After being swept by the Texas Rangers the Boston Red Sox are 20-11 and tied with the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in Baseball. After facing their toughest challenge of the season in the Texas Rangers and being swept are the Red Sox for real? We talk about this and more on Fired Up Sports Talk This Tuesday at 7pm on www.masportsweb.com and Saturday at 10am on WARL. Check Program schedule for air time!
Canadians beat Bruins in sudden death shootout 6-5
Patriots resign Sebastian Vollmer
Osi Umenyiora signs with Falcons
Vikings sign WR Greg Jennings
Danny Woodhead signs with Chargers
Bulls snap Heat Streak at 27
Metta World peace out at least 6 weeks
Adam Wainwright signs extended deal
MLB won't approve padded caps
Redskins interested in Aqib Talib
Percy Harvin heading to Seahawks
Anquan Boldin traded to the 49ers for 6th round pick
Ravens made Joe Flacco highest paid QB in NFL
Bruins beat Senators in overtime shootout 3-2 Monday March 12
Blackhawks lose 2 straight games
Yankees targeting Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones
Deron Williams drops 42 points in Nets victory over Washington
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Boston College beats Northeastern 6-3 for Beanpot Title
Postponed Bruins-Lightning Game to be played April 25th
NFL reviews ideas for Super Bowl Storm Plans
Bears Terminate contract of WR Johnny Knox
Vick resigned to Eagles on 1 year deal
Golden State to wear Short Sleeve Jersey's?
Leandro Barbosa too miss rest of Season with Left Leg Injury
Michael Bourn signs 4 year deal with Indians
Ryan Braun admits to consulting Anti-Aging Clinic
Chris Carpenter may have to retire because of Nerve Injury
A-Rod back on the hot seat for PED's
Wade, Bosh, Allen Diagnosed with Flu
*SATURDAYS BRUINS LIGHTNING GAME PUSHED TO SATURDAY AT 7PM DUE TO WEATHER*
Tim Thomas say's he does not plan to play despite trade
Bruins Trade Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders and receive
draft picks contingent on Thomas Playing this season
Super Bowl Power Outage caused by Faulty Device
Michael Bourn signs 4 year deal with Indians
Ryan Braun admits to consulting Anti-Aging Clinic
Chris Carpenter may have to retire because of Nerve Injury
A-Rod back on the hot seat for PED's
Giants Pulling for 49ers to join Championship Party
NHL'ers picking 49ers to win Super Bowl
Allen, Ogden, Carter, Parcells, Sapp among Hall of Fame Class 2013
Peterson edges Manning for NFL MVP
Peyton Manning named A.P. Comeback player of the year
RGIII named A.P. Rookie of the year
J.J. Watt Named Defensive Player of the Year
Bruce Arians first interim to win A.P. Coach of the year
B.C. Alum Luke Kuechly wins Defensive Rookie of the Year
Captials John Erskine suspended 3 games for elbowing
Chris Bourque scores 1st goal as Bruins take down Maple Leafs 1-0
Celtics Jared Sullinger out rest of the season with Back Injury
A-Rod back on the hot seat for PED's
Giants Pulling for 49ers to join Championship Party
Kevin Millwood to retire after 16 Seasons
Ravens LB rips Pats after win
Gronk Injured early in victory over Texans
LB Belcher autopsy reveals intoxication
Jaguars GM Say's Tebow not in Plans
RGIII Has ACL and LCL Repaired
Manu Ginobli out 10-14 days with injury
Irish RB Cierre Wood to go Pro
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE Defeats Notre Dame Fighting Irish 42-14 to Win 3rd National Championship in 4 years
Nick Saban plans on staying with Crimson
A.J. McCaron's Girlfriend sees popularity burst
A's Extend Manager Bob Melvin 2 years
Tom Nappi here and I just want to say sorry that my playoff prediction at the beginning of the MLB season was so miserably wrong but hey it was before they even played but here was my beginning of the season predictions so you can laugh at me
AL East - N.Y. Yankees (Correct)
AL Central - Detroit Tigers (Correct)
AL West - Texas Rangers (Biggest collapse of season 9 games up with 5 games left and Blew it)
WC 1- L.A Angels (Biggest Disappointment in league)
WC 2- Boston Red Sox (WAYYYYY Wrong)
NL East - Philadelphia Phillies (Wrong)
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals (Made Playoffs but did not win Central)
NL West - S.F. Giants (Right)
WC 1- Miami Marlins (Awful disappointment)
WC 2 - Atlanta Braves (Right)
AL Winner - N.Y. Yankees (Could Be Right)
NL Winner - Philadelphia Phillies (Wrong)
WS Winner - Philadelphia Phillies in 6 (Way Wrong)
Ok here is the Middle of the season:
NL East - Washington Nationals (Right) NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals (Right) NL West - L.A. Dodgers (Wrong way to go Magic Johnson, great trade with the Red Sox)
National League Wild Card
Atlanta (Right) @ Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Wins! (Wrong)
Pittsburgh VS Washington - Washington in 6 (Maybe)
St. Louis VS L.A. Dodgers - St. Louis in 7 (Maybe
Washington over St. Louis in 7, Thats Right The Nationals make the World Series! (Maybe)
AL East - New York Yankees (Right) AL Central - Detroit Tigers (Right) AL West - Texas Rangers (Wrong)
American League Wild Card
Chicago White Sox @ L.A. Angels - Angels Win! (Wrong)
Yankees VS Angels - Yankees in 7 (Maybe)
Detroit VS Texas - Texas in 7 (Maybe)
Yankees Over Texas in 7 (Maybe besides Texas)
Yankees over Nationals in 6 games! (Still Alive)
Ok so my predictions were not bad back then especially predicting so early so now that we know who is in and who is out here is my predictions
Detroit takes care of Oakland 3-2 in Series
Yankees take care of Baltimore 3-2 in Series
I will stick with Yankees for World Series 4-3 over Detroit.
