Image Credit: KEVIN C. COX / GETTY IMAGES
Hello, all. In last week’s edition of Footenotes, we talked all about Hoops. NCAA basketball, NBA basketball and everything in between. For this week’s installment, I thought we should expand a bit. We’ve got golf, NBA basketball and — unfortunately — the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen. Let’s jump in.
Tiger Woods Wins The Masters
It’s been a long time coming for one Tiger Woods. 11 years, to be exact, since Woods’ last major victory. The greatest golfer of this generation and, perhaps, ever — the comeback is complete. Although Francesco Molinari did his best to play keep-away from Woods and the trio of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele made things interesting, it was Tiger in the end who came out on top. How did he get to this point?
- 2008: ACL
- 2009: Achilles (played through it)
- 2010: Neck
- 2011: MCL Sprain, Achilles Strain
- 2012: Achilles
- 2014: Back
- 2015: Back
- 2017: Back
Let’s not forget the cheating scandal, the mugshot and DUI that was attributed to medication. Tiger Woods is far from perfect when not golfing. However, not many people truly are. Keeping his image and record clean since then isn’t quite enough. We’ll have to see if this new-and-improved version of Woods is going to be a role model both on and off the golf course.
Nevertheless, nearly everyone was rooting for Tiger Woods over the weekend. On Sunday, that intensified even more. I work at a diner in Kansas City on the weekends and to say that I spent a little bit of my time on the clock watching The Masters would be selling myself short. Everyone in the place was rooting for one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of sports: not just golf.
NBA Playoff Thoughts
The 2019 NBA Playoffs are now in full swing. With teams either entering or having already played the second games of their respective series, things won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Let’s go series-by-series and break down what’s been going on.
(1) Milwaukee vs. (8) Detroit
This is one of the very few series I predicted would end in a sweep before the playoffs started. Those thoughts were proven likely true if Game 1 was any indication. The Bucks thoroughly dominated Detroit in every facet of the game. Oh yeah, Blake Griffin will miss the rest of this series as well. It’s going to be a rough next few days for Pistons fans.
(2) Toronto vs. (7) Orlando
D.J. Augustin is still in the NBA? Many of you were probably thinking that after the longtime journeyman hit the game-winning three against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. That may be the only win his Magic can grab in this series. With Kyle Lowry unlikely to replicate the lack of success he had a few nights ago (0 points), Toronto’s balanced offensive attack should be back for the rest of the series.
(3) Philadelphia vs. (6) Brooklyn
Game 1 was a shocker. Brooklyn looked like exactly what many thought it was: a team that doesn’t have much star power but plays with a level of heart, intensity, and grit that not many teams in the league can match. D’Angelo Russell is doing his best to keep this team afloat in the series. If it weren’t for a third quarter which saw Philadelphia outscore the Nets 51-23 in Game 2, maybe we’d be looking at Brooklyn up 2-0. Because we’re not, I’m still picking Philly to advance.
(4) Boston vs. (5) Indiana
84-74 was the final score of Game 1. The Pacers held the Celtics to 84 points, yet still lost by 10. If you would’ve told me the Celtics would score 84 in the contest, I would have determined Indy was the winner probably 99 of 100 times. If Boston is out-gritting one of the grittiest teams in the entire league, wait until we get into shootouts…
(1) Golden State vs. (8) Los Angeles
Something about that 3-1 number. The Warriors blew a 31-point lead last night to a Clippers team that, much like a couple of teams in the East, has enough heart to revive an entire cemetery. Brought back from the dead in what was one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever witnessed, the Clips won’t go down without a fight. Speaking of going down, there is legitimate concern around the Warriors organization that center DeMarcus Cousins is going to miss the remainder of the postseason with a quad injury. Although that won’t stop GS from winning this series, it could haunt them down the road.
(2) Denver vs. (7) San Antonio
The San Antonio Spurs, a team that held a 16-25 road record this season, defeated the No. 2 seed in the entire conference in their first playoff game of the year. That’s big. If Gregg Popovich is known for one thing, it’s for being the best in the world at what he does: at least at the NBA level. Perhaps I underestimated his squad, because I picked Denver in 5. Might have to revise that to 7…
(3) Portland vs. (6) Oklahoma City
I was talking with some buddies before Game 1 and I said, “Portland will win tonight, but won’t win another game the rest of the way.” I’m going to stand by that, although OKC could have another cold shooting night and drop one more contest. The Thunder’s ceiling is so much higher than that of the Trail Blazers, though, that I feel confident in picking them to get back on track. No more 8/24 nights from Paul George, let’s hope.
(4) Houston vs. (5) Utah
Admittedly, I am a pretty big Utah Jazz fan. Putting your fandoms aside to assess/analyze a team or game isn’t difficult, though. I gave Quin Snyder’s bunch a game in this series because they managed to steal one last year. After Game 1’s 32-point thrashing, I’m not so sure about that. James Harden is playing on another level and Utah’s defensive strategy of forcing him to drive wasn’t exactly… effective. We’ll see what adjustments both sides make in G2.
Royals’ Bullpen Struggles
A couple statistics I ran across on Twitter after Brad Boxberger blew another game for the Royals:
KC has held a lead in 14 of its 16 games thus far. In 12 of those 16 games, the Royals have either held the lead or at least been tied in or after the 7th inning.
KC has outscored opponents 49-37 in innings 1-5. They’ve been outscored by opponents 51-29 from the sixth inning to the end of the game.
In case you haven’t been watching this year, the bullpen has been downright horrible. After last year’s extremely poor ‘pen, the hope of many was that this year’s wouldn’t be quite as bad. In some aspects, it’s gotten worse. Ian Kennedy has been the lone bright spot, holding a 1.13 ERA in relief. Other than that, five relievers have an ERA of at least 9.00. That won’t win you many games.
One good thing that’s come out of this mess: The rest of the team doesn’t look that bad. Danny Duffy will be back to help the rotation within the next month or so, the top of the batting order is hitting extremely well and overall, this team would be above .500 if it had an average set of relief pitchers.
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