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The Scarlet & Black

Jordan’s boredom is over, baseball season has arrived

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Baseball’s here! I thought it would never come. The months and months of tedious sports boredom are finally over. We thought it would end with March Madness, but that turned out to be a bust. Yes, Scottie Reynolds’ shot to put Villanova in the Final Four was pretty sweet, and Western Kentucky did their best Brady to Moss impersonation to knock off Illinois, but the tournament was a big disappointment from beginning to end.

I’m pretty sure the best game was Iowa State scoring eight straight points in the final 1:26 to beat Michigan State. Unfortunately, that was in the women’s bracket so I’m guessing the number of people that saw the game is equal to the number of people that thought Geno Auriemma and UCONN were going to bomb out in the Sweet Sixteen. No need to worry though, that’s all over. Now it’s time for baseball predictions.

Obviously, I need to start off talking about the Minnesota Twins. They would seem one of the favorites to win the AL Central. Last year it took the White Sox 163 games to knock them out of the playoffs, and they return almost every member from that squad. The problem is a significant reason for their success last year is pretty unsustainable.

As a club, the Twins hit .311 with runners in scoring position. That is 24 points higher than the second place team. Needless to say, there is no way they can duplicate that feat this year. That coupled with what I expect to be improvement on behalf of the Tigers, Royals and Indians, and a big drop-off for the White Sox should make for a highly competitive division race with every team winning between 75 and 85 games.

There are, maybe, going to be five teams in the entire major leagues that are going to win 90 games and three of them are in the AL East. As much as I’d love to see the Rays make another postseason run, I really don’t see a way they can even get there after the way the Yankees reloaded in the off-season. Now, of course, the fact that these two and the Red Sox will be good comes as no surprise, but what makes this division incredibly tough is how good the bottom two teams are.

Last year the Blue Jays gave up the least amount of runs in the major leagues which is even more impressive considering the powerful offenses in the division. Somehow they still managed to finish seven games below their Pythagorean Record (a formula for how many games a team should win based on runs scored and given up), despite the fact that such a discrepancy usually means that a team has a terrible bullpen. The Orioles are also a team that could be much improved this year, what with the absolute heist of prospects they got from the Mariners for Erik Bedard, and uber prospect Matt Wieters who is sure to be called up once the Orioles make sure he doesn’t waste too much service time.

Almost everyone is picking the Angels to win the division but I’m not buying it. They played way over their heads last year and they lost both Mark Teixiera and Francisco Rodriguez. Add to that an older Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter, and they have the makings of a team that will significantly regress from last year. This is clearly a very poor division, so they still have a shot of winning it, but I think the Athletics are going to progress and take it with around 84-88 wins.
You might ask, why don’t I bother writing about the National League? Well, frankly, the Cubs are by far the class of the league and no matter how many times in the past they’ve screwed up in the playoffs they’re bound to make the World Series this year . . . right? Either way, I see the Cubs and Red Sox in the World Series, with the Sox winning in five games.

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