseball

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Jon Lester, Red Sox (6-1, 3.34 ERA, 60 Ks) vs C.C. Sabathia, Yankees (4-4, 3.96 ERA, 61 Ks)
It doesn’t get any better than Red Sox vs Yankees and, in 2013, it hasn’t gotten much better for any team than having Jon Lester on the mound. I predicted mediocrity for the Yankees and futility for the Red Sox before the season started. In the words of Bugs Bunny, “I could be wrong, you know!” 

The Red Sox are a game ahead of the Yankees in the American League East. The Yankees are to be commended for keeping chase with Boston in spite of starting the year (and continuing to endure) a slew of injuries. However, Jon Lester is red hot and C.C. Sabathia has not won a game in over a month. I like the Sox in this game.

Advantages: Game – Red Sox, Series – Red Sox
C.C. is fat. He pitched better when he was humongously fat. 2
Saturday, June 1


Eastern Conference Finals – Game 6
Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

I would not bet a nickel on this game because someone will be facing elimination. I expect a furious effort by Indiana. I think the same will come from the Heat should they be trailing in the series by losing Game 5. On the other hand, I cannot predict what the temperament of the Heat will be if they are leading 3-2. Will they try to step on the throat of the Pacers? Or will they feel less urgency, knowing they can fall back on a Game 7 at South Beach, which would heavily favor the Heat on a number of fronts?

I expect the Heat to win this game in either case. They have been crushing the Pacers in transition and I don’t know how many “A” performances the Pacers have in them against Miami. But a Game 7 would not surprise me one bit.

Advantage: Heat

Game 6 will not be easy for the visiting Heat. 3

Sunday, June 2

Major League Baseball

San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
Chad Gaudin (0-0, 2.05 ERA, 28 Ks, 30.2 IP) vs Tyler Lyons (2-0, 1.29 ERA)

The pitching matchup is curious. Gaudin is a regular reliever making his first start of the season. Lyons is a red hot rookie making his third start and third appearance, ever in the majors. Not a lot of historical record on the mound….

The Cardinals are another team for which I expected mediocrity. They only have the best record in the majors, though they are in a three way dogfight with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds for the lead in the N.L. Central. They are getting contributions from top to bottom in their lineup, but veteran catcher Yadier Molina (.355, 3 HR, 27 RBI, .875 OPS) has been their anchor, second in the National League in batting average.

The Giants are second in the N.L. West. They are also getting contributions from the entire lineup, with continued consistency from reigning National League MVP Buster Posey (.301, 7 HR, 31 RBI). The problem for the Giants, and the biggest bat-related reason they are trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks in the N.L. West, is that they just don’t hit for a lot of power when they’re away from AT&T Park. Their record on the road (win pct. of .265) is simply awful. 

Advantages: Game – Cardinals, Series – Cardinals

Former two time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (3-5, 5.12 ERA, 68 Ks) was touched up yesterday across the Bay at Oakland. I imagine that his continued struggles are part of the reason the Giants are experimenting with Gaudin in the starting rotation.

Monday, June 3


Eastern Conference Finals – Game 7 (if necessary)
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat

No way the Heat lose a Game 7 at home, barring an injury to LeBon James….

Advantage: Heat

Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich: he'll be waiting! 5

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