Reds Takes Care of Giants 3-1
Nationals Beat St. Louis 3-2
Nationals Beat Reds 4-3 in NLCS
World Series Nationals over Yankees 4-3 (HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES!)
MLB Major Trades at the MLB trade deadline.
Well the MLB Trade Deadline has came and went and here are the big deals, you will notice that the Sox only had a minor deal despite having a record just above .500 and 4th in the A.L. East
--BOSTON -- The Red Sox on Tuesday acquired lefty reliever Craig Breslow from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik, according to a major league source.
The 31-year-old Breslow has a 2.70 ERA in 43 1/3 innings for the Diamondsbacks this season, with 42 strikeouts and 13 walks. He has held hitters to a .233 average.
-The Red Sox also trades Lars Anderson for a Minor League Prospect seconds before the deadline.
-Phillies Trade Hunter Pence to Giants, Pence, 29, hit .271 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs in 101 games this year with Philadelphia. His homer total considerably exceeds that of any existing Giant -- Buster Posey has a club-high 13 -- and his RBI total fits between Posey's 61 and Melky Cabrera's 52. Phillies Get: Schierholtz who finished his Giants tenure with a .270 batting average, 23 homers and 119 RBIs in 503 games after he reached the Majors in 2007. This year, he compiled a .257 average with five homers and 17 RBIs in 77 games. His final act as a Giant was lining a run-scoring single in the 10th inning on Monday night as the Giants lost to the Mets, 8-7.
Seth Rosin, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year, went 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA and 10 saves in 34 games, including five starts, for San Jose this season. The 23-year-old was San Francisco's fourth-round pick in the 2010 Draft. and 21 year old catcher Tommy Joseph
-The Dodgers added veteran outfielder and leadoff hitter Shane Victorino to their collection of stars in a trade with the Phillies for reliever Josh Lindblom and Minor League pitcher Ethan Martin on Tuesday.
-The Dodgers also acquired reliever Brandon League from Seattle in exchange for a pair of Minor Leaguers on Monday.
-Braves acquire left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm and veteran backup outfielder Reed Johnson from the Cubs in exchange for highly-regarded pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman to the Chicago Cubs
-Texas acquired Geovany Soto from the Cubs on Monday night for Double-A Frisco right-hander Jacob Brigham, the club announced on Tuesday morning. Soto, who won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and was named an All-Star in 2008, is hitting a career-worst .195 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 51 games. But he has had his best month of the season in July, hitting .250 with one home run, five RBIs and eight runs scored.
-The Cincinnati Reds acquired Kansas City Royals closer Jonathan Broxton and will make him their setup man, according to a high-ranking Reds' official with direct knowledge of the trade.
Craig D’Alessandro’s MLB Power Rankings
Month 2: May
Well one month is in the books Ladies and Gents, and what an exciting first month of baseball it was!
What is this, Opposite season?
You take a look at those standings from every division and you have to say “Wow.” There really isn’t any one division that is turning out the way we thought it would. Teams that should be doing excellent (Angels, Red Sox, San Francisco, Detroit and Miami) are struggling out of the gate and teams that should be on the bottom (Cleveland, Atlanta, Oakland, and Baltimore) are really having very good seasons to start! It is just the first month, and we usually see things like this, but that will be a interesting storyline going forward.
The Future of Tomorrow, TODAY!
We are barley a month into the season and with the aforementioned teams ( LA, WAS, and BOS) struggling out of the gate (ok not Washington, but they were getting nothing out of their left field position) we are seeing a lot of the top prospects in MLB getting the call up to the Majors to try and make an impact. The Angels have had nothing going on , and with the MAJOR disappointment Albert Pujols has been, the Angels released Bobby Abreu and called up Top Prospect Mike Trout, while he hasn’t made a great impact yet, its only a matter of time before he is raking the ball.
