Its baseball time is finally here. Welcome to Opening Weekend 2012. Ok last week it was opening day as the Aís and the Mariners played in Japan then of course they had to play exhibition games. Afterward but they get Easter Sunday off...
I love the opening of Baseball season last night we were treated to a nice opening night pitching performance by the Cardinals Kyle Loshe throwing a 2 hitter to open Marlins Stadium. Did they really have to change the name from Florida to Miami? Then again did the Angels really need to hyphenate their name (But that was a blog for a few years ago).
Speaking of the Angels if your Angel fan you have to be excited about Albert Pujols being in town. The guy play and I think the Angels will be in the mix all year. They will be a playoff team Iím not sure of they are going to be in the play-in game. Or win the Division but I think they will give the Rangers a run for their money.
The play in game, I liken this little gem right up there with the Winter Classic. The NHL has done it right keeping the Winter Classic once a year. It works its fun it gets a lot of Hype but Once year works well. This play-in game in a few years will be a 3 game series, than few more years it will be 3 out 5 as the other teams sit coldly. Then it will be 4 out 7. Because thatís what baseball does. The concept of one game is fine. The idea is that sort division or last playoff sport one game playoff to see who gets in when two teams tie. We all get giddy over those games. They are fun they are intense. This in my opinion is baseball capitalizing on that rare event that only happens every few years that kind of makes that one game playoff special.
Itís not a baseball show without predictions instead of boring you Iíll go straight to the punch with just the winners. Philadelphia in the NL East, Cincinnati in the Central, The west is a mess but I like the D-Backs. St. Louis and Atlanta (who almost collapsed as bad as the Red Sox †in September will play for the Wild Card. ( if this anything like my bracket Iím so wrong).. Reds and The Phillies† battle it out, .with the Phillies coming in on top.
In the AL Tigers win the Central Rays win the East (Pitching , Pitching and More Pitching) Angels in the West. The Play-in The Yankees vs Rangers, †The Tigers and the Angels battle it ourt and the Tigers win it all beating the Phillies in the World Series.
A Boston Guy canít end a baseball blog without talking about the Red Sox. I know your sick of them but They are my team. I think they battle it out for 3rd with the Blue Jays who have gotten better. I like the Sox lineup on the fireld they are solid for the most part but the corner outfield positions worry me Ryan Sweeney in right sharing time with Cody Ross. And Darnell Macdonald in left filling in for Carl Crawford. All three guys are serviceable but not making go Yippee but than again neither did JD Drew. The Sox have no closer with Bailey out until sometime in July so that leaves Aceeves with the job until he screws it up. Then we will see Mark Malacon or they will have to make a move.†Iím not thrilled with Mike Avilles at Shortstop good bat ok glove. I think the Red Sox are strong enough to put up some runs .
I think there pitching is questionable after John Lester. I would say after Lester and Beckett but who knows were Beckettís head is Blue Jays Manager John Farrell was the best thing to ever happen to Josh Beckett when he was the Red Sox pitching coach. He left last year and Beckett was awesome right up to the point it counted and he just sort of gave up. Clay Bucholz has good stuff but is fragile. They are giving Felix Dubront a chance this kid has paid his dues and I like the fact that he gets a shot but I also think he wonít go deep into games he is that 5 inning† type starter. That leaves Daniel bard, I wonít this kid to do well and I think he will but I think he will also suffer growing pains. The Red Sox need to come out of the gate hot because their schedule in the first month will make them or break them.
Finally, Iím not loving the bullpen Franklin Morales is ok . Matt Albers scares me,as does Scott Atchison . At least with Atchison he can be good.. the rest will be ok Mike Bowdoin maybe a nice surprise I just not loving this Pitching staff. Who knows what Bobby Valentine pulls out of his hat donít forget these guys sat down on Terry Francona who always had their backs especially when it came to the media. I think Bobby Valentine puts up with no crap and throws them under the bus before they sit down on him.
Finally the†Lil Lanz's will be playing on†these teams†this year
The Tucson Sidewinders†ok they†are†now†the Tucson Padres of the PCL. He has two good coaches here†ok I'm coaching†this team. 14 kids and†a good practice today.
The Other† Lil Lanz of those lil Lanzs playing†Baseball this year. Will be†on the†Major League.The key is having good coaches and he has three great ones.
Enjoy the Season