PHILADELPHIA – April is the cruelest month for the tiny company of people predicting the results of the Major League Baseball season.
Let’s say you put your name on the idea that the Atlanta Braves are doing this Will win everything in the year. Then you see them stumble out of the gate and swept by Joe Girardis Phillies in three games.
Then you need to remember that playing the first three of 162 games was like running the first 11 seconds of a 10- minute mile. That after 11 seconds you would certainly not stop running if something went wrong. You keep running. So stick to what you published less than a week ago.
(Incidentally, this reassuring technique can also apply to fans who are concerned that their team is 1-2, for example.)Last year I picked the Dodgers to make the World Series … and lose to the A. Oh well.
Here’s a deeper dive into why I did what I did with this season’s tips:
Yes, I’ll be sticking with the Yankees to help myself despite their sudden conversion to the 2018 Mets -19 on the days that Jacob deGrom begins to enforce. There is too much talent here, too many strong successes to think differently. And I think enough people from their upside pitching game, be it Domingo German, Corey Kluber, Luis Severino or Jameson Taillon, will have enough success for this group to set a 97-65 record.
If you’ve seen the Blue Jays take two out of three off the Yankees in the Bronx, you’ve taken a look at their young talent creation – and their big winter catcher, George Springer, isn’t even active. You are real. They are sticking around to qualify for October.
I don’t think the Rays will do the same if they defend their crown in the American League. There are too many doubts about their pitching’s ability to duplicate last year’s results and the potential of their offense to significantly outperform last year’s results.
Don’t tell anyone but when I originally made my pick I have named Eloy Jimenez as my Most Valuable AL Player. The very next day, poor Jimenez broke a chest tendon and will be absent for most, if not all of the season, leading the White Sox to oddly place Jimenez’s jersey in their dugout, the kind of tribute we normally get from to see far worse fates. While switching my MVP selection to Angels’ Anthony Rendon, I stayed with the Chisox who won the division because Jimenez has such a high ceiling that he won’t pitch. And the White Sox pitching team are looking scary to support a still formidable line-up, despite the young stallion Tim Anderson leaving the game early on Sunday night.
The twins are the twins. You’ll be right in the thick of it again, with the sizeable matzah of 18 direct playoff losses.
Shohei Ohtani’s first start to the season started amazingly before ending in a disturbing way. The angels say he’s fine. Can he stay healthy and offer added value both as a starting pitcher and as a proven batsman? Wow. New general manager Perry Minasian has really upgraded the roster he inherited with under-the-radar moves like the pickups of shortstop Jose Iglesias, Raisel Iglesias, the start of pitcher Alex Cobb and others. It’s time for Mike Trout to finally win a playoff game or three.
The Astros have thoroughly beaten the A’s for four games in a row, silencing Oakland fans who finally called them for their sign theft wanted to exploit. The A’s pitching should recover, and the Astro’s pitching depth is in question. That’s why I put the defending division champions in front of Dusty Baker’s group without qualifying for the playoffs.
I wonder if the Yankees’ repeated disappointments in October will weigh them down while the White Sox are relatively fresh into the tournament can go. Skipper Tony La Russa, who turns 77 on October 4th, is the oldest manager to reach the World Series.
I’m optimistic about the Braves, despite their rough start from the gate. They’re a grave offense and a fascinating pitching team, and they’ve built an organizational culture that allows newcomers – like Marcell Ozuna last year and Josh Donaldson two years ago – to thrive.
Am within the Mets I’m bearish of Francisco Lindor, Edwin Diaz, and Jeff McNeil, among others, for 2021. However, their vastly improved schedule depth allows them to cover up burglaries as long as enough people meet or exceed their projections. I believe this will be done with a 90-72 record and wildcard berth, their first playoff appearance since 2016.
More than any other team this opening weekend, the Phillies got me to my placement in Ask a question (for third place). Because they would have made the playoffs last year if there hadn’t been a historically terrible bullpen. And if Dave Dombrowski fixed that bullpen … well, I put her in third place because I think all her talent can’t match that of the Braves and Mets. In the meantime, in the next few days we will get a better idea of the COVID damage to the Nats, which I put in fourth place.
In a winter that was marked by cost reductions across the industry this branch is probably the hardest. We thank the Brewers and Cardinals for doing their best here among the least, and Milwaukee gets the advantage thanks to a starting rotation crowned by Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, as well as an outfield that is aboard Jackie Bradley Jr. welcomed to join Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich (and Avisail Garcia). The Cardinals should be very concerned about their pitching.
How can you bet against the Dodgers, easily the squad with the highest cap and deepest well in business to prevail in the regular season marathon? They put together more contingency plans than Chuck Rhoades in « Billions ».
The Padres put down perhaps the most fascinating winter of any club by adding a trio of starting pitchers (Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell) and the dynamic Fernando Tatis Jr. have expanded – raising the bar for Lindor to make their 19 regulars – season matchups against the Dodgers must watch TV. You and the Dodgers should enjoy the rest of their division.
Don’t underestimate the hangover effect of defending your title even after a season of just 60 games. The Dodgers title for 2020 is particularly emotional given the 32-year drought and pandemic hurdles. I will also be impressed if, given his story, Trevor Bauer manages not to cause mini-crises that strain the energy of his teammates.
No, the All-Star Game will thankfully and correctly not take place in Atlanta, but it will won’t give a way to keep the fall classic away from there. The series MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. will show his talents on the big stage to give the Braves their first title since 1995 and the NL East their sixth since the Mets last won in 1986.
The This week’s pop quiz question came from the late Jan Bottone of Wellesley, Mass .: Name the former American League Cy Young Award winner who released a country music album called « No Secrets ».
It is running a podcast titled « This Life Isn’t For Everyone, » hosted by Chad Belding, which welcomes a handful of well-known ball players. Most recently, Belding had an interesting conversation with Josh Hader, Brewers’ all-star helper. Well worth a look.
If you have a tidbit that links baseball to popular culture, please send it to me at [email protected]
© 2021 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved
Your ad choices
Your California Privacy Rights
Do not sell my personal information
Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos
Vidéo du jour: