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Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 4

The Monday Night Madness podcast is back!

Luke Jackson, Matt Castello and I bring on Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus to talk about the World Series. We also talk about Week 7 in the NFL and the opening part of the NHL season and how it has been affected by the NBA lockout.

Listen to our interview with Jay right here:

You can also download the Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes or download the show by clicking here!

The Greatness of Albert Pujols

Babe Ruth. Reggie Jackson. Last night, Albert Pujols joined in on the company of those two legends.

Pujols because just the third player in World Series history to smack three home runs in a game. He went 5-for-6 with six runs batted in, becoming the second player in Fall Classic history with five hits, tying Paul Molitor’s 1982 Game 1 performance. His six-RBI night also tied for the most in World Series history with Bobby Richardson (1960 Game 3) and Hideki Matsui (2009 Game 6).

In addition to tying some elusive milestones all in one night, Pujols can also scribble his name alone on top of some records. He had 14 total bases yesterday, a new World Series record that had previously been shared by Ruth and Jackson with 12. Pujols also became the first player ever in a Fall Classic game to have as many as four hits, two home runs and five RBIs in one game. The fact that he was able to accumulate one more of each of those figures in a game makes this performance one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in World Series history.

The best postseason performers throughout history have been able duplicate, or ever raise their regular season numbers against the best competition when the lights shine brightest. Ruth was a career .342/.474/.690 batter in the regular season but hit .326/.467/.744 with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs in 41 career playoff games. Jackson, over his career, was a .262/.356/.490 hitter, but in the postseason, raised those numbers to .278/.358/.527 with 18 homers and 48 RBIs in 78 games. The modern-day Mr. October, Derek Jeter, is a career .313/.383/.449 batter in the regular season and in 152 career playoff games, has hit .307/.374/.465 with 20 homers and 59 RBIs.

Albert Pujols is already the closest modern-day batter to Ruth, Pujols being a career .320/.420/.617 hitter over his career. Pujols has hit more than 40 home runs in a season six times in his career, or one more time than he has finished with fewer than that standard. Since becoming a full-time position player in 1919, Ruth finished with 11 years of over 40 home runs compared to five full seasons of fewer than that number. Granted, Ruth played in 16 full seasons as a position player while Pujols, who is 31 years old, has played in 11 so far.

Pujols, though, has somehow raised his modern-day Ruthian numbers in the playoffs. Over 70 career postseason games, he is a .343/.444/.630 batter with 17 doubles, 18 home runs and 52 RBIs. If you take out his playoff numbers in his first two big league seasons at ages 21 and 22, respectively, Pujols is a .371 batter with a .445 on-base percentage, 16 homers and 45 RBIs over 57 games in the postseason. He is that rare breed who is somehow able to raise an already incredibly high-set bar in the playoffs when the lights shine brightest.

A couple months ago, I wrote that Albert Pujols was the greatest player we will ever see. His postseason performance, not only from his record-setting night in Game 3 of this year’s Fall Classic, is only adding to that legacy.

Top Strikers Get Together On Pitch As No. 3 Terps Clash With No. 24 Duke

As the Maryland men’s soccer team headed into the locker room for halftime in their match against Division II Adelphi Tuesday, the Terrapins found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

The Diamondback

Not only were they tied on the scoreboard at zero, but the Terps were outshot in a half, 4-3 by the Panthers, for just the second time all season. However, a more focused Maryland group emerged in the second half. The Terrapins outshot Adelphi 11-0 and used two goals from reserve forward Jake Pace in the 73rd and 74th minutes, respectively, to defeat the Panthers 2-0 in their final non-conference regular season game of the season. The goals were the first of Pace’s career. In helping to pitch Maryland’s seventh shutout of the season, freshman goalkeeper Keith Cardona earned his first career victory.

After a 2-1 loss in Charlottesville last week, Maryland (12-1-1, 3-1-0 ACC) resumes ACC play tonight against the Duke Blue Devils (7-4-1, 3-1-1). Duke has not been defeated in seven straight games, the Blue Devils’ best run since 2006. During that stretch, the Blue Devils are 6-0-1 and have outscored opponents 24-9, the most goals Duke has scored in a seven-game stretch since 2004. The Blue Devils are tied with North Carolina on top of the ACC standings to move into the College Soccer News poll for the first time since August. Duke is ranked No. 24 in the nation.

