Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Braves Blog: 2011 Opening Day

New Year’s Day

First Things First: A Word about the Old Man

Robert Cox moved down from the front office to the dugout midway through the 1990 season. At that point in time, the Atlanta Braves were a joke. Cox’s move to manager didn’t seem to help much that year, as the team finished with the worst record in baseball, 65-97, and 26 games out of 1st. It was the 7th consecutive losing season for a team that had still never won a playoff game since moving to Atlanta in 1966. On October 3rd, they lost their final game of the season, and as usual the postseason would begin without them, as it had in 23 of their 25 seasons in Atlanta. Two days later, my little brother Jack was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The next time the Braves missed out on the postseason, my brother was 16 years old.

I will miss Bobby. I will miss the steadiness he brought to the franchise. I will miss the way he stood up for his players. I will miss the way he fought for every pitch. I will miss him yanking off his hat when an ump missed a pitch. I will miss him trotting out onto the field to speak for the rest of us. I will miss the way his players thought about him and played for him. I will miss his loyalty. I will always miss the way he cheered and rooted on his players, the way we all do at home. That’s what I’ll miss the most: that he cared as much as I did. He left the team in good hands, but it will never be quite the same without Mr. Cox.

A Good Start to a New Beginning

It’s only been a few months since the Freddy Gonzalez era began. We haven’t even played an official game yet. But I have to say, I like the way he has handled things so far. I was surprised and delighted the way the final opening day roster ended up. In case you missed it, here’s the 25-man squad the Braves will start the 2011 campaign with.

Starting Position Players

C Brian McCann

1B Freddy Freeman

2B Dan Uggla

SS Alex Gonzalez

3B Chipper Jones

LF Martin Prado

CF Nate McLouth

RF Jason Heyward


C David Ross

IF Brook Conrad

MI Brandon Hicks

IF/OF Eric Hinske

OF Matt Young

Starting Pitchers

RH Tim Hudson

RH Derek Lowe

RH Tommy Hanson

RH Jair Jurrgens

RH Brandon Beachy


RH Cristhian Martinez

RH Peter Moylan

RH Scott Linebrink

LH Eric O’Flaherty

LH George Sherrill

LH Johnny Venters

RH Craig Kimbrel

Final Roster Decisions

The biggest story is that Joe Mather failed to make the team. If you read my spring training preview, you’ll know that I was extremely pleased by this development. Mather was simply terrible this spring, but most people still expected him to make the team based on his versatility and the fact that he bats right handed. Also, keeping Mather off the opening day roster would mean waiving him and allowing any other team to pick him up. But Gonzalez took fan favorite Matt Young instead, choosing to place performance and potential above things like experience.

This was not the only interesting and (for me anyway) exciting final roster decision. Martinez made the team ahead of veteran Scott Proctor, despite the fact that the Braves would have to pay Proctor anyway. Proctor has never been able to recover from arm troubles that caused the Yankees to let him go a few years back, and Martinez did a good job when called upon last season and this spring. In addition, Hicks making the team as the backup shortstop was a big surprise, simply because he has struggled with the bat even the minor leagues. However, he is strong defensively and a fast runner, and he looked much better at the plate this spring. Finally, Beachy won the 5th spot in the rotation. I think this was a good move as well. Beachy looks to be the guy most ready to help the team right now, and it certainly won’t hurt to give Minor some more time at AAA. Thankfully, the Rodrigo Lopez situation worked itself out and never became much of a threat.

Kenshin Kawakami will begin the year at AA, with the Braves still looking for a suitor to take him off their hands. Jordan Schafer will also begin the season in the minor leagues. There was hope that he would impress during spring training now that he is supposedly fully healthy. Unfortunately he struggled mightily. Anything’s possible, but at this point I’m not really counting on him being a part of the team’s success in the future.

Odds and Ends

The most positive result of spring training was that Chipper Jones made it through without any setbacks and will begin the season in the starting lineup. Freddie Freeman had a very good spring and heads into the season as the starting first baseman. Martin Prado seems to have made a seamless transition from the infield to the outfield, and he will be the left fielder on opening day.

The bullpen is a bit more of a concern for me now than it was at the start of spring training. For now, Gonzalez plans to use both Venters and Kimbrel to finish games. Hopefully this will work out, because I’m not as confident about the veterans the Braves brought in over the offseason, particularly Sherrill, who really struggled during ST. On a positive note, the bullpen as a whole finished the exhibition strongly.

The defensive problems that were a problem during the latter stages of last season have been evident again this spring. Hopefully most of the trouble was due to a lack of focus, as many of the errors did occur in the last couple of weeks, when the players were ready for the season to begin. Freeman is a very good defensive first baseman. Defense is not strength for Uggla. The Braves have a rotation full of groundball pitchers, so hopefully this will not be an issue.

Finally, I have to say that I’m a bit worried about Brian McCann. Mac did not have a good spring at the plate. On its own, that would not concern me very much. I’m more worried about his state of mind. It was a foul ball off Mac’s bat that struck minor league manager Luis Salazar in the face and eventually led to him having extensive surgery. In the end, Salazar lost his eye. No one would blame McCann in any way for this tragedy, but you don’t know what McCann may be telling himself. We can only hope that he puts it behind him.

More to Come

As much as I’ve been anticipating opening day, I have to say that it still managed to sneak up on me. I will write much more about the Bravos and the 2011 season over the next few days. For now, let’s hope we can get off to a good start on Thursday in Washington, a place where we have always struggled.

The Baseball Blog: 2011 Team Rankings and Previews

Rankings and Previews

You may note that my rankings don’t always matchup with my predictions for the season. This is due to a variety of things, including (but not limited to) the unbalanced schedule; the format of the postseason vs. the 162-game regular season; the general randomness of outcomes when it comes to competition; sentimentality; and the overall unscientific nature of the process by which I come up with both these rankings and my predictions.

*Yes, I know what the Angels now call themselves, but this is my blog.

*Projected W-L total in parenthesis.

1. Boston Red Sox (95-67): I don’t like doing it, but I have to say that the Red Sox have the best team on paper. They really have turned into a twin of their arch enemy from the Bronx. Think of all the big name veterans who have come through Boston over just the last few years. Big name players stay a short time and then go, and new big name players replace them. The difference between the Yanks and Sox at the moment, however, is the farm system. Boston has been able to combine players acquired through trades or free agency with guys they’ve developed themselves. New York is lagging in this area.

The Red Sox were the champions of the offseason by a mile, bringing in Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Bobby Jenks. And remember, Boston won 89 games last year, despite dealing with a plague of injuries. A big budget team like the Sox can deal with those sorts of injuries but that’s not even the point. They’re due for a healthy year.

Defense was a problem at times last year, but Boston should be much better in that department this season, with Gonzalez and Crawford added to the mix, plus (presumably) less games missed by their everyday regulars. The lineup is as deep and strong as any in the game. The bullpen is made up of hard throwing veterans, many of whom are former closers. Their rotation may not be up there with San Francisco and Philadelphia, but at worst they’re going to get good starting pitching. If they get bounce back years from Josh Beckett and John Lackey they could be elite.

2. Philadelphia Phillies (100-62): Again, I hate to admit it, but the Phillies have the best team in the National League on paper. The only reason I wouldn’t put them ahead of Boston is the injury problem. Like the Red Sox, the Phillies dealt with constant health problems last season, yet they still managed to post the best record in all of baseball. Unlike the Red Sox, however, the Phillies haven’t seen their injury problems change this spring. If Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Dominic Brown, and Brad Lidge were all healthy at this point, I’d at least have to say that the Phillies were as good as the Sox on paper.

Even with the injuries the Phillies are scary due to their rotation alone. If Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton have typical seasons, the Phillies will be hard to beat. Period. The bullpen is not as strong as some of the other contenders, but it’s still solid. Plus, when you have a rotation of true aces, the bullpen doesn’t have to be dominant. I do think that the departure of Jayson Werth and the absence of Chase Utley (at least for a while) will hurt. Still, the Phillies lineup is capable from top to bottom. The hitters know how to turn the order over and make pitchers work to get them out. Can you go after Raul Ibanez in a big spot and get an out? Sure. But he’ll probably foul off 10 tough pitches over the course of a few at bats and the effect it has on your pitcher will show up at some point. Can you get Ryan Howard to chase pitches out of the strike zone? Yes. But if the game’s in Philly and he hits the ball in the air, it’s going into the seats. You can shut down Rollins, Utely, and Howard, but then Carlos Ruiz will hit a bases loaded double to beat you. It’s pretty brutal.

Then there are all of the little things that the Phillies do which might only recognize if your favorite team has to face them 74 times a season. Defensively they’re always sound. They are excellent base runners and base stealers. They not only steal often, they steal more efficiently than any team in the game. And they’re resilient. They play hard from the 1st pitch to the last out. That’s cliché, but with Philly it’s true. You cannot assume a win at any point, particularly at Citizens Bank.

