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Cubs Fan

Anthony Rizzo posted by Cubs Fan

Born August 8, 1989, Anthony Rizzo is currently the first baseman for Chicago Cubs MLB team. Rizzo started his minor league baseball career in 2007, when he was drafted by the Red Sox as their sixth round choice. He played with Salem Red Sox, Greenville Drive, Portland Sea Dogs, and Gulf Coast League Red Sox. During 2009, Rizzo hit 12 home runs, and in 2010, he made 25 home runs, with .480 slugging percentage.

Anthony Rizzo started his major league career in December 2010, when he was traded to the San Diego Padres. In 2011, he was invited by the Padres for major league spring training, but he was not on the roster. He started the season playing with Tucson Padres, hitting 6 home runs, .452 average, and 24 RBIs in 15 games. However, he was called up to the major league in June 2011, when he hit 16 home runs, .365 percentage, and 63 RBIs in more than 52 games. In July 2011, he was demoted, but was again called back to the majors in September. Rizzo finished his initial season with only .141 in Dallas.

In January 2012, Anthony Rizzo was acquired by the Chicago Cubs along with Zach Cates the pitcher. At the start of the season, Rizzo excelled in the Iowa Cubs minor league batting, scoring 23 home runs, .342 average, and 62 RBIs. He was recalled to the major league in June, to help the team in its offense, which was struggling. In July, he hit seven home runs, which was a record for a rookie in a calendar month. Rizzo also created history, by being the first Chicago Cubs player to have three game-winning RBIs in the first five games. In May 2014, Rizzo made the second walk-off home run of his career, and he was voted to be in the All-Star game as well. 

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Cubs Fan

Futures Sports Betting on the Chicago Cubs posted by Cubs Fan

While the opening day for the 2013 Major League Baseball season is not slated to officially kick off until 1 April of 2013, the sport is still a hot topic for sports betting. To some this may seem rather odd given the fact that baseball is not even being played right now. However, there really is no down time in the wide world of sports betting. Actually, the sort of baseball betting being placed right now at online sports betting sites pertains to futures. Futures are a type of sports bet where bets are placed on predictions about futures events and results. This might seem a bit risky and it is but given the risk some terrific odds can be procured that could lead to a rather appealing payout. In this manner, fans such as those of the Chicago Cubs can keep involved with their team.

The betting areas of online sports betting and casino sites will provide odds listed by teams. Online casinos are a bit more new in the field of sports betting but many of them have added bets to their array of games. Some just offer sports themed games instead, which is almost as good – there are even baseball themed casion games, like the slots game Hot Shot found in many of the best casinos. Sports bets are a logical step forward from themed slots to better provide entertainment for sports enthusiasts. Odds, for example, are an integral part of any casino game, and for someone used to thinking about them a change of platform can be quite easy, even when they are a lot more complicated when you have to understand the individual players as well as the teams and the whole league.

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Richard Kagan

Cubs Sinking on Left Coast posted by Richard Kagan

The Chicago Cubs went to the west coast on a long road trip and it is looking like a lost summer or dead end trip to Cali.  The Cubs lost 3 straight to the Dodgers where they can't win for losing, actually, that sounds quite Cub-like.  And then they went down to sunny San Diego and it feels like they hit a sandstorm and are in the process of dropping another one to the Padres.  Again, a shut-out.  The Cubs can't buy a hit in California.   Get one from your local fruitstand.  It ain't happening for this team on this trip.  This current road woe has set the Cubs further back and now it looks like a lost season.  They traded away half the team. And gave the rest on waivers.  The only hold-over they kept was Alphonso Soriano, whose contract scared away any potential buyers.  Dempster, Garza, and Malhom are history.  If Chicago wanted to break in new players why not do a swap with Iowa and send some guys out there?  Their contracts and egos probalby won't let them go.  Oh well, It is a rebuilding year.  It seems every year is a rebuilding year.  Try bringing back Rick Sutcliffe.  He can still pitch.

