UFC 162 Recap, Chris Weidman Defeats Anderson Silva

CUB SWANSON VS. DENNIS SIVER (FEATHERWEIGHT)

WINNER: Swanson via TKO at 2:24 of the third round.

STAR RATING: (***) That was a great fight right there. Swanson and Siver had their moments respectively in the first two rounds, then Swanson took it to another level in the third. That was still a terrible stoppage by Dean, but huge win for Swanson regardless.

FIGHT TWO: MARK MUNOZ VS. TIM BOETSCH (MIDDLEWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: 10-9 Munoz. Really good round, but Munoz did the most damage during that frame.

ROUND TWO: 10-9 Munoz. Another strong round for Munoz, and he’s looking much better than expected after a year out.

ROUND THREE: 10-9 Munoz. Huge performance from Mark Munoz. He just dominated Tim Boetsch in that second and third round.

WINNER: Munoz via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)

STAR RATING: (***) That was a great fight, and the most aggressive and impressive version of Munoz we’ve yet seen. Really good fight.

FIGHT THREE: TIM KENNEDY VS. ROGER GRACIE (MIDDLEWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: 10-9 Gracie. Kennedy ended on top, and Gracie didn’t do a ton with his position, but he controlled where the fight took place in that round.

ROUND TWO: 10-9 Kennedy. Strong round for Kennedy. Gracie is fading fast, and Kennedy dominated that round.

ROUND THREE: 10-9 Kennedy. Gracie faded entirely, and just didn’t have anything to offer down the stretch. Not a great fight.

WINNER: Kennedy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

STAR RATING: (*1/2) Not much to that fight. Decent enough opening round, and some nice damage from Kennedy in the second, but this was mostly about Gracie entirely fading and costing himself the fight.

FIGHT FOUR: FRANKIE EDGAR VS. CHARLES OLIVEIRA (FEATHERWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: 10-9 Edgar. Oliveira is staying aggressive as expected, but he’s left open for strikes and Edgar took advantage.

ROUND TWO: 10-9 Edgar. Strong round again, though he almost got in real trouble at the end. Oliveira’s game here, he’s just not getting enough done in this one.

ROUND THREE: 10-9 Edgar. Another mostly strong round, but give credit to Oliveira for sticking with him and gutting it out through some spots there. Big fight for Edgar.

WINNER: Edgar via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

STAR RATING: (***1/2) Really, really good fight. Edgar was beating up Oliveira through most of it, but to his credit “Do Bronx” was a very game opponent. But it was a much needed win for Edgar, and a good performance overall.

MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: ANDERSON SILVA VS. CHRIS WEIDMAN (UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)

WINNER: Weidman via KO at 1:18 of the second round

STAR RATING: (*****) That’s a game changer. I didn’t think it would happen, and when Silva was playing his game and completely disrespecting Weidman it looked like he’d do what he’s always done. But this time it didn’t happen, and his dropped hands killed him tonight. All credit to Chris Weidman, that was fantastic.

 

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TNA One Night Only – Hardcore Justice 2 PPV Review

LAX (Homicide and Hernandez) vs. The New Church (Slash and Sinn): Many fans know Slash as Wolfie D (PG-13) while Sinn was Kizarny in WWE, and is unfortunately wearing his Kizarny-like gear. Also the lack of Father Jim Mitchell with the New Church hurt the reunion, especially since he is on the show later. LAX is Hernandez and the returning Homicide. This was a perfectly acceptable opening match. Some solid wrestling, some plunder, but not over the top since it is the opener. Homicide and Slash worked hard and will be welcomed additions to the taped PPV events. LAX scored the win with a cutter/splash combo, and the crowd reacted well to the match.

Match Rating: **½

ODB vs. Jackie Moore: I liked that they showed a video package for the two before the match, reminding fans of their histories in TNA. Unfortunately instead of a hardcore brawl, which we got a little of, it went more in a comedy direction as they used hair spray, shaving cream, and other stuff raided from the women’s locker room. They used a giant heeled boot at one time as well as Moore using a wig to choke out ODB. While not what I expected, the crowd seemed to enjoy it for the most part, even chanting for Moore to use the broom that was in the ring. It was what it was.

