MLB Playoffs:One and Done

MLBpostseason (1)

The Cover presents you with the MLB Playoffs:One and Done! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

The Wild in the WIldCard

The purpose of the playoffs is to provide a forum to establish the best team of the best teams over a course of a year.  As in most sports, there is a regular season to weed out the poor teams and isolate the good teams. In football, they play once a week in a 16 game season. In the NBA, they play three or four times a week in an 82 game season. In baseball, teams play six or seven times a week in a 162 game season. Why do they play that many games? Maybe it is less grueling on the body so they can afford to play almost every day, unlike basketball and especially football. So, if that many games are laid out to determine the best teams over such a large sample size, you would think baseball would have the largest and longest size for their playoffs amongst the main sports. Right? Nope.  It’s laughable. And for the Rangers, Reds, and the Indians, they receive the short end of the stick.

With baseball’s new Wild Card format, they have baseball teams competing in a one, yes I repeat, ONE game playoff to determine who moves on and who is gone. After six long moths of regular season games traveling around the country, they the new format dictates that their postseason fate is determined by one game. Last time I checked my math, this ratio of regular season games to playoff games here is preposterous, and it has me burning more than a summer in Death Valley.

world-series-trophy-rangers-cardinals-baseballBaseball, and Bud Selig especially, thought they would make baseball more meaningful in September by adding an extra playoff spot for a competing team. Instead of three division winners and a wildcard in each league, the new format as of last season includes the three division winners and two wildcard spots. The two wildcard teams however, who have experienced all the twists and turns of a 162 game season, then compete in one solitary game to determine who will play the division winner with the best record in baseball as the true wildcard representative. Give me a break! And I’m not talking about a Kit Kat. How can baseball think this is fair? No wonder Bud Selig recently announced his retirement at the end of next season. No wonder the ratings are down.

In a sport where one pitcher can determine the whole outcome of a game, to have one sudden death game be played is ludicrous. Baseball has the least amount of teams make the playoffs compared to hockey, basketball, and football. How can they truly justify the existence of such a short element in their post-season. A broken clock is right twice a day, but it does not mean that this is the best clock in a clock store. This is the World Series we are talking about, not March Madness, or a clock store.

In basketball, they have 16 teams make the playoffs and every series is best 4 out of 7. Even hockey partakes in this same format. They play half the games baseball does. And in basketball, sure winning game 1 is a good start to winning a series, but not every team that wins game 1 wins the series. This year and last year’s NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Miami Heat lost game 1 both times before moving on to win the series. If it was the baseball wildcard playoff, LeBron would still be known as the “Ringless King.” The reason this does not happen in basketball is because in a competitive sport where parody exists everywhere, the better team is determined over a larger sample sizes. It is not football, and you cannot fairly outline a system where one game determines who wins and goes home after such a long quantitative regular season.

NASCAR races do not determine the winner after 5 laps. Tennis matches do not play best 3 out of 5 games in a set to see who wins the whole match. Majors in Golf are not determined by two round tournaments or 9 hole matches. Soccer matches do not play twenty-minute games in the World Cup. I can go on and one with examples to illustrate my point, but it will not change the format that exists in baseball.  Otherwise, this article would have only been one paragraph long.

Going into the final weekend of the regular season, the National League Wildcard matchup was clear-cut and the American League Wildcard reminded me of the BCS System. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds had an exciting battle throughout the final months of the season. The Cardinals, class personified, took the NL Central Crown and the Reds and Pirates battled off for the Wild Card Spot. The Pirates with the better record held the home field and predictably defended their turf, winning 6-2 the re-emerging of Francisco Liriano. Pittsburgh postseason baseball has not taken place since 1992, and this victory against the Reds was a fantastic emotional watch. However, if I am a Reds advocate, I played 82 home games during the regular season to prepare me for the playoffs, qualified for the playoffs, and I do not get even one home playoff game? This is blatantly out of bounds, unnecessary, and insulting. Make it two out of three. Do something Bud. Even the WNBA plays two out of three throughout the playoffs. You cannot justify playing that many regular season games to only have one game determine a team’s fate. Not to this baseball fan. Sorry Reds fans, looks like you had to walk the plank.

In the American League, the Wild Card Playoff berths resembled a hybrid of a Presidential Election Race and the BCS Bowl system. Chaotic, confusing, and most importantly, unfair. If two teams are supposed to play in a one-game playoff for the final wildcard spot, what happens when there is a tie for these final two spots? Well, I guess you can say baseball got its wish. The Rangers and the Rays tied for the second Wild Card spot, while the Indians finished first for the top spot. There were ten different cluttered scenarios that could have happened on the final day of the season. Hypothetically if this happens; then this is the result. In the end, there was a one-game playoff for the one-game playoff, furthering the ridiculousness of this new system.

