Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011 MLB Season Predictions

Just about 24 hours until maybe my favorite day of the year, MLB's Opening Day. So without further adieu, here's my exclusive look at the upcoming season, division by division, for everyone to laud my prophetic gift of foresight or (more likely) ridicule my inane fantasies in November, after the season is over.

AL East: There's no question that the hated Red Sox made the biggest splash in the division with their offseason acquisitions. They're the team to beat, provided they can stay healthy and Beckett and Lackey pitch well enough to solidify the rotation. My beloved Yankees will run neck and neck with them all season, though, again, provided that the back end of their rotation congeals, and Curtis Granderson and A-Rod deliver the redeeming seasons that their spring training performances have promised. The Blue Jays will finish in third, with their mix of power and solid pitching. The decimated Rays' bullpen will push them down to fourth. And the Orioles will completely suck whenever Jeremy Guthrie isn't pitching, which will include every game after the trade deadline.

AL Central: A two-team race between the Twins and the Tigers. I'm calling it for Minnesota based on the belief that Mauer, Morneau, and Joe Nathan are primed for a comeback from varying degrees of injury, with Detroit a close second. Chicago is a solid third place, with the Royals and Indians battling it out for last place. I'm picking KC to finish in fourth with a post-deadline run after the Indians trade away Fausto Carmona.

AL West: It's almost impossible to predict the reigning league champion, Texas, as anything less than the division champ. True, they lost Cliff Lee, but they were doing just fine without him in the first part of last year. Oakland's young arms will propel them to a very close second place, and put them into contention for the wild card--they're just a bat or two away from overtaking Texas outright. Seattle finishes third, provided they don't trade away King Felix at the deadline, and Anaheim finishes last, albeit with the best record of any last-place team.

NL East: This is the Phillies' division to lose. Their rotation is so good that it doesn't matter (much) how injury question marks like Lidge and Utley recover. The Braves are much improved, and will keep it close, but the rotation at C.B. Park is just too good this year. The Marlins will take third in front of 2,000 fans per game, the Nats will finish 4th, flirting with .500, and the Mets will finish dead last, assuming they haven't been dissolved by a bankruptcy court during the season.

NL Central: I like the Reds to take the division again this year. The Cardinals' rotation suffers from the injury to Wainwright, the Brewers' rotation is a mess (Sergio Mitre is the answer? Really?), the Cubs' whole roster is a mess, the Astros are rebuilding, and the Pirates are continuing to serve as a farm system for the rest of the league.

NL West: The Giants can pretty much walk their way to the title here. Colorado comes on to take second and contends for the wild card. San Diego falls to third without Adrian Gonzalez, even if Heath Bell gets his contract extension. Rookie managers Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson battle it out for last place with rebuilding teams. L.A. is a bit more rebuilt than Arizona, so Donnie Baseball manages to salvage 4th place.

Playoff Picture:
AL Wild Card:
NL Wild Card: Braves

ALDS: Red Sox over Twins, Rangers over Yankees
NLDS: Phillies over Reds, Giants over Braves
ALCS: Red Sox over Rangers
NLCS: Phillies over Giants
World Series: Boston's new bats just aren't quite enough to overcome the Phillies' playoff rotation, featuring Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton out of the bullpen--Phillies over Red Sox, 4 games to 2.

Friday, March 04, 2011

1 > 2

Self-important much? Check out this quote from Wisconsin state senator Lena Taylor (a Democrat, though she's not identified as such in the MSNBC article):

"If the senators have decided to hold someone in contempt, I would think they would hold themselves and our governor, I wish we could, in contempt for failing to listen to a half million people who have come to Madison."
So let me get this straight, Senator. You want the government to listen to half a million demonstrators...and ignore the 1,128,159 voters who elected Scott Walker governor? That sure doesn't sound like the principles of democracy and majority rule to me.