National League Mid-Season Report

We’ve saved the worst….for last.

Yesterday, we broke down the good half (American League). Today, we’ll get to the half that still (inexplicably) lets pitchers hit (National League)….

National League

Best Team – Arizona Diamondbacks

pi-mlb-dbacks-pirates-062318_vresize_1200_630_high_55

This was harder than it looks. Figuring out the best team in the National League is like ranking your favorite diseases. At 47-34, the Diamondbacks have the 2nd best record in the National League (Milwaukee Brewers: 47-33). While the Diamondbacks, and Paul Goldschmidt, had a May to forget (Goldschmidt hit .144 in May, and the team went 8-19), they’ve bounced back to the tune of 19-7 in June.

Robbie Ray is back. Zack Godley is pitching to his abilities (again). And the other Zack (Greinke) is 5-1 since May. While the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are nipping at their heels, expect the Diamondbacks to win their 1st NL West Division Title since 2011.

Biggest Surprise – Milwaukee Brewers

Cardinals Brewers Baseball

I knew the Milwaukee Brewers were a good baseball team. I just didn’t know they’d be THIS good. To have the best record in the National League, with THIS pitching staff, is no small feat. If you can name the entire starting rotation for the Brewers, I’ll make your next car payment. I’m serious. GO ahead. I’ll wait….

Even ‘The Google’ doesn’t know.

The Brewers’ roster is filled with a long list of good players. No superstars. No CY Young Award candidates. Just good, do a little bit of everything, players. Only time will tell if they can hold off the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.

MVP – Freddie Freeman

freddie

Until May 14th (my birthday), A.J. Pollock was running away with the NL MVP Award. And then he got hurt. Now, your guess is as good as mine….

While the aforementioned Paul Goldschmidt has turned his life around, he’s not the MVP. Freddie is. Freddie Freeman is having the best season of his career. He’s on pace for 31 home runs, 111 rbi, and 12 sbs with a .318 batting average.

Oh, and the Atlanta Braves are in 1st place in the NL East (45-34).

CY Young – Max Scherzer

max

As deserving as Jacob deGrom is of a CY Young Award, Max Scherzer is THAT much better than deGrom. If this was the ‘I Feel Really Badly For You Award’, deGrom would be the unanimous victor. However, Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in MLB.

Now, OPEN YOUR EARS AND LISTEN:

Max Scherzer has been the best pitcher in MLB for the past seven years.

Yes, I’m aware Clayton Kershaw has been in MLB for the past seven years as well. But I’m also aware that you can’t win baseball games from the trainer’s room. While Clayton Kershaw’s stuff is unparalleled, Max Scherzer’s durability makes him the best, most consistent pitcher in MLB.

 

Do you think I’m crazy?!?! Explain yourself in the comment section below….

Advertisements

Who Needs Sleep When You Have Thursday?!

scherzer

I was going to get a good night sleep….until Thursday happened. Thursday night brought us an oxymoron, a moron, and a nail biting elimination game.

A Good Thursday Night Football Game

This term is an oxymoron. But every so often, despite having our viewership locked up, Thursday Night Football provides something worth watching. In a matchup of 4 and 1’s, the Philadelphia Eagles flew into Carolina to take on the Panthers. It was a close, competitive game, but just as I predicted, Cam Newton threw the game away. Not 1, not 2, but 3 interceptions led to a 28-23 victory by the Eagles. I couldn’t be happier for a nicer guy.

On the brighter side of things, Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz, continued to impress. He posted 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, and added 25 yards on the ground. That’s not too shabby against a stout Panthers’ defense.

Wentz is the real deal.

The Eagles (now 5-1), will have plenty of time to rest, as their next game is a primetime, Monday Night matchup with the Washington Redskins. The Panthers (4-2) will look to bounce back against rookie quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, as they take on the Chicago Bears next week.

Suspend Me Please

She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me. She loves me no….

That’s what Ezekiel Elliot’s status has been like this year. He’s suspended. No, he’s not suspended. Okay he’s suspended, but he can play. Oh wait, now he’s really suspended. Elliot’s 6-game suspension will start next week when the Dallas Cowboys return from their Bye Week. The 5th U.S Circuit Court in New Orleans (Federal appeals court) made this ruling on Thursday.

Elliot and his legal team are exploring their options, primarily their right to appeal the suspension — again. For now, the Cowboys (2-3) will need a game plan while they’re without the services of their star running back. A running back committee of Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, and Rod Smith has already been discussed.

Stay tuned. Something tells me the final chapter hasn’t been written on this story yet.

An Inning To Forget

When Max Scherzer is in the game, the opposing team doesn’t usually stand a chance. After retiring the 1st 2 batters of the 5th inning in Game 5, that appeared to be the case. The Nationals were winning when Scherzer entered, however, calamity was about to ensue….

  • Infield Single
  • Bloop Single
  • 2-Run Double
  • Intentional Walk
  • Strikeout That Didn’t End The Inning
  • Catcher’s Interference
  • RBI Hit By Pitch

Ummm, wow!! That brought the grand total in the 5th inning to 4 runs scored on 3 hits and 2 errors. Yes, this inning was insane, however, it is a microcosm of the Nationals, postseason persona. The Nationals have won the NL East 4 out of the past 6 years, and have lost in the 1st round of the playoffs each time. On the contrary, the Cubs won their 4th straight elimination game and advanced to their 3rd consecutive NLCS.

The Cubs will travel to La La Land to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Game 1 can be seen on TBS on Saturday @ 8:08 P.M. EST.

But more importantly, the Yankees take on the Astros in Houston tonight for Game 1 of the ALCS. Tune in to FS1 @ 8:08 for all the action.

