My division and playoff picks for the year.
I think the Cardinals are the most talented team in the division, but there's a lot riding on injury-prone and aging players. The Brewers need to be worrying abot a depth problem as well, but they were able to survive it last year. While the Pirates faded badly last year, they were in first place in late July and if they're in it this year, there's the possibility of Gerrit Cole and/or Jameson Taillon coming up to give them a boost. For the Cubs, it would take a lot of injuries to teams above them and for Samardzija and Volstad to join Demspster and Garza in the 200 IP ranged and 110 ERA+ range or higher. Then hope Jackson and Rizzo can provide an offensive boost mid-season. Color me skeptical.
Dbacks and Giants are a coin flip for me, but I didn't really believe much in the DBacks last year and think they fall back a little this year. The rest of the division is nothing to get excited about or worried about.
Phillies might struggle for runs to start the season, but they can afford to with their big 3. Don't see a big difference between them and Giants while they battle through the injuries and then the Phillies know reinforcements are coming. Marlins and Braves are certainly in the picture and Nats could be with a good amount of luck and how much Bryce Harper fever will end up energizing them.
Wild Cards: Brewers & Marlins
- White Sox
Tigers seem too easy a pick for a team that's going to be terrible defensively. Verlander has also pitched a lot of innings over the last few seasons. Royals still lack pitching for me to get too excited.
This feels like it's gonna be a fun division down the stretch with the new rules and the likelihood that an AL East team takes one of the wild cards. I'm sure my homerism is showing on this one, but the Angels look very tough this season.
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
Red Sox didn't really do much to improve their starting pitching that was their downfall last year. The Pineda injury is a little worrisome for the Yanks, but they seemed stacked enough this year to withstand.
Wild Cards: Rays & Rangers
Elite: Phillies, Angels, Rangers, Yankees
Contenders: Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants, DBacks, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, , Tigers, Indians, Red Sox, Rays
If Luck Would Have It: Pirates, Cubs, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers, Royals, White Sox, Twins, Blue Jays
Wait Until Next Year: Astros, Mets, Mariners, A's, Orioles,
Surprise Team: If you're not counting the Indians, I'd say the Twins with Mauer & Morneau can become interesting really quick.
Sore Ribs doesn't worry me too much. Getting a "precautionary MRI" has me assuming he is going to be out at least a few days, possibly more.
Maybe he got injured diving for the ball in LF? I really hope it's not code for a "strained oblique"....
Our starting pitching kinda sucks for #3-5.
Schwarber out with "sore ribs"
/sorry to interrupt the magic number talk
JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates ( I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings. Guys who have been pitching regularly as starters have thrown too many innings to be considered, so it probably came down to Johnson, Zastryzny, and Duane Underwood Jr, with Underwood odd man out because he hasn't pitched above Hi-A.
Schwarber stays back and hammers a 3-2 change-up that was down and away. Very impressive.
And a good job to drive the ball to RF to advance the runner in the 8th. Encouraging.
It looks like the Cubs "post-season clinch number" is 25 right now: http://lyle.smu.edu/~olinick/riot/national_league.html
Is the magic number 25 or 26?
Agreed, to my untrained eyes he does look better than last season. Not a finished product yet and hopefully he will continue to improve, but if he plays solid middle infield defense he will stick in the majors.
Phillips smiled at Strop and gave him a thumbs up.
That pitch Schwarber hit is the kind he's been missing a lot of lately. When Schwarber struggles it reminds me of how hard it is to hit baseballs at that level. It doesn't seem like they've found a weakness, just that he isn't seeing the ball that great and just missing. Same with Rizzo the last few days.
I missed it. What did he do?
extremely classy. i didn't see his reaction until the replay after the break. baseball needs more fun in some areas and less of some 'unwritten rules' violations leading to angst.
Nice bounce back game for Grimm, and "well done" Dan Haren. We'll take that (almost) every time.
I have never been a Brandon Phillips fan, but that was a very classy way to handle Strop yelling at him after the K.