I posted a question once on one forum where I asked which four players Coach K would eliminate from the team..I stated my opinion: Lamar Odom(the obvious one), Eric Gordon, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gay..Most of the members disagreed with me,saying that Davis will play instead of Harden,even Blake Griffin..I guess Coach K thought I was right so he isn’t taking those four players to London..

This team is the best team in the world,without any doubts..Even though Dwight Howard,Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose are missing, this team is full of NBA superstars and they are right now #1 favorites to take the gold at the Olympics in London..

Coach K had 10 secured spots in the team and had only two spots left and six players to choose from..Five actually if consider that Odom is the weakest link in this team..So Gordon,Gay,Harden, Davis and Iguodala had to work very hard in order to secure their spot ..Krzyzewski chose Harden and Iguodala over those three,which is totally expected since Kobe is the only true SG and Iguodala is one of the best defensive players in the NBA..

Harden and Iguodala will join 10 other players that were kind of safe from elimination: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony..


First of all, there weren’t many impressive batting performances last night as the pitchers did an awesome job..But I’ve found 10 players that had the best performances..There are three Kansas City Royals’ players on the list..


1, Alcides Escobar (KC,SS)- .750, 3R, 3H, 2B, SB

2. Nelson Cruz (Tex, OF)- .600, 3H, 2 2B, 2 RBI

3. Mike Moustakas (KC,3B)- .500, R, 2H, HR, 3 RBI

4. Nick Swisher (NYY, OF)- .400, R, 2H, HR, 3 RBI (Doubleheader)

5. Michael Bourn (Atl, OF)- .750, 2R, 3H, SB

6. Billy Butler (KC, DH)- .600, 3H, 3 RBI

7. Jose Altuve (Hou, 2B)- .750, 3H, RBI, SB

8. Martin Prado (Atl, OF)- .400, 2H, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB

9. Adrian Gonzalez (Bos, 1B)- .444, 2R, 4H, 2 2B (Doubleheader)

10. Allen Craig (Stl, 1B)- .750, R, 3H, 2 2B

Yesterday,I had no doubt which pitching duel would be the most interesting but today I can’t make a decision as there are a lot of quality pitching duels..I decided to take two but it wasn’t easy either because I had to overlook duels like Zack Greinke vs Wandy Rodriguez or Ricky Romero vs Gavin Floyd or Jason Vargas vs Jarrod Parker..But these two duels I’ve chosen will certainly be the most quality ones today..

Duel #1:

Jason Hammel vs Jered Weaver

Hammel(8-4) lost his last two starts with pretty unimpressive performances,giving up 12 earned runs and 15 hits along with 10 strikeouts..His ERA changed drastically after those two games and increased from 2.61 to 3.43..His WHIP has increased,to and it’s 1.20 now..Striking out is his major asset as he has 97 SO in 99.2 innings pitched(he’s not Stephen Strasburg but those are very good numbers,too)..

Weaver(9-1) is a top 3 pitcher in American League,no doubt..He leads the American League in ERA, WHIP and W%..He won his last three starts and his ERA has dropped from 2.40 to 2.13 with WHIP of 0.94..He might not be the strikeout machine like his opponent but he’s given up only 62 hits the whole season..


Duel #2:

Ryan Vogelsong vs James McDonald

Vogelsong(7-3)¬†took a no decision in his last start when he allowed two runs over seven innings against the Reds. He leads the National League in ERA (2.26) with a WHIP of 1.11 and lots of people say he got snubbed from National League’s All Star Team..His ERA has constantly been below 2.50 since the start of June..I expect from him to keep pitching well in July..

James McDonald(8-3) is certainly a top 5 pitcher in the National League this season..He won his last three starts but the game against the Phillies on 27th of June increased his ERA from 2.19 to 2.45..His WHIP has remained the same, though and it’s 1.00 now (3rd in NL)..He pitched against the Giants on April 13th and that was his first loss of the season when he gave up 6 hits and 3 earned runs..


Apart from the first two players on the list,I had a hard time putting each player at certain positions..I’ve selected 16 players who had a performance worth mentioning but I had to extract six of them and those were Andrew McCutchen,Corey Hart, Nelson Cruz, David Freese, Aramis Ramirez and Curtis Granderson..