Match Rating: *½

20,000 Ladder Match: Bad Influence vs. Generation Me: If you’re going to put on a ladder match, you cannot go wrong with these two teams. Daniels is a veteran that can lead, Kazarian has a ton of ladder match experience and Generation Me always deliver in these sort of environments. Word was that this was the best match from the last set of taped PPVs, and it is easy to believe. Generation Me needs to be back in TNA for the good of the tag division, because they are simply great. The match had a good layout, the crowd loved it and also delivered all of the high spots you would imagine from the two teams. Daniels would use the power of the Appletini to blind Max Buck, leading to Kazarian getting the victory. Great match here, and considering that it was the one I was looking forward to the most, I came away very happy with this 15-minute ladder match. Not the best in the company’s history or anything, but a damn fine match for sure and one of the best TNA PPV matches of 2013.

Match Rating: ****

Hardcore Gauntlet: Devon Storm, Little Guido, Crimson, Shark Boy, Sam Shaw, Funaki, Johnny Swinger, Gunner and 2 Cold Scorpio: Two men start, new men in every two minutes and you can bring a weapon to the ring with you. An interesting lineup for sure, but also a fun one because I like to see Guido, Scorpio and hell, I was happy to see Funaki. Lame weapons for the most part; a crutch, golf club, umbrella, cane and a dustpan with long handle. I mean come on, I don’t need flaming tables, but something a little more fun would have been nice. Pretty tame opening until Funaki hit the ring with a giant plastic guardrail and did the Terry Funk spinning spot with it, which was fun. Outside of shorter hair, Funaki looks exactly the same, the man does not age. Shark Boy was the comedy relief and brought out a giant fish and attacked Crimson with it. Shark Boy and his fish then eliminated Gunner and Crimson back to back and scored the big victory. This was overall a fun little gauntlet, nothing special and in many ways just an excuse to get guys on the show, but there was nothing wrong with it. I like when they bring back some guys like they did here, it is fun and something you do not get as a regular thing.

Match Rating: **½

Elimination Tag Match: James Storm, Magnus and Hardcore Holly vs. Aces and 8′s (DOC, Knux & Wes Brisco): Ok, this is where I have my first booking issue on the show. You just run a big multi-man gauntlet, and then you’re going to follow it up with a match that is similar, a six-man elimination tag. It makes no sense when you could have put the monster’s ball or hell, anything in postproduction in the slot . If you can help it, you should not run similar matches like this back to back because the second match can suffer, due to the fan being desensitized due to seeing essentially the same thing minutes ago. Not sure if you realize this, but Holly is 50 years old. He looks great for his age and works way better than Wes Brisco. Seriously, Wes Brisco is not a good professional wrestler He constantly messes up the simplest bumps and will either end up hurting himself or someone else. After a long stretch of regular tag work, the weapons hit the ring and then Knux, Holly, Briscoe and Magnus were eliminated within 30 seconds of each other, leaving Storm vs. DOC. Very poor booking, as if they forgot that they were doing eliminations and someone had to get in the referees earpiece so he can tell the guys to start eliminating people. If someone laid out the match that way, they should be fired from their agent job; it was piss poor. Storm got the win for his team in what ended up being a disappointing match, partly due to poor booking, partly because the guys seemingly walked through it like it was a house show match instead of a PPV match.

Match Rating: **¼

Monster’s Ball Match: Joseph Park vs. Judas Mesias w/Jim Mitchell: Now part of this is because I am not a fan of the Park character, but I do not understand why you bring in Judas Mesias for a monster’s ball match and do not have the Abyss character work here. With the Abyss character, you have the chance of a heated hardcore match, fitting of the PPV. Instead, we have Park playing scared, playing bad wrestler until he bleeds and snaps. Yeah, they explained things with the pre-tape promo as far as it making sense, but I am looking for good PPV matches, so here, the Abyss character would have worked much better. Also, we got exactly what we all expected. Park wrestles badly, gets beat up, makes awkward comeback with weapons, gets cut off, gets busted open, plays Abyss and there you go. It was mostly fine, but felt VERY long. Park wins with the black hole slam in a match that lasted a long 13-minutes.

Match Rating: **

ables Match: Jeff Hardy and Brother Runt vs. Team 3D: Bully Ray cut a big promo about putting out a challenge for a tables match that no one wanted any part of. But then little brother Runt accepted the challenge. They said Sandman is drunk, Dreamer is at a buffet and no one knows where Balls is; so Runt needs to come out here and go through the table so they can go home. Runt appeared, in overalls and old school Dudley glasses, and revealed his opponent to be Jeff Hardy. The one thing that annoyed me is the fact that they worked this as a regular tag, there are no rules, but they tagged in and out, and then it just broke done when they brought the tables into it. Just work it as a tornado tag so that it makes sense. This really didn’t have a PPV main event feel to me, instead felt like a greatest hits compilation, only with the 2013 version of the guys doing the spots. It wasn’t bad, but it was lacking as a PPV main event. Jeff and Runt won when they put Devon through a table.

