Thursday, December 3, 2009

NFL Week 13 Picks

Thursday 8 p.m.

Jets (-3) @ Bills
- The ratings might be high in New York and New Jersey, but the game is being played in Canada. And nobody else will be watching.

Sunday 1 p.m.

Eagles (-6) @ Falcons
- No Michael Turner, no Matty do the math.

Rams @ Bears (-9)
- Anybody else get the feeling the Rams might accidentally cover?

Lions @ Bengals (-13)
- Is this what happens when the Bengals are healthy (and out of jail)?

Titans (+7) @ Colts
- Cover, not win. Don't be silly.

Broncos (-5) @ Chiefs
- The Chiefs are a respectable 2-2 since dumping Larry Johnson. Let's make it 2-3 so people don't start thinking that's a relevant fact.

Patriots (-4) @ Dolphins
- Ronnie Brown is out for the year, remember?

Raiders @ Steeelers (-15)
- The oddsmakers want you to think the Raiders will cover because Pittsburgh is playing so poorly. Don't fall for it. December game at Heinz Field featuring a California team on the east coast. Not gonna be pretty for Oakland.

Saints (-10) @ Redskins
- New Orleans may take a break this week, but 10 points is still chump change.

Buccaneers @ Panthers (-6)
- Carolina was a tough place to play last year. I almost took Tampa here, but I just don't have it in me.

Texans (+1) @ Jaguars
- Have you figured either of these teams out yet? I haven't.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Chargers (-13) @ Browns
- I'm taking too many favorites again.

Cowboys @ Giants (-2)
- Is Dallas cursed in December? You bet your butt if Tony Romo and company can't beat the Giants.

49ers (+1) @ Seahawks
- How about three touchdowns for Michael Crabtree on Sunday?

Sunday 8 p.m.

Vikings (-4)
@ Cardinals
- Brett Favre is actually going to win the MVP this season.

Monday Night Football

Ravens @ Packers (-3)
- Lambeau in Decembrrrrrrrrrrrr. Get it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Week 12 Picks: Turkey Day Bloggin'!

It's about time I get back into the swing of having games on Thursday. Green Bay and Detroit are going to kick off in about five minutes, so I'll actually have my picks in on time this week!

Thanksgiving Day FOOTBALL!

Green Bay (-12) @ Lions
- I'm thankful for Greg Jennings. Not because he's been great for me this year, because he hasn't - only because he's not dropping 20+ points against me like he did twice last year.

Raiders (+14) @ Cowboys
- I'm thankful for Miles Austin. He's stepped up wonderfully for my fantasy team in Greg Jennings' down weeks.

Giants (-7) @ Broncos
- I'm thankful for not having a TV so I don't have to watch two teams in downward spirals playing each other. I guess it's good for one team...SOMEONE has to win this game. Unless it ends in a tie.

Two Days After Thanksgiving Day FOOTBALL!

1 p.m.

Buccaneers (+13) @ Falcons
- I'm thankful for Michael Turner. He stayed healthy longer than any of my previous first round picks before inevitably getting hurt.

Dolphins (-5) @ Bills
- I'm thankful for Terrell Owens. Though he's been quiet this year and seems to be fading away, I'm hoping for some awesome news conferences in the near future.

Browns (+14) @ Bengals
- I'm thankful for Chad Ochocinco. I wish I had the grapefruits to change my last name to "Ochocinco." What an awesome guy.

Seahawks (-3) @ Rams
- I'm thankful for Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk. Without them, the Rams would be lost.

Panthers @ Jets (-3)
- I'm thankful for Mark Sanchez. Brett Favre led Jets fans on for too long last year, actually believing they'd be successful. I bet the Jets are glad they moved on and let that washed up old man go to Minnesota.

Redskins @ Eagles (-10)
- I'm thankful for Mike Vick. He's not getting many opportunities, but at least he's back in the league getting a paycheck. I'm also thankful for the Redskins. The team representing the nation's capital has the most racist name in all of sports and the Constitution protects its right to have such a name. Karma is a bitch.

Colts (-4) @ Texans
- I'm thankful for Peyton Manning. Fantasy purposes. I have a bad feeling about the Colts losing this one and the Saints being the last undefeated team left...for one day, at least.

4 p.m.

Chiefs @ Chargers (-14)
- I'm thankful for Sunday 4 p.m. games. I always get them wrong.

Jaguars @ 49ers (-4)
- See above.

Cardinals @ Titans (-3)
- Yep.

Bears (+11) @ Vikings
- I'm thankful for Mike Ditka. Ditka. Ditka. Bears.

8 p.m.

Steelers @ Ravens (PICK)
- Steelers are playing terribly. Ravens are playing well, all things considered. Either way I pick, I'm wrong, so let's get Rashard Mendenhall some serious fantasy points.


Patriots (+3) @ Saints
- I'm thankful for the NFL. For all the Rams, Raiders, Chiefs, Buccaneers, etc... games, it's all compensated for when you get games like these.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week 11: Missed Thursday...Again.

Not that it's a huge deal, I definitely would have taken the Panthers over Miami with Ronnie Brown on the shelf for the rest of the season. There's no need to revisit last week's results because I seem to hover around .500 or worse every single week. The oddsmakers win again this year.

Sunday 1 p.m.

Redskins (+11)
@ Cowboys
- That's a rather large 11 the way Dallas has been playing.

Browns @ Lions (-4)
- Blackout.

49ers @ Packers (-7)
- This, the week I finally pick against the Niners, will be the week they finally cover.

Steelers (-10) @ Chiefs
- Pittsburgh has a knack for not covering, especially against bad teams. Maybe that's not the case this week.

Seahawks @ Vikings (-11)
- A.P. is due for a huge day, isn't he?

Falcons (+7) @ Giants
- Are there any good teams playing worse than these two?

Saints (-11) @ Buccaneers
- Reggie Bush is out. I don't honestly see that affecting the outcome.

Bills (+9) @ Jaguars
- This is like me picking Washington. Why not?

Colts (+2) @ Ravens
- Look, I know Indy isn't playing its best football these days, but 9-0 deserves a little respect, doesn't it?

Sunday 4 p.m.

Cardinals (-9) @ Rams
- I've had good results on the 4 p.m. games once, maybe twice this season.

Chargers (+4) @ Broncos
- San Diego smoked Philly last week, no reason to lose to Denver this week!

Bengals @ Raiders (+10)
- Is JaMarcus Russell still Oakland's QB? What happened to this poor, lost franchise? Oh yeah, Al Davis.

Jets (+11) @ Patriots
- I can't wait for the Patriots' first 4th down situation. The fans will give a very loud, sarcastic cheer when Bill Belichick opts for the punt.

Sunday 8 p.m.

Eagles (-3) @ Bears
- Interesting fact I learned today: Jay Cutler has the top selling jersey in the NFL this season. Why? I have no idea. Brett Favre is still in the league!


Titans (+5) @ Texans
- Can't be worse than Baltimore/Cleveland, can it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 10 Picks: There's a Thursday Night Game!

Ah! The San Fran/Bears game is still 0-0 so I can get away with it. Kinda. I did terrible last week, but I'm still giving myself the excuse of no internet and no TV. Can't follow anything.

Thursday (Now)

Bears (+4) @ 49ers
- Niners could actually win one for once, but I see it being by no more than a field goal.

Sunday 1 p.m.

Bills @ Titans (-7)
- Are they back?

Saints (-14) @ Rams
- Uh oh. This could be ugly.

Buccaneers @ Dolphins (-10)
- I should know better because the Dolphins only seem to play well against good teams.

Lions @ Vikings (-17)
- As tempting as it is to take the Lions to cover 17 points, the thought of the Vikings' defense simply won't allow me to.

Jaguars (+7) @ Jets
- Two of my least favorite teams to pick.

Bengals (+7) @ Steelers
- The Bengals are torturing me this year, so I'm giving in and picking them.

Broncos (-4) @ Redskins
- Denver should cover four points...

Falcons (-2) @ Panthers
- Falcons will win by one. Just watch.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Chiefs @ Raiders (-2)
- Who's watching this game with me?

Cowboys @ Packers (+3)
- Seems like a no-brainer. What am I missing here?

Seahawks @ Cardinals (-9)
- I'll get it wrong either way just like I do with these two teams every week, so I might as well make the logical wrong pick.

Eagles (+3) @ Chargers
- Pretty sure Philly is gonna blow SD out of the water.

Sunday 8 p.m.

Patriots (+3) @ Colts
- I'll be happy to get this one wrong. This is always the best game to watch every year.

Monday Night Football

Ravens @ Browns (+11)
- What are the Browns doing on MNF? I don't know, but I'm picking them.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Week 9 Picks: Still No Internet!

I don't drink coffee, so going to the internet cafe everyday is getting pretty old. Though the hot chocolate is pretty good. I'll hopefully be up and running by Friday.

I continued my mediocre picking last week with a 7-6 mark, 60-56 overall. Yuck.

How about a perfect week this time around?

(lines c/o

Sunday 1 p.m.

Redskins @ Falcons (-10)
- Shame on me for being so blunt, but...duh.

Cardinals @ Bears (-3)
- Can you figure either of these teams out? I sure can't. When in doubt, take the home team.

Ravens (-3) @ Bengals
- Remember in Week 5 when Cincinnati visited Baltimore and won? Can a blogga get some payback?

Texans (+9) @ Colts
- Going against what I would normally do worked well last week in the Carolina-Arizona game, so picking the Texans to cover (not win) will be this week's version of that. And if I'm wrong, that probably just means my fantasy team is living large.

