Friday, October 10, 2008

2008 Guessing Game Follow-up

AL East
1. (3) Tampa Bay Rays: What? Even as the biggest Rays optimist on this blog I only had them at 3rd and predicted the most value coming from their hitters. Their lineup was actually pretty mediocre (9th in the league in runs scored, 7th in OPS) but the pitching and defense took an unbelievable step forward (2nd in WHIP, 3rd in OPS against.) Being 29-18 in 1-run games also helped.
2. (1) Boston Red Sox - WC: Another year, another Pythagorean underperformance. Only by 2 games this year but it cost them the division. They addressed a key issue going forward by replacing Manny with the underrated (younger) Bay. And with the best run differential in the tougher league, they just might be heading for their 3rd title under Epstein’s Reign.
3. (2) New York Yankees: I called them missing the playoffs. Booyahhhhh.
4. (4) Toronto Blue Jays: Their Pythagorean record says that in a kinder world they could have made the playoffs. Would Halladay have gotten serious Cy Young consideration then? Eh. Probably not.
5. (5) Baltimore Orioles: Baltimore. You were bad this year. But without the decent hitting you could have been historically bad. What were you thinking?

AL Central
1. (5) Chicago White Sox: Heh heh, um. I guess I was a little off. Thanks for Game 163 though, those are always fun. Oh and stay classy Ozzie.
2. (3) Minnesota Twins: 3rd in the league in runs scored? Huh. Their lineup wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
3. (2 - WC) Cleveland Indians: Power outage at the V-Mart. Carmona regression. Sabathia traded. Betancourt and Hafner missing, presumed dead.
4. (4) Kansas City Royals: They crawled out of the basement but I thought the team would be better than it was. Greinke keeps making progress but the lineup was awful. I have a bad feeling that even when they make progress they’ll be the Blue Jays of this division.
5. (1) Detroit Tigers: The polar opposite of the Rays this year. High expectations but their pitching and defense imploded.

AL West
1. (1) LA Angels: Dear Angels. Please don’t ever change. Hugs & Kisses, Red Sox Nation.
2. (4) Texas Rangers: So close to allowing 1000 runs. So close.
3. (3) Oakland Athletics: OH MY GOD IT’S A
4. (2) Seattle Mariners: Remember how Ben had them winning the division and then they said “Yeah right bitch!” and lost 101 games?

NL East
1. (3) Philadelphia Phillies: Lidge’s outstanding year and Moyer’s extremely old (also good) year are two things I did not expect.
2. (1) New York Mets: This was not a bad team. It was just slightly less good than it needed to be.
3. (4) Florida Marlins: How crazy is it that the Marlins final record would have won the NL West?
4. (2) Atlanta Braves: This pitching needs to get better in a hurry if they’re going to start their climb back to the top.
5. (5) Washington Nationals: Now if only the clowns in congress could bail out this lost franchise amiright??

NL Central
1. (1) Chicago Cubs: Even when the team was on autopilot it won games. Writing this after their Division Series sweep makes me wonder how many other teams were like this one: built for the long haul of the regular season but pretty flawed in the playoffs.
2. (2) Milwaukee Brewers - WC: I predicted that the Crew’s pitching would be their weak point. Including Sabathia’s post-trade domination, the staff finished 5th in OPS-against and 4th in WHIP, ranks that seem alright for a wild card squad. The lineups OBP ranked 10th and 7th in runs scored.
3. (5) Houston Astros: Bad teams get streaky too. With a little luck and some vintage Oswalt they got sports-writers to inject some fake excitement into an already exciting NL wild-card race.
4. (4) St. Louis Cardinals: I called it right but they were a better team than I thought. A rain-out kept the Astros a game up on them. Also, Pujols is the MVP.
5. (3) Cincinnati Reds: Bruce needs time to adjust. Bailey has looked awful. Volquez and Votto had good years though.
6. (6) Pittsburgh Pirates: This team was bad at everything.

NL West
1. (1) LA Dodgers: I bet Torre gets Manager of the Year for winning 84 games in baseball’s weakest division.
2. (2) Arizona Diamondbacks: Terrible offense, but a really good pitching staff (2nd best WHIP in the NL, 3rd in OPS-against.)
3. (3) Colorado Rockies: Ok, a lot of regression this year.
4. (5) San Francisco Giants: Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, Bengie Molina and Tim Lincecum pulled the Giants out of the basement. To be fair though, it was a very deep basement.
5. (4) San Diego Padres: They narrowly missed the playoffs last year only to narrowly miss a 100-loss season this year. At least they’re consistently a game away from something.

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