8811b8d4321303213f0f6a7067001791The Tampa Bay Rays threw their ace David Price against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. And the Rangers pitcher was Yu Darvish, their best pitcher, naturally right? No, incorrect. Martin Perez who? Why, because Yu pitched on the final day of the season to secure their playoff “berth.” Baseball features a dynamic where a pitcher can impact a game more than any player on the field. This is why they typically pitch once every five games. The format did not even allow a team to have their best pitcher throw one pitch. How can this format truly determine the best team? It is very unfair and cruel. Sorry Rangers, you just got stung. By the Rays and more importantly, baseball’s misconception of balance. And what the playoffs represent.

The Rays got to throw their ace against the Rangers and they won. Then they advanced to the real wildcard playoff against the Indians, where they showcased Alex Cobb. Their number two starter Matt Moore could not pitch because he pitched on the final day of the regular season, but is scheduled to start Game 1 against the Red Sox on Friday in the ALDS. And the Indians were unable to throw their hottest pitcher in Ubaldo Jimenez. They had to pitch rookie Danny Salazar. He gave up a couple runs, but the story of the game was that the Indians stranded baserunners left and right. The Indians outhit the Rays but lost 4-0. In a long series, they could have won 4-1 and outhit them every game. We will never know. Neither will the Indians nor their fans. Cleveland sports will have to continue to suffer because of this stupid format. One off-night after a ten game winning streak sends a team home with no second, third or fourth chance.

In the end, the best team is determined in the League Championship Series and World Series. Why? Because it is a best-out-of-seven series. All pitchers can be used, and all assets and liabilities can be used and exposed. But in getting to these final four teams, injustice is incurred along the way. Basketball playoffs take almost two months, where baseball’s takes place in one month, and Baseball plays twice as many games in the regular season. Now I’m no math teacher, but something does not add up. Here is a quick solution: Cut out the final month of the regular season and make the playoffs longer. Simple, make it a 130 game season and make more playoff games.

Yasiel-PuigC’mon baseball! Show us you can adapt. Football adopted its new overtime system because its previous format created a scenario where one team potentially did not get a fair chance. They realized a problem existed and rectified it. Baseball is moving slowly with updates in instant replay because baseball is America’s pastime. Change is hard for them, and the changes they do make are also unfair. They have the All-Star Game winner’s league get home-field advantage in the World Series. There are so many elements of this sport that I love that are broken. Baseball needs to strongly look at itself in the mirror, put on the eye black, and re-evaluate its playoff system, especially the Wild Card format. They are not only robbing the teams, but the fans as well. We all want you to succeed baseball, but you are making it very hard on yourself.


Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Paul Culley
Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4

The Small Market Superstars

The Atlanta Braves and the Oakland A’s are definitely not the sexiest teams in Major League Baseball, but they sure are good. They have quietly put together very respectable seasons, and both teams are in excellent position to make moves in October. Nipping on the heels of the Boston Red Sox, the Braves and A’s maintain the second- and third-best records in baseball. Atlanta and Oakland aren’t the most glamorous markets in baseball, but their fans are passionate about their teams, and rightfully so. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in sight, the A’s and Braves are looking to make it to the World Series. The ratings would be terrible to the disdain of Bud Selig, but neither team could care less.

Let’s start with the Braves. After winning 14 consecutive division titles, the Braves have been in a drought. Until this year the Braves have not won the NL East since 2005. The Braves have cruised throughout the entire season, without any obstacles in the way. They have avoided serious injuries all year and every other team in the NL East has been very disappointing. The Nationals were many experts’ World Series picks. Boy, do they look wrong now. The Phillies are old and hurt. The New York Mets do have some talent, but an underachieving season in Queens took place yet again. Finally, the Florida, I mean Miami Marlins do have a rising star in Giancarlo Stanton and a colorful new baseball stadium, but the team is pathetic. They will be sending thank you cards to the Astros for helping them avoid even more shame and embarrassment. All in all, the Braves played well enough to win the division, but many teams could have taken advantage of their weak rivals.

The Oakland A’s path to the AL West division title has been a little more challenging than the Braves’. They actually have a decent team that plays in their division, the Texas Rangers, who are fighting for a Wild Card spot. The Los Angeles Angels are just as disappointing as the Nationals and the Phillies, proving that having a big payroll only matters in the United Nations. The Seattle Mariners are a lost franchise, with no direction or identity. They have even caused their manager to have cardiac problems because they are so heartbreaking to watch. Hope you are doing okay Eric Wedge.  And as foreshadowed earlier, the Houston Astros make the word awful seem attractive. They have lost more than 100 games and probably every last fan of baseball in Houston. That organization is so desperate that it has to pay their fans to come to the games. The players are the ones asking for the autographs. The days of the Killer B’s are gone, and the Astros are grateful that this season is almost over, too. These disappointing and poor teams have paved the way for the A’s to claim the division, but this should not hide the fact that the A’s are a hell of a ballclub.

