Wizards Playoff Preview: Setting the Stage for the Future

File:John Wall pregame shooting.jpgMost experts believe the Eastern Conference champion will be either the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers. This has been their belief since the beginning of the year and because of that it seems most are overlooking the rest of the conference. That’s too bad. They have missed out on the fabulous story of the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards come into this playoff season as a team on the rise whereas the rest of the top teams in the East have either peaked or are in decline. With the Wizards locking up John Wall in a long term deal, they may have the most to gain in this year’s playoffs. Read more about Wizards Playoff Preview: Setting the Stage for the Future

1-4 start? How about 3-8?

530px-Wei-Yin_Chen_on_May_10,_2012_(1)Orioles fans for life, are unhappy. What’s with all this losing and lousy starting pitching? Even if you have a great hitting club (like we do), you can’t come back from seven-run deficits.

So after our fourth loss in five outings, I began to think of that 1979 club. You know, (Ken) Singleton and Eddie Murray and brother Lo (John Lowenstein). That team started the year at 3-8. Oh, yeah, that club won 102 games and should have taken the World Series title after going up 3 games to one against the Pirates. Oh, well.
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Johnson's career with Athletics off to a bad start

Jim JohnsonDuring the offseason the Baltimore Orioles traded Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics for Jemile Weeks, that full story can be found here.  Weeks did not make the Orioles 25-man roster.

The Orioles did not want to pay Johnson his large $10 million arbitration number.  Johnson  also showed signs of losing his touch last season and nine saves last season.  Those nine saves went a long way towards the Orioles not making the playoffs.

Already for the Athletics Johnson has blown a save and has taken two losses.  Johnson has allowed five runs in only one inning of work.
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Orioles Opening Day LIVE BLOG!!!

Chris TillmanHappy Opening Day Baltimore Orioles fans!! Today I will be doing a live blog of all the action, I will be giving updates throughout the game. To start here are the starting lineups for today’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Baltimore Orioles

Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Nelson Cruz LF
Matt Wieters C
Delmon Young DH
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Chris Tillman SP
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Reasons the Release of DeSean Jackson Was Far From a Smart Move

File:DeSean Jackson 2014 Pro Bowl.jpgHonestly thought the day wouldn’t come this soon, but DeSean Jackson has been released by the Eagles after having the best statistical season of his career. In move that shocked many, the purported reasoning for his release was his alleged involvement in gang-related activity off-field, attitude, and work ethic. Jackson has thus denied any such off-field activity. In the weeks leading up to his release, speculation had been circulating rapidly, from trade rumors to the idea that he may indeed would have been staying put after assuring his teammates and talking with head coach, Chip Kelly. Whatever the case, there’s no more rumors left, Jackson is indeed gone from Philly, and from what I believe, this decision will not favor Philly for a few simple reasons.
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Ravens handle difficult situation with class

96px-Ray_Rice_2012It is undeniable that the Ray Rice story will invoke some form of a reaction in all of us. Whether it’s outrage or disappointment, pure anger and animosity or perhaps an ambivalence to the NFL, it is completely natural and expected that this indictment would spark some form of emotion in us all. We’re fans and we care about the team and the players. Maybe you wish to condemn Ray Rice or maybe you want to forgive but just can’t forget. It’s not my place to tell you how to feel but know I’m there too. Struggling to find the balance of condemning the actions and showing sympathy to his fiancée while still wanting to forgive Ray Rice. It’s not easy. Yet, somehow the Baltimore Ravens set a remarkable example of how to do it.  As Brian Hradsky already said here that these situations can sometimes be a distraction and hard for some teams to handle.
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Center needs to be the Ravens next big upgrade

435px-Gino_Gradkowski_2013The Baltimore Ravens had a very bad offensive line last season, the Ravens running game was nearly nonexistent and the passing game struggled because of it.  I talked about how poor the offensive line was nearly all last season and it was a huge topic in my Ravens season review. 

The Ravens already re-signed left tackle Eugene Monroe but they need to really upgrade their center position.  Gino Gradkowski was very much a weak link for the Ravens in his first season starting.  I wrote during the season that the Ravens were missing Matt Birk, that article can be found here.

Gradkowski is small for a center at only 6’3” 300 pounds, and it showed as he was pushed around last season and struggled in both run and pass blocking.  Gradkowski also struggle with calling protections and staying on his feet.  Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times last season and was playing injured late in the season because he was hit so many times.
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