Posts By: Bob Dunkel

Progressive Thinking

While Progressive Field has been good to the hometown Cleveland Indians (51-43; No. 5 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) in recent years, it doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on the New York Yankees (62-32; No. 3). Last night, the Yankees pulled out a 6- 5 win to run their record versus the Tribe this year to 5-1. Including… Read more »

No Humming Bird

The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t exactly been humming along lately, especially at home where the Birds have lost five straight and 14 of their last 23, including last night’s 9-1 pounding at the hands of the Reds. On top of that, there have been reports of turmoil in the St. Louis clubhouse this week. Mike Matheny’s team will try to… Read more »

Junior Mint

The Brewers’ rotation has gotten a nice boost from the recent performance of Junior Guerra (6-5, 2.79). The right-hander has won each of his last three starts while sporting a 2.65 ERA. Manager Craig Counsell will turn to Guerra tonight as the Brewers (55-39; No. 7 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) try to rebound from last night’s 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh… Read more »

Cys Matter

It’s a battle between the reigning AL Cy Young winner and the front-runner for this year’s award as the Indians’ Corey Kluber (12-4, 2.49) faces the Yankees’ Luis Severino (14-2, 2.12).  Cleveland (50-41, No. 5 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) avoided a sweep at the hands of Cincinnati yesterday with a 19-4 offensive explosion, while New York (60-31; No. 3) settled… Read more »

Mystical Tour

The Washington Mystics were hoping the acquisition of Elena Delle Donne last year would spark a surge and that looks to be the case this season. Delle Donne has the Mystic (12-7; No. 6 in Dunkel’s WNBA Rankings) in first place in the Eastern Conference and was named Player of the Week after averaging 20.3 ppg over the last three… Read more »

Miles To Go

The road back to the majors for Miles Mikolas was a long one. After struggling in his first MLB stint with the Padres and Rangers from 2012-14, Mikolas went over to Japan and redeveloped his game. The 29-year-old signed with the Cardinals this offseason and has turned in an All-Star-worthy performance (9-3, 2.63) to date. Tonight, Mikolas will be in… Read more »

Panda Welcomes Cubs

The Chicago Cubs (51-36; No. 6 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) completed a successful 7-1 homestand over the weekend, but face a tough West Coast road trip before the All-Star break beginning with tonight’s opener against San Francisco. Yesterday, the Giants (47-45; No. 16) exploded for a season-best offensive performance in a 13-8 win over the Cardinals. Pablo Sandoval – aka… Read more »

Knock On Wood

One of the many victims of the Dodgers early woes was pitcher Alex Wood, who lost his first four decisions after starting out last season 11-0. But like the team itself, Wood (5-5, 3.84) has turned his season around and will be looking for his fifth straight win tonight as the Dodgers (48-40; No. 11 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) wrap… Read more »

Artful Dodger

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling did not start out as a key component in the LA starting rotation. But after 10 appearances out of the bullpen, Stripling was converted to a starter and has been arguably Dave Roberts’ most consistent pitcher since then. Tonight, Stripling (6-2, 2.27) will take the mound for the Dodgers (47-40; No. 11 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings)… Read more »

Opening Act

The Tampa Bay Rays have experimented all season with the concept of an “opener” where a reliever starts the game rather than a traditional starting pitcher. The idea has had some success as the Rays have the lowest ERA (2.81) in the majors since May 19. Tonight, Tampa Bay (43-43; No. 14 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) will go with opener… Read more »

National Concern

The Washington Nationals have dominated the NL East in recent years, so to see them struggle during the first half of this season is something the Nats are not accustomed to. Things have gotten so bad that after yesterday’s loss to Boston — Washington’s fifth straight defeat and 17th in its last 22 games — the team held a players-only… Read more »

There’s A Catch

The Houston Astros have arguably the best pitching staff in baseball, but just who is going to catch their pitches is becoming a big question. A day after the Astros put Brian McCann on the DL with a knee injury, his replacement — Max Stassi — was forced to leave last night’s game after getting hit on the right wrist… Read more »

A For Effort

While the Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros have dominated the MLB rankings and gotten most of the attention this season, the Oakland A’s have quietly played themselves into playoff contention. Bob Melvin’s team (46-39; No. 9 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) has won 12 of its last 15 games and has done much of it without standout third baseman Matt Chapman,… Read more »

