Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 6/18/17
Congratulations to Andre Ward. His rematch with Sergey Kovalev ended in the eight round via TKO. A low blow by Ward didn’t hurt the cause, but Kovalev was fading, just as he did in the first matchup between these two.
Earlier this week on The Las Vegas Sportsline (weekdays 2-3PDT, ESPN Las Vegas) I made mention of what I feel is a stamina issue for Kovalev. It’s not a matter of training properly. Some great athletes are simply a little shorter on endurance than others, and I feel Kovalev falls into that realm.
As for interest in the fight, let’s just say it was scant. My Twitter @@davecokin) timeline is a great barometer for me to go by. I follow sports almost exclusively on Twitter (unlike Facebook, where my friends list is far more eclectic). For Kovalev-Ward, aside from the journalists I follow who were covering the fight in person at Mandalay Bay, there was very little mention elsewhere.
Like it or not, that won’t be the case when Mayweather-McGregor takes place in late August. That circus is going to be absolute insanity and, as opposed to Kovalev-Ward, it’s going to do monster business at the betting windows.
I think it’s the ultimate carnival sideshow, but the masses want it, they’re going to get it, and yes, we’ll be giving lots of attention on the show.
Sweet recovery on Saturday, with a net gain of right around +3.5 units. Of course, there still had to be yet another blown save, this time by Miami closer AJ Ramos, who had previously been perfect for the season in his save opportunities. Too bad, as it would have been an absolute monster day, but I’ll be satisfied with what was still a very productive day.
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No sweat with the Angels as the Saturday free play. Let’s see about more of the same with the Sunday comp. Note that as of now, I’ve played just one Sunday game, and it’s not this one. So consider it an added opinion for now, and I’ll indicate on Twitter and Facebook in the morning as to whether it’s actually on my card.
DIAMONDBACKS at PHILLIES (Ray vs. Lively)
Take: DIAMONDBACKS -145
Robbie Ray has turned the proverbial corner for the Diamondbacks. The lefty is on a major roll right now. Ray will still have the occasional game where his control foes awry, and that’s when he’ll have some trouble. But Ray has shown meaningful improvement in this category, and the Phillies definitely swing and miss more than most teams.
Arizona also has swing and miss tendencies. But that might not be a big problem for them today as they go against Phillies rookie Ben Lively. The righty has done pretty well in his first three big league starts. But one red flag for Lively is a microscopic K rate. Lively has punched out only five opposing hitters in 21 innings. That’s an alarmingly low rate for a guy who appears to be an extreme fly ball pitcher.
I give Arizona a good chance to launch a couple of long ones against Lively today. So unless Ray suddenly comes up with a clunker, this looks like a good game for the visitors. Bigger price than I’m genuinely comfortable with, but the Diamondbacks are the choice for the Sunday free play.