Soto Saves The Day

29 07 2013

Whether it was due to the inundation of injured pitchers, the disappearing act of the bats or the absence of any sort of energy, the Rangers had plenty of reasons to begin considering their season a lost cause as Oakland’s lead grew bigger and bigger with each consecutive Rangers loss. Before Monday, they had gone 2-8 during the second half of the season and fallen six games behind the A’s in divisional standings. At one point during Monday’s game, the Rangers had gone 26 scoreless innings. Things seemed dire. Things seemed hopeless.

Then, Geovany surprised ESPN’s nationally-televised audience and possibly saved his team’s season.

After a two-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, catcher Geovany Soto met his teammates at the plate for celebration as the Texas Rangers had themselves a 4-3 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Angels to end their four-game losing streak.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza started his second game in a Rangers uniform. He lasted seven innings and gave up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Angels Jered Weaver pitched a solid seven innings, holding Texas to only one run and retiring 12 straight Rangers hitters at one point.

Soto followed up an A.J. Pierzynski game-tying home run that came two batters earlier in the inning.

The last time the Rangers won in walk-off fashion was May 26, 2012 when Josh Hamilton knocked one out of the park to take down the Toronto Blue Jays.

With the win, Texas is now within one game of the Baltimore Orioles for the second AL Wild Card spot.

During a 162 regular season, it seems that one game can only mean so much in the big scheme of things. Yet, given the Rangers current state, it felt as though the Rangers were being pushed far enough down the ladder that they eventually couldn’t climb back up emotionally. The team has been in a mediocre daze where wins at first felt like they were coming far and few between and then were actually coming far and few between. They seemed one crushing loss away from spiraling downward for good.

But they fought back with two crushing home runs in the bottom of the final inning. The way this game was won in Rangers Ballpark provides a much needed spark that has been absent, well, since the beginning of the season. Even Dirk Nowitzki knew this was big.

By getting a walk-off home run and getting one from Soto, who now only has five home runs on the year, the Rangers can build on this and hopefully find their once strong stride. The MLB postseason has shown us quite frequently of late that momentum is a huge part of the game, and if found at the right time, a team can make some noise in October. (Example: 2011 St. Louis Cardinals.)

This isn’t to say that Soto has homered the Rangers into October and beyond; however, he might have homered the Rangers back to their winning ways.

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Fun Fact Friday

26 07 2013

After an 11-8 loss to the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers have now dropped four games behind the Oakland Athletics in the AL West standings. This is their largest deficit since the final day of the 2009 season.

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Fun Fact Friday

19 07 2013

Coming back to Arlington Friday night for the first time since eliminating the Texas Rangers from the 2013 playoffs, former-Ranger Chris Davis will look to continue hitting the ball out of all the parks. Davis tied the AL record for most home runs prior to the All-Star break (37), set by Reggie Jackson in 1969.

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Clippers-Celtics Blockbuster Trade (Step 1)

23 06 2013

Before the NBA Finals even had a chance to make its way onto NBATV, the first blockbuster trade of the 2013 NBA summer is upon us. Lob City just became Destination City.

It seemed to be an impossible dream of swapping pieces. Then it suddenly became something actually happening that was only a few pieces from successfully occurring. Then it all died away due to a mutual interest for a certain backup point guard. Then we seemed to be on the doorsteps. Then the Clippers backed off because they felt like they were giving up too much. Then Los Angeles’ star point guard stepped in, said to continue the trades talks and scared his organization half to death. Then the league had questions about the proposed deals and the connections between the two since there can’t be trades with contingencies or side deals. But now, we have a deal. Partially.

The Boston Celtics have begun the destruction of their “Big 3+Coach” core and traded head coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2015 unprotected first-round pick, according ESPNBoston’s Jackie MacMullan.

Coach Rivers isn’t technically a part of a trade since teams can’t trade coaches involving players. These two organizations came to an agreement that will give L.A. the coaching rights to Doc after Boston has released their coach and then give Boston draft pick compensation. MacMullan says the length of the deal is still being worked out.