The Braves are led by rising star Freddie Freeman. His left-handed bat represents the most intimidating presence in their lineup. Justin Upton and Brian McCann contribute with their clutch bats as well, doing it in a nonchalant way.  Veterans Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton have the same story. They won’t hit for average and they strike out more than Pete Weber, but are capable of hitting some deep balls in October. They have a pitching staff full on young studs. Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Alex Wood are inexperienced, but capable of shutting down any offense. Their bullpen is solid and they have the best closer in baseball in Craig Kimbrel. I feel bad for McCann’s hand when he pitches. Ouch.


Bottom line is the Braves are like that nice coworker that performs well all the time. You cannot really say a bad word about him. He is too nice to want to criticize. No ego at all, very humble. Like that coworker, the Braves are not flashy, they do not search for attention and in return none is really given to them. However, they win, win, and win. Whether we notice is irrelevant. Led by Fredi Gonzalez, the Braves head into October with a lot of confidence in themselves and chances in winning it all. Do they have the real superstars, hitting or pitching that it usually takes to win it all? Only time will tell.

Similar to the Braves, the A’s are a quiet group of ballplayers that only the avid baseball fan knows about. If you thought the Braves lacked stars, then the A’s would be a lunar eclipse near a black hole. We know Billy Beane likes science with his beliefs in sabermetrics, a numbers approach to baseball. Each year, they produce players that most teams have discarded. This year’s A’s include leading hitters Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is like the A’s version of Yasiel Puig, minus the cocky attitude, ego, boneheaded mistakes, sliding into home plate on a walk-off and tardiness. OK, so maybe the similarities only lie with their Cuban heritage and use of interpreters.

Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp round out the rest of the meat of their lineup and nobody could tell you they have watched more than one of their at-bats this year. The only thing catchy about their team is that they have a guy named Coco Crisp. The A’s are the only franchise left that shares a field with another team, not worth spending money on a new stadium. Where they play doesn’t matter to them and neither does who watches them. Point being is that the A’s are not rating-friendly. Even with the Moneyball movie, most fans do not regard them as a must-see team to watch. They are not shown on Sunday Night Baseball and the A’s are perfectly content with that. They are a feel-good Cinderella story that always makes the tournament, but never makes noise. They are the Boise State of baseball, minus the blue turf. Bartolo Colon may be more bloated than the Goodyear Blimp, but he is dominating this year and leading the pitching staff. For the A’s, they will get another crack to make Beane’s dream come true for a real Hollywood ending.

The Braves and A’s have a lot in common and the same goal. They lack the big names and market that most World Series teams have. From their manager (head) to their toe (closer), their squad is full of guys who only fantasy experts and statisticians recognize. When a viewer sees Oakland or Atlanta on the TV guide, the channel is skipped over way more times than not. However, they play the game the right way. They get the runners on, over, and in, and it does not matter who does it. Winning is most important and both teams, I emphasize teams, have done it a lot this year.

The real question now is do they have what it takes to win it all this year? It is possible, but history says it is unlikely. Even though the Braves won 14 consecutive championships with solid ballclubs from 1992-2005, they only won one World Series. Even though Beane and the A’s had a movie written about their unconventional success story, there actually has been very little success for them in October. There is a reason Ralph Nader had no chance in his Presidential aspirations. The big names always win. Superstars are made in October. Who knows? This year’s World Series’ superstars might not be superstars after all. The Atlanta Braves and Oakland A’s would not have it any other way.


Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Paul Culley
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

When Harvey Met Sally

Matt Harvey

Meet the Mets. The other New York Baseball team. New York’s version of the Clippers.The Mets have won two World Series over their tenure as a franchise, but their brand name has mostly been synonymous with mediocrity, losing and misfortune. When you think of the Yankees, the names Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio and Jeter roll off the tongue with honor and fame. When you start your list of famous Mets players, the task becomes as hard as finding words that rhyme with the word hungry. The Mets finally have a superstar in Matt Harvey, who this year has emerged as one of baseball’s best pitchers. However, once again, it looks like this cursed team has been hit with another curveball from which they might not recover.

Harvey has taken Major League Baseball by storm. After being called up from the minors last year, he showed signs of greatness at the end of the season. He represented the Mets best prospect since Sidd Finch (See Sports Illustrated’s 1985 April Fools Day hoax). Just like Finch, hitters feel like Harvey throws the ball 168 miles per hour. His off-speed stuff is devastating and breaking pitches make batters want to crawl back to their dugout like Lindsay Lohan after a night on the town. He has taken the torch from David Wright as the face of the Mets franchise, but with this torch comes some intangible misfortune, and it looks like it is taking place.

