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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: AL Central– Has the Tiger’s Hot Stove Hurt or Helped? 2

Posted on March 10, 2010 by Don Spieles

Last season the closest race in the Major Leagues was the American League Central.  Aside from in April when Kansas City (no, that is not a mistake) led the division, the Tigers held the reins up until the very end. They blew a three game lead in the last four days of the season and ended up in a one game playoff with the Twins.  Detroit lost that game in Minnesota in extra innings on a walk-off single by Alexi Casilla.

They just don’t get any closer than that.

1.  Chicago White Sox

The Chi-Sox have put together (almost under the radar) a very interesting pitching rotation.

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle pitches against the New York Yankees

Mark Buehrle, who threw a perfect game in '09, will lead a very interesting White Sox rotation in 2010.

  1. Mark Buehrle (LHP)
  2. Jake Peavy (RHP)
  3. John Danks (LHP)
  4. Gavin Floyd (RHP)
  5. Freddy Garcia (RHP)

While most fantasy players are still thinking harder about the Yankees and Red Sox rotations, this one-through-five is nothing to scoff at.  White Sox GM Ken Williams agrees, has this to say to MLB.com:

“[The White Sox] are as good as you can possibly be, one through five.  Actually, one through six.”

While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, a season of health for the five men listed above could mean great things for the South Siders.

At least on defense.

On the run-scoring side of the coin, things are not as obviously sparkling.  There’s Carlos Quentin, the injury prone left fielder who has yet to play a full season in Chi-town.  Last year, plantar fasciitis limited him to jut 99 games.  The good news might be that in those games he managed 21 home runs (34 prorated to a full season).  Not out of this world, but not bad.  His batting average needs to come up (.236 in ’09) to make the fans happy.

Of bigger concern is Alex Rios, acquired from Toronto mid-season ’09.  Traded from the Blue Jay’s  because of a large salary (remainder of a seven year, $68 million dollars) and lackluster performance (.264 average, 14 home runs, .427 slugging). When he landed in Chicago things got worse.  In 41 games he batted .199, hit only 3 home runs, struck out 29 times to only 6 walks over 154 plate appearances.  There is reasonable probability that he’ll experience some resurgence on 2010 (he just turned 29).  The White Sox, on the hook for at least 59.7 million through 2015, certainly hope so.

Chicago picked up Juan Pierre who was a huge asset to the Dodgers last season when Manny Ramirez was suspended.  It’s entirely possible that Pierre will start in left and Quentin will begin the season as the regular DH.  There question mark there deals with the idea that Ozzie Guillen wants to use the DH as a rotating spot for keeping people fresh, a change in philosophy after years with standard DH’s like Jim Thome and Frank Thomas.

The White Sox are certainly not styled to be a juggernaut, but if the Twins DL contains the name we’ve been hearing that it may, the Chi-Sox are in like Flynn. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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