Thursday, August 30, 2007
Odds ‘N Ends … By my estimation the Phillies ought to have two gold glovers at the end of the season: Shane Victorino, who is third amongst N.L. right fielders in Relative Zone Rating and has ten assists, ought to be the right field gold glove. Chase Utley is leading N.L. second basemen in RZR and is third in Range Factor. Both deserve the nod and I think Utley is basically a lock to take the Gold Glove and might still win the MVP award despite missing a little playing time. He has 21 Wins Shares, four behind N.L. leader Albert Pujols, whose Cardinals are having a terrible, terrible season. If I had to guess who the front-runners are for the MVP right now, I’d say …
1. Chase Utley
2. Jose Reyes
3. Carlos Beltran
4. Albert Pujols
5. Prince Fielder
Fielder is playing on a small-market, mid-western team that might fail to make the playoffs. Pujols is playing on a team that sucks and his performance is less impressive than last season’s, when he didn’t win the award. Beltran and Reyes will split the vote of New York writers, so I think the MVP is Utley’s to lose at this point.
Cy Young-wise, I’d say the front-runners are …
1. Jake Peavy
2. Brandon Webb
3. Brad Penny
4. Tim Hudson
5. Cole Hamels
I’m about 90% that Peavy will win. Webb, last year’s winner, stands about an 9% chance. The rest – Penny, Hudson and Hamels – are also-rans who don’t stand a chance. Hamels injuries don’t help.
Speaking of Cole Hamels … he’s slated to return from the DL and pitch Sunday against the Florida Marlins. Hamels return will be just in time to help the Phillies come down from this insane sixteen games in sixteen days. Since the Phillies lost four of six to the Dodgers and Padres, they’ve rebounded quite nicely. Let’s see if the Phillies can keep things runnin’ …
Given that most of the Phillies games down the stretch are against the rest of the N.L. East, they are well-set to make a run on the Dodgers, D-Backs and Padres for the wildcard, because they have to battle it out amongst themselves while the Phillies get to prey on the Nationals and Marlins. The Phillies are 7-4 against the Nats and 6-6 against the Marlins and Braves. As the Marlins continue to slid towards irrelevance, I like the Phillies chances.
Turning my eye towards the rest of the MLB … The Red Sox and Angels are pretty much locks to win the A.L. East and A.L. West respectively. Forget the Yankees. They just don’t have the staying power to keep up with the Red Sox. I think the Tigers will nudge out the Indians for the Central and the Yankees will be the wildcard. I anticipate a good race at the wire between the Yankees and Mariners for the wildcard … I still think that the Angels are a near-lock to win the World Series this season.
The Mets and Phillies will make the playoffs in the N.L., along with the Padres and Cubs. After their slow start, the Cubs could end up playing in the World Series after all. While the Padres should have the edge here because of their terrific pitching, it is an interesting phenomenon that teams with good pitching tend to come up empty in playoff series: the Braves consistently went flat in the playoffs over the last 14 or so years, and teams built around pitching like the Mariners really struggled (e.g., 2001 Mariners). I am thinking that the Phillies or Cubs will roll into the post-season as the N.L. representative to take on the Angels.
One more post before I go on vacation!
also Go BIRDS!