Matt Harvey has recently been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right elbow and we all know what famous pitching surgery is to follow. Yes, you add another pitcher to the Tommy John Club. Now some pitchers have underwent Tommy John surgery and come back for the better. Stephen Strasberg experienced this same process and has returned successfully to the big leagues. Whether or not he can now live up to his hype remains to be seen. Bottom Line, surgery is never a good thing or something that players look forward to. This sad stroke of bad luck to this young phenom is nothing knew to the Mets and their fans. They are used to injuries, missed opportunities, and misery.

You would think in the New York market, the Mets would have the finances to bolster a roster worthy of an annual contender. Sure the Yankees might get the big fish, but there are truly plenty of fish in the sea. The problem is that the fish the Mets have gone after have been poor ones. Players like Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn, Oliver Perez are prime examples of free agents who were hot that never panned out. We cannot forget about Carlos Delgado, Livan Hernandez, Tom Glavine or Kaz Matsui. The two biggest ones recently were Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran.

Let’s look at Beltran. Beltran had one of the best playoff runs in baseball history to score himself one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history, and the Mets were supposed to be the winners. I think not. Beltran played out his contract with mediocre season after mediocre season, with the Mets losing season after season. The ironic part is that during the past two years Beltran is playing some of his best baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals as they contend for the World Series. Maybe it’s just the Cardinals and their winning aura. I propose it is just as much the Cubs-like atmosphere that exists in the heart of Queens. After being freed from the Mets, Beltran is playing like that guy we saw in the playoffs for the Astros.

Santana was the pitching version of Beltran. After many successful seasons playing for the small-market Minnesota Twins, Santana was traded to the Mets and eventually signed a 6-year, $137 million contract. Just like Beltran, he has pitched okay in his regime with the Mets, but nowhere near his form in Minnesota where he earned himself two Cy Young awards. Injuries have been a part of his Mets story, too. He missed the entire 2011 season with shoulder problems. However, last year, Santana became the first Mets pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter. The lack of a no-hitter had been hanging over the franchise for years like a World Series win for those Cubs. He threw a career-high 134 pitches, and some would say that this became the indirect cause of re-injuring his shoulder. He missed the end of last season and all of this season with that shoulder problem, and now Harvey looks to join this infamous club.

Here are some other fun facts about the Mets to add to their infamous list of accomplishments. Most historians are privy to the 1962 Mets. They are the team that a team is compared to when they are having an amazingly poor season. They finished a whopping 40-120, which to this day is the worst every record by a baseball team. Most people are not aware that the New York Mets opted to take Steve Chilcott instead of Reggie Jackson in the 1966 amateur draft. Chilcott never made it to the majors and Jackson, well, he has a month nicknamed after him. Sure there were the Miracle Mets and the 1986 Mets that made Bill Buckner infamous, but this is not commonplace knowledge to the modern-day baseball fan. Most fans associate the New York Mets with injuries, poor choices and apathy.

Just like Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the New York Mets have had their money stolen by players who have not panned out. And like the Ponzi scheme, it has had a lingering effect on the franchise. A successful baseball season seems to be the exception, not the rule these days. There is no more Mike Piazza. Shea Stadium is gone and has been replaced by Citi Field, but it is too easy to say what that sponsor’s name really sounds like. The Braves-Mets rivalry is no more. Wright is good, but always hurt. Harvey was supposed to take the organization back to the top. He even started the All-Star game this year, which took play at Citi Field presenting some optimism for Mets fans. Unfortunately, with Harvey’s injury, it looks like Mets have once again fallen victim to their own puddle of bad luck. It is sad, but this sports fan accepts it as ordinary for the New York Mets franchise. Change is hard, but for the Mets sake, I hope it happens soon. Best of luck, I guess.


Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Paul Culley
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

22: The New Face of Baseball – Andrew McCutchen


In an era in where steroids and PEDs have tarnished the image of baseball and its players, there are very few pure American stars — yet alone any stars — left.

Ryan Braun has suffered a disgraceful fall. Alex Rodriguez is an afterthought. Barry Bonds was forced out of baseball six years ago. If you ask the uninformed fan who the next face of baseball is, I’m sure that there would be a lot of pauses before he answers. Well, I have a simple suggestion for you. You take the best player on one of the the best teams in baseball. How about the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Yes, those Pirates. For Pittsburgh sports fans, many are used to boasting about Ben Roethlisberger or Sidney Crosby, but they have a new superstar to talk about, Andrew McCutchen.

”Cutch” has steadily progressed since making his debut in June 2009. The right-handed hitting center fielder is the total package. He has speed like a gazelle. He shows his power by hitting it to all over the field, including over the fence. He covers ground like a sumo wrestler. Most importantly, he plays the game the right way, free from off-the-field temptations and PED use.

In January, McCutchen was announced as the cover athlete of the baseball video game MLB 2013: The Show, where he beat out CC Sabathia in fan voting. After making the All-Star team for three consecutive years, Cutch is slowly starting to be the face that baseball desperately needs to carry its torch. Just like the Pirates, he is walking the walk with style and class. They don’t the need the media attention that the other teams get to prove their greatness.

