AL Central Predictions

April 13, 2008

1. Detroit Tigers 92-70

2007 Season: 2nd Place (88-74)

Best Off-Season Move: Trading for Miguel Cabrera

Why They’ll Be Better: This lineup will make people cry; Detroit fans in happiness, and opposing pitchers in dismay. Adding Cabrera will could be one of the best acquisitions they have EVER made. Cabrera is something special – at 25 he is a career .311 hitter and is almost a lock to hit 30+ home runs every season. Dontrelle Willis needs to figure out how to revert back to his Cy Young form, and if he does their rotation will be pretty solid. Their rotation can go either way as they are anchored by their ace Verlander, but have four average pitchers that are inconsistant. With only SOME consistancy from them, they will have a fantastic year. Their bullpen and lineup will carry them all season.

2. Cleveland Indians 89-73

2007 Season: 1st Place (96-66) Lost ALCS

Best Off-Season Move: Nothing

Why They’ll Be Worse: The Indians have a really good team, but I don’t know if they can match their win total from last season. I am not fully on board that C.C. Sabathia will have the season he did last year, and especially not convinced Paul Byrd will win 15 games again. I also believe that the Tigers have a better squad and will cost The Tribe some ball games. I can see Travis Hafner coming back this season to put up his usual numbers. Fausto Carmona was a nice surprise last season and will continue to hassle batters. Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook just don’t do it for me, and Joe Borowski as your closer is always scary (even if you lead the league in saves!).

3. Minnesota Twins 75-87

2007 Season Third Place (79-83)

Best Off-Season Move: Trading for Delmon Young

Why They’ll Be Worse: Losing the best pitcher in baseball and not getting anyone in return who will help your team win immediately certainly hurts. Losing the face of your team (Torii Hunter) hurts too. I still think that the Twins will surprise some this season with Santana and Hunter long gone, but they will not be contenders any time soon. 2006 MVP Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Young, and Carlos Gomez make up a solid lineup, while newcomer Livan Hernandez and youngster Scott Baker may hold the fort in the rotation. They have always had a decent bullpen with Joe Nathan closing, so with some luck the Twinkies may overcome some big losses.

4. Kansas City Royals 74-88

2007 Season: Fifth Place (9-93)

Best Off-Season Move: Signing Jose Guillen

Why They’ll Be Better: The Royals are definitely a team that have a bright future; they are just not quite there yet. They have gotten off to a good start, but don’t let that fool you. Alex Gordon, Mark Teahen and Billy Butler are going to be special players, but they can not carry this team by themselves. Brian Bannister has a promising future as well but that can not be said for the rest of their staff. The bullpen Royally stinks, enough said. The Royals will win more games this year, but not enough.

5. Chicago White Sox 70-92

2007 Season: Fourth Place (72-90)

Best Off-Season Move: Traded for Orlando Cabrera

Why They’ll Be Worse: The White Sox are in a very odd position. They are in a sort-of rebuilding stage, when they really should be in a COMPLETE re-building stage. They have players like 37 year old Jim Thome, 34 year old Jermaine Dye, and 36 year old Jose Contreras sticking around, and they mess up the chemistry of the team. Contreras has no business being the MLB anymore; since starting out the 2006 season 9-0, Contreras has gone 14-27 since then – awful. They have one of the worst batting average lineups in the league, in they didn’t get much help from newcomers Cabrera and Nick Swisher, who have career averages of .272 and .251 respectively. Their pitching staff is decent at best, with Javier Vazquez and youngster Gavin Floyd leading the way. Mark Buehrle is the wild-card; if he can revert back to 2005 form, they may have a chance.

Advertisements

Baltimore BOOM!

April 9, 2008

Who has the best record in the American League? The Red Sox? Nope. The Yankees? Nope. Hmmm. The Angels? Nope. How about the…Orioles? You bet.

Granted they have only played 7 games, and have 155 left, the Orioles are surprising their own fans, and the worold of baseball. Their offense is hot and being led by the unlikely Aubrey Huff (11 rbi’s), but their pitching is their biggest concern. With pitchers on their team with at least 8 innings pitched, the staffer with the lowest E.R.A. is Jeremy Guthrie with a 5.11 mark; he also has their only loss on the season. Hey we’ll see if they can have their first winning season since 1997. Can they keep the dream alive?

 


Finally Forgiven

April 9, 2008

It was Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, and the Red Sox were seconds away from winning their first championship in 68 years. But, Bill Buckner let a routine groundball go through his legs, and the rest was history.

 

After 22 years, the Boston Red Sox Nation has finally accepted the man who left them hopeless when all signs pointed to the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a touching moment – you have got feel great for Buckner.


Same Faces, New Places

April 2, 2008

Here are how some old faces in new places faired on their first day at their new workplace:

Joe Torre (LAD): Won first game 5-0 against the Giants.

Joe Girardi (NYY): Won first game 3-2 against the Blue Jays.