Tonight’s battle will feature two of the top strikers in the country. Duke’s Andrew Wenger leads the nation in both goals (15) and points (37). During the Blue Devils’ seven-game win streak, Wenger has scored 12 goals to go along with seven assists for 31 points. After a four-goal, one-assist performance in a pair of victories last week, he is was selected as the Disney Soccer/NSCAA, ACC and College Soccer News Men’s National Player of the Week. Wenger was also voted to the Soccer America Team of the Week for the second time this season.

The Diamondback

On the other side though, Maryland’s Casey Townsend is not far behind. Townsend has scored 12 goals for a total of 24 points this season, both of which rank second in the conference behind Wenger. However, while Wenger has accounted for 22 of Duke’s 29 goals, the Terps scoring attack is much more balanced. Townsend has accounted for 12 of Maryland’s 34 goals. John Stertzer is second on the Terrapins with nine goals and 21 points while Patrick Mullins has five goals for 12 points this year.

Here are some more notes for tonight’s game:

  • This is the 70th matchup between Maryland and Duke. The Terrapins have a 44-22-3 lead in the all-time series, which dates back to 1949. However, both teams have five wins in the last 10 meetings with each other.
  • Duke is 1-2-0 against Maryland under head coach John Kerr. The Blue Devils defeated the Terps in 2009 and have not lost consecutive regular season games to Maryland since 2006.
  • With a 3-1-1 record in the ACC, Duke is off to its best start in conference play since 2006, which is the last time the Blue Devils captured the ACC title.
  • This game features the top two offenses in the ACC. Maryland is averaging 2.43 goals per game to Duke’s 2.42. The Blue Devils’ 29 assists leads the ACC while the Terps are second with 28. Chris Tweed-Kent is tied for first on Duke with seven assists. Andrew Morales leads all ACC freshmen and is tied for 10th nationally with four assists. Sunny Jane leads Maryland with five assists.
  • Duke has scored 15 goals against ACC opponents this year, the sixth-most by the Blue Devils in conference play all-time. The 2000 Blue Devils scored 19 goals against ACC foes, the most all-time by a Duke team.
  • All four of Duke’s losses this season have come by one goal. The Blue Devils outshot each of their opponents in those games and have outshot all but three of its opponents this season.
  • Duke is 5-1-1 in games in which they have scored first. The Blue Devils are 5-0 when leading at the half and 0-2 when trailing and 2-2-1 when tied.
  • Duke has outscored their opponents by a 29-17 margin. They have 11 goals in the first half and 18 in the second half. The Blue Devils have scored at least one goal in the first half in six of their seven victories.
  • Nick Palodichuk currently is tied for first among freshmen across the country with six goals and 15 points overall, both of which are second on the Blue Devils.
  • Duke and Maryland have played two common opponent so far this season. Both teams earned wins over NC State and suffered losses to Virginia.
  • The Terrapins are the fifth ranked team the Blue Devils have played this season. Duke is 0-3-1 and has been outscored 7-4 by ranked opponents.
  • Maryland is 3-0 against ranked opponents this season. They have outshot ranked teams by a 46-20 margin. The Terps have outscored ranked opponents 14-2 this season. Against unranked teams, their margin is just 18-7.
  • Maryland has outshot its opponents 244-122 this season, as well as outscoring them 34-10. The Terps have scored 15 goals in the first half and 17 in the second half, as well as two overtime goals.
  • The Terrapins defense is surrendering just 0.71 goals per game, second in the ACC. They have allowed only 39 shots on goal all season. Maryland’s seven shutouts leads the ACC.
  • The Terps are  9-0-0 at home this and have allowed just five goals at Ludwig Field. Maryland is averaging 3,808 fans per game.

You can listen to the action live on WMUC Sports at 6:45. Steve Goldstein will be on the call along with Luke Jackson.