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Richard Kagan

Cubs Are Gettin' Better Now posted by Richard Kagan

Here come the Cubs!  Chicago has won 13 of 18 games. including 9 of its last 11 at home to claib back to "decent-land."  This move is surprising and shows the drive of the front office.  What they do filters down to the ballclub.  Lately, things are looking up for the Northsiders.  The starting pitching has gotten much better. Dempster, Garza, and Smarajzna have improved.  The rumors are hot that Dempster is on his way out before the trade deadline to a contending club.  He will bring in good prospects.  Theo Epstein wants to find a starter, either a pitcher or position player in the deal, and chances are improving given Dempster's fine season.  Carlos Marmol has cut down on his propensity to blow saves.  He's difficult to watch if he lacks control because things can get out of hand quickly with him.  But his slider is virtually unhittable.  If the Cubs had one more solid hitter, there would be a defininte improvement.  They need someone who can drive in runs...maybe the rookie from Cuba is just the player.  One thing for sure is, the rebuilding process is proceeding well.

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Richard Kagan

Cubs May Have a Team posted by Richard Kagan

It's mid-season and in the last 13 games, the Chicago Cubs have won 9 of them.  Not a small undertaking for these Cubbies.  This is a rebuilding year, and next year may be the same.  But by adding rookie Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs have added punch, and an ability to get extra base hits.  They no longer have to rely on Brian Lahair or Starlin Castro or Alphonso Soriano.  Soriano is often talked about in terms of his bloated contract and he has two years left and no one wants to pick up the remaining two years.  He has 15 Home Runs, all have come after May 15th, so he is no slouch.  It's Rizzo who is turning faces and getting opposing managers' attention.  This guy can hit.  He's batting .375 and his OB% is almost off the charts.  He looks like a Cubs' version of Ted Williams up there.  Or you can add Billy Williams, and that's just fine.  The team needs players to drive in runs. 

Rich Dempster has pitched terrific in the past month.  He's pitching 25-6 shutout innings.  Inching close to what Ken Holtzman did with the team in 1971.  I say Keep Rich, you don't want to get rid of good pitching.  Unless you get Warren Spahn in return.  I don't see anyone resembling Spahn out there.  If these Cubs fan finish someone near 14 games under .500 or better, that is a darn good save by Dale Sveum and company.  The team plays hard.  They just need more talent.

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Richard Kagan

Rizzo Hot, Cubs Win 8-7 posted by Richard Kagan

Anthony Rizzo hit a 3 run-HR in the 5th inning against Johann Santana and the Cubs went on to prevail 8-7 despite a late NY Mets rally in the 9th.  The Mets appeared poised to make another late comeback but Carlos Marmol snagged a liner back to the mound and threw to first base to double up Ike Davis.  Since Rizzo has been a Cubs starter, the Cubs have looked like a different team, Yes, a winning team.  They are 7-3 in their last ten games.  And are playing much improved baseball.  Suddently, the team has some pop, some confiidence to compete. 

The Cubs won without arguably their best player, Starlin Castro, who had a rare night off.  Dale Sveum, Cubs manager, said he wanted to talk about the game, with him.  This is such a young team.  You would think management would acquire a guy who has had experience to help these younger players along.  But getting a vet to come into the Cubs situation might not be so easy.  The Cubs have picked it up and might not be as bad as we had thought.  Even if they finish the season 14 games under .500 that is signicant improvement over the first 80 games of this season.

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Richard Kagan

Cubs beat Mets 6-1 posted by Richard Kagan

I've been a long time Cubs fan, and that means a long time suffering Cubs fan.  The Cubs are on a pace to lose more than 95 games this season, which is a lot.  But at least they beat the Mets at Wrigley on Monday night.   They bested Johann Santana, former two-time Cy Young winner and owner of the Mets' first no-hitter.  Ok, the ump at third missed a call that was an apparent base hit, but ruled it foul.  I call it an no-hitter with an Asterisk next to it.  Wait, one of these days, a Met pitcher will throw a great game for no hits, and there won't be any doubt about it.  Talk will go back to Santana's game.  But, I have to give him credit, he pitched a gutsy game.

But the Cubbies got to him tonight.  Courtesy of three Met errors that allowed 4 runs to score in the 7th inning.  The Cubs will get to their 30th win, when everyone else has's been that kind of season.  I'm hoping for a real winning streak, but the Cubs don't have a rotation to make that happen.  It's playing on the fly.  It's awkward and painful to watch.  But Cub fans are used to this.  At least the team is putting together some young talent.  Shawn Castro at Shortstop is an emerging star.  He is an All-star hitter.  Eventually, he will make that team.  But the Cubs have to get good.  I don't know when that's going to happen.