Social media is a new tool that players like Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth never experienced. Typically, the media helps create these superstars who play in big markets such as New York or Los Angeles. And given the fact that the Pirates have played in a playoff game since two days before Bryce Harper was born, they have not received much attention from the fans, and especially the people who just tune in to watch during the playoffs. McCutchen is putting Pittsburgh on the map. This Wednesday, ESPN televised the Pirates playing on the road against St. Louis, a game in which the Pirates won easily. It was very symbolic for Cutch and his Buccos.

Given the state of the game rife with scandal and steroids, baseball must utilize their superstars to get fans interested again in watching the game. It starts with finding the right players who epitomize the perfect balance of excellence on and off the field. And Cutch hits a home run in regards to those statistics. He is very proud of who he is, where he came from, and what he is on his way to doing. Young kids learning the game need a role model like this to learn how to play the game the right way, with hard work and dedication. He was drafted out of high school, worked his way up, paid his dues and is now thriving as the cornerstone of the Pirates organization.

Meanwhile, he is leading his team to their best season in ages, and given a terrible collapse, we will be seeing the Pirates playing ball in October for the first time in a long time. Cutch has been there through thick and thin, and did not choose to abandon ship to cash in on a bigger paycheck. He signed a 6-year, $51.5 million extension with the Bucs, showing that he plans to play in Pittsburgh for a very long time. His loyalty to his team and city is commendable and another positive character trait that kids growing up can follow. Very few superstars in any sport these days play with one team their entire career.

McCutchen is a rising star for a rising franchise. He has made Pittsburgh a baseball city again and has the rest of Major League Baseball buzzing as well. Steroids and PED use has given the sport a major black eye, especially with the Braun scandal. Now, Cutch emerges as the new face of a sport that needs a face lift. His skills are elite, his team is playing like it belongs in the World Series and he does this with class personified. He never promotes himself as a superstar, and these days, he does not have to. The Pittsburgh Pirates are back and Cutch is here to stay. Baseball has a new golden boy, and they look to Buc the trend of scandal and negativity into a new era of excellence done in the right way, on and off the diamond.


Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Paul Culley
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Dodger That: Los Angeles setting the MLB on Fire

Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers

In Los Angeles, most sports fans only bleed one color, purple and gold. The Lakers have won the most championships and attracted the most media attention. The celebrities want to be seen at StaplesCenter. People sometimes ask the Laker fans for autographs. However, times are changing in La La Land. The Los Angeles Dodgers are taking LA and the rest of Major League Baseball by storm. After a slow start, they are flaming hot and seem to be winning almost every game they play.

The Dodgers are not only really good, but they are very fun and exciting to watch. They are even making Vin Scully feel young again. Since June 22, they are 46-10 and an outstanding 26-5 since the All-Star break (as of August 24). Those numbers are remarkable when you realize a team plays 162 games in a season. All they do is win. You cannot pinpoint one reason, but let’s examine a couple why the Dodgers have been playing like the 1920s New York Yankees.

Fresh Blood. If you had to pick one player for this turnaround, the choice is easy – it’s Yasiel Puig. He was called up in June, and soon thereafter, the Dodgers began their unprecedented streak. Puig, an electric player from Cuba, has more spark than a road flare on the field. He has speed, power and charisma. His attitude seems to carry the team like Ray Lewis did for the Ravens. His presence rejuvenated the team and gave it a shot to the heart for a team that looked poised for an underachieving season (See the Los Angeles Angels). Puig has the “juice,” the pizzazz that motivates his players and inspires the fans.

For years, Clayton Kershaw has been the bonafide ace of the Dodgers, and arguably the best pitcher in baseball. This year, he finally has some help. Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu has made an international splash to the team similar to what Hideo Nomo did in the mid-‘90s. Zack Greinke, who slightly underachieved in Milwaukee, has regained his form and is pitching like he did when he was a perennial Cy Young candidate in Kansas City. Greinke also brings some fire to the club. Earlier in the year, he ignited a brawl with Carlos Quentin and the Padres, and as a result, suffered a broken collarbone. He missed six weeks, but it looks like it has taken a positive effect on the time in the long haul. They traded for Miami’s Ricky Nolasco, who on any given night can pitch a shutout. And left-hander Chris Capuano is a legitimate No. 5 starter for this squad.

They start the game with studs and end the game with studs. The bullpen is relentless, collecting many strikeouts and broken bats. Kenley Jansen is emerging as the next Eric Gagne, minus the goofy goggles. Bottom line is they have the best pitching in baseball and their staff seems very similar to the Phillies and Giants teams that won three of the last five World Series. Their hitting is potent, but in October, good pitching beats good hitting. If they run into an ace, the Dodgers are more than capable of winning a 2-1 ballgame. It would not surprise me if you see Kershaw as the World Series MVP when it’s all said and done.

