Category: 2012 MLB Predictions

10/06/12

2012 Baseball Playoff Preview - Division Series

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-Digger's Weekly-

Sloppy was the operative word in Wild Card playoffs. Seven errors committed in do or die games. Chipper Jones final game did not play out well. One of baseball's all time greats suffered through one of his worst against the defending champion Cardinals.

Now it's time for the Divisional Series. I'm really against how best record teams are visitors in the first two games in a best of five. Ridiculous! This is clearly a home field disadvantage! This should be a 2-2-1 format. How could MLB get this so wrong? MLB claims they'll get it right next year. Yeah, thanks.

Thrilling matchups await. Red hot Oakland (vs Detroit) and Baltimore (vs New York) set out to prove their seasons are not flukes. Nationals go after champion Cardinals while the Reds take on San Francisco. Get ready for plenty of excitement.

American League
Oakland A's (94-68) vs Detroit Tigers (88-74)
1) Jarred Parker (13-8, 3.47) vs Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64) Edge Tigers
2) Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.74) vs Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45) Edge A's
3) Brett Anderson (4-2, 2.57) vs Anibal Sanchez (4-6, 3.74) Edge Even
4) A.J. Griffin (7-1, 3.06) vs Max Scherzer(16-7, 3.74) Edge Even.

Oakland is red hot and in playoff baseball this is a very significant factor. Hot or not, beating Justin Verlander twice in a short series is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, the A's are 57-26 in their past 83 contests. They've won 6 in a row and 8 of 9. Timely hitting is leading the way. Oakland is riding a wave. For how long?
AL Central champion Detroit sports a fearsome 3-4 punch of Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. The Tigers attack is capable of big outbursts. However, except for Miguel & Prince, they're a streaky bunch.

Prediction: A's in 4

New York Yankees (95-67) vs Baltimore Orioles (93-69)

How far can the Orioles go. There's no way I believed Saunders (0-6 in Arlington) was going to shut down the mighty Rangers attack last night. He proved me wrong. Will Baltimore stun me once again? These two split their season series 9-9 and were tied for the AL East lead after 159 games.

Rotation matchups haven't been announced other than CC Sabathia starting Game 1 for New York. Edge Yankees. Most likely Kuroda takes the mound in Game 2 giving NY another advantage in the starting pitcher category.

This has the potential to become an explosive high run scoring series. Both play in hitters parks and pack plenty of lineup power. On paper, Yankees probably hold an advantage. In reality, Baltimore's timely hitting has been second to none lately. Orioles bullpen nearly unhittable. Yanks bullpen prone to gaffes.

Prediction: As a New Yorker, I'm saying Yankees in 5. Reality is telling me Baltimore in 4. We'll soon find out.

National League

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs San Francisco Giants(94-68)

1) Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78) vs Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79) Edge Even
2) Bronson Arroyo (13-10, 3.74) vs Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37) Edge Even
3) Mat Latos (14-4, 3.48) vs Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18) Edge Reds

No room for mistakes on defense. None. Timely hitting will be the difference in wins vs losses. A single run could determine games against top rated pitching. Cueto vs Cain is championship calibur matchup.

Prediction: Both teams playing well of late. Cincinnati is my sentimental pick. Had this series opened in Cincy, I'd say Reds hands down. Don't count out the Giants. Reds in 4.

Washington Nationals (98-64) vs St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

This is about the time when everyone scratches their heads and screams at Washington's front office for keeping their best hurler intentionally shelved. This could haunt them for years to come.

1) Gio Gonzalex (21-8, 2.89) vs Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94) Edge Nats
2) Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.94) vs Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92) Edge Nats

Nationals yet to name starters for games 3 & 4. Cards intend to send Cris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse.

Washington need to play top notch baseball against a Cardinals team which seems to find ways to win when all hope seems gone. St. Louis played from behind in much of the 2011 post-season. Never count these guys out.

Washington's spirited attack has all essentials to knock off the defending champs... except one. No experienced big game players on this youthful roster and their most devastating pitcher isn't playing. Cardinals always seem to find a way in playoff baseball.

Prediction: Cardinals in 5.

10/05/12

2012 Baseball Playoff Preview - Wild Card

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-Digger's Weekly-

Another great Major League Baseball season went right down to the wire. Division leaders, Wild Card teams and batting leaders weren't determined until the final pitch of regular season baseball (stay tuned for our 2012 MLB recap).

Now it's time to play for all the marbles, with a new twist. 2012 playoffs feature an extra Wild Card team from both leagues (NL/AL now has 2 WC teams). The two Wild Card teams face off today in a one game sudden death type game to see who advances to play division winners.

National League
Tremendous matchup. Atlanta Braves(94-68) trot Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) to the hill. Atlanta has won Medlen's last 23 starts (streak began in 2010). Wow! He'll need to be at his best when taking on the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) and Cy Young candidate Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86).