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Richard Kagan

The Cubs Are Not Good posted by Richard Kagan

Yippee, The Chicago Cubs beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 behind the solid right arm of Ryan Dempster (2-3), who may be on the trading block.  Dempster bolstered his status with an excellent outing, his second win in a row.  I have been a long-time cubs fans.  I was there for Don Cardwell's no-hitter in the second game of a DH.  I fell asleep and missed most of the game, as a child.  I was more alert for Kenny Holtzman's gem vs. the Atlanta Braves in 1969, when the Cubs looked so good.  I was sure they were going to win the pennant.  But....stuff happens, if you're a Cubs fan.

What still surprises me is that 32,000 fans come of the park every home game if the weather is decent.  The Cubs draw well over 2.5 million.  In a good season, it could be 2.8 million.  In this tiny ballpark in Wrigleyville...The fans still come out and root for the Cubbies.  Who are as lovable as ever, even if they are on pace to lose 100 games this season.  And, that is not a laughing matter.  How do you get paid, and get up in the morning and come to the park?

The Cubs were picked by most baseball experts to finish 4th or 5th in the division.  Unfortunately, they make the Pittsburgh Pirates look good.  Manager Dale Sveum looks like he is on an out of control train in that Denzel Washington thriller.  That train threatened to cause disruption all over the landscape.  It's a stretch to say this team could win 4 or 5 games in a row.  They don't have the players to do that.  And, coming from a fan, that is a sad thing to say.

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Richard Kagan

Santana's No-hitter posted by Richard Kagan

As a long-time Cubs fan, I view Johan Santana's no-hitter as a bit of a gift.  Carlos Beltran, an ex-Met, now playing for the St. Louis Cardinals sent a drive down the 3rd base line that touched the chalk.  The 3rd base umpire ruled the ball foul, and Beltran made an out in his at-bat.  But that ball was a fair ball and likely would have been a double, if the umpire saw the play fairly.  So, Santana's no-hitter, I don't buy it.  He pitched a great game, a probable one-hitter and benefited from a great play by the left-fielder Mike Baxter on a ball hit deep.  Baxter made the catch, and hurt his shoulder on the play.  Great pitching performances always need a little luck.  But Beltran's foul ball was fair, and a hit.  Call it an imperfect no-hitter.Continue reading "Santana's No-hitter"

Richard Kagan

Mike Quade Gone As Skipper of Cubs posted by Richard Kagan

The Cubs managerial merry-go-round takes another spin as Mike Quade was not re-hired by Theo Epstein, the new honcho for Cubs baseball.  Epstein was recently hired in talks so compicated that they a resembled U.S.-Russia nuclear pact to reduce nukes.

So Quade is out.  He had a good showing in 2010 at the end of the year when he led the Cubs to a great finish.  That got him the full-time job in 2011 and he presided over a 71-91 team.  Not exactly great.  But oh so Cub-like.

The Cubs will get a makeover.  They will be young and  hungry, with a few veterans.  Shawn Castro, the shortstop will be the fulcrum of this re-building project.  Castro has star written all over---He had over 200 hits for the season. The youngest Cub player ever to do that.  The Cubs are not going to win it next year.  But they may be more exciting.  With this team, you never know.

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One man's quest to make MLB journeyman David Ross an All-Star (Big League Stew)

If one Chicago Cubs fan gets his way, we might see baseball’s version of John Scott hijack this summer’s All-Star game. It would be David Ross, the Cubs’ 39-year-old journeyman of a backup catcher who is retiring after this season.  MLB All-Star voting is already underway (yes, for real and, yes, Opening Day was only a few weeks ago). One thing we’ve learned about All-Star voting in the past, both in baseball and in other sports, fans in the Internet era love to muck it up with shenanigans. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] Take the case of Scott, the veteran NHL enforcer who didn’t exactly deserve to be an All-Star this past season, but the Internet (aided by Yahoo Sports’ own Greg Wyshynski ) decided he should be one. So began a fascinating saga in which the NHL tried to bar Scott from participating in the All-Star game, eventually relented, then Scott stole the show at the game and won the MVP. It started as a joke, but ended as such a feel-good story that someone bought the movie rights . [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Baseball-Highlights of Thursday's Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Thursday: Cubs 16, Reds 0 Jake Arrieta tossed the second no-hitter of his career and the 15th in Chicago Cubs history in a 16-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Arrieta got Eugenio Suarez to fly out to right fielder Jason Heyward for the final out, and the celebration was on around the mound. Arrieta, who threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30 last season, was greeted with hugs, high-fives and a Gatorade shower before exiting the field. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

The Walk Off: Bryce Harper off to the best start of his career (Big League Stew)

