Back from the abyss: Prediction Review

Posted in Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sixers on June 7, 2011 by birdbytes

It’s been too long since my last post here, and it’s time to eat my words on the NHL and NBA predictions.  It’s also time to say “I told you so” about the O’s.

I predicted the Penguins would advance past round 1, and they were one win away from doing so.  But Tampa caught Lightning in a bottle (pun intended) and rode that all the way to the East finals.  There’s always next year…

The Sixers prediction was more tongue-in-cheek, and they played competitively in game-to-game but overall the Heat were too much for the Sixers.

The Orioles are four games under .500 headed into today.  They’ve won 27 games already, which they hadn’t done last year until July.  I hear people say stuff like “take out that 6-1 start, and they are…” But you can’t take those wins away — they count!  If you take the first seven games out of this season, you have to take the first seven out of last season for comparison.  They were reverse that last year.  Those games DO count.

Anyway I thought the O’s would be a 75 win team.  I went on the record, saying as much on 105.7 the Fan back in April.  At the time, the announcers thought I was crazy to think that 75 wins would be a successful season for the Orioles.

See, the O’s are a .500 club.  They’ll hang around .500 all season, and they’ll lose 4 and 5 in a row at times.  It will be frustrating for the fans that don’t look at the standings from a year ago.  I keep reminding myself that (A) they are not a playoff team, and (B) they are on pace to win 75-80 games.  Then I go back to one year ago in the standings.

Take a look:

2010 Orioles on June 7:  16-21 and 21 games back

2011 Orioles on June 7: 27-31 and 6.5 games back

11 game improvement in the win column and 14.5 game improvement in the standings.  Still in last place, but hey… I’ll take progress.

I’m heading to the Yard tonight for O’s-A’s.  Go O’s!

Penguins, Sixers End Seasons on Same Night

Posted in Pittsburgh Penguins, Sixers on April 28, 2011 by birdbytes

Well, that was anti-climactic and maybe even a little unsettling.

I will be able to look back on the season for the Penguins as a success in a few weeks.  But the way the Penguins let a 3-1 series lead slip out of their grips like they did, floundering in games 5 and 6 in all phases and then letting multiple power play opportunities get away in game 7, that was disappointing.

I know they’ve enjoyed a great run of success and it’s a great accomplishment to have come this far without their top two offensive weapons in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  I expected them to win this series, especially after going up 3-1.  So last night was a letdown.

The Sixers on the other hand, nobody really expected them to hang with the Heat.  4 of the 5 games were competitive games in which the Sixers had chances at the end to win, including last night.  One of those the Sixers did win with an impressive 10-0 run at home on Sunday.

The Sixers are a young team with a great future.  They’ll need to have an aggressive offseason to try to bring in one or two bona-fide stars.

For both of these teams, the season ends the same way the Eagles season ended: first round playoff exits.

If the Orioles season ends in the same way, I think that would be considered a huge success… one can dream.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Playoff Time

Posted in Pittsburgh Penguins on April 12, 2011 by birdbytes

Wednesday the Penguins drop the puck at 7:08 PM Eastern Time on the first playoff game inside their new digs at Consol Energy Center.

For those of you who haven’t been following the Penguins the last few years or more, it is electricity inside and outside – on the big screen – to be a part of a playoff hockey series.

For me, I love the NFL more than any other sport.  However, hockey playoffs are hands down the greatest sports have to offer.  There is nothing better than 20,000 white towels (or red or orange if you’re a Caps or Flyers fan) waving in unison.  Or watching an entire town erupt when Chris Kunitz (because we don’t have Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin at the moment) light the lamp.

I’m going with Penguins in 6 to take down the Lightning.  I think they’ll come out tomorrow night and have a tough time, but win in overtime.  Seems to be their M.O. lately to win tight, low-scoring games in OT.

Lets go Pens!

Penguins Clinch Home Ice

Posted in Pittsburgh Penguins on April 8, 2011 by birdbytes

Another shootout win for the Penguins = 2 more points in the standings.  As I write, the Flyers-Sabres are tied at 3.  If Buffalo can win that in regulation, the Pens just need to win Sunday to get the #2 or #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and win the Atlantic Division.

Either way, the Pens are on fire and will start at home next week.

Here are some bold predictions for their postseason run:

  • Pens will get Sidney Crosby back in round 2
  • As a result, they will play the Capitals in the Eastern Conference finals (after defeating the Flyers in 7 games and the Sabres in 6)
  • Pens vs. Canucks for the Stanley Cup

1,000 Page Views: Thank You

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2011 by birdbytes

It’s only been a few months, but this blog has already seen increased traffic and over 1,000 page views this week.

I hope you have enjoyed the opinions about the Orioles, Eagles, Penguins and Sixers so far and I look forward to sharing more with you!

Sixers Postseason: Bold Predictions

Posted in Sixers with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by birdbytes

Here we are in April and the Orioles started off hot, with four wins in a row, and appear (at this moment it’s 6-3 Tigers in the 7th) headed for their first loss of the year.

I’m excited about the start of their year and am headed there for game three tomorrow night, but it’s also playoff time in the NHL and NBA, and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia 76ers will be representing me well this season.

This week I want to make some “bold” predictions about these two teams heading into the postseason.

Jrue HolidayLet’s start tonight with the likely sixth-or-seventh seeded Sixers (say that ten times fast). Before I begin, I just want to remind you that I believed in the Sixers before they were in the mix.

  • Bold prediction #1: The Sixers will retain the sixth seed, regardless of the outcome of tonights game against the Knicks
  • #2: Sixers versus Heat in round 1
  • #3: Sixers take Heat to 7 games and win on the road — epic upset of the “big three”
  • Sixers postseason MVP: Evan Turner (close second to Jrue Holiday)

Let me rationalize this a bit, since Sixers winning in round 1 is a bit of a reach.  You see, the Heat will go into this series relaxed and the Sixers will be bringing their “A” game.  I think they’ll steal the first game on the road, win two at home and then come out on fire in game seven.  Now, don’t go betting the farm on this, but I like the matchup of Heat-Sixers in round one.

Orioles Win and Call Up Britton

Posted in Baltimore Orioles on April 2, 2011 by birdbytes

That was something special last night, an opening night 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.  It may only be one game, but the Orioles had great defense and stellar pitching to start the season.

Brian Matusz is going to the 15-day DL, that is the bad news from last night.  The exciting news is that the O’s are calling up top prospect Zach Britton about 20 days earlier than expected.

If you would recall, I mentioned Britton in the preview a couple months ago.  I said he would be here this season and have a chance to be the ace on this staff in the future.  I think he comes up and sticks here as long as he does well.  If he struggles, there is no harm in sending him back to Norfolk.

Now, the Orioles just need to win one of the next two to start with a series victory.

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