Tag Archives: American League

Drei’s 2017 American League Outlook

Leading Off…What Drei Said in 2016

In the Junior Circuit…

“ Boston has a good mix of veterans along with some up and comers in Mookie Betts and Xander Bogarts and the addition of David Price to their rotation should help them contend in the east…”

“ Cleveland has a pretty formidable rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Will off-season additions Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe and Marlon Byrd, players not exactly in their prime make a difference ? Having said that, I still feel Cleveland is ready to challenge for the division.”

“The Astros, last season’s biggest surprise, is ready to make more noise this season. A full season with Carlos Gomez certainly can’t hurt the lineup. The Mariners, picked by many last season to represent the Junior Circuit in The Fall Classic after an 87 win campaign in 2014, regressed last season, something that could be of concern in Houston with expectations being higher. The M’s strength is still pitching, led by Felix Hernandez. I expect the Mariners to bounce back and be the sleeper in this division….”

Last season saw Drei pick the AL Central Division winner correctly, while the Blue Jays would take the wild card and Drei’s sleeper from last year, the Seattle Mariners, would see their playoff hopes diminish on the 2nd to final game of the season. Last season’s picks also saw Drei picking Toronto over Seattle in the ALCS.

Drei’s AL Outlook for 2017…

East

The AL East will once again be the toughest division to fully grasp. Boston, with the addition of Chris Sale to their rotation, is everyone’s favorite to win the East. The Blue Jays, coming off 2 straight ALCS appearances, have lost some offensive firepower with Edwin Encarnacion heading to Cleveland but they still boast a formidable rotation. The rest of the division is capable of claiming one of the two WC spots.

Central

The Tribe came within one game of bringing the city of Cleveland it’s second championship in a 5 month stretch. While The Tribe made it to the Fall Classic on the strength of their rotation, they’ve added some offensive punch by adding Edwin Encarnacion from Toronto.

West

After surprising many in 2015, the Astros somewhat regressed last season, starting off 15-28 before finishing off with a respectable 84 wins.  The Astros, led by Jose Altuve, are being picked by many to win the AL West. With the teamwide  so-called “sophomore jinx” now out of the way, this could very well be their year they take over the west. Seattle has a pretty formidable lineup themselves especially the heart of the order, where Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager combined for a total of 95 home runs last season. Felix Hernandez by his standards had an off season last year but is expected to lead the rotation once again. 

Wild Cards

Boston over Houston

ALDS

Cleveland over Boston

Toronto over Seattle

ALCS

Toronto over Cleveland

Last season I picked Toronto to win the ALCS with Seattle being the surprise team. While I may not have these two meeting in the ALCS this time around, though the Jays may be a little thinner from last years team, it’d be too easy to go with everyone’s favorite’s between the Red Sox and Indians, though both teams made some impressive off-season moves, especially Cleveland. So, if all goes according to form here, a rematch of last year’s ALCS will be in order. 

Wishing Vin a Full Recovery…Looking Back at the Regular Season…IT’S PLAYOFF TIME !!!

Before we start off, by now most of you are aware that our beloved legendary broadcaster Vin Scully underwent a medical procedure and on the advice of his doctorswill not be returning to the booth throughout the playoffs . Vin is expected back in 2016, which will be his 67th with the Blue. Rest up Vinny. We all look forward to your return in 2016 !!!

From our rivals…

And this lovable lion…

vin Wishing you a speedy recovery Vin…

Leading Off… 

KID_SLEEPING Oh yeah. Another fun regular season…162 games worth… Another fun regular season has sure worn out Kid Marley Marlz. The Kid looks beat. We’ll check back with him later…

Looking Back at Drei’s Pre-Season Picks…

In the American League Drei here said that only one team would finish with over 90 wins. I stand corrected. Two teams finished with over 90 wins. 

What Drei said…

“If there was ever a case for parity ( a word we’ll be hearing throughout the season ) in one division, the AL East makes a case. There certainly won’t be a lack of offensive firepower in this division. The Red Sox could have the strongest team all-around in the division….The Blue Jays and Orioles will also be in the heat of the race, anchored by their offenses.  However, both starting 5’s carry starters whose ERA’s last season was over 4 runs a game….”

