OPENING DAY! 13 baseball games... baseball all day and all night tonight. Woo hoo!
As I do every year, I make my April end of season MLB predictions.
AL West Uhm, California Angels. Too powerful for the other three; although the As improved and will challenge.
Pitching for the Halos is again good this year, I like:
1. Lackey and the leadership role his has taken on. I like him to do well this year.
2. Frankie looks UNBELIEVABLE again. I like him for 40+ save again.
3. Shields looks great, again.
I'm worried about:
1. Weaver's health. I think he'll bounce back and win 18 this year.
2. Colon's health. I don't know that he'll ever bounce back. I don't know that we will see Bart pitch well ever again. But, if Bart comes back healthy with at least 6 weeks to go in the season, you'll see the Halos in the post-season.
3. Escobar's health. I think Kelvim's days as a starter are about done.
There is also, the real potential for the lineup to put up some big numbers. You have 7 guys that could hit 20+ homers, 90+ RBIs, and bat for .300 this season in:
1. Shea Hillenbrand - likes coming home and is looking to make a run at a ring
2. The youngster Howie Kendrick - I like him for a batting title in the near future
3. Casey Kotchman - if he lays off the outside corner, he'll be a power hitter for sure this year
4. Garret Anderson - as long as his back stays strong...
5. Vlad - do I need to say anything about the best hitter in the game?
6. Gary Matthews jr - I hope last year wasn't a fluke and I hope the whol HGH noise fades away.
7. Juan Rivera - as long as his leg heals, he'll be back knocking long balls
Look for the Angels to make moves at the break. If they're in First and looking good, then you'll see Stoneman make inquiries about ARod. If the Angels are not in first and floundering and Rivera is back and healthy, look for Stoneman to deal away Matthews. Pitching, if Bart is back and healthy, no changes. No Bart, then look for Stoneman to pull the trigger and get a "Ted Lily."
AL East Boston. It's all on Daisuke. Hope he has the big shoulders to carry the hopes of Boston Town. I think the Sox made the right moves and spent enough money to overthrow the Evil Empire(TM) this year. Now, they have to execute.
Timlin, Pineiro, and Schilling healthwise worry me. I've seen firsthand how bad JC Romero pitches, so let's hope his inning count is LOW this year. Losing Donnelly to the Sox was a blow to the Halos, but a huge pick up for Boston. I like the starters and think Boston has a good bullpen and IF Papelbon is on, then the Sox will take the East.
Varitek is still awesome, but old. Mirabelli will see more action this year.
Boston's number one problem is they are PITCHING heavy and have little to no fielders. Coco Crisp - eek! JD Drew was a good pickup (one the Dodgers are still stinging from).
AL Central Good god. Four of the five are potential WS winners. Minnesota is armed and ready again. Cleveland is loaded. Chi Town is ready for a return trip. However, this IS the Tigers year. Watch for the ChiSox to make a run, but the Tigers will quash it.
Wild Card ChiSox
NL West Best of the worst: Dodgers. Not much to say; except the Dodgers could be the sleeper.
NL Central The WORST division in the league, but still gotta be St. Louis (or as I call them, the Angles in the East). AK was a great pick up for them defensively. I think St. Louis has the best infield in Baseball... maybe the best infield in the last... 20 years.
NL East Man o man were the Mets impressive last night or what? Mets dominate this year. Murderers Row 2007. Look for B I G numbers from the Mets this year.
Wild Card Houston.