Thursday, December 22, 2011

Looking Back on 2011

As we wrap up the year, we truly understand what a monumental year 2011 was in sports. We saw Auburn, led by future #1 overall pick Cam Newton, win their second NCAA National Championship. Then we watched as one of the most historic teams in NFL history brought the Lombardi trophy right back to its hometown, Green Bay. The Bruins won the Stanley Cups finals, defeating the Vancouver Canucks and sparking riots in the streets of Vancouver. The Mavericks beat the "Dream Team" Miami Heat to claim their NBA championship, and the world was introduced to the backyard-style play of PG JJ Barea. Then, we endured a summer of NFL and NBA labor disputes, both of which were eventually resolved: the NFL's before the season and the NBA's just in time for Christmas. Among these labor messes, the St.Louis Cardinals won the 2011 World Series over the repeat AL-Champion Texas Rangers behind the heroics of breakout star David Freese, just before Tony La Russa retired and Albert Pujols took his talents to the City of Angels. The NFL season took an interesting turn, highlighted by the success of the most famous man in sports, Tim Tebow. The playoff picture is wrapping up in time for 2012. College football had its Game of the Century - #1 LSU vs #2 Alabama - and they will meet again for the national championship. Finally, the NBA season goes underway on Christmas and everyone's eyes are in LA, ....on the Clippers.

Now it's time for some annual awards - across all four major North American sports and college football:

Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
This man was a phenomenal closer, breaking Neftali Feliz's save record and anchoring a strong Braves' bullpen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NCAA Bowl Season

As you probably know if you read any of my previous blogs, I love college football. There are so many historic teams and intense rivals and unpredictable plays that happen throughout the entire regular seasons. Little unknown teams upset major programs each week. Conference rivals clash weekly for conference supremacy and the chance to play for the national championship at the end of the season. One game can ruin a season, one small mistake can blemish an entire resume.

The entire season culminates in a long, 3 week postseason, consisting of 35 bowl games across the country, some with lots of history and national prestige, others with relatively unknown sponsors pitting relatively unknown teams against one another.

I'm not one to rant against the BCS. For the most part, it is a system that places a heavy emphasis on the regular season, which I don't really mind. I like the bowl season. It is an enjoyable 3 weeks of college football that I get to immerse myself into for the holidays. I would never half watched a San Diego State-Louisiana Lafayette game had it not been for the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl yesterday night. Bowls give the small mid-major teams national exposure and many times these games are actually fun to watch. I never knew ULL could air it out until they showed me yesterday that they had that in their offense.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Heisman as I see it

Tomorrow is the Heisman trophy presentation and I have never been as excited. I actually do not know who will win, unlike previous years where the winner has been as obvious as the fact that the sky is blue. The award is totally up for grabs, with Robert Griffin III, QB of the Baylor Bears, and Stanford's Andrew Luck, the two favorites. However, to me at least, it is clear who the award should go to tomorrow.

As much as I want Andrew Luck to come away with the trophy, the award should undisputed belong to Robert Griffin III. The award is to be awarded to "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity," as defined by the Heisman Trust. Not necessarily the best player. Not necessarily the one with the gaudiest stats. Not the one with the big plays on his resume. Not the one who plays on the best team or in the strongest conference. The award goes to the most outstanding player. And to be outstanding, the player must stand out and mean something to his team.

Montee Ball, though a scoring machine, plays on a team that has great blockers and a run-oriented offense. It's awesome that he has come so close to Barry Sanders' record but in Wisconsin, where they value a huge offensive line, it is not nearly as impressive. Put in another back in that system, and I say they would be able to produce about as much as Ball, minus the touchdowns of course. He is an impressive talent, but unfortunately, to me at least, he doesn't stand out more than the other finalists.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This is getting ridiculous

Earlier this week, the Big East Conference, which had lost key members Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, announced that they were adding five new members in time for the 2013 season. The new members include football-only schools Boise St and San Diego St, as well as full time members SMU, UCF, and Houston. My first reaction was, Wait, isn't San Diego on the West Coast?? This move, though understandable, makes absolutely no sense from a geographic or practical standpoint.

