New Regime….Same ole’ Browns

The agonizing existence of  being a Cleveland Browns fan has taken an even darker turn with the performance of Carson Wentz for the Philadelphia Eagles.  You know Wentz ? The guy that the new Browns brain-trust publicly stated would be no better than the 20th best quarterback in the NFL at his peak.

After three weeks of games, the Browns have lost two mediocre quarterbacks to injury and have watched Wentz win three straight games for an Eagles team that suddenly looks like a squad that has a chance to be something special. To add insult to injury Wentz beat Cleveland in the season opener flawlessly dissecting the Browns secondary. Wentz has been superb in his three starts resulting in three wins. He has thrown FIVE touchdowns with no interceptions and has completed 64 percent of his passes. What has been even more impressive is the veteran-like poise he has shown in leading a squad that was left for dead by most before the season started.

The Browns netted several draft choices in dealing the number two pick in the draft to the Eagles. At first glance it “seemed” like a good move for a team that is deficient at virtually every position where someone named Joe Thomas isn’t playing. But, when digging deeper we should have known this move would be a mistake.

From 2011-2014 the Browns accumulated picks. The previous regime took pride in the fact they could flip high draft picks for multiple picks, telling the faithful that these selections would provide the depth to make the Browns a contender. Here we sit with not ONE player taken in the first or second rounds of 2011-2014 drafts still on the roster. Do you realize how difficult it is to screw up THAT many selections. If you were actually trying to fail, you couldn’t miss on that many. Those picks turned into bird droppings. All the while teams selected players like Odell Beckham Junior, Khalil Mack, Derek Carr  and now Carson Wentz.

As a Dodger fan I watched current Browns money-ball guru Paul DePodesta gut the Dodgers for cheaper and what he deemed more efficient options. He opted for depth instead of true talent. Some of it can be forgiven since he worked for Frank McCourt, but it was the DePodesta philosophy on full display and he lasted only two years before being laughed out-of-town.

I wonder how long this experiment lasts before the number crunchers are ridden out on a rail. New Head Coach Hue Jackson said before the season the goal is to “win the Super Bowl.” Pump the brakes buddy. This team hasn’t finished above .500 since 2007 and continue to fluctuate between 3-and 5 wins. This franchise is an abyss. I am sick of hearing all these new Browns regimes talk about how things are going to be different. They need to show me. The product they are delivering is pathetic. The time for talk is when you aren’t an embarrassment to the sport.

We won’t know the full extent of the Wentz to Philly for picks trade until the Browns actually make the picks. Wide receiver Corey Coleman from Baylor seems like a pretty good receiver but he is now going to miss several weeks with a broken wrist. When all of the picks are made, then and only then will we be able to adequately judge the Wentz deal.

But, I got to tell you, early indications are telling me, Carson Wentz was a quarterback that would have worked in Cleveland, and the brainiacs in Brea, screwed it up again.

Giants collapse is historic in scope as Dodgers surge

The more I rip on the guy, the more his merry-band-of-do-gooders proves me wrong. I am still not a fan of many of Andrew Friedman’s moves but I would be foolish not to acknowledge the Dodgers tremendous second-half run which has led to a 4-game lead of the San Francisco Giants with 25 games left to play.

This collapse by San Francisco is something of legend. And, make no mistake this is a collapse. Our favorite story-telling play-by-play man, the venerable Vin Scully alluded to it on Monday night calling the Giants collapse one of the “strangest things he has seen in his 67 years in the game.”

Lets dissect the Giants sub-par play, something that brings smiles to all Dodger Blue faces…..

First, after compiling the best record in baseball at 57-33 on July 10th, the Giants have turned into the worst team in baseball. No, really, since that date the Giants are 17-31 and that is the worst record in baseball. How did it happen ? Well, the Giants have under-performed in almost EVERY statistical category in baseball.

On July 10th the Giants had four players with an OPS better than .800. Since then not one player has on OPS better than .800. Madison Bumgarner hasn’t been very good either. He had a 1.94 ERA before the All-Star Break, since then a pedestrian 3.66 ERA. Jeff Samardjiza’s ERA is nearly 4 and-a-half and Johnny Cueto has been good not great going from a 2.47 ERA in the first half to a 3.90 ERA in the second half.

As much as you want to focus on the pitching struggles the Giants collapse is all about their hitting. Buster Posey hasn’t homered in 40 games. Hunter Pence is only hitting .231 since coming off the DL and Brandon Crawford is only hitting .242 in the last month.

Were the Giants beyond their ski’s in the first half ? Giants fans will tell you “yes.” But, the fact remains they were the toast of baseball. San Francisco had a 4-game lead on the Chicago Cubs on July 10th. Now, the Cubs don’t even see them in the rear-view mirror.

On June 26th the Giants had an 8.5 game lead on the Dodgers. On that same day the Dodgers learned Clayton Kershaw and his 1.79 ERA had a back ailment and was going on the shelf. Here we sit 10 weeks later the Dodgers have picked up 12.5 games on the Giants and are 4-clear of their rivals with 25 games left.

The Dodgers have done it with superb bullpen work (gulp) ! I can not believe how well the Dodgers pen has performed. I not only buried this group aside from Jansen but I walked them through the town-square and had the faithful holler “SHAME SHAME SHAME” over and over. What a performance by a group of guys who I had given up on. If this was a two or three work resurgence I would hold my platitudes. This group has done this ALL SEASON. Well done boys ! But, I better not see Pedro Baez in a tie-game in the post-season with other options available.

Friedman’s plan to strengthen through depth has worked. Double and Triple-A call-ups have performed, most notably Andrew Toles who has been a revelation. Friedman had Toles in Tampa before Toles almost behaved himself out of the game. But, Toles cleaned up his act and Friedman never forgot the skill-set. Kudos to Friedman. Julio Urias and Jose DeLeon are future stand-outs in the Dodgers rotation. I understand the need to monitoring usage and pitch count, but I want to see these guys if the Dodgers are fortunate enough to get to October. I better not see the 76 million dollar busts in Anderson and McCarthy, I better not see it.

While I was not a fan of the Ellis for Ruiz  and Hill and Reddick for three power arms. Now that they are here, I believe this helps the Dodgers if they play in October. Despite being predominantly left-handed on offense, the Hill trade really helps the Dodgers rotation, especially with his eminence Sir Clayton on his way back.

It is now a sprint and the Dodgers are rolling. 4 games up on the Giants with 25 to play. Los Angeles and San Francisco play 6 games against one another including the final three in city by the bay.

I still can’t believe the Dodgers are in this spot. I still don’t believe this team is more talented than the teams we had from 2013-2015 but this team may be better than all those clubs. They have that IT factor that plays in October. As for the Giants, they are just scuffling to be relevant in October.