Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MLB At the Break

I was in the process writing this post when I heard the news that George Steinbrenner had pasted away. So scraped that post for a bit of a tribute to him. But like him I'm a baseball fan, just not a Yankee. Regardless, I felt he deserved his own post. Now lets take a look at my earlier predictions.

We've made it to the half way point in the season and the MLB All Star game is tonight. I'm probably not going to watch it to be honest. Many of the players that I would want to see are not playing and if they do play it's probably only going to be for an inning or two so it just won't be worth it. I know that this game is supposed to matter but let's face it, it is an exhibition game. Yes, it determines home field advantage in the World Series, which is wrong that should go to the team with the best record over all. Just my opinion.

Lets see what has been going on. Four teams have fired their managers: Kansas City, Baltimore, Florida, and Arizona, not that it's their fault in many cases it's the fault of the General Manager who in Arizona was also fired. But a manager is not responsible for the staff on the club that rest solely on the GM. They also can not control injuries, those can really hurt a team just look at the Red Sox and Phillies. I guess it could a contentious end to the season which we may see at least one more the Pirates could dump theirs too.

Its been pretty obvious the age of the juiced hitter is over and there have been some pretty amazingly pitched games so far. There have been 2 perfect games Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay. Also two no hitters making 4 awesomely pitched games by Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jimenez. Making it 5 is the almost prefect game by Armando Galarraga’s in Detroit a couple weeks ago, had it not been end on a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce. That in itself turned out to be one of the most incredible stories of sportsmanship and I tip my hat to both gentleman for the way it played out. But enough of that.

I orginally looked over the teams and divisions back on April 1st the NL and on the April 4th for the AL. Since I start with the NL we'll go with that and see what is going on there...

NL East
I said "No Surpise" that the Phillies were going to take the East. Now that is looking less and less like a sure thing. Right now the Braves lead the East with a 4 game lead over the second place Mets. I did call for the Braves to be a close second and since end of June they have taken control. It is Bobby Cox's last year as manager and will probably be 3b Chipper Jones last year as well. These two factors will continue to motivate the team to play their best. Along the performance of rookie OF Jason Heyward he has been a stud. Sitting in 2nd are the Mets and they are looking like they will stay near the top but I see them finishing 3rd. The Mets usually implode in August and I wouldn't be surprised if happens again. Look for them to add a pitcher before the month is out. The Phillies are a mess and riddle with injuries. They probably wish they had held on to pitcher Cliff Lee because they could use another arm to compete. I do expect the Phillies to hang tough, but if things don't improve in the next week after the all star break I see them moving OF Jayson Werth. I don't see either the Marlin or Nationals exceeding my previous expectations.Only reason I can see even to watch the Nationals is to see Stud pitcher Stephen Strasburg dominate.

NL Central
Here I said it's going to be a duel between the Cardinals and Reds, and it's been pretty much just that. I expect both of these teams to keep flip flopping exchange for 1st. Right now the Reds have it by a game but that's not enough to secure things they would need at least 5-6 games as a cushion. The Brewers are 8.5 back and I don't see them surging past anyone. The Cubs need to find a goat and keep it in the clubhouse. Hey it can't hurt with the curse, if not they could also be looking for a new manager soon too. They will be looking to trade some players and dump some payroll along with Houston and Pittsburgh.

NL West
I blew this one, I expected the dodgers to take a commanding lead here, I wasn't even close. It's been all Padres out west. I had expected them to be moving Adrian Gonzalez in the next few weeks but being in the lead I don't think they can afford too. My only question is do they still try to move him so they don't loose the opportunity to get some prospects for him. Or do they hold on to him hoping that this taste of success makes him want to stay and maybe give the team a discount? I'm sure if he has Scott Bora as agent that will not be the case. I guess time will only tell if the can keep it up the Dodgers and Rockies are both hot on the Padres' heels and with only 2 games separating them all it could be a fun race to watch. I hope that they keep it up but it going to be close. But I see the Padres dropping to second and Colorado taking 1st. But I think the Padres will be the Wild Card team for the NL.

Wrapping up I'm calling the Braves in the East, Reds in the Central and Rockies out West and the Padres will be the Wild Card team.

Now for Baseball's American League...

AL East
Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, I think they will hold the top of the division, especially with the passing of their long time patriarch and owner George. They will want to win one for him. The Rays will finish Second with the AL Wild Card. The Red Sox have been decimated by injuries and can only hope that they hang on at third. They will get Beckett  and Clay Buchholz back soon and maybe Martinez, Varitek, and Pedroia after the break. Maybe then, they can try to pull something together in August, but will this be to little to late. The Blue Jays have been a hitting machine but they don't have much of a pitching staff to help them get the wins. Look for Baltimore to start unloading staff soon.

AL Central
I wasn't to far off here, it's been the White Sox, Tigers and Twins, and that is way it will probably play out the rest of the season. It's probably the most exciting division in the AL these three teams are going to battle hard with every start that's left in the season.  There is a 1/2 game difference between 1st and second right now  and 3.5 between 1st and 3rd. These teams are pretty evenly matched just like the three top teams in the NL west. Look for the Twins to add a pitcher before the end of the month. Cleveland and Kansas City will be dumping payroll and free agents. If the White Sox implode by the end of the season I wouldn't be surprised if Ozzie wasn't looking for work.

AL West
Another big mistake, what was I thinking Seattle? Really? I had high expectations for them and thought that the could do better. Texas has blow the roof off of that division and will be at top on October. They just added P Cliff Lee solidifying the rotation and could also be in the market for a bat, but I don't see much of a need. The Angels will finish second and look for Seattle and Oakland to be dumping staff.

My revised predictions, I expect to see the Yankees taking the AL East, Tigers in the AL Central and Rangers in the West, The AL wild Card will be the Rays.

Moving to October Yankees for the AL taking on the NL Padres.
Yankees will take the Series in 5.

Over the next couple weeks look for these players to change uniforms they are all good players on crappy teams; P Roy Oswalt, P  Dan Haren, P Livan Hernandez, P  Matt Capps, OF Jack Cust, OF Cody Ross, OF Josh Willingham, SS Christian Guzman, SS Alex Gonzalez, 2B Mark Ellis, C John Buck, 1B Lyle Overbay, OF Corey Hart, OF David DeJesus, 3B Ty Wigginton and 1B Prince Fielder.

Just as a disclaimer I'm a Red Sox and Atlanta Braves fan.
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