3. San Francisco Giants (96-66): I really didn’t expect to predict the defending champs to be this good. Teams seem to rise and fall more quickly than they used to. If you look at some of the surprise contenders of the last 4 or 5 years, you’ll see that their unexpected breakthrough season is usually followed by a dip. They may not sink back to the bottom, but people often expect them to be just as good as the year before and they normally aren’t. I’ll talk more about this later when discussing the Rangers, but my point is that you have to be careful with “surprise” teams because their breakthrough season might not lead to consistent excellence.

I was particularly wary of this issue in the case of the Giants. I am of the opinion that the Giants’ success last season was less a blueprint for how to win championships, and more a case of their blueprint working for once after failing for the last 15 years. That may sound like the hurt feelings of a fan whose team lost to the Giants in the playoffs (I hate the term “sour grapes” so I wrote this awkward sentence instead), but honestly, the Giants had a slew of things go their way last season to enable them to make that run. First they needed the Padres to collapse, which they did. The Giants got hot and got into the playoffs. As we all know, once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen, especially if you have a pitching staff capable of being dominant. The Giants did have that sort of staff. Their rotation and pen was simply lights out in October. But this alone wouldn’t have gotten the Giants their rings. They also needed the hodgepodge of aging veterans and castoffs that made up their lineup to come through with some timely hitting. And they most certainly did that.

Take nothing away from the Giants. At the end of the day (or season), whoever wins it all deserves it. But do they really have the formula for being a contender year in and year out? I’m still not sure, and that’s why I didn’t expect to rate the Giants as high as I did. However, they return virtually their entire pitching staff which ended up being the best in the game last year. That’s hard to ignore. And while they certainly overachieved offensively in the playoffs, they are certainly capable of scoring enough runs to win with that pitching.

4. Texas Rangers (93-69): Now let’s get back to that thing about surprise teams coming back to Earth. Between the Giants and Rangers, I really think Texas looks more like a team ready to contend for the next four of five years. They have a roster full of homegrown talent that is now in bloom. From the front office down, the Rangers know exactly how they want to go about doing things. And now they have the resources and the motivation to improve by bringing in guys like Adrian Beltre. They seem more likely to have sustained success than San Francisco.

However, the recent history of World Series runners up has to make you a little unsure. The Phillies lost the 2009 World Series but they were the defending world champs that season. The teams that lost the WS in the three previous years were all surprise winners, and all three of them came back to Earth the following year. The Tigers went from 71 wins to 95 wins in 2006 and lost to the Cardinals in the World Series. Big things were expected the next year, but they fell off to 88 wins, and they’ve since posted seasons of 74, 86, and 81 wins. In 2007, the Rockies came out of nowhere, improving from 76 wins to 90 wins, and they lost to the Red Sox in the World Series. Many people expected them to stay atop the NL West, but they won just 74 games the next season, before winning 92 in 2009 and 83 last year. The biggest surprise of all came in 2008 when the Rays went from 66 wins to 97 wins and lost to the Phils in the WS. They fell off to 84 wins in 2009, but they came back with 96 wins last season. To make a long story short, recent history says that the Rangers may be contenders in the years to come, but they may take a step or two back in the immediate future.

However, the recent history of WS losers is about the only reason you might predict the Rangers to decline this season. They are loaded with good young pitchers in the rotation and the bullpen. They have a very potent offense, adding Beltre to a lineup that already includes Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, etc. Beltre should also help them defensively. Not being able to sign Cliff Lee obviously hurt, but they still have a number of very solid guys in the rotation. It may not be likely, but if the Brandon Webb thing works out it will look like a steal.

5. Chicago White Sox (92-70): Again, I didn’t expect to predict the White Sox to be as good as I did. But I just really like their roster. They’ve got a nice mixture of speed and power throughout the lineup. It’s just not going to be easy pitching to a middle of the order that includes Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, and Carlos Quentin. The rotation is solid and in my opinion has the potential to be really good if Mark Buehrle bounces back and Jake Peavy can stay healthy. The bullpen is a bit of a question mark. It could be a weakness or it could be solid if Matt Thornton holds down the closer spot.

