Search This Blog

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Must See Sports - Second Weekend of October 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 10-4  
Last week's advantage/disadvantage record in series: 3-0
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 63-46
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 20-11-4

October is the best month of the year for sports fans. It's the only month in which the Big Four team sports are all cranking at once. The World Series is in October. And of course, there is a ton of FOOTBALL on the buffet!

Thursday, October 10

Major League Baseball

American League Division Series - Game 5 (best of 5 series tied 2-2)
Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics
Justin Verlander (13-13, 3.46 ERA, 217 Ks) - Tigers vs Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67 ERA, 67 Ks, 64.0 IP) - A's

This has been a spectacular series. I cannot think of a better way for it to end than with the two pitchers facing off that started in Game 2. Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray, a rookie, engaged in a classic pitcher's duel that extended to the bullpen. At the start of the 9th inning, neither team had yet to score. Oakland won the game on a walkoff RBI by catcher Stephen Vogt (.252, 4 HR, 16 RBI).

The rookie matched the master in Game 2 before his team got the push they needed to win in the bottom of the 9th. Pitching in the playoffs on three days of rest in place of veteran Bartolo Colon, the spotlight could not shine brighter. My chips are on the former Cy Young winner and MVP, Verlander, and the team with the better batting lineup, the Detroit Tigers.

Advantages: Game - Tigers, original series pick - Tigers

Last Saturday: a walkoff win in Game 2. Is there one more day of "Sonny" weather in Oakland? 1
Friday, October 11

Major League Baseball

National League Championship Series - Game 1
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63 ERA) - Dodgers vs Undecided - Cardinals

The Cardinals have a few hours to celebrate tonight, but they face the better-rested Dodgers on Friday. In spite of the series starting in St. Louis, I like the red hot Dodgers. First of all, they are red hot. Second, Zack Greinke is on the mound, a pitcher who usually wins. Third, the Cardinals pitcher has yet to be determined and it will definitely not be ace Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA, 219 Ks) nor rookie sensation Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA, 65 Ks, 64.2 IP), who pitched brilliantly in an elimination game, Game 4 of the NLDS, against the Pittsburgh Pirates to keep his team alive. That's all I need to know.

Advantages: Game - Dodgers, Series - Dodgers

Saturday, October 12

Major League Baseball

National League Championship Series - Game 2
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA, 232 Ks) - Dodgers vs Undecided - Cardinals

See everything I said about Game 1 for Zack Greinke. Apply it and them some to Kershaw. It is tough to imagine the Cards dropping the first two games of the series at home, a bad omen, but I don't see the Cards' pitching even remotely matching up with L.A..

Advantage: Dodgers

NCAA Football

#17 Florida Gators at #10 LSU Tigers

The Gators defense has been absolutely smothering this season, allowing only 12 points per game. In addition, quarterback Tyler Murphy (530 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT, 72% comp.), so far, has filled in seamlessly for the injured Jeff Driskel (477 yds., 2 TD, 3 INT, 69% comp.) who is out for the season with a broken leg. Like Odell Beckham, Jr. (35 rec., 686 yds., 6 TD) and Jarvis Landry (42 rec., 616 yds., 7 TD) of LSU, Florida also has a pair of solid pass catchers in seniors Trey Burton (23 rec., 282 yds., 1 TD) and Solomon Patton (19 rec., 348 yds. 4 TD).

Where Florida will have its hands full is containing LSU. While its defense has been excellent, the Gators have not face an offense with anywhere near the number of stockpiled weapons as LSU. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has continued to keep his name on the short list for the Heisman (1,738 yds., 15 TD, 2 INT, 68% comp., 11 YPA), coming off of a blitzkrieg at Mississippi State - completing 86% of his passes for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. LSU's running back, Jeremy Hill (593 yds., 9 TD, 7.5 avg.), has been unstoppable. Even if Florida has can contain Hill, they will still have to contend with the fresh legs of fellow running backs Alfred Blue (5.0 ypc), Stephen McGee (6.4 ypc, 3 TD), and Kenny Hilliard (5 TD).

LSU's defense has had a number of conspicuous lapses this season. After coughing up 44 points and losing in the final minute at Georgia, LSU allowed Mississippi State to remain within striking distance in the second half before blowing the game wide open. MSU scored 26 points against the Tigers with limited offensive weapons for its highest point scoring total of the season against a BCS conference team. this game could be an uncomfortable, high-scoring shootout for the fans at Death Valley, but it is in Death Valley and LSU is the better team.

Advantage: LSU

Jeremy Hill has been running away from the pack all year. 2
Sunday, October 13


New Orleans Saints (5-0) at New England Patriots (4-1)

The Saints take their unbeaten record to Foxboro. The Patriots depleted pass catchers will receive a much needed boost with the anticipated return of star tight end Rob Gronkowski to the lineup. New England looked absolutely anemic against the tough Cincinnati Bengals, mustering only two field goals and snapping quarterback Tom Brady's streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. That outlook changes overnight with Gronk back in the lineup.

The Saints have an embarrassment of offensive riches. But the difference between this season and last year's 7-9 campaign (notwithstanding the return of Head Coach Sean Payton) is the performance of the defense. Last year the Saints had the worst total defense in NFL history. This year, the Saints are tied for 13th in the NFL in total team defense (Indianapolis) and second only to the Seattle Seahawks in giveaway/takeaway ration at +6.

Vegas opened with the Patriots favored by three points. That probably increased today with the probable return of Gronkowski. I think the fact that this game is being played at Foxboro heavily factored into the line. Other than the venue, the Saints are the better team on paper across the board. After beating the Bears in Chicago, where the Saints have been long-suffering for decades, I expect the Saints to be better on the grass all across the surface of Gillette Stadium.

Advantage: Saints

Another marquis QB matchup. 3
Monday, October 14

Major League Baseball

National League Championship Series - Game 3
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Undecided - Dodgers vs Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA, 219 Ks) - Cardinals

I still know all I need to know about Game 3. Adam Wainwright is on the hill for the Cardinals. Neither Clayton Kershaw nor Zack Greinke will be pitching for the Dodgers. I expect Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00 ERA) to be the Game 3 starter for L.A.. He's good; he's now Wainwright, who is in a zone.

Advantage: Cardinals 

Don't forget to vote in the fan polls! 

To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at

The Daily Hat Trick is sponsored by Sports N Stuff. For great deals on jerseys, shirts, cologne, and other guy stuff, visit

1) Image from
2) Image from
3) Image from

No comments:

Post a Comment