September 30, 2008

Final Prognosis


I gave my MLB predictions at the outset of this year. I updated how I was doing at the halfway point, and here at the bitter end, here's how the MLB Season wrapped up.

To make everything clear. The team in black is what I predicted, the team in green is where they were at the halfway point, and finally, the red ones is how it all ended up.

Boston/// Boston /// Tampa Bay
Toronto/// Tampa Bay (Wild Card) /// Boston (Wild Card)
New York/// New York /// New York
Tampa Bay/// Baltimore /// Toronto
Baltimore/// Toronto /// Baltimore

Detroit/// Chicago /// Chicago
Cleveland (Wild Card)///Minnesota /// Minnesota
Chicago/// Detroit /// Cleveland
Minnesota/// Cleveland /// Kansas City
Kansas City/// Kansas City /// Detroit

Seattle/// Los Angeles /// Los Angeles
Los Angeles/// Oakland /// Texas
Oakland/// Texas /// Oakland
Texas /// Seattle /// Seattle


New York/// Philadelphia /// Philadelphia
Atlanta/// Florida /// New York
Philadelphia/// New York /// Florida
Florida/// Atlanta /// Atlanta
Washington /// Washington /// Washington

Milwaukee/// Chicago /// Chicago
Chicago/// St. Louis (Wild Card) /// Milwaukee (Wild Card)
St. Louis/// Milwaukee /// Houston
Cincinnati/// Pittsburgh /// St. Louis
Houston/// Houston /// Cincinnati
Pittsburgh /// Cincinnati /// Pittsburgh

Arizona/// Arizona /// Los Angeles
Los Angeles (Wild Card)/// Los Angeles /// Arizona
Colorado/// San Francisco /// Colorado
San Diego/// Colorado /// San Fransisco
San Fransisco/// San Diego /// San Diego

Now, for the playoffs. I did not alter predictions at the halfway point, so below is what I thought would happen and what will actually happen, starting tomorrow.


Divisional Series
American League:
Boston vs. Cleveland: Boston in 4 /// Los Angeles vs. Boston
Seattle vs. Detroit: Detroit in 5 /// Tampa Bay vs. Chicago

National League:
New York vs. Los Angeles: Los Angeles in 5 /// Chicago vs. Los Angeles
Milwaukee vs. Arizona: Arizona in 3 /// Philadelphia vs. Milwaukee

Okay, post-mortem time. You'll notice that I got a lot wrong. In fact, I picked two teams who finished in last place in their respective divisions to play each other in the playoffs (Seattle vs. Detroit). In fact, I only got one playoff team right per league (Boston & Los Angeles).

Now, what went wrong? Or rather, why was I, a committed baseball fan, SO wrong. First, with Detroit, I assumed everything about that team was better than what it actually turned out being. On paper, at the beginning of this year, they looked like a team that could score 2,000 runs. And, you know, that's why we play the games. Same with Seattle, while I thought their offense was a little sketchy, I thought their pitching would carry them through, particularly Erik Bedard, but I was dead, dead wrong. Oh, and I figured Cleveland would hit much better and stay in it for a long time. Again, I was wrong.

Also, I underestimated Tampa Bay. I figured their time was literally going to be next year when all that talent they have coagulated into a championship caliber team. Turns out I missed it by a season. Same thing with the Twins. They hung in there up until Jim "Dudley Do-Right" Thome beat them tonight. I also underestimated the Angels, who I thought wouldn't hold together this year. And, I also expected the National League West to be the most competitive division in baseball, but it turned out to be just a bad division. Never expected that, which in turn messed up my Wild Card pick. Nor did I think the Mets would collapse so fully, again in the regular season. I assumed they'd shit the bed in the playoffs like in 2006.

