Tuesday, April 17, 2007

MLB Preview - Part IV

Today I begin our trek through the National League with the Bastards MLB Review 2007. For those of you reading this entry who may be wondering, yes I did italicize that period. For those of you who aren't sure what that means, should you ever find yourself in a Legal Research and Writing course- be very skeptical. That said I give you the fourth installment of the seven part series wherein I make brief analysis and project the outcome of the season when it is way to early to call. In that way I much like all the other bullshit media out there, but I hope you read this anyway. If you don't like a pick leave a comment. I might explain to you why we differ.


1. Braves – “America’s Team” turned into the Fulton County follies last year, finishing 18 games out of first place and not winning the division for the first time since 1992. That makes these guys easy to hate on. Especially considering the number of Braves games I will inevitably watch this year- thanks TBS, and fuck off Bud Selig.
Off to a hot start, the Braves are better this year than last thanks to – addition by addition – a few new arms in the bullpen. Mike Gonzalez was a good pick up, as were Tanyon Sturtze and Rafael Soriano. I like Smoltz starting again. Hudson is a solid starter, and Chuck James is throwing well. While Marcus Giles will be missed, the hitting is still there. Chipper & Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur will put up big numbers. To win this thing this season, the Braves need production from Ryan Langerhans (LF), Scott Thorman (1B), and Kelly Johnson (2B). None of these guys have started hitting yet, but they keep winning. If the pitching holds up I see a two team race down the stretch, maybe three. I will go ahead and discount Florida and DC.

2. Mets – I foresee a near repeat this season for the Shea Stadium crowd. They have to want another go at the Cards, who beat them in seven for last years NLCS. Not gonna lie to you- the absence of Pedro until August hurts- but I see the aging Glavine having a fine season if he stays healthy, and Orlando Hernandez winning 15 or so. The remainder of the rotation will have to scratch and claw to prove itself, but I see them putting it together. It is hard not to get wins with a powerful lineup like the one in New York. Both New York teams will be outscoring the other guy this year. Delgado, Beltran, Wright, Reyes and Alou will make it easier for the starters, no matter who you throw out there. If the Bravos stay on track I think this one will be close.

3. Phillies - Despite being in the cellar of the NL East at press time, the guys in Philadelphia were actually pretty popular picks to win the division this year. Playboy picked them to win and the Mets to take the wild card. Playboy is stupid, or at least Tracy Ringolsby- the guy who made there picks must be. The pictures are good though. The particular issue in question featured a themed pictorial, “Girls of Conference USA.” Of the 36 girls displayed from across the conference, MARSHALL ONLY GOT ONE girl in the magazine. UTEP had 13, and one girl made it in twice.
Back to baseball, the Phil’s will miss Abreu, who went to New York. Ryan Howard had a slow spring, to say the least, and they need him to crush the ball again this year. The lineup is strong- Howard, Utley, Rollins. The bullpen is not good. So far Cole Hamels has been the only bright spot in the rotation, but Jamie Moyer (good move M’s) has potential to help them out. Sorry Phillies fans- I do not see a pennant in your future. I like the Phillies in third place- down from last year. Maybe second if Atlanta falls apart.

4. Marlins – They were babies last year, nearly all rookies. This year they are still to young to expect much. Florida fired Joe Girardi last season because of disagreements with management. But really, could anyone have won many games with that team? Joe hung on for a while early- I liked him. (Not because of any Yankee loyalty either.) I thought he did pretty well with what he was given. Now without Joe Borowski closing games out- when an opportunity might arise- the Marlins are hurting. Miguel Cabrera at third and Mike Jacobs at first are the only offensive bright spots. Has anyone ever heard of any of the starting outfielders this year? Josh Willingham, Alejandro De Aza (.303 so far), and Joe Borchard do not inspire confidence. Willingham and Borchard both played most of last year, but all three combined have played in 417 career games. De Aza has played in 7 games so far for his MLB career. So why is the centerfielder hitting better than his “veteran” counterparts? After Dontrelle Willis the rotation is laughable. Sorry guys, you will probably finish ahead of the Nats.

5. Nationals – What can you say? You have no pitching- the worst starting ERA in the NL last year. Now you have no offense. Alfonso Soriano- gone. Jose Guillen- gone. Jose Vidro- bye bye. What did you do with money you saved? Nothing. At least this seasons tragic ending won’t fall on baseball legend Frank Robinson’s shoulders. New manager Manny Acta. Centerfielder Ryan Church is hitting the ball well so far. Second baseman Ronnie Belliard, of Cleveland fame is too. These two, with Dmitri Young from Detroit had better keep it up. They lack a starting rotation, a bullpen, and hitting. Certainly a new managers dream come true. My friends around DC are in for a long summer. At least you will have to opportunity to see other stars from around the league in person. You will probably get an opportunity to see them hit too- deep and often.


letsplaytummysticks said...

I'd take the Mets first and the Marlins in second simply b/c the Braves will fall back and the rest of the division is awful. The Marlins also have Dan Uggla at second who was an all-star last year and Anibal Scnchez who threw a no-no with a girls name.

Brave Sir Robin said...

This from the guy who thought Pitburgh might go undefeated. One thing I did notice while watching the Pirates play the Cards this afternoon- very few, if any, of the Pirates were wearing white shoes.

That said, the Marlins in second is a stretch. If nothing else I think they will have a hard time outscoring the Mets. as slow as the Phils have started they still have a better squad than the baby-faced Marlins. I like beer and nachos.

Brave Sir Robin said...

* where I have Mets, I meant to have Bravos. I wish you could edit these comments.

letsplaytummysticks said...

The Pirates will go undefeated on Sunday day games at home when wearing red vests, the old painter hats, and overalls.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Agreed. But that might also require white shoes.