Archive for September 2009

The Best of the playoff races

September 29, 2009

Twins Tigers BaseballWith most of the play-offs already decided the one race that remains at the forefront is the American League Central . The Twins and the Tigers are seperated by only two games. After splitting a double header today the lead for the Tigers is still two with two games left to play against each other and each team with a total of five games remaining.

You have to give the Tigers the advantage if only because they are the ones with the lead. Tomorrow It will be Carl Pavano (13-11) for the Twins vs Eddie Bonine (0-1) for the Tigers. Pavano has had a relatively injury free year after being named the” Raja of Rehab” during his time with the NY Yankees. Bonine is a September call up who although still wet behind the ears has good stuff. Still Pavano is a seasoned veteran, advantage Twins.

So who do I think will win the Division? It will be the Twins. The Twins after playing the Next two games against the Tigers finish the season with three against the awful Kansas City Royals. The Tigers on the other hand finish up against the White Sox who are a much more talented team and could be a spoiler. Only time will tell. The Twins will need at least a split over the next two games if they are to have a chance.

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Playoff Predictions

September 25, 2009

I can say with about 90% confidence that the Yankees will win the AL East, the Tigers the AL Central, the Angels the AL West, and the Red Sox the AL wildcard. I know the Twins are close in the central, but honestly with 10 games left and a 3 game lead, I just don’t think the Tigers will lose out.

I can say with more like 96% confidence that the Phillies will win the NL East, the Cardinals the NL Central, the Dodgers the NL West, and the Rockies the NL Wildcard. Come on Giants and Braves fans, do you really think your boys will catch the Rockin’ Rockies? No, no. It’s Rocktober once again.

If all of the above outcomes are true, here’s how I see the playoffs playing out.

ALDS: Yankees trump Tigers. Angels edge Red Sox.

CC + offense beats Verlander with no offenseive support. Its that simple for games 1 and 4. Games 2 and 5 will feature Mr. I Know October, Andy Pettitte. And if the real AJ Burnett stands up for Game 3, Tigers fans won’t be happy. I get that Verlander and CC are close. And Edwin Jackson is good, but he’s untested, young, and hasn’t exactly been “lights out” recently. Jarrod Washburn has a been a wreck since leaving Seattle. Maybe Rick Porcello can be big, but I don’t know if he’ll be Pettitte big. Yanks have the better rotation in my mind. Add in a better bullpen (Hughes and Rivera essentially make every game a 7 inning game), and a better offense (Find a hole in that offense. I dare you), and it seems like a no-brainer. Sure, you have to play the games, but I don’t see how the Yanks can lose that series.

The postseason is about pitching, and honestly the Red Sox have a better staff than Anaheim Lester and Beckett four times in a five game series beats Anaheim easily. Lackey’s good, and Kazmir can be, but the Red Sox seem like the favorites and sure bets right now. Youkilis, Bay, Drew, and V-mart are going to be key to their offense, and if on their game will carry Boston out of the ALDS as victors.

NLDS:

Rockies triumph over Phillies.

Cardinals slaughter Dodgers.

Am I wrong to say I think that right now Ubaldo Jimenez is just as good, if not better, than Cole Hamels. He’s allowed 2 or less runs in 8 of his past 10 starts, and opponents are hitting only .232 off him for the year. 5 of Hamels’ past starts have led to 4 or more runs, and his ERA is 4.11 on the year. Sorry Cole, but Ubaldo is Beautiful. Cliff Lee has been dirty (Other than those 3 straight rough starts in late August/early September), but I still think he is wildly overrated. Opposing hitters are batting .269 against him, that’s not exactly dominant. None-the-less, Lee is probably better than Jason Marquis head to head, as Marquis seems to have lost his earlier season success. But, Jorge de La Rosa might be the most dominant pitcher when on his game. Before his last start Jorge had gone 26 innings while only allowing 3 earned runs. If he pitches two games for the Rox, which he should (Marquis pitching one), then the Rockies can and will win the NLDS. The Rockies bullpen easily trumps Philly’s (Lidge is absolutely atrocious) and the offenses are both strong. The Rockies will have to rely on players like Brad Hawpe, Todd Helton (former star I suppose), Seth Smith, Carlos Gonzalez (future star), and Troy Tulowtizki (Jeter Junior as I call him), while Philly banks on superstars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins. Rox will win it.

When you face two Cy Young hopefuls twice each in a 5 game series. You’re going to lose. Sorry Joe Torre, but Tony LaRussa’s team is going to kill yours. Billingsley is good, and Wolf has had a good year, but Wainwright and Carpenter are two of the three best pitchers in the National League. I don’t care what you’re offense is; there is no way you can win 3 games when those two start four of five. If you DO care about offenses Pujols and Holliday are much more formidable than Manny and Kemp. Okay, the Dodgers are more balanced in the lineup than St. Louis, but I’m telling you Wainwright and Carpenter don’t lose.

ALCS: Yanks over Red Sox

CC Sabathia v. Josh Beckett is about as good a pitching match-up as you can get. Andy Pettitte v. Jon Lester would be a neat Young v. Old game. AJ Burnett can beat Dice-K, Wakefield, Bucholz, whoever…that is if his good stuff shows up that day. If not…its anyone’s game. The Yanks have better D, a better bullpen, and a much better offense. Yeah, Boston’s got Pedroia, and Bay, and V-mart, and Youk, and Drew…but compared to Jeter, Damon, Tex, A-Rod, Posada, Swish, Matsui, and Cano…that’s nothing. Yanks also have a better bench, and Brett Gardner could do to Boston what Dave Roberts did to New York back in ’04. It could be close, but the Yanks would win the best of 7 series. They’re the better team.