But really, what I think I know the best is the NL Central. Being a devoted Cardinal fan, so how did I get the Central wrong. Let me list out the reasons:

1) Trades. I didn't expect the Brewers and Cubs to both obtain the best possible picthers available at that time. Of course I knew the Cardinals wouldn't make such a bold move since they last time they did that it turned into Mark Mulder, but I also expected the Cards to do better than Felipe Lopez, who while phenomenal in his time with the Birds, he doesn't pitch. Also, seeing Jim Edmonds thrive as a Cub is again something that mystified the shit out of me, especially after seeing his declining skills showcased in a disinterested and unmotivated player for about the past year and a half in St. Louis. Also, what the hell was Houston doing at the trade deadline? They picked up some players that made them a better team and got them within sniffing distance of the wild card, but I never would have expected a team as far out as Houston was to decide they could make a run, an thereby finishing above St. Louis in the standings. Houston doesn't make that run, I think I get the NL Central mostly right.

2) Consistency. The Cubs starting pitching was much, much better than I thought they would be, especially Ryan Dempster and Ted Lily. Not once did expect that. Same with the bullpen and their offense. Really, I figured they would be a good team, but would ultimately Cub-it-up at some point, but they kept it together throughout the season. Also, I should lump in here the Cardinal bullpen. They blew 31 saves this year. That's right, 31. That's fucking ridiculous. I don't know how many games that resulted in losses, but it's safe to assume too damn many. I, again, didn't expect that part of the Cardinal team to be that consistently bad throughout the year. Once it started to stink, I should have known it was going to continue to stink long past the time when the maggots had their fill on that stinking corpse because of LaRussa's dedication to favorite players (or maybe a refusal to admit when he's wrong). But, 31 blown saves, that's embarrassing. Same with the left-handed relivers the Cardinals used, particularly Randy Flores consistent shittiness.

3) Injuries. Yes, Mark Mulder was hurt, but I never expected him to come back anyway. I did, however, expect Chris Carpenter to pitch more this year instead of needing another shoulder nerve surgery. Also with injuries to Chris Duncan, Rick Ankiel, Adam Wainwright, Tyler Johnson and Jason Isringhausen all hamstrung the Cardinals chances. True, they weren't good to begin with, but when you need everything to break your way, and many of the players you need to stay healthy instead get hurt and miss work, there just isn't enough Geico to keep the team in the race when you're already trotting out Cesar Izturis to play everyday. And, for the record, I'm not blaming the injuries for the Cardinals fourth place finish (that belongs to the bullpen), just without those injuries, they probably finish third. And, at the same time, Ben Sheets, one of the reasons for the Brewers success this year, for once, managed not to get hurt in the regular season, which was a surprise (but he's toast now, blew out his elbow, and it's a contract year for him, bad timing, fella). And, I don't think any Cub outside of Soriano really missed any big chunk of time, and they got enough offense to where they don't necessarily need Soriano, so they had no crucial injuries to the squad. I had Zambrano pegged for a shoulder injury this year, and I was wrong.

4) Homer-itis. Realistically, I should have picked the Cubs to win the division, but I was too much of a Cardinal fan to admit that to myself. They were favorites from the get-go, and had the best team on paper going into the season, and only got better as the year progressed (except for Fukudome, probably one of the few people in the history of the game to start the All-Star game, then wind up the season riding the bench).

Now, with all that said, let's make some more predictions (when you get to the LCS & World Series parts, the teams in red are what my current beliefs are, the teams in black is how I thought it was going to shake out at the beginning of this year).

Divisional Series
American League:
Los Angeles vs. Boston ... Los Angeles in 4
Tampa Bay vs. Chicago... Tampa Bay in 4

National League:
Chicago vs. Los Angeles... Los Angeles in 4 (I'm sorry, I just can't pick the Cubs)
Philadelphia vs. Milwaukee... Philadelphia in 3

League Championship Series
American League:
Boston vs. Detroit: Detroit in 6
Los Angeles vs. Tampa Bay ... Tampa Bay in 7

National League:
Los Angeles vs. Arizona: Los Angeles in 7
Los Angeles vs. Philadelphia ... Los Angeles in 5

World Series
Detroit vs. Los Angeles: Detroit in 5
Tampa Bay vs. Los Angeles ... Tampa Bay in 6

That's right, I'm on the Rays bandwagon. Tampa Bay Rays, you're 2008 World Champions. Write it down.

viva el mustache

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