Monday, September 29, 2008

Divisional Series Predictions

This week I will give my predictions for all the AL and NL divisional series.

Red Sox vs. Angels:
The Angels should be able to win this series based on the regular season, having beaten the Red Sox 8 games to 1 this year. But the Angels have struggled against the Sox in the playoffs, as the Red Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS last season. The Red Sox also have a rotation of Jon Lester, Dice-K, and Josh Beckett to lead off the series, while the Angels have two inexperienced playoff pitchers in Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana. The Red Sox will win the series 3-1.

White Sox vs. Rays:
If the White Sox beat the Tigers today and then beat the Twins on Tuesday, which is unlikely, then they will play the Rays. I think that the White Sox would lose this series due to their pitchers of Jon Danks, Javier Vazquez, Mark Buerhle, and Gavin Floyd. The Rays have Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, and Edwin Jackson if necessary. You can make a case that the Rays aren’t experienced enough, or that the White Sox are too old, with the exception of John Danks. Even though the Rays are so young, I think that they’re a better team even without Carl Crawford because the White Sox have lost their best player, Carlos Quentin. The Rays will win 3-1 if they play the White Sox.

Twins vs. Rays:
If the White Sox either lose to the Tigers or lose to the Twins, then the Twins will play the Rays. I think the Rays will beat the Twins because the Twins’ starting pitching is lacking. Their rotation is Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, and Scott Baker. They are all young guys. Also, maybe more importantly, the Twins’ two big offensive weapons (Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer) are both cold, while Carlos Pena is hot. The Rays should win the series 3-1 if they play the Twins.

Dodgers vs. Cubs:
Although the Dodgers are hot and they have Manny Ramirez, I still think that the Cubs will win the series, just because they’re the better team. The Cubs will be able to throw Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Ted Lilly out on the mound this series, and the Dodgers will only be able to throw Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and Chad Billingsley on the mound. The Cubs have much better pitching than the Dodgers, especially with Brad Penny out with an injury. Also, the Cubs have no weak spot in the line-up, with the exception of the pitcher. Even Carlos Zambrano can hit well. The Cubs should be able to win this series 3 games to 2.

Brewers vs. Phillies:
The Phillies should be able to win this series, even with CC Sabathia pitching against them. Ben Sheets is pitching through an injury and I think that’s why the Phillies will win the series. The Phillies have Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, and Jamie Moyer. The Phillies were in the playoffs last year, so they have some playoff experience, while Milwaukee hasn’t been to the playoffs since 1982, and have no playoff experience. The Phillies also have a hot Ryan Howard, who hit double-digit homers in September and has raised his batting average a lot lately. CC should win all the games he pitches, but the Phillies should win all the others, so I think the Phillies will win the series 3 games to 2.

Results of last week’s poll:
What do you think the Rangers have done best this year?
Hitting – 88%
Pitching – 12%
Fielding – 0%
Coaching – 0%

Come back next week for a summary of the playoffs along with more predictions.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rangers Season Analysis

Last week I put the Astros as my NL Champions. Take that out and replace it with the Cubs. I now have the Cubs winning the World Series. The Astros got moved to Milwaukee for two games against the Cubs due to Hurricane Ike and lost all of the momentum they had built up. I think this was completely wrong of baseball because:
1. That’s Cubs territory and it was supposed to be an Astros home game. Milwaukee is only 90 miles away and if you watched the games you would see about 5 Astros fans in the whole ballpark and then you see about 40,000 Cubs fans.
2. The Astros wouldn’t be thinking about baseball when there is so much destruction in Houston, where a lot of them live and have families. Their minds were on other things than the games.
3. It made a very tough travel day for Houston to go to Milwaukee in the morning and play in the night while the Cubs probably took a 30 minute plane to Milwaukee .

Congratulations to the RoughRiders on a great season. My dad, little sister and I went to all of the RoughRiders playoff games (actually I missed one but my dad and little sister were at all of them). They were a lot of fun with lots of good games and great weather (and small crowds). We got to sit and talk with Eleanor Czajka at all the games which was fun too. It was disappointing that they couldn’t win that last game to win a championship but they had a great year.

I have two Rangers games left (tonight and Tuesday) and then no more live baseball until spring training.

This week I will analyze the Rangers’ season (stats are through September 19).

Hitting: Scored 852 runs this season (most in majors by 42 runs):
The Rangers’ hitting has been incredible this season and we couldn’t have asked much more from them. The Rangers have three players batting over .300 (Kinsler, Bradley, and Hamilton) and two just 5 points away from it (Byrd and Vazquez). They are tied for the best batting average in baseball and are 3rd in OBP. They are 1st in slugging percentage, have scored the most runs and have the most at-bats in all of baseball. They are also 6th in home runs, 1st in total bases and 1st in RBI’s. They also have the most hits and the most doubles in baseball. The Rangers have the 6th most walks in all of baseball, and the 7th highest stolen base percentage in baseball. They also have the 4th most sacrifice flies, the 6th highest pinch-hitting average, and have grounded into the 8th least amount of double plays. Lastly they have the most extra base hits and the most plate appearences. The Rangers’ offense has been incredible and is the best in baseball.
Grade: A+

Pitching: Allowed 929 runs this season (most in majors by 78 runs):
The pitching has been terrible this season. If you allow 78 more runs than the Pirates, then it’s pretty bad. Also when you allow 300 more runs than three other teams or 250 more runs than 13 other teams, then you’ve got the worst pitching in baseball. And when you’ve got one pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 (of pitchers who have pitched 31 or more innings) it’s pretty bad (Frankie Francisco has a 3.28 ERA in 60.1 innings; Kameron Loe has a 3.23 ERA, but in just 30.2 innings). When you’ve got only one pitcher with double-digit wins it’s pretty bad. The Rangers have a 5.43 team ERA. All those stats make the Rangers pitching staff one of the worst (if not the worst) ones in baseball.
Grade: D-

Fielding: Commited 126 errors (most in majors by 8 errors):
The Rangers have committed the most errors and it certainly seems like it. The Rangers have three players with 10 or more errors (Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Ramon Vazquez). The Rangers have the worst fielding percentage in all of baseball at .978. The Rangers’ defense has certainly not helped the pitching out and really needs to improve. Out of everybody that has played 600 innings, David Murphy has the least amount of errors with two, but second is Josh Hamilton with five, which is very high being second best on the team.
Grade: D-

Rudy Jaramillo has been great, but the pitching coaches have not. Even though they’ve been trying to develop a lot of young players, whenever you’ve got the worst pitching in baseball, you’re pitching coaches have not done their job. Rudy Jaramillo is the star of the coaching staff, which is what you have to be when you’re the hitting coach of the best offense in baseball. Ron Washington is a fine manager except for when it’s time to pull a pitcher. There have been countless times when my dad, my granddad and I all knew that the pitcher was done and that he didn’t have anything left and there was nobody even warming up in the bullpen. I have also seen that Ron Washington usually doesn’t pull the pitcher until he’s given up the lead. Ron did a good job this year of pulling the team together after a rough start and getting them into the playoff race for a while. The team seems to have good morale and enjoy playing for him.
Grade: C-

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the NL Wild Card?
Astros – 33%
Brewers – 33%
Mets – 22%
Phillies – 11%
All others – 0%

Come back next week for my end-of-season awards.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NL Predictions

This week I analyzed all of the NL divisions and made predictions for how the season and playoffs will end up.

NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers 88-74
Arizona D’Backs 79-83
San Francisco Giants 73-89
Colorado Rockies 72-90
San Diego Padres 61-101

The Dodgers are hot right now, 9-1 in September and 11-1 in their last 12 games. I think they will continue their run and go 12-3 the rest of the year. The D’Backs have gone cold, going 3-7 in September and 4-13 in their last 17 games. I think that they will also continue their stretch throughout the rest of the season. The Rockies have a very tough schedule, and so do the Giants, but I think the Giants (who are just 0.5 games behind the Rockies right now) will overcome the Rockies for 3rd in the division. The Padres have a tough schedule, and really, just aren’t very good, with a 57-91 record right now (September 13th).

NL Central:
Chicago Cubs 97-65
Houston Astros 92-70
Milwaukee Brewers 90-72
St. Louis Cardinals 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 70-92
Pittsburgh Pirates 65-97

The Cubs are cold right now, going 3-7 in their last 10, but with a 5.5 game lead over the Brewers, (who I think the Astros will pass) it would be amazing if the Cubs lost the division title. The Brewers are also cold, going 3-7 in their last 10, while the Astros are hot, going 9-1 in their last 10. They’ve won six straight, and have a 35-16 record since the All-Star break. I think the Astros will play the rest of the year 12-3 and that the BrewCrew will go 7-8 to finish the year. The Cardinals have a fairly easy schedule and will probably get closer in the Wild Card, but not close enough. The Reds and Pirates probably have the toughest schedule in the division for the remainder of the season, and will struggle.

