Friday, October 09, 2015

N.Y. Islanders: Five for Flatbush


Welcome Home

I'll continue amusing myself from time to time, but,
I hereby officially retire

The New York Islanders
portion of the BrooklynTrolleyBlogger now rolls..

From the desk of:

New York Islanders: After a 73-year adjournment, Kings County set to open their historic second ever NHL season!

That's right..

The old New York Americans were established in 1924, two years before Tex's Rangers laced up their first pair of skates.  Although both teams played in the same building, they were leagues apart - pardon the pun.

Ownership moved the Americans to Brooklyn where they completed the 1941-1942 season.  The outbreak of WWII, however, necessitated them to suspend operations the following season.  When ownership applied for reinstatement in 1946, the NHL denied them.  You might say the (junior) Rangers claimed eminent domain.

(Thirty years later, I became a Rangers fan).

In any event, the league's decision in 1946 effectively ended to the New York Americans 19-year run, and completely short circuited Brooklyn's claim to an NHL franchise.

More recently, Brooklyn was home to a pair of low level minor league teams whom played in the renovated Hangar Five at Floyd Bennett Field.  The Brooklyn Aces skated between in 2008 and 2009, and from 2011 through 2012 the Brooklyn Aviators brought raucous Federal League Hockey to town.

On Friday, October 9, 2015, a National Hockey League team will once again officially plant its flag in Brooklyn when the New York Islanders host the Chicago Blackhawks at Barclays Center.

Back Together Again:

The Islanders were still an emerging hockey club during the years Dr. J led the New York Nets to a pair of ABA championships.  Of course, the Islanders later went on to form a Long Island dynasty.  

Both teams made Uniondale quite the hang-out back then, that is until the Nets packed up and moved to New Jersey to share an arena with the New Jersey Devils.

While still together, both Long Island teams left behind indelible marks on their respective league's histories.  Julius Irvin perhaps single-handed forced the NBA into merging with the upstart ABA, while the Islanders became the last team to capture four straight Stanley Cup trophies.

If I had my way, they'd both still be playing in Long Island.  But, in a sense, they are - if you consider Long Island proper.  Flatbush, then, would certainly serve as its capital.  That said, it's good to see the Islanders and Nets back together under the same roof again.

The Drive For Five:

...was once the battle cry of the 1985 Islanders, whom were in search of their 5th straight Cup until finally getting undone by Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers.  

They are still in search of that elusive 5th Cup, which of course would be Brooklyn's first.  So much for not getting ahead of the cart.

The Islanders are also a sufficiently tough team.  And so Five for Flatbush seemed like a perfectly appropriate name.

The Islanders arrive on Flatbush Avenue as Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference contenders, replete with a legitimate MVP candidate.

They suffer from a few ongoing problems, particularly on defense and the penalty kill. However, they have not lacked for scoring.

Last season, they posted their first 100-point campaign since their last trip to the finals. 

In local speak, these guys are no chumps.

The puck finally drops on Flatbush Avenue tonight.

A new era starts now.

N.Y. Mets: NLDS Preview Podcast

Here's Thursday night's podcast on 

What do you get when you join one Baby Boomer, one Gen-X, 
one Generation-Y, and two millennial Met fans on the eve of 
Game One of the National League Division Series?

The Matt Harvey diva report, and who invited Jon Niese?
Game by game starting pitching match-ups; 
middle relief comparisons, who has the better Closer?
Justin Turner anxiety; what's red and starts with the letter C?
Captain America; doing the Monster Matz; deGROMination;
Where's Lucas Duda?  Is L.A.'s bench stronger? 
Please don't make Terry Collins manage!  Is Don Mattingly worse?
Head to head stats.
Is Clayton Kershaw a playoff bust?  Thor takes his hammer on the road.
This, that, the other, and much much more!

Check it out..

I hosted, and was joined by site editor Danny, Rich, Jack and Devin.
Emma from was our featured Dodgers guest.

senior staff writer/Rising Apple

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

N.Y. Rangers: The Coach Who Cried Wolf


The 89th Season of 
New York Rangers Hockey 
Starts Now

New York Rangers
Chicago Blackhawks
Home of the Cup

NEW YORK RANGERS: It all starts with the man wearing the suit.

I'll be forthright about this.  I'm still pissed off.

My disgust hasn't waned.  May 29th seems like yesterday.

Neither Torts' loss to the Devils, or the Rangers loss to the Kings inspired this much anger. The last time I got consumed by such madness came during the Mario Lemieux/Adam Graves fiasco of 1992.

That said, of the four major sports teams I root for, I'm by far most forgiving of the Blueshirts.

Sometimes, however, I just can't move on unless I vent.

I don't care which players' feet you chose putting to the fire.  Blame Rick Nash's lack of scoring, Kreider's lack of discipline, etc., or blame Hillary Clinton, my old high school coach, Ricky Ricardo, Godzilla, Han Solo, or the Dali Lama for all I care.   It makes no difference to me.  All this year's returning Rangers bear their share of responsibility; some more than others.

However, outside of personal skill, individual effort, and competency, players are generally told what to do.  Therefore, I still maintain the Rangers lost last season's Eastern Conference final to the Tampa Bay Bolts due to a philosophical (physical) miscalculation on the part of Alain Vigneault.

As far as I'm concerned, there are reasons why he was fired in Montreal, and Vancouver, etc.  As it also relates to the Rangers, we've learned there are limits as to how far his system can and will go in the absence of a friggin' backbone.

There!  I said it.

President trophies are just big boy participation awards.

His Canucks couldn't outlast a tougher Bruins team in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, nor could his Rangers defeat a tougher, more resilient Kings team in 2014.

Vigneault's insistence on proving his system right against the Tampa Bay Lightning arguably cost the Rangers a trip to the finals, I think.

The Rangers physical play was the decisive factor in games Four and Six.  Coach then ponderously turned his back on physicality in Game Seven, opting instead for what previously failed particularly in games Two and Five.

They played soft, plain and simple.  Alain Vigneault calls it playing the right way. That's just pillow talk to me.

I certainly wasn't napping when a few select teams stocked up on physical type players this past off-season headlined by Milan Lucic's relocation to Los Angeles.  In fact, the Pacific Division is shaping up to be a rumble royal, with Anaheim, San Jose, and the aforementioned Kings all loaded up with beef.