Miguel Tejada (HOU): Had two hits in a 4-0 loss against the Padres.

Erick Bedard (SEA): Pitched 5 inn. and gave up one run in a 5-2 win over the Rangers.

Miguel Cabrera (DET): Hit a home run in a losing effort against the Royals.

Johan Santana (NYM): Pitched 7 inn. with 8 K’s, and 2 runs in a win against the Marlins.


Opening Day Chat

April 1, 2008

neyer_rob_m.jpgESPN.com writer Rob Neyer spent his time on March 31 chatting up – all day. From the opening pitch of opening day to the last, Neyer talked with fans on an online chat set up on ESPN.com.  Talk about interactivity on the web!

Here is a sample of three minutes on the chat:

Tony (Missoula): Here’s one that has always bugged me. Why do some players carry their batting gloves in their hands while they run the bases versus putting them in their pocket?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: (7:30 PM ET ) They do that so they can’t extend their fingers when sliding, which might result in an injury. First guy I remember doing this was Kevin Seitzer, though I’m sure he wasn’t actually the first.

nick (Los Angeles): Standing o for Tori Hunter in minnesota?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: (7:33 PM ET ) Yeah, he just got a really nice hand. Funny how fans sometimes hold a grudge and sometimes they don’t. Anyway, the fans also cheered loudly when he popped up the first pitch he saw.


No Way Jose!

March 26, 2008

amd_jose.jpg

Jose Canseco is at it again.

 This time he is making steroid accusations against reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez. The way he is going about this, in my opinion is dispicable. The bigger the name, the more money he’ll make off book sales. Cashing in on people’s misfortunes in this way makes me lose all respect for Cansenco (not that I had any for him before this book). If he dedicated a book with specific concrete evidence that suggests certain people took steroids it would be somewhat more respectable, but his books are very gossipy and make accusations that usually can not be proved. He told the truth (although likely exagerated) about certain players he accused in his first book, “Juiced,” so one must certainly take his accusations somewhat seriously. Should be an ongoing story.


AL West Predictions and Preview

March 26, 2008

ana.gif1. Los Angeles Angels (97-65)

2007 Season: 1st Place (94-68) Lost in ALDS

Best Off-Season Move: Trading for Jon Garland

Why They’ll Be Better: I think the Angels slightly improved by signing Torii Hunter and Garland. Losing Orlando Cabrera hurts their offense and defense, but Erick Aybar may surprise some. Garland is a good two or three guy on your staff, and Hunter is an upgrade offensively from Gary Matthews Jr. I don’t know if I like that move though, locking him up at a point in his career where he will not get much better. John Lackey is turning into an ace, and I look for Jared Weaver to progress as a starter. Their bullpen is probably tops in the AL with K-Rod, Justin Speier, and Scot Shields.

sea.gif2. Seattle Mariners (93-69)

2007 Season: 2nd Place (88-74)

Best Off-Season Move: Trading for Erik Bedard

Why They’ll Be Better: Bedard + a lineup behind him = hoh boy. If the stresses of pitching in a new environment don’t get to Bedard, watch out! With Santana out of the AL mix, he could win the Cy Young this season. Carlos Silva was not a bad pickup to be their third or fourth starter. They have a pretty solid starting rotation now with King Felix, Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn already there. They did not do much to improve their offense, but they don’t have reason too, it is already a good one. It could be a special season for the M’s in ’08 – should be a dog-fight all year with the Angels…

tex.gif3. Texas Rangers (78-84)

2007 Season: Fourth Place (75-87)

Best Off-Season Move: Trading for Josh Hamilton

Why They’ll Be Better: Hamilton was drafted first overall in 1999 for a reason, and he is about to show Major League Baseball why. After his career got side-tracked because of drugs, Hamilton has been clean and re-commited himself to baseball. The 26 year old will try to fill the void left by Mark Teixeira, with new-comers Ben Broussard and Milton Bradley and main-stays Michael Young and Ian Kinsler supporting him. Hamilton batted over .500 this Spring, and is chomping at the bit to start his first full season in the big leagues. Their pitching staff is real weak, and bullpen even weaker. They must rely on their offense to win games, which is always a tough task.

oak.gif4. Oakland A’s (63-99)

2007 Season: Third Place (76-86)

Best Off-Season Move: Nothing.

Why They’ll Be Worse: The A’s have quite possibly the worst lineup in the AL (watchout Royals). They did nothing to improve their team for the ’08 campaign, and lost some key members of their offense. When Jack Cust and Eric Chavez are the focal points of your offense, we have some problems. Losing Nick Swisher, Mike Piazza, and Shannon Stewart are major blows, but the worse loss of all was losing their ace Danny Haren. Joe Blanton is a pretty good pitcher, but is questionable as a number one. They have question marks everywhere in their starting rotation and bullpen – just not a good situation this year for Oak Town.