“The Royals we’re carried for much of last season by their pitching, particularly their bullpen. However the loss of James Shields could be the difference between the Royals making another October run….”

“Somebody in the Junior Circuit has to win 90 games, right ? The AL’s two best teams could very well be here in the west, setting up a potential ALDS showdown between these two. The Mariners and Angels are among the vast favorites to represent the AL in The Fall Classic.”

As we saw this season, the junior circuit was anything but predictable, and for the second year in a row, my AL West picks we’re way off the strike zone. Angels fans, you may not want me to pick your team to win the division next year if last year’s AL West pick to win the division and this years pick are any indication…

In the National League Drei did manage to predict one division winner correctly. I’ll let you all guess who …

What Drei said…

“One word to describe the starting 5 for the Nats… SCARY….This team is still pretty deep talent wise and should run away the the NL East…The Marlins, notorious bean counters of the past, have made some off-season noise by signing Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension….This is a young team on the rise, but still behind the Nats when it comes to depth and talent. especially in the starting rotation, Jose Fernandez is expected to return to the rotation in June…The Mets are making slow strides to respectability, but there is something to say about a rotation who’s Opening Day ( Bartolo Colon ) starter will be 42 in May.”

“The Cards are the overwhelming favorite to win their 3rd straight NL Central crown. However, there is always that one team that puts a wrench to what the bookends have to say. The Bucs have played the Cards well the last couple season, why not Pittsburgh ?…n Back to the Future 2, the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. Well, it’s 2015, and we’re still waiting for flying cars… All kidding aside, the Cubs could be another sleeper in the National League with the addition of Jon Lester to their rotation…”

“Since Don Mattingly took over the managerial reins in 2011, the Dodgers have improved their win total by an average of 4 games. Should that trend continue into this season, the Blue Crew should finish with 98 wins, and yet, he seems to be on the hot seat every season…The Padres may be the divisions most improved ball club, and the additions of Kemp, Justin Upton, and the addition of James Shields to an already highly regarded pitching staff led by Tyson Ross, could have the Friars in contention for a spot in October…Having won the World Series now in 3 of the past 5 seasons, it seems the Giants still can’t convince the “experts” that they are contenders. When looking at their lineup, you could see why they still have their doubters.”

For the first time in franchise history, The Blue will be in post-season play for the 3rd consecutive season. As said before the season, it seems the seat gets hotter and hotter. Is iWorld Series or Bust for manager Don Mattingly ?

Drei’s Thoughts Heading Into the NLCS

Both the Mets and Dodgers have very formidable pitching staffs. The question for the Blue once again will be whether anyone not named Zack or Clayton can carry the club. The Mets seem to have a deeper starting rotation than the Dodgers, however, their offense tailed off toward the end of the season, losing 5 of 6 to close out the season including a 3 game sweep at the hands of the lowly Phillies. 

The Mets had a slight edge over The Blue in the regular season. This is expected to be a low-scoring series. Dodgers in 4

9th Inning…

WAKE UP KID !!!
  WAKE UP KID !!! The Playoffs are here !!!!

Leave it to Drei to WAKE THE KID !!!  ‘Til the next episode…From Kid N Drei…

LETS GO DODGERS !!!!

Drei’s 2015 AL Forcast

Hello Baseball Fans !!! It’s been a while since Drei has made his presence known. Well, not quite. It hasn’t exactly been a slow off-season for Drei, as he has been cruising the SoCal college basketball scene for Stadium Journey , among other off-season activities. Got a ballpark or two you plan to take in this summer ? Check us out at Stadium Journey for tips for your sports themed travels worldwide, including all 30 MLB yards.

Stadium Journey

How’s your off-season been ? We’re you satisfied with the off-season moves ( or maybe lack of ) by your team ? 

Here’s Drei’s 2015 picks

AL East

If there was ever a case for parity ( a word we’ll be hearing throughout the season ) in one division, the AL East makes a case. There certainly won’t be a lack of offensive firepower in this division. The Red Sox could have the strongest team all-around in the division. The additions of Rick Porcello and Wade Miley should provide a boost to their rotation as well as complement their offensive lineup with the additions of former Dodger Hanley Ramirez and former Giant Pablo Sandoval….

