This past weekend was a wild one. Great playoff action. The start of Interleague Play. More horse racing. And of course the ongoing NFL disputes. Have no fear, next week is here. Lets take a look at what the big events for the upcoming week are.
5. Ray Lewis says that crime will rise if the season is lost. Look for more players to come out and speak their minds as the week continues. Though it is not actual NFL action, it is the best we can get during this unfortunate strike.
4. In the MLB, the first section of Interleague Play is complete. It was fun to watch the Subway Series pick back up, the Battle of Ohio, and watching the Cubs head to Fenway. Today we get back to reality. Normal Intraleague Play. There are many primetime matchups. But there is one series that has really caught my eye.
Florida Marlins at San Francisco Giants: Both of these teams are alive and well in the current playoff hunt. The Marlins are currently holding down the NL Wild Card position while the defending champion Giants are leading the NL West. San Francisco is currently the hottest team in the MLB outside of Arizona. The winners of 5 straight are starting to look more and more like the team America fell in love with last October. Neither of these teams will wow you in any one particular statistical category. They just win ball games. Expect the Marlins, even with their ace hitting the DL (Josh Johnson), to steal 2 of 3 on the road and make a statement to the rest of the NL. The loss of Josh Johnson hurts. But it will not crush this mysterious Florida Marlins squad that sports the best road record in the National League. Somebody name me 5 players on this team that is not a Marlin’s fan please.
3. Welcome to Roland Garros. The 2nd Grand Slam of the tennis season is under way. This is generally the most unpredictable Grand Slam of the 4. Also, it is generally the least friendly to Americans. With only 2 American Males in the top 20, and 3 in the top 30, do not expect an American to bring home the title (or to even play into the 2nd week). And as for the Women’s side, there is only 1 player ranked in the World top 20. What happened to American tennis? The French is a tournament where Americans typically struggle anyways, so that can be a story for another day. After taking a quick look at the draw here are my predictions.
Men: Nadal over Djokovic
-Yes I am putting the 1 and 2 seed in the Finals. How often does this happen? Not to frequently, but both of these players have been nearly unbeatable as of late. Plus, Roland Garros is Rafael Nadal’s playground. Though Djokovic has played like the World’s number 1 player all year to this point, I am taking Nadal in an epic final’s showdown. Also, many are doubting Djokovic and calling for a somewhat early round exit to the likes of Juan del Potro. I don’t think so. Djokovic is playing unreal right now.
Sleepers: Federer and Murray are my two sleepers to possibly surprise the world. It is crazy that Federer making a Final is now considered a surprise. Times have changed.
Women: Clijsters over Wozniacki
-I am also taking a 1 and 2 seed in the Women’s Final. The only difference here is that I am taking the number 2 seed to take it home. I realize that Clijsters has never won the French. But she has a knack for thriving on the big stage and has been to the Finals here twice. Not to mention she already took home the year’s first Grand Slam. With the Williams sisters fading out of the picture, it is Clijster’s time to reign supreme in the Women’s Game.
Sleepers: Two other players to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses. The defending champion, Francesca Schiavone and the up and coming Aussie star, Samantha Stosur (2010 Finalist). Both are capable of bringing some fireworks to Roland Garros.
2. The NHL Conference Finals continue. I still think we are headed towards a Canucks vs Bruins showdown. Vancouver appears to have taken control in the Western Conference Finals while the Bruins blew a golden opportunity to take charge of the East in Game 4. I think Boston will be fine though. Expect a Canucks/Bruins Stanley Cup Final.
1. The NBA Conference Finals also continue. In the East, Miami appears to have disposed any and all remnants of an embarrassing Game 1 and look determined to close out the series in 5 games. I think it will take 6, but I got Miami riding their 3 stars to the Finals. In the West, Dallas surprised me with a great 3 quarter performance in Game 3. Their performance in the first 3 quarters was good enough to make up for a horrific 4th quarter as they held on for the win in OKC. I still do not have a whole lot of faith in Dallas. I expect this series to go at least 6, probably 7 games. Get ready for Durant to lead the very young and talented Thunder to an improbable Western Conference Title though. I am gearing up for a Heat/Thunder Finals matchup. We will learn a whole lot more as the week progresses.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.