Jump to content

MLB.com Looks at the NL EAST


Fish4Life
 Share

Recommended Posts

NL East is full of contenders

Mets and Phillies to give Braves fight to the finish

By Tom Singer / MLB.com

 

When the Atlanta Braves developed this addiction to division titles in 1991, their youngest player was Dave Justice, who has now been retired for four years and hits the big four-oh next month.

 

In the process, the Braves have overcome so many obstacles -- really, valid excuses for not winning -- you'd think they were being run by Penn & Teller, not Cox & Schuerholz.

 

But one thing they have not had to overcome is a double-barreled threat. In all those title-winning seasons, 14 straight now, never have they had to fight off two contenders, never have two teams finished within five games of them.

 

The Mets and Phillies now represent a potent one-two punch, against whom 38 games may finally wear down the Braves. If the Nationals shake off a zany spring quickly enough, the jeopardy only compounds.

 

Safe to say that if he can again bring the Braves home, Bobby Cox -- already the only one to ever earn back-to-back Manager of the Year honors -- will make it a three-peat.

 

As for the Florida Marlins ... oh, baby. You won't know many of the names in April, but the idea is for them to demand attention by midsummer. The infusion of young talent is exciting, even if batter's box and bullpen will be replaced in Fish Talk by sandbox and playpen.

 

SCENARIOS

 

The Braves win if ...

They remain the Braves: All their gutsy moves pan out, while elders like Chipper and Andruw Jones convince the next wave that titles are their birthright.

 

Possible pitfalls

John Smoltz runs out of bullets and bounce-back, and the symbol of a dynasty turns into a symbol that it's coming to an end.

 

The Mets win if ...

A buffed team gets merely average seasons out of everyone. Toss in a couple of career years, and it's over by Labor Day.

 

Possible pitfalls

If Pedro Martinez can't toe the rubber, the princely Mets turn into toads. The rotation could pull its own weight, but not without a lead horse.

 

The Phillies win if ...

Pat Gillick's hunch that Citizens Bank Park makes pitching a lower priority proves to be correct.

 

Possible pitfalls

Tom Gordon can't save himself from the wolves and the bullpen turns the end of games into an eyesore.

 

The Nationals win if ...

Everybody (Jose Vidro, Cristian Guzman, Jose Guillen, Tony Armas Jr.) has an outbreak of health. At its whole, this is a potent team.

 

Possible pitfalls

If nobody can catch the ball. The Nats relied on a tight defense to overcome some shortcomings and keep them in the chase last season, but the early line on the infield is, "Duck!"

 

The Marlins win if ...

They catch lightning in a bottle, have enough mirrors, wear garlic garlands against the division's monsters.

 

Possible pitfalls

Upset over a shortage of milk and cookies in the clubhouse, they hold their breath until they start turning blue, and manager Joe Girardi sends 'em all to their rooms early.

 

IMPACT PLAYERS

 

Top pitcher

Tim Hudson now knows the league, and the league will get to know him for what he is -- filthy and nearly impossible to beat.

 

MVP

Carlos Delgado will do his habitual 30-100 work and has the perfect platform for breakthrough recognition if he brings the Mets home.

 

NEW FACES

 

Billy Wagner, Mets -- He'll save games, and if he senses a soft clubhouse attitude he'll save the Mets from themselves.

 

Alfonso Soriano, Nationals -- Washington's offense counts on getting a left ... er, lift, from him.

 

Aaron Rowand, Phillies -- Perfect addition to chase down drives and set up the offense.

 

Carlos Delgado, Mets -- Consistent production that will make you stand up and cheer.

 

Paul Lo Duca, Mets -- The first time he replaced Mike Piazza (with the Dodgers) turned out all right.

 

Edgar Renteria, Braves -- His AL adventure wasn't excellent, but he can make people forget about Furcal.

 

ROOKIES TO WATCH

 

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- Last June, drafted (out of the University of Virginia); this June, possible All-Star candidate, though a Gold Glove will have to wait.

 

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- Will future Boston generations talk of the Hex of Hanley? He's that good.

 

Josh Johnson, Marlins -- Control issues are the only thing that can detain him from making his mark with Team Opportunity.

 

Anderson Hernandez, Mets -- He may be hard to ignore -- as hard as the Mets try -- as long as Kaz Matsui is still on the payroll.

 

Joey Devine, Braves -- The kid who last September became the first to ever surrender grand slams in each of his first two MLB games will show how tough and talented he is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


As for the Florida Marlins ... oh, baby. You won't know many of the names in April, but the idea is for them to demand attention by midsummer. The infusion of young talent is exciting, even if batter's box and bullpen will be replaced in Fish Talk by sandbox and playpen.

 

The Marlins win if ...

