Louis Riddick is an NFL analyst for ESPN & ESPN.com. He spent 12 years as an NFL Scout & scouting director and had a six year NFL career. He’s one of the best analysts in the business, and he spent some time with Matt and BK on The Big Show on Wednesday.
Why is Louis so high on Chiefs 3rd round pick Chris Conley? And should the Rams give Nick Foles a contract extension before he ever plays a down in St. Louis? All of that and much more on the podcast.
Comments Off on BK’s Daily Grind: Cards investigated by the feds, LeBron’s best Cavs teammates & hippos on the loose
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS:
The St. Louis Cardinals are being investigated by the FBI. This is a really, really big deal. Maybe not from a baseball perspective, but from a legal perspective. I will be watching this closely to see what comes from it. It’s a fascinating story, if nothing else.
The Cardinals won their fourth straight game last night, this one 3-2 against the Minnesota Twins. The Red Birds now have six winning streaks of at least four games this season. The Cards are now 21 games over .500, at 42-21. This is not a typo. And they’re doing it without Adam Wainwright or Matt Adams. They now have nagging injuries taking Matt Holliday and Lance Lynn out of the lineup. What this team is doing is absurd. And, as crazy as it sounds, much of it is sustainable.
Not many changes in the National League All Star Game voting outside of Nori Aoki passing Giancarlo Stanton for the third outfield spot, and Buster Posey passed Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina as the new starter.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS:
The Kansas City Royals’ offense got back on track last night. Omar Infante had his first extra-base hit since May 17. It was Infante’s first two-hit night since May 19. The end result was an 8-5 win for the Royals.
Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports and Sirius XM NFL Radio has the Chiefs as the eighth best defense in the NFL heading into 2015. I think they have the potential to be anywhere within the top 10, depending on what the secondary amounts to.
Phil Steele has the most accurate preseason college football magazine in the country, and he hopped on The Big Show with Matt and BK to discuss where he has Mizzou finishing in the SEC East, among other college football topics.
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Vincent Bonsignore is a columnist with the Los Angeles Daily News, and he’s been covering the “NFL to LA” story for the better part of two decades. He joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss what this all means for St. Louis on Monday.
The Kansas City Royals are 34-25. They are in first place in the American League Central. And their offense, for the better part of the past month, has been a train wreck.
In the past 30 days, the only regular starters hitting over .235 are Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer. That’s a far-cry from the Royals that had a .306 team batting average for the first month of the season.
Batting Average on
Balls in Play:
What does this all mean? The Royals were pretty lucky the first month of the season, they have been pretty unlucky in June, and May is probably somewhere around what we should expect from the Kansas City offense over the course of the season.
Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Kendrys Morales are all hitting under .200 in the first two weeks of June. That’s obviously not sustainable. Eventually those three players will raise their averages above .250 and the offense will begin to level out to something that resembles its May numbers.
The real issue on the Royals hands is what they have in right field and at 2nd base.
Alex Rios and Omar Infante look lost at the plate. Infante has 6 hits, 1 walk and 14 strikeouts in his past 67 plate appearances. Alex Rios has 4 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts in his 40 plate appearances since coming back from injury. What’s worse is that Rios and Infante make a combined $19.5 million in 2015. As much as we would all like to say money doesn’t matter, it’s simply not true. On this team and in this market, money matters a great deal and the Royals can not afford to have Rios and Infante out there looking like the worst everyday players at their respective positions.
So, is the Royals’ offense this bad? No. It’s not. But Alex Rios and Omar Infante need to get back on track, and at least play like capable major league players.
The expectations have changed for Kansas City. It’s no longer about going .500. For this season, it’s about making a run for a championship. And that can not and will not happen with Alex Rios and Omar Infante performing at this level.
