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1st half review, 2nd half predictions


Herc
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1st half:

 

AL mvp: a-rod. i dont care what magglio is hitting, there's no excuse for someone who will end up with 55 hrs and 130+ rbi (and batting .300) not winning MVP.

 

underappreciated: grady sizemore. the guy's on pace for .280, 30 hrs, 100 rbi, 150 runs, and 50 steals. who does that? i put him third behind magglio

 

NL mvp: prince fielder. quietly closed in on a-rod in hrs.

 

underappreciated: chase utley. projected to hit .325, 30 hrs, 140 rbi (sick), 130 runs, 12 steals. held the team together while howard sucked for two months. i put him 4th after matt holliday (2nd) hanley ramirez(3rd).

 

AL cy young: haren. i never thougth he'd be THIS good. underappreciated: erik bedard. 149 k's in 121 ip (siiiiiiick). slow starts hurts his overall numbers but he's in the zone. 4th after santana(2) and beckett (3).

 

NL cy young: chris young. best era in baseball, 2nd best whip after santana. 0.71 era over the past month. has given up more than 3 runs twice all season. these are his runs allowed per start since may 1st: 0, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 3, 0, 0, 2, 0. that's an era of 1.17. even his k's are up. never thought he'd be this good in a million years.

 

underappreciated: young, but since i picked him for cy young i'll say john maine. i have him 4th after young, peavy (2), penny (3). and i think he'll pass penny when penny has his annual 2nd half dropoff. obviously he should've made the all-star team over smoltz, oswalt, hamels, and sheets. thank god for anna benson's dress and rick peterson. would love to see what he could do with daniel cabrera when the mets acquire him for newhan and one of golfinkid's pink shirts.

 

AL manager: i would've went with hargrove but he took himself out of contention by randomly resigning. music to the yanks ears since they haven't been the same since. gotta give it to leyland. he's still doing it despite sheff's early season slump and his two best bullpen arms hurt. francona deserves credit for keeping the sox steadied and focused despite their huge lead, and special consideration to ron washington for keeping the rangers competitive and not letting them give up.

 

NL manager: it's tempting to say ned yost because of the brewers improvement, but they have a ton of talent, play in a crappy division, and beat up on bad teams. i'll give it to grady little. a lot of people have been high on the dodgers since the offseason and most are still convinced they'll win the division. honestly, i can't see why. their lineup is garbage, their starting pitching has either been hurt or shaky after penny and lowe, and their defense leaves much to be desired. yet they've been right there behind the padres all season because they win close games--that's all grady. melvin is 2nd--i've maintained from the beginning that the d-backs young bats are still at least a year away but they have been competitive all year. i think they'll drop off significantly but i'll give credit where credit is due so far. i have bud black 3rd. even though the pads won the division the past two seasons i think bud black handles this team--especially the bullpen--way better than bochey. the clubhouse is relaxed and loose enough to absorb milton bradly and michael barrett and not miss a beat. they haven' thad a cold month yet which you could never say about them when bruce was managing.

 

AL ROY: okajima. no argument so far, but all it takes is one horrendous appearance to fuck up those pretty numbers. dice-k is on a roll and i think he'll move past his teammate.

 

NL ROY: hunter pence. you can make the case for ryan braun but he's just had a hot month. pence has consistently hit the shit out of the ball since he's come up. he leads the league in hitting and he's starting to hit for power. the guy is scary good.

 

 

2nd half:

 

AL:

 

seattle will fall out and i think cleveland will too. their bullpen sucks outside of betancourt and borowski's numbres are going to catch up with him. cleveland's offense is really impressive but they have a recent history of fading down the stretch and although hafner will heat up like he always does i dont think the indians have the arms to stay in it in september. oakland will get hot in the 2nd half like they always do so i think they will stay in the wild card hunt and make it a three team race with the twins and.............(drumroll please) the yankees.

 

no i am not counting out the yankees. clemens is heating up, hughes is due back soon, wang is doing his thing, and pettitte will be fine. i have no faith in mike mussina but regardless that's still a good rotation down the stretch if they all stay healthy. little is being made of cano starting to hit again over the last month (i have no idea why), the bullpen has been a little better too. most importantly, the yanks won two huge series coming into the all-star break and they have 4 or 5 ridiculously easy series in a row over the next month. they will be at least 8 games over .500 when those games are over. i think they win the wild card adn the other division leaders remain the same. but my money is on boston winning the pennant this year.

 

in the NL i see the d-backs, brewers, and eventually the braves dropping out of the wild card race. philly will heat up but so will the mets. i see the wild card spot being between philly and the dodgers with the dodgers prevailing due to their ability to win close games and superior bullpen. i know they are right behind the padres but sd is 21-4 against them in their last 25 meetings. cubs are hot, and zambrano is lights out again. he'll have a great 2nd half in his contract yera and lead them to the division title. plus i have no doubt lee's power numbers will improve. mets, pads, cubs, dodgers. when both teams are firing on all cylinders i think the mets are a better team than the padres, but the padres are absolutely built for the playoffs like no other team. they might have the best two starting pitchers in the NL, they have the best bullpen in baseball, and they have capable guys in germano, wells and maddox to pitch behind the big 2. sure their lineup sucks but they now have a legitimate power hitter who hits well over .300 (when he's not in a huge mid season slump), they have a very underrated bench, and they play defense with the best of them. they also, despite what espn's latest power rankings erroneously say, have very good timely hitting. i'm also a big homer, so i say the pads beat the mets in the NLCS and upset the red sox in the world series. a guy can dream cant he?

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would love to see what he could do with daniel cabrera when the mets acquire him for newhan and one of golfinkid's pink shirts.

 

I'd do it

 

 

EDIT: Throw in Markakis and I've give you my Tiger Woods golf shirt.

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yankees can still blow the angels out of the water money-wise. and in the end that is the deciding factor with a-rod and especially boras

 

I'm actually trying to find one of those infamous books

that he had for Carlos Beltran, hopefully some of the contacts

I've made at Shea find it.

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yankees can still blow the angels out of the water money-wise. and in the end that is the deciding factor with a-rod and especially boras

not historically. remember, he was going to take less money to go to the red sox. the union stopped it, not boras.

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I worry about the Red Sox no matter what, but I have to say that I have major concerns going forward. Among them:

 

1.) Papi and Manny not hitting. This team won't go anywhere if they don't hit, they haven't show signs of breaking out anytime soon, and Ortiz is playing hurt (and doesn't figure to get any better until the season is over).

 

2.) Starting pitching- Who knows what we'll get out of Schilling the rest of the way, Tavarez has come back to Earth, and I was all ready to declare Matsuzaka "adjusted to the Majors" when he had another bad start right before the break.

 

3.) The Yankee pitching, both starting and relief, is starting to come around. Clemens has looked good his last two starts, Wang is Wang, Pettite and Mussina will be fine, and Hughes might be back by August. Proctor, Farnsworth, and Vizcaino have also looked better lately.

 

The easy schedule should help, but this team really scares me on the road. They just seem lifeless.

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I worry about the Red Sox no matter what, but I have to say that I have major concerns going forward. Among them:

 

1.) Papi and Manny not hitting. This team won't go anywhere if they don't hit, they haven't show signs of breaking out anytime soon, and Ortiz is playing hurt (and doesn't figure to get any better until the season is over).

 

2.) Starting pitching- Who knows what we'll get out of Schilling the rest of the way, Tavarez has come back to Earth, and I was all ready to declare Matsuzaka "adjusted to the Majors" when he had another bad start right before the break.

 

3.) The Yankee pitching, both starting and relief, is starting to come around. Clemens has looked good his last two starts, Wang is Wang, Pettite and Mussina will be fine, and Hughes might be back by August. Proctor, Farnsworth, and Vizcaino have also looked better lately.

 

The easy schedule should help, but this team really scares me on the road. They just seem lifeless.

 

Lifeless, bored, lazy...but they're the Red Sox. Ortiz just said that his knee is bothering him and he's going back to Boston for an MRI. I just want the man healthy, honestly. And Manny...he's had a ton of bad luck but other times he just doesn't look like he cares which pisses me the fuck off. But yah, despite having the best SLG and OBP (and of course OPS) in the AL and the 6th best BA, we're 7th in RS and that's due to our poor ability with runners in scoring position. The law of averages says that it won't continue, along with JD Drew's lack of power. Honestly, Julio Lugo can't be nearly as bad in the second half as he was in the first half and he just came off of one of his best games before the All Star break. We have a team of high OBP guys so even if we do lose Ortiz, we can survive with clutch hitting.

 

As everyone knows, we went 17-18 in our last so and so games but in that time period we've been missing Schilling and in the end, Youkilis. God dammit, I'm jumping all over the place. But yah, our starting pitching has been impressive with Beckett and Matsuzaka leading the pack. I honestly hope that during his DL stint that Schilling decided to lose some weight but that's...sigh. We have one of the best 1-2 in baseball now and there's no denying what Matsuzaka is capable of but just with some inconsistency so far. Overall, for his first half season in the majors, he's fifth in strikeouts, has ten wins, an ERA under 4, a WHIP of 1.24, and a .242 BAA. Beckett has the right mindset now, Schilling is up in the air, Wakefield is performing as predicted, completely average, and Julian Tavarez has performed admirably as well with a call up of Lester a given for later in the year.

 

Our bullpen, which has been our biggest strength, still has Papelbon and Okajima with Delcarmen who has pitched well in some key situations of late. We have Donnelly, another power arm coming off of the DL and even Timlin, who shouldn't be on this team anymore, has done well. Don't forget that we have Craig Breslow eating up competition in the minors and Clay Buchholz also a possibility for a cup of coffee in the bullpen for September and beyond.

