Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Phillies pull a coup on the Empire

The rumor was that Cliff Lee would sign for the highest bidder, and even a $1 difference would dictate the navigation of his plane. Now that sounds like a negotiation tailor made for a Steinbrenner. Over the past five years if there was big name free-agent in the marketplace the Yankees got him. And they did it by any means necessary and in a way that would do Don Corleone proud, which in most cases simply meant steamrolling the other clubs by throwing so much money at him that it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. From CC, to Damon, to Teixeira, to Pay-Rod the Yankees always get their man but for some reason even more money could bring Lee to the Bronx and has left the school yard bully with black eye, a tarnished ego, and worst all, need for a cornerstone starter in their rotation. Meanwhile the hated and inter-division rival Red Sox have been loading up with signees and now have a Boardwalk & Parkplace type lineup that might even be better than the Yankees to take advantage of any said pitching weaknesses. As for the Phillies who set the bird free and had it come back now have arguably the best top starting rotation since the Braves rotation of Maddox, Glavine, and Smoltz of the 90’s. How good? Well, they will be the only the 2nd club in the past 50 years to have 4 starters with 100 decisions and .620 winning percentage. Needless to say if the offense, which has never been the problem, can get them into a 7-game series you have to like their chances, as so does Vegas as with the acquisition Philadelphia’s odds to win the World Series immediately were cut in half and they are now the favorite. Of course the Giants who have to me the most disrespected World Champion of all time as at least the baseball public still thinks they were a one-hit wonder, is the only club to have beaten all of the four Philly starters last season. So perhaps crowning the ‘super team’ champion this early might be a bit premature. The sports public has already done that in the NBA but all of the sudden that’s not looking like such a bad bet either. Now the Yankees must scramble to salvage what has been one of their worst off signing seasons in recent memory as not only did they not get Lee, but now Crawford is not on the market, and they will need either get Pettitte to come back and be the 4th starter and his health is questionable, or get ready to deal for Kansas City Royals starter Zach Greinke. But stop right there, one could argue if they can manage to pick up Greinke, and not give away the store to do so, in the long run they will be better off as the law of diminishing returns could prove that at 32 Lee’s value dramatically diminishes over the course of a 5-year span, and at 27 Greinke is a better long term play. But now, they need to push all their chips in the center of the table and get him or else find themselves for the first time looking up at the Sox and playing catchup.Perhaps this shows the Empire that you just can’t step on people on your way to the top and continue to get away with it. Or spit on them for that matter.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Freak Show is the best in the world

Well we didn’t get our repeat of the 85’ series and it did turn out to be a sleeper so to all of the negative pundits you can put one in your cap. However, while you wallow in your greatness take a moment to acknowledge the brilliance (and that is not hyperbole) of the Giants pitching staff. After struggling to get a win with their Cy Young award winner in game one the Giant pitching staff was nothing short of masterful after giving up one mistake, to the number nine hitter in the lineup resulting in a 3-run jack from Mitch Moreland (by the way the ONLY Rangers hitter that batted over .250), Texas didn’t have another multi-run inning the rest of the series. Keep in mind this was the club with the highest team batting average in the league over the course of the year and was held to .190 for the series. Moreover, the rangers 3, 4, and 5 hitters compiled a futile .123 average over the course of the series as the rangers scored only 5 runs after their game one outburst of seven. You, can question some of the managerial decisions but not many as Washington did what he had to do to try and shake things up but it seemed like all of Bochy’s moves paid off, from having Uribe hit rather than sacrifice, then having Huff sacrifice rather than hit, only to get immediate dividends as Edgar cashed them both in with the Series winning home run. Of course no one, even Bochy could have seen the Giants’ bats coming alive the way they did as the club known for winning one-run games didn’t have to endure even one in the World Series. At the end of the day it looked like the Rangers ran out of gas after taking out the Rays and Yankees but no excuses here, the better team won, and that’s why it’s a seven-game series rather than a one-game championship because no one can argue results. So save the banter about the Giants getting hot at the right time or not even qualifying for the playoffs until the final game of the season, because those proclamations carry as much weight as the American League being far superior, the AL East being the toughest division (where was their representative in the WS), and the NL West being the weakest (actually had the highest WL pct top to bottom) , because as unlikely or “freaky” as they were that show was, it turned out to be the best in the world. What were your thoughts on the 2010 World Series?
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Rangers need some home cookin, and we need to remember 85'

To say that I’m surprised on how the first two games of the World Series have unfolded would be an understatement, but to say I’m disappointed wouldn’t be as most fans are. Not because we’re NL guys or Giants fans, but because when given the possibilities of who could of ended up in the Fall Classic and the different storylines, the final paring, and you can be honest, for most of us was a disappointment. At least I thought we would see a competitive series, and it still could be, but the one thing this series did have over most of the other 31 different combinations was the best pitching matchup (based on the season’s body of work) that any had with Lincecum and Lee. Needless to say Game was a disappointment in that regard, but if the game was close it would have made up for it but it was a sleeper, and unfortunately game 2 was even worse. It started out promising enough, and Cain certainly held up his end of the bargain, as it looked like the World Series gitters were out of the players systems and we’d see the good pitching and defense that the two had demonstrated throughout the post season, but that faded quickly and I found myself clicking over to TNT to check on the NBA. You don’t need a big market team when you get to this level, and college football is a great example of that, but what fans do want to see is play that resembles the title winners will hold for 12 months, World Champions, and six errors in game one, and starting pitchers that can’t get out of the fifth inning hardly qualifies. Don’t get me wrong the GMen are taking care of their business and for a team that specializes in manufacturing runs, scraping 2-out rallies, and mastering one-run games they certainly seem more like Yankees in regards to putting up big numbers on the scoreboard. It’s not that I don’t like offense, I just think it would be better if each team had a little. So before I write this one off and concede that the pundits were right let’s give the Rangers a chance to get back home, regroup, and become that team that beat the two teams with the best record in baseball en route to the show. Don’t forget, we referenced the 1985 series (Cards/Royals) when this one began as a 7-game series that was one of the best ever between two teams from the same state when most of the country wanted to see the first international World Series between the Dodgers and Jays and that series started out 2-0 as well, so I’m not giving up the cause. Are you still interested in this World Series? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So the World Series is David vs. David, but is it good for baseball?

Bud Selig seems to like it, and Vegas did too as of the four scenarios not only was it the least likely but it also may be the leased liked. MLB did manage to get a 5 vs. 6 matchup as Dallas is the fifth largest TV market in the US and San Francisco is the 6th, and as much as it says it didn’t, it probably wanted a 1 vs. 4 which is what NY vs. Philly would have been. But there’s quite a bit of “what might have been going around this time of year, but what we do have are two of the best stone casters, giant killers, and resourceful clubs in recent memory in regards to making the most from the least. The Ranger’s payroll was the fourth lowest in the league at 55.2 million (keep in mind they’re still paying A-Rod 18 million) and they took down the Yankees whom notoriously have the highest payroll in the league at 206.3 million. Meanwhile the Giants are tenth in the league at 97.8 million but took down team with the fourth highest payroll in Philadelphia at 141.9 million. At the end of the day it doesn’t mean you don’t get what you pay for as the TV and merchandising make up the gap but it is good to know you can’t show to much forbearance towards the salary cap in lieu of a title run. So it’s a moral victory for the anti-establishment but will it be good for the game. Of all the pairings the Giants and Rangers will have the lowest ratings and won’t have the great storylines that a rematch between Phlilly and NYY would have had, but most of all it may be bad for baseball who have already seen their ratings drop tremendously including an embarrassing ratings lost by the ALCS to a terrible Monday Night Football game between the Jaguars and Titans in a head-to –head prime time ratings matchup. However, for the true fans of the game it could turn out to be a classic pitching duel with an amazing game 1 matchup between Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee, and for those of you old enough to remember the 85’ Series where no one outside of the state of Missouri was supposed to care, and if so they missed one of the best series of all time as the I-70 Series between the Cards and Royals went all seven games. Hopefully the Giants will continue their 2010 “torture tour” so we’ll be in for several one-run games and if the rest of the country can get over the fact that their club isn’t playing they just might be in store for another great Fall Classic. Will you be watching the World Series? Let us know here and in any of the quick links, also live chat with fans from both teams in our in-game chat rooms.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Dogs may have the masters cornered but they’d better close out the show

Let this year be a testament to how difficult it is to not only repeat as champion but to even get an opportunity to do so. When the playoffs started the Yankees and Phillies were both the consensus and the odds makers favorite to get back to the show with the Phillies holding a slight betting edge everywhere except in the Tri-State area. However with just over ten days to go in October they both are one loss away from Winter vacation and we’re trying to figure out how everyone was so wrong. In the most poignant case of the NL, where absolutely NO ONE saw this coming and if you say you did you ether were smokin’ out in Haght-Ashbury or lying, the pitching outside of Tim Lincecum has been the surprise. Huge performances by an 11-loss pitcher in Matt Cain, and even Madison Bumgarner (7-6) got as far as they needed him too before “the Beards” could take over. So this is as good as an opportunity as there ever was for team that hasn’t won the World Series in a half-century. At home, with the two-time Cy Young Award winner on the bump, with a 3-1 lead so there isn’t the added pressure of lose or go home, and one win sends you to the show. Now, he does have a another blister issue on his throwing hand and the Phillies better hope it’s the size of a quarter. Conversely, if the Phillies can somehow get to ‘the freak’ and get into the pen, the Giants’ arms have been working overtime and it may not be such an open and shut (the door) situation. SF used four relief pitchers to close out game 4 and two in game 3, with of course Brian Wilson putting out the fire in both. So IF, and the size of that font could not be large enough, the Philly bats can get by TL going home for games 6 and 7 may not be that big of a stretch for the club with the best record in the League since the all-star break. I won’t go so far to say there is even 20% the amount of pressure on the Giants as the Phillies, but don’t think if Lincecum is taking slow walk to the dugout and the number on the top of the scoreboard is larger than the one on the bottom it won’t be in the back of everyone’s mind. Can Philadelphia pull off the miraculous comeback or can we slate one upset winner into WS?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Series could sway on the outcome of game 3

