They Are Who We Thought They Were

Well . . . sort of.  At least, some of them are.  One-third of a season isn’t nearly enough to say this is what the standings will look like in the end.  But, I do think we have learned enough to go back and take a look at my pre-season predictions, and consider what was right and what was wrong.  I’ll break it down by division.

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

AL EAST:  What was right? 1) The Yankees.  I expected the Yankees to perform fairly well in spite of their injuries.  I didn’t really think they would be playing close to .600 ball, but I figured they would still be in contention. 2) The Rays.  With their strong pitching, I knew they’d be able to play decently, but probably not enough to compete in this division.  They’re almost exactly on pace for the 84 wins I predicted.  What was wrong?  1) Red Sox & Blue Jays.  They’ve completely flipped positions compared to my predictions.  I thought for sure all those signings would make Toronto stronger.  And, I definitely didn’t see the Red Sox playing as well as they are.  2) Orioles pitching.  I was certain they were a flash-in-the-pan.  But, they’ve actually picked up with similar play to where they were a year ago.  And, the offense is improved even more with no-longer-a-rookie, Manny Machado.  

AL CENTRAL:  What was right?  1) The Tigers – they have begun to separate themselves as the clear leader of this division.  2) The Twins – on pace for 69 wins, right where I had them.  Once you get past Mauer, there just isn’t much talent on that team. 3) The White Sox – how can I claim to be right when they’re one spot higher in the division, and on pace for 6 more wins? Because they’ve played the two worst teams in the division 11 times already, the Marlins 3 times, and the Cubs 3 times, and still are only slightly ahead of the pace I predicted.  There’s nothing to be excited about on the South Side.  What was wrong? 1) The Royals – I thought for sure their young talent would have them playing better.  But, right now, they’re as bad as the Twins.   2) The Indians – only a couple games back of the Tigers?  I didn’t think Bourn, Swisher & Reynolds would make this big of a difference to their offense.  But, they are proving to be a formidable contender in this division.

AL WEST:  What was right? 1) The A’s.  On pace for 92 wins – exactly as predicted.  They are no slouch.  2) The Astros.  They are really bad.  On pace right now to lose 2 more games than the 113 I predicted.  What was wrong? Everybody else!! I thought the Angels would turn things around, the Rangers would have a setback, and the Mariners would make a push for a winning season.  Instead, the Rangers lead the division with the best record in the AL, while the Angels and Mariners look like they’ll be doing good to keep from having losing seasons – never mind anything close to competing!

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

NL EAST: What was right? 1) The Braves.  On pace, now, to win a little more than I even thought, but I did have them at the top of this division.  2) The Mets & Marlins.  Both bad teams.  The Marlins are actually on pace to challenge the record for most losses in a season. How jilted must Miami fans feel after just one year in that expensive new stadium??  What was wrong? 1) The Phillies – they just seem to be getting older by the day.  Their pitching didn’t turn things around like I expected.  And, they just don’t seem like they have any “Phight” left in them.  2) The Nationals – I expected them to take a bit of a step back, but they’re actually on pace to win just 84 games.  Could they possibly go from being the best team in the league one year, to missing the playoffs the next??

NL CENTRAL:  What was right?  1) The Brewers?? I tentatively say that I was somewhat right about Milwaukee.  They’re on pace to only win 62 games, while I predicted 70.  But, they are definitely in last place, where I had them.  What was wrong? 1) Practically everything else!!  Who expected the 3 best records in baseball to be in the NL Central, 1/3 of the way through the season?  Who expected  the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates to be on pace to win 100 games?  And, with all of these teams playing as well as they are, it has caused my prediction of 78 wins for the Cubs to seem a bit far-fetched.  Now, I don’t think all three of the NL Central’s top teams can sustain this type of winning.  They will naturally cancel each other out at least a little as the season goes on.  But, they all look much better than I thought they were.

NL WEST: What was right? 1) The Diamondbacks – now, they’re currently leading the division, and on pace for 93 wins.  But, I did have them making a big turnaround, and winning 90 games to put them in the playoffs.  I just didn’t expect the rest of the division to be where they are. 2) The Padres – on pace for just 73 wins, and a finish at or near the bottom of the division.  Right where I expected. What was wrong? 1) The Giants & Rockies – they’re both on pace to win 87 games.  But, that’s close to 10 fewer wins than I predicted for SF, and 5 more than I predicted for COL.  I really thought the Giants would be more consistent, and I didn’t think the Rockies could be as consistent as they have been.  2) The Dodgers – I didn’t have them in the playoffs, but I certainly didn’t have them losing 90+ games!  I figured they could at least muster a .500ish record with the lineup & rotation they have.  Not sure how to explain this one.

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