2010 MLB Season Preview: BSB-Style

Well, the Final Four is coming, signifying the end of the college hoops season, but have no fear, as in this never-ending sports season, the Major League Baseball season is primed and ready to go.  I’m guessing you’re not tuning into BSB for a regular, boring “preview,” so as we like to do, let’s make a game out of it.  For our season previews, we like to see if we can best each other by trying to predict which teams will improve and which will get worse.  Bry has actually narrowly won both MLB previews, so Doogan will try and get on the board this year.  With no further ado, since Bry picked first last year, Doogan will get first crack this year…

UPDATE (as of July 31st):  As usual, we are running an in-season update for the BSB MLB Preview.  Doogan is trying to break Bry’s two-year run on the MLB side of the previews, so we will see how he’s doing.


1. DOOGAN – Los Angeles Angels – UNDER 97 wins:  Hard to believe, but I’m kicking things off by betting against Mike Scioscia and this franchise.  With John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Chone Figgins gone, they’ve lost a ton of talent, and I don’t think Hideki Matsui and Joel Pineiro can make up for it.  Plus, some of their offensive stars from last year (Kendry Morales, Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis) are still not proven for the long haul, and the division will be tougher than it’s been in a while.  97 is a big number, and they won’t hit it.

PACE: 81.  Well, Doogan nails his first pick with the Angels, as they are 53-53 right now.  It doesn’t look like they are even heading for the playoffs.  Pretty hard to believe, but it’s true

Injuries hit the Halos, but it is a bit surprising just how far they have fallen.  After about a decade of domination by this club, has there been a changing of the guard out west?  Either way, this was an easy point at #1 for Doogan.

2. BRY – Los Angeles Dodgers – UNDER 95 wins:  Doogan, I think your Angels pick might just be a sign that this year is going to be the toughest one yet.  For my first pick, I’ll go with the other team from the City of Angels.  They didn’t do anything this offseason (funny how a divorce can affect a baseball team–and by “funny,” I mean “pathetic”), and I think they’ll probably miss Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson more than they think they will.

PACE: 84.  Bry goes against the City of Angels as well and this pick also looks pretty solid.  The Dodgers are only slightly over .500, which means they have to really pick it up between now and the end of the season.  They were active at the trading deadline, but they have a lot of games to make up.  This pick isn’t quite as solid as Doogan’s #1, but we’ll still give it solidly to Bry

FINAL:  80.  POINT BRY, 1-1
The Dodgers stuggle all year amidst divorce distractions, as Joe Torre goes out with a losing record.  This team has too much talent not to compete in this division, but we will see.  Bry gets an easy point to tie it up.

3. BRY – Baltimore Orioles – OVER 64 wins:  Now don’t think that the Baltimore water has gotten to me while living here.  I do NOT think this team can compete in the AL East this year or for the foreseeable future, but I do think that 98 losses is a boatload of losses, and I think this team at least believes that it is going in the right direction.  A full season from Wieters should help.  Plus, they added a veteran pitcher in Kevin Millwood to go along with a couple talented, young arms.  I don’t think they’ll even win 75, but I definitely think they’ll hit 65.

PACE: 50.  Wow!  It looks like Bry is going to get slaughtered on his #3 overall pick.  The O’s are not even on pace to win FIFTY games!  They look to be a gigantic longshot to even reach 60, let alone 65.  Bry is kicking himself with this pick.

FINAL:  66.  POINT BRY, 2-1
The biggest benefactor of the Buck Showalter hire was Bry, who somehow salvaged what looked to be a long-lost #3 overall pick.  Did you know that if the season was split into two seasons, the Orioles would have won the AL East’s second half?

4. DOOGAN – New York Mets – OVER 70 wins:  No, the New York water has not gotten to me, and I also don’t think the Mets will compete in their division, but when you consider the ridiculous amount of injuries they had last year, and they still have Johan Santana, Frankie Rodriguez, and David Wright.  Presumably, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes will play a lot more, and Jason Bay has joined the line-up.  They should be able to win 80 (but let’s hope not!).

PACE: 83.  Doogan continues his red-hot start to this year’s MLB Preview, as he looks to nail another one.  The Mets should soar right past the 70 mark that Doogan needs.

Doogan hits this pick easily.  The Mets were bad, but not nearly as bad as they were in 2009.  That being said, the arrow is not exactly pointing up for this unstoried franchise.

