Good day baseball fans! At least Sox fans good day. Everyone else, I could give a rats ass.
But here we are, the 2011 season is upon us and I'm feeling good. I look at the team and I can't tell you how unbelievably happy the DH merry go round has been torn down in the amusement park known as Guillenland. You know I feel like the whole Kenny and Ozzie argument with that kind of resembles the Kiddieland argument. You know, the people who ran it didn't own the land, so they were forced to shut down. I loved Kiddieland. I don't know about you guys, but I am so sad that I never got to take my kids there. Anyways, back to baseball.
So we have a solid bat who may strike out a little too much, but when he hits the ball, it's going to fly out of the park; perhaps knock out a light or two. Eat that Robert Redford you douche. Why are you throwing first pitch at garbage dump when you should be at the Cell? I am excited to see what Mr. Dunn can do for this team. I think Beckham will shake off his sophomore slump and perhaps extend the line that Jim was talking about throughout the entire season. And let's see what this Morsel kid can do at third, ahem, I mean Morel. Morsel sounds better.
Anyway I have a six pack of questions for this year. These are my questions, and feel free to comment guys and gals:
What kind of impact is Jake Peavy going to have?
Maybe the question is how many times this guy is going to the DL and/or doghouse. I love his determination and the fact he wants to help the team win. However, I really think he needs to take the whole month of April off. A rested Jakey will most likely be a more effective Jakey, and him being in the 5th starter role makes him even more dangerous if he comes back right. I am just scared to death that Kenny committed another David Wells here.
Can the outfield keep the buzz going?
Last year was a fine year of production from Juan Pierre, Alex Rios and the mighty Q. They seemed to stay healthy, and give us some good times at the plate. If Pierre got on base, he was stealing. Rios has been the CF we have been dreaming of for years, and Q didn't hit any bats with his fist, so I guess it was good. I am hoping for big things this year, and hopefully the three of them can deliver.
Can Teahen play well enough to get himself traded?
Mark Teahen will most likely play well this year, because he will have the role of utility man instead of starter. A very highly paid utility man. The one thing I am worried about this year with the Sox is the pen. Can Teahen play well enough to help increase his market value so we can get another arm in the pen? Perhaps Teahen may play well and help and the pen will be fine. However, I feel that ex-Cubs in the pen screw us. Don't have a lot of faith in Ohman.
Will the bullpen work out?
Thornton as a closer? It scares me a little. He was such a great set up guy, why ruin a great thing? I'm not a stats guy, but if we look at his save opportunities he has 38 and has been successful 17 times. I think about Thome last year, and how many times did the Rays get to us when Thornton was in to close? I could paranoid here, but he is the obvious choice because Sale is unproven. I hope it goes well. I didn't like that Putz left, but was excited Linestink was shown the door. I am kind of indifferent with Pena. This is the biggest level of concern for me.
Can Alexei be the guy who carries this team or will it be someone else?
I look at Alexei because in my opinion he has emerged as one of the best shortstops in baseball. Definitely in the AL central. He got his silver slugger award, and I think with Beckham and Alexei there, I feel confident about our infield and I think Vizquel's influence is there. I feel that Alexei will be the sparkplug of this team and will give us the highlight reel. He is my pick to click for the year. I can't say Paulie because I don't see what happened last year happening again, can't say Q because he has to show me he can stay healthy, but I do think AJ will have a much better year this time around.
Who will be the "ace" in the rotation?
You look at the rotation and you have to feel good about it. Buehrle going forward right now looks like the guy, but I think this will be the year of Johnny. I think Danks will have a Cy Young caliber year. Should win 17-18 games and will have a low ERA. Don't ask me why, just a gut feeling. I think Buehrle will give us 200 innings as usual, Edwin Jackson will throw lots of strikeouts and do well as a fourth, and I like Peavy coming back as a 5th. The guy who I am interested to see what happens and wonder about is Gavin Floyd. He is the wildcard of this team. If Floyd has a good year, the Sox will be going far. If not, I can't say. I think Floyd's performance will be a huge indicator where we will be going.
Anyway prediction wise, I see the Sox winning 90-92 games, and will take the AL Central. The rest of my predictions are as follows:
I just think the A's are going to win a dog fight with the Angels in the west. I like the youth over there.
The White Sox are ready to do battle with the Twins this year, but are going to have to hold off Detroit, as they have a nice rotation this year as well.
The Red Sox and Yankees are going to have a crazy year. I can't see one of the other three teams in that division taking them.
The Dodgers are the team to beat in that division. The Rockies will make it interesting and so will the champs, but I just see the Dodgers as the total package.
The Brewers improved pitching and offensive threat makes me like them. If they can find some bullpen help, they are going to win it. I like the Reds a little better than the Cardinals because I feel there is some unrest there in St Louis with everything going on with Pujols and Wainwright out. The Cubs will find a way to creep in the race but will fall short.
Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hammels. Need I go on. That rotation is the dream team of rotations. Once the bats come alive in Philly, watch out!
Thanks for reading gang. Hope you are all well and GO WHITE SOX!!!! (Go Alex Rios as my daughter says. I found her an Alexei shirt in her size so she will now think the team is all Alex Rios or Alexei.)
Want some more fun, follow me @michaelcaserno on Twitter.
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