Friday, May 11, 2012

SSB weekly rant: May 5th-11th edition

By Kshell

This week my rant won't be as controversial as last week which received some hate messages for calling out a KJR host. Instead this week I'll focus on the Seattle Mariners going to play the New York Yankees at Yankees stadium. As the Mariners prepare for the Yankees they'll have a rookie returning to the place where he was supposed to be part of their future but was traded. The Mariners will also be sending their ace Felix Hernandez who lately has been fantastic in New York. I'll also touch on a former Sonics coach who is doing everything in his power to provide a major upset in these playoffs. A coach who in my personal opinion someday belongs in the basketball hall of fame as he is one of the most underrated coaches in the NBA.

Today the Seattle Mariners are taking on the New York Yankees as Felix Hernandez takes the hill. In his career against the Yankees Hernandez is 6-4 in 11 career starts having thrown 79.1 innings with three complete games and one shutout. He has a 3.29 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with 66 strikeouts. However since 2009 Hernandez has simply dominated the Yankees.  Hernandez in seven starts has been 5-1 having thrown 55 innings(7.2 IP a start) with 2.12 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. He has recorded 47 strikeouts(7.7 K's per 9) with three complete games including a shutout. His lone start last year at Yankees stadium he recorded the win having pitched seven innings allowing one run. That win was signficant because the Mariners had been on a 17 game losing streak which of course their ace ended. Hernandez the last three years has stepped up his game when going up against the Yankees and I'm excited to see what he will do today.

This series in New York will also have the return of Jesus  Montero to Yankees Stadium. Montero this offseason was traded to the Mariners for Michael Pineda(who is out for the season). Montero was the prized prospect for the Yankees and last year in 61 AB's he hit .328/.406/.590 with four home runs and 12 rbi's with nine runs while catching only three games. This year Montero is experiencing his first full season in the majors as he is the Mariners DH but also catches some. This year in 112 AB's Montero is hitting .268/.282/.420 with four home runs and 16 RBI's. He has also scored 10 runs while playing in 11 games at catcher all of which were starts. Montero is only 22 years old and since Pineda is out for the year the Yankees will be very bitter if Montero were to have a big series. Since New  Yorkers drive me nuts I hope Montero has a big weekend so the Yankees crowd can turn on their own because that makes me very happy.

How about the job that former Sonics head coach George Karl is doing? He lost what should have been his franchise player in Carmelo Anthony last year only to continue putting the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs. This year after trailing three games to one to the heavily favorite Los Angeles Lakers the Nuggets led by Karl have forced a game seven. Karl is coaching circles around Lakers head coach Mike Brown which TNT analysis Charles Barkley makes a note of every game. Karl is one of the most underrated coaches in the NBA. In his NBA career he is 1,074-731(.595) in 24 seasons. In those 24 seasons Karl has seen his teams win 50 plus games 11 times and two of those years were strike shorten seasons. Karl has coached five different teams leading all five teams to the playoffs.

In Seattle the Sonics won the championship in 1979 with 52 wins then followed that up with 56 wins in 1980 as they lost in the Western Conference Finals. After 1980 until Karl's first full season in 1993 the Sonics won over 50 games just once which was in 1982 when they won 52 games. Then Karl comes to town and the Sonics win 55 plus games every year from 1993-1998. After Karl was fired the Sonics won 50 plus games just once in 2005 when they won 52 games. Karl took the Milwaukee Bucks who had won 52 games to a game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001 a franchise that prior to his arrival hadn't advanced that deep since 1986 when they lost to the Boston Celtics. That was the Bucks first 50 win season since 1987 and his first year he took them to the playoffs in 1999 which was the Bucks first playoff trip since 1991. He then takes a one year break to go to the Denver Nuggets. During the 2004-05 season Karl took over midseason as the Nuggets were only 17-25, Karl went 32-8 with the Nuggets leading them to the playoffs. He has taken the Nuggets every year to the playoffs in his eight year career with them. In 2009 he led the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals their first playoff series win since well they beat his Sonics in the famous 1993-94 upset. That was the Nuggets first Western Conference Finals since 1985 when they lost to the showtime Lakers. Karl has won seven division titles, made four conference finals and one NBA finals in his career. Karl is a legendary coach and I hope every finally appreciates his greatness as he belongs in the hall of fame damn it!

Well that was my weekly rant sorry if my Karl rant ran a little long but it does bother me that his name doesn't get brought up with the elite coaches. The Mariners will have a fun series this weekend in New York as the Yankees prized prospect returns home wearing the Mariners gear. Meanwhile King Felix gets to pitch on the big stage which he has done a great job of lately. The NBA playoffs has been terrific so far which hurts because I miss the Sonics even more. I'm glad you listened to my rant and hopefully my rant on Karl either confirmed what you had already thought or changed your mind a little on him. Karl is one of the greatest coaches in Seattle sports history and firing him just started the downhill spiral of our franchise.

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