Ray Of Hope

If the Arizona Diamondbacks hope to make the postseason this year, they’ll likely need left-handed starter Robbie Ray to stay healthy. The 2017 All-Star missed 58 days with an oblique injury earlier this year, but looked solid in his first start off the DL last Wednesday as he tossed six scoreless innings en route to a 2-1 win over Marlins…. Read more »

For Sale

There have been times this year when Red Sox ace Chris Sale has been the victim of paltry run support from his Boston offense. But last night wasn’t one of those times as the Red Sox exploded for 11 runs and 17 hits against the Yankees. Sale, for his part, took full advantage as he held New York to one… Read more »

Lucky 13

Oakland’s Edwin Jackson tied an MLB record on Monday when he pitched for his 13th big league team. Jackson’s start for the A’s matched another former Oakland pitcher (Octavio Dotel) for appearing with the most clubs in a career. While that appearance was on the road, Jackson will get to perform at his new home this afternoon as the A’s… Read more »

Pennant Chase

The Milwaukee Brewers continue to hang on in the NL Central and lead the Chicago Cubs by 2 1/2 games after last night’s 6-4 comeback win over the Reds. Tonight, the Brewers (47-33; No. 10 in Dunkel’s MLB Rankings) will turn to Chase Anderson (5-6, 4.37) to start the second game of the series and hope he continues his solid… Read more »

Taking It Slow

Arizona’s Zack Greinke has never been an easy pitcher for batters to figure out, so it’s no surprise that at 34 years of age the former Cy Young winner is still adding to the confusion by developing new pitches. This year, Greinke has added a super slow curveball to his arsenal that has been baffling teams of late as the… Read more »

Riding The Wave

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais has a bet with his closer, Edwin Diaz, that he’ll shave waves into the side of his head if Diaz can get to 50 saves this year. Last night, the Mariners’ closer notched save No. 29 during a 3-2 win over the Orioles, inching closer to Servais’ trip to the barber. Diaz and Seattle (49-31;… Read more »

Walk In The Park

Not surprisingly, the Seattle Mariners road trip through New York and Boston didn’t go so smoothly. Scott Servais’ team dropped all three games against the Yankees and two-of-three to the Red Sox. Limping into Baltimore’s Camden Yards last night, the M’s needed a victory and were able to take advantage of a season-high 10 walks to squeeze out a 5-3… Read more »

Red Alert

You can’t take the Cincinnati Reds lightly at the moment, just ask the Chicago Cubs. Jim Riggleman’s team has won seven straight, including their first four-game sweep of the Cubs since 1983. Tonight, the Reds will head to Atlanta to open a series against the NL East-leading Braves. To get Dunkel’s pick for this game and the full MLB schedule,… Read more »

Had Their Phil

It hasn’t been quite the home series that Davey Martinez and his Washington Nationals (40-35; No. 10 in the Dunkel MLB Rankings) envisioned against the Phillies (41-33; No. 14). After dropping the series-opener, 12-2, on Friday night, the Nats lost again yesterday, 5-3, as Maikel Franco went 4-for-4 to back another strong outing from starter Aaron Nola. Tonight on ESPN,… Read more »

Shades Of Grey

It’s a Grey Cup rematch tonight in the CFL as the Calgary Stampeders (1-0; No. 4 in Dunkel CFL Rankings) head to Toronto to face the Argonauts (0-1; No. 3). In last year’s championship game, the Argonauts stunned the heavily-favored Stampeders, 27-24. To get Dunkel’s pick for tonight’s contest, click HERE. And in MLB action, the Minnesota Twins (33-39; No…. Read more »

Wright Stuff

Steven Wright’s knuckler has been frustrating batters since his return to the Red Sox rotation earlier this year. The 33-year-old right-hander has a 2-1 record and 1.23 ERA with his only blemish coming last weekend in Seattle when he lost to Wade LeBlanc and the Mariners, 1-0. Tonight, Wright and the Bosox (50-26; No. 2 ) get a chance at… Read more »