I'm sure schools like Rutgers and UConn are not thrilled with the prospect of traveling across the country to Boise or San Diego to play a football game. No other college football conference is so spread out. The other recent conference expansions have been reasonable geographically: Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Nebraska to the Big 10, Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12, TCU to the Big 12. Even Pitt and Syracuse lie in proximity to the Atlantic Coast. On the other hand, no matter how Big the East may be, San Diego and Boise are definitely not in it. Even Houston and SMU are not really in the East; geographically they fit better in the Big 12.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Story of the Season: Tribes and Tebows

Once upon a time, there lived a league of legends, a collection of 32 tribes that constantly battled one another in the fall and winter and replenished their troops in the spring and summer. These tribes were of the warring kind, however, their wars were fought in an organized manner. In fact, they showed their superiority by playing an odd game known as "football."

This is the story of the 2011 tribal war season.

During the summer of 2011, the Eagle tribe looked like the favorite to win the tribal war contest, parting ways with young Corn-on-the-Kolb (who left and joined the Cardinal tribe in the desert) and going out and convincing many famous warriors from across the land to join their cause.  Other popular tribes during that summer included the Steeler clan and the Packer tribe, both of whom were able to retain many key warriors from the previous year, where both had met up in the tribal war finale. However, the field looked wide open for a new upstart tribe to take control.

Friday, November 18, 2011

NHL Realignment

There's a lot more to sports than simply the games being played. Sports encapsulates so much more than that. There are conflicting personalities, intriguing storylines, differing opinions, and lots of drama. There is also a business side of sports. Each sports league is a huge business, generating tons of revenue. As a person interested in business, this aspect of sports has always fascinated me.

Although we do not always realize it, the business side of sports shows up on the news a lot. Realignment is one big issue currently, in college football, baseball and hockey. You can see my ideas on MLB Realignment here and my NCAA opinions here. I had some fun with those realignments. Here, in this post, I will be discussing hockey realignment.

There are essentially two ways to align a league. Geographically, like the NHL and NBA currently do, or by using two leagues/conferences spread across the country, like the NFL and MLB. For the NHL, I think a geographic alignment is better for the NHL, partly because it is the system already in use and partly to maintain geographic rivalries that are so important to the game. However, unlike the common east-west conference system, I think a north-south split would be better for the NHL. There are simply too little teams in the west to make an appropriately named "Western Conference" without actually including teams from the Eastern Time Zone. Furthermore, the large amount of Canadian teams makes it easier to divide the league in this manner.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NBA's loss is the NHL's gain

The best thing that could have happened to the NHL this season? The NBA lockout. I swear, without basketball, I have seen so many more hockey highlights on ESPN and other networks. Last year, they barely covered hockey at all, even during the Stanley Cup. Compare that to the NBA Finals, when entire 30 minute segments were dedicated to basketball analysis. Hockey just doesn't seem to carry that same weight in the media. Except this year.

With no basketball to attract TV audiences and sports fans, hockey has received much more exposure. On Sundays and Mondays, the NFL reigns supreme, and on Saturdays, NCAA football is what everyone talks about, but Tuesday through Friday, the NHL gets tons of publicity. Never before has ESPN talked so much about a player who isn't even on the ice (Sidney Crosby) or a team that is in its first season in its new city (Winnipeg Jets). Hell, even the Florida Panthers are getting air time. If basketball was going on right now, we would be hearing all about Kobe, LeBron, Dwight, Chris Paul, Amare, and all the other polarizing NBA stars. But they're not here to steal the spotlight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finally, being a Bay Area sports fan is something to be proud of...

I would like to say I started following sports sometime around 2002. I still have vague memories of Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants losing to the LA Angels in a 7-game World Series that year. And since I remember as far back as 2002, that means I have been a sports fan for 9 years. In my 9 years of following sports in the Bay Area, it has largely been disappointing. Yes, the Giants made the World Series in 2002, but I only barely remember that. Yes, the Raiders made the Super Bowl in 2003, but they lost to the Buccaneers in the famous "Gruden Bowl." The A's used to be good with their Moneyball strategy, but now they struggle with their tiny budget. During the past decade, sports just hasn't been the Bay Area's thing.

The last few years have changed that.