6. New York Yankees (90-72): For the past decade I’ve predicted the Yankees to win the World Series virtually every season. They usually have the top team on paper and they always have the resources to fix anything that goes wrong. However, this year you simply can’t argue that they have the best team on paper. The Yanks have fallen behind the Red Sox and Phillies, and maybe even the Rangers and Giants. It’s been a combination of things. They’re core players are getting older and declining or even retiring. They are no longer in their own universe in terms of spending, so guys like Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee aren’t automatically Yankees they way they once would have been. Finally, the Yanks just don’t have that great of a farm system, or at least the guys they have held on to haven’t yet reached their potential. They’re going to try and make it work this season with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, and because they’re the Yankees they’ll almost certainly be in contention. But right now their pitching just doesn’t measure up to the other top teams. You know they’ll be tough with Rafael Soriano and the Great Mariano Rivera at the back of the pen, but the Yanks may have to rely on that pen a lot. The lineup is of course strong but you just don’t know what they’re going to get out of some of their older stars.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71): One more time, I did not expect to pick the Dodgers to have this sort of year. They’re dealing with Frank McCourt’s nasty divorce and that will no doubt have an effect on how the team is run in the future. For now, however, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. They are loaded with talent throughout the roster. At times it has definitely been an attitude/chemistry issue and Don Mattingly taking over for Joe Torre may help in that regard. Of course, everything I just wrote could perhaps be disproved by the comments Andre Ethier has made over the last few days, but I still think their attitudes will be better once they start winning. And they have too much talent in the rotation, the pen, and the lineup not to win games.

8. Minnesota Twins (90-72): By now I think we’ve all learned to assume that the Twins are going to be right at the top of the AL Central standings by the end of the year. They should get an offensive boost if Justin Morneau really is all the way back from his awful head injury. Joe Nathan is coming back from elbow surgery and he’s pretty shaky this spring, but the Twins always have a strong pen and Matt Capps is capable of closing again if needed. Their weakness, in my opinion, is the rotation. They are usually solid, led by Francisco Liriano, but after that they’re pretty average. Still, I’m sure they’ll be there in the hunt by the end of the year.

9. Atlanta Braves (91-71): My team got back to the playoffs last season but didn’t make it past San Fran. Bobby Cox is gone but hopes are high for this year’s team. I really wouldn’t say that the Braves are great in any area. They have a solid lineup, a deep rotation, and they should have a decent bullpen. Defense is the only major weakness. If Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson have breakthrough seasons the Braves could be very good. But someone will have to replace Billy Wagner. Based on spring training results, that may not be as easy to do as some of us have been thinking.

10. Toronto Blue Jays (87-75): A little high maybe but I just really like this team. They’ve got a bunch of good young pitchers. If they can ever get all of their hitters to have good seasons at the same time they will be tough.

11. Tampa Bay Rays (87-75): I think the Rays will take a step back this season. They’ve convinced me that they will be able to contend on a yearly basis despite their financial disadvantages. However, I don’t think they can be as good as the Sox and Yanks every year. This offseason, the Rays lost their best all-around player (Carl Crawford), their biggest power hitter (Carlos Pena), their 2nd best starting pitcher (Matt Garza), their dominant closer (Rafael Soriano), and their other dominant reliever (Joaquin Benoit). They replaced those guys with Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. I’m sorry but I don’t believe they can take that sort of hit and not suffer at least a little.

12. Milwaukee Brewers (87-75): The Brew Crew always hits but this year they have a chance to be a good pitching team as well. This is actually a huge year for Milwaukee. The clock is ticking towards free agency for Prince Fielder. They really need to win now.

13. Detroit Tigers (84-78): I think the Tigers will be good again but they haven’t done much to make me think they’ll be a lot better than they were last season when they went 81-81. It looks like the Miguel Cabrera situation may blow over, but you never know when he’ll fuck up again.

14. Chicago Cubs (84-78): The Cubbies should bounce back this season. They were nowhere near as bad as they played last season and it was time for Sweet Lou to call it a career. Aramis Ramirez should have a much better year and Alfonzo Soriano couldn’t be much worse. They have the talent to be good. But history says they probably won’t be that good. I mean, it has been 103 years now.

15. Oakland Athletics: (83-79): So, the Money Ball movie should be coming out soon. They’re timing could have been better. Lately the A’s have basically written the book on how to be just good enough not to totally suck.

16. Cincinnati Reds (84-78): Sell. Their pitching is highly suspect in both the rotation and the pen. That’s not even my biggest reason to doubt them. Dusty Baker has had the uncanny ability to be a highly successful manager with several different clubs, despite also being a complete moron. At some point it’s going to catch up to him and whatever team he’s managing.

