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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 11:56 AM

THE BASEBALL REPORT - TESTING OUT SOME KEY HOME/AWAY NUMBERS THIS FATHERS' DAY WEEKEND ...

NBA DRAFT NOTEBOOK: THREE PLAYERS LOOKING TO CLIMB THE FIRST-ROUND LADDER

Give or take, we're about 40 percent or so through this here-and-now 2017 Major-League Baseball season ... that means there is still plenty of time for teams/players to "get their act together" but it's also a good enough time frame to examine what's happened so far:

For example, did you realize that the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs are playing .400 ball on the road this year (that's 12 wins, 18 losses) after going a rock-solid 46-34 away last year?

Well, let's take a few moments to test out some of the key home/away as it pertains to games/series being played this Fathers' Day Weekend:

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The NL Central Division-leading Milwaukee Brewers (35-32) are one of those quirky teams in the bigs right now - the "Crew" sports a better road record than home record (18-13 away to 17-19 at home) - and now Craig Counsell's club is home for the next seven games with three on tap this weekend against lowly San Diego followed by an important four-game series against division rival Pittsburgh. Note that every NL Central team but the Brewers boast better won/loss marks at home than on the road but we say if Milwaukee is gonna hang in this race come August/September than it will have to become a winning club at home ... do you really want to be laying heavy-duty prices this weekend against the Padres knowing Milwaukee has won just five of its last 13 home games dating back to May 23rd?


AMERICAN LEAGUE

If the Baltimore Orioles (32-33) have any shot at all to be a part of any AL East or wild card race this year, than odds are the O's might have to keep playing .677 ball at Camden Yards. Hey, the sagging Orioles - they've lost seven of their last 10 games and been outscored 71-29 since last Thursday's "make-up" game versus the Washington Nationals - better pile up the home wins considering they're an ugly 11-23 away following that dreaded 1-7 road trip through D.C./New York Yankees/Chicago White Sox. Ouch, indeed! The Birds are home this "Pops Day" weekend in the lone interleague series against the St. Louis Cardinals and then the Cleveland Indians zoom into Baltimore for a four-game set. Maybe "home cooking" will wind up helping Buck Showalter's pitching-starved team hang around ... or maybe not.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Side & Totals MLB winners all summer long and all you have to do is check in here online or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.


In other MLB News & Notes ...

Should the Los Angeles Dodgers have any real concerns regarding LHP Rich Hill? The southpaw was battered to the tune of 7 runs (all earned) and 8 hits in yesterday's 12-5 loss in Cleveland and the up-to-the-minute numbers on Hill reveal a 3-3 record and 5.14 ERA. Hardly what the Dodgers were looking for where they inked Hill to a three-year, $48 million deal last December that media know-it-alls hardly bothered to question. 'Ya think if the Dodgers make it to the post-season this year that Hill will follow ace LHP Clayton Kershaw (9 wins, 2.23 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP) in the rotation? Not likely until/unless he straightens out his game ...

Finally, are we gonna have any 50-home run hitters this year? Check out the numbers less than midway through this '17 season and you'll see six AL players with 18-or-more home runs led by New York Yankees' phenom Aaron Judge (22 dingers) and there's three NL players with 18 or 19 taters including league leaders 1B Ryan Zimmerman (Washington) and 1B Joey Votto (Cincinnati). Gut feeling is we'll have 45 HR guys (maybe two or three) but likely none that go for 50.


NBA DRAFT REPORT

Okay, so you know all the names being mentioned as top three-to-five picks in the June 22nd NBA Draft - Washington's Markelle Fultz, UCLA's Lonzo Ball, Kansas' Josh Jackson, Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox and Duke's Jayson Tatum ... but who are some of the mover-and-shaker guys that could pound their way into the top 10?

JUSTIN PATTON, C, Creighton - One of our favorite college players last year even though his Bluejays barely made a peep on the national scene. This one-and-done 7-footer is aggressive on both ends of the floor and, dare we say, could blossom into one of the league's best big men given two or three years. Don't be fooled by his modest 12.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg averages as he played only 25 minutes per game. Ask us and we think anyone picking from #6 down should snag 'em.

TJ LEAF, F, UCLA - It appears this former Bruins' star (yes, another one-and-done chap) has gotten lost in the proverbial shuffle and we wonder why ... Leaf averaged 16.3 ppg and 8.2 rebounds per outing last year and plays the game at a high-tempo pace. Might he be a high riser and go to Dallas pick #9?

LUKE KENNARD, SG, Duke - Just how does one translate being a standstill sensational shooter in college ball with being an offensive assassin in the pros? Well, that's the $64,000 question with this lefty who wowed 'em for two years in Durham and now may be a perfect puzzle piece for an NBA team needing instant offense. Most mock drafts have the 6-foot-6 Kennard (19.5 ppg last year) falling into the #15-to-#25 pick range but it's possible he could be top 10 material - think the New York Knicks at pick #8 are thinking about trading for a point guard and making Kennard the two-guard of the future?

NOTE: Make sure you back with us for more MLB and NBA Draft goodies - we'll have our Jim Sez version of the NBA Mock Draft next week!