5. BRY – Washington Nationals – OVER 59 wins:  I like the Mets pick, Doogan, in that I think you’ll probably be right about it, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on it.  For #5, I’m going to make a third straight pick of OVER on a team that we don’t think will compete.  I don’t think this team is good.  I don’t think they’re close to being good.  But, I’m willing to bet that every team in the majors will win at least 60, so I’ll take OVER 59 for even the worst team in the bigs.  Plus, I really can’t wait for the Strausburg Era.

PACE: 72.  Bry is back on track as this looks like another solid point.  Of the first five, this is probably the most up for grabs, but it still looks good for Bry’s OVER pick.  The Nats, thanks to their strong start, are on pace for an easy cover for BRY, plus they didn’t move Adam Dunn at the deadline (though, they did move closer Matt Capps).  But, they haven’t been playing all that well lately.  We’ll see what the final 60 games have in store for these guys.  For now, we still have this solidly in Bry’s column, though, since he has about 13 games to spare on this pace.

FINAL:  69.  POINT BRY, 3-2
The BSB predictors are now 5-for-5, as Bry hits his 3rd pick.  The Nats are improving and may not be as far from contention as people may believe.  Then again, they have absolutely no pitching, which is kind of important.

6. DOOGAN – Arizona Diamondbacks – OVER 70 wins:  You’ve definitely taken two of my picks already with the Dodgers and Nats.  I’ll go with the D-Backs here, who are a tough to team to figure out, but they do seem like a team that should get at least into the high-70’s in W’s.  Brandon Webb missed all of last season, and though he’ll start the year on the DL, it certainly looks like they’ll get a lot more from him this year.  Dan Haren is a stud, and the young players that we’ve been hearing about for years (Stephen Drew, Chris Young) could be ready to be solid players to complement the emerging star, Justin Upton.

PACE: 59.  Doogan’s perfect run looks like it will end here at #6, as the D-Backs are nowhere near the pace of 71 wins that Doogan needs.  This has been an incredibly disappointing season in the desert–again.  Anyone remember that they were the youngest team in the league in 2007 and made the NLCS?  Wha– happened?

FINAL:  65.  POINT BRY, 4-2
Doogan makes the first misstep here, as the D-Backs were even worse than they were in 2009.  How frustrating must it be to be a D-Backs fan right now?  They looked to maybe be starting a run of great success and now they are just really, really bad.

7. BRY – Tampa Bay Rays – OVER 84 wins:  I like the D’Backs pick.  I’ll take the Rays here.  They still have all the important pieces from the AL Pennant winning team two years ago, and they were hurt with a bunch of injuries last year also.  Plus, Ben Zobrist has become a very good player and you have to think that David Price will soon be ready to reach his enormous potential.  They also have a couple other young players still to come up through the system.  The only thing that gives me pause is that if they are even close to out of contention by the trade deadline, they will probably look to move Crawford and/or Pena.  But, I’m guessing that they will either (a) be in the race or (b) be able to win 85 games regardless of their deadline decisions.

PACE: 101.  Great pick for Bry at #7.  The Rays are on a blistering pace and should cruise right past the total Bry needs of 85.  This one should be clinched by the end of August.

FINAL:  96.  POINT BRY, 5-2
Bry hits his 4th in a row to start this preview, as the Rays bounce back from a step back in 2009.  Though people may look at this season as a little disappointing because of the playoff loss to Texas and then the bolting of the high-profile free agents, but let’s not quite think that this team is going to just go away.

8. DOOGAN – Toronto Blue Jays – UNDER 75 wins:  Rumor has it they had a really good pitcher that isn’t on their team anymore.  Can’t quite remember his name but, either way, that figures to put a dent in their win total.  Also, you can’t expect Adam Lind and Aaron Hill to match their big offensive numbers of last year, and the pitching staff is really just no-names at this point, even if a few of them are still just too young to have made a name for themselves.

PACE: 84.  Our first team whose pace is within 10 games of its number is this one, the Toronto Blue Jays.  Doogan needs them with no more than 74 wins, which doesn’t look good right now.  We’re going to give the point to Bry, but we’re not going to make it solid because this team is showing signs of the wheels possibly falling off.  Plus, they still have a ton of games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays.