The Washington Nationals are actually off to one of the best starts in baseball, but they had a luxury of needing only to upgrade one spot, and luckily for them, the spot that needed upgrading could be filled by their 19 year old phenom Bryce Harper, and he has been as advertised so far, I have really high hopes for this kid.
Finally we have our hometown Boston Red Sox, with Kevin Youkilis having an injured back, and the Red Sox offence needing a boast, the Red Sox have called up top Prospect Will Middlebrooks, who had a very good first game for the Red Sox, going 2-3 with a double, and even stealing a base. If you’re a fan of the show, and you should be, you know I am not a very big fan of mister Youk, so I am really rooting for Mr. Middlebrooks here.
The Year of the Pitcher
Last year, there were 3 no hitters/perfect games in the MLB. This year we already have two; WE’RE NOT EVEN 20% INTO THE SEASON YET! And this is not a surprising Item, offence is down throughout the league, except if your name is Matt Kemp, so would it really surprise me to see a few more no hitters this season? Heck no! I love this!
So without further Adie, your MSEN MLB Power Rankings:
No. 30: Minnesota Twins (Previous: 27)
Josh Willingham (.353 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) remains the team's offensive leader, while Joe Mauer (.325 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI) continues to show he is finally healthy. However, they may have the worst pitching staff in baseball, and that will continue to keep them near the bottom of the rankings. Maybe the Metro dome would help them out…ohh wait…
No. 29: Kansas City Royals (Previous: 18)
Two losses to open the week pushed the Royals' losing streak to 12 games, but they rallied to take the final two games of their series with the Indians before splitting two games with the Twins for a modest 3-3 week. However, they are still 0-10 at home on the season. Which is really to bad, since the Royals have one of the best Parks in baseball.
Alex Gordon (.232 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI) has begun to turn things around after moving out of the leadoff spot, and if Eric Hosmer (.188 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI) could follow suit it would go a long way towards helping the team find some consistency.
No. 28: San Diego Padres (Previous: 21)
The Padres had a tough draw this week, facing the Nationals and Giants. They managed to win one game in each series for a 2-4 week.
Their pitching is starting to come around, and their bullpen has been terrific, but that doesn't mean much when they are not scoring runs. Carlos Quinton should soon be making some rehab assignment, and if he’s healthy he can be a force at the plate, Chris Denorfia (team-high .282 average) has moved into a starting spot in left field, but it's going to take a lot more than that for the Padres to turn things around.
No. 27: Houston Astros ( Previous: 30)
The offense has been solid, led by Jose Altuve (.373 BA) and J.D. Martinez (19 RBI), but the team desperately needs someone in the rotation to step up alongside Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.72 ERA). But still…
No. 26: Miami Marlins (Previous: 11)
So far, the team has been perhaps the biggest disappointment in all of baseball, and it starts with their superstars as Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez are both hitting .205, while Josh Johnson sports a 5.34 ERA. Ugly, ugly start for the Fish, pull it together Boys!
No. 25: Chicago Cubs (Previous: 26)
The Cubs are in the midst of their best stretch of the season thus far, as they took two of three from the rival Cardinals before completing a 4-2 week with a victory over the Phillies on Sunday.Tony Campana (.435 BA, 6 SB, 6 R) has provided a spark taking over in center field for the departed Marlon Byrd. The starting rotation has also impressed, with Matt Garza throwing seven innings of one-hit ball to cap the week.
No. 24: Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous: 23)
The Pirates it seems can’t score a run to save their lives, dead last in the MLB but their pitching has been very impressive so far, ranking third in all of baseball.
No. 23: Oakland Athletics (Previous: 28)
The A's have struggled to find any consistency so far this season. They took two of three from the White Sox before dropping two of three to the Orioles over the weekend.
Despite having the worst team batting average in all of baseball at .205, the A's have managed to stay competitive thanks to their pitching staff. Recent call-up Jarrod Parker (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks) could make the rotation even better after looking strong in his first start. Now they just need to find someone who can hit the ball.
No. 22: Colorado Rockies (Previous: 22)
A 2-4 week saw the Rockies drop two of three to both the Pirates and the Mets, although they did explode for 18 runs on Friday.
They acquired a good deal of starting pitching depth in the offseason, and they are already dipping into it as former A's starter Guillermo Moscoso was called up with Jeremy Guthrie on the disabled list. The rotation has undoubtedly been their weakness to this point, with just one starter (Jamie Moyer, 3.14) with an ERA under 4.00
.No. 21: Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 4)
After giving them the benefit of the doubt through the first three weeks of the season, a 1-5 week and the third-worst record in the American League simply can't be overlooked. The Angels were swept by the Rays and dropped two of three to the Indians before eking out a 2-1 win on Saturday.
The call-up of uber-prospect Mike Trout, who was hitting .403 in Triple-A, could be the spark the team needs to get things going. A hot streak by Albert Pujols (.216 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI) certainly wouldn't hurt either.