Match Rating: **½

TNA continues their run of taped PPV events, and while this was better than the Joker’s Wild tag team PPV, overall this wasn’t the best of shows. I wouldn’t say anything was downright horrible, but if you ask me if you should spend money on the show, that is a no. The lay out of the show seemed off, they banked on the star power to carry the main event, when it should have been in the middle of the show or semi-main event and replaced by the ladder match. I also would have split up the placement of the gauntlet and elimination tag match. But that’s not what happened, and what we got was a pretty average PPV. If you have to see anything from the PPV, make sure to see the ladder match between Bad Influence and Generation Me; the rest is an easy skip.

Rating: 6.0

 

UFC 162 Preview: Silva vs Weidman

Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver: This should be a good fight, and is a relevant one for the featherweight division. Since losing his UFC debut Cub Swanson has looked reinvented. Swanson is currently riding a four fight win streak, he finished George Roop, Ross Pearson, and Charles Oliveira and defeated Dustin Poirier by unanimous decision. Swanson has improved his movement in his last several fights, he’s sharpened his striking techniques and has made the improvements you want to see in a fighter. Unfortunately his defensive wrestling is still somewhat lacking, and his guard is pretty weak in terms of controlling posture or creating scrambles. Dennis Siver has looked great since dropping to featherweight, decisively beating both Diego Nunes and Nam Phan. Both men are predominantly strikers, though if the fight goes long I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them tries grappling as a means of scoring points. Siver is a big guy for featherweight, and has a more diverse striking arsenal than Swanson, but I can’t quite pick against Swanson here. I don’t know why, but I think Swanson’s movement and his accurate punches will carry the day. Winner via Decision Cub Swanson.

Middleweight Bout: Mark Munoz vs. Tim Boetsch: Some bad luck for Munoz has cost him a year of action and in his mid-30s, that’s rough. In fact, prior to losing to Chris Weidman in July, he figured to be the next title contender after Chael Sonnen’s loss. But, instead of having a five-fight win streak, he lost and has been out of action ever since. Ironically, at about that same point (July 2012), Boetsch was on the best run of his career having just defeated Hector Lombard. Then, he lost in December to Costa Philippou, and he must start all over again, just like Munoz. Boetsch, a four-time state wrestling champion in Maine will presumably be looking to defend takedowns from the former Division-I collegiate wrestler in Munoz, while also having to fend off his combinations on the feet. For Boetsch, he has to keep the pressure on Munoz, such as in the clinch, and prevent him from settling in to his own pace. Normally, I’d take Munoz here but just coming back from his injuries gives me pause. Combine that with Boetsch’s toughness and ability to wear his opponents out and I’m leaning towards “The Barbarian.” Winner via Decision Tom Boetsch.

Middleweight Bout: Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie: I guess the UFC was worried about two more Strikeforce guys coming in and beating up UFC fighters so they just matched them up with each other for their debut fight. Kennedy, the former Walker, Texas Ranger, has done very well in his MMA career despite what his complaints about fighter pay may make you believe. In Strikeforce he competed for the middleweight championship twice and has wins over Trevor Prangley, Melvin Manhoef, and Robbie Lawler. Roger Gracie, who is obviously a member of the Flying Wallenda family, is 6-1 in his career with 5 submissions and wins over Trevor Prangley (dude has fought everyone), Yuki Kondo, Kevin Randleman, and Keith Jardine. Gracie is good with submissions but so is Kennedy, who holds black belts in BJJ and Army Combatives. I think Kennedy will respect Gracie’s skills and try to keep the fight standing, only taking him Roger down to score points. I don’t think Kennedy will knock Gracie out but I do think that he has the ability to dictate the pace of the fight and execute his gameplan more effectively and I think Tim takes this and makes a nice first impression in the UFC. Winner via Decision Tim Kennedy.

