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With the post season upon us it’s time to pick and choose who will come out of the N.L. Division to face the A.L. winner for a chance at the World Series Title.

Phillies verses Reds:

The Reds are here for the first time in quite sometime, the Phillies on the other hand are just back to where they always seem to be.

With a rotation that consists of Roy Halladay (21 wins) Roy Oswalt (13 wins) and Cole Hamels (12 wins) the Phillies have the right formula of H2O to make another trip to the World Series. Not only do they have their top three starters with lower the a three era they have a line up that consists of Ryan Howard, a finally healthy Chase Utley and Jason Werth who has been their catalyst for the most part this season. Werth and Howard have combined for 58 home runs and 193 runs batted in. Not bad for you number four and five hitter but I believe that the play of Chase Utley at the Phillies number three spot will be a big key in this offense getting going early.

For the Reds they have a very young and or inexperienced pitching rotation. Besides Benson Arroyo, who has been their ace with 17 wins this season, no pitcher has playoff experience. Arroyo had his time with the Boston Red Soxs so he knows what to expect. Johnny Cueto is seconded in wins this season with 12 but everyone else is below ten and whats surprising even more is that it’s not either of those pitchers will take the mound game one. Edinson Volquez will take the mound for game 1. Dusty Baker saying he wanted to go with his most rested pitcher in game one. The Reds will have to look for their bats to come up big. Joey Votto, arguably the MVP of the N.L. can’t do it alone. Brandon Phillips, Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce have to get it going as well. All three players have big bat potential and will need to help Votto in putting this offense together.

Who Wins?: Ultimately I think the Phillies will win this in 4 games. I think the Reds will be able to eek one out at home but having to face Halladay twice is no easy task. Phillies in four.

Braves vs. Giants


Will the retiring of manager Bobby Cox be the fuel to a Braves World Series run or will the Giants play spoiler and advance themselves?

For the Braves starting pitching will be their main key in winning this series. With Derek Lowe posting a 4.00 era it does not say good for the first game against a hot Giants offensive team. Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson have had the best season of all starting pitchers and both will have to be on their game come their starts. Hudson has been great all season long posting a 2.83 era and earning 17 victories. Tommy Hanson had a great start to the season but fell off a bit towards the end. The Braves line up has some high averaged hitters at the 1-2 with Omar Infante and Martin Prado at the top. A rookie slugger in Jason Heyward and a veteran Derek Lee.  Lee is the main guy in this rotation. Playing clean up, Lee needs to find his former self. Hitting for power and average and keeping the offense always ahead of the team it’s facing.

For the Giants the number one factor is the offense. This offense isn’t a very solid one that you can compare to other teams in the playoffs. No real big bat in the line up but a lot of average bats that if they heat up can score some runs playing small ball. Buster Posey, the rookie catcher, had a great season when he was called up. Batted over .300 and hit 18 home runs. Aubrey Huff was their only player to get over 20 home runs with 26. Huff will need to be consistent with the long ball to help drive in timely runs when needed. Pablo Sandoval and the rest of the Giants offense needs to produce for this pitching staff that has pretty much carried them all season. Tim Lincecum, though having a down year, is still your number one ace. Can strikeout a whole line up with no problem but consistency has been an issue. Matt Cain has been another stellar pitcher for this team with 13 wins and a 3.14 era. Johnathan Sanchez, though erratic at times, is a very tough pitcher to face. If he’s on, beating him will be a very difficult task. And Barry Zito, probably having the most experience out of all the starting pitchers, had found his old self for the most part of the season. Curve ball looks to be up to par and ready for playoff action.

Who Wins?: I’m taking the San Francisco Giants over the Atlanta Braves in 5 games. I think their pitching will be to tough for the Braves batters and their offense has been hot of late and they say, “The hottest team is the dangerous team.”

Giants vs Phillies

This will be a great pitching match up every night for both teams. Oswalt, Halladay and Hamels vs Sanchez, Cain and Lincecum will be even match ups. Though the pitching might be even the offense is not. Here is where the Giants offense will hurt this team and their chances. The Phillies hitters are consistent and will cause problems on the base paths. The Giants will truly miss a big bat in their line up.

Who Wins?: The Phillies will win this in 5 games. Pitching will be good for the Giants but the Phillies hitters will be better. Phillies return to the World Series for the third time in three years and look to be winners twice out of the three times.

– Tim Dimas ( @TimmyD_WSJU )

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Here’s Tim Dimas’s feel on what the draft outcome will look like this year:

#1 Washington Wizards

John Wall, Kentucky, PG

This should come as no big surprise. John Wall is the consensus number 1 pick by all draft experts. The 6’4″ John Calipari cropped point guard is already the leading candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award. Washington is getting a face of a franchise player and if they keep Gilbert Arenas expect him to slide over to the shoot guard position to fit his scoring ability much more and let Wall run the team at the point guard position.