 

The Yankees pitching, even if it has performed better of late, is still too inconsistent. Honestly, I'm afraid of the Yankees but not nearly as much as I am afraid for the Red Sox if they don't get it together. Still, this team has all the right pieces and is a couple hot players away from regaining their dominant play. I hate to depend on hot players but...at least players at their career norms.

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Manny...he's had a ton of bad luck but other times he just doesn't look like he cares which pisses me the fuck off.

 

As many have pointed this year, it's frustrating that Manny has never looked as "into the game" as he has this year (hustling out ground balls, etc.), yet he's having his worst season. Sometimes I'm just totally perplexed watching him take a called third strike right down the middle.

 

We have one of the best 1-2 in baseball now and there's no denying what Matsuzaka is capable of but just with some inconsistency so far. Overall, for his first half season in the majors, he's fifth in strikeouts, has ten wins, an ERA under 4, a WHIP of 1.24, and a .242 BAA.

 

Like I said, I was really, really getting excited about his pitching over the last 6 or so starts before the break, then he had that terrible start, when we really needed a good one, in Detroit. Some of that, I think, you can attribute to the Tiger hitters being locked in. Like he said, every pitch he missed that start they crushed.

 

Timlin, who shouldn't be on this team anymore, has done well.

 

I'm not ready to write off old Mike just yet. I've always loved this guy, but I had finally decided that if he didn't have it after his latest DL stint, it was tiome to go. Lo and behold, he's looked great, albeit for a short amount of time. Him pitching well down the stretch could be huge.

 

The Yankees pitching, even if it has performed better of late, is still too inconsistent. Honestly, I'm afraid of the Yankees but not nearly as much as I am afraid for the Red Sox if they don't get it together.

 

I hope you're right. The only thing that worries me is that the Yankees have the ability to hit their way to wins even when the pitching is inconsistent.

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As many have pointed this year, it's frustrating that Manny has never looked as "into the game" as he has this year (hustling out ground balls, etc.), yet he's having his worst season. Sometimes I'm just totally perplexed watching him take a called third strike right down the middle.

 

I've been trying to figure out whether Manny's performance is more closely related to A. His diminishing skills as a baseball player, B. The lack of protection in the lineup, or C. Lack of enthusiasm and/or drive with the significant lead or for other reasons. Manny is still suffering from patella tendinitis and is a year older but he's been healthy and playing games this year. For B, as of right now, we have the 9th best AL OPS in the fifth slot, which isn't good. Manny hasn't had a consistent hitter behind him since 2005 when he was protected by a platoon of Millar and Nixon. Of course last year we had the worst 5th spot OPS in the majors and we all know how that affected Manny who is on pace for another 100 walks this year (after his first 100 BB season last year). Is there a trickle down effect from Drew to Manny to Papi or are these just three individual struggles? I'd have to think that because of the situation, they pitch around Papi, take their chances with Manny, and when he draws his eventual walk (not swinging at the perfect 3-0 pitch all season), Drew gets an out on a dinky grounder to the left side. As for C...same thing as before...this isn't the same Manny that takes control of the game and just dominates.

 

Like I said, I was really, really getting excited about his pitching over the last 6 or so starts before the break, then he had that terrible start, when we really needed a good one, in Detroit. Some of that, I think, you can attribute to the Tiger hitters being locked in. Like he said, every pitch he missed that start they crushed.

 

Well, you watched that game, right? The Tigers, who suffered a complete game 1 R loss to Matsuzaka earlier in the season, definitely teed off of Matsuzaka who didn't have his normal control...but control is one of his strong points. As long as I see the same movement on his pitches and intensity on the mound, I'm not worried, because control sometimes comes and goes and against one of the best teams in the majors, I'd like to see better, but that's Round 3.

 

""The problem was with my control," Matsuzaka said. "I felt I left a lot of my pitches in soft locations.

 

"I wasn't able to throw the fastball for strikes."

 

How painful was that game btw? Poor Wily Mo, getting robbed all the time (of multiple HRs and XBH this season) and hurting his trade value.

 

I'm not ready to write off old Mike just yet. I've always loved this guy, but I had finally decided that if he didn't have it after his latest DL stint, it was tiome to go. Lo and behold, he's looked great, albeit for a short amount of time. Him pitching well down the stretch could be huge.

 

His stats have been good recently but I haven't gotten a good look on what he's doing. He's not striking people out but if his sinker is working then he's one of the best pitchers for that slot still.

 

I hope you're right. The only thing that worries me is that the Yankees have the ability to hit their way to wins even when the pitching is inconsistent.

 

Well, they have scored the most runs in the majors so far and they're still a significant distance behind. It's going to take something cataclysmic for the Yankees to overtake the Red Sox but bigger things have happened and if Ortiz has surgery, that could be their chance to pounce.

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