MLB on Any Sport Any Time

Canada Day Weekend Sports Preview–June 29-July 1–Volleyball, LPGA, Wimbledon, CFL _ MLB

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The Edmonton Eskimos will start their 2013 Canadian Football League season Saturday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium against the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday, TSN, 1:30 p.m.).

The Eskimos will enter the 2013 season with Mike Reilly at quarterback, who backed up Travis Lulay last season, and won the job when Matt Nichols tore his ACL against the Roughriders in the preseason. According to the Canadian Press, Eskimos General Manager Ed Hervey was very excited in the offseason of the acquisitions of backup running back John White from Utah and offensive lineman Carson Rockhill, who was acquired from Hamilton.


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Blue Jays have now won ten straight

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Jose Bautista (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

The Toronto Blue Jays have all of a sudden found themselves  back into playoff contention. A major reason why Toronto is back in the hunt is because of a double digit winning streak.

On Saturday, Jose Bautista hit a two run home run as Toronto defeated Baltimore 4-2. With the win, the Blue Jays have now won ten straight and are only four games back of the Orioles in the American League wildcard chase.

The Blue Jays winning streak started with a 7-5 win in Chicago on June 11. Since then they have swept the Texas Rangers in a four game series on the road and the Colorado Rockies in a three game interleague series at home. With a win today against Baltimore, the Blue Jays will have recorded a  remarkable three consecutive sweeps.

The Blue Jays longest winning streak in franchise history is 11 straight wins, accomplished once in 1987 and another in 1998. Both those years however the Blue Jays failed to make the playoffs.


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Weekend Sports Preview–June 22-23–Stanley Cup Playoffs _ MLB

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Marian Hossa (Dinur Blum, Wikimedia Commons)

Game five of the Stanley Cup Finals returns to Chicago this evening with the Blackhawks hosting the Boston Bruins (Saturday, NBC, 6:00 p.m.).

The Stanley Cup Finals is now a best-of-three with the series tied 2-2.

In game four on Wednesday evening 11 goals were scored between the two teams. The fact that so many goals were scored was a significant surprise and many expect the series to return to a low scoring affair. If there are many opportunities, it benefits Chicago. If there are a few chances, it benefits Boston.

It will be interesting to see if Blackhawks sniper Marian Hossa will play tonight. Hossa, who missed game three on Monday and played game four on Wednesday, missed practice  on Friday because he was dealing with an injury. It is known what the injury is. Hossa plays a very important role in the Blackhawks top two lines.


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Blue Jays back in contention in American League playoff race

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Up until about a week ago it looked like this was going to be another lost season for the Toronto Blue Jays. They were nine games below the .500  mark and in dead last in the American League East.

Well, after a seven game winning streak, the Blue Jays are still dead last in the American League East, and are still below the .500 mark. However, they are now 34-36, and the hottest team in baseball. They are also now a manageable 4.5 games back of the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees for the second American League wildcard berth.


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Marathon games continue in Major League Baseball

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The Oakland Athletics defeated the New York Yankees this afternoon 3-2 in 18 innings. So, you ask? It was a marathon baseball game and you have those once in a while.

But within the last couple of weeks, it was the fourth game that went 17 innings or more. On May 30, the Toronto Blue Jays lost 4-3 to the San Diego Padres. Then last Saturday, the Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers 4-3 in 18 innings and the Miami Marlins defeated the New York Mets 2-1 in 20 innings.

Also last week you saw Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners tie the game on a grand slam in the 14th inning only to see Seattle lose 7-5 in 16 innings to the Chicago White Sox.


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Edmonton native drafted by Cubs Thursday

Friday, June 7th, 2013

The top Canadian selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft was a native of Edmonton.

On Thursday the Chicago Cubs drafted lefthanded pitcher Rob Zastryzny of the University of Missouri in the second round, 41st overall.

Even though Zastryzny was a native of Edmonton, he was raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. In his senior year of high school in 2010, Zastryzny was the All-South Texas Pitcher of the Year, as he posted a 17-1 record, 0.20 earned run average and 198 strikeouts.

