Possibly the greatest season in WNBA history just got one step closer to becoming a reality, as the Mercury finish off the Minnesota Lynx in a decisive game three, 96-78, to win the Western Conference Finals. Phoenix used a late surge to top the defending champions, outscoring them 29-11 after being tied at 67-67 with 1:25 left to play in the 3rd quarter.
The Mercury will be heading to the franchise’s 4th WNBA Finals, in search of their 3rd championship. Similar to all three title runs, Diana Taurasi is leading the team once again. She led the charge tonight, scoring 31 points on 12-17 shooting from the floor.
Taurasi got some much needed help from her teammates, tonight, as it was an all-around team effort to take down the four-time repeating Western Conference Champion Minnesota Lynx. Brittney Griner was on her game as well, scoring 22 points on 9-12 shooting, and adding six rebounds and four assists. Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner added 14 points each, and Penny Taylor added 10 of her own. Continue reading
It has been a long and tough road for Daniel Hudson, after suffering two major injuries to his throwing elbow in a two-year span. Hudson was a key part of the Diamondbacks’ rotation in 2011 as he won 16 games and posted a 3.49 ERA, helping the team to an NL West Division crown and a spot in the playoffs. But the following years of his career have been a nightmare.
The first injury to his elbow was suffered during a game on June 26th, 2012, in the second inning of a game against the Braves in Atlanta. An MRI revealed a 100% tear in his right UCL (ulnar-collateral ligament in the elbow), which meant that Hudson needed to undergo Tommy John surgery and rehabilitate the elbow, which takes anywhere between 12-18 months.
In the following year after the surgery, the Diamondbacks were giving Hudson two starts in AA-Mobile to make sure he was ready to return to Arizona’s rotation. However, in his first rehab start on June 7th in 2013, Hudson suffered a complete re-tear of the ligament. A second surgery followed, setting Hudson back at least another year. Continue reading
After a big 93-68 win over the Sparks to finish the 2-0 sweep, the Phoenix Mercury are headed to the Western Conference Finals. The Mercury will be taking on their toughest opponent, the Minnesota Lynx in a best-of-three series, with the winner heading to the WNBA Finals.
With the Mercury turning in their historic season, going 29-5 and winning the most games in league history, these teams are clearly the two best in the WNBA.
Led by league MVP, Maya Moore, the Lynx turned in an impressive season, going 25-9. The Mercury have had the upper hand on Minnesota this season, winning three of four meetings. It was exciting to watch the two teams battle on the court this season, as most of the games went down to the wire with three games being decided by single digits. The Western Conference Finals should be no different, as both teams are vying for a spot in the championship. Continue reading
The college football season is right around the corner, as the Sun Devils will be kicking off the season on Thursday, August 28th as they host the Wildcats of Weber State. In preparations for the beginning of the season, the Associated Press released their annual preseason top 25 rankings, in which Arizona State comes in at No. 19.
The defending PAC-12 South champion Devils are hungry for more success, after going 10-4 with trips to the PAC-12 Championship Game, and the Holiday Bowl last season.
Arizona State has their work cut out for them this season, as five of their 12 scheduled opponents are among the top 25. The Devils will be taking on #7 UCLA, #11 Stanford, and #17 Notre Dame at home, while playing #15 USC and #25 Washington on the road. Continue reading
With great courage, Arizona State’s offensive lineman, Chip Sarafin, came out to the public to reveal his true self. He became the NCAA’s first active openly gay football player when he came out in an interview with Compete Magazine, a Tempe-based magazine for LGBT sports.
A path pioneered in football by Missouri’s former defensive standout, Michael Sam, the movement towards tolerance and acceptance for homosexuals in sports is slowly but surely underway. These courageous athletes are paving the way for more and more gay players to come out, and be themselves while playing the sport that they love.
A college football locker room is certainly not the friendliest environment for a gay player to be in, as generally, college football players tend to be unaware and homophobic. However, Sarafin had received plenty of support from his teammates after coming out to them last spring. “It was really personal for me and it benefited my peace of mind greatly,” said Sarafin about coming out to his teammates. Continue reading
With just 44 games remaining in the 2014 MLB season, division pennant races are heating up. While the Diamondbacks are far from being in one of those, there is a race that D-backs fans can keep their eyes on: the NL Rookie of the Year award.
After Arizona’s star, Paul Goldschmidt, landed on the disabled list, the spotlight in the desert has turned to rookie sensation, David Peralta. Peralta has been a pleasant surprise for the D-backs this season, as he was not heralded as a must-see prospect, but flew under the radar instead and made his way to the majors, where he has thrived since his debut on June 1st.