Columbus, St. Louis, and maybe even Winnipeg will be some of the more tougher teams this season.

The trend has been swaying away from the traditional northeast cities for some time now, towards the Western Conference.

If you remember, the reason why Vancouver fired Vigneault and hired John Tortorella in the first place was to get tougher.

The Rangers?

N.Y. Post

Completely laughable is the only way I can explain Alain Vigneault's audacity with regards to his call for more physicality.

Dylan McIlrath will finally start the season off-Broadway, on paper at least.  He earned a roster spot as the 7th defenseman, but despite turning in a fine physical performance during their last tune-up against the Bruins, he will be a healthy scratch for Wednesday night's opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Even before the Rangers drop the puck on their 89th season, McIlrath is already their most punishing blue liner.  However, he previously remained someone Alain Vigneault found little use for these last two seasons.  In truth, his future under Vigneault remains no less uncertain.

The addition of winger Viktor Stalberg should help.  He's 29-yrs old, owns a Stanley Cup ring and understands the role physicality plays on the ice.  He'll team with Oscar Lindberg and J.T. Miller to form the third line.

Lindberg is a smart playing 23-year old, whom impressed enough in camp to win a spot on the third line over veteran Dominic Moore.  At first glance it would appear J.T. Miller got screwed out of a spot on the 2nd line.  Line combinations, however, are very transient situations this early in the season.

Look, Alain Vigneault is a good coach - a damn good one.  He may still pull off a Cup victory before this is through.

But if it takes pissing in his morning Cheerios to alter his thinking, then allow me to be the first in line.

And so concludes my unapologetic opening rant.

The 2015-2016 regular season starts, now!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

N.Y. Giants: Running of the Bills

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Gain Higher Ground

Week Four
Giants  24
Bills      10

NEW YORK GIANTS: Two botched 4th quarter drives in each of the first two games of the season are all that prevented the Giants from a 4-0 start.

The Giants still kinda/almost folded like a cheap poker table in Sunday's 4th quarter again, but composed themselves in time to close the deal and get their record back to par.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, lost Sunday night in New Orleans, and Washington defeated the Eagles creating a 3-way tie for the division lead.  Such as life in the NFC East.

The Giants now have a clean slate with which to restart their season on the right foot.

Their upcoming schedule couldn't have been more accommodating.  They host the disintegrating 49ers next week.  After which, they'll head to Philadelphia in Week Six.  Week Seven will then feature a Week One rematch against the Cowboys at Met Life Stadium.

If the Giants take care of business, the division would effectively become theirs to lose.

Forgive Me Duke, For I Have Strayed

I admit it.  I fretted this game in Buffalo and picked against the Giants.

To my chagrin, Sunday's overall performance and victory over the Bills certainly puts things in a different perspective, doesn't it...

But, after considering...

* Victor Cruz' imminent return,
* Dallas will be without Dez Bryant and Tony Romo for a lengthy portion of the season,
* Washington's QB situation is as unsettled as Greenland,
* the Eagles are now 1-3,

...and, in the aftermath of beating Buffalo despite being a 6 1/2 point underdog, I'm still conflicted between feeling relieved and rejoicing Big Blue's return to zero, or, revisiting why this team should be 4-0 this season.

Test Results:

I ended last week by saying Buffalo would provide a true measure of the Giants offense, and the results are in.

Eli Manning was 20 of 35, for 212 yards, and connected on 3 touchdown passes to Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, and to Rashad Jennings out of the backfield on a well called audible that went for 51 yards.

Manning, however, threw his first INT of the season.  After leading the league for a third time in 2013 with 27 picks, he reduced that number to 14 during his first year under O.C. Ben McAdoo, and as stated, has just one so far this season.  That said, the play selection has not been as risk/reward as when Gilbride called plays.

The Giants rushed 25 times for 94 yards. Andre Williams ran with particular physicality, gaining 35 tough yards on 11 carries.

Overall, the Giants gained 303 yards from scrimmage.

The Giants 25.5 points per game ranks 9th in the NFL, and 5th in the NFC.  They are #24 in NFL rushing, #17 in passing yardage, and #22 in yards per game.

Like Night and Day

The Giants won a Super Bowl with Perry Fewell only after he relented from an extraordinarily complex (stupid) system which inspired hesitation and oft times mass confusion in the secondary.

That defense turned on a dime in time for the playoffs only after Fewell simplified, and allowed Corey Webster/Aaron Ross to play man coverage.   That team also had a pass rush, just saying....

Perry Fewell/Giants Defense vs. Run: (2010-2014)
  • 2014 - #30
  • 2013 - #14
  • 2012 - #25
  • 2011 - #19
  • 2010 - #8
Look Who's #1: Applied Spagnology

Steve Spagnuolo is already getting far more out of far less than Perry Fewell previously could from his various (more talented) cast members.

What Coach Spags has lacked in personnel (and a pass rush), he's made up for through creativity and aggression.

His improvised blend of swarm/bend-don't-break ranks top five in giveaway/takeaway. Meanwhile, the Giants have allowed the 7th most yards in the NFL and the NFC's 2nd most, yet rank 13th in the NFL and 7th in the NFC in total points allowed.

The Giants are #1 against the run, as Buffalo found out.  They are still the only team to yield less than 300 yards (279) rushing this season.  They've only allowed 69.8 rushing yards per game.

The Giants allowed Buffalo 313 total yards, but only 10 points.  Somehow, Rex Ryan authorized a one-back attack.  In any event, the Giants provided no quarter for the NFL's #6 rated run game.  Karlos Williams rushed 18 times and was limited to a mere 40 yards.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor provided Buffalo with their only other ground gains, scrambling 6 times for 15 yards.

Here's to a better next quarter of the season.

Monday, October 05, 2015

N.Y. Mets: Podcast #119 - Calm Before the Storm

Here's our latest podcast at 

The four most senior writers at Rising Apple put a ribbon on the season that was, 
and turned (our) attention towards the post-season ahead.

We left no topic unspoken..
Our full NLDS Preview Show will most likely take place Thursday evening.

senior staff writer/Rising Apple

N.Y. Jets: All is well again on the Ivory Coast

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAEL'S REVENGE

Bringing the Pain

New York Jets: Gang Green put forth an effort even Winston Churchill would have been proud of.

Chris Ivory was a beast among Englishmen Sunday against the Dolphins, giving Londoners a classroom lesson in American style Smash Mouth football.

Back from a Week Three setback, Chris Ivory was patient, waited for the line to create daylight, then hit the holes and ran with power beyond the box.  He initiated contact and brought the pain, rushing 29 times for 166 punishing yards.

The Jets work between the tackles was particularly effective.  Just an overall impressive effort to behold.

Bilal Powell didn't even rush once due to a barking groin.  In fact, Bilal factored in one play all day, a reception for 12 yards way back during the Jets second possession of the game.

The Jets dominated the clock with Chris Ivory back in the fold, in turn allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to slide back into his game manager role.  Fitzpatrick was hardly impressive, but good enough.  He matched Ivory's effort with 29 attempts, completing 16 passes for 218 yards, and even smartly scrambled 9 times for 34 yards.

Meanwhile, the Jets held the ball for 37:23 and generated 425 yards of total offense. Ndamukong Suh was a non-factor with just three tackles all game.

Fitzpatrick connected on a touchdown to Eric Decker, while Brandon Marshall demoralized Miami's secondary with 7 catches for 128 yards with a long of 58 yards on the Jets first play from scrimmage.

He did, however, throw another interception, bringing his total to 6 in only 4 games played.  Ryan also extended his streak of throwing at least a pick a game. He only threw 8 INTs in 12 games last season with the Houston Texans.

On this day, however, Chris Ivory and the defense more than covered their QB's shortcomings.

The Jets sacked Ryan Tannehill 3 times, and caused him to fumble once.  Muhammad Wilkerson got two sacks, and David Harris got the other.  The Jets roughed him up another 9 times and 12 times overall. Derrelle Revis and Marcus Williams each picked off Tannehill.

The defense limited the Dolphins to just 226 yards of total offense, and completely took away the run.  Miami rushed a mere 10 times for 55 yards.

Todd Bowles now has his team at 3-1, and get the next week off to heal some lingering wounds.

On a day the Bills laid dung against the Giants, it's the Jets who've touched down at the Patriots doorstep.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

N.Y. Islanders: Welcome to the Neighborhood Fellas


A Sign of Things to Come

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Hello Boys!  Keep your dog off my grass, move your car on street cleaning day, and we'll be okay.   And don't park in front of my driveway either!  I won't tell you twice.  Oh, and any of your tomatoes that grow on my side of the fence are mine.  Otherwise, welcome to the neighborhood jackass.  Don't forget what I said!

The time has come for me to reluctantly welcome Flatbush Avenue's latest professional sports franchise.

Don't get me wrong.  I think this is great for Brooklyn.  In that respect, I'm okay with them playing in my back yard.  You know me, I'm Brooklyn first, and Brooklyn always.

As a fan, however, the irony of it all is still very conflicting for me.

I am a Rangers fan.  Some of my best times came at the New York Islanders expense.  The Rangers portion of this TROLLEY BLOG is named Raise Gresch With The Greats largely because of Ron Greschner's goal against the Islanders in the 1979 Eastern Conference finals.

After more than a decade of dysfunction since Greschner's goal, sweeping the Isles in the opening round of the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs was sweet as honey.

Back as a teen in the 1980's, I could not have disliked a franchise, or their players, more.  I only ever developed a sports hatred for two local teams - the Yankees and Isles, and I hated the Islanders more.

That makes them my #1 nemesis, doesn't it?

Denis Potvin will still suck!  I know why Rangers fans say it.  I'm just not so sure less experienced Rangers fans know why they're chanting it.

I will indeed don my Rangers jersey, get on the train headed to Barclays, and cheer the Rangers against the Islanders.  Count on it.

All that said, my regular Trolley Riderz know this blog threats them very fairly.  I call it as I see it - right down the middle.  In fact, I believe I've treated them even better than that, well in fact.  The proof is a mere click away.

I'm older now, and more subdued.  Trust me.

Nets and Islanders Back Together Again:

Unlike the Isles, I embraced the Nets with open arms.

The Knicks were the second team I ever learned to root for.   I latched on during Clyde Frazier's final years with the club.  I am a Knicks fan.

But, as with my situation with the Rangers, I can't stand ownership.  Dolan has been maddeningly involved in Knicks matters since gaining control.  He is completely hands off, however, when it involves the Rangers, and so most fan vitriol was deflected towards Glen Sather.

The Isiah Thomas era really drove me over the top, and so I mentally disconnected for a while, but not before Bruce Ratner revealed his plan to purchase the Nets and relocate them to Brooklyn.

The treatment of Donnie Walsh, and subsequent acquisition of Carmelo Anthony further continued driving a wedge between the Knicks and me.  I made no secret of my dislike for Melo, and Melo Ball, and Melo's World.  He and Dolan just became too much, leaving the door wide open for a Nets invasion.

I am a Nets fan, now.  It's weird to say.  Thing is, I never hated the Nets like I did the Islanders, and so, since the day news broke and for 10 long years until groundbreaking, I savored every moment of the process - protests included.  But I proclaim my fandom, because I feel it.  Ten years of anticipation conditioned me.

Timing is everything I guess.

I'm still a Knicks fan, just a bitter and spiteful one.  So, yes, I have an unresolved conflict on my hands.

As an aside, I feel the Islanders and Nets should still be together in Long Island, the way it was back in the 1970's.  It's nevertheless good to see the Nets and Islanders reunited under the same roof again.

If moving the Isles to Brooklyn keeps them in the area, then so be it.  I'd rather that, than see them move to Seattle, Kansas City, or Canada.

Long Island hockey is too steeped in history to have it leave the metro area.  At least this way, Long Islanders can retain their connection with the team, albeit via the LIRR.  It's a necessary compromise.

So let it be done.

Come back for the TROLLEY renaming ceremony, when I'll retire Brooklyn's Foster Hockey Club, and give the Islanders an new TROLLEY identity.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

N.Y. Giants: Rueben Randle's Rexual Encounter in Buffalo

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Once is an event; Twice is a coincidence; Three times is a trend.
Buffalo's defense will provide a true measure of Big Blue's offense.

