Now I wanted to write this before I left town, but was unable to get around to it. Here is a belated entry about the baseball season at the break, and more importantly, my often misbegotten attempt at previewing the season...
As the season was gearing up, I wrote this. You can feel free to go back and look at it, but here's a recap:
I said that the Red Sox would finish first followed up by the Yankees, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, and Orioles. Most people would not have predicted this performance by the Devil Rays. Obviously, this division is still up in the air, and it could play out in much the same way that I predicted with the Jays and Rays switching spots. I do still think the Red Sox win the division.
As far as this one was concerned, I could still be proven mostly right. I did go out and predict a huge season from Dustin McGowan, where it would appear that Kansas Citian Shaun Marcum may be the Jays hurler to break out. I also predicted a season marked with rough stretches for Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. I did not make the leap and say that each of their seasons would be one long rough stretch. Hughes had a quality start (dubious stat, I know...) on April 3rd. His ERA in 22 innings is a nice, even 9.00. Kennedy had one on April 14th and another on May 22nd. Ian's ERA is resting firmly at 7.41 in 37.2 innings of work. Neither are currently with the big league club, as Kennedy is pitching effectively but in Scranton - Wilkes Barre with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, and Hughes is on the 60-day DL with a stress fracture in his right rib cage.
Holy shit was I wrong about the Central. I had the Indians winning the division with the Tigers placing a close second and the Royals, Twins, and White Sox rounding things out. Where do I start? Why bother really. If you reversed my order of finish, you'd almost have the current standings of the AL Central. Maybe the Royals can make a charge up to third. More to come on them later...
Well, if I'd had the Mariners in last instead of first, I'd have gotten this division right. Seattle finds themselves 24 games out of first, and they are already sick of Erik Bedard. I didn't expect them to be great this year, and really just gave them the edge because I thought the division was a little on the weak side. But they are the weakest of the weak thus far. I also seem to have drastically short-changed the mysteriously potent Rangers offense.
For whatever reason, I predicted that Harden would actually stay healthy, which he has for the most part. Obviously, I think he goes to the DL in a Cubs uniform. Richie Sexson never got his average above .240 and actually got cut. I also thought that Ervin Santana would not turn it around.
In order of my preseason prognostication: Mets, Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Marlins. Not horrible, I guess, but that's only in light of my AL predictions. The Mets are a game up on the Phillies and a game-and-a-half ahead of the Marlins, whose "stable of young, injury-prone pitchers" have not cost them what I thought they would. The Braves can't seem to score any runs, and the injury to Smoltz has really crippled any hopes they had at making a playoff run. They're only 6.5 games out, but they really don't have much of a chance at making that turnaround.
I'm still waiting on Santana to prove my Cy Young prediction. Kind of thinking it won't happen... Maybe he has that second-half surge he's so famous for. Francoeur, contrary to my hopes for him, has been atrocious. Utley and Hanley would seem to have proven me right.
My prediction: Brewers, Cubs, Reds, Cardinals, Houston, and Pirates.
Current standings: Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, and Astros
This has been a division of two strata. The top three are separated by a mere three games. The Reds sit ten games out in fourth. The rest follow shortly thereafter.
I really didn't see the Cardinals being able to compete this year. Wainwright, Mulder, and Carpenter have combined for 14 starts (13 from Wainwright). Lohse, Looper, Todd Wellemeyer, and Joel Piñeiro have held down the fort, with Lohse deciding to live up to his potential that everyone forgot about in 2003. Seriously. Where the fuck did Lohse come from this year? He's 12-2. Kyle Lohse. Unfathomable. He wasn't even signed to a team on Opening Day. And then there's Ryan Ludwick. Who? No one outside of his family knew who he was before the season started. He made the All-Star team. He turned 30 just over a week ago.
The rest of the division has played out fairly predictably.
I'd like to not ever write about this putrid division. There is not a team over .500 in the mix. It's sad, quite frankly. I said it would be the Padres winning the division over the Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Giants.
Wrong. The Padres find themselves in last place, 12.5 games out as I write this. The Diamondbacks are a game ahead of L.A. with the Rockies and Giants trailing them. The Rockies aren't sure if they're sellers or not as the trade deadline draws nearer. That's all I'm going to devote to this abysmal division.
Well, it looks like the Braves won't be winning the Series. The Indians won't make the ALCS. I'd revise this, but what's the point?
All this being said, I have somehow managed to hold first place in both of my main fantasy leagues for the greater part of this season. Maybe I should stick to fantasy tips.