Rocky Road

After enjoying the thin Denver air in a 12-2 win in the series opener, the Mets have found what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the Coors Field scoreboard after dropping back-to-back 10-8 decisions to the Rockies. Those two teams will slug it out one more time this afternoon as the Rockies (36-38; No. 22 in Dunkel’s… Read more »

Fresh Brew

The Milwaukee Brewers got another shot in the arm last night from rookie pitcher Freddy Peralta as the 22-year-old held the Pirates scoreless for six innings en route to a 3-2 win. This came after he set a franchise record last month by striking out 13 in his MLB debut. Last night’s victory kept the Brew Crew (43-30; No. 9… Read more »

Beeline

Angels pitcher Felix Pena has racked up some frequent flyer miles between Salt Lake City and Anaheim. For the third time this year, the 28-year-old right-hander has been recalled from LA’s minor league affiliate where he was 1-2 with a 3.51 ERA for the Bees. Tonight on ESPN, Pena will be making his first MLB start against the Diamondbacks (40-32;… Read more »

Fallen Angel

There was a time when Zack Greinke was a part of the LA Angels plans. Back in 2012, Greinke was acquired by the Angels as part of their late-season push to make the playoffs. The right-hander did his part (6-2, 3.53), but LA still came up short. Then in the off-season, Greinke decided to jump ship and head to the… Read more »

Mercury Rising

The Phoenix Mercury won their seventh straight last night with an 89-72 thumping of Connecticut. The victory moved the Mercury (9-3; No. 3 in the Index) to within a half-game of the West-leading LA Sparks with a chance of moving into the top spot tonight as Phoenix heads to Las Vegas to take on the Aces (3-8; No. 11). To… Read more »

Chicago Fire

The Chicago Cubs offense has been inconsistent so far this season, but there’s no doubt when the bats get cranked up they can still put up runs in a hurry. That was the case last night as Chicago pounded out 13 hits, including seven for extra bases, in a 13-5 rout of the Cardinals. The rivalry will continue tonight as… Read more »

Sparks Fly

After completing a five-game homestand, the Los Angeles Sparks (6-2; No. 2 in the Index) fly out east tonight to face the Washington Mystics (6-4; No. 8) in the first of three WNBA contests on the schedule. To get the Index’ picks for this game and the full WNBA slate, click HERE. In MLB action, the struggling Chicago White Sox… Read more »

Here’s Johnny

The Canadian Football League is set to kickoff its season this weekend and that means most eyes will be on the return of Johnny Manziel at QB for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Manziel is slated to play backup to Jeremiah Masoli and looked good (12-for-20, 88 yards and 1 TD) in the final preseason tuneup. While Hamilton will have to wait… Read more »

Didi Does-Does

After starting the season on a tear, Didi Gregorius hit just .151 in the month of May and hadn’t homered at home since April 25. But Gregorius ended that drought last night with a pair of dingers at Yankee Stadium in New York’s 3-0 victory over the Washington Nationals. Those two teams will wrap up their interleague series tonight on… Read more »

Brave Heart

While the Atlanta Braves own the most lopsided schedule in the early going with just 28 home games to date, that hasn’t stopped them from jumping out to a strong 37-28 start and sitting tied with the Nationals for first place in the NL East. Atlanta will finally get some home cooking as they play their next 12 out of… Read more »

Brewers Have A Miller

The surprising Milwaukee Brewers may already be making moves with an eye toward a long stretch run as they acquired infielder Brad Miller from the Rays yesterday. Miller joins the Central Division-leading Brewers (39-26) just in time as they host a big series against the second-place Cubs (37-25) starting tonight. To get the Index’ pick for this game and the… Read more »

Passing The Man

At this stage of his career, every hit Albert Pujols delivers takes on some historic significance. That was certainly the case yesterday when Pujols produced HR No. 623 and RBI No. 1,951. In doing so, Pujols passed Stan “The Man” Musial for sixth place on the career RBI list. More importantly for the Angels, the hit proved to be the… Read more »

Oh No

The Angels got some bad news yesterday when it was reported that two-way star Shohei Ohtani was going to miss at least the next three weeks with an elbow sprain. It’s not clear whether Ohtani might end up needing Tommy John surgery, but what is clear is that both his bat (.289, 6 HRs, 20 RBI) and arm (4-1, 3.10)… Read more »

Process Of Elimination

The Cleveland Cavaliers blew Game 1 of the NBA Finals and that missed opportunity loomed larger as the Cavs dropped the next two to Golden State. Cleveland now finds itself in the dreaded 0-3 series hole, a place where no team has ever dug out (0-for-131) in NBA playoff history. The Cavs have proven a tough out in elimination games,… Read more »

Cap It Off?