17. St. Louis Cardinals (82-80): The Cards seem to be on the decline. It was a pretty rough spring for the Red Birds. The Albert Pujols situation was left hanging and then they lost their ace. With Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter at the top of the rotation, the Cards had a pair of aces to go with Pujols and Matt Holliday. That was enough to make them dangerous. Without Wainwright, I don’t think Tony LaRussa will be able to get this team into the playoffs. On the other hand, the NL Central is basically up for grabs, so you never know.

18. Anaheim Angels (82-80): I was prepared to continue to pick the Angels to win the West until someone finally stopped them. The Rangers did it last season, and I’m not expecting the Angles to take the division right back. Their decline has come about due to a combination of things. You could always count on the Angels having a decent rotation and a dominant bullpen. That’s no longer the case. Vlad Guerrero, Garrett Anderson, and Bartolo Colon got old and were let go, they haven’t been able to replace spark plug Chone Figgins, and they’ve had bad luck with free agency. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that their highly regarded farm system has produced mostly busts and underachievers.

19. Colorado Rockies (81-81): They’re always dangerous.

20. Florida Marlins (80-72): I just don’t see the Marlins making a big move one way or the other.

21. San Diego Padres (74-88): Well, they were so much better than I expected last year that it was almost embarrassing. But their pitching can’t possibly be as good as it was last year and they lost their superstar. They’re also coming off of a major choke job. I expect a significant drop.

22. Seattle Mariners (73-89): I don’t think they’ll be quite as awful as last season, and I base this on the belief that it’s not possible for them to be that bad offensively again.

23. Washington Nationals (72-90): I kind of feel bad for the Nats. They’re trying really hard to be competitive and make baseball work in DC. But they just haven’t gotten enough from their farm system (yet) to supplement the free agents they have brought in.

24. Houston Astros (70-92): The Astros weren’t nearly as good as their record suggested last season. They won 76 games, despite being outscored by 118 runs. That should be corrected this season.

25. Arizona Diamond Backs (68-94): Same problems. Too many strikeouts, average (at best) rotation, hideous bullpen. Then again, Kirk Gibson has been known to pull out a miracle.

26. Baltimore Orioles (70-92): Buck Showalter seems to have gained a lot of confidence from Baltimore’s meaningless 34-23 record after he took over as manager late last season. It seems to have blinded him from the fact that his team’s offense is average at best, their bullpen is poor, and their rotation is a disaster.

27. New York Mets (63-99): Going into the 2006 postseason, the Mets were heavy favorites to reach the World Series and they appeared to be poised to control the NL East for the rest of the decade. Then they lost in the NLCS and things have gotten steadily worse from that point on. They are broken. They are trying to turn things around, but it may not be possible if the Wilpon’s end up being held responsible for their part in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (62-100): They still suck and they aren’t anywhere near being able to contend.

29. Kansas City Royals (61-101): See above.

30. Cleveland Indians (57-105): Wow. What the hell happened to this franchise? Remember when they had a 3-1 lead in the ALCS over the Red Sox and people were talking about the Tribe being a model franchise for other “small market” teams? How could things go so wrong? Well, for starters, even that Indians team was up and down. They won 80, 93, 78, 96, and 81 games from 2004-2008. To recap, that’s up 13 games, down 15 games, up 18 games, and down 15 games. Another key was ownership’s inability (or unwillingness) to hold on to 3 of their top 5 players: CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez. In addition, the other 2 of their top 5 players are also gone, even though they are still on the team. Due to injuries (and perhaps the embarrassment of having an ex-girlfriend release photos of him standing naked with a coffee cup over his dick), Grady Sizemore has gone from looking like he would be a superstar for a decade to looking like Nick Esasky. Partially due to injuries (and maybe also due to drug testing), Travis Hafner has gone from one of the top sluggers in the game to being washed up. Not surprisingly, the Indians haven’t been able to replace all of those guys. They are at the bottom of the league in all phases of the game.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Baseball Blog: 2011 Season Predictions

Baseball’s Back

And this year I’m ready for it. My bracket’s been dead for like a month. I’ve already done 14 rotisserie drafts, with one more on the 30th. I’m ready for the standings to go up. This is going to be a big year for baseball. There seems to be a shortage of interesting story lines at the moment. I mean, the biggest story to come out of baseball in the last month was Buck Showalter running off at the mouth in a “Men’s Health” article.

Great, so everybody’s mad at Showalter now. I guess it would be noteworthy if there was a single person alive who actually liked the guy, but that’s obviously not the case. We’re just desperate for stories right now. We need baseball to get here and distract some of the media guys from that silly little court case out by the Bay. They’re never going to let it go are they?