This past season Major League Baseball scouts were able to ignore his 2-9 record on the mound for the Universty of Missouri Tigers this season and focus on the fact he had a 3.38 earned run average.


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Weekend Sports Preview–June 8-9–French Open, Canadian Grand Prix, NHL, NBA Finals, MLB, WMBL, Equestrian _ LPGA

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Serena Williams (Katherine Shann, Wikimedia Commons)

Back in 2004, Russian newcomer Maria Sharapova shocked the tennis scene when she beat the great  Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in the final of Wimbledon. Sharpova, who was only 17 at the time, proved her victory was no fluke when she beat Williams at a tournament in Los Angeles later that summer.

However over the last nine years, it has all been Williams in their head-to-head battles. Serena, who is currently ranked number one in the world, has defeated Sharapova, currently ranked second, twelve straight times. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Williams gave Sharapova a 6-0, 6-1 beatdown in which it was quite possibly Williams’s best tennis match ever.

Now Williams has not won the French Open since 2002 when she beat her sister Venus, but should go into the final as the clear favourite (Saturday, NBC, 7:00 a.m.).

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

Saturday _ Sunday–LPGA Championship–Golf Channel–1:00 p.m.–Women’s golf second major is this weekend from Rochester,  New York. Once again, a South Korean is in the lead. Currently in first round action, Chella Choi at -6 leads American Morgan Pressel by two strokes. Choi is trying to become the fourth consecutive South Korean to win a major, following Na Yeon Choi, Jiyai Shin and Inbee Park. Round one was on Friday because action was rained out on Thursday. Organizers are expected to have round two on Saturday and then 36 holes on Sunday.


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Weekend Sports Preview–June 1-2–Volleyball, NHL Playoffs, NBA Playoffs, MLB, French Open

Friday, May 31st, 2013

For the sixth time since World Volleyball League action in 1991, Canada is in the world group. On Saturday, Team Canada faces the Netherlands (2:00 p.m. Mountain Time, Sportsnet) from Quebec City.

The team Canada captain is Frederic Winters of Gatineau, Quebec, while  their top libero is Blair Bann of Edmonton. This will be Canada’s second game of the world tournament as they will play ther first game in Quebec City this evening.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

NHL–Western Conference Final–Los Angeles Kings @ Chicago Blackhawks–Game One Saturday–TSN–3:00 p.m. _ Game Two Sunday–TSN–6:00 p.m.— The Kings, the seed are playing the Blackhawks in a battle of the Stanley Cup champions in two of  the last three years. Offensively, the Blackhawks have  been led by snipers Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp who each have 11 points. While the Kings are led by Mike Richards who has 10 points. But let’s not kid ourselves. The major reason why the Kings have advance to their second straight Western Final has been the play of goaltender Jonathan Quick who has a .948 save percentage.


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Weekend Sports Preview–May 25-26–NHL, French Open, PGA, Soccer, MLB, Indianapolis 500 _ Memorial Cup

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Arjen Robben (Wikimedia Commons)

This is the biggest weekend for the year in auto racing, soccer and junor hockey.

In soccer, Borussia Dortmund will play Bayern Munich in the championship of the UEFA Champions League today in London. It marks the first time ever that two teams from Germany will be playing for the championship.

Borussia Dortmund is led by Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored four goals in one game in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-1 win over Real Madrid in the semi-final. Bayern Munich meanwhile is led by midfielders Franck Ribery of France and Arjen Robben of the Netherlands, who have plenty of big game experience.The game can be seen on FOX at 12:45 p.m.

On Sunday, the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place with American Ed Carpenter on the pole. Carpenter has prior success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as he won an Indy Lights race in Indianapolis in 2003. He has also won twice  in IndyCar, 2011 in Kentucky and 2012 in Fontana, California. However his best finish this year has only been 14th.


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Votto red hot for the Reds

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Joey Votto (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

For the third time in his career, Toronto native Joey Votto, the first baseman slugger for the Cincinnati Reds has been named the National League player of the week.

