I couldn't fit the whole baseball preview into one part, the result: Part Deuce. I have had alot of response to my theory that the Mets and Tigers will miss the playoffs, after the Tigers explosive start (1-8) people are starting to buy it. If the Tigers are out, who's in?
The Cleveland Indians remember the Indians? The same Indians that came within a game away from the World Series last year and return much of the same lineup and pitching staff. About that pitching staff; C.C. Sabathia who MAY not end up in a Yankee uniform next year (see the re-signing of Fausto Carmona) and the afformentioned Fausto Carmona lead one of the most dominating rotations in major league baseball. Hitting wins 95 games, Pitching wins bling.
The Seattle Mariners you've gotta go out on a limb sometimes and with this pick I'm limbing it. If you read part 1, I highlighted how I believe this is the year Felix Hernandez jumps into the Beckett/Sabathia/Verlander league. Along with Hernandez, new Seattle lefty Eric Bedard who finished 13-5 in 2007 with the Orioles is a welcome addition and should give Seattle one of the top 3 1-2 punches in the American League. (I expect Seattle to add another bat to their lineup before they make a playoff push)
I'm about to shock you here . . The Boston Red Sox. Seriously though, I think the Red Sox could be shakey until June or July after the extended Japan road trip. With Mike Lowell recently hitting the DL and Josh Beckett's back issues the Red Sox are a little banged up but expect Sean Casey and newcomer Jed Lowrie to make an impact in Lowell's absense. Bottom line on the Red Sox is they have youth mixed with veterans and a solid rotation. (Since were talking AL East I must say it . . the Blue Jays do exist)
American League Wild Card is awarded to the New York Yankees along with the general public I hate the Yanks, but how many years are we going to say the Wild Card is going to another division and it doesn't? The Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy era isn't off to the best start but the Yanks still do one thing better than most teams, score runs. I don't think that Girardi will lead these guys to a pennant or even a playoff series win, but I do think he can manage a team well enough to get them in the playoffs. Sh*t he's got enough talent to do it.
Phillies fans are lining up along the tops of buildings in Philadelphia, after getting robbed in last nights Mets game the Phantics (No, I didn't mispell it) are all fired up. I don't like this Mets team and am very aware that you know that, I give the division to the fighting Phillies. Jimmy Rollins is that kind of player and this team has quality starting pitching, they don't rely on 35 year old starters past their prime; see the Mets and Pedro Martinez.
Central goes to THE BREW CREW, after caughing up the division to the Cubs last year the Brewers are back (even with Eric Gagne as the closer) You know about the usual suspects, Prince Fielder, phenom Ryan Braun, and of course ace of the staff Ben Sheets. Former American League journeyman, David Riske will do what every failed relief pitcher does from Boston, go lights out; and Craig Counsell, Bill Hall, and Rickie Weeks provide additional offense for the crew. HOW CAN I NOT PICK THE CREW THEY ADDED FORMER MINOR LEAGUE MANAGER GABE KAPLER to the roster? Game is hitting .389with 2 homers in his last 10 games, WHOSE IMPRESSED?
Sorry Joe (Torre) the Dodgers won't win the National League West, that my will go to my FAVORITE national league team, THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS Brandon Webb, the best pitcher in the national league in 07' will go for his 3rd win this month and we aren't even half way through tonight, Dan Haren the offseason acquisition is off to a good start, and of course everyones angry pitcher Randy Johnson set to have a great season as the 3rd starter in a great staff. I don't even care if they get outscored again their pitching is dominating.
The Wild Card Winners go to Joe Torre and the L.A. Dodgers, a staff that includes the bulldog Brad Penny, the ageless Chan Ho Park, and my favorite Derek Lowe. The offensive power in the Dodger lineup comes from Russell Martin and Rafael Furcal who are surrounded by veterans Jeff Kent, Andruw (wow has he gone down) Jones and future standout Matt Kemp. I like the Torre factor what can I say? What the Dodgers can get out of Broxton and Billingsly alike will determine how far they go. I wouldn't be shocked if the Cubs had something to do say about the Wild Card, they have a ton of talent.
Lemme' Break it down . .
Red Sox v. Seattle
Cleveland v. Yankees
Diamondbacks v. Phillies
Brewers v. Dodgers
League Championship Series
Cleveland v. Red Sox
Diamondbacks v. Dodgers
Diamondbacks v. Cleveland
World Series Champions
Arizona Diamondbacks (shaking it up baby)
MLB Annual Awards:
National League MVP Jimmy Rollins
National League Cy Young Brandon Webb
National League Manager of the Year Joe Torre
National League ROY Kosuke Fukudome
American League MVP Alex Rodriguez
American League Cy Young C.C. Sabathia
American League Manager of the Year Eric Wedge
American League ROY Jacoby Ellsbury
PLAY BALL . . . . two weeks late