Everyone remembers Cardinals clutch hits from last season's playoffs. They neared elimination time and time again. They came thru with clutch hit after clutch hit time and time again. Atlanta players aren't strangers to playoff baseball either led by future Hall of Fame 3B Chipper Jones.

Prediction: Medlen's hot. Don't be surprised to watch him dominate today. Then again, don't count on it. The Cardinals have proven their clutch abilities too many times for me to count them out. World Series MVP David Freese comes to life in playoff action. Perhaps there's no better clutch hitter in Cardinals playoff history than NL MVP candiate Yadier Molina.
Final score: Cardinals 5 Braves 3.

American League

Two teams in opposite directions?

Buck Showalter's guided baseball's surprise team of the year. Baltimore Orioles (93-69) nearly won the AL East. Baltimore's timely offense capitalizes on opponents mistakes. Hitters were red hot until losing final two against pitching rich Tampa Bay. O's offense will need to catch fire from the opening pitch against one of baseball's most potent offenses.

Texas Rangers (93-69) took over first place in AL West with a 3-1 record on April 9. They maintained a two game lead after game 159 and flew off to Oakland for the final three games of the season. Oakland blew them out including an embarrassing 12-5 defeat to lose the division on game 162. Needless to say... Texas is backing into playoff action losers in 7 of final 9.

Baltimore's John Saunders (3-3, 3.63) is the wrong choice for a starting pitcher in a do or die game. I believe it to be the worst choice I can remember, ever! Saunders (former LA Angel) career numbers vs Texas stink. There's no way around it. Rangers hitters combined for .350 BA, .675 SLG and .410 OBA. Trouble brewing before the first pitch is thrown.

Texas marches Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90) to the hill. Yu was 10-2 in Arlington. Good luck Baltimore.

Prediction: O's bullpen better be ready to go early. Buck, Saunders is the wrong guy today. Texas has stumbled lately in all aspects. Saunders is the perfect pitcher to snap a cold spell against.
Final score: Rangers 12 Orioles 2

04/07/12

2012 MLB Regular Season Predictions (Final)

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-Digger's Daily-

All World All Sports previously made baseball predictions during the first week of spring training. The regular season has begun and it's now time to update our final regular season prognistications.

Major League Baseball announced additional Wild Card teams beginning this season. There will be a single game playoff involving one additional team per league. In other words, two Wild Card teams per league will generate added playoff fever by the time September rolls around.

Lets get to it.

American League
East
New York Yankees - Powerful lineup. Starting pitching remains #1 concern.
Tampa Bay Rays - Winning/losing squarely on shoulders of starting pitchers in division with potent lineups.
Toronto Blue Jays - This team plays long ball. Starting pitchers need to stay sharp. Don't be surprised if they finish first.
Boston Red Sox - Bobby Valentine's arrival has increased tensions. It's going to be a long season in Boston.
Baltimore Orioles - Simply outclassed by 4 better divisional opponents.

Central
Detroit Tigers - Pitching + hitting = wins. Suspect defense could hurt in playoffs.
Kansas City Royals - That's right. KC has a great nucleus of young talent. Will pitchers have stamina to survive 162?
Chicago White Sox - Dunn is back on track.
Minnesota Twins - Lack of extra back hit ability will hurt.
Cleveland Indians - They may surprise if injury free.. probably not.

West
Texas Rangers - Great lineup. Solid D. Two time West champs will be challenged by Angels. Staying healthy key to success.
Los Angeles Angels - How far will they go? Division champs? Wild Card? Tough team, tougher to handicap. Golden if injury free.
Oakland A's - Competitive but lacking power of Angels/Rangers.
Seattle Mariners - Nothing to write about after Hernandez/Ichiro.

Wild Cards: Angels, Rays. Don't count out Toronto or KC.
AL Champ: Rangers.
AL Cy Young: Verlander (DET)
AL MVP: Butler (KC)

National League
East
Philadelphia Phillies - Loaded rotation.
Miami Marlins - New look team getting stronger & wealthier.
Atlanta Braves - Developing problems, injuries, searching for answers.
New York Mets - Duda & Wright take advantage of shorter fences. Pitchers surprise.
Washington Nationals - Fail to live up to promo's. Pitchers faulter.

Central
St. Louis Cardinals - Defending champs lose Albert, Carpenter hurting. Deep team, talented... won't miss a beat.
Cincinnati Reds - Players love Dusty Baker. Pitching key to success. Lineup is locked and loaded.
Milwaukee Brewers - Excited fans will be disappointed. This former AL team should have been singled out to switch back to AL. Guess former owner turned commissioner keeps them protected.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Young team slowly improving.
Houston Astros - Final season in NL. New owners shafted by agreeing to shift to AL in 2013. HUGE mistake.
Chicago Cubs - Not even overrated Epstein can help an aging banged up team.

