It’s Opening Day. Fall is gone and the grass is growing, fertilized by a mulch pile of baseless, bullshit predictions. This may be a movie site, but I’m still on the internet goshdarnit, so I’m going to add to the frass. I make my predictions based on nothing more than gut instincts. Crunching baseball statistics isn’t for me. A person can get lost in the numbers and I have too much other crap to do in my life. This is just how I SEE it, after watching Spring Training and an ocean of MLB Network hours. Ye experts, prepare to stone.
NL East: As much as I’d like my Marlins to swoop in (or soar in, thank you asshole-from-Creed) and steal the division, it’s obviously going to boil down to a pitching race between the Phillies and Braves. The Phils would be the chalk pick, but I feel like since the Braves have done good things to the team chemistry, the energy of the kids like Freeman and Beachy is going to energize the clubhouse, and since this could be Chipper’s last season, the Braves are going to gut check and squeak out the division. Phils get the Wild Card, but god help anybody that plays them in the postseason.
NL Central: OK, the cardinals have Carpenter and Pujols, but the Mariners have Hernandez and Ichiro and they’re not going anywhere, are they? The only reason to pick the Cardinals is because, hey, they’re always there. Not this year. Ignoring the Astros and Pirates, that leaves a three-way race between the Brewers, Cubs, and Reds. The Reds just maintained their team without adding to it, and you can make an argument that they overachieved last year, so they might take a step back. The Brewers are already dealing with that Milwaukee curse, which means injuries will screw up what should be their year. I’m going to go dark horse and say the Cubs surprise everyone. New manager, new pitcher. Yeah, why not?
NL West: The Giants have to repeat, right? Unless their pitching staff implodes with injuries or something? Arizona and Los Angeles are going to be awful. The Padres got worse. Only the Rockies can compete, and great pitching always beats great hitting. Going to be a fun division to watch, though.
AL East: I think the Red Sox are the biggest lock in baseball. The Blue Jays and Rays took big steps backward. The Orioles took a huge step forward, but that’s not saying much considering how far back they were. And the Yankees? I’m sorry, I’m not seeing it. They only have two pitchers worth worrying about, and the heralded offense is a year older and starting to fade. The Sox added two crushers in Crawford and Gonzalez who will put dents into the Green Monster all summer long. Yeah, it’s a walk.
Prediction: Red Sox
AL Central: The Royals and Indians are right out. The White Sox could compete, but they seem a little dysfunctional to me, so I’m going to rule them out. That leaves the Twins and the Tigers, and the Twins got their beast closer back and have looked great all Spring, so I’m picking them. The Tigers will make it close, I think, but this will be the Twins’ division again.
AL West: I’m not buying the A’s, and the Mariners suck. I think the Rangers are going to take a small step back and the Angels are going to be a LOT better than people suspect. Vernon Wells is a bad contract in Toronto, but he’s a good (not great, but good) fit in Anaheim. If the Angels pitching keeps up, they’ll be in it. The Rangers? Michael Young as a utility man? Yeah, that’s a deep lineup. But when has Adrian Beltre ever actually earned his money? I’m going dark horse again and picking the Angels.
Judging by the last 10 years of playoff history, the only logical way to pick the World Series is to pick all upsets. Otherwise, you’ll never get a Rangers/Giants, right? So let’s go crazy and call it a Twins/Cubs World Series!
The Twins will win, of course. I pick upsets, but I’m not crazy.
World Series Winner: The Minnesota Twins