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Boys of Summer 2018

Here we go again!

Opening day this year is 29th March - the earliest ever - and every one of the 30 mlb teams is in action on opening day this year.
Reigning World Series Champs Houston Astros travel 250 miles to Dallas for their ‘local’ derby against the Texas Rangers to open the defence of their title. Other notable match ups on opening day include the California games between the Giants @ Dodgers and the Angels @ The Oakland A’s. It seems most teams have been given a relatively local game to start the season, so spare a thought for the Cleveland Indians who’ve got a 2,400 mile trip to Seattle to play the Mariners to start the season.

So, enough of that - who’s your tip this year?
Like last year, I’m going to set out my groups of contention - favourites, contenders, outsiders, long shots and no hopers.
I didn’t do bad last year - underestimated a couple (eg the Brewers) and overestimated a couple (eg the Giants) but I did ok. If you’re wondering, I had the Astros as ‘outsiders’, so not great, but I did tip the Dodgers who fell at the last.

So, favourites? Four teams stand out to me - Dodgers, Astros, Yanks and Indians. Less convincing, but still up there are the Cubs and the Nationals. I can’t see any of these 6 being challenged for their divisions and once you get to the postseason, anything can happen - but I expect the teams to beat to be the first four on my list.
Contenders? It looks to me that the Red Sox, Angels, Rockies, D-Backs, Twins and Brewers could all be in with a shout. These are basically my tips to come second in each division, with the exception of the NY Mets, who should walk away with second in the NL East, purely by being 4th shittest in the worst division of all. So their spot in ‘contenders’ went to one of Rockies/D-Backs who had a great fight for the Wildcard last year and I expect similar again.
Outsiders? Mets, Cards, Rangers, Blue Jays, Giants and Mariners. As mentioned, the Mets should walk away with second in the NL East, but can they convert to a wild card spot? The Cards are my best bet from this group, because they may well do better than the Brewers, but I can’t see them overhauling the Cubs. This group does show how the West divisions are stronger at the mo. I only expect the Mariners and Giants to get 4th place in their respective divisions, but with a season just a little better than expected, they could sneak a wildcard spot.
Longshots? Reds, Braves, Phillies, A’s, White Sox, Rays and Orioles. Seven in this group, just because I can’t split the Rays and the Orioles in the AL East, but I expect them to be fighting for 4th place. I don’t see much to get excited about with any of these apart from the fact that some of them are in ‘rebuild’ mode (Phillies, Braves, White Sox, A’s), so we may see some fruits of this labour this year. Having said that, they don’t look that bad. Unlike...
No hopers? Tigers, Royals, Marlins, Pirates and Padres. Utter shite. No, that’s unfair. The Padres and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers and Royals are building for the future, but they’ll probably be losing sides for a while. The Pirates and the Marlins though. What a mess. I had to look to see if Roland Duchatelet had bought these two teams to add to his sporting ‘experiment’. Both have traded away their best talent and replaced them with, well, not very much. Sound familiar? No hopes this year. Their supporters must be praying the rebuild starts in earnest next year.


My money's on the Dodgers this year, but I’ll be looking out for my beloved Redsox and Cubs as always. Plus, with my move to Washington in August, I’ll probably take an interest in the Nats this year too.

Please feel free to tear my groupings apart if you disagree, but as I said last year, there's no right answer until the end of the final game in October, and it all starts on Thursday.

Let's play ball!
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Comments

  • Very much looking forward to a bit of late night MLB TV action....

    Not sure on the Yanks - think Judge may suffer second season syndrome, and Stanton won’t be as devastating as he may be expected to be. Sox had lots of players have down years - and also have a full year of Devers and JD added to the mix. With a rotation including a rejuvenated Price alongside Sale, Porcello and E Rod they will be close.

    Dodgers and Astros won’t turn bad overnight.

    Indians have the remaining hoodoo now Cubs and Red Sox have won it.

    Should be fun
  • Very much looking forward to a bit of late night MLB TV action....