Let's start with the 49ers. They have had quite the tumultuous decade, going through 6 head coaches (1 interim), 8 losing seasons, and a 1st overall pick that had underperformed until this year. Ever since I started following sports, the Niners have been less than mediocre; that is, until Jim Harbaugh took over this year. This season has been a treat. The 49ers are playing awesome football. And I am loving it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crazy NCAA Weekend

The Oklahoma St-Kansas St game just finished, and this basically wraps up the college football weekend. It was the most exciting weekend of college football that I've seen in a long while. First, in the afternoon, my Stanford Cardinal defeated the Beavers of Oregon St, ensuring that Stanford remains undefeated going into their high-profile matchup against Oregon next Saturday. The Oregon game will truly tell us if Stanford is a BCS contender or pretender this year and I can't wait for Saturday to come.

Second, that was a hell of a game between LSU and Alabama. Not a lot of offense, but it really gave me a feeling about what SEC football is like. Even my dad was glued to the game. The hits were vicious, the play was aggressive, the game was close. Everything about that game was amazing. The Alabama kicker is probably kicking himself right now (no pun intended) for missing the 4 field goals. That really sucks for him and Alabama, but if you can't make a field goal, you don';t deserve to go undefeated. That's the harsh reality.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Night Football

What's wrong with Monday Night Football? Last time I checked, teams like the Dolphins and Rams were getting some national TV air time. Tonight's game is between Baltimore and Jacksonville. Jacksonville, really?? Tell me someone besides a Ravens or Jaguars fan who would watch this game if it were on a Sunday. The only reason someone would watch this game is because it is on Monday night; it's that much of a guaranteed win for the Ravens. People, we are getting ripped off. Instead of these blowout victories, we could be watching some great games, like the Detroit-San Francisco game two weeks ago, or the New York-Dallas game from week 1.

My point here is that ESPN picks the MNF games before the season even starts. They have no idea which teams are going to be contenders and which games are going to be interesting. With the exception of the Lions-Bears and perhaps the Cowboys-Redskins game, every single game has featured one elite or above-average team against one bottom-dwelling team. New England versus Miami? Miami is atrocious. Oakland and Denver? Denver is so desperate that they are starting Tim Tebow (that's a whole 'nother story)! Giants and Rams? The Rams haven't won a game yet. You get the point. None of these games have even been intriguing. The Dolphins have already been featured twice, and they haven't won a game!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Raiders, are you crazy?

Earlier today, the Raiders made a gigantic trade, sending their next two first round draft picks for Carson Palmer of the Bengals. I found out as soon as I turned on the TV at 4:00 this afternoon. My first reaction was a fist pump and a loud "Yes!" And then I saw what they had given up for Palmer...

A 2012 first round pick and a 2013 second round pick that could become a first round pick if the Raiders win a playoff game this season. That is a steep price to play for a quarterback past his prime. I understand that the Raiders were desperate for a quarterback after Jason Campbell's injury on Sunday, but two 1st rounders? The Raiders don't have a pick until the sixth round in 2012.

I don't think I've ever heard of such a lopsided trade for a quarterback. Earlier this year, the Cardinals traded for Kevin Kolb, a young up-and-coming QB, and gave up a pro-bowler in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd rounder to Philly. The Cards gave up about the same as the Raiders, but they got in return a young new quarterback, plus they got him in the offseason, where they could teach him the system. In Palmer, the Raiders get a 31 year old quarterback and the general consensus is that Palmer's best days are behind him. I certainly hope he can contribute immediately but there sure will be some complications.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NHL Preseason Predictions

I really meant to make these predictions before the start of the season, but I've been really busy lately. I'm sure these predictions are still valid although the season has already started. Here they are:

Western Conference:
1) San Jose Sharks* - Heatley and Setoguchi are gone, but they have a legitimate shot this season thanks to new acquisitions Marty Havlat and Brent Burns, and their stars Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski.
2) Chicago Blackhawks* - The Blackhawks have two stars in Toews and Kane, and a great supporting cast. The only question is at the goalie position, where Corey Crawford is set to start.
3) Los Angeles Kings - Having been shadowed by the Sharks the last few seasons, the Kings have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup this year, with defensemen Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick.
4) Vancouver Canucks - The defending Western Conference champs are still as good as ever but it will be difficult for Daniel and Henrik Sedin to replicate last season.
5) Nashville Predators - This team seems to stay in the middle of the playoff pack year in and year out. Look for them to make a return appearance this season.
6) Minnesota Wild - One of the biggest disappointments last season might have found a pair of win-win trades in the Heatley and Setoguchi deals.
7) Detroit Red Wings - This team is getting older and older; I'm not sure if they can challenge for the cup this season.
8) Anaheim Ducks - They have nice young player in Bobby Ryan and a stout goalie in Jonas Hiller and that should get them into the playoffs.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MLB Playoff Predictions

