MLB Quarterly Report: Yanks, Phils Set for World Series Rematch
Most teams have played a little over 40 games, and despite my barely passing grades in every single math class I've ever taken, I still managed to figure out that the MLB season is roughly a quarter over.
The good thing about making predictions this early is that if they turn out to be correct, boom. You're a genius. A pundit. A prophet.
If they're wrong. So what? Nobody can read the future, get off my ass will ya?
Stage Set for World Series Repeat, But Which One?
So far in the MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies are tops in the NL, and have looked commanding in many of their outings. Roy Halladay has been the workhorse Philadelphia needed him to be, their lineup is firing on all cylinders with their top five hitters all averaging over .300, and Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick have proven to not be completely worthless, as previously thought by many fans.
With the return of a hot-hitting Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies look like they could repeat their success of the past two seasons and head to the World Series for a third straight trip.
It will not be an easy road, however, for the same teams that they have conquered in recent postseasons look like they will again be the Phils' main opposition in their quest for a third straight NL Pennant.
The Cardinals started off the 2010 campaign as hot as any team, but have cooled off to an even 10-10 in the month of May. However, this is a team loaded with talent that could heat up again at any moment.
Headed the opposite direction are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been bested by the Phillies in both of the previous two postseasons. The Blue Crew is scorching through the month of May with a 15-4 record. Andre Ethier and Hiroki Kuroda are both off to career years and the entire populace of Los Angeles is hoping they can keep it up.
Should the Phillies win the NL, which is far from a foregone conclusion, the AL stage appears set for a repeat World Series. The only question is, which one? The Yankees and Rays, both of the Phillies opponents in the past two series, are dominating the AL and both look like they have the depth and talent to take it all the way.
The Yankees pitching staff is as complete and consistent as they come. The Bronx Bombers have confidence sending any one of their five-man rotation out to the mound, which many teams cannot claim. Their hurlers are also supported by the lesser-known and lesser-paid members of the position players, as Robinson Cano is proving to be a Chase Utley-esque power hitting force at second.
The Rays boast the best record in the AL and are proving that their first World Series trip in 2008 was no anomaly. Tampa Bay was riding a streak of six straight wins before their recent loss to the Astros, and are 13-6 thus far in the month of May. They are led by superstar-in-the-making Evan Longoria, and pitcher David Price, who possesses a microscopic 1.81 ERA to go along with his six victories. Price's singular loss came in a game in which he only gave up six hits and three earned runs.
Baseless Prediction: Yankees beat Phillies in six.
- Cincinnati Reds: Despite posting sub-.500 seasons for the past nine years, the Reds are tied for the third best record in the NL. It is early in the season, and there is still plenty of time for them to implode, but so far the Reds have earned a spot free from the cobwebs of the NL Central basement. First baseman Joey Votto quietly had an All-Star caliber year in 2009, and his consistent numbers at the plate should draw more recognition this season given the Reds apparent legitimacy.
-Jason Heyward: I guess he's not bad, for a rookie. This kid is out to sell a lot of jerseys in Georgia, and is quickly becoming the hottest thing since a July afternoon in said state. This is a kid who has to ask Chipper Jones to buy him beer but still leads the team in HRs and RBI with nine and 33, respectively. It must suck to be any other first-year who really thought he had a chance at Rookie of the Year in 2010.
-San Diego Padres: Although they had not suffered a drought as prolonged or severe as the Reds, the Padres had finished in fourth and fifth place in the NL west in 2009 and 2010, opposite-of-respectively (tricked you, huh?). The Padres, however, have cooled off severely and look like they may not keep up their winning pace in 2010.
-Phil Hughes: After Hughes' postseason struggles pitching from the bullpen in 2009, there was much debate over whether or not he would be granted a starting spot in 2010. The Yankees brass made the right decision, as Hughes carries a perfect 5-0 record, and has shown incredible command and mental fortitude on the mound. Atta boy, Phil.
We're Not Mad, We're Just Disappointed's:
-David Ortiz: As the Chinese citizen in the memorable commercial states, "you no Big Papi." True enough, this man does not look like the David Ortiz that terrorized pitchers with his lethal lumber and bulldog mug, and hasn't for the past few seasons. Ortiz does have eight HRs, but looks uncomfortable and confused at the plate far too often for a man who is only being paid to hit.
-San Francisco Giants: I, like many, thought that 2010 would be the year of the Giant. Their rotation is chock-full of talent and their lineup, although not stellar, featured enough good wood to back the pitching staff up. Neither side has lived up to their potential in 2010, however. The Giants are not playing poor baseball, but they are not playing dominant baseball like they should. Tim Lincecum has been nothing short of brilliant from the mound, but Cain and Sanchez have struggled. Like I said, I'm not mad. Just disappointed.
-Jason Bay: As much as I love to see the Mets' big acquisitions flounder, I am thoroughly disappointed in Jason Bay. Although Bay did not hit consistently for the BoSox in 2009, he posted a solid 36 HRs and finished with 119 RBI. Bay currently has a single HR and only 16 RBI. If my abacus is correct and we are somewhere near the one quarter point of the season, Bay is on pace for a whopping four HRs and 56 RBI. If I were Jerry Manuel, I'd be a lot more than disappointed.
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