Five Thoughts To End a Holiday Weekend

I watched the hockey game tonight, and I was left stunned by what I saw. The Red Wings are freakishly good, and Pittsburgh is in serious trouble. The Penguins haven’t scored a goal yet in 120 minutes. Ouch. What is most amazing, and most contributes to the outcome, is that Detroit is just sticking to their game plan. Pittsburgh keeps doing stupid things to try to get Detroit mad, the Red Wings don’t respond, and Pittsburgh commits a penalty out of frustration. That would be great at the best of times, but it is especially effective because neither Sidney Crosby nor Evgeni Malkin kill penalties. The best possible way to neutralize those two is to keep them off the ice. I feel fairly sure that Pittsburgh will win game three at home, but this series so far is just testament to how good Detroit is. It also makes me think that the week off before the series was the worst possible thing that could have happened to the Pens – their young guys had too much time to sit around and freak themselves out by the immensity of what was in front of them. It’s clear that the team lacks a player in a central role who has been here before. Detroit – start planning your parade route.

Probably just one parade route, though, Detroit. The Pistons got a win tonight to even their series with Boston at two, but I still don’t have a lot of confidence in their ability to win it all. I don’t think that they have the health or the effective depth to beat the Western rep if they can get past Boston. This round so far has really shown just how true what we have suspected all along is – the West really is much better than the East this year.

After nine straight wins, Brandon Webb lost for the second time in a row tonight. Unlike his first loss, though, this one was ugly. He only got one out in the fifth before getting booted, and he allowed four runs and ten hits. The odd thing is that though he was very hittable tonight he was also fooling a lot of guys – he struck out eight. I went against Webb tonight just based on value in his (in my opinion) inflated price, but I will be staying away from him entirely now until we can see for sure that he hasn’t decided to plunge into a freefall or that he is healthy.

Philadelphia was at (-201) tonight against the Rockies with Jamie Moyer on the mound. Just think about that for a second – Colorado was in the World Series just last year, but they have fallen so far, so fast that oddsmakers think them to be an overwhelming underdog against a guy who is 200 years old and throws about 12 miles an hour. Even worse, the price actually reflected value – a lot of it. Philly exploded for 20 runs, including two innings with 6 each, to win 20-5. That’s the fourth time that Colorado has been at +160 or higher and they have won just once, so they are not a good team to take a shot at as a long shot no matter how tempting the potential payoff may be. Put another way, they really suck.

The teams with the three highest payrolls in baseball are well below .500. The two lowest paid teams are leading their divisions. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but it just seems so odd to see that in print and try to digest it. Very, very, very bizarre. Also odd – as many of the top ten payrolls (two) are in last place in their division as are in first place.

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