New York Giants
Buffalo Bills
The Empire State

NEW YORK GIANTS: Tom Coughlin's double-barreled, or even triple barreled offense will have to wait just a little while longer to fire.

ICYMI > DEFENSE: No Pass Rush Offers Pockets of Opportunity 

Unfortunately, Victor Cruz' troublesome left calf injury did not respond to a platelet-rich plasma injection well enough, or quickly enough for Sunday's game.

He has been listed as OUT for Week Four, officially scrubbing the first quarter of his season.

This will be Cruz' 14th straight regular season game missed due to injury.  He is fast approaching a full year off the NFL gridiron.  He last played a regular season game on October 13, 2014 during Week Six in Philadelphia.  Moreover, October 5th was the last time Giants fans saw him play at Met-Life Stadium.

Through the first two weeks of this season, the opposition found little reason not to double team Odell Beckham Jr. in Cruz' absence, largely because Preston Parker and Rueben Randle contributed little or nothing towards alleviating the situation.

That quickly developed into an untenable situation.  After barely making the roster out of camp, Preston Parker was subsequently cut by Jerry Reese after a woeful display of receiving skills in Week Two.

That in turn left Rueben Randle square in the cross hairs of Jerry Reese, the media, and fans alike.

Jerry Reese gambled and lost by taking a flyer on Preston Parker last season and again during the pres-season.  Rueben Randle, however, was no stab in the dark.  Jerry Reese utilized a 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft to secure him.

Rueben started just 4 games through his first 2 seasons, then made 13 starts last season and made 71 receptions for 938 yards with 3 touchdowns.

If Preston Parker's problem was failing to catch the ball, Randle's, then, was failing to provide Eli Manning with a viable target.  Eli only targeted him 7 times through the first two games against the Cowboys and Falcons, in which Rueben made 4 receptions for a total of 28 rather inconsequential yards.

But with the spotlight squarely on him in Week Three, Rueben Randle delivered a performance closer to what Jerry Reese had in mind when he selected Randle 63rd overall.

Both of Eli Manning's TD passes during last weeks' 32-21 victory over Washington came in the 4th quarter.  He first connected with OBJ, then with Randle to seal the game.  Eli targeted Rueben 7 times throughout the game, whom made all 7 receptions for 116 yards, while OBJ made 7 receptions for 79 seemingly supportive yards (but we know better...).

That said, without Victor Cruz the only way to take pressure off OBJ, then, is with performance.

That brings us to Sunday in Buffalo and Rex Ryan, whom knows a thing or two about orchestrating a defense.  Once Rex takes Odell Beckham Jr. away from Eli Manning (because that's what he'll aim to do), will the Giants be able to turn to their seemingly matured 4th year receiver for a second straight week and beyond?

We'll see...

In the meantime, it hasn't mattered if Kevin Gilbride or Ben McAdoo have been offensive coordinators in this small respect - Tom Coughlin wants balance.  Make no mistake, he's a chucker, but he usually asks for balance.

Last week the Giants ran 31 times and threw 32 times.  Weeks One and Two went similarly.  But they only rushed for 84 yards on a day the offense generated 30 points.  End of discussion, right?

C'mon, you know me better.  At some point this weekend, I heard the words - short controlled passing game - and they disturb me to my core.

On the bright side, the Giants were thought to have broken down a fairly solid Washington defense.   On the dimmer side, if Washington was able to restrict the Giants to just 84 rushing yards, what will Rex Ryan be able to do?

Remember how Ben McAdoo called on Rashad Jennings in what should have been the closing drive of Game One in Dallas?  Coach called Rashad's name 6 times, and asked him to run up the gut 5 times.  Rashad responded with a net 49 yards.

There's been no commitment to the run since, merely an effort to present balance.  That won't work against Rex.  In fact, everywhere I look I feel Ryan has an answer that perfectly defies what Coughlin tries to do.  Therefore, it's Coach who needs to find his own way of giving Buffalo's defense some pause.  That's a philosophical adjustment.

Faced with his own aggressive style, I'm sure Rex Ryan would say release the tight end, execute screens and draws, etc.  Sounds like good advice to me.  It's just not the Giants way under Coughlin.

In any event, Buffalo's defense will provide a true measure of Big Blue's offense.

Did I mention the tight end?

His name is Larry Donnell.  Use him.

PIGSKIN 2015: Week Four


Week Four


Week Three Record:  10-4
Overall Record:  27-15
Schmear of the Week:  2-1
Bagels in the Basket:  +15

1st and 10:
  • Old Guys Gone Wild: After the Dallas Cowboys win a stunner over the Saints, look for Jerry Jones to flash his boobs in joyous celebration down Bourbon Street.

2nd and Long:
  • From his days with the Jets to the present, Rex Ryan continues to write the greatest 2nd place narrative in all of football history.  If he gets the Bills to 3-1 Sunday, Buffalo just might appoint him deputy mayor.  Regardless of the Bills/Giants outcome, the idle and undefeated New England Patriots will remain in 1st place of the AFC East.  Remember, Buffalo lost 40-32 on Sept. 13th to the Patriots. That was a bitter pill for Rex to swallow.  Bill Belichick consumes him. They'll meet again for Thanksgiving.  Till then, 2nd place seemingly never felt more glorious.  Just ask the (9-7) Jets of 2009.

No Gain:
  • The Saints have lost 6 straight in the Dome dating back to October 26th of last season.
  • The NFC boast three teams without a win (N.O., DET, CHI); all AFC teams have won at least a game.
  • Down goes Roethlisberger!
  • No one will lose against the Patriots this week.

  • The NFL should black-out the Raiders/Bears game in Chicago, for humanity sake.
  • An NFL team in London?  Perhaps the Jaguars?  They can't even get a team in Los Angeles yet.  What free agent would want to sign overseas?  Utterly brutal travel aside, would players fall prey to England's infamous Tax Man?  And who would be responsible for providing players and their families with 2-ply toilet paper?