The original deal was for the Celtics to trade Rivers and power forward Kevin Garnett to the Clippers for center DeAnde Jordan and two first-round draft picks. The league intervened, though, because certain contingencies and side deals (which is what Rivers, a coach, would have been) can’t be accounted for under the league’s cap rules, making the trade illegitimate. For the deals to take place, the NBA would have to be convinced that the Rivers deal is completely separate from any player discussions. Well, they were sold.

So that’s where we stand. We’re halfway there…or so we’re not supposed to think. But since the Rivers deal has been completed, we must play dumb and play the waiting game for Garnett to be traded to L.A. If a third team has to join in on the trade, it will happen. The Clippers will do what they must to snatch KG. Trust me—it’s inevitable.

Doc-Garnett L.A.

(With Doc leaving Boston, other than Gregg Popovich, the NBA now has no coach that has been with his team for more than five years. Erik Spoelstra and Rick Carlisle were each hired in 2008. The NFL has nine coaches and the MLB has ten managers that have been with their team more than five years. In terms of security of a job, I would not want to be a coach in the NBA at the moment.)

The Clippers first didn’t want to give up rising guard Eric Bledsoe, and then once he was taken out of the picture, they didn’t want to give up two first-round draft picks. So talks were supposedly “dead.” But once unrestricted free agent (emphasis on unrestricted) Chris Paul twisted his team’s arm to make this idea a reality, the organization started talking to the Celtics again and made the trade discussions start to move forward. And they’ll probably still get to keep Bledsoe.

My initial reaction to all of this is “how long before Garnett is traded and Paul Pierce is bought out by the Celtics and joins his buddies?” (Answer: very soon.) My second is realizing the impact this will have on two All-Star point guards.

Lucky Paul. Poor Rajon Rondo.

This most assuredly guarantees that CP3 will re-sign with the Clippers as he now got his way and his superstar coach of choice. Once the next step of this trade goes through (Garnett), Paul will have a supporting cast ready to seriously compete for a championship right away. (Just look at how quickly the C’s core meshed in 2008 in order to win a championship during their first season together.) Sorry Dallas and Atlanta, looks like CP3 is staying home.

It will also be interesting to see the impact Garnett can have on Blake Griffin once the nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player heads on over. Will the highlight of all highlight reel dunkers find a way to finally become a defensive force due to the guidance of one of the best team defenders in the league? Or will he shut out Garnett’s serious influence due to his desire to have fun and make KIA commercials?

And on the other end of this trade, you have to feel somewhat bad for Rondo. Not only has he been given the raw end of this deal since he will soon be the sole leader of a team in full rebuilding mode (LaMarcus Aldridge feels his pain), he will likely have one of his worst NBA seasons since his play—and assists per game—is bettered with a strong cast around him. No. 9 isn’t the type of player that can take over a game, team and season without quality help from his teammates.

It is mind-blowing what one free agent signing—CP3—has done for this Clippers’ franchise. Once a place that every budding star wanted out of has transformed into the landing spot for players/coaches who want one last shot at a title. (Well, the city hasn’t changed. The franchise has.)

Doc, Garnett and Pierce will soon get that shot in L.A.

And the Lakers will just have to watch.

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Fun Fact Friday (Rangers Bonus Edition)

14 06 2013

 

Yu Darvish has been pitching great again this season, but due to the Texas Rangers‘ sudden lack of hitting, most of it has been wasted of late as it seems as if he’ll never earn his eighth win. Since his last win May 16 against the Detroit Tigers, Darvish lost 1-0 to the Oakland Athletics and has gone four consecutive games without getting a decision, including Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. During these five games, Darvish has a 2.08 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings, but the Rangers have only given him seven runs to work with—four coming in the same game.

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Fun Fact Friday

5 04 2013

Baseball is back. And The Deputy has some business to take care of.

Through the first four games with the Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis has four homeruns and 16 RBI’s, the most in a team’s first four games in MLB history. He is is the fourth player ever to homer in the first four games of the season and is the first player with a HR and 3+ RBI’s in four straight games at any point in the season since Bill Dickey did it in 1937. If Davis keeps up his current pace, he would finish the season with 648 RBI’s and 162 homeruns.

