Cokin’s Corner, Friday 5/26/17

  • May 25, 2017

There’s a new #1.

I’m not referring to any power rankings in any sport. I’m speculating on the top target for contenders in baseball when it comes to adding that one potential game changer either prior to or at the trade deadline.

Sonny Gray appears to be all the way back. The Oakland A’s righty has put together back to back impressive outings against the Red Sox and Marlins, and make no mistake, these were vintage Gray performances.

Sonny Gray at his best is a terrific major league pitcher. Strong BB/K ratio, ground balls galore and a low percentage of hard hit baseballs. If you look at the last two Gray efforts, it’s as of he turned the clock back to 2015. In other words, Gray sure looks like he’s finally back to full health and if that’s the case, his market value spikes considerably.

I don’t think there’s much question there will be abundant number of potential trade partners for the A’s when it comes to Sonny Gray. He’s that coveted pitching piece that can take any playoff team to the next level.

The strategy for the A’s is the mystery here. Do they wait for several offers to surface, which means holding out till the deadline and hoping nothing goes wrong with Gray? Or does Billy Beane decide to work the phones now in hopes of locating a trade partner that’s willing to buy high right now?

Either way, the Athletics are now in what looks to be a great position in terms of commanding a substantial reward for Sonny Gray.

Two of my Thursday plays got rained out. The only one that actually took place turned out to be a pretty easy winner as the Pirates buried the Braves early and coasted to a convincing win. I’m on just one early play for Friday, but it’s a game I like quite a bit.

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The Thursday free play fell victim to the rain. Today, I’m going with a free play on the Stanley Cup showdown between Nashville and Pittsburgh.


Take: PENGUINS -150 (series play)

The Nashville Predators are an ultimate Cinderella story. The Preds qualified for the playoffs as the second wild card entry in the Western Conference. Yet here they are heading to the Cup Finals, and I think it’s fair to offer they’ve played better hockey than any other team in this post-season.

Unfortunately for Nashville fans, I suspect the clock is about to strike midnight for their team. I see too many potholes for the Predators to negotiate in this matchup with the Penguins.

The Pens are the reigning champs, and while it’s been ages since any team went back to back in the NHL, I see that championship experience as a big plus for Pittsburgh.

Neither team is in great shape physically at this point, which is not even mildly surprising. The NHL playoffs are incredibly difficult from a physical standpoint, as unlike the NBA, there isn’t much time between games and the entire hockey post-season is an exercise in physical mayhem. But I’d have to give the health edge to the Penguins at this point.

Finally, the time off between the Western Conference finals and the championship series might actually be a bit of a negative for Nashville. While the rest period is nice, I wonder if the time off might take an edge off the remarkable momentum that this team has ridden ever since they wiped out the Blackhawks way back in the opening round.

I’m on the public side here, as the Penguins are certainly going to he the square side in this series. But I also happen to believe they’re the right side. I don’t see this being at all easy, but I’m willing to back the chalky Penguins at -150 to win their second straight Stanley Cup.