Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ten Things We Think We Know About The 2007 Baseball Season

  1. No matter what Alex Rodriguez does, he's going to get booed as soon as he screws up. And by "screws up", I mean "takes a called strike in the eighth inning of a 12-4 blowout where they've already let two outfielders pitch". Walk-off grand slams are nice and win games, but let's face it, it's more fun to boo.
  2. Ryan Madson is not a setup man. Unfortunately, he's also not a starter, as he proved last year. That leaves "long reliever", "hot dog vendor", and "next contestant on The Bachelor" as options, none of which are good for a Phillies bullpen that was looking Callista Flockhart-thin already.
  3. Pitchers who look like they've put it together: Felix Rodridguez, Rich Hill, Zack Greinke. Speaking of which, there were almost as many "Zack Greinke was overlooked in the Dice-K game" stories as there were Dice-K game stories.
  4. For all the joking about Matsuzaka still needing to make a start against a major league team, the Royals are looking unsettlingly improved. Once Alex Gordon shakes off his rookie jitters (remember, he's already doing better than Robin Ventura), the Royals could have a pretty formidable lineup with him, Mark Teahen, Ryan Shealy, and David DeJesus swinging away. Figure that both Reggie Sanders and Emil Brown are gone by mid-season for prospects and Billy Butler gets the call, and this team could get very interesting.
  5. Jorge Julio's time as the Marlins' closer is limited. As in "minor villain in an episode of 24" limited. Personally, I'm rooting for Taylor Tankersley to take his place, simply because I can't imagine the sort of bullpen entrance music a guy named "Taylor" would have. Hanson, maybe?
  6. Arizona is going to win a lot of games. They're already beating the hell out of the ball, and they'll be getting reinforcements like Carlos Quentin and Randy Johnson sooner rather than later. As for Johnson, Arizona's ballpark may be a lot more hitter friendly than Yankee Stadium, but he's going to have a lot better defense behind him this year, not to mention facing pitchers instead of DHs. If he's healthy, he's going to cause a lot of angry phone calls to Mike & the Mad Dog.
  7. Assuming he stays healthy - and he looks healthy - Barry Bonds is going to hit a lot of home runs. Unfortunately, nobody else on the Giants will.
  8. Yes, David Eckstein is the World Series MVP. That was last year. The Cards still don't have an offense past Scott Rolen and Albert Hooblehoff. When a Molina besides Alfred is batting fifth, you know there are problems. If the Cubs can stay healthy, they just might run away with this thing.
  9. Nobody else gets pounded like David Bush gets pounded. Only he can have a start where he averages roughly the same number of baserunners and runs allowed. He'll have about four of those this year, too, or so the Brewers hope. Any more than that, and they're in trouble.
  10. Bud Black is the new manager most likely to get relentlessly dissected in the media, if for no other reason than he's a former pitcher. It's already started, as he's being Gradyed for leaving Maddux in too long against the Rockies, never mind that the genuine article is doing odd things just up the coast. And it's only going to get worse as the season goes along.
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