Opening Day: Red Sox ride again

Everybody sing now: The Red Sox don’t have AN ACE!

Yep, yep, we get it. No ACE. No Cole Hamels. No Jon Lester, or Max Scherzer or whoever teams paid way, way, way too much money to satisfy the ACE label.

Nothing with much ado about nothing — other than Kris Bryant’s three-week demotion to the minors this spring — have cluttered up the Internet and talk radio. It’s the one reason why the cool pick this year is not  to pick the Red Sox in the otherwise marginal American League East.

I seriously don’t get it. Do we really believe for a second that if, iifffff, the Red Sox hit July and still haven’t seen a dominate pitcher or two emerge from their starting five and deep minor leagues that they won’t simply go out and overpay just in time for the playoffs? Do we really think that this absolutely LOADED lineup at a time when offenses are dismal throughout the league is not going to mash its way to 90 wins? The Red Sox have SEVEN starting outfielders who could beat out anyone in the defending champs outfield right now. The Triple A team has so much talent it would top the Twins and Phillies right now.

So let’s stop all this nonsense. The Red Sox will win the East, just like Jason Varitek showing the doofus A-Rod who was really in a charge.

Tek

The Central is where it gets really interesting. The Tigers still have a great collection of talent and still have gaping holes in its bullpen, which means it is basically the same team that came oh so close to winning about three World Series the last few years. It’s also the same team that wasn’t good enough to win the World Series and its even older now.

But the Indians and White Sox are loaded with youthful talent. While the Tigers may start to decline, the Indians and White Sox will only get better. And in case you’ve forgotten, a dynamic team from the farms of America that came 90 feet and a Thor-like performance from Madison Bumgarner away from a World Series is back at mostly full strength. This division is awesome, so awesome they may likely pummel each other out of a deserving wild card slot.

In the West, things are just as batty as usual with Billy Beane’s A’s looking like a fantasy team that reworks itself every single week, fighting with the grossly overpaid Angels that somehow still wins thanks to one of the most brilliant managers not named Bruce Bochey to don a uniform in the last fifty years. Neither of these two teams are the best this year though as the Mariners have finally put together that special mix of a few high-priced talents supported by a cadre of young pitching arms. I think the M’s will rue the Nelson Cruz deal for most of that contract, but not this year, much in the way the Red Sox will despise the Pablo Sandoval deal down the road but ride his chubby talent to the playoff this year.

The American League is everything the National League is not, which means turbulent, unpredictable, and likely to come down to the last day before anything at all other than the Red Sox winning the East is decided.

So, my picks:

East: Red Sox
Central: Royals (I watched this team in the playoff last year absolutely find itself. It’s for real, just like the Tigers injury woes).
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Indians and Angels… nah…A’s, Orioles, A’s… Blue Jays??? EFF it: Orioles.

*I hate picking against Buck Showalter. I hate picking against Billy Beane. I hate picking against Mike Scoscia. I’ll go with Orioles because I don’t think the Rays or the Yankees will be very good at all.

National League picks are here.

NL Champ: Nationals. They are so good you have to think they finally break down.
AL Champ: Red Sox. They’ll get an ace. Enough said.

World Series Champs: This will be a great World Series, despite the Giants not being involved. The Nationals will be heavily favored, but the Red Sox and the aura of Fenway will cost the Nats at least one game. There’s a reason the Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants have won eight of the last eleven World Series. From top to bottom their organizations are proven winners. But the Nationals are about to enter their stratosphere. The strikeouts bother me, especially in the World Series. Everything tells me Sox in seven, but… gut feeling here. Nationals in seven.

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Only 180 or more games to go!

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