NL East:
New York Mets 92-70
Philadelphia Phillies 91-73
Florida Marlins 81-81
Atlanta Braves 70-92
Washington Nationals 60-102

Both the Mets and Phillies have very easy schedules, but the Mets have a four-game series with the Cubs, while the Phillies play the Braves, Marlins, and Nationals for the rest of the year. I think the Phillies will creep back a little, but will fall just a game shy of tying the Mets for first place. The Marlins play the Nationals twice, but play both the Phillies and Mets once and then play the Astros in a three-game set where I think they’ll get swept. The Braves play nothing but the Phillies, Mets, and Astros the rest of the year, so they should struggle mightily. The Padres are the only losing team that the Nationals face and since they’re the Nationals and they’re only 4-6 in their last 10, the Nats should struggle to get five wins the remainder of the season.

NL Divisional Series:

Dodgers vs. Cubs: Dodgers win 3-2

Astros vs. Mets: Astros win 3-1

NL Championship Series:

Dodgers vs. Astros: Astros win 4-2:
Both teams are hot right now, but the Astros are hotter and have already been-there-done-that in the National League when they lost the World Series to the White Sox. Manny will do well, but it won’t be enough.

World Series:

Astros vs. Angels: Angels win 4-3:
The Astros will be hot, but they don’t have the great pitching rotation that the Angels do or K-Rod. The Astros hitting can match up to the Angels, but the pitching can’t. The Angels will have a rotation of John Lackey (2002 World Series champion), Joe Saunders and Jon Garland (2005 World Series champion). The Astros will have Roy Oswalt, Brandon Backe, and Randy Wolf. It just doesn’t match up. The Astros will put up a fight, but won’t win.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the AL Wild Card?
Red Sox – 50%
Rays – 21%
Twins – 21%
White Sox – 7%
Yankees – 0%
Other – 0%

Come back next week for Part 8 of my Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Over the past week, I went to the RoughRiders’ first two playoff games and saw both Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz pitch. Derek Holland pitched incredibly well and went 6 2/3 innings. He’s looked very good both times I’ve seen him and seems to have a really good breaking ball. Neftali Feliz threw 99 MPH at his highest on Thursday night and struck out 11 in just 7 innings. He was also very impressive. Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, Jim Sundberg, Thad Levine, and Scott Servais all attended the first game. They sat in the first row and had security all around them so that no one would bother them. But I got to talk to Jon for a while one time when he got up. I saw Frank Francisco sitting in the stands of the second game. We got to sit with Eleanor Czajka at both games and talk baseball with her. They were both great nights, with great games and great weather. We’ll be going to all of the championship games next weekend too.

Friday night I went to the Rangers game, and Millwood did not look impressive at all. It was not a very good game. The Rangers lost 8-1.

Saturday night I went to my first concert with my dad and my uncle. It was Squeeze, an old 80’s band and my 3rd favorite band (after the Beatles and the Beach Boys). The concert was a lot of fun. It was at the House of Blues. By the time we got tickets, all of the seats were gone so we had to get general admission tickets standing in front of the stage. It was tiring but it was neat to be just a few feet away from the band. The show started at 8:30 with an opening act called Fastball, who I had never heard of. Squeeze started at 9:45 so it was a late night. It was a great show. They played all of their best songs. They waited until the last song of their encore to play my favorite Squeeze song – ‘Pulling Mussels From the Shell’.

This week I analyzed all of the AL divisions and made predictions for how the season and playoffs will end up.

AL West:
Angels 100-62
Rangers 80-82
Athletics 75-86
Mariners 60-102

The Angels already have a huge lead and they will be facing the A's and Mariners plenty so they should get lots of wins out of those games. The Rangers face the A's a lot so that should be pretty even.

AL Central:
Twins 92-70
White Sox 86-76
Indians 79-83
Tigers 75-87
Royals 67-96

The White Sox have a very tough schedule and lost Carlos Quentin for the year. I think the Twins are better suited for the end of the season because they are a younger team and might not be as tired as the White Sox players and because they will be at home more often, not to mention the White Sox losing their best player.

AL East:
Rays 99-63
Red Sox 98-64
Yankees 86-76
Blue Jays 85-77
Orioles 72-89

The Rays have a little tougher schedule than the Red Sox, but I think they'll hold them off and win the division. They play each other 6 times and I think they'll end up going 3-3 in those games. The Yankees have a very tough schedule and will struggle.

AL Divisional Series:

Twins vs. Rays: Rays win 3-1

Red Sox vs. Angels: Angels win 3-0

AL Championship Series:

Rays vs. Angels: Angels win 4-2:
The Rays are a young team and won't be able to stand up to a veteran team like the Angels, who will probably have a playoff rotation of John Lackey, Joe Saunders, and Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, or Jon Garland.

Results of last week’s poll:
Do you think the Guardado trade was a win or a loss?
Loss – 55%
Win – 45%

Come back next week for the NL predictions along with the World Series.