This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 08/28/2007
A - Anderson, Garrett. Anyone who plays well against the Yankees is instantly a friend of mine. That makes Anderson the best friend I have ever had. He had four hits and 10 RBI on Tuesday as the Angels walloped the Yanks, 18-9. The effects of the beating didn't last, though - the Yankees rebounded to beat Anaheim 8-2 the next night.
B - Bobby Jenks. The White Sox closer had an impressive streak snapped on Tuesday when he gave up a single after recording 41 consecutive outs. That ties him with Jim Barr, who set the mark in 1972, for the most ever. Jenks is showing just how good he is this year. He has 35 saves despite playing for a truly awful team. He's one of the few bright spots in this black year.
C - Chargers. What we saw on Saturday from San Diego is something I suspect we can get pretty used to - they gave up a ton of points, but they won by scoring even more. The defense has some work to do (unless Arizona is just really, really good, but I don't believe that), but the offense looks like it is already in top form, and Tomlinson didn't even step on the field.
D - Drew Brees. I don't think that the preseason has any relevance at all, but Brees sure does look good. Actually, he looks much better than that. He was 17-19 for 182 yards and a touchdown in less than one half against Kansas City this week. He seems very happy with the acquisition of receiver David Patten - they combined for six catches and a touchdown.
E - Edgar Renteria. The Braves could use another reliable bat, and they thought they had it with the return of Renteria, who had been on the DL with an ankle injury. Not so much. On the first pitch he faced from Bronson Arroyo he checked his swing and re-injured his ankle. Back to the DL. One pitch of active duty - that's a record that can never be beaten.
F - Finally. Steve Stricker may have thought that he would never win again, but six and a half years after his last win (with a lost tour card in between) Stricker won the first ever PGA playoff event. His late charge, with four birdies in the last five holes, was enough to hold off K.J. Choi and take home the winner's share of the $7 million purse. The breakthrough comes as no surprise as Stricker has come close in two majors this year.
G - Greg Maddux. With his win on Friday, Maddux has won at least 10 games for 20 consecutive seasons. Stop and think about that for a second - for two decades he has been healthy enough and good enough to win more games than the majority of pitchers can manage. It's even more mind-numbing when you think that he has only won less than 15 games once over that stretch.
H - Hard Spun. The hard luck horse of this year's Triple Crown finally found the secret to winning a big race in the King Bishop at Saratoga on Saturday - don't run against Street Sense, Curlin or Rags to Riches. The horse scaled back to seven furlongs and had enough left after a fairly rapid pace to put away his competition with an impressive final burst of power.
I - Indianapolis. It turns out that the Colts' offense will be just fine despite the lost personnel. How does this sound for a line - 23-of-27 for 233 yards and three touchdowns? That's what Manning did, showing emphatically that he is ready for the real games to start, and that he feels no Super Bowl hangover. If you want to pick a hole in the offense, it is that the running game looked lousy, though it was only called on for limited action.
J - Jair Jurrjens. The Tigers have done very well developing young pitchers, and they might have another winner on their hands. Jurrjens was spectacular in his second career start, allowing one hit and one run in six and a third innings. The team may have to be patient before they can really see what they have though - he left his Sunday start in the second inning with a sore shoulder.
K - Kendall, Pete. The Jets traded the disgruntled offensive guard to the Redskins in a deal that could help both teams. New York doesn't have to listen to Kendall whine and be disruptive, while Washington gets a much-needed guard for a very low price (a fourth or fifth round pick). Washington was hoping to find a solution with a lower salary, but this is a very solid outcome, and Jason Campbell must be relieved.
L - Larry Johnson. The Chiefs running back handled his contract about as perfectly as he could. He held out long enough to scare the team and get the money he deserved, and he returned to the team with enough time in camp to get comfortable and ready to play. As LaDainian Tomlinson and Steven Jackson have shown us, it's not like he was going to play in the preseason anyway. The good news for the Chiefs is that this means they may actually have an offense.
M - Mistake. When I looked at the league-wide pitching stats this week I was sure there must have been a mistake. It's no real surprise that two Boston pitchers are leading the league in wins, or that Josh Beckett is one of them. The shock is that Tim Wakefield is the other one. The most amazing part is that the 41-year-old knuckleballer, who has already tied his career high for wins, is 16-10 in 26 starts, so he has had a decision every time he has been handed the ball.
