Friday’s Den: USFL Week 9 preview and other random stuff

— When a major league manager makes an unusual strategic move and it blows up, he gets raked over the coals, doubly so if the team is struggling.

Thursday in Chicago, Dodgers led White Sox 7-5 in top of 6th inning; Trea Turner had a 1-2 count on him, with Freddie Freeman moving to second base on a wild pitch. With a lefty on mound, first base open with two outs and lefty Max Muncy up next, White Sox skipper Tony LaRussa had Turner walked intentionally, even with a 1-2 count.

Muncy hit a 3-run homer; the peanut gallery was not amused. White Sox are 26-29; they’ve had lot of injuries, but they’re struggling and LaRussa is 77 years old and people are fickle- they don’t care that LaRussa is already in the Hall of Fame, that he was managing in the big leagues before any active major leaguer was born.

What have you done for me lately?

— Oakland A’s are having a terrible season because they have a minor league roster, but the guys who are playing for Oakland are doing their best; it just isn’t good enough.

1B Christian Bethancourt hit his second home run of the season Thursday; this is a guy who played for the Braves/Padres from 2013-17, then was out of the major leagues…..until this year.

He went six years in between major league home runs; that doesn’t happen much.

— New York 10, Minnesota 7: Thursday night in Minnesota, Garret Cole gave up home runs to Arraez-Buxton-Correa, the Twins’ first three batters. This was only the 7th time in MLB history a team hit back-back-back homers to start the first inning of a game.

Twins are second of those seven teams to lose after starting with three home runs.

Gerrit Cole makes $36M a year; you figure based on 32 starts, that is $1.125M per start. Here is what New York got for their $1.12M Thursday:

70 pitches, 2.1 IP— 8 hits, 7 runs allowed, all earned runs. He gave up five home runs.

— Minnesota Twins have lost their last 18 playoff games, the longest postseason losing streak, not just in baseball, but in any sport.

— Marlins 7, Nationals 4— Stephen Strasburg pitched in his first MLB game in a year, coming off of thoracic outlet surgery; he allowed seven runs in 4.2 IP (83 PT)

From what I’ve heard on TV, thoracic outlet surgery is difficult to come back from, more so than other injuries pitchers usually suffer.

— Angels 5, Red Sox 2— Angels snap a 14-game losing streak; Ohtani threw seven innings and also hit a home run.

— Phillies 8, Brewers 3— Phillies are 5-0 since they changed managers, are only 2.5 games out of the last playoff spot.

Week 9 USFL games……..
Michigan vs New Jersey (-7.5)
Michigan Panthers (1-7)
— Lost their last five games (0-4-1 ATS)
— 0-4 in games decided by 5 or fewer points.
— Last five games, they’re minus-7 in turnovers.
— Their only win was 24-0 over 1-6 Pittsburgh.
— Last five games went over the total.
— Michigan is 1-4 ATS as an underdog.

New Jersey Generals (7-1)
— Won last seven games (5-2 ATS), scoring 24.7 ppg in last six.
— Generals held last six opponents to 16.7 ppg.
— Outscored last two foes 40-10 in first half.
— 3-2 ATS as a favorite
— Four of their last five games went over the total.

First meeting:
— Week 1, Generals (-1) beat Michigan 10-6.
— Game was 10-6 at half, scoreless in second half.
— Total yardage: 263-258, Michigan
— New Jersey won, despite being minus-2 in turnovers.

Houston vs Birmingham (-13.5)
Houston Gamblers (1-7)
— Lost their last seven games (2-5 ATS)
— Led seven of their eight games at halftime.
— Have a bad record, despite a +5 turnover ratio.
— Six of last seven games went over total
— Outscored 107-39 in second half.

Birmingham Stallions (8-0)
— Both their quarterbacks were banged up last week.
— Trailed at halftime in half of their eight games
— Outscored opponents 117-50 in second half.
— Outrushed last five foes 797-404
— 6-2 against spread, 0-2 last two weeks.

First meeting
— Stallions (-3) beat Houston 33-28 in Week 2.
— Gamblers led that game 18-13 at halftime.
— Total yardage: 391-285, Stallions.

Tampa Bay vs New Orleans (-3)
Tampa Bay Bandits (4-4)
— Bandits lost three of their last five games.
— Minus-11 in turnovers— have only four takeaways.
— 1-2 ATS as an underdog.
— Were shut out in second half in 4 of 8 games.
— Under is 5-3 in their games.

New Orleans Breakers (5-3)
— Scored 23+ points in their wins, 13-17-9 in losses.
— Four of last five games went over the total
— Last six games, they’re minus-5 in turnovers (8-13)
— 2-0 ATS this season as an underdog.
— Lost on last play LW, 10-9 to 8-0 Birmingham.

First meeting:
— Breakers (+2.5) waxed Tampa Bay 34-3 in Week 2.
— New Orleans was +3 in turnovers; they led 21-3 at halftime.
— Bandits were only 11-29/64 yards passing.
— Breakers outgained Tampa Bay, 374-194

Philadelphia (-8.5) vs Pittsburgh
Philadelphia Stars (5-3)
— Won four of last five games, are 2-2-1 ATS as favorites.
— Last five weeks, they’re +9 in turnovers.
— Gave up 23+ points in all eight games (over 6-1 last seven).
— Have been outgained in six of eight games (3-4-1 ATS).
— Scored 30-26-35-35-46 points in wins; 17-16-17 in losses.

Pittsburgh Maulers (1-7)
— Have been outscored 121-45 in first half of games. 
— Are 1-7 with an even turnover ratio.
— Completed less than half their passes in four games.
— Six of their last seven games went over total.
— Covered spread three of last five weeks (3-4-1 ATS for year).

First meeting:
— Stars (-7) beat Pittsburgh 30-23 in Week 2.
— Maulers outrushed Philly 123-45, outgained them 348-303
— Philly led 21-16 at halftime.
— Stars won despite turning ball over three times (-1). 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.