Baseball season is already underway, but John S didn’t let the first weekend alter his preseason predictions. You’ll just have to trust him on that…
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. San Francisco Giants*
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres
You really nailed this division last year, huh? It’s true that last year I had the Diamondbacks, who ultimately won the division, finishing last in my season preview. So in order to make up for it, I’ve picked them to repeat in 2012.
And it’s not like it’s a trendy pick, either, since nobody’s really expecting Arizona to make the playoffs again. Continue reading
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
Tim and John S already proved their baseball knowledge by issuing World Series predictions that were proven wrong within moments of the series starting. Now, with Game 3 moments away, they reconvene to discuss the series in progress.
TIM: Two games into the World Series, John, and as everyone expected, the Giants are just bludgeoning the Rangers’ pitching. I don’t think I’m telling any tales out of school when I say that everyone knew Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson could handle the Yankees, but neither one really stood any chance against this San Francisco lineup, right?
JOHN: Surely nobody expected Cliff Lee and his 1.26 postseason ERA to shut down a lineup that included Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez, but did anyone expect a dazzling 5.2 IP, 4 ER shutdown performance from Tim Lincecum? In all honesty, I think a lot of people were prepared for that matchup to disappoint after the relative anticlimax that was Lincecum-Halladay, but it was obviously shocking to see Lee pulled in the 5th for Darren O’Day. I think what Game 1 showed, though, was why the idea of a “great postseason pitcher” is kind of a flawed notion. Most of the time, Lee has excellent control and is masterful, but when he starts missing spots, even slightly as he did in Game 1 (only 1 BB and 1 HBP), he becomes a mediocre pitcher. The reason his playoff numbers were so great was that he simply hadn’t had a game like in the playoffs yet.
TIM: Well, I think you can say it shows why the idea of calling Cliff Lee a “great postseason pitcher” is flawed, but not the concept in and of itself — with the caveat, of course, that most great postseason pitchers are great pitchers, period. Even the best postseason pitchers — such as Bob Gibson and Curt Schilling — have had bad outings somewhat like Lee’s the other night. One bad outing may hurt his reputation, but it doesn’t tarnish it.
San Francisco Giants (92-70) at Philadelphia Pillies (97-65)
The Phillies find themselves in their third consecutive NLCS, although this time not against the Dodgers. The Giants defeated the Braves in a great NLDS — seriously — and will now try to dethrone the two-time defending NL champions and their three-headed pitching Cerberus.*
*Or Cerbe-ROY-us. Get it?
Atlanta Braves (91-71) at
San Francisco Giants (92-70)
The Braves and Giants each snuck their way into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season after almost blowing it by dropping the first two games of weekend series. The last time so much was on the line on the season’s last day for both of them was, of course, 1993, when Atlanta and San Francisco entered the day tied for the NL West lead with 103 wins. Braves won, Giants lost, and a 103-59 team went home before the postseason. The Wild Card was introduced the next year. Wouldn’t it be kind of ironic, then, if the Wild Card Braves beat the NL West-winning Giants? (Let’s overlook the Wild Card Giants beating the division-winning Braves in a five-game NLDS in 2002 to retain the gravity of that question.)
The Major League Baseball season may have already started, but it’s not too late for some long-term predictions from John S and Tim. Tim will cover the old-fashioned, baseball-the-way-it-was-meant-to-be-played National League while John handles the by-this-point-too-far-gone American League. To build suspense, we’re starting in the West and gradually moving to the Central and East divisions by Saturday.
In 2005, the San Diego Padres won the National League West with an 82-80 record–the worst to ever claim a division crown. The West was the laughingstock of the NL, which in turn was looked down upon by the Junior Circuit. In the four seasons since, however, the NL West has had a bit of a renaissance, winning the NL’s Wild Card in three of those seasons and placing four teams in the NLCS over that time. The West had three teams win at least 88 games last year–the first NL division to do that since, well, the West in 2007. It is Major League Baseball’s most fluctuating division–the only one to place all of its teams in the playoffs since 2002–even as the Dodgers have won the division each of the last two seasons. That will change in 2010. Continue reading