Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Signor Baseball's 2012 NL Preview

OK, so it's a little late...but slip on your sliding pads and move the coffee table, 'cuz it's time for Signor Baseball's 2012 NL preview:

EAST: Phillies are too loaded not to win. They have more than enough pitching to overcome any offensive deficiencies--even with Utley and Howard banged up. On the other hand, they had great pitching last year, too. And they spent the World Series at home. Like the Yankees, just winning the division isn't enough anymore. Sometimes, that kind of pressure takes its toll. The Marlins should pass the Braves for one of the wild cards. If for some reason they don't, at least Ozzie Guillen will provide plenty of colorful copy for the folks in south Florida. [Not even a week into the season and already Ozzie's mouth has gotten him in trouble. I thought everybody knew that you can't say anything even remotely positive about Castro in south Florida without a shit-storm of angry Cuban ex-pat backlash. I guess being run out of your own country and then spending the next 50 some years whining about it makes folks bitter and short tempered.] Atlanta, which never seems to slip too much, still has a chance at the other wild card. If Strasburg stays healthy, the Nationals will be competitive every fifth day. Who knows, with a few breaks maybe they can hang around until August. The Mets are just sad, sad, sad, again. But at least they won't be going into receivership.

CENTRAL: Even without the great Pujols the Cards have enough talent to win again. The Reds and Brewers will have to settle for being in the wild card mix. Chicago will be better, just probably not good enough yet. But give Theo Epstein enough time and money and miracles can happen--even with the Cubs. "Hope springs eternal" and all that. Who knows about the Pirates? The mystery that is A.J. Burnett brings his psychological side show to the banks of the Allegheny. With a few breaks, Pittsburgh could be a .500 club this year. And if St. Louis stumbles, this may be one of those years where a little above .500 is enough to stay in the Central race until the bitter end. Once again, the Houston Astros look like a good, solid AAA club. 44 years ago, I toured the Astrodome, which was then called the 8th Wonder of the World. Today it is abandoned and falling apart. Talk about your metaphors for life.

WEST: Diamondbacks are favored, but I'm not convinced that their starters can duplicate last year. After Kennedy I have my doubts. If they falter, and the touted young arms in the farm system can't fill the gaps, Arizona could easily fall behind San Francisco. The Giants have a lot of pitching but don't look like they'll be able to score many runs. Just like when they won the Series a couple of years ago. Weird stuff like that happens all the time in baseball. Both teams will have a shot at one of the wild card slots. As always, the Rockies will score mucho runs, but, as always, don't have much pitching. LA has a handful of all-stars, but the Dodgers don't look strong enough overall in any department to contend. $2 billion doesn't get you as much these days. However, Magic Johnson doesn't like to lose, so look for them to fill the gaps asap. And win or lose, Vin Scully is still the gold standard. Finally, San Diego is a great place to spend the summer.

No comments: