Saturday, August 2, 2014

Signor Baseball's Well Past Mid-Season MLB Update

Hey, I've been busy...Not really. Just lazy. And of course still spell bound by "the beautiful game". Nil nil. Yawn.

So, with two months left, where the hell are we?

Well, the NL East is going almost as predicted, with Atlanta and Washington neck and neck. Whichever finishes second has a good shot at a Wild Card slot. The Marlins are about where you'd expect, still full of young talent and still playing before mostly empty seats. The Mets look better than projected, and the poor Phillies are aging before our eyes, like that guy at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They could have had one hell of a fire sale in the City of Brotherly Love. Hamels, Utley, Rollins, Byrd, and a couple of others would've been very attractive pickups for any contender. But they all have huge contracts, and to get any of them you probably would have had to take on Ryan Howard's absolute dog of a contract as well, so...

The Milwaukee Brewers are a surprise in the NL Central. They've cooled off from a very fast start, though, and I don't think they will stay the course. The Cards made the best pickups at the trading deadline, but I still expect the Pirates and Reds to stay close down to the wire. And the runner up has a good chance at a Wild Card. Pittsburgh sure could use another bat, though. Which leaves the Cubs. All the experts say the Chicagoans are loaded with prospects. They've been saying this for the past few years. And yet the Cubs never get any better. Hmmm. Waiting for them to win is like waiting for the Rapture--except with plenty of cold beer.

Out West, the Dodgers and Giants will go down to the last few games, with the loser a strong candidate for a Wild Card spot. LA's pitching still has the edge, and their offense is stronger, too. In other words, San Francisco has them right where they want them. All the other teams are shite as they say across the pond. The Rockies jumped out fast but began to fade even faster. The Diamondbacks and Padres have already started dumping salary. Arizona in particular has been a massive disappointment. The highest payroll in team history and look at them! Whoever put that team together has a lot of 'splaining to do. The only questions left at this point for those three teams are which managers and general managers will be fired.

The AL East looks like a race between Baltimore, New York and Toronto to the bitter end. None of them is good enough to pull away. Neither the Blue Jays or the Orioles have proven they can stand up under the pressure of a pennant race. The Yankees are held together with spit and baling wire and any more injuries in the Bronx and I'll be in their starting rotation. A week ago I would have included Tampa, but trading your best pitcher for a bag of magic beans and some pocket lint means you've pretty much written off this year. And why the Red Sox added more bats at the cost of their 2 best starters is anyone's guess. Still, Boston will take great pleasure in beating any of the teams in front of them.

With the acquisition of David Price the Tigers are a lock in the Central--even though Verlander isn't really Verlander anymore. And Price hasn't pitched very well in the post season, either. But Scherzer (a former Diamondback if anyone is counting), Porcello and all of those bats make Detroit a heavy favorite to win the AL. The Indians, Royals, and my God, even the White Sox, still have a shot at the second Wild Card. The Twins remain stuck in small market purgatory with no Billy Beane in sight. PS the T-Wolves are going to suck, too.

A lot of very smart folks have been calling the A's the best team in the American League for months now. But a look at the West standings shows them just a couple of games ahead of the Angels. Oakland added a great pitcher but gave up a lot of offense when they traded Cespedes. And money being tight in Oakland, chances are they'll only have Lester for the rest of this year. So win--or else. After under-performing at great expense the last couple of years, Anaheim would just love to knock the A's off. Seattle has an outside shot at the second Wild Card, the Rangers are as huge a disappointment as the Diamondbacks, and I read somewhere that the Astros will win the World Series in 2017. Uh huh.

No comments: