Mama Needs a New Pair of Shoes
The crack of the bat and the scent of hot dogs fill the air, the World Baseball Classic has come and gone and the Yankees are piling up injuries. That’s right, baseball is back and the folks in Mudville couldn’t be more excited to return to their eternal pessimism.
The winter was tough – as a dozen eggs, a tank of gas and the heating bill ate up the entire paycheck – so it’s time to replenish the coffers; and what better way to do it than to look at the over/unders for each team in MLB and offer a prediction?
This is always a fun exercise which I try not to attack emotionally. There are a handful of teams whom I’d go with the under on simply beacause I can’t help myself in rooting for their demise… and the subsequent misery of their fans. You’ll get a hint of who those teams might be as we go through this year’s predictions with a brief reason why I could be right or wrong.
The new, balanced schedule does put a bit of a wrinkle into this. Less divisional games, everyone plays everyone at least once, and the frequent flyer miles will be piling up. Do fewer divisional games favor teams from stronger divisions more? Do teams on the rise get a bump from playing more games against weaker teams?
I suppose if you’re a good team it doesn’t matter, but as you look at this year’s predicted totals, what is apparent is that not only was the schedule was heavily factored inn but there are more teams predicted at or above .500 than I would like to see for the purposes of this exercise.
As a disclaimer, I did not consult with any current player or coach or, in fact, any employee of any team in Major League Baseball. I would never put them in a position to violate the rule of baseball that everyone not named Pete Rose has understood since the Black Sox Scandal; betting on baseball is no bueno.
Houston 96.5 Wins – the division should be a bit better and they replaced some games versus Oakland and Texas with some others against teams on the top end of this list – and they lost Verlander. I’m still saying OVER.
LA Dodgers 96.5 – Buehler? Buehler? They will win their share because it’s what they do, but I’m saying UNDER.
Atlanta 95.5 – Who plays left? Who plays short? Who wins the loaded NL East? Who cares? OVER
NY Yankees 95.5 – The injuries already are piling up. Aaron Boone will still add to his resume of one of the most successful regular season managers who never won squat. OVER
NY Mets 95.5 – If they hit the over it will have to be before Labor Day because that’s when the Mets seem to quit working for the rest of the season. UNDER
San Diego 93.5 – Can a team literally spend their way to 94 wins? Keep Tatis off two wheeled vehicles and administer any and all medications directly to him after they have been properly vetted. Oh, there’s that other part of the game, pitching. UNDER
Toronto 92.5 – Should be the best team in the AL, at least on paper. Donnie Baseball adds 3 wins because he just does. OVER
St. Louis 89.5 – I am done counting the Cardinals out of anything. I don’t care if Adam Wainwright broke in with Bob Gibson. OVER
Tampa Bay 89.5 – The Zach Eflin signing should fix everything. Another team I shouldn’t count out because they seem to McGyver their way to 90 wins but …. UNDER
Seattle 88.5 – Do they build on last year or do they become last year’s White Sox? Too much talent not to be better. OVER
Philadelphia 88.5 – Trea Turner will become a folk hero in Philly. I’ll be retrieving HR Balls off my front lawn 12 miles away. OVER
Cleveland – 87.5 – Tito does what Tito does. He finds a way to get the most out of everyone and Bieber is all the way back. OVER
Milwaukee 85.5 – You never piss off your best player over a couple million bucks. UNDER
ChiSox 84.5 – No way they underperform two years in a row. No way. Get well soon, Liam Hendricks. OVER
Texas 82.5 – Add a high-priced elite talent pitcher who could make as many as 10 starts and slot Andrew Heaney behind him? UNDER
Minnesota 82.5 – Now it gets tricky. Buxton has a fully healthy season and Maeda returns to form. OVER
San Francisco 80.5 – If they would have signed everyone they were supposedly in on, this number would be much higher. Sean Manaea is not Carlos Rodon but they will tinker their way to…. OVER
LA Angels 80.5 – Yep, right where they live. Enjoy Ohtani’s farewell tour. OVER by .5
Cubbies 77.5 – The sexiest man alive is their new Shortstop. Trey Mancini will never not be a great guy to root for. Can they pitch? Wisdom says OVER
Boston 77.5 – I love this number. No apparent real clue what they are trying to do here except make a bunch of money. UNDER
Orioles 76.5 – What a nice story they were last year. The young players are fun. How do you improve upon that? You sign Kyle Gibson. – UNDER
Arizona 75.5 – When your OF Depth is so strong that you can trade Dalton Varsho you have something going on. MadBum, I’m counting on you. OVER
Miami 74.5 – Oh, that young pitching. The rest of it is like Abbott & Costello. Who’s on first? What’s the 3rd baseman’s name? UNDER
Detroit 69.5 – How do you tank to build your team and actually get worse? UNDER
Kansas City 68.5 – The young hitters are fun. Singer is good and Greinke is still lobbing eephus pitches. OVER
Colorado 67.5 – When your owner says out loud that he’d be happy to finish .500, it says everything that needs to be said. UNDER
Pittsburgh 66.5 – Yeah, the owner doesn’t care. Who pitches? I get all that but I’m still saying OVER
Cincy 64.5 – I have no idea what the Reds are trying to make happen here. Worse yet, neither do they. Maybe Lodolo and Greene take the next step and they get to 70 wins. OVER
Washington 60.5 – Maybe the worst team in the history of baseball. That beautiful new ballpark will be emptier than Rob Manfred’s head. UNDER
OakVegas 59.5 – Remember what I said about the Nats? If it weren’t for this mess I would be right. They should celebrate every win by popping the bubbly. They will be few and far between. Viva Las Vegas. UNDER
OK, there you have it. Use this information for entertainment purposes only because I won’t be held responsible for the outcome. I will check in on this at the All-Star break to see how it’s going.
In the meantime, there is joy in Mudville tonight as the game is ramping up and hope once again springs eternal. Don’t trip on the bigger bases and stay on your side of the infield, please.