Every great team has a player that is a having a comeback season. Well the Dodgers have two, Juan Uribe and Hanley Ramirez. These two are hitting like champs and clutching up through this entire hot streak. People forget Uribe helped the Giants win a World Series in 2010, and now he is positioning himself to provide the same accolades this postseason. Sure, his effort might be up for debate and he is susceptible to the hidden ball trick, but thankfully for him, this is not The Rookie of the Year. I pray for his sake that he does not fall for that again. Ramirez might be runner-up to Puig as most important Dodger during this run. He is hitting for average and power, and loves turning a sharp double play. He has that swagger that like Puig. In fact, maybe he was the one that taught Puig some of his antics. Hanleywood is making the Dodgers front office look very intelligent. He had some subpar years with the Marlins, and the Dodgers bought low. Now his stock is sky high, and the only thing the Dodgers are selling now are season tickets.

Lost in the mix has been Matt Kemp. Kemp has been Kershaw’s counterpart on the offensive end for the Dodgers. While Kemp has spent a large part of the season on the disabled list, it hasn’t mattered. The Dodgers lineup still features Puig, Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.       It is scary to think of a lineup with Kemp sandwiched in it. I pity all opposing pitchers. You throw in role players like A.J. and Mark Ellis and Skip Schumaker, the only breather comes when the pitcher is up at the plate. Oh wait, all Dodger pitchers can hit. Yikes. This is starting to make sense now.

When the Dodgers struggled in the early season, people in Los Angeles were calling for Don Mattingly’s job. The perception was that the inmates were running the asylum and Donny Baseball was not a good fit for this team. He stayed the course and weathered the storm (these clichés are truly applicable here). No one really knows what impact he has had on this team during this hot streak, but credit must be given to the manager of a comeback of this nature. His moustache may be gone, but his job as Dodgers skipper is very much still there.

Overall, the Dodgers are clearly the best team in baseball right now. They have the pitching, the hitting and the winning attitude. After working out the early chinks in the armor, they are playing on a level now that is hard to fathom in this modern age. They just win, plain and simple. If they can stay healthy and carry this momentum into October, they will be tough to beat once, yet alone in a series.

The people in Los Angeles are buzzing about their new favorite toy. And with the Lakers looking prime for another disappointing season, the Dodgers might be here to stay. Even Magic Johnson has shifted his loyalties now that he is one of the owners of the team. Maybe Kobe will come in and pinch hit. He will probably want to soon enough. We might never see a winning streak and run like this ever in our lifetime. It’s time for all of us to appreciate this Dodger team and Think Blue.

August 26, 2013

The Cover 4 presents you another installment of The Sound Off by Long Island Sound…

Let us know what you think!


The Betting Corner: MLB Sunday, April 28th, 2013

nationals_1trh92a3_t8pxw4nr4-27-13 Recap:

LOSS: 1 Unit – San Francisco at San Diego (-105)

Loss: 1 Unit – LA Angels at Seattle (Over 6.5)

Season YTD: 30-27 +1.07 Units

Back to the same old losing games by a thread.  San Fran blows a 5 run early lead to a team who has scored more than 5 runs in a game only 4 times all year.  2 times have been when we bet against them.  Great timing.  Is Seattle, we miss by 1 run.  Had the Angels been able to tie it up 3-3 we would have been able to cover even if it went to extras.  Big card tomorrow, not time to do any write ups though.


1 Unit – Toronto at NY Yankees

1 Unit – Cincinnati at Washington (Under 7.5)

1 Unit – Baltimore at Oakland

1 Unit – LA Angels at Seattle

1 Unit – Atlanta at Detroit (Under 8)

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Jeremy Murray
Sports Activist for The Cover 4 is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: MLB Saturday, April 27th, 2013

jhonny1000_uza9ccxe_cocpn83r4-26-13 Recap:

LOSS: 1 Unit – Atlanta at Detroit (+115)

LOSS: 1 Unit – Philadelphia at NY Mets (Over 7.5) (-120)

Season YTD: 30-25 +3.12 Units

Screen shot 2013-04-27 at 12.23.31 PM

Two consecutive days now we haven’t even been close with our plays.  We haven’t lost many like this so far this year.  Now you see why I’ve been frustrated losing games we shouldn’t be, because you knew these types of games would come where you’ve got no shot.  Our record isn’t indicative of the types of plays we’ve been putting out this year.  Hopefully our breaks will come sooner rather than later.


1 Unit – San Francisco at San Diego (-105)

It’s no secret that Barry Zito has struggled against San Diego in the past (holding 4.52 ERA aginst them in his career.  But Stults is no saint against the Giants either.  Even though he’s got a positive record, he’s still rocking a 4.94 ERA against the them.  So you can throw those stats out the window.  This one seems pretty simple.  At roughly even money, I’ll go with the better offense and pitcher overall this year.

