Nolan Arenado

X’s Three Stars Of The Week (6/21/15 – 6/27/15)

Here is a look at this week’s “three stars” – according to X Marks the Sport.

1. Jordan Spieth (PGA Tour – United States)

It would be easy to classify last week’s U.S. Open as a collapse or come-from-ahead loss by Dustin Johnson (United States), but we’ll stay positive and keep the focus on the winner. Jordan Spieth had to overcome some adversity of his own, giving up a 3-stroke lead on the 17th hole with a double-bogey, to pick up the win. Credit him for being able to recompose himself and pick up a birdie on 18 when he needed it most to put himself in position to win. Spieth came into the final round tied with the aforementioned Johnson and Branden Grace (South Africa) and bested them on Sunday by 1 and 2 strokes respectively. So this win was more than “just a guy blowing it” – Spieth earned it. With the win, Spieth became the youngest player (age 21) win the U.S. Open in 92 years. He joined some of golf’s royalty (Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Craig Wood, Tiger Woods) by winning the U.S. Open and Masters in the same year. He is the youngest player to win both majors in the same year, and the first player in 13 years to pull off the feat. For several reasons, Spieth’s win on Sunday was historic.

2. Nolan Arenado (3B – Colorado Rockies)

If Nolan Arenado were on a better team, he would be at the forefront of National League MVP discussions halfway through the season. This week was just another sampling of how good he has been in 2015. Arenado recording at least one hit in all six games he played this week, pushing his overall hitting streak to 14 games. He had two multi-home run games this week and scored at least one run in every game this week – often batting himself in via the long ball. He also had at least one RBI in every game, including a pair of 4-RBI games. His overall stat line for the last week was a .391 batting average with 6 home runs, 12 runs batted in, and 9 runs scored while slugging an impressive 1.217. Usually more power leads to more strikeouts, but Arenado only struck out once in 23 at bats. At just 24 years old, a superstar is being born in Colorado.

3. Washington Nationals Starting Pitching Rotation

When the Washington Nationals signed Max Scherzer in the offseason, their rotation on paper was one of the best Major League Baseball had ever seen. Outfielder Bryce Harper indicated as much when he (in)famously quipped “Where’s my ring?” in response to learning about the final piece to the loaded rotation. The performance by the rotation this week is what Harper had to be envisioning when he made that remark. Gio González kicked things off by firing 7 scoreless innings on Sunday to clinch a series sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stephen Strasburg (5 innings), Jordan Zimmermann (8 innings), and Doug Fister (7 innings) took turns pitching nothing but shutout innings in a series sweep of the Atlanta Braves. Max Scherzer closed out the weather-shortened week by holding the Philadelphia Phillies to 2 runs (the first runs surrendered by the starting rotation all week) in another Washington win. For the week, Washington’s starting pitchers combined for 4 wins (would have been 5 had Jordan Zimmermann not received a no-decision after a Drew Storen blown save). 35 innings, 0.51 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and a sparkling 24:4 K/BB ratio. If they keep performing at this level, they will end up fulfilling Harper’s brazen prophecy.

X’s Three Stars of the Week (5/24/15 – 5/30/15)

Here is a look at this week’s “three stars” – according to X Marks the Sport.

1.  LeBron James (SF – Cleveland Cavaliers)

Over the last half decade, the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs has officially turned into the LeBron James invitational. Most people thought the Cavaliers-Bulls series would essentially serve as the “real” Conference Finals series, and a sweep of the Hawks justified those opinions. Of course, after James missed his first 10 field goal attempts in Game 3, it certainly didn’t look like he would be on this list. But he bounced back in incredible fashion and posted a monstrous stat line of 37 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists, and 3 steals. His 8 offensive rebounds were more than the Hawks’ whole team had. James had a driving lay-up near the end of overtime to help put the game away. He followed up that performance by posting game highs of 23 points and 7 assists in the clinching Game 4, despite playing under 30 minutes for the first time all postseason. These efforts are why James will be headlining the NBA Finals for a 5th straight year.

2. Lionel Messi (FW – FC Barcelona)

Messi was his usual prodigious self in the 2015 Copa del Rey Final, scoring the first goal of the match and later on adding a second to help put the match out of reach. Messi led Barcelona to its third Copa del Rey title since 2009, and his goals on Saturday were his 33rd and 34th career goals in the tournament. The first goal he scored was a memorable one on which he showed off a lot of his brilliance, and listing him among this week’s “Three Stars” was an excuse to post think link to a video of him shredding the defense of Athletic Bilbao.

3. Josh Donaldson (3B – Toronto Blue Jays)

Donaldson put together an impressive 4-game home run streak this week, and his overall numbers over the last seven days have been a .385 batting average with 5 home runs, 10 RBI, and 10 runs scored. The highlight of the week came when Donaldson hit a walk off 3-run HR with his team down by 2 to the White Sox – his 2nd home run of the contest. Donaldson struck out 4 times in a tough game at the plate on Sunday, but did not strike out at all the rest of the week. The 10 RBI he collected between Monday and Friday represent 26% of his RBI total for the season…A quick shout out to Colorado Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado, who had 4 HRs this week along with 4 games with multiple hits and multiple RBI.

Honorable Mention: Chance Shepard (C/OF – North Carolina State Wolfpack)

When the alma mater scores a dramatic come-from-behind win in a big game, they’ve got to get a virtual high-five here. Serving as the Wolfpack’s final hope, Shepard hit a clutch go ahead 2-run home run off of one of the premier closers in the nation, TCU’s Riley Ferrell, to advance NC State to the Regional Finals on Sunday. Thank you Chance Shepard!!!