With the regular season under wraps, it is time for The Sports Vibe's MLB playoff predictions:

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
Winner: Detroit Tigers
I'm picking the underdog for this one. Yes, the Yankees have the more potent offense, but the postseason is all about pitching. 2 of the last 3 World Series champions have gotten there by way of their pitching. In this era of baseball, pitching wins games. Looking at the probable pitching matchups in this series, Justin Verlander is better than CC Sabathia, Doug Fister (who's been lights out for the Tigers since the trade) trumps Ivan Nova, and Max Scherzer vs Freddy Garcia is a toss up. That's two very winnable games for the Tigers, who have a well rounded lineup to match their pitching staff with Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, and Alex Avila. This series, In my mind, goes to Los Tigres.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Winner: Texas Rangers
The Rays find themselves lucky to be in this position after the historic collapse of the Boston Red Sox. However, they will meet their match in the Texas Rangers, who possess one of the most well rounded teams in the postseason. Their lineup features the superhuman Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus. Their rotation is solid as well, with starters CJ Wilson and Derek Holland leading the way. And with the trade deadline deals the Rangers pulled off this year, they are looking like the team to beat in the AL.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the Niners' Bandwagon

I watched the second half of the 49ers-Bengals game and I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed by this 49ers team this year. They controlled the Seahawks game in the opener (thank you Ted Ginn) and put up a fight and even almost won against the Cowboys. And then, to emerge victorious out of a sloppy, defensive slugfest against the Bengals says a lot about how the team is different from years past.

Jim Harbaugh has truly energized this team. He understands that the most important player on any team is the quarterback, and he has set up the playbook to fit Alex Smith's game. He hasn't employed the ground and pound Singletary scheme or the defensively oriented Nolan scheme. He is using Smith's intellectual capacity and putting it to good use.

Past coaches never seemed to understand what to do with this team or how to utilize its strengths, but Harbaugh does. Harbaugh mixes up the tight end packages and takes advantages of the physicality of Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, one of the best tight end tandems in the league. He gives downfield looks to Michael Crabtree, Braylon Edwards, and Ted Ginn, three of the league's best speedy downfield threats. And he understands when to use Frank Gore, the downhill runner, and Kendall Hunter, the shifty, elusive style back.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

NCAA Conference Realignment

There's a whole lot of buzz currently surrounding conference realignment in college football. Just yesterday, Syracuse and Pittsburgh were both accepted into the ACC, signaling the disintegration of the Big East and indicating further progress toward the creation of the so-called superconferences. There's no question that the superconferences will completely change the landscape of college sports. The question is whether or not that change would be good or bad.

I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, but I'm not exactly sure why the superconferences would be necessary. The system that is currently in place works fine. See my September 1st blog post exploring the BCS system here. I don't see anything wrong with the BCS right now, apart from the fact that it ignores the second-tier non Big Six teams. But even that inattention is not unfounded: only a few teams from non-AQ conferences have gone undefeated in the past 10 years (TCU, Boise State twice, and Utah twice). 

So, if the current system works pretty well, then why are these superconferences necessary? The answer is not animosity toward the system; it all has to do with greed. In most conferences, including the ACC, Pac 12, and SEC, all schools receive an about-equal share of revenue. However, in a conference like the Big 12, revenue is split based on television deals and media exposure. That's why Texas earns $93.9 million from football while Baylor earns $14.3 million. It's no wonder Texas A&M wants to leave the Big 12 to a conference where it can poach the earnings of programs like Florida, Alabama, and Auburn and it's no wonder that Baylor is trying to stop them at all costs. Every school wants to be in the best financial situation possible for their football program.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Great Weekend for Bay Area Football...

This weekend was truly a great weekend for Bay Area football. The 49ers won their game against the Seahawks, largely due to Ted Ginn's kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns. Stanford dominated Duke, and although the score was closer than expected, the game emitted good vibes. And finally, Cal emerged victorious out of their first conference test of the season.

