Saturday, July 02, 2005


MLB Mid-Season Report

So, I did a pre-season analysis, which can be read here. Let's do a little mid-season review to see how we're doing:

AL East:

Could the Yankees underachieve any more? 40-39 with a week to go to the All-Star Break. If it wasn't for A-Rod and his consistent heroics, the Yanks could easily be 30-49 and battling T-Bay for the basement. As it is, they are in third, a mere 6 games behind the Red Sox, who show signs of hotting up, but then go flat. Even more shocking is the continued presence of Baltimore and Toronto. Both teams are getting just enough pitching to augment spectacular offenses. It's safe to bet that Boston and New York will be big buyers at the trade deadline and, if Baltimore's in the hunt, they may go shopping too.

Predicted: Boston, NY, Toronto, Baltimore, T-Bay.
Mid-Season: Right on at the top and bottom. Middle's out of order. 2 out of 5.

AL Central:

I called Chicago to win the division. I never imagined they'd be the best in the majors at the halfway mark. Jon Garland 12-3? Wild. The Sox are 53-25 after today and this is in spite of a bullpen that was in flux until Dustin Hermanson stepped in as closer and an offense that had only one legit power threat in Paul Konerko. Frank Thomas is back and playing well, but PT is at the expense of Carl Everett, a model citizen thus far and one of the Sox' best hitters. One of them will leave during the second half, and I think it will be Everett, since nobody wants a cranky, oft-injured DH. Detroit and Cleveland have had very nice first halves and will make a good run to the end. It's not impossible to see Minnesota in 4th in October.

Predicted: Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, KC
Mid-Season: Flip Cleveland and Detroit and I'm bang-on. 3 out of 5.

AL West:

Texas has hung in this far. Will they survive July and August? Kenny Rogers may have been the man through the first three months, but he may have earned himself a ticket out with his performance over the last week. The offense MUST stay hot for Texas to have a chance, as the Angels are one good winning streak away from running away and hiding with the division. Good for Oakland, hanging in one game under .500. Barry Zito has been excellent since a rocky April, and Joe Blanton, Dan Haren and Huston Street are for real. The popgun offense is a cause for concern, but you can do worse than try to build around hitters like Eric Chavez and Nick Swisher. Finally, Chan-Ho Park 9-2? Who'da thunk it?

Predicted: LAA, Texas, Oakland, Seattle
Mid-Season: On the money. 4-for-4. AL Total: 9-for-14. 64% is pretty good, sez I.

NL East:

Best division in baseball. Gotta love the Nationals, up 5 1/2 after 80 games. Amazing what a little stability does for a ball team. Livan Hernandez has been a revelation, going 12-2 and even throwing a 150-pitch outing last month. The Braves are racked with injuries and bullpen uncertainty, but Andruw Jones has put the offense on his back, tering it up over the last month. Florida's scuffling, but if Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell get into a groove, watch out, because they have been almost lights-out on the mound thus far. The Phillies lost Jim Thome this week, so you may have to count them out, but don't do that with the Mets, who have been hot of late.

Predicted: Atlanta , Philly, Florida, NYM, Washington
Mid-Season: Not even close: Washington, Atlanta, Florida, Philly, NYM. 1-for-5.

NL Central:

Once again turning into a laugher, although St. Louis is struggling just as the Cubs are getting back Wood and Prior. St. Loo is riding the miracle arms of Chris Carpenter and Matt Morris for as long as they can. Carpenter was almost unhittable in June and may wind up starting the All-Star Game. The Cubs are 9 1/2 back, but a hot streak can solve much of that problem. Derrek Lee has been a revelation this year, chasing a Triple Crown and, as of yesterday, leading Albert Pujols in the All-Star voting. Houston is scuffling and miss Jeff Bagwell's presence in the middle of the order, but you cannot count out Clemens, Oswalt and Pettitte, all of whom are pitching brilliantly. Watch out for a Clemens to the Yankees deal, which may yet happen. Also, Milwaukee is setting up for a run next year. Watch and see if it happens just as I predicted.

Predicted: St. Loo, Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee
Mid-Season: Pretty good. Just move Milwaukee up to third and Houston, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati down a step. Still only 2-for-6, though.

NL West: Jake Peavy, the Cy Young committee called and want to know how many years in a row you plan to win the award. Seriously, the guy's awesome. Because of him and Adam Eaton, the Padres are revving up to run away and hide. It looks deceiving in the standings, since Arizona and L.A. are 4 and 5 games back, respectively. But think about, it's Ari-freaking-zona, who I'm sure are doing it with smoke and mirrors, and Team Dysfunction, who are struggling with injuries and reports of an (unsurprisingly) fractious clubhouse. We now also know how important Barry Bonds is to San Fran and, more importantly, that Pedro Feliz is not yet ready to be the man in SF.

Predicted: San Diego, San Fran, L.A., Colorado, Arizona
Mid-Season: No sale after San Diego, as Arizona has overachieved and San Fran has done the opposite. Got L.A. in the right spot, though. 2-for-5. NL total is an atrocious 5-for-16, just over 30%. Total's 14-for-30, just under 50%.

So, if the playoffs started today, here's how they'd look:


Boston (East Winner) at Chicago (Central Winner)
Minnesota (wild card) at LA (West Winner)

Minnesota leads the wild card by 1 over Baltimore, 1 1/2 over Cleveland, 2 1/2 over Texas and 4 1/2 over NY and Toronto.


Atlanta (wild card) at St. Louis (Central Winner)
San Diego (West Winner) at Washington (East Winner)

Atlanta leads the wild card by 1 1/2 over Florida, 3 over Chicago and Philly, 3 1/2 over the Mets and 4 1/2 over the D-Backs.

Based on the season thus far, I go L.A. over Boston in the AL and St. Louis over San Diego in the NL and St.Louis wins it all.