2010 Playoff Predictions
My annual useless guess at how the playoffs will go. To my lucky credit, I did nail 6 of 8 playoff teams this year and all 4 A.L. teams. I was too bearish on the Braves and Reds, and too bullish on the Cubs(as usual) and Cardinals. To the playoff predictions...
Phillies vs. Reds
I'd be pretty shocked like a lot of folks if the Phillies aren't representing the NL in the World Series and I imagine a lot of folks are expecting this to be over in 3 or 4 games. Just to be different I'll take the Phillies in 5.
Braves vs. Giants
Neither put up inspiring performances in playoff-like atmospheres the final weekend, but the Braves trio of pitchers have been logging some real heavy innings just to get the Braves to the playoffs and they'll be without Martin Prado. Plus a a Giants vs. Phillies LCS would be damn fun. I'll take the Giants in 4.
Rangers vs. Rays
I don't know the numbers off the top of my head, but I believe whomever wins Game 1 of a five-game series wins an abundantly high percentage of them. With a Cliff Lee vs. David Price match-up it's a tough call. Normally I'd take Lee but if I heard the radio correctly last night, the Rays beat Lee three times this year. So I'll give the nod to the Rays in 5.
Yankees vs. Twins
I'd love to take the Twins and they seem to do just fine without Morneau for most of the year, but Yanks seem like the better team all-around. Yanks in 4.
Giants vs. Phillies
The Giants will have two lefties in the rotation to try and counter the Phils lineup and probably the best chance to knock-off the Phils besides the Yankees. That being said, the Phils have the bats and experience and some Roy Halladay desperation that I'm going to side with on this one. Phillies in 7.
Yankees vs. Rays
A flip of the coin, mine lands on the Rays in 7.
Rays vs. Phillies
The rematch we've all not been waiting for...I'll take Phillies in 6, just in hopes of curbing some of the A.L. superiority talk.
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.