After dropping the opener of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Washington Capitals have won three straight behind the inspired play of captain Alex Ovechkin and goalie Braden Holtby. With one more win needed to capture their first Cup in team history, the Caps will try to get it done tonight in Las Vegas. To get the Index’ pick for the… Read more »

Familiar Territory

Being down 0-2 to the Warriors in the NBA Finals is nothing new for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Two years ago, they faced the same deficit and were able to win Game 3 in Cleveland and eventually went on to win the championship. Last year, facing the same scenario, they blew a late lead and ended up losing Game 3 and… Read more »

Houston By Way Of Dallas

The Houston Astros have hit a rough patch, dropping six of their last nine, to fall a game behind the surging Seattle Mariners in the AL West standings. But they’ve got a chance to erase the deficit as the Astros host a short two-game set against the M’s starting tonight. Houston will go with Dallas Keuchel (3-7, 3.65) on the… Read more »

Cap-Sized

The Vegas Golden Knights smooth sailing to the Stanley Cup has hit a snag against the Washington Capitals. The Knights have dropped back-to-back games for the first time in the postseason and risk going down 1-3 in the series tonight against the Caps as Game 4 takes place in Washington. To get the Index’ pick, click HERE. The MLB schedule… Read more »

Running On Empty

Cleveland’s JR Smith picked up a crucial rebound in the closing seconds of Game 1 and tried to run out the clock. The problem was the Cavaliers weren’t winning at that point; they were tied. The mental mistake cost Cleveland a chance to pull off the upset in regulation and Golden State gladly took advantage of the gift and pulled… Read more »

Save The Date

If the Washington Capitals go on to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, they’ll look back at the waning stages of Game 2 as the critical juncture. On a play now simply referred to as “The Save”, goalie Braden Holtby miraculously was able to stop Alex Tuch’s potential game-tying shot and preserve a 3-2 victory over Vegas that… Read more »

Familiar Ring

Red Sox manager Alex Cora received his 2017 World Series ring last night after serving as the bench coach for the world-champion Houston Astros last season. Cora then watched a familiar sight as Lance McCullers Jr. and the Astros bullpen shut down his potent Boston lineup and took the series-opener, 4-2. It could be more of the same tonight as… Read more »

Four On The Floor

The calendar is about ready to flip to June, which means it’s that time of year for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors to decide the NBA championship. For the fourth straight season, these two teams will meet in the Finals. The Warriors have taken two of the first three matchups and look to be prohibitive favorites coming into… Read more »

Error Of Their Ways

It certainly wasn’t a thing of beauty for the New York Yankees last night as the team committed five errors in its game against the Houston Astros. But Gleyber Torres saved the day with an RBI single in the 10th inning and the Bronx Bombers won for just the fourth time since 1960 when committing five or more errors in… Read more »

Homer’s Odyssey

It’s already been a tough season for the Cincinnati Reds (19-36) and that’s been especially true for pitcher Homer Bailey. Last night the Reds starter gave up eight runs — six of them earned — in just four innings of work during a 12-5 thumping by the Diamondbacks that dropped Bailey’s record to 1-7. As a team, Cincy is now… Read more »

Expansion Plans

While the NHL wanted to ensure that the Vegas Golden Knights had an adequate stock of decent players in their first year of existence, no one could have imagined that they’d make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. But that’s where the Knights find themselves as just the second expansion team (the 1968 St. Louis Blues were… Read more »

To Boston Without Love

The Cleveland Cavaliers took care of business in Game 6 behind another stellar performance from LeBron James and avoided elimination at home with a 109-99 win over the Celtics. But in doing so, the Cavs lost forward Kevin Love to the concussion protocol and must head back to Boston without him in the lineup for tonight’s Game 7. To get… Read more »