As always, I'm a little late with my "prediction" posts. Anyway, at a little past the halfway point, let's check in with what I predicted way back when the season was just starting, and what actually happened.
So, I picked the Red Sox to win; not bad, they are only 1 1/2 games out. However, it's not the Yankees they are behind, as might have been expected. It's the Rays. Now I said the Rays would be better, but who the heck predicted they would be this good—not me anyway—and, as I wrote recently, they are very much for real, and could take the East with a great pitching staff and a getting better offense. They Yanks are doing pretty much as I thought—good enough to consider, but not to lead. However, I predicted the Jays would be better. Ooops. Baltimore, as we all predicted, would stink.
OK, name one person who picked the White Sox to be in first here. I mean, back in March, who thought that they would be second in the AL with a 3.60 ERA and lead the AL with 130 HRS? And Minnesota in second place—how exactly are the Twins tied for first in the AL with a collective .281 BA? I picked the Cleveland Indians and their pitching staff to rule the Central, and while they're pitching isn't as good as advertised, their hitting is truly stinky (barely batting .250 as a team). However, I was right about Detroit not being nearly as good as expected, and Kansas City still has growing pains as expected.
The Angels are right where I said they'd be; in first with a chance to take the American League. However, the Mariners are the biggest disappointments in the AL and are already blowing up the team well before the trading deadline. And while the Mariners are surprisingly bad, the Athletics are surprisingly dang good. Now I thought they'd be better than expected, but even I am surprised at their AL leading 3.43 ERA and their 51-46 record. The Rangers are a little better than predicted, but still have a ways to go before any playoff hopes are sprouted.
This has got to be the most wack-adoo division in baseball. However, at the end of the day, it's lining up pretty much where I said it would. Even though the Mets are in second place, they are only a game out and seemingly headed in the right direction. The Phils are hanging on to a tenuous lead, and they are doing it with better than expected pitching. And while they just traded for Joe Blanton, who might help down the stretch, I still remain skeptical of their staff in general. Statistically speaking, the Braves should be right in the thick of things (their pitching is second in the NL in ERA; their BA is third), not 5 games behind the surprising Marlins. The Marlins are the White Sox of the NL, terrible pitching, and "meh" hitting...except for the fact that they put the ball in the bleachers more than anyone in the NL. The Nationals are celler dwellers, right where everyone thought they'd be.
So far, the central is essentially shaping up to be the Cubs, and a fight for second place—which is what most people thought it would be. And as some people—including me—thought, the Brewers would be right there behind the Cubs, and they are. However, I did NOT predict that the Cardinals would be in the race too. I must have forgotten about Albert Pujols being the best player in the NL bar none, because he's leading the Cardinals to a good for second place in the NL .277 team BA. Cincinnati is pretty much where I'd thought they'd be—middle of the pack, pitching holding them back. Same with the Astros. And the Pirates are right where they always are; dead last, hoping for next year.
The NL West is also pretty much as I thought it would be with the D-backs riding their pitching to first place and the Dodgers and Rockies battling it out to chase them. However, no one thought that the ENTIRE division would be under .500 at this point. For the D-backs and Dodgers you can blame both of their hitting for their predicaments, as both their pitching is excellent, 3.94 and 3.65 ERA for the staffs respectively. The Rockies on the other hand have average hitting to go with a pitching staff that has fallen back to earth after last year's above average output. The Giants and the Padres are no threat to anyone, which is all anyone expected out of them both.
To sum up, I blew the pick on the Indians to win the AL Central, but am on course with the Red Sox to take the East and the Angels to take it all. The Mets, Cubs and Diamondbacks all are on track to fulfill my predictions for taking their divisions and the Cubs should win the NL like I said they would. The Mariners and Rockies have made me look foolish as my "could surprise" teams, but I am on target with the Tigers disappointing and the Phillies could still easily blow it in the NL East.
As for my pick at AL Cy Young, well it would be nice if my guy was even playing; as Fausto Carmona hasn't pitched since late May. And while Johan Santana is pitching fine out at Shea stadium, he's getting no run support for his 3.10 ERA and is only 8-7, not good enough for the NL Cy Young. Both Chase Utley and Vladimir Guerrero aren't embarassing me as my MVP choices; they are both doing fine, though probably not well enough to be serious MVP candidates. Evan Longoria is probably the AL Rookie of the Year, so I nailed that one; however, my NL pick for Rookie of the Year would need to be in a few more games than the 3 he's played so far, to be a candidate. Heck the Pirates Steve Pearce isn't even having a good year down in AAA, so it's safe to say I missed on that one.
Well, we still have 2 1/2 months to go, so anything can happen. Post how your predictions are panning out on the talkback. And enjoy the rest of the season.