Featherweight Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira: This is actually a pretty one sided fight. Frankie Edgar has lost his last three fights, in fact in his last five fights he’s 1-3-1. Granted he was fighting some of the very best fighters in the world, but that’s still a pretty sad statistic for a guy who had his level of success. Charles Oliveira was thought to be a legitimate prospect at lightweight, then he lost to Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone and decided to drop to featherweight. At featherweight Oliveira had some success before being knocked out by Cub Swanson. This has all the hallmarks of a get well fight for Frankie Edgar, the real question here is if Edgar will actually manage a finish. Frankie has been to decision in all but two of his UFC fights, those two stoppages were a submission against Matt Veach and then a TKO in the fourth round in his third fight with Gray Maynard. The intrigue in this fight is how Frankie fights it, I hope he comes out like a machine and puts a beating on Oliveira and has learned his lesson about fighting to win rounds. That said, I don’t think he will, I think he’ll out strike and out wrestle Oliveira for three rounds but I hope I’m wrong and he’s developed some finishing instincts. Winner via Decision Frankie Edgar.

UFC Middleweight Championship Bout: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman: This is the fight right here, ladies and gentleman. This is the guy that everyone thinks can finally take the fight to Anderson and get the belt away from him. This is the guy that every other fighter in the UFC thinks can beat the long-time champion and it’s understandable why they would think so. Chris Weidman is an NCAA championship wrestler with good grappling and deviously strong hands. His short notice win against Demian Maia in January 2012 was impressive (even if they both gassed out in 10 seconds) and his dismantling of Mark Munoz last July had everybody going nuts about the guy and salivating at the thought of him fighting for the belt. Weidman hasn’t fought since then due to a shoulder injury and other issues. Anderson last fought in October when he destroyed Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar without breaking a sweat. I’ve gone back and forth on who I think takes this fight because Weidman is extremely talented and possibly the most complete fighter that Anderson has ever faced. Weidman can definitely take this fight if he uses his strikes to set up his takedowns and tries to borrow some of the strategy from the first Chael Sonnen fight to control Anderson for 25 minutes. Then again, Anderson is Anderson. He is 16-0 in the UFC, 7 more wins than Weidman has fights in his career, has only gone to decision twice during that span because he got bored, and he has always found a way to win even when’s he injured. The man combines precision striking with some of the best head movement and footwork that the sport has ever seen and it’s no wonder he’s made so many high-level fighters look like amateurs. I did want to pick Weidman so that I can be like everyone else and brag to the high heavens that I was right if he gets the upset, which I figure is a reason why a lot of people are picking him, but if Anderson comes into this fight motivated and completely healthy, which he may or may not be depending on if the rumors are true, then there is no reason to think that Anderson can’t get Weidman’s timing down and pick him apart over a couple of rounds so we can get back to talking about superfights. Yeah, superfights! Winner Anderson Silva, TKO, Round 4.

Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars Both Winners in Seguin Trade

The Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars gave hockey fans a reason to pause their Fourth of July celebrations by completing a seven-player blockbuster trade highlighted by star forwards Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson.

TSN’s Darren Dreger first reported the entire deal, which was completed afterEriksson and Rich Peverley waived their no-trade clauses. It includes forwards Reilly Smith, Mark Fraser, Eriksson and defenseman Joe Morrow going from Dallas to Boston in exchange for defenseman Ryan Button and forwards Seguin and Peverley.

This is a great trade for both teams because it allows them to upgrade certain weaknesses right now and also have important assets for future success.

At first glance, it looks like a bold move by the Bruins because giving up on an ultra-talented forward of Seguin’s caliber is a risk. The former No. 2 overall draft pick led the team in scoring during the 2011-12 season with 67 points and finished the 2013 season with a respectable 32 points in 48 games.

The most disappointing part of his brief career in Boston was his lackluster performance in the playoffs. Since a breakout four-point second period in Game 2 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, Seguin tallied just 12 points in his last 40 playoff games. He failed to find the back of the net in Boston’s last 11 playoff games of 2013.

With that said, his playmaking and goal-scoring skills are phenomenal, and he will significantly upgrade the talent and overall speed of the Stars offense. Dallas desperately needed additional depth at the center position, which was a huge weakness of the team last season.

Seguin wasn’t able to play center in Boston because of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejciand Chris Kelly being on the roster, but he will finally be able to play in his natural position as a member of the Stars. Seguin’s arrival will also allow superstar forward Jamie Benn to play on the wing in Dallas, which is where he’s most comfortable.

The young forward will also benefit from the leadership and wisdom of MarkRecchi, who was a teammate of Seguin’s in Boston during the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup title run and is now a member of the Stars’ front office.

The acquisition of Peverley brings great speed, excellent penalty killing and versatility to the Dallas lineup with his ability to play center or on the wing.