The Blue Jays and Orioles will also be in the heat of the race, anchored by their offenses.  However, both starting 5’s carry starters whose ERA’s last season was over 4 runs a game….

The Yankees field a lineup of players not exactly in their prime. This will be a hard pill to swallow for Yankee fans, but the rebuilding process starts this year. Also a hard pill that could be hard to swallow ? The Yankees finishing south of .500 for the first time since 1992….

The Rays, in spite of the loss of David Price, should still have a formidable pitching staff. However, an anemic offense will make it difficult for the Rays to stay competitive in the east….

AL Central

 

Parity. Did I say we’d be using that word A LOT this season ? This could be baseball’s most exciting division race, with 4 teams capable of winning claiming the flag. Detroit’s pitching took a hit with the loss of Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. The starting unit for Motown should still be formidable with David Price and Justin Verlander, who I expect to have a bounce back season.

The starting 5 for the Tribe are all under 30, and their pitchers average over 8 strikeouts per nine innings. This could be the best starting rotation in the central….

The White Sox should be competitive as well with Jose Abreu and the addition Melky Cabrera and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation.

The Royals we’re carried for much of last season by their pitching, particularly their bullpen. However the loss of James Shields could be the difference between the Royals making another October run….

AL West

Somebody in the Junior Circuit has to win 90 games, right ? The AL’s two best teams could very well be here in the west, setting up a potential ALDS showdown between these two. The Mariners and Angels are among the vast favorites to represent the AL in The Fall Classic. The Mariners are counting on a big improvement in the middle of their lineup, especially with Nelson Cruz at the DH. It was the lack of offensive production, particularly at the DH position that prevented the M’s from reaching post-season play. The M’s starting 5, anchored by Felix Hernandez, just may be the AL’s best…

The Angels, baseball’s best team record wise last season, will be putting up some loud offensive numbers again with Mike Trout ready to take leadership down I-5. The starting 5, anchored by Jared Weaver, is not as dominant as the starters in Seattle but is still formidable. Having 2 lefty’s in the rotation should help the Halos as well…

The A’s, after trading Yoenis Cespedes, took an unexpected fall that nearly cost them a playoff spot, only to see them blow a 4 run lead late in their epic Wild Card battle with Kansas City. The A’s could still be the sleeper in the division with the additions of Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler to their lineup. The losses of Josh Donaldson, Jon Lester, Jeff Samaardzija, and Brandon Moss could be their downfall…

Wild Card

Angels over Bean Town in another epic playoff showdown between these two….

ALDS

Mariners over the Angels in 5 close games. This could also be a potential ALCS matchup…

Tigers over the Blue Jays. With Toronto making post-season play for the first time in 22 years, I still like Detroit’s offense to power them past their northern neighbors…

ALCS

This is a tough one. Detroit has enough experience in their lineup to carry them to The Fall Classic. Seattle has possibly the best starting 5 in the AL. If Verlander can stay healthy and have a bounce back year as I expect, a 7th game showdown between Justin and King Felix would be epic. Verlander is no stranger to the big stage in October, while the bright lights of October will be a first for King Felix…Tigers over the Mariners

Next up, Drei’s NL Forecast

9th Inning With Drei…

Moose We just may see each other come October, Moose…

Looking Back at Drei’s 2014 AL Forecasts…

So another regular season is in the books.  Around here, 162 games just wasn’t enough, and 4 teams here in the West Coast will be playing in the post-season. Since 2007, there have been 4 tie-breaker games, yet this year,  game 163 was not necessary this year.  So, looking back on this exciting 2014 season, how did Drei’sAL  picks turn out ?  Lets look back first on Drei’s AL Forecast .  

What Drei’s Said about the AL East…

“Pitching will carry the Rays into October. Red Sox are primed for another October run, may be better than last years team. Baltimore got some heavy hitters in their lineup, they’re gonna need all that offense to back up a leaky rotation.”