No. 20: Seattle Mariners (Previous: 24)
The Mariners swept the Tigers in Detroit to open the week before dropping two of three to the Blue Jays at home, but they have to be happy with a 4-2 week against two of the league's top teams.
They tallied 30 runs in their four wins and just two in their two losses, a sign of how their season will go as they have the pitching to compete but will only be as good as their offense allows them.
No. 19: Chicago White Sox (Previous: 20)
The White Sox have been better than expected, led by Paul Konerko (.383 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) and Jake Peavy (3-1, 1.67 ERA), and their solid start could be enough to delay what was expected to be a full-blown rebuilding season.
No. 18: Milwaukee Brewers (Previous: 9)
There is little doubt that the team misses Prince Fielder's bat, and the struggles of Rickie Weeks (.193 BA) and Aramis Ramirez (.228 BA) have only magnified the loss. Their pitching staff may be a bigger concern though, as Randy Wolf (7.17 ERA) and Yovani Gallardo (6.08 ERA) have struggled mightily.
No. 17: Cleveland Indians (Previous: 19)
The starting pitching has been hit-or-miss, and the offense has no true standout player at this point, but they continue to win games and in what looks to be a wide-open AL Central.
No. 16: Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: 6)
The unexpected trio of Carlos Ruiz, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton are the only three everyday players with respectable averages, and Kyle Kendrick has struggled filling in for an injured Cliff Lee. All-in-all, things just don't look great in Philly right now.
No. 15: Cincinnati Reds (11-11, Previous: 15)
The Reds moved to second in the NL Central with a 4-2 week, as they captured two of three from both the Giants and Astros. Jay Bruce (.296 BA, 7 HR, 17 RBI) is on fire right now, as the highly touted offense is finally performing up to expectations. If the notoriously slow-starting Mat Latos (5.97 ERA) can start pitching like an ace, Cincinnati will be in pretty good shape.
No. 14: Boston Red Sox (Previous: 10)
Led by David Ortiz (.395 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI), their offense has been solid despite a slow start from Kevin Youkilis and the absence of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Their pitching continues to be a question mark, but as long as they continue to post double-digit run totals like they did three times last week, they will win games. The recent cold spurt against the A’s concern me though, this team is so hit or miss
No. 13: Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 13)
The team finally had enough of Josh Collmenter's struggles (9.82 ERA), moving him to the bullpen and calling up touted prospect Patrick Corbin (1.67 ERA, 27 IP at Double-A) to make his big league debut. As long as they can consistently score runs, they should be able to find a rotation that works with perhaps the youngest starting pitching depth in baseball.
No. 12: San Francisco Giants (Previous: 7)
Buster Posey (.353 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI) has bounced back from his injury last season, but the offense is still struggling to score runs. The biggest stat of the week for the Giants, though, was Tim Lincecum's eight-inning, zero-run outing.
No. 11: New York Mets (Previous: 25)
New York be getting center fielder Andres Torres back from injury on Monday, shifting rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis to left field which should improve the lineup moving forward. As long as their pitching staff keeps performing like they have, the Mets are on track to do much better than expected.
No. 10: Toronto Blue Jays (Previous: 16)
Edwin Encarnacion (.310 BA, 7 HR, 20 RBI) is 5-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBI in his last three games, and he's been moved to the cleanup spot in hopes of better protecting Jose Bautista. The real story, though, has been the team's starting pitching, as four of their five starters have ERAs under 4.00.
No. 9: Detroit Tigers (Previous: 1)
they released long-time Tiger Brandon Inge and lost Delmon Young indefinitely after he was arrested and charged with hate crime harassment. They will look to get things back on track against the Royals and White Sox this coming week, and still have to be considered among the AL favorites despite these hiccups.
No. 8: New York Yankees (Previous: 2)
They drop on this list due to the news that Michael Pineda is done for the year with a shoulder injury. With Phil Hughes (7.88 ERA) and Ivan Nova (5.18 ERA) struggling and Freddy Garcia (12.51 ERA) moved to the bullpen in favor of untested David Phelps, the rotation is once again a huge question mark.
No. 7: Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 29)
Well…quite a jump here, huh? With an offense that ranks 10th in runs scored and a pitching staff that ranks seventh in ERA, the O's are doing everything well right now. Five players have double-digit RBI, and J.J. Hardy (.181 BA) and Nick Markakis (.244 BA) are not among them. Once those two get going, the Orioles could be even better.
No. 6: Washington Nationals (Previous: 8)
I am still very much a believer in the Nats, as their pitching (2.33 team ERA) is going to keep them in most games. The call-up of Bryce Harper should allow them to get some much deserved national attention, and also gives them a boost not many teams can find from their farm system.
