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.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.