NFL Picks Week 5

Here is my pick record on the season: 46-18

Last week: 12-4

Now, onto my picks for this week:

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at Buffalo Bills (3-1)

The pick: Philadelphia

Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) at Indianapolis Colts (0-4)

The pick: Kansas City

Arizona Cardinals (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (0-4)

The pick: Minnesota

Seattle Seahawks (1-3) at New York Giants (3-1)

The pick: New York

Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)

The pick: Pittsburgh

New Orleans Saints (3-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-3)

The pick: New Orleans

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)

The pick: Cincinnati

Oakland Raiders (2-2) at Houston Texans (3-1)

The pick: Houston

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1)

The pick: Tampa Bay

New York Jets (2-2) at New England Patriots (3-1)

The pick: New England

San Diego Chargers (3-1) at Denver Broncos (1-3)

The pick: San Diego

Green Bay Packers (4-0) at Atlanta Falcons (2-2)

The pick: Green Bay

Chicago Bears (2-2) at Detroit Lions (4-0) 

The pick: Detroit

No. 2 Maryland Soccer Resumes Rivalry With No. 23 Virginia

It wasn’t pretty, but ultimately the second-ranked Maryland Terrapins (11-0-1, 3-0-0) were able to pull off a 2-1 overtime win Tuesday over Rutgers (4-5-1). John Stertzer (8), celebrating his 21st birthday, headed in the game’s first goal in the 20th minute off a corner kick. However, the Scarlet Knights responded with a goal by Sam Archer to knot things up just two minutes later. The game would remained tied through regulation. However, seven minutes into overtime, Stertzer (9-97th) put the icing on the cake by scoring his second goal of the game to give Maryland their fourth win in 10 days. As a whole, the Terps have surrendered just three goals in their last six matches.

Maryland will resume one of college soccer’s most historic rivalries tonight with the No. 23 Virginia Cavaliers (6-4-0, 2-1-0) in Charlottesville, VA. The Cavaliers are coming off a 2-0 home win over Clemson in which they held the Tigers without a shot until the 53rd minute and allowed only two shots throughout the entire match. Virginia was able to tally 15 shots in the game.

The Terrapins are the fourth different ranked opponent that Virginia will battle this season. The Wahoos are 1-2 against ranked teams, beating then-No. 25 Duke before losing to both then-No. 19 Charlotte and then-No. 4 North Carolina. The Cavaliers have been outshot 50-34 and outscored 5-2 in these games. Here are some more notes to tonight’s game:

  • Virginia has outscored its opponents 20-14 this year. They’ve netted 10 first half goals and 10 second half goals while yielding five goals in the first half and eight in the second.
  • Will Bates leads the Cavaliers in goals (9) and points (21). His three assists rank second on the team behind Brian Span’s four assists. Bates has scored in nine of Virginia’s 10 matches.
  • Span is second on the team with three goals and 10 points. He is the only Wahoo besides Bates with more than four points on the season.
  • Nine different Cavaliers have notched goals this season.
  • Maryland owns a 37-28-8 edge in the programs’ all-time series, which dates to 1941. The teams have met five times in the last two seasons, with Maryland winning both matchups by 2-0 counts last season and Virginia taking all three contests in 2009, including two in the postseason. The Terps are 5-4-1 in their last 10 matches against the Cavaliers.
  • Maryland is 3-0 against top-25 ranked opponents this season. They have outshot ranked teams by a 46-20 margin. The Terps have outscored ranked opponents 14-2 this season. Against unranked teams, their margin is just 17-6.
  • Casey Townsend leads the Terps in goals (11) and points (22). Stertzer is second with nine goals and 21 points to go along with three assists.
  • Townsend ranks second in the ACC with 11 goals, one behind Duke’s Andrew Wenger. Will Bates is tied for third with nine.
  • Townsend is the reigning ACC, NSCAA and Soccer America National Player of the Week. He is currently seventh all-time in career goals at Maryland with 37.
  • John Stertzer is coming off his second multi-goal performance of the season.
  • Patrick Mullins is third on the Terps with 12 points on five goals and two assists. Sunny Jane leads Maryland with five assists.
  • Maryland is ranked first nationally with 31 goals; Virginia is tied for 18th with 20 scores. The Terps have also given up an ACC-low eight goals this season.
  • Maryland played more games (12) than any other team ranked in the top 25 of the NSCAACoaches Poll.
You can listen to the action live from Charlottesville on WMUC Sports at 6:45. I will be on the call along with Josh Fendrick.