No. 5: Atlanta Braves (Previous: 14)
The team pulled a shocker of sorts when they sent 2011 All-Star Jair Jurrjens (9.37 ERA) down to Triple-A, but the move corresponded with Tim Hudson coming off the disabled list so Atlanta should be fine in the short-term.
The Braves are off to a good start, but there is a ton of room for improvement across the board.
No. 4: Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: 17)
The offense has consisted almost exclusively of Matt Kemp (.425 BA, 11 HR, 24 RBI) and Andre Ethier (.277 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI), and the rest of the team needs to start hitting around them. Also of note, Ted Lilly is very quietly 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA through three starts.
No. 3: St. Louis Cardinals (Previous: 12)
Outside of Adam Wainwright (7.32 ERA), the starting pitching has been phenomenal. At the plate, World Series MVP David Freese (.333 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI) continues to carry an offense that has gotten consistent contribution up and down the lineup.
No. 2: Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: 5)
there is a lot to like about the Rays, from a deep offense that is light years better than last season to their immensely talented pitching staff. They could certainly challenge the Rangers for the top spot in the near future.
No. 1: Texas Rangers (Previous: 3)
Josh Hamilton (.395 BA, 9 HR, 25 RBI) continues to be the AL version of Matt Kemp, while the rest of the offense is doing its part with five players tallying double-digit RBI. The Rays showed that the Rangers are human, but there is still little question that Texas sports the best team in baseball right now.
ERIC’S MLB POWER RANKINGS
(Power Rankings are based on the Current MLB Standings)
1. Detroit Tigers
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Texas Rangers
6. New York Mets
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
8. New York Yankees
9. Chicago White Sox
10. LA Dodgers
11. Baltimore Orioles
12. Milwaukee Brewers
13. Toronto Blue Jays
14. Kansas City Royals
15. Seattle Mariners
16. Houston Astros
17. San Diego Padres
18. Washington Nationals
19. Boston Red Sox
20. Oakland Athletics
21. Miami Marlins
22. Colorado Rockies
23. Chicago Cubs
24. San Francisco Giants
25. Pittsburg Pirates
26. Cincinnati Reds
27. Atlanta Braves
28. Cleveland Indians
29. LA Angels
30. Minnesota Twins
Eric's Playoff Prediction
Tampa Bay Rays
St. Louis Cardinals
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Tampa Bay wins.
30. Houston Astros
It’s really hard to believe that just seven years ago, this team was playing for the World Series, all is it, that team was stacked from top to bottom. But Ohh, how the times have changed, and this Astros team, is almost a glorified AAA team, they never got the production they wanted out of Carlos Lee, who will now be their everyday 1st baseman, Jed Lowrie will not be ready to begin the season (any Red Sox fan could tell you that) and they only have 2 solid starting pictures….who the organization want to deal as soon as humanely possible.
THIS Astros team will not see the playoffs this year, and with a move to the stacked AL West in the next few years, I’m not sure they ever will again.
29. Baltimore Orioles
Ohh, the problems with the Baltimore Orioles….how bad do they stink? Let me count the ways, a god awful Rotation: Check. A terrible Bullpen: Ohh yeah. Their lineup does have potential, I am a huge fan of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, JJ Hardy and Matt Weiters, but the rest of that line up is so up in the air, Mark Reynolds will either hit a homerun or strike out, and have a average of about .200, and who knows if Brian Roberts will ever come back from his concussion.
Buck Showalter is one of the best managers in the game…but even he will take a long time to turn this team around.
28. Oakland Athletics
The A’s could have themselves a bona-fide super star if Yoenis Cespedes turns out to be the hitter people think he is going to be, and from what we have seen so far, he is, but that’s a big if.
The rest of this Athletics team leaves a lot to be desired, for the love of god, they were so desperate to put butts in the seats of that massive stadium that they signed someone (Manny Ramirez) who will need to serve a 50 game suspension before he can “try” and help this time.
27. Minnesota Twins
I’ll speak for myself when I say that baseball will really be right again now that Joe Mauer is primed for a comeback season. He was never really healthy or in shape last season, and we all saw it. Mauer to me is the face of MLB, and whenever he is having a good season, baseball is having a good season.
Aside from Mauer however, I just don’t know how to feel about this team…their starting pitching is at best mediocre, their bullpen has “meh” written all over it and their entire lineup revolves around two often injured players in former MVP’s Mauer and Justin Morneau. The Twins were AWFUL last season, and I just don’t see them getting much better, even if everyone is healthy.
26. Chicago Cubs
I’m going to be as nice as I can to Cubs fans here: your team is going to stink this year, but just sit back and enjoy as Matt Garza and Starlin Castro turn into super stars, and hope that Anthony Rizzo gets called up and contribute as well.
Beyond those things, this Cubs team really doesn't have much rooting interest. New boss Theo Epstein will need time to transform the Cubs into winners.