Dolphins (+11) @ Patriots
- Am I missing something here? The Dolphins can control the clock and run all over the Pats. Even if New England scores quick and maintains a lead, I can't see them being able to outscore Miami by 11.

Packers (-10) @ Buccaneers
- The only games Tampa lost by less than 10 were against the 'Skins and the Panthers.

Chiefs @ Jaguars (-7)
- The Jags have been terribly terrible the past three weeks. The Chiefs have been terribly, TERRIBLY terrible the past three years.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Lions (+10) @ Seahawks
- I'm going for it. The Lions lost to the freaking Rams last week. Everything about this game screams "DETROIT!"

Panthers @ Saints (-14)
- Having John Carney as my fantasy kicker is really getting old. Nobody can ever hold the Saints to just a field goal. You know it's bad when I'm rooting for a team to drive to the 20-yard line, get stopped, settle for a field goal, and still cover a two-touchdown spread.

Chargers @ Giants (-5)
-Vincent Jackson touchdowns make me happy. That has very little to do with me picking the Giants.

Titans @ 49ers (-5)
- Can Tennessee ride the wave coming off its first win? No.

Sunday 8 p.m.

Cowboys @ Eagles (-3)
- Now this is a great way to come back after Sunday Night Football got a BYE week due to things we don't speak of. I got away with playing Philly's defense/special teams against the Giants last week. Not sure if I can get away with it this week. I'm really setting myself up for heartbreak by benching Miles Austin, too. That can be potentially devastating. But what am I supposed to do with Greg Jennings, Wes Welker, and Vincent Jackson??? I wish one of those guys was a running back because all of mine suck.

Monday Night Football

Steelers (-3) @ Broncos
- The Broncos realized they aren't who they thought they were. I hope. Let's keep up the losing, boys!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Week 8: Live From Chicago!

Due to my inability to deal with the thought of being near a Yankees/Phillies World Series, I've uprooted from New York and am currently residing in the Windy City in hopes of removing the Mets' curse and bringing them a championship in 2010.

But before that happens, I need to get my Week 8 picks in.

I'm blogging from a coffee shop (I don't drink coffee but they have free WiFi) because I don't have a home, and thus, no internet, so I must be brief.

Just counted up quick and it looks like I went 6-6-1 last week, the first push of the season. I'm lucky it wasn't a loss - the 49ers looked terrible (because I predicted them to look great!). I'm sure there was plenty of irony and humility which I can't cover all of right now, but let me take a moment to talk about fantasy purposes.

Vincent Jackson, the Eagles' defense, and Peyton Manning saved me big time last week as I pulled off the upset. I had Miles Austin (29 points) on the bench. Where is Greg Jennings???

(lines c/o

Sunday 1 p.m.

Dolphins @ Jets (-4)
- Miami almost beat New Orleans, not to mention embarrassing the Jets last time they met. No way they lose this game. Wink.

Giants (+1) @ Eagles
- The Giants have become freakishly human lately.

Broncos @ Ravens (-3)
- I've basically given up on Baltimore, and I've accepted that Kyle Orton is God's gift to the NFL.

Texans (-4) @ Bills
- Go Bills.

Browns @ Bears (-14)
- Seems like a good game for the Browns to cover.

Seahawks @ Cowboys (-10)
- Is it just me or are all of my post-pick blurbs contradictory to my picks?

Rams @ Lions (-4)
- Worst game ever? It's close to it, but every time the Rams play a bad team, it could be the worst game ever. Like when they lost 9-7 to the Redskins in Week 2.

49ers @ Colts (-13)
- I'm terrified that Peyton Manning will have a bad game soon. Until that happens, I'll ride the wave.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Jaguars (+3) @ Titans
- I'm terrfied that the Titans will win a game soon now that I've stopped picking them. Until that happens, I'll ride the wave.

Raiders (+17) @ Chargers
- Did nobody watch these teams play in Week 1? Oakland seems to show up to play every other week. Last week wasn't a good week.

Panthers (+11) @ Cardinals
- It's not my style to pick the Panthers in a game like this. Let's see how it works out, Cotton.

Vikings (+3) @ Packers
- Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre.

Sunday 8 p.m.


Monday Night Favreball

Falcons @ Saints (-11)
- Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yanks/Phils - I mean...damn.

There is nothing less exciting for a Mets fan than the Yankees and Phillies playing in the World Series.

I didn't think the season could get worse, but I was wrong.

The Yankees should be the Phillies in five games, and I'd prefer the Yankees win anyway.

Here's why.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 7 Picks: Ignoring MLB for as Long as I Can

The Phillies are in. The Yankees are up 3-1. I've already written up the column I promised about which team I'll be rooting for. It's just waiting for the deed to be done so I can post it.

I'm not proud.

Week 6 Irony
- I picked the Broncos in hopes of them losing. I got the pick right. Damnit! They're still undefeated! HOW?!!

Week 6 Humility
- I went 8-6 last week, which was much better than my 4-10 implosion the week prior. One of my finer picks was the Titans, who only needed to lose by less than 10 points against the Patriots, in the cold and snow. They lost 59-0. And the Pats only played for two and a half quarters. Nice.

Week 6 Fantasy Purposes
- As I sat at Buffalo Wild Wings watching the 4 p.m. games, I watched Donovan McNabb throw up a huge brick against the Raiders. Luckily I was also watching Wes Welker having tons of fun in the snow. Peyton is back this week, and I need him to come up huuuuuuge because I'm playing against Tom Brady.

(lines c/o

Sunday 1 p.m.

49ers (+3) @ Texans
- Frank Gore is back, Michael Crabtree is going to be in the lineup. Should be a good day for San Fran. The Texans are playing well but stink at home. Confidence level: not high. Just checked my fantasy pick'em, completed Tuesday. I picked the Texans.

Packers (-7) @ Browns
- Green Bay has done its job against the bad teams this year, but the Browns have beaten the spread three straight weeks. Greg Jennings is DUE!

Chargers (-6) @ Chiefs
- KC has been playing teams tough the past few weeks, including beating the spread two straight times. Scared? I might be.

Colts (-14) @ Rams
- Why did Peyton Manning stop doing commercials?

Vikings (+5) @ Steelers
- This is probably the week that Pittsburgh turns things around. The Steelers hate me. I've gotten their game wrong EVERY SINGLE WEEK. They fail to cover every time I pick them, and the only time I didn't pick them, they beat San Diego handily.

Patriots (-16) @ Buccaneers
- Will not playing in the snow affect Tom Brady? I'm not sure. Would I still take the Pats if the spread were up around 40? Yes.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Jets @ Raiders (+7)
- Here's the thing with the Raiders. They look great one week, then completely die the next. The way the Jets looked last week compared to Oakland, there's no way New York should be favored in this game. But I'm falling for the trick and taking Oakland. I've only gotten the pick right in the Jets' games once this season, and that was easy because they were playing New Orleans.

Bills @ Panthers (-7)
- My train of thought here: Both teams are pretty bad this year. Pick Carolina to cover in hopes that I jinx them because I'm playing against DeAngelo Williams in fantasy this week. A low scoring game or a Panthers loss would hopefully mean he doesn't drop 29 points on me like he did on poor Sanger last week. That wasn't Sanger's only problem, since he was facing Thomas Jones and Tom Brady, too. I think I'm in big trouble this week.

Bears (+1) @ Bengals
- The Bengals peaked. Chicago is about to find its stride.

Falcons (+4) @ Cowboys
- Making my picks right now, I feel confident that it's going to be a good week. I'm setting myself up for a major heartbreak.

Saints (-7) @ Dolphins
- I have a terrible feeling that the Dolphins are going to show up to play and New Orleans will have a hangover from the beatdown of the Giants.

Sunday 8(ish) p.m.

Cardinals @ Giants (-7)
- Could be a good game. I'm hoping it is for about three quarters. Then New York wins by 8. Or 9. Or 10. Just more than 7, please.

Monday Night Futbol Americano

Eagles (-7) @ Redskins
- I'll point back to Week 5 when I mentioned twice that the Redskins will get hot as soon as bettors lose faith in them. Jim Zorn's job in turmoil. New guy calling plays. QBs are frustrated and confused. This has all the makings for an upset. NOBODY has the Redskins in this game. Not even me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 6 Picks, MLB League Championship "Previews"

Due to excessive irony, humility, and a brutal fantasy week, I'll be skipping my favorite segment this time around. I went 4-10 against the spread, 7-7 in straight picks, when I guaranteed at least 12 correct. Absolutely disgusting. I said I'd quit if the Broncos beat the Pats, and even though I'm not quitting, my heart is absolutely not in it this week. Disgusting.

Time for a quick ALCS and NLCS preview: As I do every year, I went 2-2 in my Division Series picks.

Dodgers/Phillies - There is nothing worse than the thought of a Phillies repeat...even the Yankees winning. That's right. We all have to deal with Yankees fans, regardless of outcome. They'll never shut up. At least if the Phillies are humbled, they'll go back into hibernation for awhile. The Dodgers have the edge in the bullpen, so I'll ride that to the promised land.

Dodgers in seven.

Yankees/Angels - No, I won't be surprised when picking both L.A. teams to advance turns out to be wrong. Don't care. Down with Jeter!

Angels in four.

To the NFL!

(lines c/o

Sunday 1 p.m.

Texans (+5) @ Bengals
- Not jumping on the Bengals bandwagon. Not after what Carson Palmer did to my fantasy team last year. Nope. And not even if I'm 1-4 on the Texans' games...because I'm 1-4 on the Bengals' games, too. So I'll get this one wrong regardless.

Lions @ Packers (-14)
- Packers are coming off a bye and the Lions may not have their top QB or wide receiver. 4-1 on the Lions' games (tough, I know) and 1-3 on the Packers'.