Peverley will also help the Stars improve on faceoffs, where they ranked 27th last year with a weak 47.1 percent success rate. He finished eighth in faceoff percentage (58.4) among all players who took 250 or more draws last season.

As for Boston, this is a win-now type of move for a team coming off a six-game defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

The two most notable players coming to Boston are Eriksson, who is one of the league’s most underrated and durable players, as well as top prospect Joe Morrow, a defenseman who was a first-round pick in 2011.

Hi-res-166238737_crop_exactRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Eriksson is only 27 years old and has tallied 63-plus points (including an average of 29.5 goals) in the last four non-lockout seasons. The Swedish forward finished 2013 with 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 48 games.

He’s a better fit in Boston’s rigid, defensive style of hockey than Seguin because of his impressive stick work, willingness to play physical and strong penalty-killing ability. Unlike Seguin, Eriksson will go to the dirty areas and win puck battles consistently. He’s also a phenomenal skater and protects the puck well.

Another benefit of acquiring Eriksson is the team-friendly $4.25 million salary cap hit in his contract, which doesn’t expire until after the 2015-16 season, per CapGeek.

Taking on this deal and getting rid of Seguin’s six-year, $34 million contract (which begins in 2013-14) along with the other salary involved in this trade results in the Bruins having just over $9 million in salary cap space. This will allow general manager Peter Chiarellito re-sign star goaltender Tuukka Rask (anRFA) and make one more significant upgrade to his roster in free agency or via the trade market.

Morrow is a high-end prospect with impressive offensive ability. He projects to be a top-four NHL defenseman and will compete with young Bruins blueliners Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski for ice time next season.

This is the second time he’s been traded since January. He was also dealt from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stars in the Brenden Morrow deal from late March. Is the 20-year-old in high demand or is there a concern among teams that is causing him to be traded? We will soon find out, but there’s no question that he has impressive skill and potential.

Hi-res-117271888_crop_exactNick Laham/Getty Images
Joe Morrow

After all the analysis, I believe both teams will be improved next year and in the future because of this deal.

The Stars have acquired an elite talent in Seguin, who could be a franchise cornerstone player along with Benn for a decade or more. Acquiring Peverley also gives Dallas valuable depth, versatility, faceoff skill and championship experience.

The Bruins have upgraded their depth on the wing by adding Eriksson, which gives them another two-way top-six forward capable of shining on special teams. The acquisition of Morrow strengthens Boston’s prospect pool with another talented young defenseman.

It will take many years to accurately judge who ultimately won this blockbuster trade, but one thing we already know is that the Bruins and Stars are both committed to making bold moves to ensure success right now and well into the future.

YES or NO 07/04/13: Vickie, and More

Vickie Guerrero will still be on TV whether or not she passes her job evaluation on Raw next week? YES: She is a great character and has survived many of these moments. Manager? General Manager? Supervisor? Whatever WWE does with her, Vickie will find a role on the television show. Whatever happens on Raw next week ultimately means very little. Remember Teddy Long losing his Smackdown job last year? Well, Booker T ‘hired’ him back months later to consult him. All of these authority figure spots just rotate around. My ONLY reservation is if Vickie is heading home for the summer to take care of her kids, like she did in 2009. However, the Guerrero children are older now. Maybe a three month break? Maybe not.

Am I excited about the Wyatt Family debuting next week on Raw? YES: The vignettes have been interesting. Windham Rotunda definitely looks like he’s stumbled onto something here. At the same time, I am cautiously excited about it. So many times we’ve seen compelling character vignettes only for organizations to just flush it down the toilet in the debut or it to fail miserably. Case in point, Sean O’Haire when he was re-packaged as basically Satan in human form. All those vignettes were really interesting, but WWE all but dropped the gimmick for no reason after he re-debuted. And it was disappointing because O’Haire was a good prospect and had a ton of potential. The vignettes were interesting, and I was excited to see where that character was going. That being said, hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen to the Wyatt Family, which I am excited to see.

The Shield losing to Christian & The Usos on SmackDown was ok? YES: I think Team Hell No held the tag team titles for far too long. So now that the tag team titles are back on an actual faction, it’s important to build up and legitimize another team like The Usos. The Shield is feuding with these guys, so it makes sense for them to lose. Having The Shield lose in a six man tag match doesn’t make them look horrible or destroy them as a group. They are still the champs and still control two titles. I think though if WWE really wants to revive the sagging tag team division it’s time to showcase actual tag teams again. As entertaining as Team Hell No was at times, they were champs for far too long and as a result the rest of the tag teams suffered and were not showcased enough. But in a feud such as this, it’s not uncommon to have a six-man tag team match where the heel team or faction loses to the face team. It’s solid booking actually.

