"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 4-11-09
Yes, folks, the 2009 season is underway; there's further talk of steroids, a bad economy, and ticket prices resembling monthly rent payments--yes, those made in the HIGH RENT district. Here's how they'll finish this season:
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
AL EAST- Flip a coin between New York and Boston; it'll all come down to who stays more healthy--but I think Teixeira's impact will be huge. Sox' staff deeper, but Yanks will have a sense of desperation with their older core players--and make the most of it. Rays' young staff to blow out come September. Halladay in Toronto doesn't get enough help from his fellow starters. Orioles have a totally new pitching staff--but it won't matter; yes, poor Brian Roberts.
AL CENTRAL- I like the Twins starting pitching better than Cleveland's--and Joe Nathan is still Joe Nathan; however, Mauer must return to full strength. I'm not crazy about Chicago's bullpen--and there are health concerns. Royals low on-base percentage will hurt them--but they could surprise somewhat. Tigers' young, talented arms of '06 now a distant memory; if they were to win this division, then yours truly could be dating Charlize Theron come October.
AL WEST- Angels just too talented in an otherwise weak division, but will they get enough production out of the 1B and DH spots? Giambi will test cleanly and Oakland will score more runs--but their pitching is suspect. As usual, Rangers' pitching is "iffy,"--to say the least. Mariners start the season without Ichiro, and their "big" offseason acquisitions were an over-the-hill Griffey, Jr. and Russell Branyon--telling you all you really need to know.
St. Louis Cardinals
NL EAST- Mets' acquisitions of Putz and K-Rod put them over the top--but WHICH Oliver Perez will show up every five days? Phillies will score, but starting pitchers like "Father Time" Moyer will disappoint. Braves lack power--and will have trouble closing games. Marlins may make more errors than the Bush administration did; Nationals located in D.C.--where NOTHING good happens these days.
NL CENTRAL- Cubs starting pitching still excellent--and Milton Bradley helps the offense. Brewers will simply try to outscore opponents--but this isn't bowling. Cards will have trouble closing games--and they have no bench. Houston has too many #5 starters; I simply don't like the Reds outfield. Pirates' only hope is that SOME people show up in person to see them finish last once again.
NL WEST- Infielder Hudson helps Dodgers a lot, but will Manny quit come September? Haren and Webb may win 40 for Arizona--but they'll fall short. Giants' lack of power puts too much pressure on a decent staff. Rockies can't outscore people like they used to and will miss Holliday too much. If you can name the Padres lineup, you have WAY too much time on your hands.
*Postseason: I'll say the Yankees' off-season money machine propels them to yet another World Series appearance--despite A-ROID appearing on the cover of the New York Post at least a half-dozen times this summer. Cubs make up for the embarrassment of last postseason (and the past 100 years!) and win the World Series in early, bone-chilling November.
Enjoy the season, everyone!