About this blog:

About This Blog:
I'm Denim. I cover all things sports, in particular Baseball, Football, College Football, & Hockey, especially the Baltimore Orioles, Penn State Nittany Lions, NY Giants, Colorado Avalanche, & Vancouver Canucks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NHL Playoffs 1st Round Predictions

Are you ready hockey fans? The 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight with 3 games on CNBC and NBCS. Here are my predictions on the first round:

Eastern Conference:
Boston (54-19-9) vs. Detroit (39-28-15) (Season series: 3-1 Detroit)
My prediction: Bold pick of the round- Detroit Red Wings in an upset in 6

Tampa Bay (46-27-9) vs. Montreal (46-28-8) (Season series: 3-0-1 Tampa)
My prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning in 7

Pittsburg (51-24-7) vs. Columbus (43-32-7) (Season series: 5-0 Pittsburg)
My prediction: Pittsburg Penguins in 5

NY Rangers (45-31-6) vs. Philadelphia (42-30-10) (Season series: Tied 2-2)
My prediction: NY Rangers in 7 (it’s going to be very close series)

Western Conference:
Anaheim (54-20-8) vs. Dallas (40-31-11) (Season series: 2-1 Dallas)
My prediction: Dallas Stars in an upset in 7

San Jose (51-22-9) vs. Los Angeles (46-28-8) (Season series: 3-1-1 LA)
My prediction: San Jose Sharks in 7

Colorado (52-22-8) vs. Minnesota (43-27-12) (Season series: 4-0-1 Colorado)
My prediction: Colorado Avalanche in 5

St. Louis (52-23-7) vs. Chicago (46-21-15) (Season series: 3-2 St. Louis)
My prediction: St. Louis Blues in 7 (but could go either way)

The excitement is about to start, so buckle up hockey fans, start growing your playoff beards (even the ladies), and cancel all of your plans for the next few weeks.
Will your favorite team hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup? We’ll know soon enough, but only after a ton of checks, goals, saves, and game 7 overtimes. Enjoy the ride!

©2014 Denim McDemus

Friday, April 11, 2014

NHL Notes 4/11/14

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 to climb to 52 wins and 111 points, to tie the St. Louis Blues for 1st place in the NHL's Central Division, and 1 point behind Anaheim for best record in the conference. The Avs have the tiebreaker over St. Louis, so they are technically in 1st place.

Colorado tied their franchise record for wins. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov broke the franchise single-season record with his League-leading 41st win, surpassing the mark set by current head coach Patrick Roy.

After losing again tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers are in danger of falling down to the last wildcard spot, as Detroit and Columbus also now have 91 points. There will be a lot of unhappy people around here if the Flyers have to play the conference leading Boston Bruins in the first round... (not me, but a lot of people)

©2014 Denim McDemus

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4/8/14 Sports Notes

The Baltimore Orioles hammered the New York Yankees 14-5. The O’s outhit the Yanks 20-13. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (1-4, 3RBI) had one hit, a 2-run homer. Every other Orioles starter had at least 2 hits: Markakis (2-5, 1RBI), Young (3-6, 3RBI), Davis (2-3, 2RBI), Jones (2-4, 2RBI), Cruz (2-4, 1RBI), Lombardozzi (3-5, 1RBI), Flaherty (3-5), Schoop (2-5, 1RBI). Every Orioles starter scored at least once. Every Orioles starter had at least one RBI except Flaherty. Doubles by Schoop, Jones, Flaherty, and Cruz. Homers by Jones, Young, and Wieters. The bottom 3 of the Orioles lineup, which had been struggling, went a combined 8-15, 2RBI, 4R.  
Wei-Yin Chen gave up 9 hits and 4 earned runs in 5 innings, but still recorded his first win of the season (1-1), and struck out 3. Josh Stinson went 2.1 innings (1H, 1W, 3K). Brian Matusz gave up 2 hits, including a solo home run to Kelly Johnson. Darren O’Day gave up 1 hit and stuck out 1 in a scoreless 9th.
Today’s game combined the 2 best things in baseball, an Orioles win and a Yankees loss.  

Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said a player will be going on the DL tomorrow and replaced by someone from AAA Norfolk, but would say who, other than it not being SS J.J. Hardy, who has been inactive with back spasms. I’m wondering if maybe it’s Chen, who hasn’t looked right at all, being replaced by Gausman or another starter?     

After being eliminated from the NHL playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks fired President/GM Mike Gillis. Rumor has it that former team captain Trevor Linden, one of my favorite players of all time, may be his replacement.

The Reading Royals of the ECHL were sold to local businessman Jack Gulati, who said he will keep the team in Reading, PA.

Update: The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 to climb to 109 points, only 2 behind the St. Louis Blues, who lost tonight, for 1st place in the NHL Central Division, with 3 games left in the regular season. Avs goals: Paul Stastny, Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, and Jamie McGinn. The Avs also set a franchise record for most road wins. Nice game in goal by J. S. Giguere. 