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with the ridiculous start Bryce Harper is having to this season. Only seven players in history have won the National League MVP award in back-to-back seasons and while there is a long way to go this year, Bryce Harper is well on his way to adding his name to that list. The Washington Nationals slugger crushed his second Grand Slam of the season on Tuesday night in a 7-0 win at Miami and is now hitting .333 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in his first 45 at-bats of the season. The Nationals scored all seven of their runs in the seventh inning. Harper’s 413-foot home run came off Miami reliever Chris Narveson and it came less than a week after he hit his first Grand Slam of the season against Atlanta. This is easily the best start to a season in Harper’s young career. His previous best came in 2013, his second season in the big leagues when he was hitting .320 with five home runs and 10 RBI after 13 games. [ Giants fan leaves game in shame after making a huge mistake ] Harper was 22 years, 353 days old on the final day of the regular season last year when he won his first MVP award. He was the third youngest position player to achieve the feat trailing only Johnny Bench and Stan Musial. Neither of those legends repeated as the NL MVP the following year, which means if Harper can sustain this level of play over the course of 162 games, he would be the youngest player in history to win consecutive MVP awards. There is an ongoing debate in baseball about who the best position player in the game is right now with many picking Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout over Harper. Bu the Nationals young star is making it an increasingly closer call. He hit .330 last season with 42 home runs and 99 RBI and while we don’t expect Harper to keep up this pace all season, all those numbers could be surpassed this year assuming he stays healthy. It’s going to be fun to watch. TOP PERFORMERS Salvador Perez : One of the best hitting catchers in baseball went 2-for-4 with five RBI in Kansas City’s 8-6 win over Detroit. Perez drove in two in the third inning with a double to left field and then hit a three-run homer to left in the fifth inning. He has 10 RBI this season. Drew Smyly : The Tampa Bay lefty threw eight strong innings allowing only one hit and made a stellar catch in foul territory to earn his first win of the season 3-0 at Boston . He struck out 11 Red Sox and now has 27 strikeouts in 212/3 innings. The game was scoreless after nine innings but Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo home run to start a three-run 10th inning for the Rays. Mat Latos : The 28-year-old journeyman right-hander signed a $3 million deal with the Chicago White Sox in the offseason and has looked like he’s going to be worth every penny through his first three starts. In fact, Latos has looked as good as any pitcher in baseball the first three times through the rotation. He went 61/3 innings and gave up two runs in the White Sox 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels. He has now pitched 181/3 innings this season and has a 0.49 ERA. Tyler Flowers : After seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Flowers enjoyed his first big game with the Braves going 4-for-4 and driving in three runs to lead Atlanta to its fourth win of the season 8-1 over the Dodgers. Flowers hit four singles and drove in one run on three of those hits, including an infield single in the fourth inning. Jed Lowrie: In the top of the 11th inning, Lowrie belted his fourth hit of the night and later scored the game winning run in the Oakland’s 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees. Lowrie went 4-for-5 in the game with two runs scored and an RBI off his sixth-inning single to right field. Lowrie is hitting .286 to start the season. [ Noah Syndergaard throws so hard he branded his catcher's chest ] MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward has gone 0-for-9 in his return to St. Louis, but he hasn’t let the way he is struggling at the plate affect his defense. He showed why he is considered one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball in the fourth inning Tuesday night when he threw out Matt Holliday who was trying to score from third base. Heyward’s stellar throw to Miguel Montero preserved the Cubs one-run lead and Chicago made it hold up for five more innings winning 2-1 . The Cubs will go for the sweep over their division rivals on Wednesday. THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD Brewers 6, Twins 5 : Milwaukee gave up a three-run lead in the eighth inning but came back in the ninth to win thanks to RBI single from Scooter Gennett. Reliever Tyler Thornburg gave up two home runs and three runs in the eighth but earned the win thanks to Gennett who drove in Yadiel Rivera. Indians 3, Mariners 2: Carlos Carrasco allowed one run over 61/3 innings to earn his second win of the season for Cleveland. Seattle starter Wade Miley issued two walks with the bases loaded and didn’t survive the fourth inning. Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3 : Troy Tulowitzki drove in two runs with a third-inning double to left field and Toronto never trailed in winning its third straight. Marcus Stroman earned his third win of the season allowing three runs over seven innings with three strikeouts. Reds 4, Rockies 3 : Billy Hamilton doubled to left field driving in two in Cincinnati’s four-run second inning. Brandon Phillips went 4-for-4 and scored a run as Robert Stephenson earned his second win of the season with seven innings on the mound allowing one earned run. Mets 11, Phillies 1 : Neil Walker hit two of New York’s six home runs on the road at Philadelphia as the Mets pummeled the Phillies. Both of Walker’s blasts were the solo variety. Mets’starter Logan Verrett didn’t allow a run over six innings and struck out four to earn his first win of the season. Juan Lagares made a stellar catch in the eighth inning in center field possibly robbing Maikel Franco of a home run. Rangers 7, Astros 5 : Six different players drove in a run for the Rangers, including Prince Fielder who hit a two-run home run in the first inning. Derek Holland earned his first win of the season for Texas, despite needing 105 pitches to get through five innings of work. George Springer and Carlos Correa hit back-to-back home runs for Houston in the seventh inning. Diamondbacks 3, Giants 0 : Robbie Ray and three relievers combined to shut out San Francisco. Ray pitched six innings, allowing five hits and striking out eight. Arizona scored all of its runs in the fifth inningJean Segura, Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt each driving in a run. Padres 5, Pirates 4: Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Adam Rosales each hit home runs and starter Colin Rea pitched five innings and combined with five relievers to beat Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen had a chance to tie the game for the Pirates in the eighth inning but grounded into a double play to end the inning. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: The StewPod: A baseball podcast by Yahoo Sports Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed - - - - - - - Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

