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2010 Baseball Previews: Post-Season and Award Predictions 2

Posted on April 02, 2010 by Don Spieles
Game Three NLDS-Colorado Rockies Host Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley seems poised for another big year in 2010.

The warm-ups are done.  Teams are boarding planes at this very moment to travel back home in preparation for opening day.  The 162 game marathons begin for each of them starting this Sunday and Monday.  Here’ a breakdown of the likely scenarios for an October that right now seems light-years away.

Divisional Finishes:
(X indicates wild-card)

AL East
Red Sox –X
Blue Jays

NL East

AL Central
White Sox

NL Central

AL West

NL West

Dodgers –X

Read the rest of this entry →

New York Mets: On a Brighter Note 3

Posted on April 01, 2010 by Richard Marsh
Houston Astros New York Mets Spring Training Baseball Game

Johan Santana has struggled this spring, but is still one of the best pitchers in the National League.

We are now a weekend away from the start of the 2010 Major League Baseball Season and New York Mets fans all over the planet are pulling out their remaining hair and saying to anyone who will listen “Oh no, here we go again”.

Well not so fast. True the season will start with a third of their starting team on the Disabled List but unlike last year when more than half the starters seemed to be out most of the year, this year the Mets are prepared for injuries and the substitutes they put out on the field will not resemble the 2009 version of “The
Little Sisters of the Poor”..

If Spring Training has shown Mets fans anything other than thank goodness it’s over,is the fact that the players down on the farm are hardly as bad as the media has depicted them to be. Players like Ike Davis, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, Jenrry Mejia, Nick Evans and Rueben Tejada, to just name a few, have given Mets fans an opportunity to see a brighter future even if they may struggle in 2010. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: NL West – Round and Round They Go! 4

Posted on April 01, 2010 by Don Spieles

For real baseball fans, the NL West is going to be the division to watch in 2010.  The term “real baseball fans”, as used here, refers to those who love baseball so much that they absorb every bit of it they can (College world series, little league world series, and spring training games are a requisite for entry in to this club.)  No matter what your favorite team, if the game and it’s intricacies get you going, the NL West and it almost total unpredictably this year will be exactly the kind of anything can happen free for all that will have you riveted.

In the process of gathering info and stats for this, the last divisional breakdown before opening night on Sunday, two things became clear (and really, only two things.)  The first is that the Padres will need something akin to divine intervention to finish anything but last.  The other surety is the finishing order of the other four teams is totally up in the air in the hive brain that is baseball analysis.

With that in mind, here’s how it’ll all work out.

Seattle Mariners vs Colorado Rockies in Denver

Todd Helton's veteran presence will lead his young team to the division title.

1. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies have dome some serious house cleaning, in terms of sheer numbers at least.  Included in the list of players that have departed are 3B Garrett Atkins (Orioles), RHP Jason Marquis (Nationals), OF Matt Murton (Hanshin Tigers) , INF Mike McCoy (Blue Jays), RHP Jose Contreras (Phillies), C Yorvit Torrealba (Padres), RHP Joel Peralta (Nationals), RHP Ryan Speier (Nationals), RHP Matt Herges (Royals), RHP Josh Fogg (Mets), LHP Alan Embree (Red Sox).

Incoming players? How about 3B Melvin Mora (Orioles), C Miguel Olivio (Royals), RHP Tim Redding (Mets), C Paul LoDuca (Marlins) , OF Jay Payton (Orioles).  Two of those, (Paytonand LoDuca) didn’t play in 2009.

Shopping lists aside, the Rockies are a young team, but a team with a lot of potential stars and some vets mixed in for guidance.  Todd Helton still man’s first, with Jason Giambi as a back-up and pinch-hitter.  They sport a solid rotation of Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jorge De La Rosa, Jeff Francis, and Jason Hammel will lead off for a deep bull pen that includes Franklin Morales, Rafael Bettencourt, and Huston Street.

Potential negatives are the obvious lack of experience in most position players and Huston Street is having some health issues.  The thing about the Rockies, though, is what makes then sort of like the Twins of the NL; they never quit.  They are scrappy and are usually always relevant in September conversations.

Unless they are decimated by injuries or some other major unforeseen calamity, the Rockies take the NL West in 2010. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Predictions: Will the Red Sox Rule the Day? 4

Posted on March 30, 2010 by Richard Marsh
Game six of the ALCS between the Tamp Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox in Tampa Bay

Could Josh Beckett and the Red Sox bring home another World Series title in 2010?

