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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baseball Predictions AL Edition

Lets move on now to the American League. I have deeper connection to the AL since I grew up watching primarily AL teams. I profess my love for the DH but I do kind of miss the ability to ploink an opposing pitcher who has been showing intentional lack of control.  I grew up on Earl Weavers pitching, defense and three run homers and that is American League baseball in my opinion. We will start out West and work our way back.


The Angels’ have the talent to give the Nats a run for best in baseball honors. Texas enters the post Hamilton era and they should get a bite in the ass from the karma Gods for their treatment of Nolan Ryan. There are some good ball clubs out West that don’t get the attention they deserve because of the late start of the games. It takes a touch of insomnia to watch the West Coast games and since I got married I no long sit up all hours with a clicker and a bottle of scotch to watch them all. I probably picked a good time to stop as I do not think this division will be even remotely close. In order of predicted finish here we go

Los Angeles Angels

The middle of this line up has the potential to be a boon for sales at Fruit of the Loom. A lot of pitchers are just going to simply shit themselves if they have to face Hamilton, Trout, Pujols with the game in the balance. Even if you get one of them out you still have to hold it together because 5 hitter Mark Trumbo can make you look pretty stupid as well. If Hamilton stays healthy and Pujols returns entirely to form then they are a serious threat to score 850 runs and just walk away with the division wrapping up the title sometime in late August. They hit 200 home runs as a team last year and could surpass that by 40 or more with the addition of Hamilton and continued improvement by Trout and Trumbo.

The pitching staff is not chopped liver either. Weaver may have slipped a little in arm speed but he is just 30 and won 20 games last year with nasty stuff. CJ Wilson should improve on last years 13 wins with a sub 4 ERA as this team should come exceed 5 runs a game on average. With the chips cleaned out of the elbow he should be a better pitcher this year. Blanton is an innings eater and if he can drop his ERA just a touch will have a solid 15 win or more season . Tommy Hanson is the question mark for the rotation. If he avoids injury and begins living up to his potential this goes form a good rotation to a great one. The bullpen is a potential weak spot but with this offense they may have enough runs to put a patch on the pen.

They have a crappy draw in interleague play. They open in interleague, something that I think should lead to the viscous beating of Bud and his staff with aluminum bats, with a series at the talented and more comfortable in the cold Cincinnati Reds. Their 4 game series with the Dodgers in May has the potential to be some seriously great baseball and is guaranteed to piss my wife off because I intend to watch them from first pitch to final out.

This is a damn good team. No one wants to play these guys. The geeks and degenerates have them at 93 wins but I think they are a little low.

Oakland As

I have a history with the As. I remember the Billy ball teams that were just so damn good and so much fun to watch. As a smallish big mouthed hard drinker myself I have much admiration for Billy Martin and think his Oakland As teams was his best. Before that Charlie Finlay made baseball fun and they had guys like Reggie, Rollie and Catfish running around with huge staches and mutton chops with hair down to their collar. They could play and they were fun to watch as long as they were not playing the Orioles. Even though the Bash Brothers are now widely defamed admit it. You fucking watched them and you loved it.

Although Billy Beane may not really look like Brad Pitt he has put together another squad that can win some baseball games. Cespada is the real deal and will be better this year. After a year around the   league and a hopefully improved Brandon Moss hitting behind him I think we could see.300 plus and 35 long balls.

The rotation is fairly young at least until Colon is done his suspension. They performed well last year and could be improved this year. The bullpen is strong with good young arms so hopefully injuries won’t be an issue and the get the type of performance they had last year when they threw 454 innings with a 2.93 ERA. This team will prove the doubters wrong again this year under the tutelage of veteran baseball man Bob Melvin. 

The protractor set and the lose the rent gang have them at 85 games. I think they get closer to 90 again this year.

