Seems like yesterday that Ruben Tejada reported to spring training early. Well, one .096 spring average later, we're just scant hours away from starting the regular season. So the following is a comprehensive, fact based preview of the National League East, team by team:
The Larry Jones era is over. And we can all be thankful for that. Except in that moment when Larry mistakes his friend for a deer and shoots him in the face. (Don't say I didn't warn you.) Now, the focus is on family, as the Upton Brothers have united to become more powerful than you could ever hope to imagine. Justin Upton hit six HR's and drove in 19 in the spring, while brother B.J. hit .347 this spring. Crissakes. Add in Matt Vasgersian going into convulsions every time Freddie Freeman hits a home run and you are going to have a very annoying team this season.
These guys are good, but not unbeatable. First off, Kris Medlen isn't going to be involved in 23 straight wins again this season. Paul Maholm, while he will probably go 5-0 against the Mets because they can't beat him, might go 5-12 against the rest of baseball. Jordan Walden might be unstoppable, or he might be on the disabled list by May. And between the Upton Brothers, Jason Heyward, and Dan Uggla, this team could strike out enough to change the wind patters all along the east coast. So they'll go through some baffling stretches where they can't score to save their lives.
But they'll be good enough to make the playoffs. Mainly because Craig Kimbrel is so freakin' good.
Prediction: 87-75 ... they'll lose the Wild Card round to the Cardinals when Allen Craig strikes out looking in the ninth, but then hits a game winning grand slam because Sam Holbrook counted only two strikes instead of three.
Did you freaking see this:
This is disgusting. Cole Hamels has a mustache now? Is he freaking kidding all of us? Does he think that a mustache will give him enough toughness so that he can go through an entire season without whining about the season being too long? Instead, he looks like Eric Roberts straight out of Star 80.
Peter Griffin looked better when he used his dog as a mustache.
Prediction: 79-83 ... There will be controversy surrounding the Phillies when Ryan Howard, Doc Halladay, Chase Utley and Michael Young will be found drunk and passed out in front of Aubrey de Grey's house in England hoping to get some "anti aging cream".
Or this one:
Oh, but Mets fans are less loyal. This is the same study that has Yankee fans listed as the most loyal even though they couldn't be bothered to show up to a deciding playoff game. But heaven forbid they get called out on the Forbes Business Report on the YES Network!
In other news, the Marlins have called up prospect Jose Fernandez and limit him to 150-170 innings. Boy that's going to be a real bitch when they shut him down before he can pitch in the playoffs.
Prediction: 0-163 ... The Marlins will also lose a game to the Little League regional champions from Warner Robbins.
The Mets could barely beat these guys when Elijah Dukes was their star. They're going to beat them now?
I still want this man to go out a winner. And I truly think he will. The team is stacked. And last season's meltdown against the Cardinals will stick with them. And most important of all, the Nationals pitching staff is out of control. However I still hate the hell out of Tyler Clippard.
Prediction: 101-61 ... After the Nationals defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, the Nats will commission a bronze statue of Bryce Harper to be erected outside the ballpark. Stephen Strasburg will be personally bronzed because after 249 innings, Mike Rizzo will shut him down for the rest of his life to save him for the afterlife.
New York Mets:
I seriously had planned a semi-serious essay on the state of affairs of the team. I was considering placing them ahead of the Phillies. But then I saw this:
Really? The Harlem Shake? Okay first off, nice job riding the apex of a sensation. This thing was over about a month ago. What's next, a Mets flash mob? I would have had more respect for the Mets had they tried something that's on the edge like galloning.
David Wright Mets 3B: 15 Day DL (Galloning)
All right, scratch that.
But I could have dealt with it ... I mean, the video is a hoot (especially the Terry Collins reaction at the very end) ... if it wasn't for the presence of Jeff Wilpon. It grows more apparent every day that the only reason Fred Wilpon bought the Mets is so Jeff can hang around a major league clubhouse and play golf with all the players. (Hell, Jeff got drafted by the Montreal Expos because Dad pulled some strings.) Its creepy and its awkward and it needs to stop. Can't this team do something fun without Jeffy jumping up and down and wailing "ooh ooh ooh I want to be a part of this too!" Shouldn't he be off creating a revenue stream or something?
Prediction: 75-87 ... Yeah, I took five wins off because Jeff Wilpon insisted on being in the Harlem Shake video. PECOTA doesn't measure things like that.