Ravens (+3) @ Vikings
- Ever since I pronounced the Ravens as one of the best teams in the league, they're 0-2. I'm not ready to give up on them yet. 3-2 on each team's games.

Giants (+3) @ Saints
- This will be a good football game. We'll find out more about the Saints' offense and defense than we will about the Giants. I'm 4-0 with the Saints, 4-1 with the Giants.

Browns @ Steelers (-15)
- Steelers couldn't cover against the Lions. Should I be concerned about the weather? Perhaps. But the Browns only managed two field goals against the Bills. Lucky for them, the Bills only managed one field goal. 1-4 with Pittsburgh, 3-2 with Cleveland.

Panthers (-3) @ Buccaneers
- This would be embarrassing to get wrong. <---I think I'm about 0-5 after saying that, so go put your money on Tampa. QUICK! 4-1 on Tampa, 3-1 on Carolina.

Chiefs (+7) @ Redskins
- This might be about where the Redskins begin to turn things around. The media, and thus the entire world, has given up on Washington. 4-1 on Chiefs, 2-3 on Washington.

Rams @ Jaguars (-10)
- The Jaguars seriously lost 41-0 last week. Against the Seahawks. At least they're at home this week...and playing the Rams. 4-1 Rams, 2-3 Jags.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Cardinals (+3) @ Seahawks
- If the Seahawks being favored is a joke, I don't get it. 3-2 Seahawks, 1-3 Cards.

Eagles (-15) @ Raiders
- Peyton Manning is on a bye this week. Donovan is IN! Do work. 4-0 Eagles, 2-3 Raiders.

Titans (+10) @ Patriots
- I haven't lost faith in either team yet, but it's going to be about 45 degrees and rainy in Foxboro on Sunday. Low scoring game, gotta love the Titans to cover. 2-3 Tennessee, 1-4 Pats.

Bills @ Jets (-10)
- You would think with similar weather conditions, I would again stay away from a 10-point spread. But did you see the Bills play last week? No? Good. I'm doing Ernie a favor by picking the Jets because I'm 1-4 in their games, 2-3 with the Bills. Citing my stats makes me really sad.

Sunday 8 p.m.

Bears @ Falcons (-3)
- Not sure what to expect from this game. 50 fantasy points from Michael Turner? Don't mind if I do. 2-2 Bears, 3-1 Falcons.

Monday Night Football....!

Broncos (+4) @ Chargers
- I'm picking the Broncos so they'll finally lose a game. Please, just lose. You aren't deserving of a 5-0 record. Or a 4-1 record. Or a 3-2 record. (2-3 Broncos, 1-3 Chargers)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Week 5 Picks: Week 4 Sucked!

In Las Vegas, there exists a cult-like group of people, appropriately named "wise guys." They do what I've been trying to do (outsmart the oddsmakers), only they're much more intense and in-depth about things.

Because of the existence of these "wise guys," it has become the goal of oddsmakers to outsmart the wise guys. They aren't worried about the casual betting man, because the casual betting man does not pose a potentially detrimental threat to the money-making system.

It is the oddsmakers' jobs to stay one step ahead of the wise guys. Thus, I went 6-8 last week. Even through the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. games, with losses at 8 p.m. and on Monday Night Football.


The Redskins have been favored against the Rams, Lions, and Buccaneers...and failed to cover every time. This is setting up for them to do some serious damage at the end of the year as the betting man loses faith in Washington.


Where to start? Ah, yes. I'll quote:

"This goes against what the trend is telling me to do, but I can't, in my right mind, pick the Broncos. Denver is 2-0 as the underdog. The Broncos have an anemic offense and, by the numbers, a great defense, but they have yet to play anyone. Dallas is 2-1 when favored, 1-0 on the road. Losing this one would be a humbling experience for me."

Right then and there, everybody in the whole world should have known to put every penny they own on the Broncos. Figures. Also, picking the Raiders was just a dumb move in retrospect. They looked good ONCE - against the Chargers. That doesn't make them a good team.


I'm not concerned about last week anymore. I'm looking ahead at this week, where Greg Jennings, Vincent Jackson, and John Carney all have off. I traveled to the waiver wire early and often, so I'm counting on my scrubs to do some damage.

In other words, I'm praying for Peyton Manning to score 40 points this week. And if Rashard Mendenhall can repeat what he did last week, that would be super.

Just glancing at the games, they look very one-sided. I expect at least 12-2 in straight up picks. The spreads are probably going to be very high, so no promises or predictions for how I'll fare there.

(lines courtesy of

Sunday 1 p.m.

Browns @ Bills (-6)
- Dangerous game to start with. Buffalo can't screw this up, right?

Steelers (-11) @ Lions
- Dangerous game with such a lofty spread. Pittsburgh can't screw this up, right?

Cowboys (-9) @ Chiefs
- Vegas wants bettors to lose faith in the 'Boys ability to cover. They've been favored each week, going back and forth, win, loss, win, loss. It's time for a win! I've noted the irony that I was just talking about how the oddmakers try to stay one step ahead of wise guys, so in theory, Dallas shouldn't cover.

Vikings (-10) @ Rams
- After such a spirited victory last week, there could be a huge hangover against St. Louis.


Raiders @ Giants (-16)
- After what I just said about the Raiders, there's no way I can pick them to beat the spread.

Buccaneers @ Eagles (-15)
- Now I might be a little crazy. I've picked double-digit favorites all four times I've had the option. One of these teams is bound to cover.

Redskins @ Panthers (-4)
- IT'S A TRAP! Though this might just be a gimme, further setting up Washington's late-season hot streak. Jake Delhomme didn't throw any interceptions last week, but he also had a BYE.

Bengals @ Ravens (-9)
- Ravens had a bad game last week, but Cinci isn't exactly New England.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Falcons @ 49ers (+3)
- I took all favorites in the 1 p.m. games. The 4 o'clock games are all a lot tougher to pick. I'll start with an underdog, though the Falcons are rested after having off last week.

Jaguars (PICK) @ Seahawks
- The Jags seem to have some swagger of late, especially on offense. The Seahawks are dealing with injuries and haven't won since Week 1...against the Rams.

Texans (+6) @ Cardinals
- I like the Cardinals to win, especially coming off a BYE, but the Texans will give them a game, keeping it close, if not actually pulling it out. Taking Houston at six points is a no-brainer (setup for Irony, Humility?).

Patriots (-4) @ Broncos
- You have no idea how mad I will be if the Broncos cover. If they win, I quit.

Sunday 8 p.m.

Colts (-5) @ Titans
- Maybe because it's prime time, maybe because it's on the road, or maybe because everybody knows the Titans aren't this bad...but I have a very uneasy feeling about this game. Considering how Ronnie Brown ran all over the Colts, I think Chris Johnson will have a huge game, and I won't be surprised if I get this pick wrong.

If I do, it's a double loss, because it probably means Peyton Manning did bad, fully securing a fantasy loss for me.

Monday Night (football)

Jets (-2) @ Dolphins
- Yawn. What else is on? Oh, playoff baseball? Nevermind, I'll watch football.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I feel sympathy for the Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins are full of character and the team's playoff run is a great storyline going into the playoffs - Major League Baseball really needed this as a crutch for the way the NFL and NCAA without a doubt CRUSHED MLB in the month of September. There were barely any races, therefore, no way to distract fans away from fantasy football, even for a minute or two.

That being said, they're going to be mutilated by the New York Yankees, who are a complete machine of a team. Questions in the rotation do make them appear to be mortal, afterall, but it is a facade.

Members of the offense have been on and off in la-la land throughout the season, but with all of them fully concentrating on the task at hand, expect the Yankees to put up 14 in the first game. And in the second game. And in the third game...

Yankees over Twins in 3

Boston and Anaheim will be having a very underrated series. I really hate to watch the Yankees' top two foes go at it, but it's impossible for the Yankees to have to go through both the Angels and the Red Sox in a single postseason, so I guess it's good they have to play at least one of them.

Red Sox over Angels in 4

In the National League, the Phillies play the Wild Card Rockies. Like the Yankees, the Phillies' offense will not allow them to lose this series. The Rockies would be best to concede the Cliff Lee game to open the series and save their pitchers for the ensuing games.

Phillies over Rockies in 3

Can the Dodgers surprise the Cardinals? The Dodgers have lulled baseball fans to sleep with the way they finished, but think about it - that's a larger representation of what Manny does. He takes the end of the season off to rest up for the playoffs. Every year. Only difference this year is he wasn't shut down like usual. He played, just poorly. He'll be hot in the playoffs, which might be contagious in the clubhouse. The Dodgers are struggling to find pitching, compared to what I think is the best rotation in the playoffs. Oh yeah, and there's Albert Pujols.

Cardinals over Dodgers in 5

I will be mad if the Phillies represent the National League in the World Series. I will be mad if the Yankees represent the American League in the World Series. Should the two play for the World Series, I have not yet chosen which bomb shelter to check into. I'm not 100 percent decided on which team I would root for. Should the situation arise, I promise a pro/con list analyzing a Mets fans choices here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 4 Picks: Brett Favre vs. Packers Steals Headlines

I decisively decimated the coin flips last week, further boosting my ego and encouraging me that I can actually make a living doing this type of stuff. Hold your laughter.

An 11-5 showing was my best of the season so far. Coin flip No. 1 (favorite vs. underdog) had an abysmal 6-10 mark, and coin flip No. 2 (home vs. away) was closer at 9-7.