FINAL:  85.  POINT BRY, 6-2
Back-to-back misses for Doogan, as the surprising Jays surprised Doogan the most.  Is it fool’s gold so that they think they are going in the right direction with some career years or are they really building something North of the Border?  It’s hard to tell, but an 85-win season in the AL East probably can’t be a bad thing.

9. BRY – Chicago White Sox – OVER 79 wins:  Well, Doogan, since you took my next pick, I guess I’ll resort to the team I always seem to overrate in March.  But, I’ll never learn.  Humor me, here.  They have Jake Peavy.  They have Jose Cruz, Jr.  They already had a good amount of talent.  They play in a division without a dominant team.  They have a GM who is willing to spit in the face of “development” to win games now.  They have a fiery coach who might be on his last life.  All this is forcing me to go with the White Sox YET AGAIN.  Ugh…

PACE: 91.  For a while, it looked like this was a terrible pick.  Now, it actually looks like a great pick.  The ChiSox are in first place in the AL Central and on pace for more than 90 wins.  Though it’s hard to put that much confidence into a team that wasn’t very good for the first month of the season, this one has to go solidly to Bry because they’ve been the best team in baseball for the last month and are on pace to clear their number by a good 12 games.

FINAL:  88.  POINT BRY, 7-2
Bry continues to light it up, extending a pretty nice lead here.  I don’t think people realize just how good the White Sox have been in the Ozzie Era.  Ho-hum, another near-90 win season that will go completely under the radar.  This currently the most underrated franchise in the sport.

10.  DOOGAN – Cleveland Indians – OVER 65 wins:  OK, I’ll stay with an over in the AL Central because, as you point out, it’s not a great division.  They had Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez for most of the season and still could only muster the 65 wins, but I think a new manager is a good thing, and they should get bounce back years from Grady Sizemore and Jhonny Peralta.  Shin-Soo Choo is also a nice hitter, and Travis Hafner at least has the potential to be good again.  The pitching staff could be a mess, but 65 is a low number, so I’ll take it.

PACE: 67.  Okay, so this is our first one that is really too close to call, at this point.  The Indians are on pace for exactly 66.9 wins.  Doogan needs 66 to get this point.  We’re going to give it to him, very tenatively because they are on pace to surpass it, but this one could really go either way.  It looks like Doogan is going to really need it, as he probably won’t have scored at this point since pick #4.

Doogan stops a 5-point streak for Bry by narrowly hitting this Indians pick.  How quickly has this franchise fallen completely off the map?  They blew a potential pennant-clinching lead in Game 5 of the ALCS and then lost games 6 & 7 and really haven’t been good at all since.  What happened to all this young talent?  And the strangest example is Grady Sizemore.  If this were 5 years ago, I would have said, “well, I guess Sizemore was a juicer who stopped,” but he kind of came along after testing…kind of.  Wait, did he?  Hmmm…

11. BRY – Chicago Cubs – OVER 83 wins:  You have to think this team underachieved last year, right?  And, though they lost Harden, they also lost Milton Bradley, which is probably a wash.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of the additions of Marlon Byrd, Xavier Nady, or Carlos Silva, but this team should have enough returning talent to win 85-90 games.

PACE: 72.  It is really absurd how far the Cubbies have fallen in such a short period of time.  They have way too much talent (and way too large of a payroll) to be this bad.  But, they are.  They are on pace for a mere 72 wins, which is not even close to the mark that Bry needs for this point.  Give this one to Doogan, easily.

After hitting his first 5, Bry misses on his Cubs pick here.  There is too much talent for this team to be 12 games under .500.  I guess it’s no accident when a team goes 102 years without a World Series, huh?

12. DOOGAN – San Diego Padres – UNDER 75 wins:  This team stinks and, honestly, I’m not sure how they even won 75 games last year.  They got 13 starts from Jake Peavy, which they won’t get this year, and Adrian Gonzalez keeps attracting all the trade rumors.  They look more like a 65-win team.

PACE: 95.  You see, the thing about making these predictions this way, is that it totally invites us to say things like “this team stinks.”  Bry has looked ridiculous, in retrospect, by saying it on numerous occasions (including about the 2009 N.Y. Jets), and now Doogan looks a bit ridiculous.  Though, I have to say, I was mighty angry that Doogan jumped on San Diego before I could have because I thought this was a steal at #12–as you can tell by the write-up at #13.  But, either way, the Padres are, right now, the best team in the National League and are going to blow away the 75 win total.  Give this point to Bry without breaking a sweat.