Zito is sporting a 3-1 record with a 3.42 ERA.  Keep in mind too that all of his runs this year were given up in Milwaukee 2 weeks ago where he got lit up for 9 earned in 2.2 innings.  Other than that, he’s been untouchable.  Outside of his first start of the year, Stults has been touched up on a continuous basis, giving up 4, 3, and 5 runs to the Dodgers twice and our Giants.  San Fran is averaging 4.2 runs per game in 2013 (4.09 on the road) versus San Diego’s measly 3.2 runs per game (3.30 at home).


1 Unit – LA Angels at Seattle (Over 6.5)

This is one of those cases where just because Felix Hernandez is pitching, the total is set extremely low.  For this case however, he hasn’t historically pitched well against the Angels.  He’s fresh off his 100th victory as a starter, throwing 6 shut out innings with 9 K’s (granted it was against Houston).  His success, or lack there of, against the Angels in his career would indicate a different type of outing for him tonight.  He’s 6-12 over 30 career starts with an ERA just north of 4.  He’s lost his last 5 starts against LA, giving up 7, 2, 4, 4, and 5 earned runs.

Joe Blanton on the other hand, holds a 3.5 ERA over 15 starts against Seattle with an 8-5 record.  So far this year though, he’s yet to last longer than 6 innings or give up fewer than 4 earned runs.  It’s almost impossible to argue betting the under in any game listed at 6.5.  3 runs a pop and we’re home free for the over.  Given the above stats, I’d say the odds of that happening are far greater than not.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Jeremy Murray
Sports Activist for The Cover 4 is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: MLB Friday, April 26th, 2013

gordon_5axedjyy_zhhnascc4-25-13 Recap:

LOSS: 1 Unit – Texas at Minnesota (Over 8.5)

Season YTD: 30-23 +5.32 Units

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 11.39.02 PM

Well, both pitchers came to play in this one.  Can’t say we had this one right.  Texas had a few chances with the bases loaded in the middle innings and less than two outs but couldn’t produce the breakout inning we needed.


1 Unit – Atlanta at Detroit (+115)

Even though Detroit won against KC the other day, they still haven’t been playing well.  You could argue 4 of their runs were unearned because they came after an error that would’ve ended the inning.  2 of the remaining 3 runs scored were from players that walked due to the wildness of Wade Davis.  Outside of those gifts their offense has been stagnant.  Atlanta on the other hand went into Colorado and took 2 of 3 from the number 1 team in the NL West.

I feel I’ve got a pretty good read on Maholm this year, we’ve been on the right side of two if his games this year (one was last week with Pitt in a 3-1 victory).  He’s coming off the 3 earned runs we called and would love to bounce back against struggling Detroit.  Maholm is holds a 2.60 ERA against the Tigers in 3 career starts.  Add that to his outrageous 3-1 record and 1.03 ERA, I’ll take him as a road underdog against a struggling offense.

Anibal Sanchez on the other hand, while throwing well this year (2-1 with a 1.75 ERA), has struggled against Atlanta in the past.  In 17 starts, he’s 4-11 with a 5.42 ERA (Atlanta’s won the last 5 games he’s started against them).  And if we don’t get up early, it’s always nice knowing Atlanta’s bullpen is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA on the year.  That’s ranked #1 in MLB.  Detroit, not so much.  They hold a 1-5 record with a 4.86 ERA.  That’s good for 27th in the majors.


1 Unit – Philadelphia at NY Mets (Over 7.5) (-120)

7.5 is an awfully low total for these two teams considering their offensive capabilities and who they’re sending to the mound.  Hell, Dillon Gee threw two and a half weeks ago against the Phils and gave up 7 in just 3 innings. Philadelphia hasn’t been playing bad.  They’re getting runners on base, they’re just not getting those timely hits to get over the hump.  Facing Gee again may be the kick they need.  He’s now got a 7.55 career ERA against them in 7 games.

The Mets offense has scored an average of 5.68 runs per game (ranked #1 in the NL) and are currently 7-4 this year against right handed pitching.  Kyle Kendrick has pitched well in the early going, but I expect enough of a hiccup if not from him then hopefully from the Philly bullpen who has fared so well when we’ve gone with them in the last.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Jeremy Murray
Sports Activist for The Cover 4 is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: MLB Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

BJ_Justin_Upton_b2b_p1uze741_kw4c469p4-23-13 Recap:

CANCELED: 1 Unit – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8)

Season YTD: 27-20 +5.07 Units

MLB Futures Watch:

.5 Units: Pittsburgh Pirates Under 77 (-110) 11-9

1 Unit: Houston Astros Under 59.5 (-110) 6-14

1 Unit: Atlanta Braves Over 87.5 (-110) 15-5

1 Unit: Seattle Mariners Over 77 (-125) 8-14

1.5 Units: Cleveland Indians Over 77 (-110) 8-10


We have another game cancelled yesterday.  In recent history, I don’t remember this many games that have been cancelled due to inclement weather.  We’ve got to be in or at least close to double digits at this point and there’s still a week left in the month of April.