Samoa Joe joining the Main Event Mafia makes sense? NO: When Samoa Joe was really good and on fire in TNA, he was a loner who played by his own set of rules. He didn’t tie himself to any stupid factions. When he teamed up with Sting the first time, he did it in order to use Sting to get back into the spotlight and blamed Sting’s return for taking the spotlight away from him. Since then, much of Joe’s run in TNA has been a series of flubs, bad booking, and missed opportunities. If this was the truly badass, awesome Samoa Joe, Joe would go to war with both the Aces and 8’s and the pathetic Main Event Mafia and destroy them both. This move merely exemplifies how TNA waters down and holds Joe back, while Hogan continues to hog the spotlight in the most obnoxious fashion, no one really gets over and Jeff Hardy continues to be a main eventer. Hogan and Bischoff’s run in TNA has been terrible. They haven’t truly revolutionized anything in the company or turned around the ratings or the abysmal PPV buys. TNA is still stuck in the same ratings plateau they’ve been in for years, despite all their horrible, destructive moves to placate Jeff Jarrett, his friends, and then Hogan and his friends.

Is Homer Bailey’s Second No-Hitter Proof He’s an Elite Pitcher in MLB?

Homer Bailey is basically Nolan Ryan.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But the Cincinnati Reds right-hander and the Ryan Express now have something pretty cool in common, and it also serves as clarification for a certain something else: the fact that Bailey is a lot better than you might think he is.

If you missed it, Bailey held the San Francisco Giants hitless on Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark. They call that a “no-hitter” in the industry, and they’re pretty rare.

Well, unless you’re Bailey. He now has two no-hitters to his name, and the first one he pitched last September 28 against the Pittsburgh Pirates also happens to be the last no-hitter Major League Baseball had seen before Bailey broke out another on Tuesday night.

So there’s that, and here’s the final out of the proceedings in case you missed it:

Courtesy of MLB Advanced Media via MLB.com.

There are some similarities between Bailey’s no-hitter against the Pirates and his no-hitter against the Giants. Both were high-strikeout games, as he fanned 10 in his no-no against the Pirates and nine in his no-no against the Giants. Both times, Bailey did it by relying heavily on his fastball. 

Per Brooks Baseball, 73 of Bailey’s 115 pitches (63.5 percent) against the Pirates were four-seam fastballs. They averaged 91.64 miles per hour.

Against the Giants, Bailey threw four-seamers for 68 of his 109 pitches (62.4 percent). What was different this time around is that his hard stuff had a little more giddy-up, asBrooks Baseball has the average velocity for it down at 95.32 miles per hour.

Bailey was definitely busting out the big velocity in the later innings against the Giants. He was sitting at 95 easily, and I recall seeing a couple 97s as well. You could tell that he was thinking something along the lines of, “I’m going to get this done because I amfreaking awesome.”

And you know what? Bailey is just that.

Hi-res-172526247_crop_exactJoe Robbins/Getty Images

I wonder if there might still be a sentiment in some circles that Bailey is just another former top prospect who hasn’t turned into anything special. That’s indeed the way things were looking for a while, as he racked up a mere 4.47 ERA between 2009 and 2011 and had a 4.24 ERA at the end of August last year in his first full MLB season.

But ever since then…

In Bailey’s last seven regular season starts of 2012, he went 3-1 and compiled a 1.85 ERA over 48.2 innings. Mixed in was the no-hitter against the Pirates, but he also had three other starts in which he logged at least seven innings and allowed no more than one earned run.

Bailey kept it up against the Giants in the postseason, allowing only one earned run on one hit in seven innings in his lone start in the NLDS.

Bailey has now made 17 starts in 2013, in which he has a 3.57 ERA. But if we take the 17 starts he’s made this season and add them to the eight starts he made after the calendar turned to September last year…

GS IP ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB H/9 HR/9
 25  166.2  2.98  9.15  1.95  4.69  6.50  0.60

If we were to entertain the notion that these were Bailey’s full-season numbers for 2013, then his National League ranks would be:

  • Tied for 14th in ERA
  • 5th in K/9
  • 13th in BB/9
  • 8th in K/BB
  • 7th in H/9
  • 12th in HR/9

In other words, he’d be up there among the best the Senior Circuit has to offer. 

The truth is that it was already possible to make that argument even before Bailey no-hit the Giants. He may have started the day with a relatively unspectacular 3.88 ERA, but the ERA estimators all disagreed with that number.

