The NBA season finally came to a close last week. It was a long-time in the making, since the regular season is 82-games long, and the entire playoffs is well over two-months. To send them off we got ourselves our first blockbuster trade prior to the NBA Draft, which was held on Thursday night.
Jermaine O'Neal was sent to the Toronto Raptors for the 17th pick in the Draft, along with point-guard T.J. Ford and Rasho Nesterovic. Not too bad for the Pacers, getting a star point guard, dumping a big-man who had not produced all the while costing them a hefty pay-load. They get a 1st-round draft pick and Nesterovic for one year before his contract expires, allowing them to get rid of him probably for cash or another draft pick. Looks like Larry Bird may be on his way to Executive of the Year, eh?
The Draft went well, with the biggest moves being done after it ended. But before we get to that, let's talk success. The Bulls took Derrick Rose number one overall, letting Michael Beasley fall to the Miami Heat. Not bad for my Bulls as now they've got to figure out what to do with Kirk Hinrich. Both the New Jersey Nets and Portland Trailblazers made picks and nailed a few steals, sewing up their rosters. The Nets dealt Richard Jefferson out of Jersey and are even attempting to clean out Vince Carter. But the biggest news may have been the trade that took place after the Draft had concluded. O.J. Mayo went fifth overall to the Timberwolves, but was sent to the Memphis Grizzlies for Kevin Love and a few other names.
Overall, it was a good showing and we'll have to wait and see who makes an immediate impact for their teams next season. With the Draft in the books along with the NBA season, we're left with baseball, NASCAR, Olympic trials, Tennis and Golf.
LOB is a terrible thing, my friends. Just like DFS (Displaced Fan Syndrome) it haunts you day and night.
Thankfully, there's one of my other favorite sports that's still going on. BASEBALL!
Interleague play continued this week, with key matchups between the Mets and Yankees and White Sox and Cubs. There was a sighting of a team winning without a single hit. And the Royals and Twins continued to dominate against teams of opposing League's.
The annual Subway series got cranking earlier in the week, starting in Yankee Stadium before having to be shipped off to the home of the Mets. Rain postponed one game, making for a double-header that started with the Mets thrashing the Yankees with 15-runs, and then not scoring any in the next game. Saturday was close with more rain that delayed the game almost an hour, but still the Yankees were able to get solid innings out of Andy Pettitte and the win. Oliver Perez took the mound on Sunday and pitched a remarkable seven-innings, nailing down the series at a dead heat.
One guy who didn't show up on Sunday but did the entire week and during the series was Bobby Abreu. Abreu was a monster during the week for the Yankees, providing an extra bat along side hot hitters in Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon. He wasn't in the lineup on Sunday, and looking at how he had been doing it may have helped the Yankees against Perez. Nonetheless, Abreu was nearly automatic at the dish this week, earning him a spot here today. He's probably one of the biggest reasons as to why the Yankees are well over .500 and only 5 1/2 back of the Rays and five behind the Sox. The Yanks have played extremely well recently. They're back in the hunt and now it's time to see what type of team they really are, as the next 35 of their 38 opponents are winning teams.
Abreu's Stats: 10/19, 5 R, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 2 HR, .526 BA
While teams like the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins have done a splendid job in interleague play, the Boston Red Sox have been very inconsistent, resulting in no longer being in first place in the AL East. The Sox are 8-7 in interleague play, which isn't too bad especially considering they've won all of their series except against Houston this previous weekend. But .500 baseball against NL teams isn't very pleasurable to look at when the Sox are in the toughest division in baseball today. One of the bright spots through it all outside of having Dice-K back and in the rotation is how hot Dustin Pedroia is. For a bit, J.D. Drew was hitting lights out and was one of the hottest in the Majors for Boston. Now, it's D-Ped, that guy Cardsox made a blog about a few months ago simply asking him to have his babies.
Pedroia's Stats: 15/27, 7 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 HR, .555 BA
One of those teams that Boston took two of three from was the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the opening game of the series at Fenway, Dan Haren faced off against Josh Beckett and practically outpitched him. Both went deep into the game but the D-Backs and Haren got the better of the Sox in a close one. Flash forward to Sunday and Dan Haren pitched another seven-innings that notched up his spot in this edition of the Monday Mac Attac. Haren and the D-Backs aren't nearly as hot as they started, as they've settled down to .500 baseball. Even as Haren pitched exceedingly well on Sunday, he did not get his name in the decision and the Diamondbacks actually dropped the game to the Marlins, 4-3. Arizona is still a solid team that can make a playoff push, but it looks like the All Star break can't come fast enough for this club right now. For Haren, he's making a charge for the NL Cy Young right about now; it wouldn't hurt if his team helped out a bit more.
Haren's Stats: 14 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 K, 1-0
Keeping with today's American League East theme, in comes A.J. Burnett of the Toronto Blue Jays. With a tight 1-0 win on Sunday with Burnett on the mound the Jays pulled to just three games under .500 and just a bit closer to those Rays. Toronto started the week with a 14-1 thrashing of the Reds, which forced me to take not of Alex Rios, Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, A.J. Burnett and Vernon Wells due to their stellar performances. As the week went on the names began to disappear and the Jays finished the week at 4-2, making up a bit of ground even though they are still in fifth place. Burnett's two phenomenal starts were key for the Jays this week in getting their four-wins.
Burnett's Stats: 15 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 18 K, 2-0
MLB Player of the Week: Dustin Pedroia
At first, I gave it to Haren, then I realized that hitting over .500 in a week can't be ignored no matter how much I try to not look like a homer. All four of those guys had immaculate weeks. I'm snubbing someone, I know that much. So sorry Haren, Burnett and Abreu. And I guess their fans too.
Sometimes in sports, rain can be a good thing. For Kurt Busch on Sunday in London, New Hampshire at the Lenox Industrial Tools 301, it was.
The race ended 17-laps too early due to the rain, giving Busch a victory and ending his 29-race winless streak. Of the 284-laps, Tony Stewart led 132 of them, but in the end wasn't in position to take the checkered flag when the rain became too much to drive in.
For Stewart, he had to settle with a very disappointing 13th place, and Penske Racing was able to celebrate although the manner in which Busch got his victory was a bit odd.
At least they can say Kyle Busch didn't win this week.
The Buick Open concluded its play on Sunday afternoon in Grand Blanc, Michigan. This go-around, Kenny Perry a native of Kentucky, won the event.
Perry's victory at the Buick all but locked him up a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will face Europe soon. Perry finished the tournament at 19-under, earning himself $900,000 to go on top of his spot on the Ryder Cup team.
Perry became the third Tour player to win more than one event in 2008, and also the oldest to win at Warwick Hills. Very satisfying weekend for Kenny Perry it was.
SIFS Player of the Week: Dustin Pedroia
Being ½ a game back of the Rays hurts a bit. But, as a Red Sox fan I can still hold onto the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka is back in the rotation and has had a better start than his first one off the DL (gave up 7 ER in 1-inning pitched). Drew, Manny, Lowell, Pedroia and Youkilis are all hitting the cover off the ball, so it's safe to say they will be OK until Ortiz can get himself back.
We've reached the half-way point of the season, and only await now the games to wrap up so we can head to Yankee Stadium and play that game that shouldn't count - but does. Hopefully, the voters can find a way to get Ian Kinsler on the AL roster; the guy's leading the AL in hits and runs scored, yet he's off the roster. Somebody has to tell the voters they're "out of their element!"
And it looks like I'm out of mine. Rambling from the Swamps should be the new title of this weekly blog...Mac is done.