Drei’s AL East Projections…

Final AL East Standings…

Tampa would dig themselves a huge early hole they could never recover from, while the Blue Jays would start fast before settling into the middle of the pack.  The Red Sox would become the 1st World Champion team since the 1997 Florida Marlins to finish last in their division.  A furious 2nd half would propel the Orioles to their first AL East title since 1997, and an era ends in New York.  Thanks for the memories, Derek Jeter .

JETER

What Drei Said about the AL Central…

” Kansas City is looking to make a run at post-season play this year for the first time since 1985. Royals pitching had the lowest ERA in the AL last season and with some added offense October baseball is a strong possibility. “

Drei’s AL Central Projections…

Final AL Central Standings…

Though I did not pick KC to be one of the wild-card teams, I did say that October baseball in KC would be a strong possibility.   Congratulations KC, on your first trip to post-season play since defeating the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series.  The AL Central would be the one division I would come close to getting all my picks correct, ( Wait ’til you see how I picked the AL West…) with the White Sox and Twins rounding out the bottom.  With the Twins occupying the cellar, Ron Gardenhire has been dismissed as Twins manager after 13 seasons at the helm .  

What Drei Said about the AL West…

 “2 managers could be on the hot seat in this division. Ron Washington, who has guided the Rangers to 2 World Series appearances, 4 consecutive 90 plus win season, 3 post season berths, the most successful manager in Rangers history, has certainly raised the bar within the organization and with that comes higher expectations….  Mike Scioscia, another manager in this division who has brought his team it’s longest run of success and is currently baseball’s longest tenured manager with the same team, could very well be on that hot seat as well…. King Felix will once again anchor the Mariners pitching staff, but the M’s, even with the acquisition of Cano, still have some questions on offense. “

 Final AL West Standings…

And that’s why they are called, predictions.  Sometimes, you’re spot on, most times, you’re more than a stone’s throw off.  However, as far off as I was, my words of wisdom  in April really we’re not that far off.  I did say that Ron Washington was on the hot seat, and apparently the seat was a bit too hot amiss the brutal Texas heat, though his reason for his early September release  was rather odd.  The Mariners would win 87 games, finishing 1 game behind the A’s for the final wild card spot, a spot that was not decided until the final game of the season. King Felix was his usual dominant self, and as I said, the offense would have some questions.  As it turned out for the M’s, lack of offense would lead to their demise.

Drei’s Wild Cards…

Final…

I did say Oakland would be one of the two wild-cards.  I highly doubt this is what they expected after being as much as 30 games over .500 at one point in the season.  How do these two stack up for the AL Wild Card ?  With two experienced aces going in Jon Lester for the A’s and Scott Shileds for KC, runs should be at a premium.  A packed house at Kaufmann Stadium should be rocking.  Who does Drei pick to go to Anaheim ?

athletics

Reppin’ The Blue In The Deep South…

wpid-2014092095123350.jpg I wanted to give a shoutout to my longtime buddy Rex, who recently relocated down south…MISSISSIPPI !  Way to rep that DODGER BLUE in the Deep South, Rex !!!

Extra Innings…

RFBullPenMarkerMinion He’s baaaaaack !!!  He’s ready for October Baseball !!!  It’s our Pet Minion Dave !!!  Here he is perched above the visitors bullpen during an early season game in April.  ( Heckling the visitors Dave ?  Perhaps we should send you out there come Friday ? )  Dave can be a mischievous character, but the other night he proved to be quite a lucky charm .  Do we have a Rally Minion in the works for the playoffs ?  

Oh the excitement of October Baseball….

Looking Back…Looking Ahead

Dodgers All-Star Bits

Did you all enjoy last night’s all-star game ?  Our boys that represented made quite an impression last night, particularly Kershaw and Greinke, striking out a combined 3 batters on only 21 pitches during their 2 innings.

Dee Gordon also made his presence felt scoring on a 2 out double by Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers and making a fine defensive play in the 6th inning.