But as I mentioned earlier, this is going to be a big year for baseball. It will take a while for the sporting public to turn their attention to the diamond. There’s the Final Four this weekend; then the Masters; various other golf and tennis majors; the draft; the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs, etc. But at some point late in the summer baseball’s going to be pretty much all we have. College football will come soon enough, but what about the NFL? What about the dominant sport in this country?

I’m not counting on it this year. I don’t know that we can expect the NBA to start up next November either. Strangely, baseball is the only professional sport that doesn’t seem headed for a long and ugly work stoppage.

This is why the 2011 MLB season needs to be great. There need to be compelling pennant races down to the final week. The postseason has to be competitive and intriguing. College football and Major League Baseball are probably going to be the only games around next fall. We’ll need a good postseason to help distract us from the NFL lockout.

But it’s also important for the sport and for MLB. At this point in time, many sports fans in this country would rather watch a preseason NFL game than a baseball game during the first week of September. Even October (or in some cases, November), has lost much of its appeal for many fans. This year, those same fans will be more likely to focus in on the pennant races and the postseason. It will be a chance for baseball to regain the ground it has lost on the sporting landscape. This wouldn’t be a good year for the D-Backs to play the A’s. This year’s postseason needs to have history and drama and meaning.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t lose sleep over people not carrying about baseball anymore. I love baseball, but I love football and basketball just as much. My main point is that we’re going to depend on baseball more than ever this year. And maybe if sports fans show the NFL that they aren’t the only show in town, the owners won’t be so quick to put an entire season at risk. Anyway, here are my predictions for this season.

2011 MLB Predictions

Note: predicted number of wins and losses are exact.

(#) = predicted finish within league (based on W-L record).

[#} = predicted finish in MLB (based on W-L record).

American League


1. Red Sox: 95-67 (1) [3]

2. Yankees: 90-72 (T-4) [T-8]

T3. Blue Jays: 87-75 (T-6) [T-10]

T3. Rays: 87-75 (T-6) [T-10]

5. Orioles: 70-92 (12) [T-24]


1. White Sox: 92-70 (3) [5]

2. Twins: 90-72 (T-4) [T-8]

3. Tigers: 84-78 (8) [T-14]

4. Royals: 61-101 (13) [29]

5. Indians: 57-105 (14) [30]


1. Rangers: 93-69 (2) [4]

2. Athletics: 83-79 (9) [16]

3. Angels: 82-80 (10) [T-17]

4. Mariners: 73-89 (11) [22]

National League


1. Phillies: 100-62 (1) [1]

2. Braves: 91-71 (T-3) [T-6]

3. Marlins: 80-82 (10) [20]

4. Nationals: 72-90 (12) [23]

5. Mets: 63-99 (15) [27]


1. Brewers: 87-75 (5) [T-10]

2. Cubs: 85-77 (6) [13]

3. Reds: 84-78 (7) [T-14]

4. Cardinals: 82-80 (8) [T-17]

5. Astros: 70-92 (13) [T-24]

6. Pirates: 62-100 (16) [28]


1. Giants: 96-66 (2) [2]

2. Dodgers: 91-71 (T-3) [T-6]

3. Rockies: 81-81 (9) [19]

4. Padres: 74-88 (11) [21]

5. Diamond Backs: 68-94 (14) [26]

American League Playoffs

Wildcard Tiebreaker

Yankees over Twins, 1-0


Red Sox over White Sox, 3-1

Yankees over Rangers, 3-2


Red Sox over Yankees, 4-3

National League Playoffs

Wildcard Tiebreaker

Braves over Dodgers, 1-0


Phillies over Brewers, 3-0

Giants over Braves, 3-2


Phillies over Giants, 4-2

World Series

Red Sox over Phillies, 4-3

Awards and Leaders

AL MVP: Evan Longoria

NL MVP: Prince Fielder

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez

NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson

AL ROY: Jeremy Hellickson

NL ROY: Freddie Freeman

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi

NL Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly

AL Rolaids Reliever of the Year: Neftali Feliz

NL Rolaids Reliever of the Year: Heath Bell

ALCS MVP: Kevin Youkilis

NLCS MVP: Roy Halladay

World Series MVP: Jon Lester

AL Batting Champ: Robinson Cano

NL Batting Champ: Joey Votto

AL Homerun King: Adam Dunn

NL Homerun King: Albert Pujols

AL Win Leader: CC Sabathia

NL Win Leader: Roy Halladay

AL Save Leader: Jose Valverde

NL Save Leader: Carlos Marmol