FINAL:  90.  POINT BRY, 8-4
As bad as Doogan missed this pick, I actually would have taken the exact same thing.  90 wins for the Padres is probably THE MOST surprising result of 2010 for me.  I still don’t understand how they did it.  But…I’ll still take the point.

13. BRY – Cincinnati Reds – OVER 78 wins:  Damn, you, Doogan.  I almost changed my Cubs pick quickly to the Padres.  I agree with you on that one.  Okay, well, this is more of a “everybody loves them” kind of pick.  I don’t necessarily love them as a sleeper, but 79 wins is not ridiculous.  Plus, pitching wins, and there is a chance that this is one of the best staffs in the National League.

PACE: 89.  The Reds pitching has been very good, and they might be on their way to the playoffs for the first time this century.  Bry should get this point with ease.

FINAL:  91.  POINT BRY, 9-4
A pretty easy point for Bry here at #13, as the Reds did finally put it all together and make a run to the playoffs – albeit a short-lived playoff run that probably would have been completely forgotten in history if they had actually gotten a hit in their first game.

14. DOOGAN – Minnesota Twins – UNDER 87 wins:  First I go against the Angels, now I’m going against the Twins.  This is probably not that smart.  But I have two reasons for this pick.  One, Joe Nathan is a stud and they’ll be without him all season.  Two, they’re moving into a new stadium and the Metrodome offered the best home-field advantage in the sport because of the noise and the weird bounces, etc.  Also, the starting pitching is mediocre at best.  Mark them down for 83 wins.

PACE: 90.  A tough call for Doogan and this one might come back to haunt him.  But, this one is far from over, as the Twins still have some work to do to get to the 87 wins that they would need to cost Doogan this point.  They are on pace to do it, but with Morneau hurt, you never know.  We will give this point to Bry, but only tenatively.

FINAL:  94.  POINT BRY, 10-4
Another point for Bry, as he opens up a pretty substantial 6-point lead here.  This Twins team just keeps getting it done.  94 wins all with missing Justin Morneau for most of the second half?  This Ron Gardenhire can flat-out coach, huh?

15. BRY – Seattle Mariners – OVER 85 wins:  Okay, we’re just talking about the difference between 2009 and 2010, right?  Well, the Mariners added one of the best starting pitchers in the league (Cliff Lee) and one of the best leadoff hitters (Chone Figgins).  So, they have to be better, right?  I’m surprised it took this long for one of us to take them because of all the hype, but I guess that shows how we can both probably see them not being all that better.  Either way, I’m taking the bait here and going with the Mariners.

PACE: 60.  And, this will probably take the cake as the single worst pick of this whole competition.  The Mariners are on pace for a mere 60 wins.  Bry had them winning at least 86.  Great pick…

At least Bry can take solace in the fact that he has a 5-point lead through 15 picks because this pick was absolutely, utterly dreadful.  In maybe the single worst pick in the history of the BSB previews, Bry was only off by TWENTY-FIVE GAMES here.  This bad pick aside, just how terrible were the Mariners?  They made one of the two or three best pitching acquisitions of the offseason (Cliff Lee) and one of the two or three best (or, at least, highest priced) position player acquisitions (Chone Figgins).  Plus, their promising young pitcher finally puts it together and has a Cy Young season.  All this adds up to…101 losses?!?!?!?  Unreal.

16. DOOGAN – New York Yankees – UNDER 103 wins:  We might be a little skeptical of the Mariners hype, but apparently we’re not that skeptical about the Yanks, if we let this 103 number sit out there until the second-half of the draft.  I like the pick-ups of Curtis Granderson and Javy Vazquez, but they lost Damon and Matsui, who both had great seasons.  They’ll also be hard-pressed to get as much production from the aging Jeter and Posada, they were pretty lucky with injuries last year (though A-Rod did miss the first month), and they still don’t have a 5th starter.  I could easily see them coming back to a mid- to high-90’s win total.

PACE: 104.  Wow, this one is going to be very, VERY close.  The Yanks are currently on pace for 104 wins.  Doogan needs them with no more than 102 to get this point.  Although we are going to give Bry the point here at the midseason review, I think Doogan has the better side on this one.  This pace is blistering, the Yanks actually look a little old, and the last month might be meaningless as far as a playoff berth, though it’s hard to say whether or not they will go hard for the division.  Plus, with Phil Hughes on a innings watch, Andy Pettitte on an age watch, and Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett putting Yankees fans on suicide watch, this team might fall short of the number.  But, for now, it’s Bry’s point to lose.

