Baseball Playoffs Now returns from the Tuscan sun with a long-awaited database and stats update. I caught up on baseball news upon returning home...
Poor National League - an All-Star loss plus sinking further in the interleague battle. No wonder my computer is virtually laughing at any NL team in the rankings.
Here's how I did on the July predictions (using rankings as of July 23, the date of my return, even though this post is only being written five days afterward):
- "Toronto overtakes Baltimore, but can't get any higher than 4th in the AL East." -- Perfect. The Jays are 1.5 games up on the Orioles, but stuck in 4th place 6 games behind the Yankees.
- "Kansas City, tied for last in the Central, earns it by losing at a faster rate than Cleveland." -- Almost, but not quite. Kansas City remains tied for last, but ranked 0.001 above the Indians in win-loss percentage.
- "Philadelphia and Washington anchor the top and bottom of the NL East, but when we return, the central three teams will rank #2 Atlanta, #3 Florida, #4 Mets." -- Ouch! I was way off on the NL East, which ended up seeing the Mets power to first, leading Philly, Florida, Atlanta, and Washington, respectively.
- "Pittsburgh falls behind Houston for last place in the NL Central." -- Only a game off, but Houston still earns last place, a dramatic fall from a month or so ago (2nd in the Central by far).
- "The NL West remains boring and noncompetitive. Arizona will still be in first place and will have a sub-.500 record." -- Spot on. The Diamondbacks' 50-51 record is good enough for first place in the West. No other division has more than 2 teams with fewer than 50 wins. The West has four.
- "Milwaukee leapfrogs St. Louis for the #2 position in the Central and consequently is in the wild card lead. Bratwurst around the nation quiver in fear as Brewer Nation assembles to tailgate. Troubled pitcher Eric Gagne returns to Miller Park -- but only as a Sausage Race runner. Randall Simon attends a game to give Gagne the cathartic thumpin' Milwaukee fans need." -- Tongue-in-cheek but pitch perfect. The Brewers start hitting crazy good after the All-Star break and add CC Sabathia to create a scary pitching corps (at least for the NL). Eric Gagne does indeed return to the team and wins 3 of 5 games. Brewers' late-summer-collapse watch begins in earnest.