N - Nextel Cup. It was an interesting week for NASCAR, with two races in a week. Thanks to a rain delay, they ran in Michigan on Tuesday for their first ever time. That made for a short turn-around for Bristol on Saturday. The popular Carl Edwards handled the altered schedule well, winning, backflipping, and clinching a spot in the Chase.
O - Oklahoma. Coach Bob Stoops has announced that redshirt freshman Sam Bradford will be his next quarterback for the Sooners. Bradford would probably be happier if Adrian Peterson had come back for another year, but he takes over a program that has had great success with quarterbacks that haven't had the skill to go on to pro success, and he has a very talented squad around him, so I'm sure he'll be just fine.
P - Pathetic. I applaud the PGA for trying to do something interesting with their new playoff system, but the fact that Tiger felt he could afford to skip it makes the whole thing an utter and irreparable joke. Having an event like this without the greatest golfer ever born puts a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk beside the FedEx Cup regardless of what happens from here out.
Q - Quit getting arrested!!! This week alone, an Arkansas DE was arrested on drug charges, a former Arizona State running back was sentenced to 20 years for murder, South Carolina's safety was busted on a gun charge, and an Alabama CB was arrested for disorderly conduct. Two West Virginia players and one from Kansas State got collared too. And I could go on. This isn't particularly an abnormally bad week, either. This is getting ridiculous. On the plus side, it's all good training for what seems to be expected of the pros.
R - Reggie Miller. The man with the world's most unfortunate ears came to his senses this week and gave up on his ill-advised comeback attempt with the Celtics. Miller was a great player in his time, but that time was clearly fading as his career ended, and it would have just been pitiful at this point.
S - Sam Keller. After sitting out last season as a result of his preseason transfer from Arizona State to Nebraska, Keller has been named the starter for the Huskers this year. There may be an adjustment period for Keller and coach Bill Callahan, but the potential is huge for the 2004 Sun Bowl MVP, especially considering he is in a pretty weak division in the Big 12.
T - Travers Stakes. Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense added the biggest three year old race of the summer to his already impressive resume at Saratoga on Saturday. It was a different outing for the horse, since he sat just off the pace for most of the race instead of his usual closing style, but he showed his heart by winning a tough stretch drive. He's clearly the class of his class, but it would be nice to see him against Curlin again before the Breeders' Cup.
U - USA. Team USA is making a total joke of the FIBA Americas tournament. They are absolutely rolling over their competition. Over the weekend they crushed Canada lifeless and then beat a Brazilian team that should have been a challenge by 37. They probably don't need to worry about landing that Olympic spot. Now the trick is to keep the momentum up for Beijing. With this team doing so well, the interesting thing will be to see if Coach K is more seriously tempted by the pro game.
V - Vick, Michael. I refuse to write anything more about this story. I am so sick of it I could puke.
W - Wells, David. I was very surprised to see the Dodgers sign San Diego castoff Boomer Wells. L.A. badly needs pitching help, but Wells has looked like he is on the downslide this year. But then what do I know - Wells was serviceable for five innings on Sunday night to beat the Mets in his first start for the Dodgers.
X - eXplosion. Have you ever seen anything as crazy as the 30 runs that Texas put up against Baltimore on Wednesday? That's gotta hurt for O's fans. The best part was that it was the first game of a double header, so Baltimore had to go out and do it again right away. Normally allowing nine runs is a disaster, but in that second game that had to be counted as a major victory. Is it a bad omen that this mess happened on the same day that they removed the interim tag from manager Dave Trembley?
Y - Young, Vince. It took a while, but Young finally looked good in the preseason. He went 13-of-19 for 162 yards and a touchdown against the Bills on Friday. Clearly, though, the Buffalo pass defense, which was badly depleted in free agency, wasn't in top form - even Kerry Collins looked good at 5-of-6 for 72 yards and two touchdowns. If the Titans could play Buffalo every week they would make the Super Bowl for sure.
Z - Zzzzz. Despite the huge number of athletes, some very prominent, that have shown up on Dancing with the Stars, I have long thought that it is the dullest, most ridiculous show on TV. That changed with the announcement of the new cast this week. Mark Freaking Cuban will dispense with his last shred of dignity and appear on the show. I'd pay to see that.