Yasiel Puig was not so fortunate last night, striking out 3 times in his first all-star appearance, tying 11 players for the  record for most times to strike out in an all-star game.  However, Puig is in some fine company, as Lou Gherig, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Johnny Bench, Albert Belle and Craig Biggio have also achieved this dubious feat.  Hey, even the great one’s have their bad days…

Other All-Star Bits

Congratulations to the Angels Mike Trout on being named the 2014 All-Star MVP .  At 22 years of age, Trout is the second youngest player to win all-star game MVP behind Ken Griffey Jr. in 1992.

Tip of the Cap 

Thank You Derek Jeter for 19 memorable seasons.  Last night marked the final time the Yankee captain would participate in an All-Star game, marking the 13th time he would play in the mid-summer classic.  

jeter

Last All-Star Thought

The all-star game should not determine home field advantage for the World Series.  I have felt that way since the inception of the rule in 2003 regardless of which league comes out the winner…

Looking Back at the 1st Half

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES kershaw_nohitter

The first half of the season, which seems like the longest 1st half in recent memory given the season officially started in Australia on March 22nd, was filled once again with it’s highs and lows, highlighted of course by the no-hitters thrown by Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw.

Like last season, the Dodgers did not exactly start the season off fast out of the gate, falling behind as much as 9.5 games in the standings behind the Giants. However, the Dodgers, like last season, have rebounded to finish the 1st half strong and will head into the 2nd half not only in 1st place in the NL West but also with the National League’s best record.

Why Dre is Happy ?

What else can you say about Kershaw and Greinke, perhaps the best 1-2 starting combo in the game right now ?

Dee Gordon has proved to everyone that he is now our everyday starting 2nd baseman. Gordon looks more confident in his play this season with both the bat and glove and it is certainly showing .

A strong finish to the 1st half has our Boys in position to reclaim the NL West.

Dre’s Concerns

The back end of our rotation. Dan Haren can be on or off, but his recent lack of velocity could be a factor as to why he has given up 20 home runs. Josh Beckett, at this point a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, has not pitched a full season in 2 seasons and concern over his recent hip condition has raised some other concerns as to how much further into the season he can pitch. Whether he does come back, my concern for Josh is if he can keep up his 1st half performance.

Which Brian Wilson will we see in the 2nd half ? Brian blamed the lack of a prolonged spring training to his early season stint on the DL, but since his return has still struggled to return to his late season form of last season. Can Brandon League continue his resurgence into the 2nd half ? JP Howell has quietly done his part in getting the ball to Jansen, who hasn’t quite been as dominant, but still is one of the league leaders in saves. I look for another strong 2nd half finish from our closer.

Productivity from the offense. The reason the Dodgers are where they are right now ? You know it. Starting pitching. However, even the best starting 5 could use some needed run support. How will the outfield situation pan out ? Will a trade be in store for the Blue ?

This is Still Matt’s Team

Yup. That’s right. I said it. This is still Matt Kemp’s team to lead. That is if he want’s to be that leader. Do I expect a rebirth of the Matt Kemp of 2011 ? No. What I want to see from Matt Kemp, present day, 2014 ? I want to see him take control of the clubhouse and be that vocal leader every team should have. I don’t necessarily mean showing anger when he is in a slump. Puig is still to young and ripe for that role. Kemp, the longest tenured Dodger alongside Andre Ethier, needs to show that this is still his team . As Matt goes, so goes the Blue. Hopefully, into another deep run into October…

Looking Back at My Pre-Season Picks

American League

Overall, my forecast have been on and off . In the AL East, Tampa struggled early but has climbed to within 9.5 games of the lead. A recent run has Detroit standing 6.5 games ahead in the AL Central, the largest lead of any division leader heading into the 2nd half. Wholesale changes could be in order for the Rangers, 21 games under .500 and 21 games out. I stated that 2 managers could be on the hot seat in the AL West, the two being Ron Washington and Mike Scioscia. It’s safe to say that one is off the hot seat. The other ? Do the Rangers reward Washington for the past 5 seasons and honor his contract extension through 2015 ?

So, where do I call an audible ? In the AL East, I’m going to stick with the Rays, even with the fact they sit 9.5 back and have 4 other teams to get past. Should the Rays still be in contention by the end of this month, perhaps all talks of David Price in another uniform will die down.