Doogan has a nice comeback to take a much-needed point here.  The Yanks fell off a little bit in the second half en route to a “disappointing” 95-win season (only in the Bronx).

17. BRY – Milwaukee Brewers – OVER 80 wins:  This might be a bit of a hedge on my bets here, as I already have the OVERs on the Reds and Cubs, but there have to be wins somewhere in this division, and I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to think that the Brew Crew will be .500 or better.  They have one of the better 3-4 combos in the bigs with Braun and Fielder, and though their pitching is still holding them back from serious contention, they did add Randy Wolf to an already serviceable rotation that features Conestoga product Dave Bush.

PACE: 74.  It’s pretty a rather disappointing season for Milwaukee so far, and there aren’t really any signs of turning it around.  Bry is most likely going to lose this pick.  We’re not quite ready to put it in the lock category for Doogan, but it’s getting awfully close.

Doogan is putting a little run together here, as Bry just misses on the Brewers pick.  This is another team that just isn’t built very well.  They have a bunch of great pieces, but you have to think about team construction, not just throwing out the best talent you can find.

18. DOOGAN – Texas Rangers – UNDER 87 wins:  First off, this just has the feel of one of those teams that takes a big step forward one season and then gets a reality check with the pressure on the next season.  They lost Kevin Millwood and Marlon Byrd, which might not sound like much but both of those guys had very solid seasons.  Vladdy Guerrero and Rich Harden should a help a bit if they can stay healthy (big if), and they can expect a lot more from Josh Hamilton, but my gut definitely says under here.

PACE: 95.  If all of these paces hold up, this will be the fifth straight pick which we have gotten wrong.  This stuff is hard, folks.  And, this one is going to be tough to get back for Doogan, as the Rangers are flying high right now.  The only hope Doogan has here is that the Rangers should have the division locked up halfway through September, so they won’t have much to play for.  Still, he needs them with no more than 86.  Not likely, especially with Cliff Lee now on the roster.  We’ll give this one solidly to Bry.

FINAL:  90.  POINT BRY, 11-7
Doogan’s 3-point streak is over with a missed pick of the AL Champs.  They nearly came back to earth with a injured Hamilton for the last month, but held on to win 90 games and the AL West.  It’s about time the people in Arlington realized that pitching is actually a part of this game we call baseball.

19. BRY – Philadelphia Phillies – OVER 93 wins:  I know 93 is a big number, but we’re trying to predict a change from last year here, right?  Well, the Phils return last year’s team with two notable exceptions.  One, they traded one-half of a season of Cliff Lee for one full season of the one of the three best pitchers on the planet.  They also traded strikeout machine (albeit phenomenal defensive thirdbaseman) Pedro Feliz for the quintessential #2 hitter.  Plus, from all the spring training reports, Cole Hamels looks better.  But, most importantly, this team won 93 games and the NL pennant last year with a bullpen in total shambles.  Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Danny Baez and Jose Contreras are the answers, but I also think that it’s hard to think that the ‘pen could be any worse than it was a year ago.  Give me the Phils to maybe hit the 100-win mark this year.

PACE: 87.  Make it six in a row that look to be wrong, but it’s hard to find a lot of fault in Bry’s pick here, as the Phils are on a pace that could bring them close to the mark, despite being absolutely ravaged by injuries.  They have some ground to make up on that number, but let’s not rule them out, considering they added one of the two best pitchers on the market at the deadline and they are slowly starting to get guys back from injury.  We’ll give this point to Doogan, but it’s far from solid.

FINAL:  97.  POINT BRY, 12-7
Bry’s faith in the Fightins is rewarded, as the Phils – for the first time in their 120+ year history – finish with the best record in all of baseball.  For the record, I now have first-hand information:  that Halladay guy that everyone has been talking about…he’s pretty good.

20. DOOGAN – Houston Astros – UNDER 74 wins:  A bet here against our old friend Ed Wade, and our old friends Brett Myers, Pedro Feliz, Michael Bourn, and Geoff Geary.  I’m sure Astros fans are excited for next season’s big offseason pick-up of Jamie Moyer.  They’ve lost Miguel Tejada, and Myers could definitely be a help in the rotation, but all in all they should be a 70-win team.