A few of my splits so far this season: 28-20 overall against the spread, 17-7 when picking NFC teams, 11-13 when picking AFC teams. 17-16 when picking the favorite, 9-4 when picking the underdog, 2-0 when the line is even. Without a spread, I'm 36-12.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I'm keeping a spreadsheet of my picks this year - which team I pick, whether they're favored or not, and the result. I'll be using the stats I've compiled thus far to make this weeks picks, though I'm sure there will be some bumps in the road.

But first...

Week 3 IRONY
What's ironic about last week's pick'em is there is no irony. I've created this section for my weekly picks, and there's nothing ironic when considering last week in retrospect. Lame.

While there was no irony, there's certainly some humility. I have yet to pick the Jets, still showing no faith in them, neither as underdog nor as favorite. Of course, they're playing the Saints this that lack of support may last another week. Also, the 49ers have been the underdog all three weeks and covered all three weeks. I've only picked them once.

Peyton Manning? Why, yes, I'd love another 20+ point performance. Keep 'em coming, big guy. My running backs aren't doing anything for me. Except for Willie Parker, who finally had an 18-point performance last week. But he's listed as questionable for this week. This could mean trouble for my fantasy football flourishing.

To the picks! Only 14 games on tap this time around. The BYE weeks have begun!

(lines courtesy of

Sunday 1 p.m.

Ravens (+2) @ Patriots
- The Pats are 1-2 when I pick them as the favorite. The Ravens are 1-0 as the underdog, and one of the three best teams in the National Football League.

Buccaneers @ Redskins (-7)
- The Redskins are 0-2 against the spread as the favorite, but the Buccaneers are 0-3, yet to cover a spread. The Redskins also just lost to the Lions. THE LIONS. Expect this game to push.

Titans @ Jaguars (+3)
- The Jags have been the underdog twice and covered the spread both times. The Titans were favored once and lost. Edge to the home team.

Raiders (+10) @ Texans
- The Raiders are 2-0 against the spread as the underdog. The Texans have been favored twice and failed to cover both times. This actually pretty interesting, isn't it?

Lions @ Bears (-10)
- The Lions have been the underdog each week, winning once, but that win was at home. The Bears have only been favored once, and they covered the spread.

Bengals (-6) @ Browns
- Here's one of the road blocks I was referring to since it's so early in the season. The Bengals have been favored once and lost. Cleveland has been the underdog each time and has yet to beat the spread. The Browns are averaging less than 10 PPG, allowing more than 30, but have a new QB taking snaps. I'll take my chances on Cinci.

Seahawks @ Colts (-11)
- Another tough one due to the massive spread. Indy is 1-1 as the favorite, but playing great football. The Seahawks have been the underdog once, losing to a Bears team that isn't exactly even-par with the Colts. That in mind, I won't be surprised if Seattle covers, since West Coast teams winning on the east coast seems to be the new thing this year.

Giants (-9) @ Chiefs
- The Giants are 1-1 when favored. The Chiefs have lost as underdog, as favorite, and as a PICK. So...yeah.

Sunday 4 p.m.

Jets @ Saints (-7)
- As previously stated, I have yet to pick the Jets, who are 2-0 as underdog. And though New York has the best defense in the land, the Saints have the best offense in the far. I will be beyond shocked if the Jets get the win.

Bills (-3) @ Dolphins
- Bills 1-0 as favorite, Dolphins 0-3 as underdog, despite showing glimmers of hope here and there. Big day for my boy T.O.??

Cowboys (-3) @ Broncos
- This goes against what the trend is telling me to do, but I can't, in my right mind, pick the Broncos. Denver is 2-0 as the underdog. The Broncos have an anemic offense and, by the numbers, a great defense, but they have yet to play anyone. Dallas is 2-1 when favored, 1-0 on the road. Losing this one would be a humbling experience for me.

Rams @ 49ers (-10)
- The Niners have yet to play as a favorite, but the Rams have taken care of that, failing to beat the spread in three straight games to start the season.

Sunday 8 p.m.

Chargers (+7) @ Steelers
- San Diego has been the favorite each week, as has Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 0-3 as the favorite. And I've picked them every time. I'm on a two-game Sunday night winning streak. Let's keep it going.

Monday Night FUBAL!

Packers (+4) @ Vikings
- Game of the week? I actually prefer Saints/Jets, but when the MNF schedule was decided upon, I see why they chose this one. It will be better when Favre goes to Green Bay. Either way, each team has been favored each time, and each team has failed to cover the spread once. When Minnesota failed to cover, it was at home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 3 Picks: Blogger vs. George Washington

After a 10-6 showing last week (4-5 on 1 p.m. games, 6-1 from 4 p.m. through Monday night), I'm at a mediocre 17-15 for the season (24-8 without a spread).

My head barely above water, I'm going to switch things up a little this week. I'll still be making my picks accompanied with the same old lame one-liners, but as suggested by a friend, I'll be competing against a quarter, flipping a coin twice on each game - once to choose between favorite and underdog, and once to choose between home team and visitor.

Before we do that, it's time for my new favorite segment, "Irony, Humility, and Fantasy Purposes."

First, irony. This section is full of material this week, but some are also well-suited for the "Humility" and "Fantasy Purposes" sections, so I'll save them. Let's go with all the hoopla on ESPN about the Arizona Cardinals, a west coast team, playing a 1 p.m. game on the east coast. I had the Cardinals picked to beat the spread, but after reading a Bill Simmons column and watching NFL experts analyze Sunday's games over and over, I was convinced I should change my pick.

I did, and the Cardinals beat the Jaguars into oblivion. Figures.

Humility? Aside from changing my mind on the Cardinals because of what the experts told me, how about my bashing of UVA graduate, Matt Schaub. He lit up the Tennessee Titans' defense for 357 pass yards and four Tennessee. He's still funny to look at.

And fantasy purposes...a crushing 85-82 loss left me searching for answers this week. Greg Jennings, after I told him I wasn't mad at him (more irony), went off for a whopping ZERO points, putting me in a huge hole. Peyton Manning did all he could to help me pull off a great comeback, but 20 points on MNF left me just a few points short. I blame it on Miami for having the ball for 3/4 of the game. Ridiculous.

Now for Week 3 picks (lines courtesy of

Sunday 1 p.m.

Packers (-7) @ Rams
- Can't help but look at the spread and feel like this one might push. Greg Jennings, don't make me cry.

Coin flip one (heads for favorite, tails for underdog): Rams
Coin flip two (heads for home team, tails for away): Packers

49ers @ Vikings (-7)
- Both teams have a solid offense with a decent defense. Adrian Peterson and home field advantage should outlast Frank Gore and company.

Coin flip one: Vikings
Coin flip two: 49ers

Falcons @ Patriots (-4)
- The oddsmakers aren't dumb dumbs. Though the Falcons have looked great and the Patriots have looked vulnerable, so I'm going with the Pats...even though I'm 0-2 when picking them already this year.

Coin flip one: Falcons
Coin flip two: Falcons (uh oh, I better get this one right).

Titans (+3) @ Jets
- Remember this game last year? The Titans were 10-0 and the Jets waltzed into Tennessee and trounced them, 34-13. Can the Titans right their ship in the Meadowlands? Or will Mark Sanchez and the Jets defense continue walking with that swagger? I'm betting on a hangover from the huge victory against New England.

Coin flip one: Jets
Coin flip two: Jets

Chiefs @ Eagles (PICK)
- Come on, the Eagles aren't THAT bad! You can't blame a team without it's starting quarterback for being unable to keep up with Drew Brees' offensive onslaught. And you can't blame the defense for not being able to stop him with all the weapons he has. The Chiefs? A pick'em? No way...

I can't wait to see Mike Vick back on the field.

Coin flip one: Chiefs (as the away team, I have to consider them the underdog)
Coin flip two: Eagles

Giants (-7) @ Buccaneers
- Tampa has proven it can score some points, but has also proven it can't beat the spread yet. Until then, I pick agains the Bucs.

Coin flip one: Buccaneers
Coin flip two: Giants

Browns @ Ravens (-13)
- Baltimore's defense hasn't blown me away, but they've put 69 points on the board through two games. Cleveland's defense has allowed 61 points through two games. 35-21, Baltimore sounds good. But I won't be surprised when the Browns score a junk touchdown at the end to cover.

Coin flip one: Browns
Coin flip two: Ravens

Jaguars (+4) @ Texans
- No clue what to think of this game. Jags got a wake up call after starting 0-2 while Houston really doesn't have a run game established - 101 yards total through two games isn't going to cut it. If the Jags lose this one, the season could already be gone.

Coin flip one: Texans
Coin flip two: Jaguars

Redskins @ Lions (+7)
- Yes, I'm seriously picking the Lions to cover. That's how mad the inept Washington offense made me last week. Then there's the whole Robert Henson/Twitter drama. Watch the accompanying video. Mike Greenberg chalks up a win in his book.

Coin flip one: Redskins
Coin flip two: Redskins

Sunday 4 p.m.

Bears (-2) @ Seahawks
- Chicago is coming off a huge win. Though it was probably a fluke, the offense is bound to find a rhythm soon.

Coin flip one: Da Bears
Coin flip two: Seahawks

Saints (-6) @ Bills
- I mean...there's no reason anybody should be picking against the Saints right now. New Orleans is averaging 468 yards of total offense per game. That number will eventually come down to earth. But then again, will it? (Sounds like a nice set up for my "irony" section next week!)

Coin flip one: Saints
Coin flip two: Saints (No love for my only loyal reader!)

Steelers (-4) @ Bengals
- What's that? Coming out party for Willie Parker? What's that? 25 fantasy least? Sounds good to me, Willie!

Coin flip one: Bengals
Coin flip two: Bengals...(should I be concerned?)

Dolphins (+6) @ Chargers
- Makes sense to me after Miami's MNF showing. High-scoring game, should at least be close.

