Thursday, April 09, 2009

Interesting Story Titles

Here's a sampling of story titles, that run from cliche to cliche to hilarious cliche, from around the team sites:

"Tribe can't escape early hole in Texas"

"Moehler digs too deep a hole for Astros"

 "Long balls do in Litsch"

"Gallardo makes history off Unit"

"Veal resilient in face of unusual outing"

"Wang has tough time in return for Yanks"

I won't lie.  I was hoping for more of these, but I think this is not a bad list for the first week of the season.

Monday, April 06, 2009

NL East

This is the most interesting division that I don't care all that much about.

Order first:


Now the explanation:

Mets: They beat the Reds today 2-1.

Also, they have 2 closers compared to the 1 of last year. They lost 13 games by 2 or less runs after August 1st last year. If they won even 3 of those, they are tied for the division lead with the Phillies. Because of the meltdown of the last 2 years, people forget how good this team is. I think they put it together and win the division for the first time since all the way back in 2006. Big questions are how Delgado starts the season, how much impact Daniel Murphy has, and/or what the heck to do with Sheffield.

Phillies: The opposite of the Mets, they have gotten very lucky to even make the playoffs the last two years. Myers, Moyer, and Park do not a consistent, healthy rotation make, but I think the massive bats keep the Phillies in the playoff race throughout the season.

Braves: The Braves are loaded with young(er) talent with a pleasant mix of veterans thrown in. My guess is that this year is the year they relearn how to win close games (after some trial and error) and make a push at the leaders and playoffs before falling to just over .500. I am already more interested in how good the 2010 Braves might be, which often leads to a surprise breakout season a year early. Question is where will their pitching come from?

Marlins: There's something missing from the team and it might just be marketing. I don't see them making it over 80 wins and part of the reason must be that I can't see a face of the franchise truly emerging. Han-Ram is a fantasy stud and might be the best player in the NL not named Pujols, but he still isn't happy about being in a town that doesn't seem to appreciate baseball (2 titles in 12 years or not). The Marlins are what the current Braves could be in 2-3 years. That is, they are full of guys who used to have limitless potential until someone found their limit. Uggla, Hermida, and Cantu all continue to be adequate enough to keep their jobs, but not good enough to carry the team further. Big question is can anyone name a Marlins pitcher without looking? Alternate question is whether Maybin lives up the hype and breaks out this year.

Nationals: Now that Bobby Bowden has stopped trying to make the team a bizarro Cincinnati, the team can start to recover. I love seeing Kearns and Dunn in the same outfield again, but I doubt that anyone or anything other than Dunn makes the Nationals relevant this year. I also think that Dunn further contributes to the team when he is traded in late May for a bunch of prospects.


Very excited to hear the first few games of the year today at work.  I just purchased the app that lets me listen to the radio commentary which I sure hope works.

Interesting things to me right now:

I hope Aaron Harang pitches a complete game shutout with about 14k's to show he's back.

The Indians are starting the first game of the season with two catchers in the line-up.  Victor will get the nod at 1B, while Shoppach will be squatting behind the plate.  Seems odd since there's an off-day tomorrow and Victor can always use the extra day of rest after playing catcher.

Hoping to get the final division (NL East) prediction out this evening.  Besides interesting tidbits (tidbit tidbit tidbit) from the games themselves, I will also try to get the playoff scenarios and individual award winner predictions out this week.

NL West

Late to the game, but still hitting it before the season actually starts.  Lets talk about the division that no one really cares about, the NL West.

First, the order:


Next, we'll explain in reverse order:

Padres: Their first two starters are great or good (Peavy and Young), but there's no lineup there whatsoever.  Of note is that 3 of their 8 starters are former Indian farmhands (Kouzmanoff, Giles, Gerut).

Rockies:  I just don't see the pitching to make a good run at the division here.  Also, the lineup is very similar the to miracle team of two seasons ago, but it took extremly high performances by all of them to squeak out a playoff appearance (not to mention a collapse by the rest of the NL).  Big question is when are Helton and Atkins going to hit the bottom?  If they can hold off age for one more year, the mountains have a shot at .500, if not, I see the team notching wins in the high 70's.

Giants:  I think everything goes right for the Giants and they finish with about 85 wins.  If this team was transported back 5 years, I would like any rotation with Zito and the Big Unit (Johnson), not to mention seeing Randy Winn in his prime.  All the positions and pitching will be at least adequate and I think that leads to a 3rd place finish in the West.  Two questions are whether Zito or Johnson can muster another dominate season (No for Zito, average for Johnson) and how either Sandoval or Ishikawa or both might break out this year.

Dodgers:  Their lineup with a productive Manny is impressive, but any team who relies on Kuroda and Wolf to anchor the lineup can't possibly win the division, can it?

Diamondbacks:  Their lineup is the class of the NL West or Central, and their rotation is set with Webb and Haren baring injuries to either.  I'm guessing that the majority of their young hitters put it together this year and make a run deep into the playoffs.  Look for them to top 93 wins and take the division.