Ten burning baseball-related questions (plus one)

Marte

My take on a few questions from writer friend, and Royals fan, Rob in Iowa:

1. Will Boston hold on in the East?
Rob’s take: No. It’ll be a massacre come September.
Possibly. Boston’s run differential is now +92. Believe it or not, that’s the third best in baseball, a run behind Detroit for second (St. Louis +121) and almost 50 runs ahead of Tampa Bay in the East. And the only guys really overachieving on the whole roster are Iglesias, Carp, and Buchholz. (John Lackey’s peripherals are actually as good as his record.) They’re for real.

2. Can the Yankees do anything to keep from sliding into the cellar?
Giancarlo Stanton. Sorry, I meant Guillermo Mota. Actually, Manny Mota. That’s a no.

3. Can Atlanta maintain cruise control past Labor Day?
Rob’s take: No. Washington, in a surprise attack, crosses the ice-choked Delaware…standing in the boat.
Agreed on Washington, whom I thought would win 100+, won’t, but are close enough to the Braves to make a run. On an unrelated note, I love the fact that fans actually call Ross Detwiler “National Det.”

4. Can Pittsburgh win the World Series?
Rob’s take: No. Baltimore will.
Picking the Orioles last before the season, I wrote: Whoever wrote they’ll be a better team than 2012 with a worse record: yeah, that. Due to regress despite breaking in Machado for a full season and Dylan Bundy sometime during the summer. I’ll take them in 2015 though. I was half right; they ARE a better team, and they could win the World Series if they had the Pirates’ rotation and bullpen.

5. Will the Cardinals make the playoffs?
ESPN gives the Braves the second-best odds of any team in baseball of making the playoffs at 93.9%. The only team better? St. Louis, at 96% (despite being in second, two games behind the ‘Burgh). Sadly, I think ESPN is correct. Sadder yet, if either team ends up with Cliff Lee, I could reluctantly root for it.

6. Will Miami finish dead last?
Rob’s take: No, they’re already getting ornery. The White Sox will.
Run differentials, part II: Miami: -87. The White Sox: -58. Seattle: -65. Milwaukee: -63. Houston: -132. My money’s still on the Astros.

7. Can the Diamondbacks and/or Rockies keep it up?
The Rockies are the only team I’m 99% sure will NOT win the NL West. I picked SF before the season which could happen, with the Dodgers as a wild card, which won’t happen. (To clarify: the Dodgers can win the division– any team except the Rockies can– but no way can two teams from the NL West this season end up in the playoffs. Winning the West may not take more than 84 wins, but winning the second wild card will.)

8. Will Detroit find breathing room?
Rob’s take: No. KC and Cleveland play meaningful games toward October. Leyland in intensive care.
Eventually, yes. Detroit is a 92 win team. Kansas City is an 84 win team. Cleveland is probably a 78-80 win team that will stop playing the White Sox at some point.

9. Will Wil Myers carry Tampa Bay to yet another glorious finish?
No, but more because I don’t know that Tampa can beat out Boston, Baltimore, or even Toronto (if Dickey’s back to being Dickey) than because of what Myers will do. Besides, only one man can lead Tampa to glorious finishes.

10. Andre Ethier, Kansas City Royal?
Rob’s take: Andre’s a perfect fit and might pull off a “Hunter Pence” and carry KC to the playoffs. (Did I really just write that?)
No Ethier (wearing my Royals cap & not my Dodgers cap)! He’s not even league average anymore (slugging percentages since 2008: .510, .508, .493, .421, .460, .372 so far this season…or if you prefer, on-base percentages since 2008: .375, .361, .364, .368, .351, .331 so far this season); his contract runs through 2018 (he’ll be 36) and is worth $72M at minimum AFTER this season counting an age 36 buyout ($87M without the buyout). The Royals would do just as well trying to pick up John Mayberry Jr. from Amaro (too bad Francoeur’s not still a Royal, it would be perfect) and platooning him with somebody who could hit RHP (David Lough??); Mayberry’s making $517K this season and won’t become a free agent before 2017.

11. Bonus question: In the entire history of Major League Baseball, have the Twins ever beaten New York?
Well, as of February 2011, the Morneau/Mauer Twins were 18-57 against the Yankees– and those were The Yankees, not some team with Vernon Wells (.186 vs. RHP in 2013 in 167 at bats, with an on-base percentage of .226– he also batted .133 in June, 10 for 75, with one double, no triples, and no homers) batting cleanup and Zoilo Almonte batting sixth and who is 3-0 against the Twins so far this season. (OK, so the Twins starters in those games were Diamond, Deduno, and Walters, not Santana, Radke, Liriano, etc., but still.) So effectively, no. And playoffs, definitely no. Poor Mauer.

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