Coin flip one: Chargers
Coin flip two: Dolphins

Broncos @ Raiders (-2)
- I'm not the only one who thinks the Raiders have actually looked decent through two games and the Broncos' 2-0 record is the shoddiest 2-0 possible.

Coin flip one: Raiders
Coin flip two: Broncos

Sunday 8:20 p.m.

Colts (+3) @ Cardinals
- Indy isn't favored - all because of the inability to stop Miami's wildcat formation? The Colts still won that game, didn't they? Ah, thought so. Prove me wrong, Arizona. And thanks again for letting me screw myself over last week.

Coin flip one: Cardinals
Coin flip two: Cardinals...

Monday Night FOOTBALL!!!

Panthers @ Cowboys (-9)
- This should be the beatdown we didn't see last week. The Dallas celebration we didn't see last week. Jerry Jones can afford to pretend last week just didn't happen. THIS is the first regular-season game played at his new palace, which is unbelievable, I might add.

Coin flip one: Cowboys
Coin flip two: Panthers

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NFL Week Two PWA (Picks With Attitude)!

Get it?

I'm playing against Drew Brees in fantasy football this week. I'm MAD!

(lines courtesy of

Sunday 1 p.m.

Panthers @ Falcons (-6)
- Hey Michael Turner, feel like scoring me more than six fantasy points this week? Thanks.

Vikings (-10) @ Lions
- Hey Vikings, you know what Tony Siragusa says? "It's okay to squash a mosquito with a sledgehammer."

Bengals @ Packers (-9)
- Hey Greg Jennings, keep up the good work. I'm not mad at you.

Texans @ Titans (-7)
- Hey Jeff Fisher, the Texans lost to the Jets last week. Don't make me look like an idiot by not covering a touchdown. Seriously. Matt Schaub is a UVA graduate. That means we don't like him. Of course just by looking at him, I probably wouldn't like him anyway.

Raiders (+3) @ Chiefs
- Hey Roger Goodell, don't you think we would have been fine with just 15 games this week?

Patriots (-4) @ Jets
- This game already has enough attitude, not just leading up to kickoff, but probably throughout the game. These two teams don't need me to butt in. I just wish Rex Ryan would give me a phone call.

Saints (PICK) @ Eagles
- Hey oddsmakers, I can't even get a spread? I left the Eagles' defense on the bench this week. I'm playing against Drew Brees and Reggie Bush. I have Lance Moore and John Carney playing just in case the Saints should put lots of points on the board. This matchup has serious fantasy implications.

Rams @ Redskins (-10)
- Hey Redskins defense/special teams, something tells me I would have had you in over the Eagles anyway this week, so DON'T SCREW UP!

Cardinals @ Jaguars (-3)
- Hey Cardinals, why don't you start playing like the team that made it to the Super Bowl last season? Actually, why don't you wait another week?

Sunday 4 p.m.

Seahawks @ 49ers (+2)
- Which was a better win? Seattle blanking St. Louis or the 49ers winning in Arizona? I'll get this game wrong whichever way I pick, so I'll take the underdog.

Buccaneers @ Bills (-5)
- Hey John Gruden, you're a really good analyst. Tampa's loss, Monday Night Football's win.

Steelers (-3) @ Bears
- Hey Willie Parker. See what I said to Michael Turner above? Same goes to you. 15 points or you're benched next week.

Just joshin'.

Ravens (+3) @ Chargers
- Hey Chargers, play like you did against the Raiders this week and you're in for a major hurtin'.

Browns @ Broncos (-3)
- Hey Kyle Orton, Brandon Stokely won't be able to bail you out every week. Try a little harder in your home debut, will ya?

Sunday 8 (:20) p.m.

Giants (+3) @ Cowboys
- I like my chances with the Giants at least covering. These are two good teams. Only thing that scares me is it's Dallas' home opener.

I'm 0-6 on games from Sunday at 4 p.m. and after, so I can only improve upon that, right?

Monday Night Football (!!!)

Colts (-3) @ Dolphins
- I'm keeping a spreadsheet on all my picks this year - by team, by underdog/favorite, by time, etc...can't wait to see how many times I'm wrong about the Colts covering.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NFL Week One Reflections

My first pick was incorrect as the Steelers couldn't cover on Thursday, then I went 7-1 to start Sunday, putting myself in prime position for a solid week of picks.

In the final seven games of the weekend, I shot a goose egg. 0-for-7. Gut shot.

Finished 7-9. I'll try to do better next week.

Irony, Humility, and Fantasy Purposes

First, irony. I (jokingly) mentioned potentially trading my No. 4 running back, Jamal Lewis, for Larry Fitzgerald in my fantasy league. Lewis shoved that right back down my throat, scoring nine points against the Vikings. My three other RBs combined to score seven points. Lewis still won't be in my starting lineup next week.

Next, humility. I laughed at the thought of the Chiefs beating a 13-point spread against the Ravens. Baltimore hung on, covering the spread by a point, but I was sweating that game out.

Finally, fantasy purposes. Thank you, Jake Delhomme, for exceeding my expectations. I was half-joking about having a repeat performance of last year's five-interception playoff loss, but the Eagles' defense/special teams scored me 35 points, almost solely responsible for my Week One Fantasy Football victory. Special thanks to Greg Jennings, too, for solidifying the win.

Had Jennings not caught the final touchdown, I would have had to choose between playing Vincent Jackson and Wes Welker on Monday night. And though I would have won with either decision, I contend that if I were on the hot seat to make that decision, something would have backfired and I would have lost.

Final Thoughts

The Bengals had the four points covered before the bizarre Stokely catch to win the game for Denver, so I would have chalked that up in the win column either way, as I previously stated.

The Rams are bad. Very bad.

Mark Sanchez hasn't won my trust yet.

Thanks again, Jake Delhomme.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Football Season! Week One Picks With a Fantasy Twist

I've been waiting for football season since...well, the All-Star break. With Virginia Tech's loss last week to Alabama, college football got off to a rocky start for me. I had an un-blogged 0-3 last Saturday with Maria Sharapova, Virginia Tech, and the Mets all losing.

If my NFL picks go the same way as, it's going to be a long winter as I eagerly await another disappointing New York Mets 2010 campaign.

And no, it doesn't feel good to say that.

Here's a look at this week's games - most of my picks will be impacted by my fantasy roster, which probably isn't a good idea. If I do bad on my picks, it probably means I lost in fantasy football, too.

(lines courtesy of


Titans @ Steelers (-6)
-somehow I ended up with Willie Parker AND Rashard Mendenhall on my fantasy team. I guess it will work out when Parker inevitably gets hurt, but I just hope my bad luck doesn't overpower the defending champs.


Dolphins @ Falcons (-4)
- Michael Turner will also have an impact on my fantasy team this year. Let's start things off right and pray last season wasn't a fluke.

Broncos (+4) @ Bengals
- I actually think the Bengals will win this game since I don't have Carson Palmer on my fantasy team this year. I just don't think they have the fortitude to win it by more than a field goal. Broncos to cover, Bengals to win. Should Denver pull out the win, I'll take the cheapie despite not only knowing I was wrong, but also having it published for all to see.

Remember, Denver doesn't have Jay Cutler anymore. The top two QBs on the depth chart (Kyle Orton, Chris Simms) are both listed as questionable. But why they're even on the depth chart is questionable, too.

Vikings (-3) @ Browns
- There's apparently a conspiracy in the NFL against Brett Favre. He's being fined/investigated/trash talked as if he's on the Bengals. It almost seems that nobody wants him playing anymore. Let's ask Packers and Jets fans, as well as 50 percent of Vikings fans and players.

Regardless, I'll go out on a limb and say even the deepest conspiracies can't stop the Vikings from beating Eric Mangenius and the Browns.

Jaguars @ Colts (-7)
- Peyton Manning is my starting quarterback. Here's to hoping to him not screwing around and getting right to the point, throwing for 350 yards and four TDs.

Lions @ Saints (-12)
- This isn't good. I've taken the favorite all but once so far. We all know it never ends up that way when it's all said and done. I've got John Carney kicking for me, and Lance Moore is one of my wide receivers, but he's riding the bench this week. Carney should get at least four extra points and hopefully a couple of field goals!

Cowboys (-6) @ Buccaneers
- Again, how can I go against the favorite when its opponent is in complete shambles? The team I'm playing against has Marion Barber and Roy E. Williams, but also has Matt Cassel and Marshawn Lynch in the starting lineup (shhhhhhhhhhhhh).

Eagles (+1) @ Panthers
- This seems like a decent opportunity to take the under"dog." Get it? Too soon? Tasteless? I know.

I never took the time to write up a column about how I'm rooting for Mike Vick and the Eagles this year, but in short, Vick is a Hokie at heart and deserves a second chance. The NFL also needs to give him a second chance because if one of the league's ex-convicts can turn into a success story, it's a step in the right direction, cleaning up the NFL's image.

Back to football, the Panthers went 8-0 at home last year in the regular season, but I think a healthy Eagles team can do some serious damage. It will be interesting to see how Jake Delhomme rebounds from the five interception playoff loss to the Cardinals - which was at home. I'm playing the Eagles defense/special teams over the Redskins, in hopes of getting a few more of those INTs!

Chiefs @ Ravens (-13)
- Haha.

Jets @ Texans (-4.5)
-Mark Sanchez needs to show me something before I start picking them to win, or even cover. He conquered L.A. Can he conquer New York (New Jersey)?

Redskins @ Giants (-6.5)
- The Redskins have a great defense, and played the Giants tough last year...wait a second. No they didn't! Eli looks like he's getting pretty good at this quarterback thing.