2016 NFL schedule: Why so much Bears, Eagles, Skins in prime time? (Shutdown Corner)

The 2016 NFL prime-time schedule on Sunday and Monday nights, which are considered some of the league’s marquee games, features some goof early-season battles between non-conference teams. The league's Thursday games are still considered the weakest night for evening football, but Sunday and Monday typically still deliver after dark. Most weeks, anyway. Much of the schedule looks stacked, but there are still a handful of teams with multiple prime-time games that we just don't get. The Chicago Bears? The Philadelphia Eagles? The Washington Redskins? Those teams get three games each on Sunday and Monday nights —the same as the Super Bowl-winning Broncos have. We're a little confused with some of the team choices, even though other matchups look downright delicious. Here's a look, week by week, at the Sunday night and Monday night games —and which ones we recommend actually watching: WEEK 1 Sunday: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins; Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Our take: The Chandler Jones-Jonathan Cooper Bowl, eh? OK, so the interesting trade this offseason might not be the only reason to watch this one. After all, these are the two conference runners-up from 2015, and there's still a chance Tom Brady could be suspended for this one. But we will take a Bruce Arians-Bill Belichick showdown anytime. The first Monday nighter is ... hmm. Yes, these are two playoff teams facing off, and it's two of the stronger fan bases and traditional franchises in the NFL. Plus, they don't often meet. So we get that. Expect a lot of Steelers fans in the house for Le'Veon Bell's possible return. The late game is about what we expected, although we thought the Rams might open in the Coliseum. Nope, this one is up the coast at Levi's. You kids might not remember it, but Rams-49ers used to be a good little rivalry back in the day, and this being the first game of Rams 2.0 and the first Chip Kelly game in San Fran, there are some decent storylines. Oh, and whomever the Rams pick first in the draft could be making their debut; if it's Jared Goff, he's a Bay Area kid, for what it's worth. WEEK 2 Sunday: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears Our take: The Vikings get to open their new stadium against their old rivals. As it should be. We thought this might happen in Week 1, but the Vikings instead open on the road and then host this one in what should be a big night in the Twin Cities. Last we saw, the building looked gorgeous, although they have had one or two setbacks. This rivalry is great, and the Vikings beat the Packers for the division a year ago. Fun matchup, assuming a healthy Jordy Nelson can lift the Packers. Interesting battle in the Windy City the next night, as three-quarters on the NFC North is on display this week. No super compelling angles for this one, really, depending on what the Eagles do at quarterback in the draft, but we still expect Sam Bradford to open the season as the starter. Maybe fog will roll in and we'll have a replay of that game back in 1988 . WEEK 3 Sunday: Bears at Dallas Cowboys Monday: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Our take: Bears? Again? So on paper, we get the allure of Bears at Cowboys. Two traditional teams —heck, two Mike Ditka teams —but really? Yes, we think both teams have a chance to be good. But something is a bit missing here for us that we might not be seeing. The Saints host their rival Falcons nearly 10 years to the day of the Steve Gleason game —the night the Superdome reopened after Hurricane Katrina and Gleason, who now suffers from ALS but is a big part of the franchise and community still, blocked a punt that never will be forgotten by the locals. This one will have extra meaning, too, following the death of Saints legends Will Smith and Hokie Gajan, although they do play at home in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders. WEEK 4 Sunday: Kansas City Chiefs at Steelers Monday: New York Giants at Vikings Our take: Two dangerous 2015 wild-card teams meet in what could be a good, old-fashioned matchup of heavyweights, as Andy Reid returns to the state in which he coached for 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. With Bell and the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles, two of the NFL's best backs —both shut down by ACLs last season —could square off. Both these teams have to feel like they can make runs at a Super Bowl. The Vikings host another game at night in their new digs. This game is a rematch of the one played last year at TCF Bank Stadium, with the Vikings slamming the Odell Beckham-less Giants, 49-17, in Tom Coughlin's penultimate game as head coach. This