West
Arizona Cardinals - Tough team. Gibson keeps them ready to play.
San Francisco Giants - Many question marks. Talented. Will make run at playoffs.
Los Angeles Dodgers - New ownership. Where will they take this team. Nucleus is solid.
Colorado Rockies - Ho-hum.
San Diego Padres - Need to take a lesson from others... move in outfield fences.

Wild Card: Reds, Giants.
NL Champ: Cardinals.
NL Cy Young: Kennedy (ARI)
NL MVP: Duda (NYM)

03/21/12

2012 Preview: Colorado Rockies

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-Digger's Daily-

Colorado (73-89) endured a difficult season in 2011. Pitching was a sore spot last season. Don't expect anything different this season. Colorado is in store for another long year.

Their starting rotation boils down to spring training battles. As of now, most prognosticators expect the following opening day starting five: Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, Drew Pomeranz, Juan Nicasio and Guillermo Moscoso. In my book, there's two locks - Guthrie & Chacin - with the final three slots up for grabs. Veteran Jamie Moyer is having a great spring and the Rockies would be crazy not adding this guy to the rotation. Alex White, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Esmil Rogers were considered competitors but none of those final four names are turning heads.

Michael Cuddyer (OF/1B) and Ramon Hernandez (C) are welcomed additions. Plenty of key losses from the lineup including once heralded catcher Chris Iannetta and closer Hudson Street. Also lost - Mark Ellis, Ty Wigginton, Seth Smith, Jason Hammel, Aaron Cook and a handful of other role players.

Depth has been lost but starters are strong. Around the horn: 1B Todd Helton, 2B Marco Scutaro, SS Troy Tulowitzki, 3B Casey Blake. Catching flies from LF to RF: Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Mike Cuddyer. Rockies have a well balanced lineup attack from top to bottom.

Rafael Betancourt is their new closer. There's a handful of players battling to fill bullpen roles yet to be settled. Colorado's bullpen will be the difference between winning and losing in a wide open NL West.

Prediction: A healthy offense will go a long way to winning games. 2012 lineup has no holes. A good mix of speed, power and contact. Defense is solid. Colorado's fate rest squarely on their pitchers ability to hold leads in tight situations. Lack of depth will only become a concern if regulars are sidelined for significant time. This team has much to prove. Success is within their grasp... or not. Handicapping this team heading into regular season play at +/-80 wins. Don't be surprised to see Colorado win the NL West. It'll probably turn out as win some, lose some.

03/20/12

2012 MLB Preview: Seattle Mariners

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-Digger's Daily-

Does anyone remember Seattle won 116 games back in 2001? Seattle was a team on the rise. They reeled off 90+ wins in four consecutive season's to begin the new millennium. Since then, losers in 6 of 8 including 95 last year.

Good news on the horizon? Perhaps 2012 marks the beginning of a new Mariners era of better baseball. Don't expect miracles - or 80 wins. There's a nucleus of young talent and Seattle hopes these guys are the answer for years to come.

Starting rotation appears set with Felix Hernandez returning to dazzle hitters. If it wasn't for weak hitting teammates - Felix would be a 20 game winners year after year. Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma was rated 2nd to Rangers Yu Darvish but there's concern over whether or not his shoulder is sound - and if his fastball is strong enough to get out Major League hitters consistantly? Jason Vargas is locked in. Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi hope good fortunes of spring secure April rotation slots.

Closer Brandon League saved 37 in '11. Seattle's bullpen was gassed by mid-season. Expect more of the same if starters faulter.

Seattle's biggest acquisition - Jesus Montero - came at the expense of future star flame thrower, Michael Pineda. It was well worth it for a M's team struggling to score runs. Montero is the real deal. He'll hit in the middle of a young, untested lineup. It's a make or break year for 1B Justin Smoak. Dustin Ackley is a star for years to come at 2B. SS remains a weak spot with Brendan Ryan. 3B/OF Chone Figgins has been a monumental bust for Seattle after tearing it up for the Angels. He's battling Kyle Seager for the starting nod at 3B. Ichiro returns to RF. CF Franklin Gutierrez hasn't lived up to hype. LF is Mike Carp's to win or lose this spring unless Smoak bombs out (then Carp moves to first). Behind the plate is Miguel Olivo who provides a little pop when not striking out. All in all, Seattle's lineup is weakest in AL West on paper. They're going to need heads up base running and timely hitting or this will be another long season.

Prediction: Seattle's lineup can't compete vs Texas and Angels. Montero, Ackley & Hernandez will put up great numbers. It's anyone's guess how the rest of this team does. Rebuilding comes in many forms. If young hitters struggle (Smoak, Gutierrez, Seager) then Seattle's make over will need another. 70+ wins is generous in this division but it's within reach if peaces fit.

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