Sunday, April 01, 2007

The AL East On This Baseball '07 Eve Day

It's Sunday, April 1st. Happy April Fool's Day. I'd like to give you my version, a neat and trim one, of how I think the American League East will turn out. Will it be the Yankees leading the pack? Or the rotation heavy Red Sox? The answer to that is.....YES. I'll explain.
The keys to Red Sox success this year can be broken down to four parts. And everyone knows it. In fact, after I finished this article the Hartford Courant smacked into my front door. We get it later on Sundays, and they throw it hard against the front door, hard enough to wake up the household. These days that's only me, and I'm awake anyways. But I'll remember those front door crashes at Christmas time. And lo and behold. These next four points were featured prominently in the Courant's 2007 forecast. Like I said, everyone is aware of these keystones to Sox success. Number one is the Papelbon shoulder. If it remains strong and healthy, the bullpen is a strong plus, but without a healthy Paps, the 'pen AND the team are an average bunch of ninnies. Second, the back end of the bullpen....can it get the club through the seventh and eighth innings with the lead? If the answer is yes and the ball is handed to Paps with a lead in the ninth, good things will happen. VERY GOOD THINGS. Third, is the Sox batting order 6-9 strong enough? We know about 1-5.....up there with the best in baseball. But Lowell, Tek, Crisp and Peds? Only time will tell. I think Lowell and Tek will find their hitting shoes soon. Coco Crisp, if he remains healthy, will be just fine, and Peds will learn and improve as he goes. And the last keystone point is this. How will the new guys do, most notably Julio Lugo and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Lugo will hit and he will get on base. His glove is more suspect. I hope for the best. Lugo's spring training has showed us all of the possible defensive liabilities he has, but some of the plusses, too. As for Daisuke, his last two spring training starts were ones where control was the issue. He had a tough time finding the plate, almost as tough a time as the batters had of putting the bat on the ball. And America itself is a learning experience for him. Again, time will tell, but the rotation, 1-4, is solid, with Jon Lester waiting in the wings. And I think Julian Tavarez will be good for 6, and eventually 7 gritty innings.
The Yankees are going with a proven trio of starting pitchers-Mussina, Wang and Pettitte. Pettitte, if he stays away from injuries, will help this club immensely. But that's a HUGE if. Their number 5 starter, Igawa, will help the club too. But he is more of a question mark. And their number four, Carl Pavano....who knows with him? He could win 16 games or he could be hurt in April.
As for the Yankee batting lineup, it's quite simple. They have the best in baseball when you're talking about power and offense. No worries there. The defense at first is a question mark, but they are fairly solid defensively all the way around the diamond. Sure, Posada is getting older, but to them, he is invaluable, irreplaceable. The EXACT same thing goes for old Mo'. Mariano Rivera. Like Paps, the Yankees' season rests on his gritty and grizzled arm. The Blue Jays made several upgrades offensively and to their pitching staff. They can bash the ball with the best of 'em. And that's scary. The loss of the Orioles' Chris Benson will hurt them, but their bullpen is sound and they can hit. Modestly. Tampa Bay? They have a new manager. That's the most I can say about the Florida club.
So where does this leave us in early October? OK. Remember my very first paragraph when I say this, and don't throw tomatoes, or anything! I think it's a toss up between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Injuries could and will be the difference. That's how close I think these two clubs are RIGHT NOW. On paper. Nobody ever won or lost anything on paper. That'll never happen, not in this reality we know of as earth. The Blue Jays will finish third on the strength of their strength....hitting. And then there are the O's and Rays. That's how I see the AL East RIGHT now, but don't blink. Don't breathe. Well, go ahead and breathe, or the season would be a short one. Oh, let's see, maybe 4 minutes long. Things can change in the time it takes to throw ONE pitch. And it will. We have to hope that if there are any bigtime changes, they will benefit the team we love, the 2007 Boston Red Sox.
And now it's time to PLAY BALL. A happy hour game on Monday afternoon. 4:10 pm, from waterfalled KC. Enjoy, but I'll be back before season's start. Any comments? Do you want to rip me to shreds for not specifying an actual AL East winner. Your turn! As it always is here at Peter's Red Sox Forever. Thanks for reading, my good friends. If you ever have the need to email me, my email addy is right there on my profile. So enjoy your Sunday. And GO SOX '07. To greatness. And beyond.
I forgot to mention. Do you want negativity? Then click on the title of this post for an article from the South Boston Enterprise. I could pick the author apart point by point, but I'd rather have you, my wonderful readers, do exactly that. A totally pessimistic view of our Red Sox. But we have 162 games staring us right in our faces. And I for one say this. "Bring it on!" And your comments? Yes, I'm waiting to read them. Happy Sunday!!


At 4/01/2007 9:27 AM, Blogger Faith said...

Hey There Peter. It is that time of year again. First of All i am terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your little one. It is hard to say good bye to our little loved ones.

Now for the baseball. I thought i would share a little info take from the baltimore Sun's Special Baseball section.