    Not sure on the Yanks - think Judge may suffer second season syndrome, and Stanton won’t be as devastating as he may be expected to be. Sox had lots of players have down years - and also have a full year of Devers and JD added to the mix. With a rotation including a rejuvenated Price alongside Sale, Porcello and E Rod they will be close.

    Dodgers and Astros won’t turn bad overnight.

    Indians have the remaining hoodoo now Cubs and Red Sox have won it.

    Should be fun

    I know what you mean about the Yanks/Redsox, and I hope you’re right. I think that’s the point though - it’s hope rather than expectation.
    I really don’t think Judge will have a poor year. I think he’s a superstar in the making and I’m extremely pissed off that he’s a Yankee!
  • Loved the World Series, was my first time watching seriously and trying to understand the nuances of the game.

    Being in Texas now, it made sense to cheer on the Astros. Call me a glory hunter but I'm sticking with it. I'm sure they'll revert to being useless now I've jumped on the bandwagon!
  • Loved the World Series, was my first time watching seriously and trying to understand the nuances of the game.

    Being in Texas now, it made sense to cheer on the Astros. Call me a glory hunter but I'm sticking with it. I'm sure they'll revert to being useless now I've jumped on the bandwagon!

    Support who you want Callum. I don’t think anyone judges you unless you support the Yankees. :wink:
    Sometimes the club picks you - sounds like that’s what happened to you with the Astros and now you’re stuck with them! :smiley:
  • Loved the World Series, was my first time watching seriously and trying to understand the nuances of the game.

    Being in Texas now, it made sense to cheer on the Astros. Call me a glory hunter but I'm sticking with it. I'm sure they'll revert to being useless now I've jumped on the bandwagon!

    Have faith.

    The rotation looks very good now with the addition of Cole and the bullpen looks stronger with the additions of Smith and Rondon.

    Plus, it looks as though McHugh and Peacock will be part of the bullpen. Like to see them add a more dominant left hander than Sipp.

    Batting line up remains pretty much the same.
  • Lets go DBacks!
  • Go Blue Jays!!
  • Brewers for me, but only because the name is ace!
  • Hope you're right about the Dodgers after our near miss last season, and we should be there or thereabouts again. I think the Yankees will go close as well and a Dodgers/Yankees World Series will be great to watch (and delight the TV Executives) just so long as the Dodgers win it this time.
  • It's the Giants for me again, this year!
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  • Phillies might actually maybe be relevant possible for once maybe.... probably not though. Be nice to win half our games.
  • Braves for me. Hoping for a bit of improvement .
  • Blimey - Mets finished bottom of the Grapefruit League in spring training and below .400 but are 11-1, 9 wins on the spin and only defeat to Cardinals.
    Funny old world.
  • Early days, but some divisions have developed clear early pacesetters - some of which are surprising (to me, anyway!)
    Early nods to the Red Sox, Mets, Angels, D'Backs and Pirates who are all opening gaps to their respective division rivals, but there's a long, long way to go...

    The pick of recent games is the crazy comeback from the Cubs against the Braves last night. Playing in freezing rain, they were 10-2 down in the 7th inning and looked like they'd been knocked on their arses. scored 3 in the 7th, then scored 9 in the eighth - though strangely, those 9 runs were scored off just 3 hits!
    Won 14-10 in the end. Love it.
  • My D-Backs are flying early on, a blowout 9-1 win over the Dodgers last night, even with a mix-up in a homerun whereby the hitter passed a baserunner on the way around the bases, resulting in a 2 run single instead of a 3 run blast.

    Let's hope we can keep it up, very long season but promising so far
  • Shohei Ōhtani - what a phenomenon. Not only is he dinging everyone around he park but he is also flirting with no hitters.

    Why he didn’t pair up with a national league team I will never know
  • Am on a holiday in New York in may so am off to see the Yankees.... anyone got suggestions of a good place to sit ?
  • Go watch the mets. New York’s true team.
  • Shohei Ōhtani - what a phenomenon. Not only is he dinging everyone around he park but he is also flirting with no hitters.