49ers @ Cardinals (-6.5)
- Now I definitely know I'm taking too many favorites, but it seems absolutely insane to take many of these underdogs. I wish I had Larry Fitzgerald on my team, but I couldn't do that with the No. 2 pick, and by my second round pick at No. 18, he was long gone. Maybe I can trade Jamal Lewis for him.

Rams (+8.5) @ Seahawks
- This is absolutely just for the sake of taking an underdog. Last year both teams scored less than 300 total points, so maybe the Rams can keep it within a touchdown and I sneak away with a victory.

Bears (+3.5) @ Packers
- Jay Cutler was a pretty big steal for the Bears in the offseason. I took Chicago more often than not in my picks last year and I was wrong most of the time. I also drafted Greg Jennings at WR since he schooled me every time I played against him. I'll take 160 yards and 2 TDs from him in a 24-21 Bears victory.

If only we lived in a perfect world...


Bills @ Patriots (-10.5)
- First drive, Tom Brady to Randy Moss for an 80-yard TD? Brady's return is going to be big, much to the dismay of Terrell Owens and Trent Edwards. Makes you wonder...if the Bills had kept J.P. Loss man, would the two clubhouse cancers have canceled each other out?

Chargers (-9) @ Raiders
- Al Davis.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Phil Coke Talks Trash Following Yanks' Sweep of Sox

Joe Girardi showed off his managerial prowess again Sunday, using Phil Coke in the eighth inning to set-up closer Mariano Rivera instead of regular eighth inning man, Phil Hughes.

To his defense, Hughes had pitched the previous two games, totaling nine pitches and two batters faced. I can see where he needed the rest.

Coke, who earned the win in New York's 5-2 win over Boston, entered the game with a 1-0 lead. He left trailing 2-1 - his fifth blown lead of the year, supporting his stellar 4.98 earned run average.

"So much for 8-0, huh?" Phil Coke said after the game, in an Associated Press report.

A win is a win, a sweep is a sweep, but should the weak link in an otherwise stable bullpen really be providing the bulletin board material for the Red Sox?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 MLB All-Star Game: Live blog

Since I haven't so much as sniffed this blog or Bleacher Report in over two months, what better way to get back into the groove than a second annual live blog of Major League Baseball's mid-summer classic?

The game allegedly starts around 8 p.m. EST. I don't know when the first pitch will actually be thrown.

6:15 - Here are a few predictions to get the ball rolling.

1) Barack Obama's ceremonial first pitch will not be in the strike zone. It won't even travel the full 60 feet, 6 inches. It will arrive to the catcher on one bounce.

2) Michael Young will not get his third game-winning hit this All-Star game. But he is still better than Derek Jeter, who only led all players in votes because there were no other shortstops to vote for (no offense to Jason Bartlett) after Young made the move to third. For the conspiracy theory, click here.

3) The National League will finally pull through and win. With names like Tim Wakefield, Justin Verlander, Mark Buehrle, and Edwin Jackson potentially taking the hill for the A.L., there are a lot of question marks as to what level their stuff will be at tonight. National League should be able to capitalize.

4) The MVP of the All-Star game will be Ryan Braun, since Omir Santos somehow wasn't selected.

5) Alex Rodriguez will use the seventh inning stretch to steal the show, announcing he'll be comepeting on the next season of Dancing With the Stars. Wait, that's on Fox, right?

8:01 - Bad first taste. Chris Rose, reporting from down on the field, has a headset microphone on. Looks dumb. The ShamWow! guy is the only one who can pull off that look.

8:08 - Who would have thought the Rays would EVER have five representatives in a single ASG? And the crowd just booed Ted Lilly. Save the boos for Jeter.

8:12 - Mixed reaction for Jeter. Chalk it up as a win in my book.

8:14 - Nobody should be booing Roy Halladay. He could be on your team by the end of the night.

8:15 - Too bad Carlos Beltran is hurt and had to miss the game. I bet the St. Louis fans would have cheered him as much as Pujols. Ugh.

8:16 - Interesting how Joe Buck's tone changed when he announced David Wright, compared to every other NL starter.

8:18 - Not to make light of the tribute to people who have gone above and beyond to make the world a better place, but it totally could have been a lookalike contest. I saw Suzyn Waldman, Michael Jackson, and Sally Struthers all in that group.

8:26 - Stop showing Derek Jeter.

8:27 - Sheryl Crow is singing the National Anthem? Come on. Taylor Swift hit the Olympics in Beijing, why can't she grace the fine folks in St. Louis? They at least could have brought Carrie Underwood in.

8:30 - Okay, she's from Missouri. Fine.

8:31 - I've seen that jet that just flew over the stadium before. Independence Day. Will Smith.

8:37 - It must be amazing for Joe Buck to be doing this game in the town he grew up in. I'm going to try to put myself in his shoes and be nice to him tonight. No promises. He's already driving me nuts.

8:39 - A mixed reaction for President Obama. That's awkward. At least the cheers outlasted the boos. I was wrong about his pitch not making it the whole way. 0-for-1 on my predictions.

8:45 - It's cool if I'm drinking Bud Light instead of Budweiser, right? Less calories, baby. I'm not getting any younger and my metabolism isn't getting any faster.

8:48 - At least Ken Rosenthal doesn't have the same microphone Chris Rose had.

8:50 - Ichiro beats Lincecum, singling to start the game. Let's boo Derek Jeter together. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

8:52 - YES!!!!!! (Jeter drilled by Lincecum. Shows Timmy did some homework and knew to bust him inside.)

8:55 - Shut up, Joe Buck. Don't blame this on David Wright. You can't assume the double play.

8:56 - There's karma for you, Joe Buck. Trash David Wright, then your boy Pujols makes an error. Now we're losing! It's all your fault, Joe Buck!

8:58 - Did Josh Hamilton just dive into first? It's NEVER smart to do that, let alone the ASG. Lay off the blow. Too soon?

9:01 - Just switched to a bigger TV. Will this make Joe Buck a bigger thorn in my side?

9:05 - "It was A-Rod, now it's Pujols." Hey Tim McCarver, care to elaborate on why A-Rod is no longer the best hitter in baseball?

9:07 - Michael Young can save a dozen kittens from a burning building and still not get the credit he deserves. What a good baseball player. He should come play second base for the Mets.

9:09 - I'll always contend that the designated hitter is the biggest load of crap in the world...but maybe for the ASG, there should always be a DH.

9:16 - Okay, Ryan Braun probably won't be the MVP. The NL has a lot of outfielders to get in the game. He may not see another at-bat. Let's call it 0-for-2 on predictions. At least Obama is in the boooth so Joe Buck doesn't talk as much...for this half-inning at least.

9:19 - David Wright can hit Roy Halladay. That's all I'm saying.

9:22 - They're not cheering Yadier Molina for the game-tying base hit. They're cheering David Wright for being the best player in the universe. Joe Buck brought up the bailout on live television. More awkward.

9:25 - National League up 3-2 after two innings. David Wright started the two-out rally. Remember that when you're voting for MVP.

9:28 - Derek Jeter, 0-for-1 officially. Ryan Franklin, more obnoxious facial hair than Scott Spezio, officially.

9:30 - Technical difficulties in the AL dugout. Maybe Chris Rose should have kept the headset.

9:34 - Joe Buck just called Mark Buehrle "automatic" since 2001. I'm sorry, apparently Buck hasn't had him on his fantasy baseball team.

9:37 - Though Buehrle just had a perfect, three-minute inning, I refuse to rescind my previous statement. His numbers lie.

9:43 - Oops. Did we just call Aaron Hill the best No. 2 hitter in baseball? Come on, guys. You're better than that.

9:51 - This game just got really boring.

9:54 - Just checked Joe Buck's Facebook page. He has over 1,400 fans, which shocked me. Then I read down his wall. It's everyone telling him he sucks.

David Wright is out of the game. Rob & Bob (Nationals' announcers) are jumping for joy right now. Ryan Zimmerman is not better than David Wright.

9:57 - The old timers are now complaining about how Carl Crawford wears his pants. Worry about how he plays the game.

9:59 - I like the graphic they just showed about Jeter crying.

10:00 - That's 0-for-2 with three plate appearances. It's time to get Jeter out of the game. Unless Joe Maddon is being sneaky and leaving him in, hoping he'll get hurt, helping the Rays' chances of overtaking the Yanks in the division. Always thinking, Joe. Always thinking.

10:03 - I choose to ignore Jeter's two runs scored. As should you.

10:13 - Uh oh, is it too early for Michael Young to win the game?

10:14 - Yes it is. Double play. Trevor Hoffman is a better closer than Mariano Rivera.

10:19 - JETER IS OUT OF THE GAME!!!! Celebrate! And why hasn't Albert Pujols gone 5-for-5 and cured cancer yet?

10:21 - Jeter gets taken out of the game so they resort to Jeter COMMERCIALS. I will not go to! I will not!

10:28 - Sara Evans performing during the 7th inning stretch! Nice!

10:32 - WHOA! Nice catch by Carl Crawford to rob Brad Hawpe of a home run! Is the game getting exciting again?

10:33 - Now Tejada gave one a nice ride, but apparently he only has warning track power anymore. Interesting. Wonder why that is.

10:43 - Granderson deserved to start this game. I guess it's better for the A.L. that he didn't. Speaking of the Tigers, where's Miguel Cabrera?

10:48 - Even though I want the NL to win, I'm glad Heath Bell is blowing the game. Let's see him run his mouth now.

10:56 - I said it before and I'll say it again. David Wright is better than Ryan Zimmerman. Donating $250k to UVA? That's not the way to my heart. He should be donating the money to charity - or at least the school's educational programs. Division I athletic programs have enough sources of income from boosters. Take that, Rob Dibble.

