Baseball picksOctober 2, 2007

2007 MLB Fall Classic

Before we get into our discussion of the upcoming MLB playoffs, it would be short-sided of us not to comment on the biggest choke job in baseball history – the 2007 New York Mets!

The Mets were up 7 games with just 17 to play, and coughed up not only the division, but the wildcard as well. It is easy to argue from many points what went wrong. We point to comments by manager Willie Randolph, after a sweep of the Braves, and taking the first two against Cincinnati. The Mets had won five in a row and Randolph said that he had told everyone to play hard, so he can then get them some rest. The series finale against the Reds was the game.

Randolph decided to rest everyone in the same game, as if he had clinched the pennant, rather than sit a guy here, and another there. Delgado,Reyes,Castro, and Alou all sat that day, breaking the momentum of a 5 game winning streak, when in reality the clinched nothing! We think the players bought into his easing up, that things were now in hand.

The result: CINN 7  NYM  0. The Mets attitude seemed to be changed, as they seemed to take the lead from their manager. The message was, “ok, we have a comfortable lead, time to relax, and get ready for the playoffs.” The only problem wasn’t the relaxing, it was there are for the Mets….No More Games! 

Now, on to the teams that DID make the playoffs…

The Red Sox fans may be bursting with joy that their hometown heroes have completed the 2007 season with the best record in baseball. Our congratulations are extended to their fans, and all of Red Sox Nation. In our 2007 MLB preview, we were correct in predicting them over-taking the Yankees for the first time in over a decade, as well as correctly predicting 4 of the 6 division winners, as well as 18 of the 30 teams in the exact order they finished.

So now that the Red Sox have the best record, does that mean the World Series comes with it? Not exactly. Last season we watched the team with the worst record entering the post-season, put the banner up when all was said and done.

We have watched many a wildcard team hang banners as the leaves were falling in late October. The fact is, the team with the best record in baseball has not won the fall classic since the 1998 Yankees – some 8 years ago. So maybe it isn’t the whole body of work we need to focus on here, but perhaps take a different perspective. Instead let’s take a look at how these teams fared after the All-Star break, and vs. each other, in hopes that it perhaps will lay the ground-work for a more accurate perspective.
 
THE AMERICAN LEAGUE:
 
FIRST HALF:
 
BOS – 53-34
LAA – 53-35
CLE – 52-36
NYY – 42-43
 
SECOND HALF:
 
NYY – 52-25
CLE – 44-30
BOS – 43-32
LAA – 41-33
 
SEPTEMBER:
 
NYY – 19-8
CLE – 19-9
BOS – 16-11
LAA – 14-14
 
 
ROUND ROBIN RECORDS (ALL GAMES VS. EACH OTHER)
 
NYY – 19-14
BOS – 18-14
LAA – 11-12
CLE – 6-14
 
Let’s take a look at the top three hitters, in terms of production for each team, as well as the top pitchers in the second half of the season:
 
BOSTON:
 
ORTIZ          352   21 65
LOWELL     350    7   57
RAMIREZ    317    9   43
BECKETT       8-5      3.10
WAKEFIELD  8-4     5.25
 
NY YANKEES:
 
RODRIGUEZ    312  24   70
ABREU             305  11   60
CANO              343  13   57
PETTITTE         11-3    3.84
WANG              10-3    4.07

CLEVELAND:

MARTINEZ       .273     9    46
HAFNER           .270    10   43
SIZEMORE       .273      9   32
CARMONA        9-4   2.26
BYRD                 8-4   4.78

LA ANGELS:

ANDERSON      305  13   65
GUERRERO       323  13   50
IZTURIS             304   5    35
LACKEY            8-4   3.14
ESCOBAR         8-4    3.67

PHILADELPHIA:

HOWARD          280   26   69
BURRELL          295   19   65
ROWAND         307   16   46
KENDRICK       7-4    3.69
MOYER             7-5    5.78

COLORADO:

HOLLIDAY        338   21   68
ATKINS             349   12   58
HAWPE             268   14   56
FRANCIS          9-4    4.64
FOGG                6-3    4.48

CUBS:

SORIANO       283    18   37
D LEE              302    16   40
RAMIREZ       308    11   50
ZAMBRANO    8-6    3.84
LILLY               7-4    4.01
ARIZONA:
JACKSON       308   10   38
YOUNG           242   19   37
REYNOLDS   283    11   39
WEBB           10-4   2.56
DAVIS          8-2     4.24

ROUND ROBIN RECORDS:

AZ         17-13
COL     16-16
CHC    10-10
PHL      8-12

Each team has strengths and weaknesses. Some are coming in hotter than others. But hot doesn’t always translate into the playoffs. Remember Detroit had the division locked up last year and needed to win one game at home as a -200 or higher favorite in all three vs. the Royals, and lost them all! Then they ended up beating the Yankees easily in their first series 3 games to 1.

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