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MLB Preview 2013

1 04 2013

Guest writer: Josh McSwain

 

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AL East

Unknown-15 1. Tampa Bay Rays (1) – My, how the AL east has changed in such a short time. The Rays hadn’t made the playoffs until just 6 years ago, and have built one of the most effective farm systems in baseball. Even with the loss of James Shields, their rotation will be as good as ever with Matt Moore and Alex Cobb coming in, who will complement ace David Price and vets Jeremy Hellickson and Jeff Niemann well. I don’t think Francisco Rodney will have as good of a year as he did last year, but assuming Evan Longoria can stay healthy most of this season, there won’t be as many games for Rodney to save. Losing B.J. Upton won’t be that big of a deal. Get rid of his inconsistency and strikeouts. Desmond Jennings should have a fine year. Hopefully for them Yunel Escobar will reach some of the lofty potential he has. But all in all, they look like the most well rounded team in baseball’s most talked-about division.

Unknown-12 2. Toronto Blue Jays – Offseason champions, right here. They made the most headlines by bringing in R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson. The optimist says that adding those guys to Joey Bats and Edwin Encarnacion, among others, will make them into a contender. The pessimist says that three of those guys were part of the trainwreck in Miami last season, Melky is coming off a PED suspension and that Dickey never pitched very well in the AL. I think Reyes and Buehrle will be good additions, in the short term at least. Dickey will be okay, not what people got used to, Johnson looks done, I think he’ll get roughed up in the AL. Melky is a real wild card. On the surface the AL should provide a better chance than San Francisco did to put up offensive numbers. But how much of his performance was PED related and how will he be mentally coming off of that? If he plays well, they have a good shot at making the playoffs. I just don’t think he will do well enough.

Unknown-11 3. Baltimore Orioles – They were the Cinderella story in baseball last season. Lots of no name players (with a few exceptions) coming together to get within one walk off homerun of going to the ALCS. They were simply astounding in one run games last season. But will that happen again? No. Jim Johnson, who was absolutely lights out last season, will be hard pressed to replicate last season’s success. I still think they’ll pull out a lot of close ones, but not quite enough to get them back to the postseason. But Buck Showalter has done one heck of a job there.

Unknown-3 4. New York Yankees – Has he lost his mind? Maybe. But the Yankees have lost a lot of players for extended periods of time. Granderson and Tex will miss the first two months of the season. Jeter may start the year on the DL. Alex Rodriguez is out at least half the season (that may work in their favor). Gardner is an injury waiting to happen. Basically there’s Cano and…Ichiro. Getting Mo back will help, but there’s only so much a reliever can do for a team, even if he’s the best reliever of all time. It’ll be a long summer in the Bronx.

images 5. Boston Red Sox – I question how good the hiring of John Farrell really is. On the surface, he wasn’t able to get a fairly talented Blue Jays roster to the playoffs. That said, he’s better than Bobby V. Granted I might have been too. I feel like this team is putting a lot of stock in guys that are over the hill or journeymen. Big Papi isn’t what he used to be. Mike Napoli is a good piece, but not a guy worth spending huge bucks on. Johnny Gomes a starting outfielder? Please. Shane Victorino? Old, journeyman. Stephen Drew? Another journeyman. Clay Buchholtz? When was the last time he was good? John Lackey? Oh please. I think Jacoby Ellsbury will be dealt at some point this season. They just have too many holes. I also highly doubt Joel Harnahan will be the same in Fenway as he was in the pitcher friendly PNC Park.

 

AL Central

Unknown-13 1. Detroit Tigers (3) – Not much needs to be said about this team. They have the best hitter in baseball (in my opinion), one of the best pitchers, and a $200+ million first baseman. They started out really slowly last season, but they should have the kinks worked out enough to the point that they can fire on all cylinders (no pun intended) this season.

Unknown-10 2. Kansas City Royals* – Surprise! They are my somewhat surprising playoff team for this coming season. Picking up James Shields, an ace pitcher with postseason experience, will be huge for them. Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and all their young players looked ready to take the next step at the end of last season. Ervin Santana and Wade Davis should also help their rotation. The bullpen needs to keep it together with the loss of Soria. But Aaron Crow and Greg Holland are two young, talented guys who figure to improve this coming season.