10:59 - Ryan Howard vs. Joe Nathan. With the game on the line. It's only bottom 8. I think Howard vs. Mariano would be better next inning, but I'll take this. I don't know what to root for.

11:05 - Nice. This can still work out. Nathan made Howard look like a fool, and Mariano can still blow the save against players who I don't hate. I'm blindly optimistic.

11:08 - Make us look good, K-Rod.

11:10 - NL has nobody coming up in the bottom of the 9th. Game's over. Feel free to change the channel. Nice catch by Werth to end the inning.

11:17 - Tony Womack and Luis Gonzalez need to come back. Then we'll see who's laughing.

11:19 - Not much to say. AL wins 4-3. The game was decent. Started great, got boring, picked up a little in the middle, then ended slow. I could live without Joe Buck and Derek Jeter.

11:26 - Looks like I went 1-for-5 on my predictions, with my only correct prediction being completely obvious. Sounds about right for me!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Best HR Swings in the Game

I created a slideshow on Bleacher Report of the top 10 home run swings in Major League Baseball. Keeping steroids out of the question, here's my list.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Manny Ramirez Tests Positive, Los Angeles Dodgers Fans Put on Suicide Watch

It's not quite as bad as Marion Jones' Olympic Gold Medals being taken away, Lance Armstrong being accused of doping, or Mike Tyson biting someone's ear off, but Manny Ramirez being suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games for violating the game's drug policy is the most devastating positive test we've seen or will see.

The situation is particularly devastating for Dodgers fans, but the impact is not limited to one city on the West coast. The impact will ripple all throughout baseball.

First and foremost, the Dodgers are in a world of trouble. Anyone who thinks they can just stand up and replace a .348 hitter with six homers and 20 RBIs is out of their mind. Even if the front office pulls a rabbit out of a hat and does replace the missing offense, the "Manny aura" is still missing.

Orlando Hudson will suffer.

Andre Ethier will suffer.

James Loney will suffer.

In turn, the pitching staff will suffer.

Straight up and down the lineup, the Dodgers are going to suffer without Manny Ramirez's name on the lineup card.

Of course, what is lost in translation through all this is the fact that Manny isn't guilty of using steroids. While it is unclear as to exactly what banned substance he is guilty of using, we can't jump to conclusions and accuse him of juicing.

Mark down Thursday, May 7, 2009. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 13 games over .500 and lead the division by 6.5 games (five in the loss column).

If I had to guess, I'd say by July 3, they'll be just 10 games over. Without Manny, they're no more than a .500 club.

Of course, that is enough to win the West.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009 Yankees: Are They The 2008 Mets??

Be it a groan, cheer, or a clever series of words strung together, everybody in and around baseball had an extreme reaction to the New York Yankees' offseason spending.

Through 10 games, it's not fair to judge the performances of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, or Mark Teixeira so far.

Fans and critics alike must give them ample time to settle in before making the decision to laugh at the Yankees' reckless spending or write a nasty letter to their own team's front office for not shelling out the green to land the big names.

After 10 games, however, it is fair to judge one aspect of Brian Cashman's latest Death Star, which may have been overlooked when being constructed this offseason—the bullpen.

Before going on, let me take you back to last September. Call me masochistic, but for some reason, I can't help but listen to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman broadcasts on the radio.

As nauseating as it is, it's also like watching Bill O'Reilly or Pat Robertson—you just can't predict what they're going to say next.

Driving in my car, Sterling and Waldman were previewing the 2009 roster when Sterling blurted out something which really made me scratch my head.

He said something along the lines of the Yankees having the most feared bullpen in baseball with the combination of Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera.

OK, as much as it pains me, I will admit Rivera is a great reliever.

Chamberlain, too, but as we all know now (and most of us knew then, or so I thought), isn't in the bullpen. He's a starter until he undoubtedly gets hurt again.

Now join me, everyone outside of Yankee Nation, when I say "Phil Coke? Who the hell is Phil Coke?"

I follow the Yankees enough to know who he is, but what baffled me was how anyone, even John Sterling, could crown someone with a dozen career appearances as one who should be "feared."

Maybe Coke was in the game, or had just left the game, so he was on Sterling's mind while he was sucking up to Yankee brass.

Really though, Phil Coke?

Coke had a great little run in 2008, only allowing one earned run in 14.1 innings pitched, but come on—feared? He's not even established!

Fast forward to present day, my suspicions may have had some legitimacy to them. Coke, in five appearances, has allowed seven runs, four earned, to the tune of a 9.00 earned run average.

He has yet to work a perfect full inning.

Coke isn't the only problem within the 'pen. Damaso Marte, acquired last July in the Xavier Nady deal, has appeared three times this season. In the lefty-specialist's first two outings, he faced four batters, retiring three of them.

Thursday was a different story. The offense he was facing wasn't that of the Royals or Orioles; it was the Indians.

Marte squeezed three innings worth of batters—the entire Indians lineup—into one inning. He allowed the runner he inherited from Jose Veras to score, then six more who were his own responsibility.

Veras has allowed a run in three of his five outings, including three against the Indians.

Edwar Ramirez has only allowed a single run to score in his two outings (3.1 innings of work), but has an alarming 2.40 WHIP, albeit early in the season.

Jonathan Albaladejo was effective against the Orioles, but the Rays got the best of him in two of his three innings of work in Tampa.

Newcomer David Robertson, who was just called up to take the injured Xavier Nady's roster spot, gave the Yankees a promising two scoreless innings of work, but wasn't exactly lights out in his 25 appearances last season (5.34 ERA in 30-plus innings pitched).

The Yankees are forced to make a decision, but the injury to Nady makes it a little harder. With only four outfielders on the roster, it's near impossible to permanently move Nick Swisher to the setup role, and they apparently need his bat much more than anyone could have anticipated.

To sum up, it's early in the season, but the Yankees' two left-handed specialists can't be trusted to get outs, nor can the righties leading up to Mariano Rivera, and the most impressive reliever so far other than their closer is their right fielder.

They've lost in situations where they were winning late, lost where they were called upon to hold a tie, and have let marginal deficits become huge deficits.

But hey, at least the new ballpark looks great!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Preview/Prediction: N.L. East


That's all I've got to say about that.

I picked the Mets to win 98 games and the division last year...I couldn't do it again, could I?


1) New York Mets (96-66)
The only thing stopping me from giving the Mets 98 wins is the perpetual question mark in the back of the rotation...and by back of the rotation, I mean everything beyond Johan Santana.

Mike Pelfrey is listed as the No. 2, but pitched well-beyond his career-high in innings last season. There is pessimism from critics as to how he will rebound this season from his breakout performance last year.

Oliver Perez at No. 3 has the talent to be a No. 1, but has yet to harness his potential and turn it into stellar results on a consistent basis. Inability to control his emotions and concentrate on the task at hand will be a thorn in his side throughout the rest of his career. Anything in the 12-15 win range with a 4.00ish earned run average is perfectly acceptable for Ollie.

John Maine just needs to stay healthy. When he does, he's a solid No. 2 option. The pressure of being in the No. 4 slot will hopefully help him take things easy this season.

As for the No. 5 slot, I see it as being a platoon all year. If the Mets get 10 wins out of that slot, chalk it up in the win column.

The offense will be productive as usual, with Reyes, Wright, and Beltran all poised to lead the attack. Carlos Delgado is an X-factor, and his production will have a major impact on the team's success. Anything out of the catcher or second base position are an added bonus.

If Ryan Church is healthy and Daniel Murphy continues to look as sharp as he was at the plate last year, the Mets will be in very good shape.

Finally, the most important changes for the Mets came in the bullpen. The signing of Francisco Rodriguez and trade for J.J. Putz will have an immediate and lasting impact. Bullpen woes were the difference in winning the division and pulling another "C" word last year and the year before. With a new-look 'pen, the Mets can make some serious noise in October.

2) Philadelphia Phillies (89-73)
Though many experts consider the Marlins and Braves as legitimate contenders, it's still just a two-team race, as it should be.

The Phils' only major change comes in right field, where they brough in Raul Ibanez to replace the departed Pat Burrell. The core of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley is still intact, which will provide fans with some high-scoring affairs, but does Philadelphia have the pitching to back up the offense?

Yes and no.

Cole Hamels is a bona fide ace. He's legit, but had trouble with several teams last year. Behind him are Brett Myers (devastating when healthy, but otherwise unpredictable), Jamie Moyer (46), Joe Blanton (overachieved in Philly last year, leading to unrealistic expectations this year), and Chan Ho Park (don't waste your time laughing - he'll be out of the rotation very quick).

The Phillies have great role players and a great bench, but won't achieve success unless it's handed to them on a silver platter for a third year in a row. They should be able to snag the Wild Card, however.

3) Florida Marlins (84-78)
The Marlins are young and hungry, but again, won't be able to patch it together for a full season. Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, and Andrew Miller all have a lot of hype, but questions arise challenging how far they can go into games. The Marlins have a very weak bullpen which may be an Achilles' heel.

Jorge Cantu had a career-year last year, and it's tough to expect him to have a repeat performance this time around. Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez anchor the offense, but without solid production from the other power positions, may not be able to provide enough offense to give pitchers consistent run support.

They'll be contenders into late-summer, but will fade towards the end.

4) Atlanta Braves (82-80)
Another Florida-like team, the Braves are still trying to rebuild back to the team which owned the division for over a dozen years. They have one of the best managers in the game, but without the right personnel, it's tough to convert what you have into wins.

