What a great win, huh? After the first inning, it looked like we were never going to score again, as Livan Hernandez was, for some reason, shutting us down. But Chien-Ming Wang turned in a decent outing and the bullpen was lights out from there. It’s nice when you can take your starter out in the 6th inning and still have 5 relievers(Coke, Hughes, Bruney, Aceves and Robertson are all very fine relief pitchers) whom you can use to set up Mariano Rivera. I’m sure Girardi feels very comfortable with his bullpen right now.
However, we could use a complete game soon, because you don’t want to use your bullpen everyday. Those guys have really earned a rest out there in the ‘pen. Now, Joba Chamberlain is starting next game against the Mariners, so it’s quite unlikely that he’s going to pitch a complete game. And hey, since we have an off day today, that should be enough for the ‘pen for now. But I don’t like that we use them every day. I’d like to see Joba pitch a complete game, obviously, since he is capable of doing so. Let’s face it, though, the only way Chamberlain’s going to pitch a full game is if it’s a no hitter. And even then, there are doubts.
Mariano got the 500th save of his career in the most extraordinary way: with his first career RBI. I mean, if Mo was going to drive in a run, you would think it’d be of the home run or double variety. That dude can swing it! But, Francisco Rodriguez, clearly screwed up by Rivera fouling a ball off, attempted to blow a fastball by Mo, and missed with two balls to walk him. That’s just pure embarrassment, right there.
So now it’s time to have a little off topic fun: before this season, in the month of February, I gave predictions on the awards and league leaders of the American and National Leagues. Today, with a day off, I’m going to look back at those predictions and, with the information that we have thus far as we head towards the All Star break, realize how dumb and wrong I am.
Cy Youngs: Oswalt and Halladay
I wanted to get funky with the Roy and Roy thing, and I’ll tell you what, one of those predictions was pretty good. Who’d have thought Zack Greinke would be as dominant as he is this year? Oswalt, on the other hand… quite past his prime, definitely, but again, who could’ve seen Matt Cain be this dominant? Dan Haren, arguably, is better this season, and you could’ve seen Haren coming, but even with that, Oswalt was a dumb prediction.
MVPs: Miguel Cabrera and David Wright
Miguel Cabrera was a strong prediction, you have to admit, but Joe Mauer has been out of his mind since he made his season debut in May. He’s just been off the charts. Now, Miguel Cabrera’s had a very good season, too, and he does have a shot at making me right if he continues his Miggy Cabrera season and Mauer cools off, but the Wright prediction was not all too sound. Sure, Wright is leading the NL in hitting, but how could I have possibly picked someone other than Pujols?
You guys look at the rest and tell me how good my predictions were.
Thanks to Vanessa for hosting the game last night, it was real fun.
Stay positive, Yankee fans…
-EJ the Kid From New York
These are my playoff predictions for this season, on today, Opening Day.
What about the Red Sox?
What about ’em?
In all seriousness, I’m really not buying the Red Sox’s rotation this year. Aside from Jon Lester, I really don’t feel that the contributions of Boston’s starting 5 will be as good as everybody predicts. Josh Beckett is past his prime year, he’s a fairly large injury risk, and if he pitches 200 innings this year, he’s not going to duplicate his statistics in 07, when he nearly lost the Cy Young award–to current Yanks pitcher CC Sabathia. With Matsuzaka, you’ve got to throw strikes to succeed in the MLB. I don’t care how well you set up your pitches, how big your arsenal is, if you can’t pitch efficient strikes and get your pitch count low, hitters will know what you do against you and your lack of command will end up exploding in your face. Tim Wakefield is Tim Wakefield. He’s just not going to put up great numbers. He’ll be average, and nothing more. As for Brad Penny, I think you understand why I’m iffy on Penny. Not only that, but their lineup is full of either overrated players, injury risk players, or players who had a fluke year in 08. For example: Kevin Youkilis.
The Giants? What?
I’m aware that the Frisco Giants have not been a contending team for a while– 181 losses in their last two years– but I like their pitching. I like it a lot. Lincecum, the NL Cy Young award winner, and Matt Cain, a very talented flamethrowing righty who’s a workhorse, Randy Johnson, the ageless wonder who can still throw good fastballs and sharp sliders where he wants them, and two guys who have really underachieved. Jonathan Sanchez is a guy with phenomenal stuff, and he’s a lefty. Barry Zito stinks, let’s face it. He’s just ridiculous. But I feel he’ll get better. He had a 4.59 ERA in the 2nd half last year. He pitches in a pitcher’s park. I think he’ll do better, but not phenomenally well in 09. They also have an improved offense, with young guys and veteran players combined. Their bullpen is at least average. I like their chances in the weak NL West.
Yes, the Braves. They have a few good hitters, a stellar, solidified rotation, and a bullpen that has the potential to be fantastic. You don’t need power to win: the Braves don’t have sluggers up and down the lineup(although it sure seemed like it on Opening Day, 3 homers, 2 long doubles),
What about the reigning champs?
The Phillies had a very flukey year in 2008. They’re not that good. Their rotation looks very meh: other than Cole Hamels, there are no solid pitchers in that starting five. They were lead to the playoffs by an overachieving closer in Brad Lidge: look at his stats from the previous year, you’ll see he’s a good pitcher, but not fantastic, as his 08 numbers suggest. One could also look at Chad Durbin: Durbin was a key to that 08 Phillies ‘pen, leading the NL in innings pitched and putting up a great ERA. But he has never had that kind of success in the major leagues. He’s not nearly that good. JC Romero is going to miss 50 games with that suspension on substance abuse. The only guy that I really like in that Phils bullpen is Ryan Madson. He’s solid. Everyone else is up or down.
And that’s it.
Stay positive, Yankee fans! Even though we’ll lose in the ALCS…
-EJ the Kid From New York
I love making predictions, don’t you?
Cy Youngs: Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt
I decided to have a little fun on this one and I picked the two Roys: Halladay and Oswalt. They’re both terrific pitchers, Oswalt being quite underrated. This would be HAlladay’s second Cy, his first one was in 03. He’s easily, in my opinion, the best pitcher in the American League. He’s also probably the second best pitcher in the game to Johan Santana. Roy Oswalt is very underrated. He’s had the most wins(bad stat, I know, but still) since 2001, and will likely reach 200 at the end of his career at the pace he’s going on. This would be the first Cy Young for the 31-year old 3-time All-Star.
Most Valuable Players: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright
The MVPs were some of the easiest picks: How can you go wrong with Miggy Cabrera and Davey Wright? They’re both fantastic young players who have never won an MVP yet are fully capable of doing so. They have great power and average. Cabrera is a decent fielding first baseman, Wright is a decent fielding third baseman who’s defense is quite overrated. I think Cabrera is going to be better than he was in his fantastic 08 campaign, and that Wright will use his full ability and go back to stealing bases like he did in 07, as well as hit for a high average and hit for a ton of power. There’s just so much talent in both of these guys.
Rookies of the Year: Taylor Teagarden/Matt Wieters, Colby Rasmus
The reason I put both Teagarden and Wieters for the ROTY in the AL is that I’m not sure that Teagarden will get enough playing time. If Taylor does get 400-500 at bats, I’m fairly certain that he’ll rake. However, it’s also difficult to argue with Wieters’ talent. He is a better hitter than Teagarden, but I think that it’ll be more difficult for him to play in the MLB in his 2nd professional year, as opposed to the 25 year old Teagarden who got some playing time in 08. I’d be somewhat surprised if Saltalamacchia played over Teagarden. As for Colby Rasmus, well, he’s got a chance to win the starting center field job this year. He has a bunch of talent, offensively and defensively.
Save Champions: Brian Fuentes, Jose Valverde
Not much to say about Valverde, we all know he’s capable of getting the save title in 09. I don’t think K-Rod will win it because the Mets give you less save oppurtunities than the Astros do, as far as I’m concerned. This is the exact reason that Brian Fuentes is my choice for the save champion in the AL: K-Rod got those 62 saves because the Angels often gave him the perfect save oppurtunity, and he got the job done. Fuentes certainly is able to do what K-Rod did last year in my mind.
Batting Champions: Ichiro Suzuki, David Wright
Not much to say here. Ichiro is a fantastic average hitter, a batting title would be nothing new for him. I talked about Wright earlier: it’s surprising that I’d pick him over Pujols, isn’t it? Well I think Wright is just going to have a fantastic year, average wise, power wise, and speed wise.
Home Run Champions: Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun
Again, not much to say here. Miguel Cabrera, who I talked about earlier, won it last year and there is little reason to say that he won’t do it again. I picked Ryan Braun over the giant favorite Ryan Howard: I think Braun is going to go psycho with the home runs this year, hitting around 43 or 44, while Ryan Howard will calm down a bit and end up with around 39 or 40. Braun is a guy I considered for the MVP too, but I decided that he’d finish second, and Wright would end up with the award.
Comeback Player of the Year: Travis Hafner, Khalil Greene
Both guys just fell off their horses last year. In fact, not only did they fall of their horses, the horses then proceeded to kick them in the head and excrete waste on their unconscious bodies. While that latter part was quite disturbing, you know it’s true. However, both players also have good talent. Hafner was an MVP contender before his awful 08 year, which included an injury. Khalil Greene was just flat out terrible, as the shortstop who hit over 20 homers the year before was an all-season Mendoza liner.
Steals Champions: Carl Crawford, Jose Reyes
These were two dull, obvious picks. These guys are just INCREDIBLY fast and great base stealers, and they are the frontrunners for the most steals in the two leagues.
World Series: Indians vs Mets, Indians win
I would love to say that the Yankees will win the World Series and be totally right. I would love the Yankees proving me wrong and winning the World Series. However, I think we’ll lose in the ALCS and the Indians will pull off a surprise WS victory, upsetting the favorited Mets. Cleveland has a lot of players who can consistently produce this year, including Grady Sizemore, a 40-40 candidate with a good glove, and Cliff Lee, the Cy Young winner of 08. This gives me reason to believe that they’ll break the curse and win their first World Series since the year 1948.
Well that’s about it. Tune in next time for my rating of the Boston Red Sox infield, as suggested by Bob…
Stay positive, Yankee fans!
-EJ the Kid From New York