1 Unit – Arizona at San Francisco (+150)

As I’m writing this, Arizona has just taken a 6-4 lead over San Fran in the top of the 11th so I’m going to assume they’ll close it out.  We could’ve gotten a little more value out of this had they lost the first two games of this series but our bet Wednesday is based off of value anyways so it’s kind of irrelevant.

Ian Kennedy has struggled a bit this year, but the Giants would be a perfect candidate to break out of it.  In his career against San Francisco, he’s started 13 games and has a 6-2 record with a 2.38 ERA.  In his career at AT&T park, he’s 3-1 over 7 starts holding a 2.66 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and a .215 opponent BA.  His opponent in Madison Bumgarner has started off a little stronger this year, going 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA.  He hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in a start yet YTD.  He doesn’t have horrible stats against Arizona holding a .500 record in 8 starts and a 3.78 ERA.

Two reasons we’re betting this one.  The first is I don’t expect Bumgarner to continue his dominance in this game.  3 of his first 4 games were against under .500 teams and Arizona has won 4 of their last 5 games against him.  The second reason is the moneyline is way off.  No reason in hell should Arizona be anywhere near a +150 underdog given this matchup.


1 Unit – Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (-120)

For the second game on our card, we’re going with Philadelphia in game two of this civil war series.  Hamel’s pitched well, but the Phillies offensive woes continued as they lost 2-0 Tuesday night.  They face off Wednesday against Wandy Rodriguez who’s started off the season strong.  He’s 2-0 in 3 starts with an ERA of 0.56.  However, in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, he’s sporting a 7.11 ERA over 4 games.  He’s also got the following stats against the following Philly hitters.  Ryan Howard (4-12 w/ 1 HR), Jimmy Rollins (6-15 w/ 1 HR), Chase Utely (2-10), and Michael Young (6-18).  Those are some encouraging stats for the core of the Philly offense (less Utley). Hopefully, they’ll be able to put a few early runs on the board and relieve some pressure off Halladay.

Speaking of Halladay, he seems to have figured out his early season woes, getting 2 wins in his last 2 starts giving up only 3 earned runs in 15 innings of work.  Not only that, but he’s pitched extremely well against Pittsburgh in his career.  He’s 4-1 over 6 starts with an ERA under 1.  At -120, at home, AND after a loss in the series opener, look for the Fightin’ Phils to bounce back and scrap out a win in this one.


**Note – The lines on the following games aren’t up yet.  I’ll check into them tomorrow and update the page with plays if needed.

Atlanta at Colorado

Toronto at Baltimore


0.5 Units – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8) -120

We’re hopping back on the same play we had yesterday before it got rained out.  We’re knocking it down to 0.5 units however because our odds were hacked from -105 to -120, and it scares me just enough that they were ready to go yesterday and have to re-prepare themselves all over again to start today (some pitchers can do it no problem and others hate breaking their routine).  The stats are still there to back up this play, but there’s a few more variables at work now.


0.5 Units – Kansas City at Detroit (+166)

Wade Davis has always been a quick starter in his career.  In the month of April all time, he holds a 7-3 record with a 2.83 ERA.  So far this year, he’s 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (and hasn’t given up an earned run in his last 2).  His opponent in Max Scherzer has also started off well this season, honing a 1-0 record with a 2.84 ERA.  The line is what get’s me in this one.  Detroit has been struggling to score runs (averaging 1.2 runs per game in their last 5) and has lost their last 4 in a row.  Kansas City played very competitively in Boston taking 2 of 3 (surprising considering the emotion Boston was playing with in front of their home fans for the first time since the bombing).  The only reason I’m not making this a 1 unit play is that neither of these teams have played a game in 3 days, so with that much time off, I don’t wanna get burned if Detroit’s offense comes out hot.


1 Unit – Texas at LA Angels (Over 7.5) (-115)

The Angels Bullpen is taxed right now.  They’ve had 2 extra inning games in their last 3, of which the bullpen has thrown 14 innings.  De La Rosa, Downs, and Frieri have all thrown at least an inning of work in each of those 3.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, their hand is forced to use Michael Roth in a spot start thinning their bullpen even more.  This game could get out of hand quick against an offense as powerful 1 through 9 as Texas.  7.5 seems awfully low considering the above.  Not to mention, neither team has scored less than 4 runs in their previous 5 games.  Darvish is the only reason this game is near the number it’s at and he only lasted 5 innings and gave up 3 against the Angels not 2 and a half weeks ago.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Jeremy Murray
Sports Activist for The Cover 4 is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

%d bloggers like this: