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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