The 49ers game was not pretty, but I enjoyed it. I felt like Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman ran far too much on third down (c'mon, show a little faith in your quarterback, why don't you?), but with Alex Smith at the helm it was understandable. I actually think Smith has a chance to shine this year. He has a pretty good receiving core with Edwards, Crabtree, and Morgan, as well as two solid tight ends in Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. He also has an above average run game to depend on. Not all of the pressure is on him this year, and his coaching staff is much more offensive-oriented, so Smith has a great opportunity to live up to the expectations that come with being the #1 overall pick.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

To my beloved San Francisco Giants...

I'm sorry. I'm sorry it didn't work out this year. This year was just not meant to be the year. You couldn't replicate last year's magical run. I'm sorry.

Ever since that momentous Wednesday in May where your star catcher, Buster Posey, was severely injured in a home plate collision, the future has looked bleak. But you hung on, sticking with your plan of great pitching and just enough hitting and were able to remain in the thick of things for a while. But now, I declare it over. There is no hope. Losing that series against the Diamondbacks was the final straw. You are 7 games out with 22 games left to play, and Arizona shows no signs of relenting.

Sometimes luck plays a huge part in determining a team's fate and that is the story this year. Injuries have devastated the roster. Posey suffered a season-ending leg injury. Freddy Sanchez, your most consistent hitter this season, dislocated his shoulder in June. Pablo Sandoval missed four weeks in April with a broken hamate bone. Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez both have gone through injury-plagued seasons, hurting the rotation's overall effectiveness. Carlos Beltran, the man who was supposed to save the season, felt the wrath of the Giants' injury curse as well, injuring his hand shortly after joining you and missing a couple weeks.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The BCS Debate

Today, Thursday, September 1st, marks the start of the 2011 college football season and I have never been more excited. I love college football, even more than the NFL, because the players are not playing for money and many likely will not turn into star football players. The biggest stars are often the littlest stars, the underdogs with no 5-star recruits and no star players who end a powerhouse program's BCS Championship hopes with one game. As the season progresses, all but a few schools fall like bowling pins, week by week, until two, maybe three, remain undefeated at the end of the season. And it is these teams, the ones who were able to withstand blow after blow for an entire season, that earn the right to play for the BCS Championship. There is nothing else like a college football season.

But the debate keeps growing: is this the right way to crown a national champion? Is it fair to not allow each team to have a shot at the championship despite one mishap in one game during the season? I think it is. One thing is for certain, the current system certainly makes the regular season relevant. Take a look at college basketball. Does anyone pay attention to it until March? Not really. The only thing that people care about in college basketball is the postseason tournament. It essentially renders the regular season worthless.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The NHL needs more teams in Canada, where the game is more than just a game

Canada. With a population of 34,565,000, it makes for fertile sports territory. There are thousands of potential fans waiting for a team to support. However, in the last few decades, there has been a series of team relocations that have taken place amongst the 4 major North American leagues to get teams out of our brother to the North.

It all started in 1995, when the NHL relocated the Quebec Nordiques to Denver and reincarnated them as the Colorado Avalanche. The Nordiques had an average attendance of 14,395, just around the NHL norm at the time. However, the NHL shipped them to Denver, where, in the 2009-2010 season, they averaged 13,947 people, just about the same as they did back in Quebec.

The NHL next shipped the Winnipeg Jets to Arizona to become the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996. The Jets were averaging around 13,000 fans in their last 4 years of existence, and the Coyotes averaged 11,989 fans in the '09-'10 season. Do you sense a pattern? Both times, when the NHL relocated a Canadian team to the US, the attendance numbers stayed about the same or even dipped.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Little League World Series and why we need to increase the pace of baseball

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been watching bits and pieces of the Little League World Series, and I've gotta say, it makes for great baseball. It's fun to watch the kids play and occasionally make a major-league-worthy catch that truly makes you say, "WOW!" Here is ESPN's compilation of the top 10 LLWS plays. My personal favorite is number 6: the outfielder for Kentucky takes a awkward route to a routine fly ball and then stretches for a dramatic snag of the ball to end the inning.

