Welcome to another weekly roundup in the world of sports. This week, DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors, Devin Booker agreed to a max contract extension to stay with the Suns, the MLB All-Star teams were announced, Texas Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo broke the franchise record for consecutive games reaching base and the World Cup Semifinals are set with the final four countries.
National Basketball Association
LeBron James’ signing with the Lakers was supposed to bring more parity to the Western Conference of the NBA. James was supposed to attract big names to join him in Los Angeles to help battle Golden State and Houston. Earlier this week however, DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors for a shockingly low one-year deal worth $5.3 million.
Cousins is coming off a year that was cut short by a torn Achilles tendon. He will not be ready to go for the beginning of the season and has said he will not rush his rehabilitation. It was reported that he had no offers from any teams during the beginning of his free agency. In what some are calling a “panic move,” Cousins called the Warriors and asked to join the team. The Warriors obliged, and now have an all-star at all five starting positions. Cousins has averaged a double-double for his career averaging 21.5 points and 11 rebounds a game. The Warriors have won three of the last four NBA championships and with this move, try to put an even bigger stranglehold on the NBA.
While Cousins was busy signing a small deal with the Warriors, Devin Booker was signing a max contract with the Phoenix Suns. The five-year deal is worth $158 million and has the 21-year-old among the highest paid players in the NBA.
Booker gained notoriety in 2017 when he became the youngest player in NBA history to have a 70-point game. Last season, Booker averaged 24.9 points a game and became the leader and face of the franchise. Booker will try to help lead the Suns to their first playoff appearance since the 2009-2010 season. The Suns have a lot of improvement ahead of them if they want to accomplish that as they finished dead last in the west last season with a record of 21-61.
Major League Baseball
The National League and American League rosters were announced Sunday night on ESPN. Here are the starters for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park on Tues., July 17.
C – Wilson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
1B – Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
2B – Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs
3B – Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
SS – Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
OF – Nick Markakis – Atlanta Braves
OF – Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
OF – Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
C – Wilson Ramos – Tampa Bay Rays
1B – Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
2B – Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
3B – Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
SS – Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
OF – Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox
OF – Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
OF – Aaron Judge – New York Yankees
DH – J.D. Martinez – Boston Red Sox
For a list of the full rosters including reserves and pitchers, click here.
As for the regular season play, no one has been doing any better as of late than Shin-Soo Choo. Choo, the Rangers DH, has reached base safely now in 47 straight games. Choo broke the previous franchise record which was 46 games set by Julio Franco back in 1993. Even with Choo’s outstanding play, his team continues to struggle as they currently sit in last place of the American League West. They’re staring up at the Houston Astros, who are currently in first place, followed by the Seattle Mariners, who are three and a half games behind the Astros. Odds are the Rangers won’t make a push, but with Choo’s knack for getting on base, he could be a valuable piece for a team to add via trade before the July 31 trade deadline.
By virtue of the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers recent woes, the Cleveland Indians have begun to run away with the AL Central. What was once a close division just a few short weeks ago is now turning into a laugher. The Indians hold a nine and a half game lead over the Twins and an 11 game lead on the Tigers. If the Indians were in the NL East they would be in third place and if they were in the west, they would be in fourth place. Clearly the Indians are benefiting from a weak division, but they are hopeful they can step up their level of play and try to get back to the World Series.
The top two teams in baseball continue to battle it out in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox have won their last six games and have taken a two-game lead over the New York Yankees. Even after taking two out of three from the Red Sox last weekend, the Yankees have slipped behind Boston in the standings. These two teams have been jockeying back and forth all season long and with the third place Rays being 16 games back, don’t expect anything to change in this division.
The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to cling to their first place positioning in the National League West. They have lost six of their last 10 games and have the Los Angeles Dodgers knipping at their heels just one game behind them. The Colorado Rockies have gotten back into the mix winning eight of their last 10 games. They are tied in the division with the San Francisco Giants for third place and are just four games off the division lead.
