Saturday, March 30, 2013
2013 Major League Baseball Preview
The Giants rode the hot streak in much the same way as in 2010 when they knocked out the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals in the National League before blasting the Detroit Tigers for the championship ring.
It is never easy to repeat (especially in baseball) and the Giants will face a stiff challenge from both the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves of the National League Eastern division as well as perennial contender St. Louis as they seek to defend their crown.
In the American League, the Tigers have to be considered front runners once again to reach the Fall Classic.
Along with the Tigers, there are the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A's from the American League Western division. The Tigers will have to fend off the Chicago White Sox and the ever improving Kansas City Royals in the Central division this year.
The American League East, considered by many to be the best division in Major League Baseball, has the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles, who shocked the baseball world last year by making the post-season for the first time in 15 years and pushed the Yankees to the brink before falling in the Division Series.
A new wrinkle this season will be interleague play throughout the entire season as the Houston Astros move over to the American League West from the National League Central. That means each league now has 15 teams in them and thus the need for the interleague schedule all season long.
It should be an exciting season once again as the Giants try to show they were no fluke in 2012 and the Orioles and A's try to move further in this year's playoffs, provided they make it there again.
The Washington Nationals really appear loaded for a big run at the World Series after choking away a big lead last year in the Division Series to the Cardinals.
As the season plays along, expect some surprises and disappointments from your favorite ball teams and individual players as the teams go for the crown.
In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the coming summer season and all the action around the ball parks. It all starts tomorrow night in Houston with the Texas Rangers welcoming the Astros to the American League.
Here's a capsule style preview of the division races for the 2013 season, along with post-season picks as well.
1. Baltimore Orioles - This team had a lot go their way last year, but they appear hungry and ready for another challenge in 2013.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (WILD CARD) - They lost some pitching and the lineup might suffer with B.J. Upton leaving, but manager Joe Maddon is one of the best in the business. They will contend again this year.
3. Toronto Blue Jays - This team appears to be taking the blue print of the Yankees and Red Sox with the trades and free agent signings of big name players, which does not always provide positive results.
4. New York Yankees - This could be the year that age and injuries finally catch up with the the Bronx Bombers.
5. Boston Red Sox - Look for the Bosox to try to rebound from last season's disaster. Not going to happen in Beantown this time around.
1. Detroit Tigers - They have a solid lineup and Justin Verlander leading the pitching staff. Bullpen could be a thorn in their side.
2. Kansas City Royals - Look for the Royals to finish ABOVE .500 and possibly contend for a wild card spot.
3. Chicago White Sox - The Sox faded last year and have some issues with their pitching staff still recovering from some injuries this spring. Stay tuned.
4. Cleveland Indians - Can new manager Terry Francona rekindle the magic of the Tribe?
5. Minnesota Twins - The Twins are in transition and appear to be a few years away from contending.
1. Los Angeles Angels - Josh Hamilton joins Albert Pujols and Mike Trout to provide more punch to the lineup. Look out!
2. Texas Rangers (WILD CARD) - The team lost some power from their lineup, but the pitching is solid and they should be right there at season's end.
3. Oakland A's - The over achievers of 2012. Can they do it again?
4. Seattle Mariners - It's a new beginning in Seattle as the Mariners look to restore their presence in the AL West. Just not this year.
5. Houston Astros - Can the Astros make the transition in the American League and avoid 100 losses for the third consecutive year?
1. Washington Nationals - This team appears to be loaded and ready to win it all this season. No excuses.
2. Atlanta Braves (WILD CARD) - The Braves will once again push the Nationals in this division race.
3. Philadelphia Phillies - Age and injuries appear to have caught this former NL powerhouse. The playoffs are not out of the question, but everything will have to go just right for that to happen.
4. New York Mets - Johan Santana gone for the season and that's not good.
5. Miami Marlins - If the Toronto Blue Jays win it all this year, then the Marlins deserve a lot of the credit. This could be a long summer in south Florida.
1. Cincinnati Reds - They have to shake off blowing a 2-0 series lead in the NLDS and get back to business in 2013. The Reds are solid and should contend once again.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (WILD CARD) - The Red Birds pulled off a miracle finish against Washington in the NLDS and appear to be ready for another run this season.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Bucs WILL FINISH above .500 this year.
4. Milwaukee Brewers - This team is a mystery coming into 2013. They have potential IF the pitching, especially the bullpen, comes through.
5. Chicago Cubs - Go Cubs Go! Just not this season as they appear to be over matched in this division.
1. San Francisco Giants - Their top pitcher (Tim Lincecum) wasn't in top form last year and they STILL won the World Series. They have a chance to repeat.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - The National League version of the Toronto Blue Jays.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks - The D-Backs could contend. The pitching will be the key for them in 2013.
4. San Diego Padres - A good core of young players. Don't be surprised it the Padres pull off what the Orioles and A's did last season.
5. Colorado Rockies - They have some rebuilding to do. Give 'em a couple of years.
Texas Rangers over Tampa Bay Rays in Wild Card Playoff Game.
Los Angeles Angels over Baltimore Orioles
Detroit Tigers over Texas Rangers
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Los Angeles Angels over Detroit Tigers
Atlanta Braves over St. Louis Cardinals in Wild Card Playoff Game.
Washington Nationals over Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants over Cincinnati Reds
NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Washington Nationals over San Francisco Giants
Washington Nationals over Los Angeles Angels