25. New York Mets
Johan Santana is finally healthy and looked great (and healthy) throughout all of spring training. This fact alone makes me feel better about the Mets then I did when spring training started.
But even with their ace back, I still don’t have much hope for this team, they have very weak starting pitching, a weak bullpen and a very weak lineup, hitting in a very large ballpark. In the talented NL-East, they are a lock for last place.
24. Seattle Mariners
There are things to like about the Mariners. Felix Hernandez should be considered the top CY Young contender in the American League, Jesus Montero is a hitting prodigy, Dustin Ackley is a great young player and moving Chone Figgins back to the leadoff spot should get him going again.
But overall, the best word to describe this team is "meh." The rotation behind Hernandez is weak, as is their bullpen, and no power at all sends the Mariners all the way to last place in the AL West.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates
It wasn’t very long ago that the Buc’s would be all the way down in these rankings. But things are starting to come around. The Pirates have some good young talent on the way, but it'll be another couple years before it all comes together and the Pirates can use it to make a run at a division title.
This season, the best the Pirates can hope for is that their rotation will be as good as it was early in the 2011 season and that their lineup will be carried by Andrew McCutchen. Even then, the Pirates will tread water in an NL Central that is very heavy at the top.
22. Colorado Rockies
I don’t think anyone is going to question the Rockies' ability to score runs this season. They have a lineup that is deeper than it was in 2011, and it's strong in the middle with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez holding down the fort, and Todd Helton still being able to put up solid numbers even at his age, this team will be up there with the top “run scored“ teams in the league.
Pitching is a much bigger concern. The Rockies do not have a good rotation, they have Jeremy Guthrie then…..49 YEAR OLD JAMIE MOYER as their number 2 starter and their bullpen has some serious question marks hanging over it. That's an ill omen for a team that will play half its games at Coors Field.
The Rockies were pretty terrible beyond April last season. Don't expect them to be much better.
21. San Diego Padres
The Padres don’t look very strong on paper, they have a rotation that doesn’t have any sexy names in it, and a bullpen that doesn’t look as good as it did when they had Mike Adams and Heath Bell. But I’ll say this; the Padres are my sleepers this year.
Pitching and defense will be this team's M.O., and they could make a run at the NL West title if Yonder Alonso develops into a star and Carlos Quentin returns and starts hitting right away.
20. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox aren’t a terrible team, but their not great either, just good enough to avoid being horrible, but no team in the majors defines mediocrity quite like they do.
The White Sox could surprise people this season, but only if Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy all enjoy healthy and productive seasons.
I’ll pause for a minute to let you all recover from the laugh attack you’re having.
19. Cleveland Indians
The Indians overachieved out of the gate last season, and they ultimately ended up using their fast start as an excuse to make an awful trade to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Indians are just as mediocre now months after that trade as they were when they made it. They resigned Grady Sizemore, hoping he would get back to the player he once was…he’s already on the DL, Astrubal Cabrera is a solid short stop, and Carlos Santana will be one of the top catchers in the game. They'll be able to avoid a last-place finish in the AL Central, but they have absolutely no shot at stealing the division from the Tigers.
18. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been one of the most inept franchises in baseball for decades at this point, but they're headed in the right direction. There's some great young talent in the organization, and it should be fun to see what Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas can do over a full season.
The trouble is that the Royals don't have a strong rotation, and their bullpen is much weaker now that Joakim Soria is out of the picture. The Royals will be a middle-of-the-road club this year, and nothing more, but this team future is starting to look brighter.
17. Los Angeles Dodgers
The big story in Dodger land this year will be the club's transition out of Frank McCourt's hands and into, well, whoever's hands. Dodgers’ fans will be happy as long as it's someone other than McCourt.
The Dodgers have some good individual pieces in Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and Dee Gordon will lead the National League in steals if he stays healthy and consistent. But compared to the top teams in the NL West, the Dodgers just don't quite stack up. But under new ownership, this team will be able to spend money this off-season for the first time in a LONG time, a very good story.
16. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are getting there. They're not there yet, but they're close.
So it goes with the Blue Jays. They have some good individual pieces here and there, most notably Jose Bautista and breakout candidate Brett Lawrie, but they don't have nearly enough firepower to compete with the powers that be in the AL East.
Maybe next year.
15. Cincinnati Reds
They don’t really have much of a rotation besides Matt Latos; they moved Aroldis Chapman, who was having a fantastic spring as a starter, back to the bullpen to set up now closer Sean Marshall, who must now close with Ryan Madson going down for the year with Tommy John surgery.
Sure their offence looks nice, but they don’t really offer much after Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.
In short, this team falls well south of elite.
14. Atlanta Braves
A lot of people are down on the Braves right now, and for good reason. The news coming out of Braves camp this spring has been largely bad.