Back in the city by the bay the Giants could not have asked for a better opportunity. If someone would have told them they would have a three-game set at home, with ‘The Freak’ on the bump for the third they would surely take it, and they had better make it happen or it may be their last homestand of the season. I know they’ve stolen home field advantage and you have to like the way they’ve won every one-run game they’ve played in the post season this year, but it may be fool’s gold. Firstly, they have had virtually no production from the top half of their lineup as three of the first four are under .150, Sanchez .222 and the top is Burrell at .286. Additionally Uribe is listed as day-to-day with a sore wrist and even if he does go the chances of him catching up to the cheese of the Phillies’ arms is slim, and as great as he has been you cant expect Cody Ross, a season .269 hitter, to keep bailing them out, which is why they’re home dogs in game 3 at AT & T Park. Furthermore, another ‘go to guy’ during the season was the Panda who has yet to even register an at bat during this series. Going up against Hammels they will need age gem today from Matt Cain who needs to stay right around is ERA of 3.14 to keep them in it. It would be remised to not acknowledge that the Philly sticks were well in check until the 7th inning of game 2 and all eyes will be on weather that is a continuing trend or an aberration but they’ve gotta’ believe if they can get to Cain and put 4 or 5 on the board they’ve got a good chance of taking the series back to the city of brotherly love. Game 3 is pivotal not just because home field hangs in the balance but with a win in game 3 the GMen know they are just one game away from getting Lincecum on the mound with a chance to close it out and rest assured the Phillies know that too, and then the pressure completely shifts to their shoulders and don’t for minute think they don’t know what an impact the Ranger ace Cliff Lee has on that series which on paper should favor the Yankees. So much like the AL if there is one game which could portend the World Series representative, this is it. Can the Giants win it at home with the missing links in their lineup?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is the ALCS a one-game series?

Yankees vs. Rangers – Texas had to pinching themselves on the way to the Ballpark this afternoon when it finally hit them that they were not only playing in the ALCS but HOSTING, and I don’t think this is a “be careful what you wish for” scenario because they’re exactly where they want to be and facing the club they want to beat. Obviously, we poke at the Yankees like most, with our evil empire comments, but also like so many, it’s done out of respect for an organization that has consistently been on the top since the invention of the game and you know you reach that stage when it only really makes news when you lose not when you win. With that in mind if you want to be the best, you gotta’ beat the best, and now the Rangers got them, and their 6’8 tight end ace CC is not only in their house, but they’ve sat down in kitchen and popped a brew. With all the nuances of the game/series itself, the deciding factor could be determined this afternoon with game 1 for a multitude or reasons. Firstly, there is home field advantage which will either be held by the Rangers or stolen by the Yankees. Both clubs won over 50 games at home this season (NY 52, TX 51) and although it probably doesn’t hold as much value as in the NFL or NBA, the Rangers seem to bring their stick to park more at home than on the road with a much better home batting average. Secondly, if you beat CC tonight then you get into the question mark that is the Yankee pitching staff. If you can get past CC then Yankees bring on Phil Hughes (18 game winner) who did go seven scoreless against the Twins but is still only in his second season and you don’t know how he’ll react to that kind of pressure. In game 3 it’s the crafty vet and Pettitte certainly delivered in his outing against the Twins but how many times can he deliver in the post season is the question. I think he has the heart of a lion and wouldn’t bet against him but in addition to the Rangers bats he’s fighting father time, whom seldom loses. Now if the October Yankees show up like it seems they always know how to come as the leaves turn brown then all of this is rhetoric and we’ll be the first to point out how it’s more of the same, conversely this is what pundits will be pointing to if Texas makes it to the classic for the first time in history. Who do you like in this series?




Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A pair of Aces in a hole

If it was the Heisman Trophy ceremony then David Price would be one of the finalist on the podium, and some believe to be the favorite, however if he loses game 5 of the ALDS tonight regardless of how the voting turns out it will seem like he didn’t live up to expectations. Particularly after his performance in game one, which wasn’t terrible but they did hit him, almost in every inning, and had multiple opportunities. In a deciding game, too many ducks on the pond usually leads to short hook because all it takes is a seeing-eye grounder or a ball off a shattered stick that finds a home and your season could be over. This is the very situation you have an ace on staff for, in a deciding game where the only other player you’ll need in the pen is a closer, maybe. Ala, Jack Morris or Orel Hershiser where the only way you’re taking them off the bump is on your shoulders in the midst of confetti. However, across the table sits the Texas Rangers with their ace Cliff Lee who would need a very similar introduction to describe what is expected of him, but the difference is that Lee is ‘all in’ on this hand and needs to cash in as his status as a free agent after this season is still up in the air and it would be a much easier sell to Daddy Nolan if the Rangers win their first series since he was the one with a ball in hand. No doubt Price will be in a Rays uniform next year even though that uniform may not know where IT will be, but this may be Lee’s last stand with “Walker” if the season ends, conversely, a win to bring the series home for the first time in years, and no one will question re-signing the ace that brought it home. Lastly, as we make it to the river card, the importance of this win to both franchises is gargantuan and that is not hyperbole. For the Rangers from Nolan, to solidify the new ownership, to Ron Washington with drug issues earlier in the season, and on down it breaks a string of futility that is not only not tolerated in the state of Texas, but could help bring them up from the cellar of Texas sports franchises where they sit behind the Horns, Cowboys, Texans, Mavericks, Stars, Spurs, Rockets, etc., even auto racing. As for the Rays it simply can not be over stated that this could be the most important game since the World Series as most of the team could and probably will be dismantled, and a series win is the only chance they have of retaining the talent that garnished the best record in Baseball this season. It also could be the ticket to a new home city or at least a new stadium but a loss and St. Pete could wish them good riddance. Suffice to say both are all in, so let’s turn em’ over! Who has more to lose other than the obvious, Price or Lee? Who do you think will have a better outing? Let us know here and in any of the quick links, also live chat with fans from both teams in our in-game chat rooms.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The theme for the 10 playoffs? Don’t write the dogs off.

Atlanta vs. San Francisco – You can’t really say there is an underdog in this series as these two were caught in the log jam that came down to the final week (game) of the NL season. Although separated by only one game at the end of the season, and with the season series going to the Braves 4-3, the 441 on the Giants has been that if there was one team other than the Phillies that you didn’t want to mess with in the first round it was the SF. Dealing with The Freak twice in one week, Cain, and Sanchez runs the risk of getting one hot pitcher that can end your season. The Braves will try and counter with the craftiness of one Robert Cox, patience, and timely hitting. They game plan is pretty simple, work the work, get the pitch count up, and get into the bullpen. Atlanta was 4th in on base pct. and 14th in runs scored, and they’ll need to get the Giant pitchers in the showers early if they want to move on.
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays - If there was an underdog to take in the first round the Rangers would have to be it. They have not been to the playoffs since last century (1999) and their MVP Josh Hamilton is nursing some very sore ribs as the travel to take on the club who has consistently had the best record in baseball most of the season, also have not been outside of the top 10 in the power rankings at any one time during the 27 week season, and won MLB’s toughest division. On the flipside the Rays also have (arguably) their MVP playing hurt as we will have to wait and see how effective Evan Longoria will be. However even if these two cancel out the issue becomes pitching where the Rays have a slight advantage with David Price (19-6, 2.72) and Matt Garza (15 wins, 3.91), but game 2 starter James Shields (13-15) and Wade Davis (12-10) are more than reachable and if Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18) can take game one on the road where the crowd is not known to be a factor then Texas could take this series. Once concern is despite the light crowds the Rangers have lost 10 of their last 12 games at Tropicana Field, including all three this year which will need to be broken if they are to advance but keep in mind the Ranges have the highest average rank of the four tracking categories of runs batting average on base pct. and slugging, and if they could get into the Rays bullpen early, the top seed may fall in this one.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies – If there was one dog that was the toughest to take in the first round it would be the Reds, and not because they backed into the playoffs but because of the way the Phillies stormed in (23-7 over the last 30 games, the best in the League). To make matters worse the short playoff rotation means that the Reds are going to have to beat Roy Halladay a 21-game winner, Roy Oswalt, or Cole Hamels with sizeable playoff experience. Or find themselves facing a substantial deficit. However, is there is one team who has the stick to do just that, it’s the Reds. With an offense that ranks in the top five in Runs, Batting Ave., On Base Pct., and Slugging, don’t expect the Phillies to be taking these games 2-0, but can they get the timely hits in clutch situations that can get them the all important road win that they will need to move on?
Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees – In the words of the immortal Yankee Yogi Bera, it’s daja vu all over again as the Twins come back for the second year in a row to try and derail the Yankee express. Last year they were merely a speed bump (swept in 3 games) en route to the Evil Empire hanging another banner. So obviously the first question is what’s going to be different this time around? Well first off, New York is not nearly the dominating pitching machine that they were last year and there are some serious question marks on the depth of their staff after CC Sabathia, particularly how effective will Andy Pettitte be coming back from injury as he is slated to pitch game 2. If the Twins can get a split in Yankee Stadium and head back to the dome 1-1, then other than the obvious reason of stealing home field, force the Yankees to beat the team with the best home record in the AL and 2nd best overall in their house. So if you can manage to ignore the names on the jerseys (the Twins will need to do this as well) you might not be as surprised at the level of play or the outcome. Do you think there will be any upsets in the first round of the LDS? Let us know here and in any of the quick links, also live chat with fans from both teams in our in-game chat rooms.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An October day that defies description

As if 161 games weren’t enough, and obviously they weren’t, we’re down to one more game with the AL East, NL West, and both Wild Cards still to be decided and the fate of five teams hangs in the balance. Obviously the stakes are not that high for the Yanks and Ray because the loser gets the Wild Card birth but there’s more to it than that. Actually the Rays should have wrapped this thing up a long time ago but have only managed to go 5-4 over their last 9 against the worst in the AL Mariners, Orioles, and Royals so even if they do win tomorrow how much momentum are they really bringing into the post season and how big a difference will home field really make if you only bring 10k to the ballpark? Conversely, even with all of that said, It may mean more to the Yankees who could be in trouble if they are away from the confines of the new Yankee Stadium as their pitching staff has a few question marks, specifically how effective will AP be in the post season and what happens if CC drops a game? In both cases the post season actually starts a day early. What was unpredictable has turned into pure madness in the NL as the Padres who looked like they shot themselves in the foot as they made the final turn on the last 220 of the race but have suddenly found themselves in a position to control their own destiny after taking two straight from the Giants in their head-to-head matchup. Aided by some divine intervention and from the defending NL Champs who took the first two games from the slumping Braves the Padres now find themselves in a tie for the wildcard and only one game back of the Giants for the NL West division crown. What seemed impossible at the beginning of the week and after losing at home to Cub s to put themselves in a must SWEEP position against the Giants, IN SAN FRANCISCO, they are just one game away. But, as you know, this is when I rain on the parade by letting the SD fans know that the GMen are sending out Jonathan Sanchez to the bump (6-2) his last 8 decisions and has only given up more than 2 runs once during that span and the Giants scored 17 in that same game and that was one of his six wins. The Padres will counter with a rookie, although a very good one, in 14-9 Mat Latos. I for one will tune in just to see how the kid responds. Which brings us to the train wreck that seems to be the Atlanta Braves, losers of 6 in their last 10, including two straight to the Phillies, when one more would have wrapped up the Wild Card. Now they find themselves in a must win and go through Cole Hammels (5-1) his last six decisions with two shutouts, or end the dream of sending Bobby Cox out a champion. Who do you think will advance in both the NL and AL? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This is the way it otta’ be

Now this is Baseball. Second week in September, the start of the fall season, and divisional races that come down to the last series of a marathon 162 game season, oh yea, to top it off how about two rivalries to decide it all. Although the Sox are not the other team in the mix in AL East they have a chance to make a huge difference if they can take one or two games from the boomers in their final 3-game set at the end of the season. Cross country you have a similar situation where it’s not LA/SF but the next best thing as No Cal meets So Cal in a three game head-to-head series that will decide the division winner and could decide the wild card as well. This is exactly what they had in mind when the put the wild card in what feels like years ago. It would be a shame for the Rays or Yankees to be watching from home when they possess the second best record in baseball. The presence of the wild card in the NL gives four other teams (2 series) added significance when the games would be meaningless. While all of this chaos continues the Phillies, Rangers, and Twins have already punched their tickets and look for the Reds to do so tonight, so hopefully they won’t cool off by the time the second season begins. Despite seedings or how you finish in the regular season, if you just have 3 starters that bring their stuff to a 7-game series you’ve got a good chance of moving on, and that’s what makes clubs like the Giants, Phillies, and Yankees so dangerous. The Giants could be the last team to get into the playoffs but they’re the last team you’d want to see this time of year. So we think the Rays will come out of the East and do the equivalent of cutting down the nets this week (in front of 835 screaming fans) dropping the Yankees to the WC and sending them on the road. Forcing NY to take a game on the road makes a serious difference to the team tied for the best home record in MLB. However don’t be so quick to crown the winner of the East the spoils of the AL just yet as the Twins are right there, getting no respect, but are only a game back for best record. In the NL the difference maker will be that the Giants are at home and will be the deciding factor as they take the series and the division from SD. Unfortunately for the loser of this series the Braves have a favorable matchup with the Marlins and will be occupying the wild card so this 3-game series will be for all the marbles, but then again that’s what we wanted to see. Now if only the BCS could be taking notes. Who do you think will advance from the 1st round?
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Final summations being made in last week of the season, now let the deliberation begin

Regardless of what time it is in New York it feels more like high noon as the Rays and Yankees have begun their four-game showdown to decide the AL East. Although it’s not an elimination bout as the loser will hold the AL wild card spot, however it could mean home field throughout now that the Twins have clinched and may rest some starters. What it will also do is send a late message to the loser that when the games mean something they have ownership. The big question coming in, and we’ve commented on it here, has been the Yankee pitching since losing Andy Pettitte which hasn’t faltered as much as one would have thought. In fact, it’s the Rays who can’t seem to find the starter that can make fill in the gap in a seven game series. If we’re talking about building a mental edge if the Yankees feel like once they get into the Tampa Bay pen then they have a decided advantage then look them to extend the pitch count and grind these games out. Going into the series the Rays have the slight 8-7 lead but if either team wins this series they’ll also get the season series, home field, possibly best record, and most important the mental edge.
As if the NL picture could be any more unclear it’s pointless to comment on who is in the lead either the NL West or the Wildcard because it changes from hour to hour, and that is what is making this the best season for those involved as any in the past decade. We’ve gone on record picking the Giants and are sticking to it, but we think it will be a winner take all in the NL West unlike the AL where the bride’s maid gets the final playoff spot in the NL, we still think “COLDLanta” (5-5 their last 10 pu two losses to Philly have a lot to do with that) will finish the last week of the season strong as they get the Nats and Marlins to finish up. The Padres on the other hand still have a 3 game set with Reds which almost will certainly take one, maybe two of those games opening the window for the Giants to extend the lead. The GMen have their equivalent to the AL East showdown as they travel to Colorado for a three game set over the final weekend, but look like they will avoid Jimenez during the set. Lastly, the Rockies look like they may have waited too late to make their run and are beginning to cool down. 6-4 their last ten, it will take an unbelieveable home stand to finish the season for them to punch their ticket. The 3-game set with the Giants and then LA comes to mountains for 4 games who always seems to play them tough. At the end of the day three games back with a week to play is too much to ask of them despite their late season heroics in recent years.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Head-to-Head matchups help clear up the picture

There may only be one page left on the schedule but there is plenty of baseball left to be played and much to be decided. Because of the way the teams are intertwined almost every series has significance and that’s what the addition of the wild card was supposed to do. You gotta’ love the NL situation with all of its scenarios but mainly how they’ve saved their best for last. The Rockies, in typical late season fashion, have won 8 of their last 10 but the crushing one run loss to the Priest by hitting into a double header I think will be the end of their playoff run. The Giants also dropped a heart breaker to the their hated rivals from the City of Angels(and had a 1-hitter!), and now find themselves 1.5 out, unfortunately I can’t see them making the post season either as they would have to rely on other clubs taking care of their business for them with no games remaining with either SD or Philly. From there you can just play the percentages, where they’ll need a team playing .569 ball to drop two consecutive series while they win two. I have it at just over 24% so I expect both teams from NoCal to be home just after school starts. The Braves just can’t seem to get it done against bad teams and will lead to their demise as Philly will take the East (please see the previous math) barring a sweep by Atlanta beginning on the 20th. While the Phillies are finally healthy enough to make yet another run and the brass ring. The AL has long since been decided with only a few loose ends with regards to seeding as the Yankees and Rays continue to switch places, but that division won’t be decided until the end of the Rays/Yanks total seven game September. An even more interesting divisional race was just decided as the Twins have slammed the door of opportunity on the White Sox as the ‘South Siders’ needed to get a sweep in their head-to-head to even have a shot at winning the division with the game 1 loss they’re 7 games back, got a fat (no PH) contract w/Manny and lots of questions going into next season. Although the WC picture may be cloudy, one thing is clear, regardless of who gets that final spot on the train, there will be no guarantees of advancement up the ladder and expect some upsets en route to the Fall Classic. Who do you think will emerge as the Wild Card in the NL and AL?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Phillies and Giants positioned to move on to the next round

The Phillies are peaking at the right time and have taken over the lead in the NL East for the first time since late May by winning 7 out of 10 coupled with a stretch of 5-5 by the Braves who appear to be running out of steam down the stretch. The true test will come late in the month as the two will get together for a three-game set starting on September 20, which Philly has the advantage of hosting. Other than that the schedule is quite advantageous for the Phils who only have to deal with teams under .500 the rest of the way home. On the flipside the Braves couldn’t seem to take advantage of their schedule dropping two straight to the Pirates who seem to playing their AAA club (perhaps they should stick with them) but they still have enough to take the first two from Atlanta with a third to come. After that it’s a three game set with the Cards who despite being all but eliminated from contention are not who you want to see on the schedule when you’re trying to make up ground in September. In the NL West the Padres look like a team that is limping to the finish line on one leg with cast and a piano on their back. Taking the first two from LA in an inter-state rivalry game was a surprise but the moment of truth comes this week as the GMen come to town for a three-game set that could and should, decide the division. Lots of baseball, and changes are sure to come, and it’s only fitting for such a crazy season. You do you think will be able to hang on and win the WC and the divisions?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Are the thoroughbreds fading down the stretch?

If you read our previous blogs you’ve noticed that most of the focus had shifted to the Wild Card races, and we’re not the only ones, but over the course of ten days the frame of the playoff snapshot has widened dramatically and there are a lot more features involved now. The NL West that we had all but given to the Padres, who must have been reading too many blogs like ours, as after going on one last vacation before the Summer ended (losing 8 in a row) are now a dog fight with the Giants who now find themselves only 3 games back. Moreover the schedule defiantly favors San Francisco who has only 46 games left with teams over .500 and those four are with the floundering Padres, and 2 with the fourth place Dodgers. Meanwhile the Padres have the Cards and Reds for three games each in addition to the four game set with the Giants. I knew it, just when we got on the wagon and even apologized San Diego would revert back to their old ways. Well, if they choke this lead away, it will be one they will remember for another quarter century. Joining the Padres in the land of watercolors, are the Atlanta Braves who picked a bad time to go 5-5 as the Phillies are up to their old tricks of coming on strong at the tape and now have closed to within one game of the Braves and host them for 3 games later in September. Atlanta may have been caught looking ahead to that series and have not really taken care of business against the soft stretch with the Mets and Marlins, but can still even up the roadie as nothing helps get you healthy like a trip to Pittsburgh. Despite the slide the Braves do have a couple of things going their way as they have 16 games remaining with the cellar dwellers (Pirates, Nats, Mets, Marlins) and secondly, if they do find a way to lose the East, the second place finisher will still have plenty of breathing room to hold on to the wild card. On the flip side of the coin, is the Evil Empire who, much like the Phillies always seem to peak around time the season is about to change. After trading blows with the Rays for most of the year a seven game win streak has afforded them a little breathing room however small at a game and a half. These two have consistently been the best two clubs in baseball for the entire season as they battle for best record down to the final month of the season. We will not even begin to speculate where this is going to end up and the two teams still have seven huge games left with each other before seasons’ end. As a fan of the game I just hope they don’t burn out before they get a chance to meet and decide the ALCS.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You know what your’re getting with Many so buyer beware

Last year the Dodgers were floating on the cusp of the division lead and the last Wild Card spot when they required Manny Ramirez, and then you know the story. An unprecedented offensive barrage by a new acqasition not seen in recent memory, that just fell short of a National League title. Then of course, once the ether wears off and Mannywood shuts down for the winter and things cool off faster than the weather, and then Manny gets bored and needs a change of scenery. Then perhaps an injury, an ejection, the need to ‘rest’ during a hot afternoon game and then the writing is on the wall. So now fast forward to 2010 where the Chicago White Sox find themselves four games out and in need of one more stick to perhaps push them over the top. “Who ya gonna call”? yep, and he probably will be just what the doctor ordered in the short run. He will provide that added punch in the middle of the lineup or as a DH, he will make the hitter in front of him much more productive, he will be a great clubhouse guy and keep the other guys loose, he will get clutch hits, and most of all put plenty of ‘cheeks in the seats’. Will it be enough to overcome a 4 game deficit with less than 50 games to go? That remains to be seen. However what you can count on is after the season regardless of if the Sox take the decision or not they will get a wild card of their own. It’s the quintessential ‘Enterprise rent a player’ that has defined recent MLB era (along with roids) but it does make for great theater, and even in retrospect the Dodgers would probably still sign up for that program and the Sox should too. Manny doesn’t promise the world, and certainly doesn’t deliver it, he’s a short term fix, a tourniquet for teams in need, but when the bleeding stops he will leave you in a lurch and wound will not be healed. But all of that is in the fine print at the bottom of the page so buyer beware. Will Manny take the White Sox to the division crown? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manny’s stock price continues to defy gravity despite being inactive

For someone who has two hits in 53 games Manny’s stock could never be higher. When the rumor mill first posted that Manny may be on the open market there were several teams interested in retaining his services, most of which are contenders. The front runner who actually claimed the Rasta Monsta off waivers are the White Sox who could certainly use his stick as they are 4.5 games out of the AL Central and have only scored more than 5 runs twice in their last seven games. They looking to add Manny as a DH as they are need for some power, particularly from the right side of the plate. Adding insult to injury their former DH Jim Thome is getting’ his stick on for the team the Sox are trying to catch, the Twins. But can Manny make the mental transition from the lax atmosphere of LA, even though they are equally in the hunt (5 games out of a playoff spot) to the intense media scrutiny of Chicago? Speaking of the Dodgers, and not to bury the lead, but all of this talk may be for not as they in the position to take a series from the Rockies with a win tomorrow possibly getting them within 4.5 games of the Wild Card and have a 3 game series with the team sitting on top of that table, the Phillies. Although a sweep is somewhat out of the question, if they can win the series then they will be in striking distance and don’t expect to see Ramirez in pinstripes any time soon. Perhaps the club with the brightest immediate future, interested in the Mannysweepstakes are the Rays who will either go in as the AL East champ(w/home field) or as the AL Wild Card, in either case MR’s impact would be immediately felt and welcome, and could you just imagine Manny in the new Yankee Stadium, in October, with a chance to knock New York out of the playoffs!!?? In any of the scenarios it appears the remaining 4.8 million will be more that palatable price. Where do you think Manny’s impact will be the most impactful?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wild Card drawing attention from division races, and that’s a good thing

As we commence the final days of summer, four of the six division races are still undecided and within one series, so no team is assured a post season position. That is except for the bride’s maid in the AL East, and the reason why is the Wild Card. Now I understand the purist point of view that if you’re not the best team in your division then how can you be the best team in baseball? Well, one could argue that perhaps the best two clubs in the league unfortunately reside in the same division, and are tied for the best record in baseball. So what if it comes down to the final series of the year and the Yankees have to beat their rival/nemesis Boston, who would love nothing more than to ruin the Yankees shot at a division and are at home. Meanwhile the Rays are playing the last place Royals who have called up half of the Cactus League for a tryout on the dime of MLB. Doesn’t quite seem fair does it? If the records are any indication and the Yanks and Rays are the best two teams in baseball then they should be able to slug it out in a 7-game series and not have anyone else handling their business. The Card also addresses the parity argument as in the case of the NL where there are 5 70-win teams battling for four spots, and a sixth team with 68 wins and a storied history. Once again, let’s settle this on the field by getting the best 4 teams from all divisions in the playoffs rotation and have the winner emerge. I simply don’t buy the counter argument that it takes away from winning the division, as despite a commanding 5.5 game lead neither the Rays or Yanks appear to be sitting starters or gearing up for the post season, and both want to take the flag. So take it for what it is, simply a way of making sure that the best clubs in the league are all on the field at the end of the year, and no who is waiting for next year can raise any BCS style arguments about not having the opportunity. What do you think of the wild card?

Friday, August 20, 2010

At the end of the day it was arrogance that got the Rocket into (more) trouble

We often used to talk about how amazing it was that Shaq and Kobe couldn’t find a way to get along because they had the potential to surpass the number of championships that “Jordan Bulls” were able to string together, and possibly do it consecutively, but someone did make a good point that we’re looking at this like rational people, business people, normal people who would say “ok, Shaq you got a 6’8 guy guarding you so it’s your night tonight, and the next night Kobe may have a weak defender guarding him so then it’s his turn to drop 30 etc.(remember the 04 series loss to Detroit??) That kind of arrangement could have lasted for years and the league would have had to find a way to deal with them. But perhaps it’s that same “I’m the man” mentality that makes world class athletes what they are, which is not normal, and that’s why only a select few on the planet can do what they do at their level. Unfortunately that is the same mindset that will probably land Roger Clemens in jail, at least for a short while. Now that the federal incitements have been handed down, it seems commonplace to revert back and see how the Rocket got into this mess, and at the end of the day it seems to be his own bully mentality that made him so intimidating on the mound that worked against him in formal setting. Already deposed, and with no admission of steroids, congress was not requesting any further information from him, at least at the time , so he was in the clear and his opponent was down. But rather than walk away he insisted on pounding him into submission by electing to testify UNDER OATH in front of Congress and the Nation, in retrospect to accomplish nothing more than to discredit his former trainer who claimed he injected Clemens, and to cast doubt on the previously released commission reports. He wasn’t even planning on pitching again, and others had come clean and months later are back on the field, in all-star games, and getting endorsements, a little more than a slap on the wrist. Unless something dramatically changes, this could be one of the saddest outcomes of the steroid era, as one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game won’t be remembered for his exploits on the diamond but off, and worst of all, he was going to the hall based on his numbers BEFORE he took the juice. He would have been the one that opened the door to the Hall for other known abusers because he would have been judged based on his body of work before the alleged infraction which would have changed the view of everyone else in the era, but now he’s lumped in with the Blacksox and Rose who may never get in. So, as a fan of the Rocket and the game a little advice….for once, realize that this is not a situation where you can intimidate or overpower your opponent, and perhaps for the first time in your life, you are the WEAKER combatant. So stand down, take the plea, pay the fine, do community service, and put this behind you so you can get on with restoring yourself to your rightful position among the all-time greats, because before he may have had a problem, what you don’t need now is trouble as well.
Have your thoughts on Roger Clemens changed? Is he being singled out?