PACE: 69.  Excellent call by Doogan.  He called them for 70 wins and they’re on pace for 69.  They are starting to play a little better, so this is far from in the bag, but for now, it’s looking good and we’ll give this point to Doogan, as he draws closer with 12 picks remaining.

FINAL:  76.  POINT BRY, 13-7
Imagine if the Astros ever actually showed up in April and May?  They might win 120.  Another second-half explosion for a team that traded away two franchise icons (Berkman and Oswalt) put them over the mark and cost Doogan another point that looked pretty solid for most of the year.  How about our old friend, Brett Myers, and the season he put together down there?

21. BRY – Florida Marlins – UNDER 87 wins:  This is probably dumb because they always do better than they did before.  Also, they are loaded with young talent that is only going to get better.  But, isn’t 88 wins a lot of wins?  And, it’s hard to believe that the other four teams in the division aren’t also going to be better, so where are all these wins going to come from?  You have to like their pitching, and Hanley Ramirez might be the best player in baseball, but I just have a feeling that this team might come back towards .500, if not below this year.  Give me 80-83 for a Marlins win projection.

PACE: 82.  Bry was right on with this pick.  He called for 80-83 wins for the Fish this year, and they are on pace for a cool 82.  This pick is looking good, but probably not ready to be a lock for Bry, as the Marlins still have the talent and don’t have the pick up the pace that much to reach 87 and steal the point for Doogan.

FINAL:  80.  POINT BRY, 14-7
Bry is inching closer to a third straight MLB preview title with another correct pick here at #21.  His magic number is down to 2.  The Marlins are a little different than the team we all remember, as they are still bringing up young talent, but instead of adding old vets to the mix and going for broke in one year, they are actually using some money to – I know it sound crazy – sign some of their best players to long-term deal.  Gasp!  Though this is straying from a formula that got them 2 titles, it is pretty scary if you are a fan of an NL East team outside of the Sunshine State.

22. DOOGAN – St. Louis Cardinals – OVER 91 wins:  Four pretty good reasons to like the Cards:  Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Tony La Russa.  I don’t think they’re as deep (or as good) as the Phils, but in a weaker division, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them end up with the NL’s best record.  Re-signing Matt Holliday certainly didn’t hurt.

PACE: 90.  Along with the Indians and Yankees, the last two months of the Cardinals season could decide the 2010 MLB Preview champion here on BSB.  The Cards are currently on pace to fall just short of the number Doogan needs to get this important point.  But, this is really too close to call.  Bry will get a very tenative point here.

FINAL:  86.  POINT BRY, 15-7
Bry clinches at least a tie, as Doogan misses on a Cardinals team that really has no excuse for missing the playoffs.  With two of the game’s best pitchers and the best player in the history of the game, they should win 90 games in their sleep.

23. BRY – Atlanta Braves – OVER 86 wins:  This is about the time in each of these where it starts to get really tough, but I’m still relatively okay with this pick.  I think the Braves are poised maybe not to challenge the Phils in the East, but to definitely make a run at the wild card in Bobby Cox’s farewell tour.  They won 86 games last year (and that included 6 straight losses to end the season), and they should get more out of Chipper.  If this guy Jason Heyward is even half as good as people say he is, there offense should be improved.  And, let us never, ever forget what wins in major league baseball–pitching.  Barring injury, the Braves should be able to throw out a solid starter 162 times this year with Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrgens, Tim Hudson, Derrek Lowe, and Kenshin Kawakami.  In my opinion, the Braves should be the third-best team in the National League and, if things go right, they might even be better than St. Louis.  PS…I’m not happy about anything I wrote in this entire paragraph with the exception of the Braves not challenging the Phils in the East.

PACE: 93.  Unfortunately, Bry looks to be right on with this pick.  The Bravos are rolling and on pace to blow past the 87 number that Bry needs for this big point late in the competition.  (I really wish I was wrong here.)  There is still some room for them to fall off the table, so we’re not going to make it a complete lock for Bry, but it’s getting ever closer.

FINAL:  91.  POINT BRY, 16-7
Bry clinches the 2010 MLB Preview here in a bitter-sweet way, as it’s from the Braves winning 90 games.  This team is young and very, very good.  As good as the Phils are and will continue to be, this Bravos team is set up to be real scary for a while.

