Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Six Pack

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A pair of U.S. National Teamers, Tim Ream and Robbie Rogers, made debuts with their new clubs in England yesterday with drastically different results. Ream, who signed a three-and-a-half year deal with Bolton Wanderers late last month started and played a full 90 minutes in the Premier League side's 2-0 win over Millwall in 5th Round of the FA Cup. The former Red Bull defender was beaten once for a free header, but overall he looked comfortable in the middle of the Bolton defense. Meanwhile down in the League Championship Division, Rogers was somewhat less fortunate. Coming on as a second half substitute for Leeds United, the former Crew winger suffered a vicious head-to-head collision with Doncaster Rovers' Tommy Spurr and was taken off on a stretcher. It's been reported that Rogers is doing fine despite suffering a concussion, but there is no definitive timetable for his return. Leeds did win their match 3-2.


Robbie Findley scored for the first time since mid-November as Forest got a rare win defeating Coventry City 2-0. The 26 year U.S. National Teamer now has 6 goals this season across all competitions, but just 3 in 21 games in the League Championship. Nottingham Forest as a team has scored just 26 goals in 31 games this season, tied for fewest in the League Championship Division.

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After 19 Major League seasons, the last 17 of them with the Boston Red Sox, 45 year old Tim Wakefield has decided that it's time to call it a career. The versatile knuckleballer has done a little bit of everything for the Red Sox over the years serving as both a starter and a closer, and finishes his career with the third most wins in franchise history trailing only Cy Young and Roger Clemens. He's also the franchise leader in appearances (590), games started (430) and innings pitched (3006) and only 3 players - Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams and Dwight Evans - spent more time in a Red Sox uniform than he did. Wakefield was a part of two World Series winners (2004 and 2007), was an All Star in 2009 and finished with exactly 200 wins in his career.

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While the deal hasn't been finalized, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees have agreed to a trade that would send much maligned right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh. In return the Yankees would receive a pair of minor leaguers, right-handed reliever Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones. The Pirates will also only have to pay $13 million of the $31.1 million remaining on Burnett's contract. Burnett is coming off of an absolutely miserable 2011 season in which he posted the third worst ERA in the American League (5.15) for pitchers with at least 162 innings. Currently 3 years into a 5 year $82.5M deal, Burnett struggled to deliver in the Bronx. He posted just one winning season in three years with the Yankees and finished with a record of 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA since signing. With the additions of Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, the 35 year old Burnett became expendable and now the Pirates hope he's able to resurrect his career in the National League. As for the prospects the Yankees will be receiving neither will be impacting the big league club any time soon. Moreno, 25, split 2011 between Advanced A and AA appearing in 41 games while posting a 3.63 ERA. He struck out just over a batter an inning and held opposing hitters to a .218 average. Cayones, 20, spent last year in A Ball and while he hit well in the Gulf Coast League (.293 in 27 games), he was just 2 for 32 with 13 strikeouts in the New York Penn League.

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A night after seeing their 7 game winning streak snapped against the lowly New Orleans Hornets, the Knicks rallied for a big home win today over the Dallas Mavericks. Jeremy Lin scored 26 points on Friday night, but turned the ball over a season high 9 times as the Knicks fell 89-85 to New Orleans for their first loss since Lin entered the starting lineup. While Lin took most of the blame, he wasn't the only one who struggled as the Knicks combined to make just 4 of 24 3-pointers and collectively missed 10 free throws in the loss. The Knicks bounced right back today though rallying from a 12 point third quarter deficit for a 104-97 win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. New York overcame 34 points from Dirk Nowitzki and Lin bounced back with his 4th double double in the last 7 games finishing with 28 points and a career high 14 assists as New York won for the 8th time in 9 games.

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Arsenal fell 2-0 against Sunderland yesterday in the fifth round of the FA Cup likely guaranteeing themselves a seventh consecutive year without a major trophy. Arsenal's last major title came back in 2005 when they won both the Premier League and the FA Cup, but since then they've suffered a series of disappointments. Already this season, they were knocked out of the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup by Manchester City, sit 17 points off the pace for the Premier League Title and are staring at a 4-0 deficit through one leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tilt with AC Milan.

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