Weekly Nickel 6-11-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Will Rafael Nadal (pictured above) make history today and break Bjorn Borg’s record with a 7th French Open Championship?

By Josh Kramer

Thank you, may I have another?  So I’ll Have another was unable to compete in the Belmont Saturday.  As usual, the race did not disappoint nor did the entire week in sports.  The playoffs are all about the finals now as there are only two teams remaining in both the NBA and NHL playoffs.  Plus the French Open is not quite done yet.  Last week was great, but this one will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Rain, rain, go away.  Or keep the French Open going another day.  Maria Sharapova became the tenth woman to complete the career Grand Slam on Saturday.  Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are all looking to further stamp their imprint on history as the fourth set of the Men’s final continues this morning.  I would highly recommend waking up and checking this out now on NBC.

4.  The MLB has been on the back-burner in the sporting stratosphere for some time now.  That is typically the case in June when the NBA and NHL playoffs are coming to a conclusion.  Despite being on the back-burner, it is still a very exciting time.  Philadelphia and Boston still find themselves occupying the cellar of their respective divisions.  The Dodger magic continues, as LA still possesses the best record in all of baseball.  And the other LA team (the Angels), are finally back in contention.  Speaking of Los Angeles, my matchup of the week is set to go down in the city that houses Kobe Bryant.

Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers:  One of these teams was a heavy favorite to take home the World Series back in early April.  I will give you a hint.  It wasn’t the team that currently possesses the best record in all of baseball.  Nobody could have imagined the Dodgers getting off to the red-hot start that they did and the Angels stumbling out of the gates the way they did.  Baseball is a marathon though and by no means a sprint.  The 162-game six month schedule is a grueling one filled with highs, lows, and everything imaginable in between.

The Dodgers have won in a very conventional fashion.  They hit well and they pitch well.  It is as simple as that.  The Angels have come on as of late in large part due to their great pitching.  Unfortunately, the hitting still has plenty of work to do.  The issue in this series though is that no team has been better at home than the Dodgers.  When Magic’s crew takes the field at Dodger Stadium, they are nearly invincible.  Though I am very impressed with the recent surge of the Angels, Dodger Stadium is not exactly the place to take the next step.  Look for the Dodgers to win the “Battle of LA” by taking two of three.

3.  Euro 2012 is out in full force.  Outside of the World Cup, this is the biggest soccer tournament in the world.  As is always the case, there has already been some shockers, namely Denmark taking down the Netherlands.  Make sure to tune in to ESPN’s great coverage all week as the Group Stage continues on.

2.  Could the Devils of 2012 become hockey’s version of the 2004 Red Sox?  Don’t count on it.  The momentum has completely shifted and the tides have turned.  But Los Angeles will shut this series down tonight in front of a home crowd and win the franchises first Stanley Cup.  The trio of Brown, Kopitar, and Quick are far too good to let this golden opportunity slip through their fingers.  Besides, does LA really want to travel to the Prudential Center, aka the house that Martin Brodeur built, for a Game 7 winner take all showdown?  No.  Lord Stanley will be hoisted by the Kings tonight.

1. The “Dream Matchup” has finally come to fruition.  Could television have really asked for a better two teams to go toe to toe in the NBA Finals?  OKC is a young and exciting group that has exceeded expectations.  They are currently playing with no fear.  Miami on the other hand is a veteran-laden team that cannot afford to do anything other than win.  Second place would be the same as last place for the South Beach All Stars.  Plus, any game that features the likes of James, Durant, Westbrook, Wade, Harden, and Bosh ought to be fun right?  I knew there was a reason why the NBA slogan used to be, “I love this game.”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

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