BILLS -6 (Giants)
Defensively, I'm still feeling uneasy about the Giants victory over Washington.  Buffalo losing LeSean McCoy this week is a wash, as Tyrod Taylor and the Bills will not have Robert Ayers to contend with (as if the Giants had a pass rush to begin with).  Last week, the Hogs beat themselves due to turnovers.  Don't count on Buffalo doing the same.  Conversely, Rex will dare Eli Manning to beat him with Rueben Randle because he's going to eliminate Odell Beckham Jr. - bank on it.  Of course, I'd prefer to get this one wrong.
Loss; 24-10 Giants

Jets -1 1/2 (DOLPHINS) @ London ~ The Toilet Paper Bowl
How's the drinking water in England?  Wanna know why this spread is so close?  Fact: Flights of 4-hours or more dehydrate the body.  The team that hydrates best, wins.  London might be famous for its fish and chips, but not for these Fish.  In fact, Ndamukong Suh is playing exactly like a (former) Lion would near water - ineffectively.  Unlike last week's game against the Eagles, Ryan Fitzpatrick won't be forced into playing catch-up football this time. He'll manage a better game.  The Jets will also do a better job than last week of integrating Bilal Powell into the game.
WIN; 27-14 Jets

Jaguars +9 (COLTS)
Jags already posted one big upset this season, and they're about to score another.  Indy's offense has yet to click, and now Andrew Luck has a sore shoulder.  That, and Indy's porous defense, will keep the Jags in this game.
WIN; 16-13 Colts

FALCONS -6 1/2 (Texans)
This is admittedly my most questionable pick of the week.  The Falcons are on a magic carpet ride.   They're competent, and home.  But, all three of their victories came via 4th quarter comebacks.  You can only temp Fate so long before she gets annoyed.  I think this is going to be a very close game.   The Texans have no idea where they contracted their acute bout of stink from.  Just a 1/2 point more, and I would have leaned towards Houston.
WIN; 48-21 Falcons

Panthers -3 (BUCS)
Why does Vegas continue disrespecting the Panthers?  Injuries?  Who isn't hurt?  After Carolina blows out the Bucs, perhaps they'll finally change their thinking.  Panthers -9 (!).
WIN; 37-23 Panthers

Raiders -3 (BEARS)
Three points?  Someone thinks this has Trap Game written all over it.  Of course, that depends on your opinion of the Black and Silver.  I get they aren't that good, but they're not that bad.  Oakland is feisty, which is a kind word for inconsistent.  For the moment, though, they're feeling fine after winning in Cleveland last week.  I get playing the Teddy Bears will make them look better than they actually are, but can someone at least throw them a bone? Chicago couldn't even score in a woman's prison waving a carton of cigarettes.  Locals would be better off skipping the game and getting some deep dish at Uno's instead.
Loss; 22-20 Bears

D.C. HOGS +3 (Eagles)
Apparently, I drew more from Kirk Cousins' WK 3 performance than others.  Then again, the Giants made Sam Bradford look like a star as well.  However, DeSean Jackson is out this week.  For the Eagles, DeMarco Murray's hamstring is barking at him.  Even Steven?  Take the points.
PUSH; 23-20 Hogs

BENGALS -4 (Chiefs)
Kansas City's offensive line couldn't push a refrigerator right now, and they have big troubles on defense to boot.  The Bengals are sky high right now.  Run with it.
WIN; 36-21 Bengals

Browns +7 1/2 (CHARGERS)
Stay away.  It's the Browns!  Besides, I'm still pissed off over last week's Chargers loss in Minnesota. I thought they'd be better.  San Diego's defense warrants taking a flyer on Cleveland this week.
WIN; 30-27 Chargers

Packers -9 (49ERS)
Smell that?  Neither do people in San Francisco....  Aaron Rogers is seeing everything in slow motion right now.  The Pack will zip by the Niners with ease.
WIN; 17-3 Packers

BRONCOS -6 1/2 (Vikings)
Adrian Peterson may not be enough.  The Broncos defense is healthy and intact.  The Vikes' defense, on the other hand is banged up.  Gotta love those 1/2 points!  Broncos will improve to 4-0.  Suck wind, Minnesota.
Loss; 23-20 Broncos

CARDINALS -6 1/2 (Rams)
Fool me once...  By now, we understand what the Rams defense is capable of, but their offense is an enigma.  Just close your eyes, keep toking on Carson Palmer and the Cardinals, and pass it along.
Loss; 24-20 Rams

Cowboys PK (SAINTS)
This line changed (Saints -3) since Friday.  The Saints defense will give Dallas' depleted offense every chance to win this game.  I'd love to get 3-points on this, but PK will do.
Loss; 26-20 Saints - o.t.

Schmear of the Week:
Panthers -3

Guten Appetit:

Blimey Breakfast (9:30am NYJ in London): I prefer El Pico coffee, cinnamon buns, and/or short stack of blueberry pancakes with quarter sized slices of chorizo, cantaloupe, glass of apple juice.

Good old fashioned fried chicken and baby back ribs, loaded baked potatoes, corn on the BBQ, garden salad, deviled eggs (haven't done those in a while).  Gonna wash that down with some Coney Island Brew...

What's on your football menu?

Good luck, and have a great Football Sunday everyone!

Post Game:
Week Four Record:  7-4-1
Overall Record:  34-19-1
Schmear of the Week:  3-1
Bagels in the Basket:  +20

Thursday, October 01, 2015

N.Y. Giants: No Pass Rush Offers Pockets of Opportunity

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE


Week Three
D.C. Hogs   21
GIANTS     32

NEW YORK GIANTS: Blitzes, Bend-Don't-Break, Beason, and Buffalo.

Forgive me if I'm not feeling giddy after beating the D.C. Hogs.  In truth, I was sickened by what I saw.  The longer I ponder Week Three, the more I'm inclined to think the Giants didn't win, so much as the Hogs lost.

  • First off, a safety is no way to start a game; shame on Washington....
  • Second, Washington had everything going their way until 3 turnovers respectively ruined the day.

They say time stands still for no one - unless you're playing the Giants.

For a third straight week, the defense provided the opposing QB an easy day at the office.  Despite repeated blitz attempts, they just can't generate a pass rush.  Kirk Cousins was sacked once, and was only mildly disrupted on 6 other occasions.  He otherwise had ample time to complete 30/49 passes for 316 yards.

Did I mention this is Kirk Cousins we're talking about, and that he accounted for all but 77 yards of Washington's total offensive output.

What really made my pigskin break out in a rash, though, were Washington's sustained drives.

Kirk Cousins threw the first of two picks during Washington's second possession of the game, but not before he marched 42 yards on 7 plays.

Their next possession resulted in their only punt of the day.

Then came Washington's final two drives of the 1st half:
  • 10 plays, 54 yards - field goal.
  • 13 plays, 61 yards - field goal

Kirk Cousins opened the 2nd half by marching the Hogs 42 yards on 7 plays before throwing his second pick of the game.

On their next possession, the Hogs drove 76 yards on 13 plays before fumbling the ball at the Giants 2-yard line.  The play ultimately went for a touch back, but was nevertheless a huge break for the Giants.

On their third possession of the half, they drove 74 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown.

In fact, the Giants were outscored 15-14 in the 4th quarter.

All told, the Hogs got off more plays, made more 1st downs, put together more drives, rushed for more yardage, and gained more total yardage than the Giants.

There's been a lot of bend don't break in the Giants performances.  Their 410 yards allowed per game rank #31, yet, they're ranked middle of the pack (#18) in points allowed.

Linebacker Jon Beason returned to the field, and afterwards said his knee was fine but sore.  He should benefit from the very same schedule he riled against leading into last Thursday's game, as he'll have had 10 days to rest and prepare for this Sunday's game against Buffalo.

Uani' Unga led the team in tackles last week, and made one of the two interceptions thrown by Kirk Cousins. Yielding time to Jon Beason might be a hard pill for him to swallow at this point.

Lastly, there is no doubt Buffalo's defense will attempt to eliminate Odell Beckham Jr. But what is the Giants defense gonna do Sunday that I can look forward to today?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

N.Y. Jets: Cockpit Troubles Ground Flight Three in East Rutherford

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAELS' REVENGE


Week Four
New York Jets
Miami Dolphins
Across the Pond

New York Jets: Ponderous loss against Philadelphia was more revealing than distressing.

If we learned anything over the first three weeks, it's the Jets will look good when they win, and look awful when they lose.

Fans got a refresher as to why Ryan Fitzpatrick no longer plays for the Bengals, Bills, Titans, or Texans.  The more you ask him to throw, the more sure (not likely, but sure) he is to get picked off.

No, Chris Ivory did not play, which otherwise altered the original plan.  But 58 pass attempts is just begging for trouble, and as expected Fitzpatrick delivered three 3 INTs.  One pick was inexcusable, while the other 2 came on tipped passes but were no less distressing.  He's now been intercepted 5 times this season, and has thrown at least one in each of the Jets first three games.

Yet, what transpired in the 1st half really had little to do with Ryan Fitzpatrick, per se..  The defense, special teams, and Brandon Marshall were busy finding ways to lose instead.

  • 1st QTR - The defense yielded an 11-play drive (field goal) on the Eagles' first possession of the game.
  • 2nd QTR - Special teams allowed a punt return touch down; the defense yielded another 8-play 75 yard drive for a touchdown; then came Brandon Marshall's ill advised attempted lateral and fumble, that eventually resulted in another 6-points the other way.

Total damage: the Jets went into their locker room trailing 24-7 at halftime.

With the Jets clearly in catch-up mode, all three interceptions came in the 2nd half.  Unlike Brandon Marshall's 2nd quarter gaffe, Ryan's turnovers didn't necessarily translate into Philadelphia points, but instead repeatedly killed the Jets chances at mounting a comeback.

Minus Chris Ivory, that seemingly became an untenable situation.  In fact, without Ivory the Jets punted on their first six possessions of the game, while Bilal Powell failed to provide a sufficient supportive effort throughout.  He only rushed 10 times for 31 yards, but again, perhaps much of that had to do with playing catch-up football.

Regardless, the point was well made.  The Jets offense lacked field management without Chris Ivory on the field.

The defense otherwise regrouped and held Philadelphia scoreless in the second half.  They perhaps induced most of Sam Bradford's overall inefficiency.  The Jets sacked him once, and got 6 other hits. Ryan Mathews, however, rushed the ball 25 times for 108-yards.

Comparatively though, the Jets held on to the ball longer and gained more net yardage.  And despite missing Ivory, turnovers arguably doomed Flight Three, with Brandon Marshall's fumble proving most costly.

This is a game the Jets literally gave away.  If generosity indeed got the better of them, better they helped a non-division, and non-conference team.

Flight #4 takes off this week for London, where the Jets will play against their jolly division rivals Miami Dolphins.

L.I. Ducks: Somerset Pitching Subdues Flock; Patriots Gain Trip to Finals

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Patriots Lock Out Ducks

Patriots win Liberty Division Playoff Series over Ducks 3-2
I - SOM 5; LID 3
II - LID 5; SOM 4
III - LID 9; SOM 4
IV - SOM 4; LID 0
V - SOM 4; LID 0

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Flock yield the high ground; Offense falls silent as team gets whitewashed in consective games; Staff ace John Brownell ineffective in both series starts.

Somerset Patriots will face Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 
in Atlantic League championship series.

A scan over the regular season stats suggested Long Island entered the recently concluded Liberty Division playoff with a distinct offensive edge over the Patriots.  Meanwhile, Somerset's pitching rated first in the league, only slightly above that of Long Island's.

Based on that, one could argue games One through Three played out somewhat accordingly.

The Ducks and Patriots split the opening games at Bethpage Ballpark.  Long Island then gained the high ground with victory in Game Three at Somerset.

They outscored the Patriots by a 17-13 margin to that point, improved their overall season record at TD Bank Ballpark to 8-4, and afforded themselves two opportunities with which to win one game.   Moreover, their ace would be available to pitch on regular rest in the event of a decisive Game Five.
That said, the Ducks appeared supremely poised to eliminate their division rival and advance towards the finals.  Or, so it seemed...

Regrettably for Ducks fans, they fanned at the finish.  Like thieves in the night, Long Island's offense went missing, again.  Their demise was akin to the events of 2011, when after steamrolling the regular season competition with the league's most potent offense, the Ducks' offense suddenly and inexplicably short-circuited during the championship series against York.

But with regards to this now concluded series, baseball's time tested adage held true, in that good pitching stops good hitting.  In the end, Somerset's top rated pitching staff overcame Long Island's top rated offense.

For Patriots fans, their games Four and Five starters were particularly marvelous sights to behold.

In Game Four, starter Will Oliver silenced Ducks bats with a 3-hit complete game shutout.  He faced 30 batters, retired the side in order in 6 of 9 innings pitched, walked one and struck out a pair.  He threw 118 pitches with 80 (67%) going for strikes.

In the decisive Game Five, John Brownell faced off against Somerset's Roy Merritt in a rematch of the series opener.

Merritt was solid in Game One, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) over 6 innings pitched to earn the decision over John Brownell.  In Sunday's clincher, Merritt matched stable mate Will Oliver's effort with his own 4-hit complete game shutout.  He faced 29 batters, walked 1, fanned 3, totaled 111 pitches with 73 going for strikes, and above all, claimed yet another decision over Brownell.

That said, the Patriots had their way with Long Island's ace, again.

In Game One, Somerset scored 5 times off Brownell with 7 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  He faced 26 batters, struck out 2, and threw 102 pitches with 66 (64%) going for strikes.  On Sunday, Somerset scored another 4 earned runs on 9 hits and a walk off Brownell, this time in just 4.2 innings pitched.

Less forgiving Ducks fans might point at John Brownell's ineffectiveness as the main reason why their season ended in Somerset.  After all, their ace did not perform like one, and I believe there is something to that.  Teams need their best players to perform when the stakes are high.  In two starts, however, John Brownell rolled craps.

More forgiving fans might factor the amount of talent lost to other leagues and affiliated baseball, compromised season and an untimely exit from the post-season.

After missing the playoffs last season, I think GM Michael Pfaff did an exception job getting the Ducks back in title contention.   They posted the league's second best record, and surpassed 80 victories for only the second time in their history.  With the inordinate number of roster raids that took place this season, they just missed it this year, by "that" much.


Liberty Division Champion
Somerset Patriots
Freedom Division Champion
Southern Maryland
Blue Crabs

This will be the Somerset Patriots 10th championship series appearance in their 18 year history.   They've captured 5 league titles, with their last two coming in back-to-back fashion during the 2008-2009 seasons.

Southern Maryland lost their lone championship appearance back in 2009 to Somerset.  They're back in the playoffs after a one year absence.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

N.Y. Mets: N.L. East Champs Podcast

Here is last night's post-game podcast for

National League East

W/ guest Greg Prince of 

A whole lot of reminiscing, and extensive talk of the 2015 season;
a long discussion regarding players who've worn #18 in Mets history, 
brief mentions of the 1918 Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants;
Wilmer Flores, Matt Harvey, the Washington Nationals,
the 2011 Mets season, and much much more.

senior staff writer/Rising Apple

L.I. Ducks: Win or Go Home; Liberty Division Finale

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Liberty Division


Series tied 2-2
I - SOM 5; LID 3
II - LID 5; SOM 4
III - LID 9; SOM 4
IV - SOM 4; LID 0
V - Series Finale

Long Island Ducks
Somerset Patriots
Some Ballpark

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Flock get feathers whitewashed by Patriots, setting up decisive Game Five showdown in Somerset.

Ducks versus Patriots is as fine a professional baseball rivalry as there is in baseball.

So when the league's top two teams square off against each other, it's only natural the Liberty Division playoff series would get pushed to its limit.

With the Patriots facing elimination, Somerset's starter Will Oliver hurled his mates into a decisive Game Five showdown against the Long Island Ducks.

Making only his 10th start as a member of the Patriots, Oliver tossed a complete game shutout over the Atlantic League's #1 offense.  Will allowed just 3 scattered hits, walked a batter, and fanned a pair for the victory.  He faced 30 batters, threw 113 pitches with 80 (71%) going for strikes, and averaged an efficient 12.5 pitches per frame.

Bruce Kern toed the rubber for Long Island, and traded zeroes with Oliver through the first 5 innings of play.  But, the regular season's top team finally broke through in the 6th.  Thomas Neal kicked things off with a 2-out double.  Then following an intentional walk to the red hot Michael Burgess, first baseman Matt Fields singled, and third baseman David Vidal doubled to help mount a 3-0 lead.

Kern did not reappear for the 7th inning after allowing 3 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, and fanning 7 batters in a losing effort.

Reliever Mariel Checo hit the first batter (Ollie Linton) he faced, whom eventually scored giving the Patriots their 4-0 margin of victory.

With a win in Sunday's series finale, the Ducks would advance to their 5th ever championship series, and their 4th in the last 5 years.

A Patriots victory would give Somerset their 10th championship series appearance in their 18 year history.  They are 5-time Atlantic League champions, but not since 2009 when they capped off back-to-back titles.

In 2013, they were defeated by these very same Long Island Ducks, whom were making their third straight championship series appearance, and completing their own back-to-back title run.

Game Five is a rematch between starters John Brownell and Roy Merritt.

Brownell's 12 regular season victories tied for the league lead, while his 146 strikeouts led all pitchers.

Somerset, however, got the best of Long Island's ace in Game One, scoring 5 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks through Brownell's 6 innings of work.  Roy Merritt likewise pitched 6 innings, but limited the Ducks to an earned run on 6 hits for the victory.

The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs captured the Freedom Division championship 
by defeating the Lancaster Barnstormers three games to one.

N.Y. Mets: Amazins overwhelm Reds to clinch N.L. East title

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

New York
1969  M  1973  E  1986  T  1988  S  2006

National League East

NEW YORK METS: Amazins clinch 6th National League East title, and first in 9 seasons.

This year's division race is over!

On Saturday, Matt Harvey and the Amazins captured the club's 6th ever National League East flag with a decisive 10-2 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati.  The 2nd place Nationals, meanwhile, were home playing into extra, inconsequential innings against the Phillies.

Lucas Duda ignited an early dugout celebration with a grand slam home run in the first inning.  The Captain David Wright then stamped an exclamation point on Saturday's clincher with a 3-run home run in the 9th.

Jeurys Familia closed out the 9th, and the rest, as they say is history.


There's been no disguising Lucas Duda's struggles this season.  Through July 24th, he totaled a mere 12 home runs through 94 games played, with 7 of those coming in May.

On July 25th, with the trade deadline looming and the Mets still within striking distance of the Nationals, Duda embarked on a very timely 11 for 28 (.393) stretch with 9 home runs and 12 RBI that ran though August 2nd.  At a minimum, he (along with Curtis Granderson) helped legitimize the Mets end of July standing, and arguably forced the front office into making enhancements.

He then went on to hit just one home run over his next 26 games.

This weekend, Duda finally began punishing pitchers again.  The pain he's generating couldn't have come at a better time.  Moving forward, the hope is his stroke stays with him through October.
  • Thursday - 2 for 3, 2 doubles, 2 RBI.
  • Friday - 2 for 4, 2 home runs, 6 RBI.
  • Saturday -  1 for 3, grand slam, 4 RBI.
  • Stay tuned for Sunday.

The Dark Knight Took a Look in the Mirror and Dictated His Own Limitations.

The circumstances surrounding the Dark Knight were odd to say the least.  Saturday's start flew in the face of a hard 180 innings limit supposedly prescribed by Dr. Andrews.

Matt Harvey now stands at 183.1 innings for the season.  At this point, it's safe to finally assume Matt Harvey, Scott Boras, Dr. Andrews, and Sandy Alderson are operating under an agreed upon plan, right?

That's precisely what we thought back in April, through the dog days of summer, and right up until the moment Scott Boras intervened in a manner similar to which he polluted the 2009 WS with extraneous news regarding his client Alex Rodriguez

Most expected a short start Saturday.  I thought he'd go 4 innings, or 5 at the very most.  After allowing a double and striking out 2 batters in the 6th, Harvey insisted Coach Collins let him start the 7th inning.

With 2-outs and 2 runners on, Terry Collins finally gave him the hook.  Harvey threw 97 pitches with an impressive 73 (75%) going for strikes.  He allowed 2 earned runs on 9 hits, issued no walks, and fanned 6 batters before yielding to reliever Addison Reed.  Matt improved his season record to 13-7 while his 2.80 ERA remained unchanged.

Harvey, however, saved his best pitch for the post-game interviews.  He expressed concern, and maybe even remorse in the aftermath of his agent's intervention, and perhaps through Saturday's start, felt it necessary to re-establish his standing within the eyes of his team mates and fans.

Moving forward, he might get one tune up appearance before season's end, then pitch one game verses the Mets first round opponent, and one game per round thereafter.

His season previously consisted of 8 games played in early April.

The Captain David Wright Appropriately Strikes Final Blow.

David Wright returned to action on August 24th after extensive rest, recovery, and rehabilitation designed to help manage spinal stenosis.

In 25 games back, he's gone 32 for 105 (.305) with 7 doubles, 4 home runs and 10 RBI.  As the longest tenured Mets player, it was only appropriate he cap off Saturday's clincher with a mammoth 3-run home run in the 9th inning.

After the game, he said everything has gone exactly the way Sandy Alderson and ownership promised him they would.

It took Wright 9 long years to return at this point.

Welcome back Captain.  This is when your experience will be needed most.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

L.I. Ducks: Flock Poised to Clinch Ticket to Finals

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE


Ducks at the Gates!

Ducks lead series 2-1
I - SOM 5; LID 3
II - LID 5; SOM 4
III - LID 9; SOM 4

Long Island Ducks
Somerset Patriots
Some Ballpark

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Flock within a victory of advancing to their 5th ever Atlantic League championship series.

After a two game split at Bethpage Ballpark, the Liberty Division series shifted to Somerset Friday evening for Game Three.

Bobby Blevins climbed the hill for Long Island and was opposed by Patriots southpaw Matt Zielinski.

With Somerset clinging to a 1-run lead through 4 innings, the league's top offense finally erupted in the 5th.  With two on and 2-outs, Sean Burroughs, Dan Lyons, and Cody Puckett all hit consecutively giving the Ducks a 4-1 lead.

With Somerset's Matt Zielinski out of the game, an E-6 in the top of the 6th wound up giving the Ducks a 5-1 lead.

Then came the Patriots.

Aharon Eggleston led off the bottom of the 6th with a single.  With 1-out, right fielder Michael Burgess took Blevins deep making it a 5-3 Somerset deficit.

Long Island got a run back on Mike Blanke's 7th inning RBI double.

Bobby Blevins then opened the bottom of the 7th by surrendering a single and walk, inspiring Coach Baez to call on his bullpen.  Pinch hitter David Vidal promptly greeted reliever Patrick Crider with an RBI single up the middle.

That, however, ended Somerset's output for the evening.  The Ducks, meanwhile, struck for another 3 runs in the 8th.  Randy Ruiz' double drove in a pair, and Sean Burroughs' sac-fly gave Long Island their eventual 9-4 margin of victory.

  • Bobby Blevins earned the victory.  He faced 26 batters over 6 innings pitched, and threw 88 pitches with 60 (68%) going for strikes.  He allowed 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, and fanned 7 batters before exiting on the winning side of (then) a 5-3 game.
  • Closer Ryan Kussmaul pitched 2 innings in a non-save situation, and faced the minimum with 2 strikeouts.
  • Sean Burroughs remained white hot.  He went 2 for 4, with 2 more RBI in Game Three, and is now 8 for 12 with 4 RBI in the series.
  • Randy Ruiz has DH'd in the clean-up slot this series.  He went 1 for 4 Friday, and is now 4 for 11 in the series.

The Ducks now have two chances to win one game.  Easier said than done...

Long Island's Bruce Kern will toe the rubber in Game Four.  Kern made 40 appearances this season, but this will only be his 14th start.  He went 9-6 during the regular season with a 3.51 ERA.  In 107.2 innings he posted a 1.21 WHiP, boasted .242 average against, and fanned 102 batters.

The Ducks will have their work cut out for them against Patriots starter Will Oliver, whom was a late season acquisition from the Frontier League.  He started 9 games for Somerset.  In 54 innings pitched, Will posted a fine 6-2 record with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.07 WHiP, and a .204 average against.

  • Patriots right fielder and clean-up hitter Michael Burgess is tearing up Ducks pitching.  He is 5 for 12 (.417) with 2 home runs and 6 RBI in 3 games.
  • Table setter Aharon Eggleston is 5 for 8, with 2 walks, a double, home run, and 5 runs scored.

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 
lead series over Lancaster Barnstormers, 2-1
I - SMB 2; LAN 0
II - LAN 6; SMB 5
III - SMB 6; LAN 1

Blue Crabs
Waldorf, Maryland