Giants


MLB League Division Series Predictions

MLB playoffs are a pretty good reason to make some time and finally write something on here again. Let me know your predictions in the comments and I’ll keep a running tally throughout the playoffs.

New York Yankees (95-67) vs. Baltimore Orioles (93-69)

This Baltimore Orioles just don’t quit. I was upset back in April when the Jays lost 5 out of 6 to this team thinking how can they lose to a basement dweller but boy was I wrong.

The Orioles lost the first four games against the Yankees this season (all in April) including two games in extra innings… after those two losses, Orioles did not lose an extra inning game THE ENTIRE SEASON. Yankees CC Sabathia went 0-2, 6.38 ERA and .312 avg against in 3 starts vs. Orioles this year.

I will take those two stats compounded with the first two games being in Baltimore helping knock out any nerves they may have and go with Orioles in 4.

 

Oakland Athletics (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74)

The Athletics overcame a five game deficit with nine days to go and overtaking the Rangers on the last game of the season. Any team riding a hot streak like that can easily run the table in a short series but when you are going up against Verlander and Fister, you can find yourself one game away from elimination before you even know it. Also, Athletics will probably save themselves a lot of trouble by not pitching to the Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera.

Being a big fan of Moneyball, nothing would make me happier than the Athletics finally getting around to winning the World Series but I just don’t see that happening here. Tigers in 5.

 

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs. San Francisco Giants (94-68)

I am still not sure how Cincinnati won 97 games this year but behind Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA, 170 strikeouts), they have a very good chance of beating Matt Cain and the Giants on the road. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce lead a pretty decent offense that could give the Giants some trouble.

The Giants’ will need all the help they can get from their rotation after Cain especially Lincecum who finished the season with only 10 wins and a 5+ ERA but I don’t know if Buster Posey and company can do enough to move on.¬†Reds in 4.

 

Washington Nationals (98-64) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

Anything short of a World Series win by this Nationals squad which feed fuel to the fire to the decision of shutting down Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.16) for the season. That said, the team went 13-11 after shutting him down and still won the division rather comfortably.

The Cardinals, who every one though would struggle to make the post-season after losing Pujols, beat the Braves in controversial fashion but I think that is as far as they will go as the Nationals are still too strong for St. Louis even without a starting pitcher. Nationals in 4.

 

 


MLB Predictions For The 2010 Season

1. Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays will lose 100+ games this season. In addition to playing AL East teams 19 times who have all seemingly improved from last year, the Blue Jays have a month long stretch from June 18th to July 11th where they have one “easy” series. The teams they play are Giants (3), Cardinals (3), Phillies (3), @Indians (4), @Yankees (3), Twins (3) and Red Sox (3). A rough 22 game stretch going into the All-Star Break. I don’t think too many teams get to play that tough of a stretch very often. They certainly have a powerful offense to compete with anyone in the game but the lack of experience in pitching will probably cost them way too many games.

Even though I make that prediction, I am going to be rooting every day like there is not tomorrow for the Blue Jays to prove me wrong.

2. On the other hand, Yankees will not win 100 games this year. I have seen several reports that have them at 103/104 wins but I don’t see that happening in the ever improving and difficult AL East. They improved in CF by getting Granderson but lost clutch hitters like Damon and Matsui and Gardner/Swisher isn’t a very intimidating corner OF. I am interested in seeing how Vazquez does because I have a feeling he could end up wining the most games in that rotation this year.

3. Even without Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins will comfortably win the AL Central. Tigers improved a little not nearly as much as they needed to and that playoff type rotation for White Sox will only help them so much. Behind the leadership (and new contract extension) of Joe Mauer and some decent pitching, I think they still win the division by at least 10 games even without Joe Nathan.

4. Both winners of the West divisions will have less than 90 wins. It has happened a few times in the past decade for the NL West but not in the AL since 1998 when Texas won the division with with 88 wins. Both Dodgers and Angels should win their respective divisions again but the Angels will have a much tougher fight and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners are competing for a playoff spot in late August or early September.

5. The first baseball game of the season I will attend is going to be May 19, 2010 when Tampa Bay Rays come to the Bronx to play the Yankees. Haven’t bought any tickets to the game yet, but it is the first date when everyone is done with finals and it just might work out.


NFL Predictions… What Are Yours?

I’ll post my NFL predictions for this season now and talk about a couple of things I think will crucial this upcoming season. A couple of things to look out for will be the age of the New England Patriots’ defense. No one expects them to run the table again in the regular season but people might be in for a surprise if their age finally catches up to them and they end up losing 4 or 5 games. Also, who knows how injured Tom Brady really is and how effective he’ll be in the early parts of the season?

In the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has been handed a wonderful team but a great receiving group and all he has to do is not try to be Brett Favre. If he can stick to the short passes and allow the receivers to do their work with YAC as they did last year along with the new found running game in Ryan Grant – the Packers could really repeat as one of the top two seeds in the conference. New York Giants on the other hand have lost two considerablely talented players on defense and will that blow be big enough to keep them out of the playoffs? I doubt it because their offense has matured well enough and Eli should be able to carry a team to a couple of wins just by himself this year.

In the playoffs, you can never count out Brett Favre and certainly he’s not done with the way he played last year. Cold weather will be not be an issue and just might be something to provide Jets’ fans with something to hope for. However, let’s all be realistic. The Jets went 4-12 last year and just making the playoffs this year will be a dramatic improvement so I doubt they advance much further even though I do have them winning a game in the post-season.

Is this the year that Tony Romo finally breaks through and stops choking in the clutch? I think so. Packers losing Favre drops their main threat to be #1 once again in the conference and they had all the opportunities in the world to beat the Giants last year in the Divisional Round and if Romo can control the ball, they would have at least been a game away from going to the Super Bowl. No reason to expect the same progress this year, if not a little bit more poise and potentially a couple more wins in the post-season.

Does a Manning win a Super Bowl this year as well? Well that would make it three years in a row with Peyton and his Colts beating the Bears in 2007 although the loss of Jeff Saturday in the early parts of the season can slow down their progress but probably not enough to keep them from winning the division yet again en route to the Super Bowl XLIII victory on February 1, 2009.

Predictions are after the break. (more…)


Going Out On Top?

So as the news broke yesterday and my good friend Joe tells me to put it, I’ll talk a little about Michael Strahan retiring from the NFL yesterday… a move that apparently surprised his team but doesn’t surprise me one bit. He wanted to retire before the start of the season last year, skipped training camp and was surprising willing to play once the season was just around the corner. You can’t skip training camp like that back to back seasons and just expect to get away with it. He is a great player and he did not play like someone on the decline. He started 15 of 16 regular-season games last season and had 46 tackles and nine sacks. He also played a very crucial role in the Giants upset of the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl.

But here is the question I am left asking… and it goes for Brett Favre as well. When these players are playing so well, certainly amongst the best in the league at their respective positions… why go out on such a high? I am not questioning their character or willingness to play, everyone knows Brett Favre has been my favorite player in the NFL since I started following it in 1995.

Personally, I have never been one to buy the theory of “Going Out On Top”. Why would you want to do that? You have just shown you are best at what you do, now come back and defend it to show it wasn’t a fluke. Yes, some might say that there is nothing left to prove but as an athlete, just the competitive environment should be enough. Maybe it’s just me making a big deal over nothing and it could just be the fan in me since quality athletes like this are hard to come by and you never like to see them go.