An Aussie Goes Global Blog
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Less than a month before the first ball is pitched by a B-Grade celebrity or politician at a ball park near you.
So, it's time to begin my "predictions" for the new MLB season by starting with arguably the most competitive division in the league.
Tampa Bay ($11) - Undovbtedly last seasons "Cinderella" story that turned into a pumpkin come the World Series.
They played their best baseball in the 1st 1/4 of the season to the surprise of everybody.  The 3rd 1/4 was almost as good, but they appeared to struggle as the halves went on.  That's not good for momentum, but as the season went on, they became like a walk in the supermarket.  The brand was on the bottom shelf until, when you walk in 6 months later, they were in eye contact.
Players like Iwamura, Pena & Upton did the work of the underdog determined to succeed.  They were well backed up by the pitching of Jackson, Shields & Kazmir that gained the trust of the offence when Sonnastine & Percival had down days.  I expext them to finish in 1st place again.
Boston ($9) - What's unusual when sitting back & thinking long & hard about the Red Sox is, yes, while palying their best in the 1st & last 1/4's of the season, that was only good enough for 3rd best in the division.  In fact, their slightly worse 1/4's were still rated 3rd begging the question are they consistant in their inconsistance or is the rest of the division inconsistant in their consistance??
Pedroia hit his .326, Youklis had 115 RBI's but, at a guess, without a HR "highlight reel" in the top 20, they'll continue to miss Handy Manny.
But, with "Dice-K's" 18 wins & 2.90 ERA & the emergence from the shadows of Beckett by Jon Lester's 3.21 ERA, on top of Papelbon's 41 saves, the pitching has improved.
If the pitching can continue to assist the batting, then 2nd is a strong possiblity.
Toronto ($41) - Going out on a shaky limb here, momentum going into a new season from the season prior has done strange things to teams.  The coaching staff canwork on the fact that Toronto were 23% better in the 2nd half of the season thanks mainly to Roy Halladay's 20 wins with a 2.78 ERA.  BJ Ryan did his part with AJ saying "No Way" to the Blue Jays, the supporting cast can either perform or posthumate.
Rios, Wells & Overbay highlight the batting, but their is some room for improvement.  Wells lead the HR count with 20 & Overbay needs to improve his hit to s/out count.
I'd say they'd be keen to stick it to AJ & the Yankees.
NY Yankees ($4.50) - Speaking of the devils, young Steinbrener has really bet the farm this season.  In fact, I heard Jim Kramer on CNBC say "Bet on the Yankees!!"  This is an unsettling stimulus package considering they had the best finish to the season in the division.
What went wrong?? "A-Rod" had 35 HR's, but his RBI count was gone.  Mussina had 20 wins & Riveras 39 saves, but AJ's signing to me lacks confidence to the bullpen that helped at least finish on a high note. 
Will the team gel together?? Or will a team of champions lose to champion teams??
Baltimore ($151) - From waht looke promising slowly went downhill until it became a pyschological avalanche. 
It stemmed from the pitching & while Jeremy Guthrie did his utmost, too many good starts were thrown away causing friction in the camp.
Can the boys act like professionals this season or spoilt brats that not even "Supernanny" could rescue??

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