MLB predictions: NL and world series

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Okay, and round two begins – right now.

The NL west hosts the reigning champion of the MLB – the San Francisco Giants. They have a great squad, an ace – and a big three. Which could be problematic for them. Why, you ask? Think about it. Last year, when Posey was out and Sandoval wasn’t putting up numbers, they were out. Who can stop them though? Well, could it be the D-Backs? I don’t know. This team is very streaky and on and off. Could the money-all Dodgers dethrone them? I don’t think so. Putting talent together and putting talent together with chemistry are two completely different things. The Padres and Rockies both have one bright spot, but other than that – not so much.

In the central, things are all but a one-horse race. While I do expect the chemistry filled and talented Reds to take this division, I think the Cardinals, with their young-old talent combo can be a threat. I think the Brewers, with their speed and overall playing could be a threat. The Cubs – well, the worst case for them is losing too many, finishing in fourth, and not getting a good draft pick. The Pirates, however, could be able to finally not only scratch .500 baseball, but maybe even a playoff spot.

And in the NL East… expect that phrase to be introduced this season. The dark horse Nationals with sophomore sensation Bryce Harper, and all aces together with no innings limit look to dominate. But, the Braves could make it hard. With the Upton brothers, this team is a catcher’s nightmare. The Phillies, while making a signing here and there, are simply too old. The Mets and Marlins… well – rebuild. That’s all they really can do, except for David Wright and Giancarlo Stanton.

AWARDS:

NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander

NL MVP: Bryce Harper

AL MVP: Mike Trout

PLAYOFFS

WILD CARD: Pirates (91-71) over Braves (93-68)

NLDS: Nationals (103-60) over Pirates (in 4). Reds (97-66) over Giants (96-67) (in 5).

NLCS: Nationals over Reds (in 6)

WORLD SERIES:

Okay, so we made it. The Tigers VS the Nationals.

Let’s review the case for each side.

Tigers: Have a triple crown winner, tons of speed and batting, and an ace with a good supporting cast with playoff experience.

Nationals: Have a sophomore prodigy, a fireballer, and a great supporting cast with a bit of playoff experience.

So, I have the Nats in game one, with DC nearly exploding. But in game two, the Tigers will take it, quieting them down. The nats will take three and four, not even giving Detroit a chance to be loud. In five, the tigers will take it in their final home game of the season, extending the series to game 6 in DC – where there will be a parade the next day.

Nats in 6.

Note: I don’t know if these are accurate. If they are, then holy cow, I’m a genius! If not, don’t blame me for all the broken windows. 

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Award Time!!

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It’s that time of year again – when teams without playoff hope go into despair, and put their attention on new managers and draft picks, and the contenders go into all-out win mode. Plus, the talk heats up about these small awards. So, without any further ado, my MLB award picks.

AL ROY:

Mike Trout: 29 Homers. .321 BA. 47 stolen bases. 79 RBI. Quite a few wall catches. Have I said enough?

NL ROY:

Bryce Harper: It’s not been a record batting average, but 21 homers, 95 runs and 58 RBIs(and counting) look pretty good for a teenager. This guy knows how to turn on a team’s excitement, energy, and play. Every game you watch him, he does something that you expect to be on SportsCenter’s top plays. If he’s 19 and doing this already – you have to give him the nod for Rookie of the Year.

AL MVP:

This is tough. But unless Miguel Cabrera can get the triple crown, I have to give this guy the nod. Don’t get me wrong, there is tons of competition that is being overlooked because of a 21 year old who is one home run away from being a member of the 30/30 club. Robinson Cano has a .301 average, 30 homers and 83 ribbies.  Josh Hamilton is the AL leader with 43 home runs and has 130 RBI. Adam Jones puts up a fight as well. But if you put together a for sure gold glover, member of the 30/30 club, a .321 BA, 47 stolen bases and 79 RBI, only one person is that well rounded and incredible, so you have to hand Mike Trout the AL MVP award.

NL MVP: Nobody noticed, and I’ll admit I didn’t notice them for a while either. But Ryan Braun, Buster Posey and Yadier Molina were all quietly having incredible seasons. However, the public’s loss of faith in Braun has brought the race down to these two. Which brings us to a question: Molina or Posey? So, with general play, attitude, team play and leadership, I had to go through the Moneyball approach. Who’s stats beat the others? They were both very close or the same in BA and Home runs. But the one category there was a real difference in – RBI. Posey is at 100, while Molina is 25 behind him at 75, and with every other category close, and adding on a NL West Division championship, I have to give the nod to Buster Posey as NL MVP. 