Projected Starters: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Dallas Keuchel  

Prediction: Yankees 5, Astros 4

Let’s Go Yankees!!

 

Who do you think will win Game 1 of the ALCS?? Post your prediction in the comment section below.

 

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:10 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

 

American League Central Predictions

Today, we will take a look at our first American League Division; the American League Central.  I will preview each team and give you my bold predictions for the upcoming season.  Here is a quick look at how each team finished last season:

2012 American League Central Final Standings:

                                                        W   L

Detriot Tigers:                                 88-74

Chicago White Sox:                        85-77

Kansas City Royals:                       72-90

Cleveland Indians:                         68-94

Minnesota Twins:                           66-96

Ah, the 2012 Minnesota Twins.  What a major disappointment they were huh?  No one was crowning them World Series champions prior to the 2012 season, but I think we all expected them to be above .500.  The Twins started out with a horrid record, and as the season continued it only got worse.  They finished dead last in the American League Central, a horrible 30 games under .500.  There is good news for 2013.  I don’t think it is physically possible to be as bad as they were last year.  That means there is only one way to go; up.  The Twins lost speedy outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere, and they are hoping Darin Mastroianni can be their starting center fielder of the future, their leadoff hitter, and can blossom into a star.  I think he is a nice little player, but his strikeout rate is too high and his batting average is too low for me to say he’ll be a difference maker in Minnesota.  They also added Vance Worley and Mike Pelfrey to their starting rotation.  Mike Pelfrey after one solid year for the Mets in 2010, has underachieved beyond belief (if only I were 6’7″).  I don’t see the change of scenery being the difference for Pelfrey, and I see him struggling mightily this season.  As for Worley, after bursting on to the scene in 2011, his 2012 was very pedestrian (where he sported a 4.20 era and only won 6 games).  The Twins offense does have a chance to put up some runs, but that all depends on the health of their two former ‘superstars’; Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.  Josh Willingham should have another nice season at the plate, but if Mauer and Morneau can stay healthy they could make a run at that elusive .500 record (hahaha).  That’s how good I think they will be this season, their ceiling is a .500 record.  When it’s all said and done I do think they improve upon their record from last season, but not by much.  They will be a stellar 70-92.

Last season the Cleveland Indians showed that they can compete in the American League Central.  They held a record of 44-41 at the All-Star break.  Then the Indians went on to have a disastrous 2nd half, going 24-53 to close out the season.  This forced the Indians owner to fire their manager Manny Acta.  Over the offseason, the Indians hired former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.  They believe that the combination of Francona and their new acquisitions this offseason gives them a chance to compete for the division title.  They added former Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher, home-run hitting Mark Reynolds, speedy centerfielder Michael Bourn, and the power/speed threat of Drew Stubbs (if only Stubbs didn’t strike out a million times he’d have the potential to be GREAT).  Between Reynolds and Stubbs their batting average will plummet while their strikeout rate soars through the roof, but they have the potential to be a very good team.  If Ubaldo Jimenez can return to All-Star form, watch out for the Cleveland Indians!  I think that they will be the most improved team from last season but will just miss out on the playoffs.  I believe they will finish with a record of 85-77.

The Kansas City Royals have been a model of inconsistency over the years, and that’s exactly what they were last season.  I do believe that they are heading in the right direction though and might actually surprise some folks this season.  The Royals have a good young team with a mountain of potential.  They also added James Shields, Ervin Santana, and Wade Davis to their starting rotation this offseason.  I believe this will vastly improve this team, and they will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2003.  The Royals have a lineup with a rare combination of speed and power.  Between Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson, and Alex Gordon the Royals should swipe a lot of bases this season.  They also have a lot of pop in their bats, with Mike Moustakas, Eris Hosmer, and Billy Butler anchoring the lineup.  Expect the Royals to be improved from last year, finishing with a record of 82-80.

Outside of Chris Sale, the Chicago White Sox rotation hovered around .500 in terms of wins and losses last season.  I believe that is what we will see from this team in 2013.  They did not make much noise this past offseason.  The only real addition they made was bringing in Jeff Keppinger to play 3rd base.  He should help with their batting average but not much more.  They do have nice players in their lineup in Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Alejandro De Aza, but that won’t be enough to compete in this division.  This will be the most improved division in baseball, and the White Sox will finish in 4th place in the division this season.  I don’t think their pitching is good enough and it will ultimately be their downfall.  I see the White Sox having a disappointing season, finishing with an 80-82 record.

This is the Detroit Tigers division to lose.  With Justin Verlander heading up a rotation that includes Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, the Tigers rotation should continue to mow batters down.  Add that to a lineup that features Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and I think it’s safe to say that the Tigers will win the American League Central again this season.  The Tigers do have a big question mark this season though, that could throw a big curveball into their plans.  They don’t have a closer right now.  They don’t seem to be interested in re-signing Jose Valverde.  Now, I dislike Valverde more than anyone in the world.  Watching him pitch makes me want to stab myself in the eyes with a pencil.  However, sometimes the scarcity at a position should dictate how you put your team together.  Valverde did implode in the postseason last year, but he is by far the best option at closer for the Detroit Tigers (at least right now).  Come playoff time, are you really going to feel comfortable handing the ball to a rookie in the 9th inning??  I highly doubt it.  I foresee the Tigers holding off the Indians to win the division, but I don’t think they’re going to make it look easy.  Their record should be similar to that of last year at 89-73.  They will narrowly win the American League Central.

2013 American League Central Projected Final Standings:

W   L

Detroit Tigers:                                  89-73

Cleveland Indians:                          85-77

Kansas CIty Royals:                        82-80

Chicago White Sox:                         80-82

Minnesota Twins:                            70-92

Projected American League Central Winner: Detroit Tigers

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!