It’s been a while since I put together a season recap or predictions post for any sport and to be honest after the single most lackluster fantasy season and a completely uninspired ending to the Yankees season (even in spite of the cool ending for Jeter) the only redeeming element for me was the Nationals making the post season, and that was supposed to be a given. Really, there just wasn’t anything that got me super amped on baseball this year and that included not going to a single game at any level of play in person for the first time in a very, very long time.
There aren’t many of our horses left in the race this year since fellow Yanks fan Antmoney doesn’t have a backup franchise and Bobbert was forced to witness the Phllies drag their corpses through the regular season so he’s usually too depressed to converse… but since the LD texted me inquiring my thoughts last night as he prepares to celebrate what he hopes will be a string of Detroit wins and I didn’t have a chance to respond properly, here’s my take on things. I invited the guys to feel free to correct me where I’m wrong, because I know you think I am somewhere in there, I’ll post their replies as necessary below…
So, oh hey look, all the California teams made the post-season! Meanwhile the entire northern half of the I95 Corridor sucked ASS! That’s gotta finally signal a full on balance of power shift, right? Really, two of the brightest young stars are in the LA area, the best pitcher in the game is out there and the league’s really turned all eyes to showcasing those two franchises while the former powerhouses of New York and Boston struggle to maintain national relevance (and winning records). Only the Nats have anything close East of the Appalachians (East of the Rockies even perhaps) that’s how bad it is right now.
ALE – Surprise, surprise… The indefensible propaganda anointing the Boston Red Sox as the next dynasty blew up in everyone’s face. The team is not infallibly constructed for the long term and put down one of the all-time worst follow up performances to a championship with 5th worst record in the league. The Yankees downward trend continued, although, perhaps, they have a better excuse after putting up an injury list that is among the most daunting in over 100 years of tracking them. The real fun will be to see the post-season tear down of the team, if it’s even possible to tear it down with Cashman still at the helm. The list of things I’d personally like to see them do is so long it could be a post in-and-of itself. An underperforming Toronto and undermanned Tampa essentially left the Orioles to take the division unchallenged. Are they as good as their record? Probably not, but the post-season is like hitting the restart button and I do see them being pesky and burdensome to their opponent on the whole.
ALC – statistically it was a tight division, and thus Detroit looked like the struggled in it at times despite probably being a better team then they let on. No weakness they have is any worse than anyone else. The real question is are they really that much better than everyone else with the way they’ve been playing. KC finally completed the first portion of their resurgence making the post season. You can see my notes on Oakland on why KC won last night. Good for them, the champagne shower though will be short lived as I think they probably had to over play just to get where they are. Cleveland consistently looks good not great lately, I didn’t think they’d get over the hump this year and I don’t think they will next either, but sometime soon the stars should align. On the other side the bottom of that division bottomed out hard, hello Minni!?!? bye bye Gardy. some team will be very lucky next year to have him. And, honestly good for Hughes on his history making season too, though he’s not in pinstripes, seeing him succeed makes me happy.
ALW – ALWTF is more like it. Sometimes making a huge deadline splash backfires. Despite getting what Oakland expected in SP they went backwards so far as to almost not make the post season and subsequently to blow several leads and finally lose in OT. The worst part, they won’t retain the pitchers next season and will have o rebuild in order to remain competitive. It was an all in that resulted in them being all out. LAA got lucky for Oakland’s implosion, I’m not sure what that means for them moving forward because i feel like they didn’t play as well as the .605 would indicate. Maybe I’m just biased because for the last few years they always felt like they underperformed. They’re better than KC and Baltimore but probably only on par with Detroit playing at their best. And Seattle HAS to be thinking to themselves, when are we going to catch a break? That will happen when you build a team and not just focus on individual players and that wont’ happen for some time.
AL-Pennant: LAA v. Baltimore > while LAA v. Detroit would have been a push but I think Baltimore surprises everyone and makes a decent run before being downshifted by the Angels
NLE – Go Nats! Go Nats! Go Nats. It’s about time. Then again, it took both great play overcoming injury adversity combined with pretty much the entire NLE just about sucking. Arguably easily have to be among the elite picks between their rotation and the potency of the lineup when it’s intact. Atlanta, well, it looked good on paper but sucked in real life. the Mets sucked on paper but didn’t look half bad in real life (they didn’t look half good either though). Philly, well, we’ll let Bobby comment but I personally think if they can dynamite about 1/3 of that team and really focus on finding guys that perform in current advanced metrics rather than guys who formerly performed well in box car stats they might be able to keep pace with the Mets & Atlanta rebuilds as well as whatever Miami attempts next, bueller, bueller?
NLC – the division I know the absolute least about. St. L (quietly) does their thing. Pitt (quietly) no longer looks like a HS team. And the Cubbies just keep their fans living a life of futility. If there ever was a dark horse in the post season, it very well could be someone here winning. But, I already called Baltimore as my surprise team sooooooo….
NLW – Who could have guessed the Dodgers and Giants would be vying for it again? Dodgers remind me a lot of their crosstown rivals LAA, or vice versa. I expect good things from them but I can’t help but wonder how they didn’t break .600 playing in a division with the two worst teams in baseball. They are the one team though I fear as a Nats fan right now especially how the pitching stacks up. The Giants have felt schizophrenic since their last WS and the implosion of Timmy. Which Giants show up? I’m thinking the bad ones.
NL-Pennant: LAD v Nats > Nats on sentiment but it’s easily the most epic pitching battle in recent post season history.
WS: Nats v. LAA > while it might be entirely possible it’s an all Los Angeles series, I’m sticking with the Nats and thus it goes the equivalent run of 8 games because of extra innings several times and LAA ends up winning pulling a crazy game 7 let’s play two starters in the game like Arizona did in 2001, leaving me a once again disappointed Washington sports fan.
Yeah, I’ll bet that’s not the ending you were thinking I would write!