AL Cy Young: David Price has been quietly dominant with his 2.56 ERA speaking for itself, as well as a 19-5 record. So give the nod to him – because in all honesty – there isn’t much competition – and while Verlander could get the award for the second time, he only has 16 wins, so you have to give the nod to price.

Manager of the year NL:  You have to go with Davey Johnson. If you can bring a team from under .500 to the best record in baseball, especially in a division with the Braves and Phillies you have a vote in my book.

Manager of the year AL: Buck Showalter has basically done the same thing Davey Johnson has done, except without the Division Champs part, and only 45 minutes away, too! Just like Davey, he had to fight the competition in the division to do it too. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if there was a beltway battle for the world series.

NL Cy Young: This, by far is the hardest one for me. R.A Dickey’s E.R.A and knuckleball shine up in New York. Craig Kimbrel looks pretty good in Atlanta, and pretty unstoppable now that you mention it. Johnny Cueto, despite the no-hitter that wasn’t his looks pretty good at 19-9 with a 2.81 ERA. But none of them are both the ace and leading their team into the playoffs, which was the deciding factor for me in this. He stepped up big time when the limelight fell on him after number one was gone. He is the first, and so far the only pitcher with 21 wins, plus 207 strikeouts, and his 2.89 ERA seals the deal for me – so I give the nod to, you guessed it, Gio Gonzalez.

There are many other possibilities for all of these – and I’m not saying I should be right – but in my opinion, these guys deserve the awards.

THE WEEKLY: ReplACEments

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In 2009, it was a bad year for hitters.  In 2010, we thought it was a one year thing.  In 2011, we didn’t think it was anything but good pitching.  This year is no exception.  While many people struggle to find reasons for the pitcher dominating in the past few years, throwing around random statistics, I have maybe a real reason.

The pitchers of 2008 were a bit wiped out.  Most aces were veterans losing power.  In 2009, a new wave was born.  Roy Halladay was reaching potential, Clay Buchholz was ready to become one of the main men of a franchise, and Stephen Strasburg was picked number one overall.  In 2010, deemed “Year of the Pitchers” with 5 no hitters, we saw Halladay, Strasburg, and Tim Lincecum showing dominance on the mound.

2011 meant Justin Verlander’s domination.  He became the face of the MLB, winning a Cy Young and MVP.  In 2012, the transition was complete.  Yu Darvish came to MLB, and Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Moore, and many more are blowing by batters.  It’s not even the end of July and we’ve already had four no-no’s, and the league batting average is at its lowest since 1972.  When Lincecum faltered Cain shined.  DC became the fastest, curviest, and slowest city in the country.  Perfection was possible and becoming more common.

A new wave of Aces has replaced a hitters’ playground with a new pitchers’ palace.

A reality check for three teams – good and bad.

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REALITY CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 teams just were handed losses today – some of them one of their first, one of them their fifth. Does the pain actually help? Maybe.

The Tigers were undefeated in 5 games before today. Justin Verlander was pitching, which seems like a pretty secure win to most teams. And it was a good game for him, at least until the top of the ninth. After giving up a run and getting two batters on board, it was time to leave. Unfortunately, Tigers relief couldn’t close it out, and they lost to the Rays. Which may be just what the doctor ordered for the Destroyers from Detroit. Why, you ask? Simple. A team that good, needs a good reality check about 79 times a year. Being good isn’t enough for teams in this league, you have to be better. And it proves – the Red Sox weren’t taking that reality check last summer, and collapsed at the end because they decided they didn’t need to keep working.

Now, for the Mets, since they were (past tense) undefeated and then lost two games to the Nationals, that’s a serious reality check. In the division they reside in, good isn’t good enough. Great isn’t good enough. Now, while this goes for every division, it really matters in the NL East. In all likelihood, there will be three NL East teams in the playoffs, and the Mets are a bit of a long shot. A loss makes them realize they are, still, the Mets. Which means they don’t have a leadoff batter. Or power hitter. Or shortstop. So, if anything, those losses were a reminder – if they want to finish even scarcely close to a playoff spot, they have to work harder than any other team in that division, even though they may not be the best.

The Red Sox have just been handed their fifth loss. In May, that’s incredible. In April – that’s horrible. The one game they win, is against Toronto, which is a fourth place in the division team. Not the best win, but they’ll take it. Losing to the Tigers doesn’t worry me, the Tigers are good. Losing two of three to the Jays, that does worry me. The Red Sox need to get back up and prove they aren’t knocked down with one punch, because at the end of last year, it seemed like it. The Red Sox need to wake up, and realize that last year was a dream turned nightmare. Getting back up and getting a playoff spot is a must for them. But trying so hard, they haven’t done much. They have to outlast the competition, and play very hard – until the end of October, because they forgot to do that, and guess what happened….