In Honor of Yu: My imperfect 2013 Predicitons
By Dave Ervin
The thing about moving into a new house is that you don’t have any way to watch tv for a few days. When that coincides with the beginning of the baseball season, it can be a little frustrating. When your favorite player on your favorite team is nearing a perfect game, it can be downright maddening.
I sat in my car, listening to the call by Eric Nadel as Yu Darvish mowed down Astro after Triple-A Astro. Headed to the ninth… commercial break… do I dare jinx it?
I called my dad and asked him to record the final inning. I had to do it. And then of course through that bizarre baseball butterfly effect my very mentioning of the game caused some dude named Marwin Gonzalez to ground a clean single through Darvish’s legs into centerfield. The one-out-away Rangers strike again.
But I noticed something odd about my emotions at that point. I was disappointed, yes, but I wasn’t crushed. 2010 me would’ve been crushed. If I’ve learned anything from this team it’s not to count my chickens until they’ve hatched, sprouted feathers and flown the coop.
I’m excited about this team. I’m excited to have who I believe is the best pitcher in baseball on our team (bold statement, I know, but mark my words). But I’ve learned to temper my expectations, take it one game at a time. You don’t bank on a perfect game until you get that 27th straight out. You don’t celebrate a World Series until you get that last strike. You don’t crown the Rangers the best team in baseball until they are.
And for that matter you don’t crown the Angels or the Dodgers or the Nationals. No team wins it all in April (see the 2012 Dodgers) or in the offseason (see the 2011 Marlins).
So with that caveat, here’s how I think it will shake down this season:
East – Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Miami
Not going out on a limb with any of these. Washington is young, talented, deep and nearly flawless on paper. I’m not as high on Atlanta as the National Media seems to be, but the rest of the division is deeply flawed.
Central – St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago
The Reds won 97 games last year and seemed to have only improved, but my gut tells me this is the Cardinals year. Every league has a surprise team every year and this year I think it’ll be an underrated Milwaukee club. Cincy finished third in a very tight division.
West – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Arizona, San Diego, Colorado
L.A. is so stacked they’re bound to make a run, but until they can outpitch the Giants, this is San Fran’s division. It’ll be close, but the Giants take the division again. Arizona and San Diego improve enough to make it interesting.
NL Playoffs: So the Nationals, Cardinals and Giants see the playoffs again. L.A. is the first wild card while Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Atlanta battle for the second WC seed. Give me Atlanta capturing the spot on the final day of the season.
Dodgers over Braves in the Wild Card game, Nats over Dodgers and Cards over Giants in the Division rounds. Washington beats St. Louis to capture its first NL pennant.
NL Champ: Washington
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young: Matt Cain
East – Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston, Baltimore, New York
You write each of these teams on a scrap of paper, draw them one at a time from a hat and make your predictions. The only team that really seems incapable of winning the division is New York. Haha.
Central – Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota
Detroit should run away with the Central – but didn’t we all say that last year before the White Sox took them to the season’s final weekend? KC will make some noise, but they’re (still) a year away.
West – Texas, Los Angeles (of Anaheim, California, USA, the World), Oakland, Seattle, Houston
Call me a homer but I think the Rangers take the best division in baseball. They’re pitching is better than the Angels’, their offense is better than Oakland, they’ve improved their clubhouse culture when they jettisoned Hamilton, and they have key pieces returning from injury later in the year. I say they win 95+ and cement their status as yearly contenders for the crown. The A’s and Angels battle for second with Los Angeles pulling away after the young arms in Oakland give out. Seattle is improved, but still bad and Houston loses 110 games.
AL Playoffs: I’ve got Toronto, Detroit and Texas in, with Tampa, Kansas City, Boston, L.A. and Oakland fighting until the season’s final week for the wild card spots. Give me Tampa and L.A., begrudgingly.
Tampa’s young staff takes out the Angels in a thrilling extra inning WC game, only to be ousted by Detroit in the Division round. Texas handles Toronto and we see a AL championship rematch from 2011 between Texas and Detroit.
Texas wins. Write it down.
AL Champs: Texas
AL MVP: Evan Longoria
AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish
So that means our World Series matchup this year is a battle between the Nationals and my beloved Rangers. Who do I think will win?
Well, I would tell you… But I don’t want to jinx it.