Friday, July 06, 2007

Down the Backstretch

The All-Star game is almost upon us and as we hit the mid-way point of the MLB season, it's time for the annual review of my preseason picks. Here were my picks for the AL division winners:

Boston, Cleveland, Angels

Hey, so far so good. I'm batting 1.000 for the the AL. The Red Sox have a double digit lead and appear to be a lock to win the division. The Angels should win the west, but the Indians are in a dogfight with the Tigers for the division lead. In fact, they may not even be in the lead by the All-star game since they only hold a one game lead.

The NL picture isn't quite so rosy. My picks were:

Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers

Only the Brewers lead their division right now. The Dodgers are only one game out and have been in first for a good part of the season. The Phillies got off to a horrendous start and have only come back into the race because the Mets have faltered. They are currently 4-1/2 games out of first. It's certainly not inconceivable that they will overtake the Mets, but that remains to be seen.

My Wildcard picks were the Mets and the Yankees. The Mets are currently in first in the East and I'm not sure that either the Braves or the Phillies have enough to catch them. In theory they will get Pedro back in the second half and so they should get stronger over the final three months of the season. They Yankees have been an up and down team all year. They currently sit two games below .500 and 8-1/2 games out of the wildcard spot. Can they make up the difference? That remains to be seen. They were certainly counted out last year by a lot of pundits and they have the talent to make a run, but they haven't shown the consistency that would lead anyone to the conclusion that they will make up the deficit. I still have faith, even though my friend Robb Henick has been trying to give up on the team since April.

My picks for the AL Awards were Arod and Rich Harden. Arod has certainly done his part. He's on pace for close to 60 home runs and 150 rbi's along with a .330 average. In picking Rich Harden, I said that he had the best stuff in the league and he just had to stay healthy. Well, he may have the best stuff in the league (although I now think that King Felix probably does), but he hasn't stayed healthy. It's a shame really. It would be interesting to see what he could do in a full season.

In the NL I picked Albert Pujols and Roy Oswalt. Pujols got off to a very slow start but has turned it on of late. He isn't in a position to contend for MVP just yet, but I'm pretty sure that by the end of the season his numbers will be MVP worthy. Oswalt was just added to the All-Star team and has had a decent first half, but he'll have to turn it on to catch up to the Padres Chris Young and Jake Peavy and the Dodgers Brad Penny in the Cy Young race.

That's about it for the recap of my predictions. I'm looking forward to an exciting second half of the season. Hopefully the Yankees can make this an interesting summer and fall.

I also just wanted to say good luck to Craig as he heads down south to the paradise that is Chapel Hill. I'm sure the Doc will make it very comfortable for him. Say hi to Franklin Street for me.

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