Atlanta is holding itself back by re-signing Tom Glavine, who is done. He no longer has the stuff or the health to even win 10 games. Derek Lowe was a great signing, but not as an ace pitcher. Against the other top aces in the league, he's going to be in serious trouble.

Larry Wayne Jones, Jr. and Brian McCann are still two of the best players in the division, and have a nice variety of talent around them to piece together a .500 ball club, but like the Marlins, a weak bullpen will doom them in the end.

5) Washington Nationals (68-94)
Give it up to the Nats - they at least showed some effort this offseason, spending money on Adam Dunn, and trying to bring Mark Teixeira aboard. Jesus Flores is one of the great young catchers in the game, and if Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman can stay on the field, Washington will catch some teams by surprise.

Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, and Josh Willingham are also some big bats capable of hurting opponents.

The problem in Washington won't be the offense as much as it is the pitching. Unless these young guys they've brough in have flown under everyone's radar, it will be another long year in the nation's capital.

Go Expos!


N.L. East - Mets
N.L. Central - Cubs
N.L. West - Dodgers
N.L. Wild Card - Phils

A.L. East - BoSox
A.L. Central - Twins
A.L. West - Halos
A.L. Wild Card - Yanks

Monday, March 30, 2009

Preview/Prediction: A.L. East

The Rays took everyone, including me, for a ride last year. Though I correctly predicted them being out of the cellar, I had them in fourth place, not first.

I nailed Boston's record on the head, and was only a game off of the Yankees' final tally, though I had each team's positioning wrong. Big surprise, the Orioles finished in last. Chalk that one up in the win column for me, but we're not exactly throwing me a parade.

1) Boston Red Sox (96-66)
This being the most difficult division to rank the top three teams, I'm taking what I see as the least favorite and least talented of the three teams to finish in first. The Red Sox are a year older where it hurts (Ortiz, Lowell, Varitek), but have a great wave of youth helping out (Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lowrie), as well as a core of veterans who are still in their prime (Bay, Youkilis, Drew).

Jason Bay is going to have a huge year in his first full campaign in Beantown. I expect him to be an All-Star as well as put up better than his average numbers (.282/31/103).

The Red Sox made a few small moves, acquiring Brad Penny and John Smoltz, so the experience and depth in their rotation and bullpen can very well get them to the promised land.

2) New York Yankees (92-70)
I know, I hate myself too. I can always relish in the fact that I correctly predicted the Yanks to miss the playoffs last year, but don't I do that every year?? By this estimation, they'll win the Wild Card.

The high-profile pickups of C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett are so beaten to death, I'm kicking myself for even mentioning it here.

The Yankees are young and talented, but does Joe Girardi know how to effectively use the talent he has while keeping everyone in the clubhouse happy?

Buckle up, ladies and gents, this is going to be a wild ride in the Bronx this season. Haters should get a good laugh or two.

C.C. won't earn his paycheck, but he'll be solid, maybe winning 16 games with an earned run average of about 3.40. If Yankee fans say that's worth the money he's getting, that's their delusion, and I'll have no part of it. The only reason I say Johan Santana earned his money last year is because he would have had 22 wins if not for the bullpen, and a 2.50 ERA was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

With Jeter in the leadoff hole, it will be much easier for the Yankees to create runs, because he at least gets on base consistently, as opposed to any other option outside of a healthy Johnny Damon.

I won't be surprised if the Yanks win the division, but I'm banking on clubhouse chemistry winning it for the BoSox and losing it for the Yanks.

3) Tampa Bay Rays (90-72)
The odd man out. Sorry, guys. It was a great run last year, the franchise is truly on the map, and here to stay, but this season won't be their year. The young pitching will still be spectacular, but A) they won't be blindsiding anyone this year, B) there's no chance they get away with a full season of injury-less starting pitching, and C) the front office isn't ready to play ugly like the Red Sox and Yankees are willing to do.

Starting David Price in the minors will pay dividends for the Rays down the stretch, but I don't think they'll be able to keep up.

The signing of Pat Burrell could be nice, but they already have Carlos Pena to put up great power numbers with a crappy batting average. They need people to get on base unless they want to live on solo home runs.

Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton...mmmm, nice! But there are still significant holes in the lineup, wheras the Yanks and Sox don't have any automatic outs.

4) Toronto Blue Jays (76-86)
Roy, Roy, Roy. You need to get out of Toronto, buddy. Another 20-win season for Halladay, another bottom-feeding finish for the Jays.

Burnett bounced, and Alex Rios and Vernon Wells continue to be the only intimidating names in the lineup. The Jays are going to need solid production out of unusual places to make any noise this time around.

5) Baltimore Orioles (70-92)
Jeremy Guthrie isn't really the Orioles' opening day starter, is he? Oh dear. Nick Markakis continues to fly under the radar, Brian Roberts continues to silently put up amazing numbers, and Adam Jones is only getting better, but without pitching, these guys are sellers at the trading deadline.

They have some great youth coming in, namely Matt Wieters, one of the top catching prospects in the minors. He's down on the farm to start the season, likely an Evan Longoria-type move from last year, to delay arbitration by a year, but again, it isn't enough yet.

I'd love to keep feeling bad for them, but they'd finish at the bottom in most divisions. It's just the Blue Jays of last year I felt bad for.

Coming sooner than later: N.L. East

Friday, March 13, 2009

Preview/Prediction: N.L. West

The N.L. West last year started as a blowout, as Arizona, with the help of two of the best starting pitchers in the National League, came out of Spring Training hotter than Biba Golic.

As Brandon Webb and Dan Haren faded into mediocrity, so did the D'Backs. Nobody emerged as a good team in the division until the trade deadline, when the Dodgers made the deal of the year, acquiring Manny Ramirez in a three-team trade.

The Dodgers went on to win the division, beating the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs, losing to some crappy team in the NLCS.

I goose-egged the West last year, putting the D'Backs in first (2), Padres in second (5, I always overestimate their ability), Dodgers in third, Rockies in fourth (3), and Giants in last (4).

Let's see if I can do slightly better this year.

1) Los Angeles Dodgers (86-76)

This was a tougher decision than you might imagine. Nobody in the West has offense. Several teams in the West have pitching, but the same was the case last year.

The Dodgers are without Derek Lowe, and for better or worse, without Brad Penny, Greg Maddux, Nomar Garciaparra, and Jeff Kent. The team will look a lot different this season, but I still think the Dodgers have enough pitching to get into the playoffs.

Chad Billingsley is young and underrated. He won't fly under anyone's radar this season as the top gun in the rotation. Anything the Dodgers get out of Jason Schmidt is a nice surprise, but as it should be, they aren't expecting anything.

The offense shouldn't be a problem, considering the perfect mix of youth (James Loney, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier), and veterans (Manny, Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin).

The acquisition of Orlando Hudson will give them solid defense up the middle and plenty of depth, considering Blake DeWitt will start the season coming off the bench.

Juan Pierre, Mart Loretta, and Brad Ausmus on the bench gives L.A. proven starters to fall back on in case of injury.

The biggest question mark is the bullpen, which suffered a hit when Takashi Saito signed with Boston, and an even bigger hit when the Dodgers, for some reason, signed Guillermo Mota.

2) Arizona Diamondbacks (82-80)

If Webb and Haren win all of their starts, the D'Backs might be able to make some noise. Two great starting pitchers works well for you when you've got a good enough offense, and maybe a couple of mediocre-to-decent pitchers to back them up.

Arizona only has two great starting pitchers. No good enough offense, no mediocre-to-decent pitchers to back them up.

The D'Backs' season relies completely on these two. The young offense still won't be able to gel, because there are no veterans to lean on when things get murky. This year's Diamondbacks team will be like the Marlins of the past few years. The energy of the young players will make noise and scare some teams for about 120 or 130 games, but not for a full season.

3) San Francisco Giants (77-85)

If any team in the division is a sleeper, it's the Giants. They may have the best set of five pitchers in the West, but that's only if Barry Zito decides to win a couple games this time around.

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Randy Johnson provide a solid punch day-in and day-out. The Big Unit will be primed for this season because he's five wins away from 300. He won't throw in the towel after he gets it as long as the team is competitive.

The Giants still lack the big bat in the middle of their lineup necessary to rip opponents apart, so the bullpen will be crucial to the Giants' success.

San Fran picked up Jeremy Affeldt and Bob Howry in free agency, with Brian Wilson set to close out games...for now. Affeldt and Howry have both been closers before.

If starters go deep and the offense provides a little extra now and again, the Giants will be alright.

4) San Diego Padres (68-94)

Now that I'm picking them to finish fourth, they'll finally have a good year. It couldn't come too soon for the Padres, either.

Jake Peavy, somehow, is still in SoCal, as is Chris Young. Trevor Hoffman isn't.

Adrian Gonzalez anchors the offense, but doesn't have much around him, like usual. Brian Giles is a year older, and Cliff Floyd, if healthy, will be available to pinch hit in late innings for the Fathers.

Mark Prior has a chance to win a spot in the rotation, but the odds of him not being injured are probably about even with the chances of the Padres winning the World Series (somewhere around 100/1).

5) Colorado Rockies (60-102)

I'd love to feel bad for the Rockies, but I just don't. After trading Matt Holliday to Oakland, they're left with next to nothing.

Aaron Cook may have a decent year like he did last year (16 wins), and Garrett Atkins will look to have a .300, 30 home run, 120 RBI year, but that's a lot to ask of him without Holliday in the lineup.

Brad Hawpe, Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Atkins will all be severely affected by Holliday's absence.

Brian Fuentes left in free agency, leaving a hole in the Rockies' bullpen as well. It will be interesting to see how Huston Street and Jason Marquis react to the climate change.