Baseball is back and I am happy about that. I have put together a list of predictions for the season that I will immediately remove from my memory bank as soon as I post this. Some of my predictions are bolder than others but I would be happy with a 33% success rate by the end of the season considering how specific some of the predictions are. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Tigers will be squeezed out of the playoffs by Boston or Chicago in the last week of the season. I hope that doesn’t happen but it would not surprise me in the least. One thing that Tigers fans might have to realize is that being good doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot. It takes a requisite amount of luck and good fortune to stay afloat for 162 games. I’m sure Boston never considered not making the playoffs last season. Either way, I will be happy. I’ve been begging for respectability from the Tigers for 15 years and now that I’ve got it, I’m not going to piss it away on a “playoffs or bust” mentality. Obviously, making the playoffs would be nice =)
Here are some other baseball predictions……
Jeremy Bonderman will finish with an ERA between 3.80 and 3.99.
No Tigers pitcher will win more than 17 games.
No Tigers hitter will hit 30+ HRs (five will hit 20+).
The Tigers will finish sixth in the AL in runs behind New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, and Boston.
The Tigers will finish fourth in the AL in ERA behind Oakland, Los Angeles, and Minnesota.
The Tigers will win 87 games.
The Tigers will finish .500 against Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago plus/minus two games.
Joel Zumaya will be the Tigers best pitcher for the second consecutive year. (By the way; Sports Illustrated mentioned in its Tigers preview that Fernando Rodney out-pitched Zumaya at times last season. That’s like saying that, at-times, Matt Stairs out-hit Albert Pujols. As long as they understand that these are the same statements, then I have no problem with it.)
Fernando Rodney will continue to be intolerably unreliable. Todd Jones won’t have as many bumpy rides as he did last season but that will not be enough to calm fans when either is in the game. Anybody who willingly watches Rodney and Jones (Jones is close to being taken off my banned list) pitch in a close game should refer to this post from last June.
At some point this season, Jim Leyland will reiterate his stance that Fernando Rodney should make the All-Star team.
Adam Dunn will hit 50+ HR’s
Grady Sizemore will win the AL MVP. (If he doesn’t, Travis Hafner will)
Albert Pujols will win the NL MVP by a huge margin.
Dice K will win 18+ games and finish third on the Cy Young ballot.
Barry Bonds will hit 30+ HR’s
Dice K will win the AL ROY
Mike Pelfrey will win the NL ROY
The AL Division winners will be New York, Cleveland, and Los Angeles. Boston will narrowly beat Detroit to win the Wild Card.
The NL Division winners will be New York, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. Philadelphia, Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Arizona, Florida, and San Diego will all duke it out for the NL Wild Card. This is a toss-up but I’ll go with Atlanta to bounce back and make the playoffs.
Sammy Sosa will hit between 18 and 22 HR’s.
The NL Cy Young will be a five-man race between Jason Schmidt (LA), Chris Carpenter (STL), Carlos Zambrano (CHI), Ben Sheets (MIL), and Dontrelle Willis (FLA). I’m inclined to think Sheets will win it if he stays healthy. If he doesn’t, I’ll go with Schmidt.
The AL Cy Young will be a one-man race with Johan Santana winning the award for a third time. Roy Halladay and Dice K will round out the top three.
The Yankees will have the most wins in the AL.
The Mets will have the most wins in the NL.
Florida will finish above .500 in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
The Royals and Devil Rays will be significantly better on the field this year but they will still each lose 100+ games.