Comments Off on BK’s Daily Grind: Royals offense stalls, top basketball prospect works at shaved ice stand & a deadly bacteria reaches Florida beaches
KANSAS CITY ROYALS:
The Kansas City Royals lost two of three against the Cardinals over the weekend. Unfortunately for the Royals, it was more like two of two, considering Sunday’s game between the Royals and Cards was rained out. June has been an odd month for the Royals. They’re 5-6, boast the AL’s best team ERA, and have the worst batting average in the league in the first two weeks of the month. And the worst of the bunch has been Omar Infante. He now has a “slash” line of .204/.213/.239. He boasts the worst on-base percentage of any MLB player with more than 180 plate appearances. The Royals are hopeful to get back on track this week against the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee has struggled with its pitching for much of the year. Unfortunately for Kansas City, the Brewers have the 3rd best team ERA in the majors over the past two weeks. We’ll see if that keeps up over this four-game set.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS:
As bad as June has been for the Royals, it’s been that impressive for the Cardinals. They’ve started the third month of the season 8-3, doing so without Matt Adams, Matt Holliday or Adam Wainwright. And now they’ll have to continue doing so without Lance Lynn. Much of the Red Birds’ success has been due to its pitching. The Cardinals boast the 2nd best team ERA in June. They’ve allowed 2 runs or less in 7 of the team’s past 9 games. Next up is another interleague series, this one coming against the slumping Twins. St. Louis has a nice opportunity to build up a lead in the division before taking on the Cubs on July 26-28. The next three series are against the Twins, Phillies and Marlins; three teams that are a combined 14-24 in June.
Mizzou picked up yet another commitment over the weekend, this one coming from offensive tackle Royce Newman. Newman is a 6’7, 255-pound prospect out of Nashville, Illinois. He was originally unranked, but has since been assigned a 4-star rating by 247 Sports. His HUDL film is impressive.
This is an interesting look at returning players from Phil Steele. According to his ranking system, Missouri will be the “most experienced” team in the SEC East in 2015.
It’s been known for quite some time, but Kim English makes it official: he’ll be joining Frank Haith’s staff at the University of Tulsa.
Mizzou 2017 basketball recruiting target and Columbia resident, Michael Porter Jr., is the no. 2 overall player in the 2017 class. He also works at his family’s shaved ice stand in the summer. Great story by friend of the show, Austin Kim, of ABC 17.
LeBron James with an honest answer to a simple question. I wish we got more of this from athletes. (ESPN)
Comments Off on Should the Chiefs number two receiver be a concern?
Much has been made about the Kansas City Chiefs’ woes at wide receiver. At this point everyone and their mother knows the Chiefs finished the 2014 season without a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass. Since then, the Chiefs released Dwayne Bowe and signed former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin.
But how much does all of this matter, ultimately? This is the question I asked myself this morning. Even if I grant you the Chiefs will go into the 2015 season with a question mark, or worse, a bad player, as their number two receiver; does it matter?
The reason I ask is simple. The Chiefs have one of the best tight ends in the NFL in Travis Kelce. Jeremy Maclin, even if you believe he is best suited as a number two, is a solid number one receiver and should be able to add at least 800 receiving yards in 2015. And Jamaal Charles has finished with at least 230 receiving yards every year of his career. Kansas City has, at the very least, above-average pass catchers at running back, tight end and at their number one wide receiver.
With that in mind, I went through every team from 2014 to see what they got from their number three pass catcher. This could be a tight end or a wide receiver, but I excluded running backs in order to keep the list more accurate. Here’s how the teams ranked in 2014.
What does all of this data mean? It mans that all the Chiefs need to get out of their number two wide receiver, in order to be league average, is roughly 50 receptions and 500 yards. And I’m not even sure if that is necessary.
The Lions, Seahawks, Packers, Bengals, Broncos and Ravens each made it 2014 NFL Playoffs despite ranking in the bottom half of the NFL in yards contributed by their number three pass catcher. For the Chiefs offense to succeed, it will not come down to their number two wide receiver, whomever that may be. Their offensive success, or lack thereof, will come down to Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin. If those four play to their career averages, there is no reason why the Chiefs can’t have, at the very least, a league average offense.
With the amount of talent on the Chiefs’ defense, an average offense might be all it takes for Kansas City to make a trip to the playoffs in 2015.
Comments Off on BK’s Daily Grind: Royals sweep Twins, Recruit takes down 5 pound reuben & truck carrying live sharks crashes
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. According to ESPN, this is the first time the Royals have swept a three-game series against a team that entered the series with the best record in the league since they swept the Yankees in June of 1994.