#2 Philadelphia 76ers

Evan Turner, Ohio State, SG

Lots of talks have been about Derrick Favors going here but the 76ers would be dumb not to take Turner. After last season they need to rebuild and why not do it with the second best player in the draft which is Turner. 6’7″ Turner is a Point Forward. Good hands on the ball and can rebound with the big boys. Andre Iguodola I have a feeling is on his way out of Philly so Turner can step it and possibly be the corner stone of this 76ers franchise.

#3 New Jersey Nets:

DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky, PF

This was a big toss up for myself. Wesley Johnson, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins all bold well for this spot but I think the Nets go with DeMarcus Cousins. They spent the #11 pick last year to grab Terrence Williams who is a small forward that equal of Johnson and I think Cousins is more NBA ready then Favors and the Nets need ready over waiting after a 12 win season last year. Cousins 6’11” help Kentucky all season long and even though his question of character and work ethic is there I believe he will be better suited for the Nets over Favors.

#4 Minnesota Timberwolves

Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, SF

Best pick here for the T’Wolves. Wes can offer a lot to a team that has Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn in the long run. The 6’8″ small forward showed a lot of NBA readiness last year for the Orange and would be a great fit to this young athletic team that still has Ricky Rubio waiting overseas to come and join the team. Rumors have said for the Detroit Pistons to get Al Jefferson from the T’Wolves and if that does happen look for the Wolves to take Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins, who’s ever available at this point.

#5 Sacramento Kings.

Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech, PF

Favors is raw but talented. The Georgia Tech standout would be a nice compliment to last years Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. Samuel Dalembert who was recently acquired from the 76ers will be a good mentor for Favors on defense. Favors is an athletic and strong big man who has comparisons to Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

#6 Golden State Warriors

Ekpe Udoh, Baylor, PF

Very long and lean forward with a great set of skills. Blocking shots are one of his fortes. The 6’10” Forward could cause problems in the post for teams in more ways then one. First off his ability to take a step back shot from mid range and if that isn’t there, he can draw defenses away from Stephan Curry leaving the lethal shooter to spot up and knock down 3’s. Solid pick for a rebuilding team.

#7 Detroit Pistons

Ed Davis, North Carolina, PF

The Pistons are left with no big men down low. With Cousins and Favors off the board Ed Davis is their next best pick. Very craft when he gets into the post and has a great offensive game. Needs to get a little bigger to back down other forwards in the post. Very energetic and strong role player. Won’t be a star though.

#8 LA Clippers

Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest, SF

Clippers have their point guard in Baron Davis, shooting guard in Eric Gordan and power forward in last years number 1 pick, Blake Griffin. What they are missing is someone to help run the wings and that is where Aminu comes to play. When it comes to the word athleticism only one word can stand in front of it, freak. Defense is one of the best in the draft. Only knock on Al-Farouq is his ability to create and hit shots.

#9 Utah Jazz

Patrick Patterson, Kentucky, PF

With the uncertainty of soon to be free agent Carlos Boozer, The Jazz need to make a play to replace him. Paul Millsap will be most likely be given the starting role and Patterson can come off the bench and be the Millsap off the bench. Patterson a little small at 6’9″ for the power forward position but with his soft hands, strong post moves and good feel for the offensive game Patterson will be a strong player off the bench. Very high basketball IQ and is a hand in shooter face kind of defender. Will make it very tough for other forwards to get to the basket.

#10 Indiana Pacers

Greg Monroe, Georgetown, PF/C

The Indiana Pacers have a lot of question marks on this team but adding Monroe with Roy Hibbert down low won’t leave anything to worry about in the post. People might disagree and say Hibbert should mean no Monroe but hey the Spurs took Tim Duncan when they had David Robinson already but it worked out. Twin Towers in the middle of the paint, defense does win games last time I checked. Monroe bestows a little athleticism but good feel on the offensive side not only with scoring but distribution of the ball to other players.

There are more picks to be made, decisions needed deciding. One thing is clear in this years NBA Draft. Lots of players can contribute to teams as starters or off the bench.

-Tim Dimas

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The Philadelphia 76ers, long removed from the glory days atop the Eastern Conference in the early 2000s, finished 27-55 in 2009-10 and, come Thursday night, will have the #2 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Having hit a stroke of luck to score the #2 pick, a very important decision awaits the franchise as to who to take.

It can rightfully be assumed that Kentucky PG John Wall will go #1 overall to Washington, leaving Philadelphia with anyone else on the board. There are two likely directions that they could go. Option #1 and the most likely is to take Ohio State swingman Evan Turner. With his size, length, and ballhandling skill, Turner would be, on paper, the best player remaining. But, the question arises, how similar is Turner to the swingman they already have, Andre Iguodala? Would it make sense for them to draft a guy with a similar skill set to their star player?

In my opinion, though they have many similar strengths and weaknesses, Turner is the better player and Iguodala doesn’t have the star power to carry a team on his back. Andre makes a great running mate that can get up and down the floor and jump out of the gym, but he’s not a centerpiece to a winning franchise.

Trying not to have two players of the same type, would the Sixers use the #2 pick to draft a big man, perhaps Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech or DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky? With Elton Brand continuing to battle injury and being on the far back side of his career, the 6’10” Favors could fit into the role that Brand never fulfilled since his signing.