Texas Rangers

My Texas born wife and in laws aren’t going to like this pick much but if I could justify it I would pick them last in the league. They are a little too talented for that but I hope that Karma treats them like a Justin Bieber lookalike upon arrival to C block in Folsom Prison. With Ryan running the baseball side of things this team has not had a losing season, won more than 90 3 times and been to the World Series twice. Whoever takes over for him is going to be the Bobby Grich and Charlie Hayes of baseball operations personnel. To suggest one of the game’s best players with a record of winning management needs a new lesser role with the team is fucking with karma and I am hoping Karma fucks back.

Beltran and Darvish are two reasons that the Rangers may be given a chance to fight back against karma but the bullpen is already suffering from injuries and beyond Darvish the pitching is good but not great. The bean counters and dice rollers are saying 86 wins but I am going to lower them to 80 and a losing season courtesy of karma and the Oakland As. An Interleague schedule featuring Cincinnati and St Louis doesn’t help their case much.

Seattle Mariners

I don’t know why I have never been able to get into the Mariners. Its not the city. I love Seattle and have friends there. It’s not the quality if baseball in team history as they have had some great years and  some incredible talent has passed though the organization like Ken Griffey Jr and Randy Johnson. Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in the game right now. I don’t know why but I have just never been able to summon up much enthusiasm for this team.

Maybe it’s the whole grunge thing and affluent kids paying $200 for pre ripped jeans and pre soiled tee shirt and the hideous fucking noise they tried to pass off as music. Maybe it’s the name. I mean Mariners is not very exciting is it? Just a bunch of guys sailing around doing Mariner stuff. Maybe they should have gone with the Seattle Guys with really cool boats with big fucking cannons and swords and shit baseball club. Or maybe just the Seattle Clippers or Battleships. Something more interesting than Mariners. Whatever the reason I am pretty sure that the break from insomnia and scotch fueled late night baseball marathons when the Mariners were on against anybody but the Orioles is one of the chief reasons I still have a liver.

They moved the fences in but since they don’t have anybody that actually hit the damn ball besides Morales and Ibanez during his occasional hot streak it wont matter. Fernandez will sparkle, the rest of the rotation will struggle and the bullpen will flat out suck. They don’t come close to the 74 win projections by the green shade set and struggle to win 70

Houston Astros
Welcome to the American League. This is going to hurt. A Lot. Not going to win 50 games Bo Porter preseason favorite for largest bar bill with no relief of ongoing pain among all active managers award

This division could be closer than some think. Yes the Tigers will probably win the thing but Chicago usually finds a way to hang around and keep it interesting. Cleveland could just flat surprise the shit out of everybody as could Kansas City. Not the Twins however. They just suck at this game.

Detroit Tigers

They have the best pitcher and the best hitter in the game.  Tori Hunter and Prince Fielder are exactly chopped liver either as far as getting on base and driving in runs. Victor Martinez should be back and contributing at the plate this year. This is a potent offense that if healthy all year will pile up some runs and make it easy for the talented pitching staff to pile up some stats.

It is hard to begrudge Detroit some success. The city has turned into the shithole poster child for the economic crisis and its a long way back from the hole they fell into. Having the Tigers playing res baseball can help take your mind off the fact that the home you paid 150k for is now worth $19.95 for a few hours.
Then accountants and poker players have them at 89 wins. If they stay healthy I think that’s about right.

Cleveland Indians

As I said this team is going to surprise some folks this year. I have a soft spot for the Indians as they were the first team I ever watched play the Orioles in my first major league game. It was 1969 , Palmer beat Tiant, Andy Etchebarren hit a home run and Ken “the Hawk” Harrelson, the bane of every little league coach everywhere, made a running basket catch to rob Paul Blair of a certain double. Everyone remembers their first girl their first scotch and their first big league ball game and as a result I have a certain nostalgic fondness for the Indians. That and this is a city that sat their lake on fire on the 70s and dint blink and dresses like over-sized puppy dogs to watch football games in the snow. These are some tough SOBS in Cleveland.

The team made the additions they need to win. Swisher is a solid hitter and Mark Reynolds maybe streaky but when he gets hot it’s a thing of beauty. He may not hit much but when he does hit they stay hit. He also walks a lot and has a respectable .320 on base percentage for a guy that threatens to break the SO record every year. Bourne adds defense and speed tow necessary components of a winning team.