Unknown-9 3. Chicago White Sox – Lots of new faces this season, but one player remains- the ever consistent and underrated Paul Konerko. He has to be one of the most underrated players of this generation. Chris Sale had a Cy Young type season last year, and if their rotation can stay healthy and Addison Reed can have a better season than the one he had last year, they could make a run at the playoffs.

Unknown-2 4. Cleveland Indians – They made some high profile acquisitions this offseason, but I doubt they will be enough to spur this team on to a playoff run this year. Bourn is a very good player, Swisher and Reynolds bring power (as well as low averages and strikeouts), but their pitching looks shaky to me. Jiminez as your ace? Ouch. Scott Kazmir? This isn’t 2005. This team shouldn’t be very good, and the brilliant closer that is Chris Perez will not be seen, so the fans won’t come to games, and he’ll get mad at them for it.

Unknown-14 5. Minnesota Twins – They seem to be trying to build a team off of other team’s scraps once again. Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia all had stints of brilliance in the NL at one point or another, but who knows what will happen to them now? Other than Willingham, Morneau and Mauer, their position players are relative unknowns at this point. Glen Perkins as your closer? Good luck with that.

 

AL West

Unknown-2 1. Los Angeles Angels (2)- Angels-Rangers is very close to Red Sox-Yankees as most hated rivalry in the game at this point in time. On the surface, the Angels have the lineup to go to the World Series. But it really isn’t about Hamilton, Pujols and Trout (whom I doubt has the same level of success this coming season). This team’s fortune is mainly contingent on the role players. Chris Ianetta (if he can stay healthy), Peter Bourjos, Howie Kendrick and the like will be crucial in the fate of this team. Their rotation also should worry Angels fans. Weaver is great, but Wilson stinks in the playoffs (they overpaid him bigtime), Hanson is coming off an injury and having to adjust to the AL, Joe Blanton? Please. I honestly bet Jason Vargas might be their second best starter. Their bullpen is comprised of guys who aren’t anything special like Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs, Kevin Jepsen, etc. But they still should win this division.

photo1417 2. Texas Rangers* – Forget the booze and dropped flyball in Oakland for a second. Josh Hamilton was one heck of a player and he will be missed. He’s one of maybe 10 guys in baseball that could give you that big hit anytime you needed it. If anyone blames him for the Ranger’s failure to win the World Series in either of their trips there, slap them upside the head. However, like the Cardinals showed last season, you can lose your best player and still be good if you have the right type of team. I think the Rangers do. Kinsler, Andrus and Beltre comprise one of the best infields in baseball. Cruz certainly brings a power bat, but will he have any lineup protection? We’ll see. Berkman and Pierzynski are two fairly well known guys who may or may not make a huge difference. If Berkman can stay healthy, just DHing could be good for him. But either way, I doubt Hamilton’s production and presence can be made up this season. Questions on the pitching staff remain. Do they have a true ace? Can their pen be trusted/will Joe Nathan be as good as he was last season? They’ll be a good team, not sure they’re a title contender at this point.

Unknown-10 3. Oakland A’s – This team was incredibly lucky last season. They were sluggish through most of the season before capitalizing on the Ranger’s collapse. But with the Angels bound to improve and the Rangers figuring to hold steady, I’m not sure they can make it back to the playoffs. I doubt Cespedes and Reddick have similar seasons to last year. Where will the offense come from if they don’t? Nobody knows. I certainly wouldn’t trust Jed Lowrie, John Jaso or Coco Crisp to carry a team. Their pitching should be as good as it always is. They make good pitchers like Papa John’s makes good pizza.

Unknown-11 4. Seattle Mariners – It’s a shame they’re in the division they are. They’re really much better than their last place finish last season. They had some pretty good pitching last season that allowed them to hang around for a while. So for that I’m not sure losing Vargas will be huge. But for them to make a run, Justin Smoak needs to become the player they gave up Cliff Lee for, Franklin Gutierrez must stay healthy, and they need to get something out of offseason acquisitions Jesus Montero and the oft-injured Kendrys Morales. I doubt that happens.

