Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

Hooray for opening day! Though miserable late March weather here in Chicago has got me down, the arrival of real baseball will pick me up. When spring training started I expressed cautious optimism for the Mariners this season. Big pitching upgrades despite a mediocre offense would have put us in contention with the Angels for the AL West pennant. Now that the regular season is almost here, my optimism is up slightly--but not for anything that the Mariners have done. Half the Angels' starting rotation has struggled to stay healthy this spring. Both Lackey and Escobar could be on the DL till June, which might be enough time for the M's to build up a lead that the Angels' will struggle to overcome.

Still, I'm giving the Mariners tenuous hopes. The offense still scares me. The little power we have in the lineup is woefully inconsistent (Ibanez and even more so Richie Sexson). And while we have arguably the best closer in baseball, we shipped off our best middle reliever to Baltimore in the infamous Adam Jones trade. Without an offense able to run up the score, watch the M's drop a lot of games in the 8th inning.

In order to win this thing there are key places where the cards will have to fall right. Adrian Beltre needs to live into his potential. We've seen glimpses of his power before. Secondly, we need Richie Sexson to avoid another meltdown. Last year the Mariners had an above average team batting average, but did not score enough runs because there was no power in the middle of the line-up. Too many runners left on base. If the offense can produce, this will be a fun season to watch.

If the Mariners do disappoint, at least I'll be able to enjoy the Cubs this season. They're set up pretty well in both pitching and hitting; and their outfield defense will improve with the arrival of Fukudome. I think it'll be another race to the finish in the NL Central this year. The Chicago papers seem to think the Cubs will run away with it, but I think the Brewers could stay in it through August.

The AL central will be another fun division to watch. Cleaveland is an all around excellent team, but the Detroit Tigers have one of the most imposing offenses in all of Baseball. Sorry Minnesota--your division is too good this year, but at least Kansas City guarantees you won't last.

I don't like to acknowledge the AL East and I'm not very good with the rest of the National League, but I'll make some guesses anyway:

AL EAST:
1. Boston
2. New York
3. Tampa Bay
4. Toronto
5. Baltimore

AL CENTRAL:
1. Detroit
2. Cleveland
3. Minnesota
4. Chicago
5. Kansas City

AL WEST:
1. Seattle
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3. Oakland
4. Texas

AL WILDCARD: I really wanna say Cleveland, but it'll likely go to whoever doesn't win AL East.

NL EAST:
1. New York
2. Philadelphia
3. Atlanta
4. Washington
5. Florida

NL CENTRAL:
1. Chicago
2. Milwaukee
3. Cincinnati
4. Pittsburgh
5. Houston
6. St. Louis

NL WEST:
1. Los Angeles
2. Arizona
3. Colorado
4. San Diego
5. San Fransisco

NL WILDCARD: Milwaukee

1 comment:

Lefdawg said...

Dude, you got it all wrong...Diamondbacks are going to win there division...WORD TO YOUR MOTHER!