But look beyond the bad news and at the good stuff. You'll see that the Braves still have one of the deepest pitching staffs in baseball, which will most certainly come in handy. Plus, there's no way this lineup will be as bad in 2012 as it was in 2011. The Braves will likely get off to a slow start, but they'll come around.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks overachieved last season. We all know it's true.
But not by much. The D-Backs have two outstanding pitchers at the top of their rotation in Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, they have a deep bullpen and they have a lineup that will hit a ton of home runs.
I shudder to think how good this team could be if the top arms in the system get called up and start contributing immediately.
12. St. Louis Cardinals
Just like the Brewers, don't assume the Cardinals are helpless just because they lost their big slugger over the off-season.
Pujols' offense will be replaced at a reasonable margin if Carlos Beltran hits like he did last year, and David Freese and Allen Craig can both stay healthy and productive. In addition, improved health will make Matt Holliday an MVP candidate.
The bigger concern with the Cardinals is Chris Carpenter's health. The Cards have the depth to account for his absence in the short term, but not the long term. They won the World Series without Wainwright, but they can’t without their ace…or can they?
11. Miami Marlins
On paper, the Marlins are as strong as any team in baseball and they were clearly the winners of the off-season. They have a talented rotation, a solid bullpen and a lineup that is full of both power and speed.
The one big "if" is health. Several of the Marlins' key players are injury-prone (Reyes, Ramirez, Morrison, and Johnson) and that's a big concern. If the injury bug bites this team in 2012, disaster will ensue. If the injury bug doesn't bite, the Marlins will shoot up these rankings in no time at all.
10. Boston Red Sox
The back end of Boston's rotation is very iffy, I like the addition of Doubront, I’ve liked him for years, not sure how I felt about Bard when the decision was made to make him the 5th starter, but with the move that Andrew Bailey will be out till the All Star Break, the move makes a lot more sense, Alfredo Aceves was solid in the bullpen all year last year, and Bard collapsed in September…I know, I know, so did everybody, but if Aceves and be solid and Bard can develop his change up, things will look up for them.
The top three pitchers in Boston's rotation are all rock-solid, and its lineup will score a ton of runs this season. The Red Sox are not as horrible as many people think they are.
9. Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder is out of the picture, but don't think his departure has crippled the Brewers, they still have Ryan Braun, and I love the Brewers offence. They still have one of the deepest rotations in the National League, not to mention one of the deepest bullpens. If their pitching holds up, they'll have more than enough offense to pile up wins.
8. Washington Nationals
I'll be the first to admit it. I'm higher on the Nationals than most.
The thing I love most about the Nats is their starting rotation, which is young, deep and talented, but it’s not without its red flags. We're finally going to see what Stephen Strasburg can do over a full season, but you still have to worry about that elbow. Gio Gonzalez is a strikeout artist with a high ceiling, but too many walks and the long ball will kill him. Jordan Zimmerman was sneaky-good last season and Edwin Jackson is a fireballer who can be unhittable on a good day, but on a bad day, he can‘t get anyone out. The Nats lineup is far from perfect, but it has some thunder in it, Bryce Harper will be a star when he is up full time. Once Drew Storen comes back healthy, their bullpen will be elite.
7. San Francisco Giants
Buster Posey is back, and the Giants made some under-the-radar moves (i.e. trading for Melky Cabrera) over the off-season that will help them score more runs. Their pitching staff is led by three co-aces in Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, and their bullpen is the best in the National League. If they stay healthy this season, the Giants will win the NL West by 10 games.
6. Philadelphia Phillies
At the end of the 2011 season, the Phillies were the best team in baseball by a wide margin. They've gotten worse ever since, as injuries have robbed them of key members of their lineup, losing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard at the start of the season hurts bad and their bullpen lost some depth over the off-season, Madson would have been smart to retain, but smart on the Phil’s to not.
Even still, the trio of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels is so good it borders on being unfair.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
I maintain that the Angels have a deep and talented rotation, but the Rays are right there with them. The Rays have easily the best rotation in the AL East, and it will be one of the best in the majors when all is said and done. A lot of people have doubts about this offense, and I'm one of them. Carlos Pena and Luke Scott were nice additions but age is sure to affect them and they will both hit between .200 and .240, but Evan Longoria is still the best third baseman in baseball and Desmond Jennings has the potential to be even better than Carl Crawford.
4. Los Angeles Angels
OMG! Albert Pujols is an Angel!
Yes he is, and while he is a major addition to an already great team, what makes the Angels great is their starting rotation. The Angels have more talent one through four in their rotation than any team in the majors. Their bullpen has its issues, but the Angels starting pitching and improved lineup will make them slump-proof this season.
3. Texas Rangers
The Los Angeles Angels made all the big moves this off-season, but the Rangers are still king out in the AL West. Their lineup is still ridiculously strong with bats like Hamilton, Cruz Beltre and Napoli, and their starting pitching staff is still pretty deep despite the loss of C.J. Wilson. I have personally been following Yu Darvis’s career since 2006, he will win a CY Young award. But I have my doubts about Joe Nathan, he never seemed like the elite closer he used to be before Tommy John Surgery last season, but I love the rest of Texas' bullpen. Another trip to the World Series is not out of the question.
2. New York Yankees
There are some question marks hanging over the back end of the Yankees starting rotation, but they're strong as can be everywhere else. Their lineup is one of the deepest and most powerful in baseball, and their bullpen is the best bullpen in baseball, substantially. Despite their rotation concerns with Pineda having a bum shoulder, Pettitte not being ready for a while and Kuroda never pitching in the AL before, they can rest easy knowing CC Sabathia is going to win close to or more than 20 games.
1. Detroit Tigers
On paper, this Tigers team is absolutely stacked. The Tigers have a top-heavy rotation led by Justin Verlander and Doug Fister, and the middle of their lineup features two MVP candidates in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Their bullpen is anchored by a guy in Jose Valverde who didn't blow a single save last season. This team will be competing for AL pennants for years to come.
AL East Winner: New York Yankees
The AL East to me is going to be once again the toughest Divison in baseball, and the proving ground for any team that wants to win the World Series, but out of the Contenders in the East, I really like the Yankees the most. Their pitching may not be the best, but their offence sure as heck is, The Yankees take the East.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
There really is explanation needed here, the difference between first and second in the AL Central will be about 15 games. Detroit just has too much power, both on the mound and in the box; Detroit takes this division by the All Star Break.
AL West: Los Angeles Angles
Both Contending teams in the West are going to make the playoffs this season, and seasons to come, but I game the Angles a slight lead in terms of the division just because I really like that rotation 1-4, Albert Pujols doesn’t hurt much either
AL Wild Card 1: Texas Rangers
See above, replace “Angels” with “Rangers” and Albert Pujols with “Josh Hamilton”
AL Wild Card 2: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are going to fight all season, and by the break they should have Andrew Bailey, Carl Crawford, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill back, those additions will be just as good as making trades, and put them just over the hump, that will be their competition, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wild Card: Texas Rangers
In the battle of the two wild cards, I give the nod to the Texas Rangers, I just love their offence 1-9 and their rotation has the potential to be one of the best in baseball 1-5, better then the Red Sox 1-3.
NL East: Miami Marlins
At this stage of the rankings, I don’t know how I can’t give the East to Miami, 1-25 on their roster it looks like the best in baseball, time will tell, this team has the potential to have a worse collapse the last years Red Sox.
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers
Too much offence, best bullpen in the Divison, should be able to take this Divison even with tough competition from the other teams.
NL West: San Francisco Giants
The NL West will cetin ally get a lot stronger in the coming years, with the Padres looking better and the Dodgers finally able to spend money, but for now easy pick: San Francisco runs away with this Divison.
Wild Card 1: Philadelphia Phillies.
Philly is going to do very good this year, their rotation should be solid as always, but missing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to start off the season will just be to much for them to take the division from the Marlins, Phillies get into the postseason easy.
Wild Card 2: Washington Nationals
I am a BIG believe in the Nationals this year, their rotation has the potential to be the best in the National league and their offence isn’t shabby either, especially if Worth can turn it around and Bryce Harper is the phenom I hope he is.
Wild Card: Washington Nationals
Yup. That just happened
While I believe that the Phillies are one of the best teams in the NL…I think the Nationals can beat them, I love their offence, their bullpen blows Phillies away, and much like the Phillies, they have pitchers that could be #1’s on a lot of other teams…but they’re younger and can throw harder, I think that and their bullpen give them the edge.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
To me, this team is the closest thing to a perfect baseball team that I’ve seen, Power, Speed, Average, Amazing pitching, great defense. If they or the Rangers don’t make the Series, I’ll be very disappointed.
They spent so much money trying to make this team the best it could possibly be, and I think it has the potential to be that team, new ballpark, new manager, new closer, new feel, new attitude?…health?…stamina? Let’s hope, because if this team has that, they should make it to the end…but if they don’t, they might not even make the playoffs.
World Series Champion:
Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim
Follow me on Twitter @CraigSNSW and @WGAO_SNSW
Mel Parnell, the winningest left-hander in Red Sox history, died Tuesday after battling cancer, according to reports from his hometown of New Orleans.
Parnell spent his entire 10-year career with Boston, pitching for the Sox from 1947 to 1956. His best season was 1949, when he was 25-7 with a 2.77 ERA. Parnell led the American League in wins and complete games (27), and started the All-Star Game.
Daniel Bard yielded three runs across five innings Tuesday night against the Blue Jays. Bard allowed three hits while walking three and striking out a pair. While he was pretty shaky early on, he retired the final eight hitters he faced and 12 out of the last 14. Still, he has an underwhelming 10/6 K/BB ratio over 12 2/3 innings this spring and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine admitted after the game that the walks are a concern.
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