Yanks to reclaim baseball’s top spot

For this week, I was planning on making Final Four predictions. But after last week’s dismal performance, (0-4 on the Final Four), I need to switch sports. So, I wrote a Major League Baseball preview. At least if these picks fall apart, nobody will remember them by October — or even tomorrow, for that matter.

American League East

Clearly, this is a two-team race. Toronto is not good and Baltimore and Tampa Bay should be awful, as usual. The Yankees should win this one because they have six quality starters in Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, David Wells, Jeff Weaver, and Jose Contreras. Meanwhile, the lineup is as stacked as any in baseball. The only thing to fear would be injuries (see Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Steve Karsay). However, the Red Sox do have the best 1-2 starting pitching combination in the American League. Other than Pedro Martinez’s health, their major area of concern should be the closer by committee bullpen, especially after blowing a ninth-inning lead opening day. The Sox should be able to take advantage of all 57 games against Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore to win the wild card.



American League Central

A potential race between the Twins and White Sox. The Twins seem to be everyone’s favorite, but the White Sox did add Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch. The White Sox have a better pitching staff with the combination of Mark Buerhle and Colon, and their lineup has more pop.



American League West

Once again, the best division in baseball, which will be unfortunate for a second place team that is too beat up to win the wild card. This division can be won by the Athletics, Mariners, or Angels. I’ll take the A’s, because they still have the best starting pitchers in baseball: Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Ted Lilly and 2002 Cy Young winner Barry Zito.



National League East

This year could be the end of the Braves’ dominance over this division. The Phillies picked up Jim Thome and Kevin Millwood, among others. The Mets got Tom “booed on opening day” Glavine. But the Braves are still the best team, even if Mike Hampton still sucks. Greg Maddux, Paul Byrd, and Russ Ortiz should be enough to lead the Braves to the title for the 87th straight season.



National League Central

Cubs, Astros, Cardinals? The Cubs have the best staff with Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Shawn Estes. However, they might have no offense besides Sammy Sosa. But I’m going to go out on a limb and pick them.



National League West

There is a lot of talk about the Diamondbacks and the Giants, but not so much on the Dodgers. Yet, the Dodgers did win 92 games last year without Kevin Brown. The Dodgers’ rotation — with Hideo Nomo, Brown, Kaz Ishii, Odalis Perez and Darren Dreifort — is much better than their rivals’. The Diamondbacks should not have too much offense or pitching, after Johnson and Schilling. Meanwhile, the Giants have a solid lineup and a good enough rotation to win the wild card.



Playoffs

AL

Yankees over White Sox

Red Sox over A’s

Yankees over Red Sox

NL

Dodgers over Cubs

Giants over Braves

Dodgers over Giants

World Series

Yankees over Dodgers

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