The list of best performers of last night looks like this:

1. Anthony Rizzo( ChC, 1B)- .800, R, 4H, HR, 3 RBI

2. Mark Teixeira(NYY, 1B)- .500, 2R, 2H, 4 RBI, SB

3. Alex Rodriguez(NYY, 3B)- .750, 2R, 3H, RBI, 2 SB

4. Melky Cabrera(SF, OF)- .500, R, 2H, HR, 2 RBI

5. Dexter Fowler(Col, OF)- .500, R, 2H, HR, RBI

6. Carlos Gonzalez(Col, OF)- .667, 2R, 2H, 2B, SB

7. Adrian Gonzalez(Bos, 1B)- .600, 2R, 2H, 2B, RBI

8. B.J. Upton(TB, OF)- .750, 2R, 3H, RBI

9. David Ortiz(Bos, DH)- .750, R, 3H, RBI

10. Aaron Hill(Ari, 2B)- .750, R ,3H, RBI

Ever since we’ve reached the midseason in the major league,analysts and experts have started making their lists of the most valuable players and stuff so I decided to make my own list for AL and NL in three categories: MVP, Rookie of the year and Cy Young..


Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

I’ve already posted about Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton’s race for the MVP award and why Mike Trout should be considered as the midseason MVP of the American League..This youngster is having the season of his life,plays great both offensively and defensively..He’s shown us his defensive skills with numerous acrobatic catches and his offense is top-notch,both on bases and with the bat at the home plate..He’s batting with an average of .345, he has over 20 stolen bases and can freely be called the leader of the Angels of Anaheim..



Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Yeah,yeah,I know that all those Joey Votto lovers are thinking I’m crazy,but if you look at the performances and stats,you’ll see that McCutchen deserves to be called the most valuable player..Like the AL’s most valuable,he’s great with the bat and makes some awesome defensive moves..Batting .360 so far,he’s leading the Pirates towards the playoffs after many years of failing..They’re 8 or 9 games over .500 thanks to this guy and they can certainly be called the biggest surprises of this season..


AL Rookie Of The Month:

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

No explanation necessary.Just look at the AL MVP part..


NL Rookie Of The Month:

Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Not Bryce Harper,Wade Miley..He’s the best rookie pitcher so far and the best pitcher in DBacks’ rotation that has Ian Kennedy,Daniel Hudson etc..He’s 9-5 so far this season and has an ERA of 3.04..He might not be the best strikeout machine(70 Ks so far) but he has a WHIP of 1.09..


AL Cy Young:

Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

I was quite sure about this one..I thought about Justin Verlander a couple of times but still Chris Sale is the best pitcher so far in the American League..It was a complete no-brainer.. This guy has an ERA of 2.19 and 8.6 K/9 along with only FIVE home runs given up..He’s simply amazing..I could be talking about him for hours but let the stats speak for him..


NL Cy Young:

R.A. Dickey, New York Mets

Yes,the knuckleball pitcher wins the Cy Young of the midseason..Experts don’t like that knuckleball and they’re even discussing if that knuckleball could cost him the start in the ASG..What? He doesn’t only throw the knuckleball,for the love of God..I’m not sure that 2.40 ERA , 0.93 WHIP and 123 SO weren’t achieved with the knuckleball only..Haters always gonna hate but he shouldn’t change his pitching style if he wants to keep doing it good..


I was looking at today’s games and pitcher duels and for the first time I wasn’t indecisive,I knew one duel is gonna be better than all other ones..The 4-games series of the biggest rivalry in baseball starts today at the Fenway Park in Boston..The pitchers who have the honor to start the game today are Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees and Josh Beckett for the Red Sox..

Kuroda (8-7, 3.17 ERA) is pitching better and better with every next start and I’m finally not a pissed Yankees’ fan whenever he steps on the mound..He has 7 earned runs in his last 5 starts and his ERA has dropped all the way to 3.17 with a WHIP of 1.22..His last start was against the White Sox when he had 3 hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched..

Beckett(4-7, 4.06 ERA) wasn’t impressive in his last 5 starts ,he has 14 earned runs and 29 hits with 3 losses and 2 ND..His ERA is always around 4.10 but his WHIP is 1.15,and he’s ranked 6th in AL in WHIP..His last start was a ND against Seattle when he had 4 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched..

The future of Ray Allen is still not decided and it looks like it won’t be decided in next 10 days,at least..He met with Heat’s front office but they didn’t get an answer from the veteran and they are waiting for him to decide whether he’s leaving the Celtics or not..

Heat offered Allen a mid-level exception, a three-year contract that could be worth about 9,5 million bucks..Celtics are offering him a different contract,6 million per year for two seasons..It looks like remaining a Celtic is still an option for him and it looks like we’re gonna have a Zach Parise scenario here..He’ll take his time and make a decision when the time is right,just like a young stud from Minny..

The problem with staying with Celtics is that there’s a newcomer that could spoil Ray’s playing time..He would have to play alongside Jason Terry and I’m not sure that’s something that makes Ray happy..Personally,I’d like to see Ray staying with Celtics but it’s his decision..