Unknown-12 5. Houston Astros – I bet most casual fans can’t name three guys on this team. Jose Altuve, their 5’5″ second baseman, is their best player, and represented them at the all-star game last season. He wasn’t a fluff player in that game either- he stole 33 bases while hitting .290. Philip Humber, one of the perfect game pitchers last season, migrated to Houston this season, journeyman pitcher Erik Bedard is in the rotation as well. So I did it! But this team has a long way to go, and finishing anywhere but last in the AL will be an accomplishment.

 

Playoffs:

Rangers over Royals

Rays over Rangers, Tigers over Angels

Rays over Tigers

 

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

NL East

Unknown-5 1. Washington Nationals (3) – I think this team will disappoint. The optimist points to experience and the addition of Rafael Soriano as reasons to justify visions of a championship. But one big question remains: how will they deal with expectations? On the surface, they are the most talented team in baseball. But hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. This is a young team, it would be in their best interest to acquire a player with championship experience as a guide for this group of young talented players.

Unknown-21 2. Philadelphia Phillies* – This likely comes as a surprise to most people. But why? Last year they went 81-81 without Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Doc Halladay most of the season. Yes this team is getting older, but with Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels leading the rotation, and Michael Young being added to the lineup, they could be gearing up for one last run. Will they have enough to overtake the Nationals? Not likely. But without any pressure on them this year, I think they’ll surprise this season.

Unknown-22 3. Atlanta Braves – How dare he put Atlanta this low? They’re gonna be great with the addition of the Upton brothers. Well, they might be big names, but I question how much better they will make the team. With those guys, they might put up a team strikeout record that stands for 100 years. No Chipper=problem. Not only will his production on the field be missed, but where will the leadership come from? Dan Uggla, who batted .220 last season? The burden really falls on Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward this season. They have a fantastic bullpen, but can they trust Tim Hudson to stay healthy? No. Kris Medlen played out of his mind last season, but will that happen again, over a full season? I doubt it. They are my flop team for this season, mainly because they’ve failed every year for the last decade, always underachieving and having not reached the NLCS since 2001.

Unknown-4 4. New York Mets – Marlon Byrd, John Beck, Shaun Marcum. Any of those guys strike your fancy? Me neither. But those guys were the additions this offseason to this train wreck of a franchise. David Wright will want out pretty soon if things don’t get better soon.

images-1 5. Miami Marlins – Mike Redmond is a bold man for taking on this disaster of a team. Last year’s attempt to buy a good year was a dismal failure, and all the guys who were part of it are gone. Juan Pierre is back, Casey Kotchman comes in as well to help a dismal lineup of Giancarlo Stanton and a bunch of nobodies. Their pitching strikes no fear into anyone. Ricky Nolasco as your ace? Good luck with that. This may be the worst team in baseball.

 

NL Central

Unknown-6 1. Cincinnati Reds (2) – Not much has changed from last season for this team. The only real notable addition was Shin-Soo Choo. He once was a stellar performer for the Indians, but fell off in recent years. Now he heads to the south side of Ohio to revive his career. In a lineup with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, among others, it won’t all be on him. Their rotation is great, with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo leading the way. But their bullpen is just as good, featuring Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall, among others. This might be the most complete team in baseball.

Unknown-16 2. St. Louis Cardinals* – I will never doubt this team again. No matter what happens, they just press on and win. It wouldn’t surprise me if they won the division. But losing Chris Carpenter will be a blow, he was their most clutch pitcher in the playoffs. I doubt losing Rafael Furcal will be huge, but David Freese’s back injury could be. If they can weather the storm early, they can push the Reds for the division late in the year, but I think they fall just short.

Unknown-7 3. Pittsburgh Pirates – I think they’ll finally have a winning season. Andrew McCutchen is one of the best players in baseball, Neil Walker is a good second baseman and Pedro Alvarez provides power in the lineup. A.J. Burnett should have another good year in the pitcher friendly PNC Park, and I don’t think losing Harnahan will be that much of an issue. They’ll still have excellent pitching. They fell apart last season, but they have been going down an improvement curve over the last few years, and while it might not get them into the playoffs this season, it’ll be another step in the right direction.