On the Red Sox:
X-factor // Was the signing of J.D. Drew an inspired move from a progressive front office or an ill-conceived attempt to throw cash at a problem that didn't exist?
Best case // Jonathan Papelbon repeats his outstanding first season as a closer. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka wows them from the start and lives up to the hype. ... Josh Beckett, left alone to focus on his work, follows a disappointing debut by bidding for his first 20-win season.
Worst case // The bullpen becomes a glaring weakness. ... Manny Ramirez starts Being Manny again, causing his nearly annual distraction. ... Dustin Pedroia proves unprepared to take over at second, leaving them pining for the return of Mark Loretta.

On the Orioles:
X-factor // At 25, Daniel Cabrera has the stuff to dominate but has yet to exceed the 12 wins he managed as a rookie.
Best case // Pitching coach Leo Mazzone's lessons click in Year Two, and the young rotation takes off. ... Aubrey Huff's versatility proves just the salve for a generally set lineup. ... Miguel Tejada, nearly traded to the Angels last summer, returns to the 150-RBI territory of his Orioles debut after averaging 99 RBIs the past two years.
Worst case // Even after spending a combined $42 million on four veteran relievers, the bullpen still isn't very good. ... The back of the rotation doesn't allow them to keep pace with the big boys in the division. ... They get a little better but still suffer a 10th straight losing season.

our first match is on April 25th, which happens to be my husband's Birthday. Come On Down Peter It'll be a Hoot!

Faithy (Go Birds)

At 4/01/2007 9:34 AM, Blogger Michael Leggett said...

I was in Philly, yesterday:

RSN descended like Locusts, from all over "The Nation", including a motherlode from my Native Brooklyn;

One gut came all the way from Portland, Maine;

The Invasion was a sight to see;

My article will be up later.

At 4/01/2007 9:36 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

And the O's player I love the most, for his talent on the field and his batting prowess (did I spell that right?), is Miggy Tejada. He is an All-Star all the way. Early happy b'day to your hubby. He's a lucky guy. And thanks for your's been so long! Now that this is a Google blog, it's easy with a gmail acc't.
So Faithy, thanks again, say hi to Kevin Millar, and just plain old be happy! Peter

At 4/01/2007 9:37 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Hi make it sound like something right out of H.G. Well's WAR OF THE WORLDS. Thanks, and I'll be waiting for your Sunday post.

At 4/01/2007 10:21 AM, Blogger Faith said...

Hey peter. Can I link to the Blog for my big Baseball RGQ issue tomorrow???? Puleeze???

At 4/01/2007 10:25 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Are you kidding! YES! And I'll be reading. I'm going to re-subscribe right now to RGQ...I never should have left! Here's the link, Faithy!!!!! And made me smile....and those smiles have been too few and far between. Here you go!

At 4/01/2007 10:28 AM, Blogger Faith said...

I thought i hadn't seen you comment lately, but did not realize you had left us. come on back Peter. . .

At 4/01/2007 10:28 AM, Blogger ian said...

I actually think you did pick a winner because you said the Jays will finish in third place. I think because you listed them in order you said the Red Sox will win the AL East otherwise known as the "If you have don't have money, don't bother even competing division."

A comment to the baltimore sun article. Manny will probably be Manny again at somepoint. It's almost like a rite of annual passage for the Red Sox. If it didn't happen i'd be shocked.

At 4/01/2007 10:35 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Faithy, I just did, I hope, resubscibe.....and Ian, I thought this AL East race will be too close to call...but by default, I always know what team is buried deeply in my heart. OUR team. The Boston Red Sox. So many years for me, and going so strong. Oh, by the way, I'm rooting for Rutgers to banish the Orange. Coach Summit has reached her '07 summit.

At 4/01/2007 11:23 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

And so, I might have avoided the issue....but I don't think so. Month by month, we'll know.
Or as the Stooges said......"Slowly I turn, step by step, inning by inning (oops, that's me)....Fenway Park (Niagra Falls)..take care everyone!!!!

At 4/01/2007 3:16 PM, Blogger laura said...

The author of that article said the only strengths the Sox have are DH and closer!? He's right about the bullpen losing the game, I have to admit, and he's also right that Wakefield and Tavarez certainly are not aces..okay so he does make some good points, I just hope come October, he is proven wrong.

At 4/01/2007 5:29 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

You're right Peter, that South Boston Enterprise article really is "sour grapes." I only got half way through and I had to stop reading. Maybe it's an April Fool's Day joke? I hope so. ( :

At 4/02/2007 6:52 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Ya know, Kristin, I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT!!! I think you're right!! Holy ****!

At 4/02/2007 6:54 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Kristen, I just rererad it (Lauren, I had to!) and now I am totally befuddled. If it was an April Fool's joke, he should have said so at the end, with a funny ending. That's how I would have done it. And where's Kaylee these days????????

At 4/02/2007 12:00 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I'll take a Sox/Yankees toss-up in October any time - Good prediction!

At 4/02/2007 12:21 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

Carol, it was too close for me to call, and I lost my MAGIC 8 BALL.....the team that lives in my heart, well, you KNOW who that is.
I thank you so much for reading my words. What a lucky guy I am........


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