Tampa Bay Sports Day

MLB Season Preview

Yes, folks, the 2010 season is underway; there’s further talk of performance-enhancing drugs and tainted records–which reminds me: I’ve been having headaches lately so will head to Canada soon to get some ibuprofen. Anyway, here’s how they’ll finish this season:

AL EAST
N.Y. Yankees
Boston Red Sox
T.B. Rays
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays

AL CENTRAL
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

AL WEST
LA Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics

**Notes:
AL EAST– New York’s Nick Johnson gets hurt more than Evel Knievel did, but he’ll be able to JOG around the bases most of the time; don’t think Beltre and Ortiz will give Boston the ‘pop’ they desperately need to overtake NY. Longoria may be the league’s MVP, but will B.J. Upton rebound? Orioles could finish at .500 as young pitchers like Bergesen and Matusz develop; Toronto won’t get enough outfield production, may lose 100 games, and should hand out handkerchiefs to fans every time Halladay starts for Philadelphia.
AL CENTRAL– Hudson helps Twins A LOT and–even without closer Nathan–Gardenhire will find a way to win the division. White Sox’ starting pitching will keep them near the top of the division, but which Alex Rios will show up? Tigers will score enough but overall team health may be a concern. Royals lack power and just won’t get around the bases; Tribe’s pitching is the reason they’ll occupy the cellar as EVERYONE becomes trade bait in September.
AL WEST– Angels still have enough talent and the best manager in the league while Matsui is a great clubhouse addition; I question the back end of Seattle’s rotation and how much Griffey has left in the tank. Texas has some good young arms, can score, and may challenge Seattle if Josh Hamilton stays vertical. Oakland simply won’t score runs and no player will SNIFF the 100-RBI mark–putting way too much pressure on a decent, young staff.

NL EAST
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
N.Y. Mets
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

NL CENTRAL
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL WEST
Colorado Rockies
S.F. Giants
L.A. Dodgers
Arizona D’Backs
S.D. Padres

**Notes:
NL EAST– A good Philadelphia team got better, but will Lidge be closing come October? Don’t know if Atlanta can score enough although their pitching looks decent; I have more questions about the Mets pitching staff than I do about Obama’s health-care plan. Florida will have trouble closing games and their defense is suspect. Nats’ closer Capps had an ERA close to SIX last year–and guess what? He’ll probably be closing AGAIN in 2010.
NL CENTRAL– Third base could be a concern for St. Louis, but Holliday adds some needed power; I question the bridge to Marmol in Chicago and Piniella’s best managing days may have passed. A better-than-average Aaron Harang could be the key to the Reds’ success; I don’t like the Brewers’ pitching staff OR Hoffman closing games in the clutch. Astros need Oswalt to be better but their bullpen still won’t get it done; the Pittsburgh PR people could offer MAJOR incentives/prizes at EVERY home game if the team scores five or more runs–simply because they WON’T.
NL WEST– A high team on-base percentage–along with a healthy Jeff Francis–get the Rockies to the playoffs; lack of team speed–along with a low on-base percentage–will hurt the Giants. Dodgers won’t pitch as well as last season and Manny’s #’s will continue to decline; a non-healthy Brandon Webb seals D’Backs’ fate. San Diego will have trouble pitching on the road and won’t score at ANY stadium in which they play.

*Postseason: Yes, my friends–a replay of last season’s Fall Classic as the Yanks and Phils emerge from their respective leagues. Yankees’ core players get to enjoy a repeat as the edge goes to the NY closer–making all the difference as frigid fall temperatures arrive. Enjoy the season, everyone.