The pitching staff is the  big question mark but if they pull it together and Masterson and Jiminez cut down the mistakes this team contends. They have some talent in the minors that could come out later in the year to bolster the rotation.

Terry Francona is the most important addition. He wants to win, prove the Red Sox wrong and get another really good book deal. To do that he needs to exceed the pundits and pawnbrokers estimate of 76 wins and I think he does it.

Chicago White Sox

The Sox can be competitive but there’s a lot that can go wrong for this team. This being baseball if it can wrong it usually will at some point during the season. I love the Robin Ventura story but after Chris Sale throws the next 4 outings look a little iffy to me. Dunn is unpredictable but even he gets his 40 the team will struggle to get runners in front of him. Konerko is getting to that age where it is tough to go a whole year without an injury no matter how solid the skill set is. The team lives and dies n the long ball and I think production falls off substantially this year.

The adding machines and slots players have them at 85 wins but I think they got some medical mary jane in their machines. The Sox struggle to stay even and win less than 80 games this year.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals are like the economy. They are better but still a year or so away from being really good. They may be good enough to surpass the White Sox but that will depend on Homser and Moustakas playing one heel of a lot better than they did last year. Butler will collect his hits and Gordon is as steady a player as you will finds in the league but is just not enough to turn the corner. Shields is a great addition to the staff but its not exactly a world beater of a rotation once he sits down. If they can get a lead the bullpen can probably hold it but getting a lead will be a problem much of the year.

On the upside this is a young team and will continue to move up the division but unless it goes really bad for the Sox and Cleveland doesn’t jell the way I expect this is not the year.

The cold blooded counters and hot money plungers have them at 77 games. I think that’s about right.

Minnesota Twins

I have nothing against the Twins. They have been a great franchise over the decades and produced some solid ballplayers. Hell five years Mauer and Morneau would have been part of mist dream lineups.Now they are just some older guys who never really hit their full potential as major leaguers. I have spent a lot of time with a family member of one of the former owners of the club doing some serious drinking, boating and talking baseball.  I have nothing against the Twins and wish team the very best in 2013

But holy fuck this is a really bad baseball team.


 This is the tough one for me because I naturally want to pick the Orioles to win the division by 162 games and the scum sucking rat bastard red Sox to finish 162 back in the loss column That’s not going to happen so I have to apply a little realism to the matter. Not much bit a little. This could be a really tight race and my top three picks could be separated by just a game or two as we go into September.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are the least appreciated team in all of baseball. If they could get out of the contract in St Pete and move the team east along I4 they would be a blockbuster in attendance but there is no sign of that happening. The wins to fans in attendance ratio has to be among the lowest in baseball history.

Shields in gone to Kansas City but they pitching staff is still one of the best in the game. David Price is a Cy Young contender every season he walks out to the mound. Hellickson had one of the lowest ERAs in the league while pitching 177 innings. He was a little snake bit in close games this year and should post a much stronger record this year. Matt Moore should improve this year and lower his walk rate adding to his win total as well. Alex Cobb is having a strong spring and should hold up his end of the pitching cycle.

The offense looks solid as well. Longoria is back and looking healthy so that should add some run production. A healthy Luke Scott is good for some long balls and RBIs as well. James Loney should benefit from being away from Dodger stadium as he hits well everywhere but Chavez Ravine. Desmond Jennings should rebound forma sophomore slump and be a quality leadoff hitter n 2103. Of course there is always a chance we see phenom Wil Myers bring his hitting talents up to the big leaguers and add some additional pop to the lineup.

I will see a lot of Rays games this year as my local cable carries the team and will no doubt venture over to the Trop a time or two but I will be one of the few doing so. It’s a shame because this is a damn good baseball team. The should surpass the suits and zoots estimate of 89 and win in the low 90s this year.