Baseball’s finest take the bump for a rare Summer showcase
Regardless of weather it’s a four or five man rotation, the odds of multiple aces starting on the same afternoon is in the millions, so perhaps we should all go down to the local “gas n’ sip” and buy a lotto ticket. As the division races begin to fade this is exactly the type of day MLB could use for a great TV Saturday and it goes on all day from start to finish, just look at some of these names:
In an early game you got Texas’ newly acquired ace Cliff Lee going against Baltimore, as the Rangers try to move up and avoid a first round matchup with the best In the AL come playoff time.Later on it’s the phenom Stephen Stausberg going into the lion’s den to take on the Phillies who are on a serious roll and who need a win to keep in the wild card hunt.For the Sox Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the hill with an improved winning percentage of .670 as Boston host the Jays in a AL East matchup. The marquis pitching duel today has to be Lincecum vs. Carpenter as the Giants take on the Cards with the teams running 1 and 2 in the Wild Card Standings. To close an amazing day Ray’s ace David Price goes to NoCal to face the A’s as Tampa needs a win to keep pace with the Yankees, who are a game up on them.
So I hope you cleared the day, got the brew already chilled, because the weather should be warm enough to sit outside all day and drink in the best of the MLB as we head into the home stretch of the pennant race. Which pitching matchup are you most interested in? let us know here and in the live in-game chat rooms on the main site.

A Smacchat Formal Apology

At this time we would like to issue a formal apology to all of those who have been offended by our consistent refusal to take the San Diego seriously throughout the course of the year despite the fact that they have led the division with the best overall winning percentage in the NL from almost start to finish. We had been patiently waiting for the Priest to pull their typical late season fade as they have done in previous years, and put off the recanting our predictions until the latest possible hour. Well, with 42 games left to go and six game in the division it is about time we manned up and admitted up and admitted that we haven’t been on the right side of this trade all season. Our only defense is that we have not been the only ones, which really seems strange as San Diego has a winning percentage that is 3rd in all of baseball, just two games away from the best. Coming from a statistical standpoint it may still be a mystery how a club that sits in the bottom quintile in the four major team categories can win nine of ten during the heat of August and even hotter pennant races may seem strange but that would take us right back down the same road. So rather than trying to slow the train down we’re just going to take our seat and wait for the food and beverage cart. I heard they were serving crow on this trip. Can the Padres keep the momentum going into the playoffs? Do they have a shot to win a series or two? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baseball mixes in a little MMA to keep things interesting

What I’m really starting to dig about baseball are all of the ‘beat downs’ that are being administered to clubs that are inclined to “pop off” before the chips have been counted. It’s certainly making the typically slow summer months dramatic before we head into a home stretch that could have some of the best pennant races in recent memory. I know, I know, “don’t ever correlate different sports because the purist will get really peeved”, but what the Reds attempted to do to the Cards would be the equivalent of the Thunder calling out the Lakers ahead of their playoff series. Tony’s crew has been the staple in the NL Central for years, where the Reds, although looking like the team of the future, haven’t sniffed a title since George senior was the commander in chief. So to call them out prior to coming into your house is more than a shot across the bow,’ them’s fightin’ words’, which is more than acceptable if you have the stones to back it up on the field. Unfortunately for the Reds they hit with a three punch combination and the medics are still in the ring as they not only got swept in their own house, they also lost the division lead, and physically got beat up in front of their wives in a brawl that they started and got suspended for. Needless to say It was a disappointing series on many levels. Cincy, I love to watch you play, but if you lose the division there’s a good chance you won’t be in the post season again this year as the NL West may have a lock on that ticket, so it would probably behoove you to keep it to yourself until you have some street cred in the eyes of the league otherwise you look like the squirrel trying to get a nut, and quite frankly, you just have earned it yet baby.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

With no more breaks or trades only thing in sight is the finish line

There seems to be a feeling of contemplation in most MLB cities as the trade deadline has come and gone, there are no more substantial breaks in play left to get healthy so they’re going to sink or swim with what’s on the field. The July/August turn has been a real litmus test for many as the MLB schedule couldn’t have been structured more perfectly to help separate the contenders from pretenders. In the American League, it’s “meat and potatoes” time for the Yankees as they’re coming off a tough series with Tampa Bay in which the Rays in which they lost 2 of 3 and saw their lead in the East trimmed to 2, they followed that up by dropping 2 of 3 to Toronto and found themselves in a tie for the division lead (and I don’t want to hear it about A-Rod and 600, if you give up 28 runs in six games you’re gonna’ drop 4/6). It doesn’t get any easier for the Empire as upcoming series with the Sox and Rangers could drop them into the Wild Card chase.
There seems to be a feeling of contemplation in most MLB cities as the trade deadline has come and gone, there are no more substantial breaks in play left to get healthy so they’re going to sink or swim with what’s on the field. The July/August turn has been a real litmus test for many as the MLB schedule couldn’t have been structured more perfectly to help separate the contenders from pretenders. In the American League, it’s “meat and potatoes” time for the Yankees as they’re coming off a tough series with Tampa Bay in which the Rays in which they lost 2 of 3 and saw their lead in the East trimmed to 2, they followed that up by dropping 2 of 3 to Toronto and found themselves in a tie for the division lead (and I don’t want to hear it about A-Rod and 600, if you give up 28 runs in six games you’re gonna’ drop 4/6). It doesn’t get any easier for the Empire as upcoming series with the Sox and Rangers could drop them into the Wild Card chase.
Moving to the AL West, the Rangers have already split the first two games against hapless Seattle, but have one more and then three with the A’s for an opportunity to get into the hunt for best record. The division is already theirs as the Angels have fallen off the map and are under .500 in August for the first time in almost a decade. But the Rangers have bigger fish to fry as they’ve got a shot to make up the five games on the Empire, as NY moves into a brutal six game stretch.In the NL, it’s become a series of 3 two-team races. Starting in the Central where, although they seemed to sleep through the trade deadline without making any major moves, the Reds have held on to first place but it’s a tenuous lead at best. Once again, the schedule is conducive to settling the argument as the Cards come to town next week after the Reds travel to Chi-Town for 3 with the Cubs. I guess when you look at it, what moves would you make if your club was in the top five of all four major offensive categories (BA- 4th, HR- th, RBI-3rd, Hits-5th) and you had a fireballer in triple-A droppin’ three-digit heat topping out at 103MPH, that you can bring up for the stretch? Aroldis Chapman may have flown under the radar for quite some time but he could be a major component of the Reds push to stay on top of the division as St. Louis is the benefactor of the weakest schedule of any of the division leaders as they have only 3 games in the entire month of August against teams with a record above .500 and those three are against the Reds.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Necessity lead negotiator as trade deadline looms

100 games into the marathon that is a Major League Baseball season, most teams have a firm grip on the reality of their prospects to continue play into the post season and now you’re beginning to see who solidifying their position as a contender and who is desperately trying to become one.

*****UPDATE******
The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals made a three-team trade Saturday, getting pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland and sending outfielder Ryan Ludwick to NL West-leading San Diego.
The New York Yankees have completed their trade to acquire Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros.

The World Series champions sent reliever Mark Melancon and minor league infielder Jimmy Paredes to Houston for the former All-Star first baseman, who will become the Yankees' designated hitter. Houston will pay part of what Berkman is owed.On Friday, New York obtained outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.

Roy Oswalt officially has accepted his proposed trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. This was the second straight year the Phillies made a major trade for a pitcher in the days leading up to the July 31 deadline. Last season, they got Cliff Lee and he boosted them to another NL pennant -- Lee was then sent to Seattle in a separate deal on the same day the Phillies acquired Halladay.

Despite putting together a 7-3 run since the break, the Phillies still find themselves 3.5 back of the Braves for the Central crown and two back in the WC race. Falling to seventh in the National League in overall pitching Philly needs to land one more major arm to make their staff ‘playoff worthy’The Phillies and Astros have intensified talks in the last 24 hours about a deal that would send Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia, sources said. But major financial obstacles remain that could still stand in the way of this trade being completed before Saturday's trading deadline. Officials of multiple teams that have been speaking with the two clubs said Wednesday they believed the Phillies and Astros were close enough to agreeing on the players who would go to Houston that the players were no longer viewed as a major obstacle. The Astros would receive pitcher J.A. Happ, plus prospects. But the teams were said to be "not in total agreement" yet on the prospects.

The Dodgers fall under the ‘must trade’ category as they’ve watched their season prospects quickly diminish after the loss of Manny Ramirez. Just a month ago they were 2 games out of first in the NL West and 3 games up on the Wild Card and now they find themselves 6 back in the West, 3.5 games out of the WC and facing the toughest schedule in MLB. LA acquired veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, a move designed to shore up their outfield at a time when Manny Ramirez and backup outfielder Reed Johnson are on the disabled list with no definitive indication of when either of them will be back. To get Podsednik, the Dodgers sent their top catching prospect, Lucas May, to the Royals, along with low Class A pitcher Elisaul Pimentel.

The banged-up Detroit Tigers are going to become a factor they’ll need to start making up some ground on the Sox and Twins, who unfortunately are two of the hottest teams in baseball. Detroit acquired third baseman Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday for minor league left-hander Giovanni Soto. Detroit also received cash considerations in the trade. Peralta will fill-in for Brandon Inge, the Tigers' injured third baseman. Who else needs to make some moves prior to the deadline? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.


Monday, July 19, 2010

With all divisions still within striking distance season gearing up for a wild finish

For the first time since the MLB re-alignment all of the divisions are within 5 games this late in the season, but is that due to parity, pitching, or lack of offense now that the players aren’t juiced? I think the answer is a combination of the three. No doubt the farm systems are working well as the young crop of talent being brought has been paying dividends both on the filed and on the ledger sheet as the ‘gap players’ are doing more than holding their own as the clubs try to stomach some the contracts of their marquis players. The Rays are still going toe-to-toe with the ‘Evil Empire’ and only have 2 players making 10 million per year. Obviously New York is the aberration having 9 at 10mil and 4 at 20 or more, and although the Sox only have 3 at 10mil milepost their 160 million dollar payroll is almost three times that of the Rays. However Pitching has been the story this season as we’ve seen more no-nos, perfect games, and near perfections than we’ve ever seen and there is no doubt that you have to give some credence to the notion that part of has to do with the fact there is going to be some lag time for the hitters to catch up and adapt to not have the juice flowing through their system. Now when you see a hitter going the opposite way for a 2-bagger or going yard you really can appreciate the natural ability rather the needles. I know I’m always ‘cappin’ on the Padres who despite not being in the top 20 in ANY meaningful offensive team statistic, and only having one player on the All-Star team have actually increased their lead in the NL West to four games due to their pitching staff. Now is this going to be enough to get them trough the Summer and into Fall remains to be seen. Lastly, there simply isn’t that one monster team anymore. The Yanks are the closest thing we have and they may still have one more gear left before the second season but they’re getting older and the arms are wearing thin. They will really face a test to their depth in the pen now that AP is going on the DL for at least a month (please see the afore mentioned roid reference). Other than NY, their isn’t one team that can’t be taken down in a seven-game series and that is why the second half of the season and playoffs promises to be unpredictable and exciting. We previously posted that prize money from the All-Star game could be the deciding factor as now the NL will host the Series and in a year where there are only two clubs playing .600 ball it may prove to be the difference. Why do you think there is such parity in MLB this year? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.


Monday, July 12, 2010

This year in particular the ALL-Star Game is more than a game for show

There will be plenty of chips in the center of the table when they throw out the first pitch for the 2010 All-Star game other than upset advertisers if the game is a sleeper. Ever since they raised the stakes by awarding the winner of the game the privilege of hosting the World Series for their league champion. However this year will double down that bet as the top teams in each league (Yankees/Braves) have 2 of top 3 home records in all of baseball. NYY is 28-13 second only to the Tigers in winning percentage, and the Braves have the best home record in all of baseball at 30-10, a winning percentage (.750) that is hotter that the summers in Hotlanta. Because of this long gone are the days of playing hometown boys 5 innings, letting pitchers finish out their inning if they’re getting rocked, and, gasp! playing for the tie in order to get to the airport in time for your flight. Ok, so it improves the TV ratings, probably the game itself, and increases the revenue for the league but is it really fair to a club that bust it’s @#% for the whole year to gain best record only to have it “awarded” to the opposing team because of that outcome of a game they couldn’t control? The Braves have the most to lose with this system and even with 4 players on the NL team (second in NL to St. Louis) that only represents 10% of the team so if the other 90% decide to hit Hollywood the night before or catch some rays in Newport, and aren’t ready to play come Tuesday, the entire Braves team may be regretting the outcome that warm Summer night when the weather turns cold in October. And what if the moon’s align and the Padres continue to surprise and make a return trip for the first time in a over a quarter century with their lone representative? I’m not trying to stir things up when there’s no war to be fought, and God knows Selig is up to his Dumbo’s in rhetoric over instant replay but, remember this entry come October when game 7 is scheduled to be in Yankee Stadium and the question is raised how they were so lucky to not be staring in the face of a 25% chance of placing another trophy in the case. Do you like MLB’s position on awarding the League that wins the All-Star game home filed advantage? Let us know here and in the All-Star game chat room or quick links:


Sunday, July 4, 2010

All -Star Teams announced

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Pitchers

Clay Buchholz, Boston, player voting

Trevor Cahill, Oakland, manager selection

Fausto Carmona, Cleveland, manager selection

Neftali Feliz, Texas, player voting

Phil Hughes, N.Y. Yankees, player voting

Cliff Lee, Seattle, player voting

Jon Lester, Boston, player voting

David Price, Tampa Bay, player voting

Mariano Rivera, N.Y. Yankees, player voting

CC Sabathia, N.Y. Yankees, manager selection

Joakim Soria, Kansas City, manager selection

Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox, manager selection

Jose Valverde, Detroit, player voting

Catchers

x-John Buck, Toronto, player voting

z-Victor Martinez, Boston, player voting

s-Joe Mauer, Minnesota, fan voting

Designated Hitter

s-Vladimir Guerrero, Texas, fan voting

David Ortiz, Boston, player voting

Infielders

Elvis Andrus, Texas, player voting

Adrian Beltre, Boston, player voting

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit, player voting

s-Robinson Cano, N.Y. Yankees, fan voting

s-Derek Jeter, N.Y. Yankees, fan voting

y-Ian Kinsler, Texas, player voting

s-Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay, fan voting

s-Justin Morneau, Minnesota, fan voting

z-Dustin Pedroia, Boston, player voting

Alex Rodriguez, N.Y. Yankees, manager selection

Ty Wigginton, Baltimore, manager selection

Outfielders

Jose Bautista, Toronto, player voting

s-Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay, fan voting

s-Josh Hamilton, Texas, fan voting

Torii Hunter, L.A. Angels, player voting

s-Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle, fan voting

Vernon Wells, Toronto, player voting

Final Man

Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox

Nick Swisher, N.Y. Yankees

Delmon Young, Minnesota

Michael Young, Texas

Kevin Youkilis, Boston
s-starter, x-replaces Victor Martinez, y-replaces Dustin Pedroia, z-injured, will not play



NATIONAL LEAGUE


Pitchers

Jonathan Broxton, L.A. Dodgers, player voting

Matt Capps, Washington, player voting

Chris Carpenter, St. Louis, manager selection

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee, manager selection

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia, player voting

Tim Hudson, Atlanta, manager selection

Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado, player voting

Josh Johnson, Florida, player voting

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco, player voting

Evan Meek, Pittsburgh, manager selection

Arthur Rhodes, Cincinnati, manager selection

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis, player voting

Brian Wilson, San Francisco, player voting

Catchers

Brian McCann, Atlanta, player voting

s-Yadier Molina, St. Louis, fan voting

Infielders

Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego, player voting

Ryan Howard, Philadelphia, manager selection

Omar Infante, Atlanta, manager selection

x-Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati, manager selection

s-Martin Prado, Atlanta, player voting

s-Albert Pujols, St. Louis, fan voting

s-Hanley Ramirez, Florida, fan voting

y-Jose Reyes, N.Y. Mets, player voting

Scott Rolen, Cincinnati, player voting

z-Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado, player voting

z-Chase Utley, Philadelphia, fan voting

s-David Wright, N.Y. Mets, fan voting

Outfielders

Michael Bourn, Houston, manager selection

s-Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, fan voting

Marlon Byrd, Chicago Cubs, player voting

s-Andre Ethier, L.A. Dodgers, fan voting

Corey Hart, Milwaukee, player voting

s-Jayson Heyward, Atlanta, fan voting

Matt Holliday, St. Louis, player voting

Chris Young, Arizona, manager selection

Final Man

Heath Bell, San Diego

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado

Joey Votto, Cincinnati

Billy Wagner, Atlanta

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington

s-starter, x-replaces Chase Utley, y-replaces Troy Tulowitzki, z-injured will not play

Monday, June 28, 2010

Division Leaders change prior to the break

AL - Central
The Twins are hanging on but facing a vicious surge from the Sox and Tigers. Chicago’s 11 game winning streak has put them in the thick of things and may have saved Ozzie’s job. I’m not sure how the Tigers are doing it but they’re only a half game back despite going 5-5 their last 10 and with a paltry run differential of 4.
AL - East
Wow did this turn around in a hurry! Just when we all were all aboard the Rays Express to the post season the ol’ guard has answered with vigor and have taken control of the division. Interleague play was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Yankees and Sox as they both have looked impressive over their last 10.
AL - West
The Rangers refuse to come back down to Earth and the Angles have fallen even further behind despite playing .700 ball of their own but will get an opportunity to make up some ground when the Rangers come to town this week. The Rangers are in the top three in 3 of 4 offensive categories and second only to the Empire in run differential.
NL - Central
This has been a two horse race all season but now the stakes have gone up as the Metropolitans have caught fire in the NL East and now hold the wild card spot. .550 is the best ball we’ve seen out of Cincy in years so one has to wonder if they can keep the pace in the second half. Meanwhile it’s business as usual for the Cards but have been knocked off the top perch for a while and it will be interesting to see how long it takes them to get back.
NL - East
The Mets are finally getting healthy and it’s starting to show as they are knocking on the door of the Braves who have held the division lead for most of the season. The Brave’s offense, or lack there of, is starting to catch up with them as they are in the top 10 in only one major category (RBIs) and they’re 9th in that. The Nats, Marlins, and Phils are their next three series before the showdown with NY just before the All-Star break.
NL – West
Ouch. LA has taken a serious tumble and fallen off the ‘can o’ whippin’ tree and hit every branch on the way down, going 2-8 over their last 10 and find themselves in the deep water 5 games out. It’s time we all start giving some respect to the Padres as they have stood atop longer than any of the other sleepers early in the season (ie; Rays, Nats, Reds), and they seem to be doing it without any offense. Never in the history of the leage has a team held the division lead going into the break while being in the bottom quintile in all offensive categories, but San Diego will be the first to do so (24th in ¾ and 26th in the other), with a 4.5 game lead and just about two weeks before the break.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Do the Interleague matchups create a disadvantage for some?

Chat live w/fans from both teams for every game in the Majors here.
Complete interleague schedule with times and starting pitchers.
I gotta admit watching the Cubs take on the ‘South Siders’, the battle for DC, rematch of the JC walk-off jack, 1-70 series, and the original battle for New York between Dem’ Bums’ and the Bombers, even makes the baseball purist think it ain’t bad every once in a while to shake things up a bit. Unfortunately one of the drawbacks is that it would add too many games to have an NBA type format where every team sees each other at least once a year, so the divisions rotate and in some years that creates a decided advantage/disadvantage for some. Take the poor saps in the NL West who get the bad luck of the draw to get the toughest division in baseball this year. The Dodgers (1-8 in interleague play) can’t wait for the experiment to be over has when they started this latest interleague session they were in first place but trips to Boston and their rivalry series with the Angels have them two games out now, with the Yankees coming back to LA for the first time since the 88’ series for a 3-game set. I’ll concede that every team in the division has to match up with the same division but not everyone has to got to Fenway after their corresponding NBA franchise just pulled the 18th banner away from the Celtics. When it’s all over it will even out in the division but in years when some divisions are really down this could make all the difference when it comes down to home field advantage in the playoffs and as much as I like to see the ‘once every 7 years’ matchups I would much rather see my club with a better record and hosting a playoff series. Do you like inter-league play or how would you change it? Let us know here and in any of the quick links:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An amazing MLB season approaches the midway point

You can pick your storylines but this season is setting up to be best since the BigMac/Sosa/Jr. home run derby year. It’s all but confirmed that Strasburg is the real deal and so far has lived up to the hype going 2-0 and proving he can also do it on the road. His presence gave an added shot in the arm to an already compelling season, mind you he won’t be enough to get the Nats into the playoffs but this financial impact for them both at home and on the road has been well documented and in itself has become another reason to watch. Additionally, we only hope the pennant races can keep the momentum into the second half as they possess the perfect combination of the surprises teams of the year pitted against the ol’ guard in the AL East with the Rays trying to hold off the Yankees, back to the future as the Braves, Reds, and Dodgers are all leading or tied for the division lead, and great battles in the others. The Rays have proven they are the real deal and don’t just promise to be around at the end but (pardon the blasphemy) but may actually be the favorites to take the flag in the East. Despite just cracking the top ten in HRs, and 13th in batting average and hits, the Rays have done it with timely hitting as they’re 3rd in RBIs which has translated to a run differential of +103 second in the majors to the second place Yankees but almost double on anyone in the NL. With four hitters in the lineup at .300 and two just under at .285 they don’t give opposing pitchers much time to gather their thoughts, but the real deal is having five pitchers with an ERA under 3.00 making them the team to avoid in any 7-game series. With the Red Sox threatening to becoming a non-factor, the Rays are looking to become the new nemesis of the Empire and hope to declare that the King is dead come October. In the NL all of the races are within a half-game and with great stories the Phills are back again, with that young and consistent lineup, tied with the Metropolitans who seem to have put it together out of nowhere to challenge. However the best story of the year has been the revival of the Braves and Reds to are attempting to make a return to glory in years in seasons that were supposed to be “rebuilding”. The Reds are the new ‘lumber company’ as they sit near the top of the NL in most team offensive statistics (3rd BA, 4th HRs, 4th RBIs, and 3rd hits) and the Braves pitching staff has the best numbers on their storied history as only TWO pictures on their ENTIRE STAFF have an ERA of over 2.00 which is simply an astonishing stat and it would be great to see them back in the mix after the long hiatus. Lastly, the NL West will probably come down to the wire again with the Dodgers managed to survive losing the leading ‘triple crown’ candidate Andre Ethier and still are on top, but their hoping to make it through injury free season for the core of their lineup and JT seems to issuing plenty of days off. At the end of the day they will have to address the holes in their starting rotation as they’ve illustrated how you can’t survive with relief pitching alone. What has been the best storyline of the season thus far? Let u know here and in any of the quick links.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No one can say they saw this coming

In case you haven’t noticed, the Memorial Day weekend just past so any team sitting on top of their division 52 games into the season has some fortitude to them, and over the course of a week I’ve gone back and reviewed the pre-season predictions of all the sports pundits from the online, magazine, and newspaper universe and the best anyone is sitting right now is one out of six (Tampa Bay or Minnesota as a division leader) as we approach the All-Star break. However, you can’t really blame them as no one had clubs like Cincinnati, Texas, and San Diego, in the top tree of their division, and Atlanta was left for dead as their average age approaches 50. Grant it, this could all turn around in a hurry, for example the Padres have held first place in May in each of the last two years only to fade as the weather heats up, and some of the place horses are the derby favorites (ie; Yanks, Cards, Dodgers, and Phillies) but that is what makes the game great because in all probability the sure fact that five of the division leaders are new faces at this time of season means we should see some new blood in the mix come pennant race time. Of the afore mentioned leaders the Padres (7-3 last 10) and Braves (8 straight wins) are the hottest but both will be tested as the Braves have a 4 game set on the road against a hot LA Dodger team that was the hottest team in the NL during the month of May going 20-8, and the Padres go on a torrid 7-game trip to Philly and NYMets before returning home to start interleague play. So the experts still may have a chance to save face before the break as next week that number could easily be down to 3 out of six, but don’t quote me. Who do you think is the biggest surprise in baseball this year so far? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Season surprises could spark major moves ahead of the trade deadline

There may be some nervousness on the part of many of the top MLB clubs because they’re not where they wanted or expected to be a third of the way into the season, so we looking forward to some major activity ahead of the trade deadline. Obviously Oswalt has made his feelings known that he wants to contribute to a contender and feels like his time in now, but there are some other big names that could be on the move as well:

Roy Oswalt, SP, Astros. Expect his desire to be traded to get stronger as Houston continues to get buried in the standings. Even with a large contract, Oswalt will cost a couple of front-line prospects because he is pitching so well. If a club comes calling for Carlos Lee, however, it could have him for his contract. Lee is due $18.5 million a year through 2012 and, according to a scout, "looks like he doesn't even care." (I will second that opinion. In an early season game at Busch Stadium, Lee strolled into the Astros' clubhouse about 10 minutes before stretching -- long after the rest of his teammates already had dressed).

Mike Lowell, IF, Red Sox. Boston doesn't need him; the Angels do. They cannot expect to win the AL West with Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan and Michael Ryan trying to replace Kendry Morales at first base. And they can't expect the White Sox to move Paul Konerko or the Cubs to deal Derrek Lee unless those clubs still are struggling in late July.
Adam LaRoche, 1B, Diamondbacks. Who knows how long Arizona might wait to become a seller. As O'Dowd points out, "We were very similar (last year) to where the Diamondbacks are now." One difference: The Rockies didn't have what is shaping up as a historically bad bullpen (7.70 ERA).
Cliff Lee, SP, Mariners. Another weekend of consecutive walkoff losses like the past one in Anaheim, and the Mariners just might conclude what everyone else already has: This isn't their year. With Lee unlikely to stay in Seattle when he becomes a free agent in the fall, the Mariners can save some salary and return a decent prospect. For Seattle's sake, let's hope that prospect can hit.
Kevin Millwood, SP, Orioles. Baltimore is one team that doesn't need to wait. The Orioles are 22 games under .500 and 19 1/2 games out of first place, and their attendance already is an embarrassment. The sooner they move Millwood, the more of his $12 million salary they can save. He isn't in the class of Lee or Roy Oswalt but "he's a pretty solid pitcher who has pitched well" this season, says a scout.
Miguel Tejada, 3B, Orioles. Ty Wigginton has been the more productive Orioles hitter, but the team can better afford him because of his versatility and his salary ($3.5 million), compared to Tejada's ($6 million, plus a $150,000 trade bonus). Tejada isn't enjoying as strong a season at last year but he is "fine," says a scout.
A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox. He could be moved soon because he becomes a 10-and-5 man on June 14, which will give him veto power over any trade. However, the contender most in need of a catcher, Texas, remains in a state of semi-limbo because of its pending sale.
Jose Guillen, DH/OF, Royals. His average has dropped 54 points to .250 since April 30, but he has 12 homers. Kansas City might even help pay the remainder of his $12 million contract. Guillen, however, has started only two games in the field and needs to DH.
Kerry Wood, RP, Indians. In a market that appears thin in bullpen help, Wood is one hard-throwing veteran who has handled ninth innings. Of course, he is a health risk and makes huge bucks ($10.5 million this year, $11 million team option next year). But Cleveland could pay a big portion of that and still save millions. The Indians aren't going anywhere with him, anyway.
Ben Sheets, SP, A's. I pegged him as likely trade bait the moment the tight-fisted A's signed him for $10 million. Sheets hasn't missed a start after not pitching all last season and he has a 2.81 ERA over his past five outings. First-place Oakland needs offense and Sheets could fetch a bat.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who will pass the interleague litmus test ?

With a quarter of the year over it’s not too much of a stretch to state that the Rays, Reds, and even the Nats will be in the mix when things get decided, and one can argue that you may have two division winners in that mix. Unfortunately the Rays are the only team that’s getting any love from that group as the others are written off because of the strength on their division and this is exactly what makes interleague play so great. Set up as way to both bolster attendance and matchup teams that will never get an opportunity to face each other, also has an application for being the equivalent of sodium pentothal in regards to exposing the quality of each division/league for what it really is. Since the inception of interleague play the AL holds a slight edge in winning percentage at .522 with the best team being the Yankees at .583, so not quite as dominant as you would think at first glance, however the overwhelming trend is that the AL has won the battle for six years running. This year in addition to the Subway, I-5, Bay Bridge, and other city rivalries, we get to see the classics like the Dodgers/Yankees and the second round matchups are better than the first at least on paper, but then again that’s exactly my point. If the last place Astros could win the series with the afore mentioned A’s or conversely, if the Indians can win the battle of Ohio with the surprising Reds that will certainly shed some light on which really are the power divisions and who is the benefactor of playing weak teams 50% of their schedule. The series I most want to see are the 2 vs. 3’s like LA/Detroit, NY/NY, Cards/Angels, and A’s Giants, where there’s no clear cut favorite, all should be close, and if there some city fervor or history behind it, then it adds more flavor to the mix. This is like a playoff weekend that makes be want to spend all day in the sports bar/book, as even the out-of-market games will certainly hold my interest simply because of the history of the clubs or games in recent years. I was bitter when the schedule came out in 08 that I would have to wait two more years for to see a rematch of the 78’ series but these will do just fine to hold me off until June. Which interleague matchup do you most want to see, and which one is the most significant? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rays lead the pack of suprise clubs to start the season

AL Central
With Mauer back in the lineup the Twins look to extend their lead as they are consistent both on the road and at home. If the pitching can hold up they can extend the lead, but a they’ve got a touch stretch coming up including series with the Yankees, Jays, and Red Sox so they’ll be tested.

AL EAST
The sad part is that Blue Jays and Red Sox are not playing poorly, yet still find themselves 4 and 6 ½ back respectively. This will not be a division for the faint of heart again this year. In case you were one of the doubters the Rays are for real and ready to challenge the evil empire right now. The Yanks have gotten out of the blocks much faster than last year and they’ll need to keep the pace if they are going to going in as the division winners and not the Wild Cards. Meanwhile everyone is getting nervous in Beantown about now, as the Sox had to work to avoid getting swept by the Empire, and everyone’s wondering where all that pitching from last year went?

AL West
These teams will continue to shuffle the deck as they each go though the tough parts of their schedule. The division where .500 might be good enough to keep you in contention, suddenly has an unfamiliar leader. The Rangers sit in first place for the first time since I can remember, as “Big Daddy Valdi” has rejuvenated his swing hitting .339 with six jacks providing the added pop the Rangers needed. If the A’s want to stay in the hunt they’ll need to learn how to win on the road as .300 won’t get it done.

NL Central
The Cards look good again to start the season as the surprising Reds are a trying to keep them in striking distance which may be tough to do as the Cards are soon to begin a long home stand but an upcoming 3 game set with the Reds will be the litmus test to see if Cincy has any staying power. It could be all smoke and mirrors right now as the Reds actually have a negative run differential (-21) but still manage to keep the ship afloat with duct tape. Right now the rest of the division doesn’t look as if it’s ready to challenge the establishment but the good thing is it’s early and plenty of moves can be made.

NL East
We stated at the beginning of the season that this division race is going to be great to follow all year, and the defending NL champs are going to have their hands full. So far so good for the Phils but the Mets despite injuries and the Nats despite themselves are only two games back. Even though their fans may not have noticed, the Nats can contend this year, and if they can stay afloat long enough to get “the Sensational Stasburg” into the starting rotation, they could be the sleeper team in the NL. I know, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves just 31 games into the season but it’s nice to talk about.

NL West
How about the Priest?? Picked to finish dead last they’ve lived off a strong offense (+43 run differential) and timely pitching to hold a slight lead in the division. The third team to take the reigns already this year, this will be a war a attrition and staying healthy. The two-time division champions LA had a terrible off season in regards to moves as the team got caught up in the divorce of the owners, and how much of a difference will Manny coming back actually make? Probably quite a bit as the Dodger bats are quiet with a -16 RD for the first time since Joe came to town. The aces of the Giant staff have been getting an unexpected lift from Barry Zito, who if can remain consistent, will create the best 3 man pitching stretch in baseball.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Early Returns on the 2010 MLB Season

My first question after seeing the trend of the first 2 games is ‘what happened to the pitching??!’ The average run production is well over 5 for the first 3 games and there not even ‘juicing’ balls. Observation one: as the Shills, Johnsons, Rockets, and Glavins filter out of the game we have a dearth of dominating pitchers. It seems now if you can get 6 and a third out of your starter you shooting par for the course, of course now most bullpens aren’t just a job but an adventure and no lead is safe. It makes it great for the viewer but at this pace we will never see another 300 game winner in our lifetime. So who is best equipped to handle the changing times? Here’s the smacchat 2010 MLB season favorites.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
West
Angeles – The only team with five starters but losing ace starter John Lacky may come back to haunt them come playoff time. They have a younger Joel Pineiro and he’ll need to keep that ERA at 3.49 if he’s going to fill Lacky’s shoes. Godzilla is getting a little older and I’m not sure if a .274 clean-up hitter was worth the cash they threw at him, but Hunter, Matsui, and Morales is a formidable middle line-up to deal with.
Central
Tigers – I’m going to go against SI here as I don’t think Mauer has enough of a supporting cast to take the Twins to the pennant. I think the Tigers have much more fire power now that Damon is their set up man. The additions of JD and Austin Jackson, should be on base plenty of times for Ordonez and Cabrera to bring them around. In the pen, they’ve finally cut bait with Willis after 2 wins in as many years. The only question mark is how they will produce offensively without Granderson who has converted to the dark side.
East
Yankees – Speaking of the ‘dark side’ I was trying to find a reason why they wouldn’t win the division but the additions of Nick Johnson and Granderson, in addition to potentially the greatest top-to-bottom lineup since the Big Red Machine I just can’t see them getting knocked off prior to the ALCS. Now they are getting older, and it will be interesting to see how they persevere through 182 games, particularly if “Super Mario” who hits 40 this year, isn’t as consistent, and how can he be? Either way this will be their last hurrah with this club, I think they have the juice to win the division but not the AL.

NATIONAL LEAGUE
West
Rockies – The Rockies have plenty of stick to accompany the favorable conditions in the mile high city even though they didn’t make any additions to the starting 9 during the off season. The Dodgers were the casualty of war that is the McCort divorce and were not able to make any off season moves and they barely won it with what they had last year and 3 will be a charm for the CR who will take the crown in the weakest division in MLB for the second consecutive year. Helton and Fowler should have all-star seasons and a young-armed pitching staff should get plenty of run support.
Central
Cards – Much like the Yankees I want to go the other way but would you pick against Pujols and Holliday? Shumaker (.303) and Ryan (.292) may be the most underrated and appreciated 1-2 in baseball but they can certainly set the table for guns. They have the “Boardwalk & Parkplace” in the bullpen that you need to win a 7-game series in Carpenter and Wainwright, and the addition of Brad Penny should add another 10-12 wins to that rotation. No new acquisitions here either but if it ain’t broke…..
East
Braves – how’s this for an upset pick?? I’m not doing this just to just to go against the grain but I really think the youth movement for Atlanta will finally pay dividends. Oh, and the best prospect in baseball doesn’t hurt either. I love Hayword’s potential, and the addition of Glaus and Melky round out a solid lineup. One area of concern is the fact that there are no lefty starters in the pen for the Bravos and I think that’s what will eventually get them ousted from the playoffs but until then I like them to upset the Phillies and take the East. Who do you like to win each division? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.
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