Per FanGraphs, Bailey’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) stood at 2.77. That ranked fifth among Senior Circuit hurlers. His xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) stood at 2.99, which ranked third in the National League. He had a 3.13 SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA) that ranked fourth.

As far as these handy-dandy statistics were concerned, Bailey deserved a lot better than his 3.88 ERA. Typically, what that means is that the pitcher in question has been pitching like an ace and just getting unlucky. The general indication is that it may just be a matter of time before said ace-like pitcher starts seeing results.

Sound like anybody you know who did something kinda amazing on Tuesday night?

There’s still a lot of season left in 2013. A good rough guess is that Bailey has 17 starts left in him before now and the end, and he’s probably going to be making some more in October given the strength of the ballclub around him.

You’re not going to want to miss many of these starts. Bailey might not have any more no-hitters in him, but there’s no denying what he’s become since something clicked for him last September.

The guy’s an ace.

WWE Impact Wrestling Review 6/27/13, WWE Smackdown Review 6/28/13

Suicide” beat Chris Sabin and Kenny King to win the TNA X-Division Championship: A really fun and entertaining match to open the show but the finish seemed lost on the crowd. Interesting way to end it and I love the way Sabin sold the loss; man looked like he was going to bawl (***).

Adam Ohriner beat Ryan Howe: TNA’s fan voting for the Gut Check was a creative idea. However, in this scenario, it led to Adam Ohriner, also known as “The Big O,” getting a match and winning. I don’t blame Ohriner for leveraging his popularity from Zack Ryder’s internet show into a great opportunity. That said, I don’t feel that he is ready to compete on such a big stage. Howe didn’t fare much better, showing off little more than his hokey character, and I’m hoping neither guy is back (DUD).

Mickie James Beat Velvet Sky: This match was better than the previous one between these two, but it was still a bit clunky. Though Velvet is over, she really struggles in the ring. I’m hoping that she doesn’t get the title back at any point in the near future. Mickie is a better in-ring worker with the most interesting character in the division. TNA should move her onto something new soon so that she isn’t wasting her efforts in a feud that creates nothing but awkward matches. TNA pride themselves on being an alternative product, and part of that is their women’s division. Just a week ago, Brooke Hogan talked about how proud she was of the division’s competitors and the buzz that they had generated for their ring work. TNA built on that this week by having Velvet Sky cry after losing her match. This didn’t make me pity Velvet; it just made her look like a whiny bitch. Instead of having her act like a grown woman, TNA had her act like a child. It’s hard to hold their women’s division in high regard when you can tell that the people writing it don’t hold women as a whole in a high regard (*1/2).

Magnus beat Bobby Roode: Though it was at the expense of Bobby Roode, who hasn’t been able to catch a break as of late, Magnus picked up another win and is still on top of the Bound for Glory Series standings. While I feel that he will most likely fade off a bit as the tournament progress, I like that TNA is making him a focal point. He can talk, wrestle, and carry himself well, and this run on top of the standings will be a good litmus test to determine if he can be a top guy (**1/2).

LOL UR GAY: Robbie E and Jessie Godderz appear to have formed an alliance, dubbing themselves “The Bro-Mans.” While I can’t imagine them having any five star matches any time soon, I think this idea would be okay for an undercard jobber tag team. However, instead of being showcased that way, they were in a promo with the TNA Tag Team Champions, James Storm and Gunner. James Storm inferred that Robbie E and Gooderz are gay with subpar delivery, which is great comedy in 2013. The reason this ends up in “The Wrong” is because it showcases just how badly the tag team division has gone into the shitter. Not long ago, Bad Influence and Roode and Aries were putting on great matches every week. Now we have James Storm making gay jokes and a bunch of guys who could disappear forever without fans even noticing.

Samoa Joe beat Ken Anderson: I felt a little torn when Samoa Joe joined The Main-Event Mafia. On one hand, Samoa Joe has been great recently. He’s been wrestling with intensity and showing some fire on the microphone. It appears as if he is motivated once again. If this means that Samoa Joe’s work is being rewarded, and he will be a focal point of the company, that’s great. However, a large part of me worries that instead, Joe will be lost in the shuffle as merely another guy who is in a stable. This is one of those wait-and-see issues, so we’ll do just that (*1/2).