24. DOOGAN – Kansas City Royals – OVER 65 wins:  These guys won 75 two years ago with a lot of the same players, only a bunch of those guys are even closer to their primes now.  They obviously can’t expect anything more than they got from Zack Greinke, and Joakim Soria has quietly established himself as one of the best closers around.  Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, and Kyle Davies have the potential to be a serviceable unit behind Greinke and they signed Jason Kendall and Scott Podsednik so, um, no that means nothing.  They can hit 68 wins though!

PACE: 68.  “They can hit 68 wins,” says Doogan in closing of his paragraph on picking the Royals.  Well, this one is shaping up to be pretty impressive for Doogan, as KC is on pace for exactly 68 wins.  Unfortunately for Doogan, he did not predict more of a cushion for the number he needed, but hey, what else can you ask for from a selection in the mid-20’s?  We’ll give a much-needed point to Doogan, tenatively.

Doogan barely hits this pick here, as the Royals win an astonishing 67 games.  Is this team ever going to be good?  Honestly?

25. BRY – Pittsburgh Pirates – OVER 62 wins:  Well, it’s obviously getting tough here, but 63 wins is not a lot.  The Pirates are young and are actually moving in the right direction…sort of.  I like the fact that they’re focusing on player development.  Plus, the Big League club won’t be contending for any division titles, but they do have a semi-decent nucleus of talent (or at least guys we used to think were talented) like Bobby Crosby, Delwyn Young, and Lastings Milledge.  Andrew McCutcheon is about to be a star, and Ryan Doumit is the best catcher no one’s ever heard of.  And, they do have a rotation of four #4’s (Maholm, Duke, Ohlendorf, and Morton), so I guess that’s okay, and a bullpen of some big names (Donnelly, Dotel, Hanrahan).  So, 63 wins?  Hell, I’ll say they blow it away and get 65 or 66.

PACE: 57.  Bry, with a chance to clinch at least a tie for the midseason update, falls dreadfully short.  The Pirates are gawd-awful once again.  It’s really getting ridiculous in Pittsburgh.  The good news for Bry here is that it’s hard to keep up a pace this bad all year.  The bad news is that it’s really not that hard for the Pirates to do it.  Doogan will get the point, but not quite a lock.

This team has been unbelievably bad.  How can they stay so bad when they pick in the top 3 EVERY YEAR?  They have great fans, a great ballpark, and a great baseball history.  It’s sad to see where they are as a franchise here in 2010.  Doogan gets another point, as he is now just looking for respectability.

26. DOOGAN – San Francisco Giants – UNDER 88 wins:  I was going Pirates next.  The Giants were disappointing this off-season because they have so many of the pieces to contend and you would think they’re the type of franchise that would take advantage of that, but they really didn’t upgrade the offense in a signifcant way.  You obviously have to love Lincecum, Cain, and Sandoval, but it’s really tough to keep winning if you’re not scoring runs.

PACE: 92.  Doogan’s logic was sound with this pick because the Giants are having trouble scoring runs, but their pitching staff has been even better than anticipated.  Jonathan Sanchez has joined Lincecum and Cain as a consistently special starter, and Brian Wilson continues to shine at the end of the ‘pen.  However, 92 wins is a lot, even though they’re on pace for it.  The point will go to Bry, but it’s going to be close.  With this point, Bry clinches at least a tie in the midseason update (which means absolutely nothing).

FINAL:  92.  POINT BRY, 17-9
The Giants did hit just enough giving Bry the point here, as Doogan went under.  It’s still hard to believe that the Giants are the World Champs with guys like Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, and Aubrey Huff in the middle of their order, but they are.  As always, this game is won with pitching.  Period.

27. BRY – Colorado Rockies – UNDER 92 wins:  Let’s stay out West where, according to us, no one is going to win any games.  But, I’m going to take another West team to go UNDER.  It’s amazing how long I took to take this team because, well, I have absolutely NO IDEA how they’re any good.  But, because I don’t understand how they’re any good, and they keep winning, I guess I might be wrong.  I don’t care, I’m taking them anyway.  Troy Tulowitski is a nice player, but as a #3 guy?  I like Jimenez, but as an ace?  And, who else do they have?  Aaron Cook?  The always-injured Jeff Francis?  And, Huston Street is on the DL for at least a month.  On paper to my untrained eye, this isn’t even a .500 team.  But, I’m always so wrong about them, so they’ll probably win 105.

