Yesterday was Opening Day, and while NPI still be caught up in college basketball excitement, that doesn’t mean we can’t bring you the brilliant baseball analysis you’ve come to expect. Today John S will be breaking down the National League, so brace yourself for backhanded compliments, ill-informed generalizations, and an overall tone of condescension and derision!
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Colorado Rockies
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Diego Padres
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
Hey, remember when the Padres were in first place? What? When did that happen?
For most of last year, actually. Lies! Next you’ll be telling me that it was largely due to someone named Luke Gregerson…
Well, now that you mention it—Look, the Giants’ whole “underdog” thing was fun when they toppled the Phillies, but it sort of ignores the fact that San Francisco has great starters, including two of the best in baseball. And it’s not like any of the four had unsustainably great years—in fact, we can probably expect Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner to get better. After all, Lincecum had by far the worst year of his young career in 2010, and Bumgarner only pitched half a season. Continue reading »
So John S was all like, “When are you gonna criticize your MLB predictions? You’re just gonna hang me out to dry?” And I came back with, “You call that a criticism? I call that a hearty pat on the back you did.” To which John replied, “Yeah, well, you got a lot more wrong than I did.”*
*Dramatization. May not have happened.
Alas, my re-evaluation of my pre-season predictions in the National League won’t be headlined by What I Got Right so much as What I Got Wrong, and Often Very Wrong. That being said, I totally got three of the eventual playoff teams from the NL, and I’m sticking to that.
What I Got Completely Wrong
I had the Padres winning 64 games all season; they will surpass that total if they go 11-60 the rest of the season. I specifically mocked the fact that Jon Garland was San Diego’s Opening Day starter. Garland is 9-6 with a 3.45 ERA, and the Padres have the best ERA in the Major Leagues. Mat Latos was a legitimate Cy Young candidate before he failed to sneeze the other day. Their bullpen, boasting former Mets Mike Adams and Heath Bell, is phenomenal.
But, the Padres aren’t making the playoffs. Bank on it.
Continue reading »
Colorado Rockies (92-70) at
Philadelphia Phillies (93-69)
The (sigh) defending champion Phillies open with a rematch of the 2007 Division Series, when a red-hot Rockies squad swept them out of the playoffs with surprising ease. To me, this is the most intriguing division series and has a chance to be one of the best we’ve ever seen. These are the two best offenses in the league (the Phillies led the NL in runs; the Rockies were second. The Rockies led the NL in OPS; the Phillies were second), and each team boasts a deep rotation. I think these are the two best teams in the National League, and that this series goes five games.
As mentioned like three sentences ago, these are the two best offenses in the league. Everybody knows about Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Ibanez for Philadekphia; they might be less aware of how important Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino are to the Phillies’ offense. Werth had 36 home runs this season. Jayson Werth!
Colorado, meanwhile, is spearheaded by Troy Tulowitzki, who you could make a strong case deserves to finish second in the NL MVP race behind Albert Pujols. Tulowitzki has made the leap this season and is, in my book, the second-best shortstop at the plate in the NL (behind Hanley Ramirez) and probably the best all-around shortstop in the game right now when you take into account his Gold Glove fielding. Todd Helton has bounced back to his usual .325 form, and the top of the Rockies’ order is formidable now that Carlos Gonzalez has found his swing the last two months.
Continue reading »