The Milwaukee Brewers have been playing strong baseball as of late and with the Chicago Cubs hot on their trail, they’ve had to. The Cubs and Brewers seem to be going at each other constantly, but for some reason the Cubs haven’t been able to overtake the Brewers for the NL Central lead. This division started out with four teams in the mix, but as the months have passed, the Pittsburgh Pirates have fallen off and now the St. Louis Cardinals are in danger of being an afterthought. They are currently seven and a half games back of the lead and have lost six of their last 10.
In the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies have overtaken the Atlanta Braves and have a percentage points lead now. While the Braves have been playing .500 in their last 10 games, the Phillies have been climbing the ladder winning eight of their last 10 games. While the Braves and Phillies battle it out atop the division, the Washington Nationals are trying to stay afloat. They are one game over .500 but are only five games back of first place.
1. Houston Astros (61-39)
2. Boston Red Sox (62-29)
3. New York Yankees (58-29)
4. Chicago Cubs (51-36)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (54-36)
The Collegiate’s top five power rankings
1. Boston Red Sox (62-29)
2. Houston Astros (61-31)
3. New York Yankees (58-29)
4. Seattle Mariners (57-34)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (54-36)
West Michigan Whitecaps
The West Michigan Whitecaps started the week with a short two-game homestand against the Lansing Lugnuts before traveling to Lansing for two games on their field. They then traveled to take on the Lake County Captains for a four-game series.
The Whitecaps dropped the series opener to the Lugnuts 4-0 at Fifth Third Ballpark on Mon., July 2. They came back strong the next night and after being shutout the previous night, scoring eight runs in an 8-4 victory on Tuesday night. The Whitecaps were in the state capital for the Fourth of July and kept their bats going. They wound up winning 7-3 that night and 6-2 the next night to take three out of four games from the Lugnuts.
On Friday, the Whitecaps kept it rolling and picked up their fourth straight win as they beat the Lake County Captains 6-2. Saturday and Sunday were not as nice to the Whitecaps however. They were shutout 3-0 on Saturday and could only manage one run in the game Sunday in a 7-1 loss. The Whitecaps will try to pull out the last game of the series on Monday to get even with the Captains.
After going 4-3 on the week, the Whitecaps are now 9-9 and sit in fifth place in their division. After Monday’s game with Lake County, the Whitecaps will have Tuesday off and return home Wednesday for a three-game series against the Wisconsin Rattlers. On Saturday, they will host the Beloit Snappers for three games that will run through Mon., July 16. To find tickets to upcoming games click here.
The World Cup
The World Cup Semifinal stage is set with the final four teams. France will play Belgium on Tues., July 10 while Croatia and England will face off against each other on Wed., July 11.
On Friday, France shutout Uruguay 2-0 to punch their ticket into the next round. France scored in the 40th minute then again in the 61st minute. France had possession of the ball 57 percent of the time.
Later in the day, Neymar and Brazil saw their World Cup dreams come to an end. Belgium scored early getting their first goal in the 13th minute and their second in the 31st minute. They had the shutout going until Brazil scored in the 76th minute to cut the lead in half. Belgium ended up holding on for the victory and securing their spot against France.
On Saturday, England took care of business and shut down a hot Sweden team. England left with a 2-0 shutout by way of a goal in the 30th and 59th minute. Like France, England had possession of the ball 57 percent of the time.
To finish off the quarterfinals, Croatia took on the host country of Russia. The fans were loud and the game didn’t disappoint. Russia scored the first goal of the game in the 31st minute. Just eight minutes later, Croatia got even with a goal of their own. The game went into extra time and both teams took advantage. Croatia scored in the 101st minute, but Russia answered in the 115th minute to send the game to a penalty shootout. Russia missed their first shot while Croatia hit theirs. Then Russia made theirs while Croatia missed theirs. Through two rounds, they were tied at one. Russia missed their third attempt which ended up being the back breaker as Croatia didn’t miss another shot. They ended up winning the shootout 4-3 and moving on to face England in the Semifinals.
To keep up with scores, stats and news in the World Cup, click here.