Righting My Wrongs
July 19, 2006
If you have been reading TCO for a few years, you already know I don't like to make "new" predictions after the season has started like many sites and publications. Is there any point in telling you that now I think the Tigers have a good shot at winning the AL Central even though I didn't pick them to make the playoffs in April? Anyone with the standings in their hands can tell you that.
Instead, let's look back at my preseason picks and see where I was right (my favorite part) and where I miscalculated (sounds better than admitting I was "wrong").
AL East, AL West, NL Central
I picked Boston to fall behind New York and Toronto, but I was predicting the standings at the end of the year, not at the All-Star Break. No one expected Lester and Papelbon to be THIS good, and I still see the Yankees overtaking Boston in the long run, with Toronto still nosing out Boston for 2nd place.
In the AL West, the standings are currently in the exact order I predicted, and I don't see much of a shakeup despite the tight race. Oakland clearly has the pitching advantage, and the other three teams will battle for the remaining spots.
Heading over to the NL Central, despite picking Cincinnati to finish in last place, I still think my predictions will be pretty accurate in this division of non-dominant teams. The Cardinals will hold on to the division and I still believe Houston will make a run (as they have in '04 and '05), overtaking Milwaukee and Cincinnati. While the Reds will never drop as low as Pittsburgh this year, don't be surprised if they are battling with the Cubs for 4th place at season's end.
AL Central, NL East
Any way you slice it, I just didn't see Detroit's locomotive plowing through the AL Central. I said they'd be "competitive," but that's hardly being correct for a team on pace for 108 wins. Cleveland has been a big disappointment, making me dead wrong about them for the third year in a row. In the past, I never wanted to give the Indians credit and they kept winning. Now I tried to show them a little love (a predicted 2nd place finish) and they self destruct. I was right about Chicago, Minnesota, and Kansas City, but so was everyone else so I'm not taking any credit there.
In the NL East, I finally have to eat a little crow thanks to the Mets. I STILL am not wild about the rotation and think their record is bloated in a weak National League, but the fact is I did not even pick them to make the playoffs and they stand a great chance to be the best team in the NL come October. My mistake in Philly was that I vastly overrated their pitching. The reasons I had for doubting New York should have been the very same regarding the Phillies, but I ignored the lack of an ace and instead focused on the solid lineup. It seems I made the same mistake as Philadelphia's GM which is why they are much closer to last than first.
Despite getting sideswiped by a hot Atlanta team, the Padres have played the best ball of late, making them the current leaders in the West. With the last place team only 5 games out of first, this division is sure to seesaw many times in the second half. Unlike the AL West (also a close division), every team in the NL West has enough weaknesses to make a good case for any specific team winning this division. Because of the mediocrity, I'm still banking on San Francisco to come out on top while the Dodgers display a second half fizzle, sending them to the West's basement.