Thursday, April 08, 2004

Go, Boys in Blue!

Hi-De-Ho Rene,

Can’t wait to chow down on some chocolate. Ah, the spoils of bracket victory!

In the spirit of sports prognosticating, how are the Dodgers, your boys in blue, going to fare this season? My boys in blue, the Royals, are picked anywhere from first to fourth in the division.

But here at Two Tin Cans, we're coast-to-coast, at least where baseball is concerned. So, here are my picks, with small doses of commentary:

AL EAST: Los Yanquis

Boston is the popular pick, and with Curt Schilling joining Pedro Martinez as Ace No. 2, I can see why. But Pedro tailed off last year, long before the crucial inning in the ALCS, and the powerful Bosox offense may have lost a little from last year. Meanwhile, New York added A-Rod. And while the Yanks lost Clemens and Petitte, they gained Vazquez and Brown. Not bad, if Brown stays healthy. And you have to figure they’ll end up buying somebody decent to play second.

AL CENTRAL: Royals

A homer pick? Perhaps. Most analysts say Kansas City has improved, but some point out that the Royals overachieved big-time last year, so improving the talent may not result in an improved record. Here’s hoping their out-of-this-world clutch hitting carries over from last year, and that their pitching staff can keep it close enough for the newly power-infused lineup to catch up. Otherwise, look for the Twins to repeat.

Incidentally, I’m going to a game Sunday, which will be my season opener. If it’s anywhere near as exciting as the real opener, I’ll be getting my money’s worth. Carlos Beltran is the real deal. Too bad he’ll likely be in some other team’s jersey next spring.

AL WEST: Angels

Oakland’s pitching staff is stacked with proven winners, and with the middle-of-the-road lineup the A’s are throwing out there, they’ll need to be rock-solid. The Angels, with the addition of Vlad the Impaler, are automatically better offensively. They added Colon and Escobar to a decent pitching staff. With the Mariners treading water and the Rangers, well, the Rangers, it’ll be between the A’s and Angels. I think the Angels will outperform offensive expectations and pull away.

AL WILDCARD: Red Sox

They’ll get the wildcard, if for no other reason than they need another opportunity to lose in the playoffs.

NL EAST: Phillies

It pains me to jump on the bandwagon, but I like snarly Larry Bowa. Adding Billy Wagner to the pen and locking in the offense…oh, who am I kidding? I don’t care about the NL East as long as the Braves don’t win it again. Go Phillies! Or Marlins! Or Expos! Or Mets, for pete’s sake!

NL CENTRAL: Astros

The Cardinals will have the same problem the Royals have – good offense, shaky pitching – but in a better division. The Cubs and ‘Stros will fight it out most of the season, with St. Louis lurking in the wings. In the end, the new-look Astros and their combo young guns-old hats starting staff will win out over the Cubs’ injury-prone combo young guns-old hats staff. But I wish the Cards well.

NL WEST: Umm, Padres

Sorry, dude. Your Dodgers are going to have to prove they can score a few runs. As for the Giants, I picked up “San Francisco OF” deep in the second round in my ESPN fantasy league draft (Bonds is not in the MLPA, so they can’t use his name). What? Did my fellow competitors really think Barry’d let the BALCO scare turn him back into a 190-pound weakling? Of course, the main reason I’m picking the Padres is that they’ve reintroduced the Swinging Friar logo on alternate home jerseys. Go, Monks!

NL WILDCARD: Cubbies

See notes under AL Wildcard. Witnessing the Steve Bartman moment live may be one of the highlights of my baseball-on-TV-watching life.

So, what do you think?

Later,
Kari

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