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Friday, April 1, 2011

A whole lotta baseball, and more

Seems a bit much to go and do my MLB picks with a bunch of games in the books, but here you have it nonetheless: AL East - Boston; AL Central - Minnesota; AL West - Oakland; AL Wild Card - NY YankeesNL East - Atlanta; NL Central - Milwaukee; NL West - San Francisco; NL Wild Card - Philadelphia.  

San Francisco opened their title defence last night on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss to the LA Dodgers, with Clayton Kershaw pitching a gem.  Milwaukee homered twice to open the game, and led the entire way until the end in a wild 7-6 win for Cincinnati, and Jered Weaver was dominant in the Anaheim win over the Kansas City Royals.  Oh, and Curtis Granderson looked fantastic in the field and at the plate in leading the Yankees to a 6-3 opening day win.  Hope you played the over there as advised.

Why I think it is ridiculous that Boston is being handed the AL East, nevermind the division: Is it crazy to think that CC Sabathia can match or outdo Boston’s lefty ace Jon Lester? Of course not.  Can Phil Hughes not be the equal or better of Boston’s young, high-ceiling righty Clay Buchholz? Sure can.  Can AJ Burnett not rebound better than his one-time Marlins teammate Josh Beckett, whose 5.78 ERA last year was actually far worse than Burnett’s? Why not?  And can Ivan Nova and Freddie Garcia - or whomever gets looked at come June - not provide a back-end competence similar or better than John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka?  That's the only one that's really a question to me.  Not a question: the Yankees have a better offence, and bullpen.  I'm fully expecting a great race in the East and wouldn't be shocked in the least if the Yankees ended up winning.  Don't think Tampa has enough bullpen - Kyle Farnsworth is closing, after all - and Toronto and Baltimore aren't quite there yet.

When, other than April Fool's Day, would the Toronto Blue Jays home opener be more fitting?  And if you're down with April Fool's Day, you're a loser.

They won't make the playoffs this year, but the second half Toronto Maple Leaf run sure has to be making Brian Burke and the Leafs brain trust feel better about their prospects for next year.  The Leafs won again last night, besting Boston with a 4-3 shootout win.  And don't you miss the days in the NHL when "shootout" meant high scoring, open game, and not penalties to break a tie?

Love that the same guys that call NHL fights "entertaining" hammer the shootout, which is certainly entertaining, and at least necessary by the rules today.

Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal will play today on U.S. soil.  Somehow, it is only the first time in six years.  How'd that happen?

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