Consensus opinion is that drafting DeMarcus Cousins is rolling the dice big time, as his maturity has been questioned and he seems to be 20 pounds overweight. But, as a raw, talented 6’11” big man, he may be worth it down the road. For the Sixers at #2, taking Cousins would be too high, so perhaps they could trade down to the Nets at #3, allowing the Nets to get Turner, while the Sixers can still get Favors or Cousins, along with the 27th overall or 31st overall pick.

Whatever the Sixers choose to do, they are clearly in the rebuilding stage and will, most likely, be in the same situation next year. The most important thing for them right now is to put talented players in a place where they can succeed. Hiring new head coach Doug Collins is a step in the right direction, but we’ll see where Philadelphia goes from here.

-Dan Martin

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And so another bright spot for New Jersey Nets fans this week.  After witnessing the hiring of Avery Johnson, who in my opinion was the best option, Nets fans have another reason to be happy. The Nets have a chance to grab the second best player in the draft at the number three spot. Who? None other then Evan Turner.

News was just broken that The Philadelphia 76ers had traded long time center Samuel Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings for center Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni. The move now raises the question will Philly be going for Derrick Favors, Forward out of Georgia Tech, instead of Evan Turner.

Chad Ford of ESPN has had on his draft board Favors over Turner at the number 2 spot in the draft where the 76ers are scheduled to pick. The move today even more solidifies the decision for the 76ers. For the Nets this is a moment of joy… but only a moment because there is no clear cut decision that Philly will take Favors.

So for now Nets fans, lets enjoy our Little General, Avery Johnson and next week be prepared to usher in a new era of youth that may or may not include Ohio States standout Evan Turner.

-Timmy Dimas

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Just two weeks ago New York Mets fans were over the top with joy. Their team had swept the Braves and Dodgers and were on a 7 game win streak that included a 9-1 home stand. They went out to Philadelphia to play the Phillies and in the first game they won 9-1. After that the magic was gone from the team and the fans.

The Mets are coming off being swept by The Florida Marlins in a four game series that witnessed Oliver Perez lose his rotation spot, The Mets lose on a walk of ball in the dirt, John Maine throwing 12 straight balls to start the game and Johnathan Niese hurting his hamstring in the final game of the series. Now isn’t that a boat load.

The Mets have a lot of questions that need to be answered. Who are they going to get to fill in Oliver Perez’s spot? When does John Maine lose his? If Jonathan Niese goes on the DL who takes his spot? and that’s just for pitching.

The Mets bats haven’t been that good. David Wright has lost his All-Star MVP stigma. You can bet on Wright to get a strikeout at least once a game, 51 on the season so far. Is it time time for David to exit stage ‘Wright’ or will he bounce back? How about Jose Reyes? Manager Jerry Manuel put him in the 3 spot but that failed. Now he’s back at the top. Is it time for him to exit?

So many questions need answers and The New York Mets seem to have none. They are back to the bottom of the N.L. East and will face The Atlanta Braves for a 3 game series. Last time this situation came up the Mets went on their huge win streak to take the N.L. East. Is that magic going to happen again? You have a better chance of Wright striking out again.

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The Philadelphia Phillies just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to cheating. Wednesday MLB Officials told the Phillies they have to remove the binoculars out of their bullpen after Colorado Rockies accused the Phillies of using the binoculars to steal signs.

The incident happened Monday night when a camera for the Rockies showed bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer looking through his binoculars during the second inning and outfielder Shane Victorino going into the dugout and getting on the bullpen phone later on in the second inning. Charlie Manuel denied the reports but this is the Phillies third time being accused of cheating dating back to 2007 when The New York Mets accused them and then in 2008 when The Boston Red Sox accused them.

Billmeyer didn’t comment on the situation but Manuel added he had no idea that the binoculars were even in the bullpen but added then that Billmeyer was using them to watch Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and how he set up during the game.

No fines have been made but expect MLB Officials to keep their eye out for anymore claims made by teams on the matter.

-Tim

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After a great come from behind victory by The New York Mets last night, The Washington Nationals would make sure that there would be no repeat in today’s game at Citi Field.

Mike Pelfrey took the mound for the Mets going 5.2 innings, 7 hits 4 earned runs, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. He also went 1-2 at bat with a run batted in. A sub par performance would not be enough for the Mets as Craig Stammen would toss 5 innings also, give up 4 runs and strikeout 2 batters but bringing in 2 runs with his bat and the rest of the Nationals would prevail to a 6-4 win on a bitter cold afternoon.

Francisco Rodriguez would get the loss coming in the ninth inning and give up a 2-run home run to Roger Bernadina who also homered earlier in the game.

Mets pack their bags and head down south these next four days to face The Florida Marlins then head a little up to Atlanta to face the Braves who they swept this year for a two game series.

Mets are now 18-16, 1 game behind the Nationals for 2nd place and 2 1/2 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies

-Tim

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