time, it will be Ben McAdoo leading the Jints, and yeah, he and the networks both hope OBJ is on the field. WEEK 5 Sunday: Giants at Green Bay Packers Monday: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Our take: The first game features former Super Bowl MVPs squaring off with Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers going head to head. And did you know the Giants have won the past thre matchups head to head, all by double digits? The first of those was a stunner —the Giants taking down the 15-1 Packers at Lambeau en route to winning it all in the 2011 season. Good game for two of the richest NFL franchises ever. The Packers and Giants have a long history, dating back to 1928 when Mule Wilson scored the only TD for the Giants in a 6-0 upset at old City Stadium in front of about 7,000 fans. There's symmetry here, too, with two No. 1 overall picks squaring off. Jameis Winston has his first Monday night game and a tough battle against the Panthers' defense. Meanwhile, this is becoming old hat for Cam Newton. He's been on prime time a lot and is sure to be a lot more for many years. WEEK 6 Sunday: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Monday: New York Jets at Cardinals Our take: Andrew Luck missed the last matchup between these AFC South rivals in Houston, and Matt Hasselbeck —now doing the TV thing —was the unexpected hero. Now J.J. Watt and Brock Osweiler and Co. will try to keep the Texans' division crown in this game. Are we pumped for it? Meh. But Luck and Watt are marquee names, so we get it. We like the sneaky good matchup in the Monday game between Arians and his former understudy. Todd Bowles did a marvelous job for the Jets in his first season, allthings considered, and he returns to the place where he did good work with the Cards' defense. WEEK 7 Sunday: Seattle Seahawks at Cardinals Monday: Texans at Denver Broncos Our take: THE NFL LOVES ARIANS! There's no other explanation! This is now three prime-time games for the beautiful birds in seven weeks. Pretty unreal. Oh, and Cardinals-Seahawks is the new 49ers-Seahawks. It's a down-and-dirty battle. We love it any time of the day. Ok, here's your Osweiler revenge game. You know the story. He played for the Broncos and yadda ya, Peyton Manning, benching, unhappy, free agency, John Elway, and boom —instant storyline magic. Not sure why someone who got paid $18 mil a year should be mad, but who am I? Two good defenses, too, for what it's worth. Wade Phillips was a big reason why ... for both teams. WEEK 8 Sunday: Eagles at Cowboys Monday: Vikings at Bears Our take: The DeMarco Murray Bo--oh, never mind. This is just a regular-ole rivalry game for two teams that probably should have made a run at the division a year ago but fell short. And in the Cowboys' case, way short. Crazy things have happened in this rivalry in Dallas, so it should be fun. Bears again? The Vikings we get, but the Fighting John Foxes are getting a lot of air time. I mean, we'll watch —heck, we're based in Chicago, so we likely will be there. But nothing too sexy off the hoof with this game. It's Halloween night, which is cool and all that. But if Chicago Cubs fans have their way, there actually could be a World Series game happening up the road in Chicago this same night, as the baseball season started late this year because of the calendar. Oh and yes, I just jinxed the Cubs, who now will lose 19 of their next 24 games. WEEK 9 Sunday: Broncos at Raiders Monday: Buffalo Bills at Seahawks Our take: By this point in the season, we should have a good idea whether the Raiders —sure to be everyone's preseason "sleeper" playoff club —are legit or not. This is a big one for the Raiders. Jack Del Rio used to run the Broncos' defense (and was their interim head coach when John Fox got sick in the Super Bowl season), and Derek Carr has a chance to be a star. Great test here under the lights. We like the idea of two scrambling, whirling dervishes on display in the Monday game, but that's assuming the Bills are still wedded to Tyrod Taylor by this point. He and Russell Wilson are as fun to watch as they are annoying for defense to try to corral. Cool trivia: Taylor beat out Wilson for ACC Player of the Year in 2010, back when he was at N.C. State before heading to Wisconsin. The last time the Bills played in Seattle it was a 38-9 romp by the visitors, led by Willis McGahee and Drew Bledsoe, besting the Hasselbeck- and Shaun Alexander-led Seahawks. WEEK 10 Sunday: Seahawks at Patriots Monday: Cincinnati Bengals at Giants Our take: The Seahawks third prime-time game in a four-week span just so happens to be against the team that beat them in stunning fashion in Super Bowl XLIX. So there's that. But no Marshawn Lynch and thus no chance for a do-over on the goal line. Instead, we