Unknown-17 4. Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun is still one of baseball’s top players, but the amount of help he has this season will be severely reduced with injuries to Mat Gamel and Corey Hart. Alex Gonzalez is now out of position at 1B instead of SS. Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez should have good years in the hitter friendly confines of Miller Park, but they have a shaky at best rotation, so they’re gonna have to win a bunch of shootouts this season.

Unknown-8 5. Chicago Cubs – I feel bad for Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. They’re two pretty good players on what is otherwise an awful team. Most people know Jeff Samardzija as the former Notre Dame receiver, but he’s their ace. His career ERA is over 4. They turned to Scott Feldman to shore up their rotation. Good luck with that. Shawn Camp has pitched well for them, but they need a new closer. You never know what you’re going to get out of Carlos Marmol. The most exciting player to watch this season for them could be Anthony Rizzo, who hit .285 and 15 HRs last season. They should have traded Alfonzo Soriano this offseason and gotten some more players. He hit 32 homers last season, his stock would never be higher. They should try to move him at the deadline this season, and if he stinks this season, they might be stuck with him.

 

NL West

Unknown 1. San Francisco Giants (1) – Why does this team not get any respect from the national media? Do people not realize they’ve won two out of the last three titles and would have won three in a row if not for Scott Cousins drilling Buster Posey in 2011? Do people think that losing Brian Wilson will hurt them? It certainly didn’t last season. They still have the best starter in baseball, Matt Cain, best catcher, Buster Posey, a bullpen that always produces, and young talented guys like Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. Even if Pablo Sandoval misses time again, I can’t see the overpaid Dodgers or Diamondbacks catching them.

Unknown-18 2. Arizona Diamondbacks – Heath Bell and Brandon McCarthy certainly help their pitching staff. But losing OF Adam Eaton to injury hurts. Their rotation should be fine if Ian Kennedy returns to his 2011 form. Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy should be good additions to the rotation. Martin Prado was a good addition. A versatile player that hits well and plays good defense. Not sure it’ll be quite enough.

Unknown-1 3. Los Angeles Dodgers – They’ve spent a lot of money on players that aren’t that good. Carl Crawford is done, Matt Kemp is hurt all the time, Adrian Gonzalez isn’t what he once was, Josh Beckett is inconsistent and Zach Greinke just fails in the playoffs. People who are expecting them to compete for a pennant should prepare for disappointment, which is what they’ve been since Joe Torre left. All this spending did not make them better. Magic Johnson better be careful to avoid becoming another Michael Jordan (in the front office, that is).

Unknown-19 4. San Diego Padres – I would like to see this team jump the Dodgers and potentially the Diamondbacks, but I’m just not sure it’ll happen this season. Chase Headley would be a megastar if he played in New York, and Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin are pretty good outfielders. But their rotation leaves much to be desired. Edison Volquez is their ace. It’d be one thing if he could stay healthy, but even if he could he’s not an elite pitcher. They are at least a year away.

Unknown-20 5. Colorado Rockies – I put them down here by default, but they aren’t as bad of a team as people think. Yes they’ll score a billion runs because of the thin air at Coors, but they missed Tulo bigtime last season. With him back, I feel like they aren’t cursed to the cellar, but the other teams in this division are just pretty good. They really need to overhaul their staff. I know that’s not exactly the most original line, but it’s true- still. Jeff Francis and Jon Garland aren’t what they once were. The other guys just need some time to develop.

 

Playoffs:

Cardinals over Phillies

Giants over Cardinals, Reds over Nationals

Reds over Giants

 

 

World Series:

Cincinnati Reds vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Unknown

Champion: Cincinnati Reds

Dusty Baker has had winners everywhere he’s gone. He was just a few outs away from winning the World Series in 2002 with the Giants, he was a Bartman ball away from potentially taking the Cubs to the World Series in 2003, but he just hasn’t captured that title yet (as a manager, he won one as a player). But this time around, with a powerful hitting lineup and dynamic pitching staff that learned from last season’s collapse against San Francisco in the opening round, the Reds will win the World Series for the first time since 1990.

 

 

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