The Tenth Inning – Week 2 ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
By Mike Ivcic
As is usually the case with the start of any season of any sport, some teams didn’t live up to preseason expectations â some in a good way, and some in a not so good way. For this week’s column, let’s look at three teams that lost their first series of the season but will ultimately finish above the team that beat them during the first three games of the year.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3. Colorado Rockies
Meanwhile there were four other somewhat surprising series results that have left me a little less sure of the end result 159 games from now. While I picked the Yankees and Red Sox to both finish ahead of the Rays in the AL East, Tampa certainly looked like a much more dominant team than either of those two this weekend. The Rays are the least talented team of the three, but talent isn’t everything in baseball. Tampa’s starting rotation is probably better than New York’s or Boston’s, and that could be what vaults them over one or both of those teams. Boston certainly didn’t show themselves well in getting swept by Detroit, but the Tigers are one of the five best teams in baseball at this point, and it won’t affect the Red Sox too much in the division race. The more interesting American League result is Baltimore’s sweep of Minnesota, as the Orioles started 3-0 for the second straight year. Baltimore is, by just about everyone’s account, the worst team in the AL East, but with such a toss-up behind Detroit, it’s entirely conceivable that the Twins could be one of multiple teams in the Central that finish with a worse record than the last place team in the East.
Finally, there’s one other National League result that has a few people rethinking their preseason predictions, except for yours truly. In my NL preview, I said the Mets would beat out at least one team in the NL East, and selected the Braves as the team that would finish last. Sure enough, New York’s second team swept the opening series with Atlanta, providing at least a small glimmer of hope to Mets fans. A playoff appearance is still almost entirely out of the question, but New York’s offense and the return of Santana looks like it might be enough to at least keep the team afloat into the late summer. The Braves, on the other hand, look more like a team that’s about to freefall as opposed to one ready to challenge to a playoff berth yet again, and they can’t get Tim Hudson back soon enough. Since I picked the Mets to have a better record than the Braves at the start, the outcome of last weekend’s series wasn’t a surprise to me, but to most people around the game, it was perhaps the most stunning outcome of the first 45 games.
Three series to watch this weekâ¦
Check out my weekly column, “The Tenth Inning,” every Monday at ultimatecapper.com
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