Although he has only played in 57 games, the Venezuelan outfielder has racked up some impressive numbers with no sign of slowing down. Peralta has hit .313 with an on-base percentage of .347, while slugging a tremendous .486 in 214 at-bats. He has hit five homers, including a grand slam in Saturday’s 14-4 win over Colorado. 22 of his 67 hits have been extra-base hits and he has swiped four bases. Continue reading
As if the D-backs’ season couldn’t get any worse, an Ernesto Frieri fastball to the hand sent Paul Goldschmidt to the disabled list in Friday’s 9-4 loss to the Pirates. Goldschmidt’s day began on the bench, as he was getting a rare day off, but entered the game in the 9th inning as a defensive replacement and took his fateful at-bat a half-inning later. An X-Ray on the injured hand showed a non-displaced fracture, which means the All-Star first-baseman will not need to undergo surgery.
Recovery for this kind of injury will take 6-8 weeks, but with the way the Diamondbacks have been playing this season, the team has decided that they will not rush Goldschmidt back to the field any time soon, and will stay on the disabled list for the remainder of the year. “Realistically,” said D-backs’ manager, Kirk Gibson, “it’s eight weeks, so he’s done.”
The D-backs are being extra-cautious with Goldschmidt. “If you rush it, you could end up injuring it,” said Gibson, reiterating the report from D-backs’ hand specialist, Don Sheridan. “Then you do displace the fracture, and you’re looking at worse things.” Continue reading
With the second move of the day, the D-backs send INF Martin Prado to the New York Yankees in exchange for 24-year old catching prospect, Peter O’Brien and either a player to be named later, or cash considerations.
This is another good move for the Diamondbacks, as the 30-year old Prado is set to make $22 million until reaching free agency in 2017. The move frees up salary space, and frees up a spot at third-base for prospects Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury to come up when they are ready.
In return, the Diamondbacks are getting a very good catching prospect. O’Brien has huge power, as he has hit 33 homers throughout the minors so far this season and dazzled in the Arizona Fall League in the fall of 2013. He was a 2nd-round draft pick by the Yankees in 2012, out of the University of Miami. Continue reading
The Diamondbacks made a big move as the deadline approaches its 4 PM ET cutoff. Arizona sent OF Gerardo Parra to Milwaukee in exchange for two prospects, in 23-year old OF Mitch Haniger, and 20-year old LHP Anthony Banda.
This is a good move for the D-backs as they continue rebuilding for the future. Although Parra was a fan-favorite and a blast to watch, the two-time gold glover was entering arbitration and would be getting pricy. Parra, a free agent after 2016, may have reached his ceiling at age-27, and by the time the D-backs begin competing after the rebuild in a few years, Parra would possibly be on the decline. At this point, the Diamondbacks need to keep players that will help them in the future, and get rid of those that will not, and that is exactly what they’ve done with this trade.
The D-backs received a decent haul in return for Parra, as Haniger appears to be a corner-OF with a solid bat and good defense. The 6’2″, 215-pound Haniger was listed as the Brewers’ 3rd ranked prospect by Baseball America. Haniger was taken 38th overall in the 2012 draft by the Brewers out of Cal Poly. Continue reading
Sitting in 4th place in the NL West at 44-59 (as of July 25th), the Arizona Diamondbacks are obviously far from being a contender. But just how far away is a good topic for discussion. Personally, I believe that they are a couple years away from being a team that could make a playoff run. With that being said, I do not think that they can be competitive as soon as next year, and should begin rebuilding the roster at the trade deadline.
There are a lot of things to consider for a rebuild. A team should be very reluctant to part ways with a player or players that will be useful when the team plans to be back in contention. Although, a player like that could be moved to free up salary space, provided that there are good enough prospects and/or very young MLB players to take his place, while also getting a hefty haul in return. If a player is nearing free agency, or the end of his deal, the team should try to trade him away for prospects, or a useful piece for the future, before he hits the open market. A team should try to get value in return for players who might be on the decline and aren’t in the plans down the road.
To assess the current roster, the Diamondbacks have some players that will be useful in a couple years when the team is ready to compete, and should be kept and built around. Among those players are Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings. A few more players, Wade Miley, Didi Gregorius, David Peralta, and some of the young bullpen arms like Spruill, Marshall, Stites, and Shultz should be kept, but should also be available for trade if a slam-dunk, can’t-miss deal is proposed. Continue reading