What really stood out for me from the tournament was not just the spectacular pitching and the amazing web gems. The reason that it was so fun to watch was because the pace of the game was rapid and exciting. There was no adjustment of batting gloves after every pitch, no endless series of pickoff attempts, no manager-umpire confrontations. I've always thought about it while watching professional baseball, but the LLWS really made me realize that MLB games are just too long.

In a 2005 ESPN study, they discovered that there is approximately 26.3 seconds between pitches in MLB. Why is that? Why does it take so long? To find the answer, you just have to watch one major-league at-bat. And since the Rangers-Angels game is on right now, I'm going to summarize the current at-bat of that game.

MLB Realignment

With all this talk about possible MLB realignment to try to balance out the two leagues, I thought I'd give it a try myself. Here are all my divisions, complete with an analysis for each:

Creatures League

Flying Things Division:
Houston Astros
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
St. Louis Cardinals

This is one of the weaker divisions in my realignment, with three mediocre/slightly-above-average teams (Blue Jays, Angels, Cardinals) likely to compete for the Flying Things title the next couple of years. The Blue Jays and Orioles would be relieved to finally get out of that AL West and would resume their rivalry in a place where they are actually relevant. In the end, I think that this division would by won by the Cardinals, but as I said, the two other bird teams would be right in the thick of things.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preseason NFC Predictions

A few days ago, I posted my AFC predictions for this season. Now comes the NFC...

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
I am buying the hype. The Eagles made some great moves this offseason, acquiring many top-tier players (Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), but the main reason they will win their division is because of their quarterback, Michael Vick. Vick experience a resurgence last year after returning to football. With two great receivers in Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, look for him to build on his great year.

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons
This is one of the more-hotly contested divisions in the NFL, with the Falcons, Bucs, and Saints all looking to take home the crown. With that said, this is going to be the Falcons' division this year. They won the division last year and, in my eyes, took that extra step to becoming one of the elite teams in the league. They are solid at almost every offensive position and their defense will give the offense a chance every Sunday. Look for the Buccaneers and Saints to fight for one of those wild card spots though.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preseason AFC Predictions

Here are my predictions for the American Football Conference in the upcoming 2011 NFL season:

AFC East: New England Patriots
Yes, the Jets made strides last season, but its always hard to bet against the Pats. They have consistently performed well, and with Brady and Belichick, this team has always had what it takes to win the Super Bowl each year. Whichever team doesn't win the AFC East is pretty much guaranteed a wild card spot, however.

AFC South: Houston Texans
This is essentially a 2-team race between the Texans and the Colts, and with questions about Peyton Manning's health, I'm going with the Texans. They made some key offseason additions on defense, namely CB Johnathan Joseph, and they have looked solid in their first couple of preseason games. They have always possessed the offensive firepower, and with an improved defense this year, it looks like the Texans' year has finally arrived.

Friday, August 19, 2011

4 Reasons Why the San Francisco Giants Will Win the NL West

1) The Giants have superior starting pitching.
The Giants' team ERA is currently 3.12, almost one whole run above the Dbacks' ERA, which is 4.03. Over the past 10 games, the Giants have allowed an average of 3.4 runs per game, compared to the Dbacks' average of 4.9 runs allowed. Lincecum in particular has shined, allowing just 2 runs over his last 3 starts. The Giants' pitching staff is doing their job, keeping their opponents' run totals low. The Giants just have to score more runs...

2) The Giants have impact players returning from the DL soon.
...and help for that is on the way. The Giants have unfortunately been caught in a slew of injuries. However, they have quite a few significant pieces of their offense returning to the field very soon. Carlos Beltran is expected to return next week and could possibly be the spark this offense needs. Pablo Sandoval is expected to return by next week as well, according to manager Bruce Bochy, and would likely carry this offense as he has for the majority of the season. Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Keppinger are also likely to return soon to help the Giants get back to their spot atop the division.

Not to mention Brian Wilson and Jonathan Sanchez, both of whom will eventually return and provide a boost to the already superb pitching staff.

Update: Bruce Bochy recently said that it is unlikely that Sanchez will be back this season.


Hey guys,

Welcome to The Vibe. Here we will frequently be discussing current sports topics floating around the news. We will be focusing on the San Francisco Bay area but will frequently discuss other sports news as well. We hope you enjoy the blog as it grows and thrives. Happy reading!