NLCS: St. Louis beats Colorado.

I love the Rockies. I love Coors Field. But, I said it before and I’ll say it again…Wainwright and Carpenter are DIRTY. Say they start 4 games (Even though they’d probably start 5 combined), and the Rox somehow manage to win one of ’em. Well then Colorado has to go up against John Smoltz and his playoff reputation as well as Joel Pineiro who is a different pitcher these days. The Rockies offense isn’t that good, and I just can’t see them beating St. Louis. But who knows? (Personally, I would much rather see the Rockies win. If my prediction is wrong I will be as happy as I can be).

World Series: Yankees beat Cardinals.

I know I keep talking about the filthiness of the Cardinals 1-2 punch, but CC Sabathia, as of late, is just as filthy as Carpenter and/or Wainwright. Andy Pettitte can keep the Yanks close in Game 2, and the offense will munch on the Cardinals bullpen. That Yankee offense loves the late innings. When you eliminate that huge competitive edge that St. Louis had in the prior two series, you see the Yanks can really beat them. The Yankee ‘pen will be lights out, especially Hughes and Mo, and that offense is just incredible. Sorry Albert and Holliday, but two good hitters doesn’t beat eight. The Yanks just seem to good to not win the World Series this year. That’s my opinion.

So there’s my playoff predictions. We’ll see how right I am as October comes around.

Bobby Valentine to the Nationals?

September 22, 2009

bobby V

Rumors have been swirling that Bobby Valentine is being considered for the Nationals skipper position. I for one loved Bobby Valentine. I thought he was a stand up guy and a good manager. He has done wonders for the team he manages in Japan and the fans their love him. There is something to be said about a manager that the fans believe in and love. Ask the Yankees. No Yankee fan loved Buck Showalter even though he was an excellent manager. They called Joe Torre “Clueless Joe” when he was hired. But winning endeared Torre to the fan base and helped make the Yankees what they are today in terms of attendance.

Bobby Valentine can do that in Washington. The Nationals have a beautiful new park and no one sitting in the seats. I would love to see Valentine back in the big leagues managing a team like the Nationals. He can help turn that team around and fill seats with his attitude alone. I hope it happens.

By Michael Genovese

Twins

September 21, 2009

Remember back when I predicted that the Twins would get into the playoffs? Well, they are still very much in the picture. Right now, the Twins are 3 games behind the Tigers for 1st place in the AL Central. They have won 6 of their last 10, while the Tigers have only won 4. The Twins have it pretty easy in the next couple of weeks too. They will play 3 against the White Sox, 4 against the Tigers, and 6 against the Royals. The 6 against the Royals are a sort of gimmes… The important thing to look at is the 4 games that the Twins and Tigers will play against each other next week. This could come right down to the wire in the Mid West. Get ready.

A Crucial Monday Night

September 20, 2009
This could be one of Pettittes biggest starts this yearThis could be one of Pettitte’s biggest starts this year

Monday could be a very important day for the Yankees championship hopes. If Andy Pettitte’s shoulder acts up and gives him problems, it could spell disaster for the Yanks.

He’ll be testing it against a possible playoff opponent in the Angels and the big question is: If he goes down with an injury, will he be able to heal in time for the playoffs?

Pettitte could be the most key member of the postseason roster, especially with inconsistent pitching of AJ Burnett and the “Joba Rules” which may come back to bite the Yankees rear. (more on that soon)

A good sign is that Pettitte did not experience discomfort after throwing his bullpen session this week and although it seems like a meaningless game for a post-season bound team, this will be a big game Andy Pettitte and the Yankees.

-Brenden

http://www.smokingwithhank.wordpress.com

Umpires complain of verbal abuse by Angels

September 18, 2009

Umpires complain of verbal abuse by Angels

madumpThis makes me laugh. The Umpires have a tough job and they make mistakes. When they make mistakes the coaches let them have it. Its about defending their team and firing them up when the Umps screw up. Apparently in this circumstance something  Mike Scioscia said hurt one of the Umps feelings. Cry me a river pal, It’s baseball and if you can’t take a little verbal abuse from the Managers when you screw up than you shouldn’t be an umpire. If umps start using the commissioners office as a verbal abuse hot-line every time a manager yells at them than whats next, mediators that come out when a Manager lets an up have it? Plate umpire Rick Reed needs to thicken his skin a little if he wants to be an umpire. Truth be told there is no crying in baseball.

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The NL wild-card race is a wild one.

September 16, 2009

giantwin The Rockies have been fighting for their playoff lives of late. Fighting off the Giants that is. The Giants have won three of their last four. Compile that with the Rockies losing four straight and we have us a race. After beating the Rockies 10-2 last night the Giants have pulled to within 2.5 games. The two teams meet again today as Jorge Delarosa 14-9  battles against Matt Cain 13-5. These two young stud pitchers should make for a epic battle and a classic game that I only wish was available for viewing in my area. Those of you who get to witness this event please note that I am jealous.

Barry Zito went 7 innings yesterday striking out 9 Rockies looking more like the Zito of old. This could be huge down the stretch. One other thing worth noting is that the Florida Marlins are not out of this one yet either. At only 4.5 games back they have won 6 of their last 10 games. Hang on folks this Wild Card Race is going to be a wild one.