Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 5/4/16

Sometimes feelings just have to be hurt. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins are scheduled to end the month of May with a pair of games in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the anticipated trip is now in jeopardy. The problem is the Zika virus, which is mostly spread by mosquito bites, and can evidently cause birth defects, as well as serious neurological issues. The virus can also be contracted sexually, meaning that travelers from areas where it's most prevalent are capable of bringing the disease with them. Obviously, this is therefore of great concern to the players and staffers for both the Pirates and Marlins. There are precautions that can be taken, but covering the skin with as much clothing as possible isn't exactly practical for a baseball game, and forcing everyone to remain inside the hotel when not at the games doesn't seem desirable either. As of now, no firm decision on whether to go ahead with the trip as scheduled has been arrived at by either team, with no ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 5/3/16

It's official. Pablo Sandoval needs shoulder surgery and the portly Red Sox third baseman will miss the rest of the 2016 season. I'm sure this won't be any fun for Kung Fu Panda, but the reality is it's actually what could be a great break for former San Francisco Giants star. Sandoval now effectively has what amounts to almost an entire calendar year to do the one thing that he needs to do, above all. That's to get in shape to perform as a professional athlete. As much fun as Sandoval was in his Bay Area years, I don't know anyone who didn't think he was a strong regression candidate due to his weight issues. The decline came much faster than anticipated, to be sure. Sandoval had a terrible 2015 in Boston. He didn't hit much and his defense at the hot corner was horrible. So it wasn't really much of a shocker when Travis Shaw beat Sandoval out for the starting third base job this spring. Sandoval played the role of good teammate, I guess, although I might well have preferred ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 5/2/16

One month in the books, so here's the first awards breakdown of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. NL MVP: Nolan Arenado, Rockies AL MVP: Manny Machado, Orioles NL Cy Young: Jake Arrieta, Cubs AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, White Sox NL Rookie: Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals AL Rookie: Nomar Mazara, Rangers Some close calls to be sure, but that's my rundown. Got one of your own? Tweet it @davecokin or on my Facebook page and let's compare notes! Just missed the 3-0 Sunday sweep as the Raptors let a 16-point mid-fourth quarter lead melt away, failing to cover by the hook. The Heat and my one baseball play on the Nationals worked out nicely, so a nice start to the month. My offer for the month of May includes another +10 net unit minimum overall guarantee. For complete details, fire off an email to me at cokin@cox.net. Subscribing is a cinch, just choose the monthly package from the dropdown menu and you'll be good to go. Cake with the Heat on the Sunday ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 5/1/16

I wanted to make one additional comment regarding the baseball players who just got nailed for failing drug tests, and then played the "I don't know how that got in my system" card. Maybe they actually don't know. That's stretching benefit of the doubt to be sure, but just for the sake of this piece, I'll go that route. Regardless, it's not an acceptable excuse. It's simple enough. If Player A does not ingest anything that isn't NSF-certified, he's not going to test positive, at least that's the way I understand it. But there's an easy enough backup plan for every player as well. Keep a journal. That's not very difficult. It's not like the player has to lug around a big notebook at all times. Between phones, iPads, and whatever else, it's s cinch. If Player A goes to the health food store and decided to try a new over the counter product, enter it into the log. In other words, have some documentation in place just in case. That way, there's at least someplace to look if the ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 4/30/16

Time flies when you're having fun, as the old expression goes. I start having fun on Opening Day of the baseball season, and sure enough, time is absolutely flying for me. I can hardly believe we're already about to complete the first month of the campaign. While scanning some team data from the first month, one set of numbers caught my eye. I knew this was happening but when I started looking at the stats in black and white, it became somewhat mind boggling. There are some phenomenal team K rates existing right now. The Phillies and Red Sox pitching staffs are recording better than 10 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched. The Mets, Rays and Yankees staffs are all better than one K per inning. There are a mere three teams, the Tigers, Rangers and Brewers that are registering less than seven K's per nine innings. This is amazing stuff. I'm not sure what the conclusion is, but I'll offer up a couple of ideas. One is obvious. Bigger than ever arms. That's pretty much a ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 4/29/16

Dee Gordon will be on an unpaid vacation for the next few months. The Marlins second baseman and reigning NL batting champ is down for the next 80 games after getting nailed on a PED drug test. I'm waiting for the statement from Gordon where he tells everyone he has no idea how these drugs got into his system and why he tested positive. Of course, there's always the chance Gordon just comes clean and admits he broke the rules, but that very rarely happens. Aside from the label that will now accompany him for the rest of his career, Gordon is still laughing all the way to the bank. He signed a $50 million extension in January. So losing half a season's pay is maybe not so much of a penalty as some are proclaiming it to be. Obviously, I have no knowledge or documentation as to when Gordon started juicing, but I don't think I can be blamed for thinking it wasn't yesterday. Therefore, it's no far fetched to connect the dots and at least speculate that he won that batting title and ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 4/28/16