Votto batted .583, had two home runs, five runs batted in, a .655 on base percentage, and a .917 slugging percentage this past week.

On the season, the Reds slugger is second in batting average at .349, fifteen points back of Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Juan Segura at .364. He is also third in runs scored with 33, behind Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies at 36 and Shin-Soo Choo of the Cincinnati Reds at 35.Votto also has six home runs and 20 runs batted in for the year.

Speaking about red hot, so too is Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers slugger and reigning American League MVP is trying to become the first player in Major League Baseball history to win the triple crown in back-to-back years. He currently leads the American League with a .387 batting average and 47 runs batted in, and his 11 home runs are only one back of Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, Mark Reynolds of the Cleveland Indians and Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, who each have 12.


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Diamondbacks win unique game Saturday

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Gerardo Parra (Mark Winograd, Wikimedia Commons)

For the first time in 50 years on Saturday, the only run in a Major League Baseball game came on the first pitch.

In Arizona’s 1-0 win over Miami on Saturday, Gerardo Parra, the Diamondbacks’ right fielder, hit a home run on the first pitch of the game off of Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler.

It would also be the last run scored in the entire game.

The last time that the only run was scored in the entire game from the first pitch was on September 2, 1963. According to Sports Illustrated, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds hit a home run as the Reds defeated the New York Mets 1-0. This was Rose’s rookie season in Cincinnati. Rose, who went on to be one of the most controversial players of all time because he was banned from baseball for admitting to betting on the sport, is the all-time leader in hits with 4,256.

Arizona meanwhile move into first place in the National League West with the victory.




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Victoria Day Weekend Sports Preview–May 18-20–NHL, NBA, MLB, Horse Racing _ World Hockey Championships

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Sidney Crosby (Michael Miller, Wikimedia Commons)

Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all-time. Heck, he is also the greatest athlete of all-time. But I think it is safe to say that right now Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the best hockey player in the world right now.

On Friday night, Crosby showed just why he is so great. In a dominating performance, Crosby had a hat trick by the early portion of the second period in a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators in game two of the Eastern Conference semi-final that put the Penguins up 2-0 in the best-out-of-seven series.

Crosby will now have the opportunity to showcase his skills north of the border this weekend as Pittsburgh travels to Ottawa for game three of the Eastern Conference semi-final (Sunday, CBC, 5:30 p.m.). I know the Penguins are loaded with talent that includes Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla, but the bottom line is when healthy Pittsburgh is Crosby’s team.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching:

Saturday–MLB–New York Mets @ Chicago Cubs–WPIX–11:00 a.m.–Two teams in fourth place in their divisions play today at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are 17-24 in the National League Central, while the Mets are 16-23 in the National League East. First baseman Anthony Rizzo, who represented Italy at the World Baseball Classic, with nine home runs, 29 runs batted in and a .522 slugging percentage. While so far this season, the Mets have been led by third baseman David Wright, who leads the team with a .312 batting average, .418 on base percentage and a .536 slugging percentage.


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MLB suspends umpire for not enforcing rules Thursday

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Major League Baseball is stepping up to the plate and suspending umpire Fieldin Culbreth.

A monumental mistake was made on Thursday in a game between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Houston Astros.

Last night in Houston, the Astros made a pitching change and replaced reliever Paul Clemens with Wesley Wright. However while Wright was on the mound and throwing his warmup pitches, Astros manager Bo Porter made a pitching change and brought in reliever Hector Ambriz.


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Blue Jays’ starting pitcher J.A. Happ injured in scary incident

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

J.A. Happ (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

The problems in 2013 are continuing for the Toronto Blue Jays.

On Tuesday night at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Blue Jays’ starting pitcher J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Rays’ center fielder Desmond Jennings during the second inning.

The baseball went into the right field bullpen off of Happ’s head.

There is no report yet on the injuries Happ sustained, but it was reported that Happ was in stable condition at the Bayfort Medical Centre in Tampa Bay.

Line drives off the bat in baseball can be one of the most dangerous instances in sport. Pitchers sometimes just do not have the appropriate time to react.


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