Baltimore Orioles

This is a tough pick for me to make as I am clearly influenced by my love of the team. However if this team stays healthy they will be right in the thick of this things. I know they won a lot of one run games last year and that probably will not be repeated. But they also did not have Roberts, Markakis or Reimold in the lineup for huge parts of the year and that could more than take up the slack if those three guys play all year. If Brian Roberts is really back then the team contends for a title. Jones is a legitimate star, hardy is a decent shortstop with pop in the bat and Chris Davis has the potential to be monster bat over at first base. Weiters is killing the ball in spring training and is one of the best defensive catchers in the game. If Manny Machado matures into what we hope he will this is a very solid baseball team with the potential to make the playoffs again this year.

Pitching is a little suspect but Chen and Hammel at the top of the rotation should be consistent. Arrieta looks to be much improved as does Matuz. Keep in mind we also have Bundy and Glausman both chomping at the bits to get up to the majors. The bullpen was one of the reasons the orioles won so many one run games last year and I think they will be again. I see no drop off there.

We also have Buck Showalter and a solid cohesive locker room going for us. So fuck the experts and their 79 games. The Birds win 90.

Toronto Blue Jays

A lot of people are picking the Blue Jays to win the division because they made so many improvements. It is possible but when I run the numbers they have improved a lot but from a very low base. The all-stars they added give them another 10 to 15 wins and that’s not going to be enough. It’s also worth keeping in mind that many of these guys played together in Miami last year and flat out sucked. If they can get the chemistry and locker room together they may make a better run than I expect but that’s a lot ego and tax brackets in one room.

If they put it all together they will be tough. They have the guys to get on and the guys to knock them in. However beyond Reyes there’s not a lot of great defense behind the pitchers and that could cost them some runs. If you can get to the bullpen early with this team you can beat them most of the time. They improved but there’s a lot of holes in this team the experts are not talking about.

The experts have them at 87 and that about right but not enough to win this division.

New York Yankees

I hate picking the Yankees down here. Unlike many other Baltimore fans I am not a Yankees hater. I would love to have a pennant race with the New Yorkers every year. If they make into the playoffs and we don’t not I rot for them. The evil empire is good for baseball. This is the team that has given us Ruth, Maris, Gehrig, Mantle Ford and countless other stars. A-Rod may be a shithead but Derek Jeter has not only been a real talent but a real gentleman since the first time he took the field. Mariano is a legend and just fun to watch. I wish they Yanks looked better this year but they don’t.

I was ready to stand against all the pundits calling the team too old but the injuries started. Granderson is out. Tex is out possibly for most of the year. Jeter already has a sore ankle. A-Rod is AWOL. The Bombers injury report looks like an all-star team. They have a brutal schedule in April and then an easier May that may allow them to catch their breath but if their stars are not back and at the top of their game June will bury the Yankees this year.

The fill ins and other starters just won’t be enough to keep the Yankee’s in the mix. The pitching staff is adequate but not brilliant and with the injuries they need brilliant.

If Cashman is given free reign this will be a one year condition but I see some signs that bosses sons are not as addicted to winning as their father was during his long successful tenure. Hopefully the learn that the crack pipe that is YES revenues network burns out pretty damn quick when they Yankees aren’t winning and truly go back to being the evil empire and filling seat with haters all over the American League. He experts have them at 85 games. I think 82 or 83 is more realistic

Boston Red Sox

I just love picking the Red Sox down here. I hate this team. I hate the owner, the management and the whole concept of the Boston Fucking Red Sox. Boston fans were hoping the team got better on the offseason and could regain prominence in the division. I do not think they did. Order the chicken wings and beers bitches you are in the cellar. The stats freaks and gamblers picking them to win 80 are high on bad acid. This tram wins 75 or less

That’s my predictions for the 2013 season. Odds are I am completely off base and dead wrong across the board but its fun to do anyway. Its along season and a lot can right or wrong for many teams in both leagues. If life is fair we see the National and Angels in the Series. If God is good is good we see the Orioles and Dodgers in the fall classic. Life is not fair and God probably doesn’t interfere in the baseball season so lets play the games, crack a beer and see how this all lays out shall we?

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