Joe Girardi thinks it's time for baseball to outlaw defensive shifts. The manager of the Yankees said this should be illegal. He then proceeded to explain why, and in the process kind of made a fool of himself. "It's an illegal defense, like basketball. Guard your man, guard your spot," said Girardi. "If I were commissioner, they would be illegal". Bad news, Joe. That illegal defense you described is no longer illegal in the NBA. They dumped it and the zone defense is now legal. There's still the three-second rule, but that's it. The mandate that teams play man-to-man defense no longer exists. As for Girardi's contention that defensive shifting should not be allowed in baseball, I think that's utterly ridiculous. It's a strategy intended to take advantage of hitters who constantly pull the ball. It's been around forever, although it's not until recently with the expansion of analytics that it has become more widely used. But this was a defense teams used all the time against ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 4/27/16

I certainly never thought it would reach this point this soon. But tomorrow promises to be one of the most fascinating days in the sports history of Las Vegas. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis will be in town to meet with the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. The purpose of the meeting will be to determine the possibility of a domed stadium being constructed at an initial estimated cost of $1.3 billion. One thing that is now known is that the stance of the NFL regarding Las Vegas has changed. That's not opinion, it's fact, as the league sent a memo stating that there is no prohibition under league rules against a team moving to any particular city. That simple little transmission is huge. There is absolutely no way things would have gotten even this far, perhaps even as recently as one year ago. But it's becoming very clear that the NFL no longer has a major hangup with Nevada. The way I see it, the reason is clear as day, and is a reinforcement of an ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 4/26/16

It's been awhile since I took what amounts to a blog break. So I'll give myself a night off as far as the editorializing goes. But there are no days off on the free plays, so that's here as always. I went 0-1 on Monday, with a loss on the Cardinals. The NHL series plays are 2-0 thus far and I'm still alive with the Predators as a handsomely priced dog as they head to Anaheim for Game Seven. The last three or so weeks have been tremendous overall, and I'll try to add to that bottom line tonight. Two plays thus far in baseball, including the comp that's here, and a good chance I'll add a play or two during the day if the market cooperates. For info on how to receive all my plays, sent out at the same time I play them myself, shoot me an email at cokin@cox.net. The guarantee that goes with the monthly buy is still available, by the way. ORIOLES (Jimenez) @ RAYS (Odorizzi) Take: ORIOLES +115 Tampa Bay continues to have its share of trouble plating runs, but the two they ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 4/25/16

The Sunday sports scene couldn't have been much more exciting. The late games on the baseball slate were absolutely nuts, there was an NHL series clinch in a tremendous double overtime duel, and even the NBA chipped in with a pair of exciting games. But the big news coming out of Sunday's action came in a game that ended up being a blowout. Golden State ended up demolishing Houston to take a 3-1 lead in that series, and the Warriors will likely wrap up the session on Wednesday. But they will have to do so without superstar Stephen Curry. As everyone who follows the NBA already knows, Curry injured a knee yesterday. It certainly didn't look good, and it's going to be nail biting time for every Warriors fan, and for that matter most every basketball fan, as the wait for MRI results begins. This is an utter disaster for Curry and the Warriors if he's out for an extended period. After breaking the all-time regular season wins record and heading into the playoffs as a clear ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 4/24/16

Boxing doesn't command much attention these days, which is pretty much boxing's own fault. That's the inevitability when the sport is run by multiple promoters who are looking out for the best interests of themselves and not the sport. Don't get me wrong, I understand that stance completely, and if I were a promoter, I'd probably be doing the same thing. So I'm not going to take some holier than thou position here. But as far as the overall health of the sport is concerned, it's obviously not a good thing and there simply isn't any debate about the harm that has been done to the sport in the process. All that said, the two fighters at the very top of the pound for pound rankings put on a spectacular show Saturday night at the Forum. Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez and Gennady Golovkin overwhelmed totally overmatched opponents, and there was never even a shred of doubt about the outcome of either fight. I'll focus on Golovkin for a moment. This guy is an absolute wrecking ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 4/23/16

I was planning on skipping the commentary in today's piece, and just writing up the daily free play. But after seeing one of the craziest baseball plays ever, that had to change. Here's the setup. Top of the seventh inning, the Rangers are trailing the White Sox 5-0. But Texas was in position for a big inning, as they'd loaded the bases with none out. Mitch Moreland was up next, and he absolutely smoked a drive down the right field line that Adam Eaton caught on the run. One out. The Texas runners had taken off, so Eaton fired the ball to first base in an attempt to double up Ian Desmond. The tag was missed, but Desmond overran the bag and ended up getting tagged out while in foul territory. Two out. Next,  White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu made a throw home while on his knees to Pale Hose catcher Dioner Navarro. While this was happening, Adrian Beltre got spotted between second and third base, so Navarro fired the ball to shortstop Tyler Saladino, who then noticed that ... More