2011 DTD Sports Major League Baseball Preview

2011 Baseball Preview

I had a pre-season piece on the Rangers finished and minutes away from its posting
debut, however Chuck Greenberg resigned as CEO, Michael Young rescinded his trade
request, (again) and Tommy Hunter went out for over a month.


However, it's now or too late for posting a preview of the 2011 baseball season,
as we are five days, millions of fantasy drafts, and four Nelson Cruz home runs
into the season. The Royals and Pirates have started strong, while the Brewers and
Red Sox each started 0-3, the Red Sox being swept in Arlington during opening
weekend. Adding insult to injury, one of my favorite radio personas, Colin Cowherd
of "The Herd" on ESPN Radio (Weekdays 1PM-4PM Est.; you're welcome, Colin!)
picked the Red Sox and Brewers to square off in the 2011 World Series. His two
teams predicted to face in the "Fall Classic") were a combined 0-7 through
Tuesday, April 5. However, overreacting to a small sample size of just a few games
is what front office staff, managers, personnel, and players are warned to stray
from, but is exactly what has happened all over the league after a couple of games,
especially in ¡§Red Sox Nation.¡¨ Manager Terry Francona moved the $142 million
dollar man, Carl Crawford, down to the No. 7 slot after just two regular season
games! Overreaction? Yes. But, Crawford did go 2-4 with two singles after going 0-7
in the first two games combined, with 4 strikeouts hitting in the no. 3 slot on
Opening Day, and the no. 4 slot on the following Saturday.

All this from just one matchup, so you can imagine the widespread thoughts of fans
all over the league after six matchups on Opening Day, March 31st.. Commissioner
Bud Selig decided to start the season a few days earlier this year, hoping the
World Series ¡§ends before Christmas," sais Fox's own Joe Buck, on his first
nationally televised broadcast of the season, Saturday in New York to witness a
consecutive victory over the Detroit Tigers for the "Bronx Bombers."

The season is oh, so young, so please excuse this tardy preview, I apologize to the
loyal fan base at "DaytoDay Sports," and also to Colby, who I told I would have
this done day(s) ago :-) Here are some hopefully correct predictions to make up for
it.

Division Champions

AL West: Hometown Texas Rangers, the easiest selection of them all.
NL West: Colorado Rockies, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are too good a duo to
keep out of the postseason this time around.

AL Central: Chicago White Sox, Adam Dunn might be the most underrated transaction
of the off-season (from the Cincinnati Reds)
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers, This is probably the most up-for-grabs, least
competitive division, and Milwaukee might be best suited to win it with the
off-season acquisitions of Zack Greinke (Kansas City; for a handful of prospects,
notably Shortstop Alcides Escobar) and Shaun Marcum (Toronto; for hot prospects
Brett Lawrie (2B/C))

AL East: New York Yankees, the Red Sox are the popular and seemingly obvious pick,
but I like what Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira showed in Spring Training this
March. If the back end of their rotation can hold up, they are certainly my pick to
win this crowded and much(much!)-improved AL East division.
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies. Doc (W), Roy (W), Cliff (W), Cole (W), Joe Blanton
(Tie). Braves and Marlins might make some noise, don¡¦t expect 90 wins from either
the New York Mets or Washington Nationals.

AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox, I think the AL East will almost definitely provide the
AL Wildcard squad, unless the new Red Sox Pieces (Crawford, 1B Adrian Gonzalez)
drastically flounder.
NL Wildcard: Atlanta Braves, The San Francisco Giants offense will have to be
consistent for the Giants to be in contention once again, because I see the Braves
being a possible 95+ game-winning Wild Card team. Pitching (Lowe/Hanson), veterans
(Jones/McCannn), and great young talent (Heyward, Freeman); they have the full
package.

AL Pennant: Really?
NL Pennant: Phillies

World Series Champion: Phillies. I hate to say it because I¡¦m extremely biased
(check my 20 fantasy baseball rosters and see ;)) but the Rangers might be another
year away from taking the Major League Baseball crown. The big, big, looming
question mark on the Rangers roster is their pitching staff. Cliff Lee's
replacement is Brandon Webb. Webb, a former Cy Young Award winner, hasn't pitched
in the Majors since 2009, battling rotator cuff injuries, among many arm problems,
leading to numerous surgeries.



The "Phantastic Phour¨ pitching staff will ultimately prove to be too much for the
rest of the league to handle. Even if Chase Utley is sidelined for the whole year,
having an ace on the mound every single start in the post-season will prove to be
the most effective method possible. Charlie Manuel will enjoy his second World
Series of this decade. I expect "Doc" Halladay to take the MVP honor, pitching two
stellar games against the Rangers, if the series makes it that far
...


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