The final countdown to the beginning of the MLB season has begun in earnest as we are now 5 days from opening night on ESPN where the Yankees face the Red Sox in what looks to me as it should be some of the closes races for all the divisions in recent years.

CC Sabathia vs. Josh Beckett should stir even the most casual fans as the Yankees attempt to repeat in 2010. They will be missing some key elements from last years championship club. Gone are Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Melky Cabrera and with Joba Chamberlain losing the battle for the 5th spot in the rotation to Phil Hughes, some of the experts are concerned that age may be creeping up on them as many of their key players, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada are all 35 years old and above.

Since the steroid issue is being monitored at it’s highest level since the testing began a few years back we are seeing less and less of career seasons from this age group. It’s nice to see the playing field becoming more level than in the past decade or so.

This still won’t stop the Yankees, Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays from fighting it out for the two spots for October baseball. They will clearly be the favorites in the American League along with the two other division winners to play in the post season.

However don’t be fooled into believing that the runner up in the Central Division won’t be fighting the AL East for the lone Wild Card position. Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota are all very capable of winning 90 plus games this year so all and all this could be real fun.

The two other long shot Wild Card contenders may just come from the AL West where the Angels, Rangers and Mariners are going to have a knock em out drag down battle for that crown. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: NL Central – The Cardinal Rule? Hitting Needs Pitching 3

Posted on March 29, 2010 by Don Spieles

One week left to go!  As we head back across the Midwest for a preview of the NL Central, we examine the division that boasts the most teams and the potential for the most surprises.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

San Diego Padres vs St. Louis Cardinals

Holliday and Pujols will be featured in a lot of pitchers nightmares in 2010.

Arguably the two biggest moves this off season were for near-homonyms Roy Halliday and Matt Holliday. In face, the Holliday signing holds significance on several levels.  First of all, most of the talking heads agree that the Cards spent too much money and contracted too long with Holliday.  There is the added pressure that expenditure will make when Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in baseball, becomes a free agent after the 2011 season.  Most importantly, if Holliday has a season like his 2007 and like his time in St. Louis last season, the Cardinals taking the division is all but carved in stone.

On the mound,the Cards will look to continue and extend the success that they saw last season with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright at the top of there rotation. Brad Penny, will try to continue the NL success that began when he was traded to the Giants last season and avoid the mediocrity that he displayed in Boston.  The Cardinals pen is not a weak spot by any means, but on a team with such positives elsewhere, the relief crew gets the worried man’s attention. The bottom line for St. Louis is that if you add up the big bats (Pujols, Holliday), big enough bats (Rassmuss, Ludwig), then factor in the very good rotation, the Cardinals will be almost impossible to topple. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: NL East – Could the Phillies Actually be Better? 3

Posted on March 24, 2010 by Don Spieles

With less than two weeks left until opening day, let’s abandon the designated hitter and take a look at the Senior Circuit, otherwise known as the National League.

In the eastern division, the NL is right up there with its AL neighbors – well, almost, anyway.  In the last 10 postseasons, the World Series representative from the National League was an eastern division team for four of them (Mets in 2000, the Marlins in 2003, and the Phillies in ’08 and ’09), winning in ’03 and ’08.  Things are looking decent for that to be the case again in 2010.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Many predict that Halliday will have a historic year in Philadelphia.

Many predict that Halliday will have a historic year in Philadelphia.

At some point, things will have to work out in favor of someone else besides the “Phightin’ Phils, but it would be hard to make a case for it being likely this season.  As if the Phillies weren’t the odds on favorites based the fact that they are coming off of two consecutive World Series appearances, they also went out and picked up a picked up a pitcher by the name of Roy Halliday.  On paper, the Phillies getting Roy Halliday is the equivalent of the Lakers getting LeBron James.   Many already have this newest Philadelphia son pegged to be the NL Cy Young winner.  Some even mention the NL MVP, as well.  There are even a couple of optimists who think he could win 25 games now that he’s in the NL and playing for the offensive juggernaut that is Philadelphia.  While 25 seems a stretch (in 11 season, Halliday has had 25 decisions or more only three times,) AL pitchers who move to the NL seems to have great initial success.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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