They catch lightning in a bottle, have enough mirrors, wear garlic garlands against the division's monsters.

 

Possible pitfalls

Upset over a shortage of milk and cookies in the clubhouse, they hold their breath until they start turning blue, and manager Joe Girardi sends 'em all to their rooms early.

 

Nice to see MLB.com fulfilling their duties for insightful analysis and bitingly funny off the cuff humor. Bravo, Tom Singer!

 

On another note, ranking Tim Hudson over Pedro as the top pitcher in the division is hella stupid unless Pedro's got some unforseen health problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest markotsay7

In the Rookies to Watch section they may as well have listed our entire roster. :cool

 

But how on earth are Shadez and JJ there and NOT Hermida, Olsen, Willingham, Jacobs...???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Marlins win if ...

They catch lightning in a bottle, have enough mirrors, wear garlic garlands against the division's monsters.

 

Possible pitfalls

Upset over a shortage of milk and cookies in the clubhouse, they hold their breath until they start turning blue, and manager Joe Girardi sends 'em all to their rooms early.

 

Nice to see MLB.com fulfilling their duties for insightful analysis and bitingly funny off the cuff humor. Bravo, Tom Singer!

 

 

 

I thought it was light hearted good humour ... and was overall very cool and positive about the marlins

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Marlins win if ...

They catch lightning in a bottle, have enough mirrors, wear garlic garlands against the division's monsters.

 

Possible pitfalls

Upset over a shortage of milk and cookies in the clubhouse, they hold their breath until they start turning blue, and manager Joe Girardi sends 'em all to their rooms early.

imo that sounded like a 15 year old wrote that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On another note, ranking Tim Hudson over Pedro as the top pitcher in the division is hella stupid unless Pedro's got some unforseen health problems.

 

 

Yet to throw a spring inning will probably do that.

Meh, I think he'll be fine. Besides, it's not like Hudson had a super season last year anyway. Sure, he was good, but I don't know about ranking him as the best SP in division. His career trends aren't exactly upward at this point. Granted, neither are Pedro's but Pedro started out at a higher level. There's always D-Train, too, and one could easily make a case for Brett Myers over Hudson.

 

 

The Marlins win if ...

They catch lightning in a bottle, have enough mirrors, wear garlic garlands against the division's monsters.

 

Possible pitfalls

Upset over a shortage of milk and cookies in the clubhouse, they hold their breath until they start turning blue, and manager Joe Girardi sends 'em all to their rooms early.

 

Nice to see MLB.com fulfilling their duties for insightful analysis and bitingly funny off the cuff humor. Bravo, Tom Singer!

 

I thought it was light hearted good humour ... and was overall very cool and positive about the marlins

I thought it was the same lame OMGARETHEYYOUNG!!!1121 humor, but to each his own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

imo that sounded like a 15 year old wrote that.

 

 

isnt that what the marlins are ... seems spot on :mischief

 

 

Meh, I think he'll be fine. Besides, it's not like Hudson had a super season last year anyway. Sure, he was good, but I don't know about ranking him as the best SP in division. His career trends aren't exactly upward at this point.

 

 

 

isnt he the pitcher with the highest winning percentage since he arrived in the league ... yeah I guess you are right his career trends arent exactly upward, they are SKYward

Link to comment
Share on other sites

imo that sounded like a 15 year old wrote that.

 

 

isnt that what the marlins are ... seems spot on :mischief

 

 

Meh, I think he'll be fine. Besides, it's not like Hudson had a super season last year anyway. Sure, he was good, but I don't know about ranking him as the best SP in division. His career trends aren't exactly upward at this point.

 

 

 

isnt he the pitcher with the highest winning percentage since he arrived in the league ... yeah I guess you are right his career trends arent exactly upward, they are SKYward

 

Ha, winning percentage for a pitcher. Fantastic stat to look at when judging a pitcher! :rolleyes:

 

By trends I don't mean his stats now - more where his career is heading. His ERA (both straight and adjusted), strikeouts, K/BB, K/9, and IP were worse in 2004 than in 2003 and worse in 2005 than in 2004. Meaning his career is on a downward trend, and he's less likely to be a better pitcher this year than last year, when he wasn't the best pitcher in the division. Throw in the lack of Leo Mazzone, and I have my doubts about him this upcoming season.

 

Like I said before, Pedro isn't likely to be better either, but he started at a higher level (last year) than Hudson, so he'd have to experience a dramatic dropoff to fall to Hudson's level. Sure, it's possible that this is the year his body falls apart, but I don't know that it happens. Also, when looking at other young pitchers in the division who could/should improve this year (such as D-Train and Brett Myers, who were both better than Hudson last year anyway), I can't see why Mr. Singer is calling Hudson the best pitcher in the N.L. East. But he's entitled to his opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



×
×
  • Create New...