PACE: 84.  So, if everyone continues on the pace they are on as of August 1st, Bry will clinch the 2010 MLB Preview on pick #27.  The Rockies have been somewhat disappointing, considering they won 92 games last year and the Amazing Ubaldo wasn’t quite amazing yet.  It’s  been their defense that has let them down–and seemingly delivered this point to Bry.  This is so close to solid, but the memories of 2007 are still fresh in everyone’s mind, so we’ll leave this is very, very close to a lock.

FINAL:  83.  POINT BRY, 18-9
For the record books here, as Bry gets his 18th point.  I still don’t understand why this team is considered “good,” though I’m starting to believe a little more because Cargo and Ubaldo are studs.  It should be real interesting to see where this team goes from here.

28. DOOGAN – Detroit Tigers – UNDER 86 wins:  Not much reasoning here.  They lost Polanco, Granderson and Edwin Jackson, they added Damon and Max Scherzer.  So, um, that’s three established players gone and two arrived.  That math equals one less win.  Right?

PACE: 82.  Doogan’s reasoning was spot-on, seemingly, as the Tigers are not on pace to hit their number.  However, they are not entirely out of the race or hitting the OVER, so this point will remain tenative for Doogan.

FINAL:  81.  POINT DOOGAN, 10-18
A pretty nice pick here for Doogan at #28, as the Tigers were darkhorses to possibly win the AL Central.  Doogan, however, correctly saw them as pretenders, despite a monster year from Cabrera.

29. BRY – Oakland A’s – UNDER 75 wins:  I’ll leave you to decide where to go with the BoSox.  I just don’t think the A’s are all that talented.  It’s hard to say that they won’t win 75 games, but I kind of still like the AL West.  The Angels are always good and there are reasons to think that the Mariners and Rangers could be improved.  Despite some decent, young pitching, I still think the A’s are still the worst team in that division, and last place teams usually don’t reach 75 wins (even though they finished last in ’09 with 75 wins).  I guess that’s why this pick wasn’t taken until #29.

PACE: 82.  I wonder how many baseball fans would be as surprised as I was to discover that the A’s are actually above .500.  Yes, I follow baseball pretty closely and had absolutely no idea that the A’s–here on August 1st–have won more games than they’ve lost.  They have the same record as the Detroit Tigers.  That’s surprising to me.  Either way, they are on a decent pace to blow Bry’s UNDER pick away and give Doogan another point.  It’s not quite a lock, but it’s close.

FINAL:  81.  POINT DOOGAN, 11-18
Bry misses another, as Doogan continues to make it more respectable here.  While it is hard for me to see how the A’s are a .500 team, it all comes back to what I’ve been preaching this whole time – pitching, pitching, pitching.

30. DOOGAN – Boston Red Sox – UNDER 95 wins:  Well, here’s a stat for you.  Oakland’s win total the last three seasons: 76, 75, 75.  Boston’s win total the last three: 96, 95, 95.  So yeah, that would explain why these are the last two to go.  I think I like John Lackey a lot more than most people, so I love their starting pitching.  What can I say really, they’re a really good team, but it doesn’t take too many things to go wrong to fall under 95 wins.

PACE: 92.  And, to top it off, Doogan makes it very close (which is important considering just how many points are out there that could really go either way).  As impressive as it is that the Phillies are on pace for 87 with all their injuries, it’s even more impressive that the BoSox are on pace for 92 with some devastating injuries of their own.  That Terry Francona can flat-out manage.  But, injuries or no injuries, it looks like the Sox will be out of the playoffs and Doogan will be one point richer.  It’s not a lock, but it’s looking good for Doogan to finish the picks with a point.

FINAL:  89.  POINT DOOGAN, 12-18
Another nice late pick here for Doogan at #30, as the Sox failed to win 90 games, which means non-contention in the brutal AL East.  However, if you consider the incredible rash of injuries to this team, it’s absolutely amazing that they got to 89 in this division.  Francona is amazing.  Doogan, with 3 straight to end the preview gets a little more respectability.  Bry wins the 2010 BSB MLB Preview by the score of 18-12.  That is 3 in a row for Bry in MLB.

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4 Responses to 2010 MLB Season Preview: BSB-Style

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