    Why he didn’t pair up with a national league team I will never know

    He's been fun to watch. It's almost not fair. He throws a 102mph fastball, backed up with forkball, slider and curveball, and hits home runs for a laugh too.

    He would have killed the NL! I think he wanted to play on the west coast and was happiest with the Angels as an organisation out of the teams bidding for him.
  • Early days of course seeing as we are not even in to May yet, but the Red Sox are looking insane. Pitching is beyond lights out, and offensively they just dismantled the previously 13-3 Anaheim in California
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  • Early days of course seeing as we are not even in to May yet, but the Red Sox are looking insane. Pitching is beyond lights out, and offensively they just dismantled the previously 13-3 Anaheim in California

    Yep. Early signs are good!
    Come the end of the season, I’ll be more than happy to have predicted the AL East wrong if it looks like this!
  • I'm starting to get back into baseball again. Unfortunately, the White Sox are still shit. I think this is the fifth or six rebuilding year where they're putting all their eggs in the young draft picks coming through the system basket.
  • Did you see the White Sox had an attendance of less than a 1000 the other day.
  • edited April 20

    Did you see the White Sox had an attendance of less than a 1000 the other day.

    Which is crazy. There's a lot of factors at play there. One that's been a problem for a while is that the Cubs are in the nice part of town that is easily accessible and generally more conveniently located. The Sox are on the south side, which is not a good part of the world. I know they've kind of built a buffer around Comiskey, which is something American stadiums are really good at (pretty much every stadium in California is like that). And while it's no the infamous south side of Chicago, you're not that many stops on the train away from it. Plus, the ballpark is just out of the way.

    And that's something that you can only do so much about. Add to the fact the Cubs have largely been good for a while now, plus their World Series win and it swings that pendulum even more. It's not dissimilar to Charlton, where it's hard to attract new fans because most of your fans are from another generation because there is another/are other big name team(s) in town.

    But yeah then there's the years of being shit and poorly managed and trading good players for promising minor leaguers and all that. I haven't followed baseball super closely in the last few years so I apologize if I'm doing anyone or anything a disservice, but from what I understand the pattern is pretty familiar. It was great having Ozzie Guillen and then Robin Ventura as managers, Ventura was one of my favorite players growing up. But that's kind of small comfort. And you look that roster and they're just not very good in most positions.
  • It's also a shining example of why stadium naming rights are a crap idea. Guaranteed Rate Field?!? Seriously, nothing says "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" like a trip to Guaranteed Rate Field. That's a database entry, not a place to watch baseball.
  • Missed It said:

    It's also a shining example of why stadium naming rights are a crap idea. Guaranteed Rate Field?!? Seriously, nothing says "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" like a trip to Guaranteed Rate Field. That's a database entry, not a place to watch baseball.

    I refuse to call it that. Refused to call it US Cellular field as well.
  • el-pietro said:

    Phillies might actually maybe be relevant possible for once maybe.... probably not though. Be nice to win half our games.

    I started to think they might be good, but this last weekend makes me think they are going to return to about .500 pretty soon. Unless they start hitting.
  • DBacks have won their first 9 series, the first NL team in 111 years to do so.

    Only other team that completed this feat was the Cubs in 1907, 5 years before Arizona was even a state. Cubs went on to win the World Series that year, I'm hoping the same happens for the DBacks
  • sam3110 said:

    DBacks have won their first 9 series, the first NL team in 111 years to do so.

    Only other team that completed this feat was the Cubs in 1907, 5 years before Arizona was even a state. Cubs went on to win the World Series that year, I'm hoping the same happens for the DBacks

    All the more impressive in that Martínez is plying his trade with one of the other early pacesetters in the Red Sox.

    To do that without their main offensive threat from last season deserves all the plaudits
  • D'backs are storming it early doors. The Giants are up and down like the proverbial, but a few good performances (including a series win against the evil Dodgers) lately have put a smile on my face. Great walk off win v the Padres last night...
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Roland Out!