After Huge Win, No. 2 Terps Host Rutgers Tonight

After a week that saw the Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team tie Seton Hall 0-0 and beat Virginia Tech 2-0, Maryland dropped from No. 1 in the rankings to No. 3, behind UConn and Creighton, respectively. Once they defeated Charlotte last Tuesday by a score of 3-1, the Terps prepared to host the No. 2 Blue Jays at Ludwig Field. Coming into the game, not only was Creighton undefeated with a record of 8-0-0, but the Blue Jays had also not even been scored upon.

The Terps made quick work to change that behind possibly the top forward in the nation. Casey Townsend (11) scored in the 14th minute in what ultimately proved to be the game-winner. Maryland’s defensive backline was stellar, holding Creighton without a shot until the 48th minute and posting their sixth shutout of the season.

The Terrapins (10-0-1, 3-0-0 in the ACC), now ranked second in the nation, are unbeaten in their first 11 games of the season for the first time since 1968, when the program won its first National Championship. They host Rutgers tonight (4-4-1) at Ludwig Field. Here are some notes for the game:

  • Rutgers comes into tonight 1-3-1 in their last five matches. The No. 2 Terrapins are the third ranked team the Scarlet Knights will face this year. Rutgers dropped a 1-0 game on September 16 to No. 25 Iona and lost 2-0 to No. 9 Indiana two days later.
  • Rutgers has scored as many goals (15) as the team as given up this year. Kene Eze (five goals) and Juan Pablo Correa (four goals) lead the Scarlet Knights in scoring.
  • Tonight’s game will be the fourth meeting all-time between Maryland and Rutgers. The Terrapins hold a 2-1 series advantage.
  • The Terps are coming off a week in which they defeated two ranked opponents in No. 12 Charlotte and No. 2 Creighton.
  • Maryland has outscored its opponents by a 29-7 margin this year. Casey Townsend (22 points) leads the Terps with 11 goals. John Stertzer (17 points) has scored seven times while Patrick Mullins (12 points) is third on the team with five goals.
  • The seven goals the Terrapins have given up are the fewest of any ACC team. They are allowing just 0.64 goals per game and have surrendered only 29 shots on goal all season.
  •  Maryland has outshot their opponents 193-85 this season.
  • This is Maryland’s eighth home game of the season. The Terps are averaging 4,537 fans per game at Ludwig Field in 2011.
You can listen to the action live on WMUC Sports at 7:20. Josh Fendrick and Pauly Kwestel will be on the call.

NFL Picks Week 4

Here is my pick record on the season: 34-14

Last week: 10-6

I’m in a major work crunch at school right now so I don’t have time to explain my picks, but here’s who I like in Week 4:

Carolina Panthers (1-2) at Chicago Bears (1-2)

The Pick: Chicago

Buffalo Bills (3-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)

The Pick: Buffalo

Tennessee Titans (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-1)

The Pick: Tennessee

Detroit Lions (3-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

The Pick: Dallas

Minnesota Vikings (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)

The Pick: Minnesota

Washington Redskins (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-3)

The Pick: Washington

San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)

The Pick: Philadelphia

New Orleans Saints (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

The Pick: New Orleans

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) at Houston Texans (2-1)

The Pick: Houston

New York Giants (2-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

The Pick: New York

Atlanta Falcons (1-2) at Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

The Pick: Atlanta

Denver Broncos (1-2) at Green Bay Packers (3-0)

The Pick: Green Bay

New England Patriots (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-1)

The Pick: New England

Miami Dolphins (0-3) at San Diego Chargers (2-1)

The Pick: San Diego

New York Jets (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

The Pick: Baltimore

Indianapolis Colts (0-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

The Pick: Tampa Bay