The lawn mowers are being dusted off, the sprinkler systems are coming on, and baseball is back in full-swing. Even in the Northeast, where the weather has been more up-and-down more than a rollercoaster, the baseball season kicks-off in the Bronx this Thursday at 1:05 p.m. EST.
With spring training in the rear-view mirror, we will get a first glance at all of the teams at full strength, and how much the offseason arrivals and departures that will help, or hurt, teams.
After free-agency settled down, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox appeared to be the real winners this offseason.
The Phillies were able to land the biggest free-agent, in Cliff Lee. Lee turned down a more lucrative offer from the New York Yankees, and signed in Philly, where he last pitched in 2009. He joins the starting rotation that already had Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton. With that pitching, and their always solid offense centered around Ryan Howard, the Phillies are, on paper, the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series.
The Boston Red Sox went the opposite route of the Phillies. They focused on their offense in the offseason. In a matter of days, they were able to sign Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Crawford was a cornerstone of the Tampa Bay Rays in years prior, having both power and speed on the base paths. Gonzalez, who is coming off of shoulder surgery, adds even more power. And with their always strong rotation, and improved offense, the Sox look like the class of the American League, and are looking at a World Series run.
These are just predictions. Sure, they are the favorites on paper, but that doesn’t mean you are a World Series lock. Take a look at the Yankees three years ago (Sorry, had to get that jab in).
There are other teams looking to make a run. The San Francisco Giants, last year’s champs, were quiet this offseason, keeping their team intact. The Yankees always have a powerful team, and, will once again, fight with the Sox for the top spot in the AL East. The Colorado Rockies is my sleeper team this season. They have been building a solid team with a lot of talent, but not a lot of stars. They are looking to knock off the Giants in the NL West.
Now, on to my predictions.
In the World Series, I have the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Red Sox in six-games. Now, this kills me to say this, because I am a Red Sox fan, but I think the Phillies pitching will prevail over Boston’s pitching, and the Phillies offense is just slightly better. It will be a heavyweight fight, with the Phillies giving to knockout in Game 6.
Enjoy the season, and hope that the start of baseball brings spring weather along with it.
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