The first month of the 2017 season is in the books and the season is in full swing.
|New York Yankees||15||8||.652||–||10-2||5-6||128||85||+43||L1||6-4|
|Boston Red Sox||13||11||.542||2.5||9-5||4-6||93||93||0||W1||4-6|
|Tampa Bay Rays||12||14||.462||4.5||9-4||3-10||111||109||+2||L2||4-6|
|Toronto Blue Jays||8||17||.320||8||4-8||4-9||89||110||-21||W2||5-5|
|Chicago White Sox||13||10||.565||0.5||6-5||7-5||98||83||+15||L1||6-4|
|Kansas City Royals||7||16||.304||6.5||5-5||2-11||63||100||-37||L9||1-9|
|Los Angeles Angels||14||13||.519||3||9-4||5-9||99||110||-11||W1||7-3|
|New York Mets||10||14||.417||6.5||4-10||6-4||103||128||-25||L1||3-7|
|St. Louis Cardinals||12||12||.500||1||8-6||4-6||99||106||-7||L1||7-3|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||14||12||.538||2||9-4||5-8||112||92||+20||W4||6-4|
|San Diego Padres||11||16||.407||5.5||5-4||6-12||102||133||-31||W2||4-6|
|San Francisco Giants||9||17||.346||7||6-8||3-9||87||120||-33||L2||3-7|
Going into play tonight, the Orioles and the Yankees are tied for first place in the AL East, tied for the second best winning percentage in the majors. The O’s and Yanks just concluded an exciting three game weekend series in the Bronx with the Yankees taking 2 of 3. On Friday night, the Orioles had a 9-1 lead going into the 6th inning, but miraculously blew the huge lead in the ninth inning, and the Yankees won the game in the 11th inning on a Matt Holiday walk off 3-run homer. The Yankee magic seems to be alive and well. Aaron Judge is a monster and is leading the American League in home runs. He seems to have figured out how to work the zone and is seeing the ball really well for such a young player. He is legit and is going to be tough on all the pitching in the American League for years to come it seems. The Red Sox took 2 of 3 from the Cubs this weekend and showed that they are real contenders this year as well. It’s going to be a dogfight all season between the Sox, Yanks and O’s.
In the National League West, the Rockies (whom I mistakenly left out of my pre-season predictions; my bad) are in first place and have been getting great pitching while playing many of their games on the road. It remains to be seen if this pitching will hold up over 82 games at Coors field, but Rockies fans have a lot to be excited about. In the NL East, the Mets have been dealing with some early injuries to their pitching staff and Yoenis Cespedes and are struggling at 10-14. The Nationals are clicking and have the best record in the majors at 17-8. Ryan Zimmerman has returned to form after battling injuries for the last few years and is on a tear. He looks like an early MVP candidate.
The Blue Jays continue to struggle, with Aaron Sanchez going back on the DL after returning and throwing only 13 pitches on Sunday. This season already looks lost for the defending AL Wild Card champs.
Buffalo Sports Notes
Terry and Kim Pegula continued to clean house in the Pegula Sports and Entertainment empire. They fired Doug Whaley on Sunday morning and a collective cheer was heard all over Western New York. I have been calling for him and Tim Murray to be fired for two years and it seems my calls and prayers were finally heard by Terry and Kim. I love that Terry is finally taking ownership, pardon my pun, of his teams and seems to finally be taking the hands on approach that the fans demand. He has adamantly made the point that he hired neither Murray or Whaley, and the sorry results of the teams for the last few years compelled him to make a move. The Bills had a great draft and addressed many if not all of their needs. While their first round pick underwhelmed some fans (oh geez, not another defensive back in the first round), their prior move to trade down in the first round for more late round picks and a first rounder next year was widely cheered. It was a great move to position the team for future success and was a stark reversal and rebuke to Doug Whaley who traded up in the first round a couple years ago for Sammy Watkins in a draft that featured Odell Beckham who the Bills could have taken with their original first round pick. That move to trade up was probably Whaley’s worst move (or taking EJ Manuel). Suffice to say, he made terrible personnel decisions and has rightly been relieved of his duties. Sean McDermott looks like he knows exactly what he wants to do with his roster and has instilled confidence in the fans that he is building a solid defensive team. With the two first round picks in next year’s draft, the Bills are in a great position to get the franchise quarterback we so desperately need. That trade also shows that this may be the last season for Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo. I like Taylor, but he is an average QB at best and not the long term answer we need under center. He is too short and injury prone. It will be interesting to see how the Bills perform this year. I predict a 4-12 season considering how brutal our schedule looks on paper. This would be good though because it would position us very favorably in the 2018 draft. I honestly wouldn’t care if we lost that many games and just won half or more of our home games, which would possibly give us more than 4 wins. We need to get a high draft pick next year and need to draft a solid, no doubt stud at QB and next year’s draft appears to be loaded with QB talent. That trade down in the first round was a shrewd move and shows that we now have smart people making decisions at One Bills Drive.
It’s a new day for the Pegula’s two professional sports franchises, and after two underwhelming Buffalo sports seasons, the fans have reason to be cautiously optimistic. The new Sabres GM is said to be close to being announced; I really do hope that it’s Chris Drury. I think he would bring a youthful energy to the job and am not concerned that he doesn’t have NHL managerial experience. He was like a coach on the ice, knows what the Buffalo fans demand, and surely is a good evaluator of talent from his time with USA Hockey. He’s my pick for GM- we’ll see what Terry and Kim decide in the coming days.
The weather is finally starting to warm up (the rain is relentless), but it should make for more and more exciting baseball and festival season. There are some great concerts coming up this year at the Albright-Knox and at Art Park, not to mention Canalside and the always fabulous Bidwell concert series. I’m looking forward to a great summer and will be here with Baseball coverage all season. Feel free to join the conversation in the comments and follow us on Twitter, @BLORisingSports.
Let’s GO BUFFALO!