get what looks to be a fantastic matchup again in what should be a raucous Gillette Stadium. The Bengals make their first appearance on this list, although they will be in stand-alone slots in a Week 4 Thursday game as well as the early London game two weeks (and the bye) prior to this contest in East Rutherford. Interestingly, it will be only the 10th all-time meeting of the Bengals and Giants, and yet seven of the nine matchups have been one-score games. But what happens with OBJ and Vontaze Burfict meet on the same field? WEEK 11 Sunday: Packers at Redskins Monday: Texans at Raiders Our take: Did we really need a rematch of the playoff game in D.C.? Again, we know that these are "ratings" teams and all that. But we really feel we're getting set up for a letdown here, but maybe Rodgers goes nuclear and throw for half a grand against this defense. There might not be anything too thrilling about the Monday game, but we like the promise of it. Carr looks poised for a breakout year, and we get to watch Khalil Mack face off against a hopefully healthy Jadeveon Clowney and Watt in a good but not great defensive battle. These teams are both contender, though. WEEK 12 Sunday: Patriots at Jets Monday: Packers at Eagles Our take: It's Thanksgiving week in the NFL, and it's back-to-back night games for the Patriots. A Buttfumble tradition reborn? We can only hope. Something fun always happens when these teams meet. We love history, so naturally we saw this matchup and thought of the "4th and 26" game (we refuse to call it the Freddie Mitchell game), but seriously what's up with all the Eagles? I get it, they're a big team and all that. But are they that good? I don't know. Maybe the NFL knows something we don't. WEEK 13 Sunday: Panthers at Seahawks Monday: Colts at Jets Our take: Now that Brady-Manning is no longer a thing, we suggest Newton-Wilson take its place. This will be meeting No. 7 since 2012, with two of those coming in the playoffs, and the average margin victory has been a mere six points. Wilson's Seahawks have won four of the six games, but Newton and the Panthers came back to beat the Seahawks improbably in the regular season and then withstood a major Seahawks comeback in the playoffs to win both games. This one looks tremendous. Colts-Jets frankly is a bit of a leftdown in comparison. We don't have much to say about it. Both teams could be good, but we are not drooling over this one frankly. WEEK 14 Sunday: Cowboys at Giants Monday: Baltimore Ravens at Patriots Our take: Cowboys-Giants on prime time? You don't say. It only has happened each of the past eight seasons, although we frankly expected one of these games earlier on this list, and as early as Week 1 even. What else can you say? The past six meetings have been tremendously close, with five being decided by one score. We might not get too many more of these Eli Manning-Tony Romo battles, so we will enjoy the heck out of each of them. Our first Ravens appearance on this list, and oh joy! It's Patriots week. Look, these organizations don't so much like each other, OK? Lot of bad blood between Bill Belichick's team and John Harbaugh's squad. They have a fun rivalry over the years, and it will be a return to the scene of the 2014 season crime when the Ravens blew two 14-point leads at Foxboro and complained about formations afterward. We look forward to this. Mark our words: The Ravens are much, much better than last season showed. WEEK 15 Sunday: Steelers at Bengals Monday: Panthers at Redskins Our take: Oh boy. You need a reminder what happened in the wild-card slop in January? Likely not. It was ugly, and the Bengals blew a golden chance to end their now decades-long playoff losing streak, which sits at seven because Jeremy Hill can't hang onto the football and Burfict and Pacman Jones can't keep their cool. The Steelers were the beneficiaries of that one, and these teams both look strong again. Another fun, but ugly one. The Panthers, we get. The Redskins? Man, they felt like a slightly fluky division champ a year ago. We hope we're wrong and that Kirk Cousins does for "You like that?!" what Newton has done for the dab. But we suspect things won't go as smoothly this season. Oh well. WEEK 16 Sunday: Ravens at Steelers; Broncos at Chiefs Monday: Detroit Lions at Cowboys Our take: A Christmas miracle! A doubleheader wrapped up nicely for us, and two division games to boot. We love them both. What's not to like about two sets of bitter rival wanting to tear each other up on the holy holiday? Welcome, Lions! You get to go on the road for Xmas to the other team that hosts Thanksgiving games. Oh, and it's the place where the refs screwed you in the playoffs a few years back. Joy to the world! - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