In the AL Central, I picked Detroit and will stick with that. In the AL West, this is where I call an audible, and a huge audible too. This is where I picked the Rangers to reclaim the AL West. As I said, that’s where I call my audible. The AL West could possible have 3 teams in post-season play. 2 of them could very well be a serious threat into October. My call ? Oakland wins it’s 3rd straight AL West title, with the Angels and Mariners as the wild cards. If Seattle can find some offensive support down the stretch, they may be a serious October contender.

Playoff Picks. Wild Card Angels over the Mariners , ALDS Tigers over the Angels, A’s over Tampa. ALCS Oakland showed they want it now with the acquisition of Samardzija and Hammel. I’m still sticking with my pre-season AL Champ pick. Detroit. Detroit over Oakland, 3 years in a row. This could be a developing rivalry, right Justin Verlander ?

National League

Here is where my accuracy is somewhat on target. In the NL East I said it would be a 2 team race between the Nationals and Braves and as of now both stand tied atop their division . After struggling early in the season, the Cardinals have made up 6.5 games in the standings within the last 2 weeks and sit 1 game behind the Brewers atop the NL Central. 3.5 games separate the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds and Pirates in the NL Central. It is possible 3 teams in this division see post-season play again this season. Who could be the one left out of the dance ?

And finally. The NL West . In spite of the fact the Dodgers were the overwhelming favorites to repeat as NL West Champions, I still felt the division would not be a runaway. The Giants started out hot but have fizzled as of late. The Dodgers, in spite of some offensively challenged numbers, head into the 2nd half with not only the lead atop the NL West but with the National Leagues best record and are still the favorites to come out on top in the NL West. The Giants will continue to challenge The Blue, but lack of a serious offensive threat and depth will derail them in the end.

As for my other pre-season NL picks, Dre call’s no audible here. For the Wild Cards, i’m sticking with the Pirates over the Braves. For the NLDS , the Cardinals over the Nationals, and the Dodgers over the Pirates, setting up a rematch of last year’s NLCS between the Dodgers and Cardinals, in which I have our Boys in Blue coming out on top.

Want more coverage of our Boys in Blue ? Follow theDodgers Low Down for all things Dodger Blue. This should be an exciting 2nd half. GO DODGERS !!!

drei_ben_nye1 In front of City Hall, NYE 2013 with Benny P. This is gonna be our year !!!!

Today’s Poll and Dre’s Thought’s on the ASG Determining Home Field for the World Series

Every year at this time this question comes up….Should the winner of the All-Star game determine which leagues team get’s the home field advantage ?

I never cared for that idea and to this day still don’t. The home field advantage has always been determined by either which team has the better record or in some cases the higher seed. It’s always been that way in professional sports. In all the years i’ve been a sports fan i’ve alwayst thought the purpose of playing for the best-record has always been to achieve the home field , home court, or home ice advanatage. Please do correct me if I am wrong. Your thoughts ? Oh yeah, enjoy the Mid-Summer Classic !!!!

kershaw

And of course good luck to our lone all star for 2013 Clayton Kershaw !!!!!

My Morning Tweet. . . . The All Star Game

10 years later and I still don’t believe the winner of the #MLB All Star game should determine the home field for the #WorldSeries — Good_Drei (@Good_Drei) It has been 10 years since that infamous tie due to both sides running out of players that causes commissioner Bud Selig to come up with the format that the league that wins the all star game gets home field advantage. To this day I dont care for it, I feel it undermines the point of playing for the best regular season record to gain that elusive home field advantage. Last season is a good arguement for this. The St Louis Cardinals made a late run and with 90 wins claimed the NL’s Wild Card spot the final day of the season. The Texas Rangers, winners of the AL West with 96 wins. Any other sport they are hosting Games 6 and 7 but thanks to the all star game it was determined 2.5 months prior that regardless of their record, in this case a 6 game difference, they would not have home field for the World Series. Could you imagine the NBA using this format. Would the Rangers have won the World Series had they had that ever so important home field in Game 7 ? Who knows. Having said that, I will still be pulling for the National League to win it. Looking forward to the 2nd half . And we’re certainly looking forward to getting Kemp and Ethier back as well. GO DODGERS !!!!