Austin Aries is Suicide: First off, let me through this out there: I like unpredictability. When watching a wrestling show, the “anything can happen!” element is a good thing. However, I like unpredictability to be founded in logic and to make sense. Austin Aries beating up a guy backstage prior to a match and presumably stripping him naked with no one noticing is a bit out there. On top of that, we are now left with more questions than answers. For example, what will happen to Aries’ spot in the Bound for Glory Series? Though this was surprising, it now seems like TNA’s X-Division has gone nowhere in the last year. Austin Aries already got his rub. TNA could have given a chance to someone new, but they didn’t. Instead, they’ve gone with Aries for the second straight year. The idea of Aries finding a way to insert himself in the title picture is fine, but this was the wrong way to go about it, and it most likely took away a big opportunity from someone else. This is the kind of convoluted trash that made me stop watching TNA from 2008-2011.

This was the worst episode of Impact that I can remember in some time. Most of the booking made me want to put my head through a wall, and while the in-ring action was okay, there wasn’t one match in particular that stood out. While there were a lot of things of consequence that took place, my reaction to them was either, “let’s wait and see” or “this is not good.” The main storyline for the episode (Aries is Suicide) was hokey and ridiculous. Let’s hope that things get back on track next week.

Show Rating: 4.5

Sheamus d. Damian Sandow: This was rather stupid, and not always in a good way, but on the whole it was an entertaining enough brawl to make the right section. The spots with the beer-keg and the sack of potatoes and the green weaponry weren’t really that funny, but the match improved once it became more heated, and both wrestlers appeared to be enjoying themselves throughout the bout. The finish was pretty darn cool as well. Hopefully everyone involved in this feud can move on to more meaningful matches from here (***).

MizTV w/ Paul Heyman: This wasn’t great. The verbal sparring between the Miz and Paul Heyman was strangely limp and heatless; Heyman had a few nice moments, but Miz was awkward throughout, though the lack of fire on display was appropriate for the lifeless Miz-Axel feud. I wonder if this segment would have had a bit more purpose if it was based around the approximately 231 times more interesting Punk/Lesnar/Heyman love triangle, or whether both men were just having an off night. On the plus side, the Miz saved an abysmal Star Wars joke with the “Luke, you’re not your father” line to Curtis, which was genuinely clever. Hooray for that!

Natalya d. AJ: HAHAHAHA AJ HAD SEX WITH MULTIPLE PARTNERS AND ONE OF THEM MIGHT HAVE BEEN A GIRL!!!!!!!!! JBL’s appalled “OH NO!” when Kaitlyn insinuated AJ and Mark Yeaton had been together made me laugh, but the promo very much didn’t. Since about 2006 the women’s division has been a black hole of creativity, and this AJ-Kaitlyn feud has been sucked into it after an initially promising start (DUD).

Randy Orton d. Kane: I’m starting to have serious concerns that my confident prediction from last week that Daniel Bryanis turning heel might prove to be humiliatingly inaccurate, though his performance on commentary and bungled interference during this bout certainly wasn’t that of your conventional fan favorite. Anyway, this Orton-Kane match was hugely enjoyable, very nearly as good as the Orton-Bryan match from last week, with some surprisingly fluid sequences, close near-falls, and an enjoyable D-Bry cameo. I wouldn’t object to further matches between these two (**3/4).

Ryback d. Justin Gabriel: A Ryback squash is a Ryback squash is a Ryback squash. Jericho’s promo was fine but the feud isn’t anything to get worked up about.

Christian & The Usos d. The Shield: Remember when the Shield were nigh on invincible? Now they’re losing to Christian and the Usos on Smackdown. The match was good fun, with a suitably chaotic finishing sequence, but you get the sense WWE are slowly winding the Shield down, which is a real shame. Still, maybe this was a blip, and a very watchable one at that (*3/4).

Fiesta Del Rio: Del Rio’s such a great heel isn’t he? He manages to be sleazy, slimy, and quietly intimidating all at the same time, and while I couldn’t understand much of his promo, I’m sure it was excellent. The Ziggler Piñata was a nice touch, as was Ziggler commandeering the mariachi band. The segment felt a bit rushed and anti-climactic (WHY DID NO ONE GO FACE FIRST INTO THE SALSA?) but it was a nice concept and enjoyable enough.

This was one of the most painfully average episodes of Smackdown I can remember; nothing really bad happened, but nothing all that good occurred either, which in my eyes is worse than a show that makes the effort to be something, even if that something is awful. Two decent matches and an entertaining, if forgettable final segment aren’t enough to make this a worthwhile use of two hours.

Show Rating: 5.5