It has been confirmed, by teammates and himself, that Elvis Dumervil will finally make his 2016 debut this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
That is great news for a young Ravens defense that already has nine sacks, good for 7th in the league. Dumervil has averaged over 10 sacks per year in his three years with Baltimore, including 17 in 2014.
In 2014, with a healthy Terrell Suggs and Dumervil chasing quarterbacks for a full season, they were crowned top sack-duo in the league with 29. Is it fair to expect that kind of production again in 2016, now that both are healthy? Probably not. But the good news is that the Ravens don’t have to.
Suggs and Timmy Jernigan are already averaging a sack a game through three weeks. Young players like Brent Urban and Michael Pierce have already made plays in the backfield this season. Other players like Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon have consistently found themselves in the back field as well.
Adding Dumervil to the mix give the Ravens, realistically, two proven pass rushing outside linebackers in him and Suggs, three developing OLBs in Smith, Judon, and Kamalei Correa, and two stud defensive linemen in Jernigan and Brandon Williams.
Pair all of those with star linebacker C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr, and the Ravens have one of the deepest front sevens they’ve ever unleashed in the last decade.
Averaging three sacks a game already, a vast improvement over last year’s defense, Dumervil can take the pass rush to another level. Coming off a down year (6 sacks) Dumervil is ready to get back at it, especially with the defense playing the way it is now.
With a steady pass rush, the Ravens’ secondary has already proven they can pick off the ball. Adding another veteran on the edge can only improve on that.
Both the secondary and the front seven are led by veteran players, with Eric Weddle being the quarterback of the secondary, and Suggs’ role as the leader up front. The infusion of veterans and young players gives this defense a deadly balance with fresh legs.
Baltimore’s defense, ranked No. 2 in the league through three games, is resembling some of the better defenses that the Ravens have been known for since the 2000 season. It has the qualities of the same No. 2 defense that lead the Ravens to the AFC Championship in 2008, Joe Flacco’s rookie year.
If the defense plays as dominant throughout the year as it has the first three weeks, the post season will be a very real possibility for Baltimore. Flacco has already proven himself as one of the best post season QBs in the league (10-5 record in the postseason). With an experienced Flacco and a dominant defense, Baltimore will be a team to watch if they make the playoffs.
Baltimore is a team that prides itself on physical, playmaking defense. With a healthy Dumervil being added to an already deep squad, this team could be deadly.
Rangers’ Yu Darvish No-Trade List Revealed
As the trade deadline approaches, speculation regarding the availability of Texas Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish, 30, has continued to increase.
While it is still 100% unclear whether the Rangers are making their prized ace available ahead of the trade deadline, most signs indicate that the Rangers will shop their front line starter.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthall released a reported list of 10 teams that Darvish has listed on his no-trade list. Those teams include the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.
Earlier this week ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has called teams regarding Darvish and that he is ready to move him for the “right deal.”
Teams that immediately come to mind include the New York Yankees who have been linked to Oakland starter Sonny Gray. The Yankees may prefer Darvish over Gray who has durability concerns.
Darvish is also linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers and could slide behind Clayton Kershaw in the rotation.
Darvish is a 4-time All-Star with a career ERA of 3.32.
For now, the baseball world and a handful of teams are waiting on the Rangers to decide if they will be making Darvish available.
If they do, expect a hectic flurry of action.
Orioles’ Manny Machado Goes Off On Boston Red Sox
The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles continues to become more and more contentious.
Boston won’t let go of some sort of anger they have towards Baltimore’s Manny Machado, which many assume started when Machado slid spikes-high into Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia back on April 21st.
Pedroia would miss the next 3 games but Boston has been intent on making Machado pay ever since.
Boston pitcher Chris Sale threw a 98 mph fastball at the knees and behind Machado in the first inning of Tuesday nights game at Fenway Park.
Machado, who homered off Sale later in the game, went off on the Red Sox in a postgame locker room rant to the media.
“I mean, if you’re going to f—ing hit me, hit me. Go ahead. F—ing hit me,” Machado said (h/t ESPN). “Don’t let this s— keep lingering, f—ing around and keep trying to hit people. It’s f—ing bulls—.”
Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale didn’t seem to care too much for Machado’s comments.
“Whatever, man,” Sale said. “Not losing any sleep tonight.”
Umpire D.J. Reyburn issued warnings to both teams after Sale’s throw at Machado, who struck out. Sale then returned to the Red Sox dugout verbally firing up his teammates.
“Just getting fired up,” Sale said. “Invited everybody over for a pool party. I enjoy those. Throw some ribs on the grill, maybe a steak or two. Just trying to get the boys together.”
Machado had his own take.
“F—ing bulls—,” Machado said. “F—ing p—y s—. Coward stuff. I mean, that’s the stuff you don’t f—ing do. But I mean, I’m not on that side. I’m not in that organization. They’re still thinking about that same slide that I did. There was no intention on hurting anybody, and I’m still paying. I’m still trying to get hit at, get thrown at on my f—ing head. They’re f—ing throwing everywhere.”
Machado suggested that MLB look into what has been going on with him and the Red Sox and “do something about it.”
“You have pitchers out there with f—ing balls in their hands throwing 100 mph trying to hit people,” Machado said. “I’ve got a f—ing bat too. I could go up there and crush somebody if I wanted to, but you know what, I’ll get suspended for a year — and the pitchers only get suspended for two games. That’s not cool.
“As I see it, I slid into second base normal and kind of hurt someone a little bit, unintentional. And they’re still trying to make me pay the piper. I don’t know what their mindset is.”
Although intent seemed apparent, Boston manager John Farrell didn’t think so.
“Was there any intent? He was going in with a fastball and pulled it in,” Farrell said. “He threw 115 pitches tonight. I don’t know that you’re going to hit the spot every single time you throw the baseball.”
Whatever is going on between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox needs to be looked at by MLB.
Things are getting out of hand in an obvious head hunt that has no end in sight.
Home Derby Brackets And Participants Announced
Chicago White Sox Todd Frazier will defend his Home Run Derby Championship against a stacked bracket of worthy competitors during the All-Star festivities on Monday at San Diego’s Petco Park. Frazier won last year’s derby, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson in the finals.
Brackets were based off homerun totals, which led to the seedings announced on ‘SportsCenter’ Thursday night. Frazier will be the No. 2 seed this year as he attempts to win the derby back-to-back.
Baltimore Orioles Mark Trumbo, who currently leads the majors with 26 home runs, will be the derby’s No. 1 seed. Trumbo will take on Los Angeles Dodgers Corey Seager, who has 17 homers this season.
Frazier will take on No. 7 seed Carlos Gonzalez, who has 18 homers this season with the Colorado Rockies and is heavily rumored to be on the trading block.
Other matches that were announced include:
No. 4 seed Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners (20 homers) taking on No. 5 seed Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins (19 homers). No. 3 seed Adam Duvall of the Cincinnati Reds (22 homers) matching up with No. 6 seed Wil Myers of the host San Diego Padres (19 homers).
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