The Cards & Royals play in St. Louis this weekend. Matt and BK from KTGR will be in attendance on Friday night. Fun shall be had.
SB Nation writer Catherine Slonksnis says fan vote should not determine the All Star Game starters. I think the MLB has two choices here. 1) Continue to make the game count for something, and have the starters determined based on merit. How they would go about that is up for debate, but the starters should be based on merit. Or 2) Stop making the game matter, make it into a true exhibition & allow the fans to vote for the starters and let the cards fall where they may. Either option is fine with me, but having one foot in either door is not the way to go.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS:
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Matt Holliday’s injury is not as severe as initially believed.
“4) Texas A&M and Missouri: Neither seemed like natural fits upon joining the SEC, but fans of the existing teams embraced them. For A&M, a perfect storm in 2012 of Kevin Sumlin’s arrival, Johnny Manziel’s ascendance and beating Alabama greatly emboldened the Aggies’ fan base. The school approved an expansive renovation of Kyle Field the next year. And while Mizzou won two Big 12 division titles under Gary Pinkel, its consecutive SEC East crowns garnered newfound respect nationally.”
I’m really starting to wonder if Phillip Gaines is going to break out in 2015. Stories like this one, from Adam Teicher, have not been difficult to find this offseason. If Gaines develops into a nice no. 2 cornerback, if Sean Smith plays as expected and if Marcus Peters is simply average in his rookie year, the Chiefs have some incredible potential in their pass defense.
“The question is whether Kansas City has a wideout capable of diverting attention away from Maclin. De’Anthony Thomas is an explosive gadget player, but his size will limit him. Third-round pick Chris Conley possesses ideal size and speed, but he projects as a long-term solution at receiver, not a rookie contributor. The other receivers fall into the reserve-only category.”
Rams have only three 30-somethings on entire 90-man roster: DEs Chris Long & William Hayes, and LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar turned 30 this offseason.
Comments Off on BK’s Daily Grind: Royals fans anger Internet,LeBron takes over & Shakespeares no more
KANSAS CITY ROYALS:
The Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 2-0 last night at Target Field. Chris Young was outstanding once again, throwing 6 1/3 innings of 1-hit baseball. Salvador Perez hit his 9th home run of the season. He’s on pace to hit 26 home runs this season. The Royals once again have the best record in the American League, and they go for the sweep tonight in Minneapolis. Edinson Volquez (4-4, 3.26 ERA) gets the start for the Royals, he’ll take on Kyle Gibson (4-3, 3.00 ERA) of the Twins.
Rock M Nation asks an interesting question: Who will be the Mizzou football newcomer that comes in and makes an immediate impact? My nomination: Marcell Frazier. He’s going to be asked to come in and start at defensive end from day one.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus & ESPN.com ranked each NFL team based on the overall quality of each teams starting players. The Kansas City Chiefs ended up at no. 19 overall. Pro Football Focus has Justin Houston, Dontari Poe, Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson and Travis Kelce as the Chiefs’ five best players. They also say James Michael-Johnson, Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Donald Stephenson and Jason Avant should be upgraded.
The Rams finished at no. 22 overall in the PFF rankings. Their top 5 players are Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, Chris Long, William Hayes and Nick Fairley. PFF says the four starters that could be upgraded are Alec Ogletree, Greg Robinson, Tavon Austin and Nick Foles.
LeBron James is really good at basketball, and he is willing the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory.
LeBron James has scored, assisted, or created 200 of the Cavaliers' 291 points through the first 3 games of the #NBAFinals. Beyond unreal.
This series has gone exactly as I expected (except not at all, actually). How has it happened? The Cavs are mucking everything up. They’re draining the shot clock on offense, they’re making every shot difficult for the Warriors, and they’re slowing down the game in a huge way. All of this plays into the “worse” team’s hands. In this case, that team is the Cavs. Case in point: An MLB team has to be really good to make the playoffs after a 162-game sample size. But once a team gets in, the Wild Card game can be hugely random because it’s a 1-game sample. That’s what we’re seeing in this series. The Cavs are lowering the sample sizes of every game by draining the shot clock & grinding out defensive possessions.
GS's # of possessions/g during regular season: 100.69
GS's # of possessions/g in Finals: 93.74