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The Walk Off: Cubs win again and are off to best start since '69 (Big League Stew)

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. It's safe to say there's no early-season disappointment with the Chicago Cubs. And Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds just reinforced that. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] The Cubs won their fifth straight game, beating the Reds 8-1 to complete a three-game sweep. The Cubs have the same record as the score — 8-1, which is their best start since 1969. That year, the Cubs won 11 of 12 games to start the season. Things didn't end so well that season , of course, but that team didn't have Kris Bryant and Addison Russell.  Bryant hit his second homer of the season while Russell had three hits and scored two runs. Cubs starter Jason Hammel threw six scoreless innings too. Perhaps most impressive about these Cubs is just how forceful their wins have been. Their run differential is +43, by far the most in MLB. The Cardinals are +24 and nobody else is even in the 20s. Enjoy these additional factoids about the Cubs' early-season onslaught: Highest Run Differential - 1st 9 Games of Season In Modern Era 1999 Indians +44 1905Giants +43 2016 @Cubs +43 Via @EliasSports — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 15, 2016 The last @Cubs team to post a better run differential through 9 games played in 1885 … as the White Stockings. — MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) April 15, 2016 The Cubs have a +43 run differential through 9 games. Last year, only 11 teams had a run differential that good over 162 games. — Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) April 15, 2016 These are all nice things. TOP PERFORMERS • Jaime Garcia: What's the best-possible scenario for the St. Louis Cardinals and starter Jaime Garcia? Exactly what happened Thursday. Garcia threw a one-hit shutout and struck out 13 as the Cards beat the Brewers 7-0 . He did it all in 104 pitches. • Vince Velasquez: Get this: Garcia's performance might not have even been the best of the day. Vince Velasquez, the 23-year-old Philadelphia Phillies starter, K'd 16 San Diego Padres while throwing a three-hitter that put him in the record books . The Phils won 3-0 and Velasquez went the distance, hitting 97 mph on his final pitch of the day.  Vince Velasquez, wow. He'd be the 5th-youngest pitcher to have a scoreless start of 14+ K, 0 BB behind Gooden, K. Wood, J. Fernandez, Blue. — Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) April 14, 2016 • Ian Kennedy:  We'll end this trifecta of pitchers with Kennedy, the new Kansas City Royals starter, who kept the Houston Astros offense quite most of the night. In fact, he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. All told, he gave up two hits and one run while striking out seven as the Royals beat the Astros 6-2 . MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT This is Bryce Harper's 100th career homer and his first career grand slam. Nice, both of them. He's also 23, so that's important to note. One more thing: This gave the Washington Nationals enough offense to beat the Atlanta Braves, 6-2 . The Braves, by the way, still haven't won a game this season. THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD •  Los Angeles Dodgers 5, Arizona Diamondbacks 2 : Dodgers score five in the seventh, as Ross Stripling throws six innings in his second MLB start. • Detroit Tigers 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 4 : New Detroit Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann has yet to surrender a run with his new squad, including his Thursday start against the Pirates.  • Chicago White Sox 3, Minnesota Twins 1 : The Twins have still won as many games as you this MLB season. Nada. • Cleveland Indians 6, Tampa Bay Rays 0 : The Indians hit three homers and rough up Rays ace Chris Archer.  • Colorado Rockies 11, San Francisco Giants 6 : Matt Cain gave up the six runs in 4.2 innings, not getting out of Colorado's nine-run fifth inning. • Toronto Blue Jays 4, New York Yankees 2 : Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki homered, while Marcus Stroman went eight strong innings.  • Texas Rangers 6, Baltimore Orioles 3 : Rougned Odor lands the go-ahead double as the Rangers rally for five in the sixth inning to beat the O's. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: The StewPod: A baseball podcast by Yahoo Sports Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed - - - - - - - Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz [read full article]

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