©2014 Denim McDemus

Monday, April 7, 2014

Orioles Notes 4/7/14

The Baltimore Orioles made a nice minor league trade, landing closer Preston Guilmet for OF Torsten Boss. 26 year-old Guilmet has had success in the minors since being converted to a closer:
2010 (A): 2.25ERA, 11Sv
2011 (A) 2.16ERA, 35Sv
2012 (AA): 2.39ERA, 24Sv
2013 (AAA): 1.68ERA, 20Sv  
The Orioles expect him to contribute at the Major League level at some point this season.

The Orioles spent HOW MUCH on starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez? I hate to say I told you so, but...one good HALF season doesn't change a bad pitcher into a good one. He did have a good season back in 2010 too, but he’s also had seasons with 12, 12, 13, and 17 losses.  So far this season, Jimenez has given up 8 runs in 10 2/3 innings.
Where's Ervin Santana when you need him? 

Ervin Santana makes his season debut for the Braves on Wednesday against the Mets by the way.

If you're disappointed with the Orioles offense so far this season, keep in mind, they are missing Manny Machado and JJ Hardy, so it will get better. And once those two INF return, there will be a competition for 2B, which will hopefully push Flaherty, Lombardozzi, or Schoop to step it up.

With the Orioles bullpen being overused so far this season, why has Darren O'Day only been given 2 innings? He's one of their best relievers.

©2014 Denim McDemus

Sunday, April 6, 2014

4/5/14 Sports Notes

The Baltimore Orioles rallied in the 9th, but still lost to the Tigers 7-6 to fall to 1-4 on the season. They haven't won since opening day.

The Colorado Avalanche beat the 1st place St. Louis Blues 4-0 to reach 50 wins.

The LA Kings lead the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 after 2.

Clint Dempsey scored his first MLS hat trick to help the Seattle Sounders come back to tie the Portland Timbers less than 72 hours after playing for Team USA vs. Mexico.

©2014 Denim McDemus

Friday, April 4, 2014

0-For Flaherty is a Cancer to the Orioles

Baltimore Orioles INF Ryan "0-For" Flaherty is now 0-15 with 7 strikeouts in 4 2014 starts. His overrated defense has been hit or miss.

This is nothing new. He was terrible the past 2 seasons. He is a career .213 hitter. He is not a major league caliber player, and never will be.

So why does the club insist on keeping him around year after year, hogging a roster spot from more deserving players? Why did they trade away Alex Gonzalez to keep Flaherty? Why is Flaherty slated to take over 2B when Manny Machado comes back, taking the spot away from Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles top position player prospect? Why does manager Buck Showalter insist on constantly giving Flaherty starts, ensuring an automatic out in the lineup for the 3rd season in a row?

The worst thing is, Ryan Flaherty seems to not be bothered by his lack of production. He comes off as way too laid back and uncompetitive, often even smiling after each guaranteed strikeout.

Sometimes, it seems as though his "I don't care" attitude seems to rub off on his teammates. It did last season, when the team seemed to lose their "refuse to lose" 2012 mentality, in favor of an "oh well, we lost today" approach. This season, the mentality seems similar.

The Baltimore Orioles still have not been able to sign stars JJ Hardy, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis to extension, and may not be able to keep any of them. They need to be in "win now" mode. That is why they went out and signed several free agents in February. Keeping a laid back, underachieving player like Ryan Flaherty around is not going to achieve that goal. Giving at bats to a guy who is almost always a guaranteed out is not the way to achieve that goal.

Yes, the Orioles are only 4 games into the 2014 MLB season, but they are also 1-3 in the toughest division in baseball. It's not panic time yet. Yes, Ryan Flaherty has only had 15 at bats so far this season, but this is his third season with the Orioles (previously hitting .216 and .224). We know what he can and more importantly can't do.

I know a lot of people who are nice guys, but I wouldn't let them start in a Major League Baseball game for a team claiming to be contending for the post season.

©2014 Denim McDemus

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Orioles Notes 4/3/12

Last night was a poor Orioles debut for Ubaldo Jimenez (5H, 4R), Ryan Webb (3H, 2R), and David Lough (0-4). That being said, it was only the 2nd game of a 162 game season, and was against the defending World Series champs.

Nice start for Orioles FA OF/DH Nelson Cruz: 2HR, 3R, 3RBI. He has basically provided all of the O's offense so far. Take that, people who wanted them to sign Morales instead!

I know it's early, but let's compare stats. Ryan Flaherty: 0-7, 2Ks (nothing new there…). Alex Gonzalez: 3-8, 1 Triple, 2RBI (1 game winner). Who would you have kept as Manny Machado's placeholder?

©2014 Denim McDemus