Tuesday, April 06, 2004

2004... Revealed 

UConn defeats Georgia Tech in an ugly blowout, and with that, the Mariner Optimist finishes a successful round of picking the NCAA Tournament, coming in second place in the Sports & Bremertonians challenge (correctly picking UConn), and winning it all in the MLB Top Forum Bracket Pool (although, ironically, there I chose Kentucky over UConn).

For the NCAA tourney, I waffled between UConn and Kentucky. There is no waffling over the 2004 baseball season.

2004 Prediction: Mariners win the World Series

Lets see how they'll get there.

AL West (why on earth does everyone put the AL East first!!!)
Seattle Mariners (96-66). Strong pitching is the foundation of this team as Jamie, Freddy and Joel become the trio of pitchers that the sports magazines are raving about by August. Raul Ibanez and Rich Aurilia have big seasons with the stick, and a trade deadline acquisition helps prevent the second half fade (TM). Bret Boone and Ichiro once again battle for MVP honors, but this time it is The Boone adding the extra hardware to the trophy collection. And Edgar keeps humming along, SCORING the winning run in Game Four.
Oakland A's (94-68). The A's falter down the stretch as their bullpen blows five saves in the month of September.
Anaheim Angels (86-76). Bartolo Colon eats Kelvim Escobar, negating both offseason pitching acquisitions.
Texas Rangers (68-94). Chan Ho Park pitches better, but loss of Palmeiro allows M's to win 16 out of 18 off the Rangers.

AL Central
Chicago White Sox (80-82). The Mariners ALDS opponent is first playoff team with sub-.500 record.
Minnesota Twins (79-83). Johan Santana doesn't dominate, and the rest of the pitching staff sucks.
Cleveland Indians (78-84). C.C. Sabathia doesn't eat anyone, and losing Bradley improves clubhouse mood.
Kansas City Royals (77-85). Decision to trade Carlos Beltran at trade deadline costs them a playoff spot.
Detroit Tigers (63-99). Pudge leads the team to a 20 game improvement over 2003.

AL Least
New York Yankees (95-67). Steinbrenner buys the Expos just to add Jose Vidro at 2B in time to win the East.
Boston Red Sox (93-69). Even Schilling can't overcome the Red Sox bad luck, as injuries and bad hair bring them down.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays (83-79). Lou Pinella wins Manager of the Year, as the Devil Rays show up out of nowhere.
Toronto Blue Jays (80-82). Lack of pitching dooms team early on, and Carlos Delgado is not re-signed.
Baltimore Orioles (74-88). Miguel Tejada not thrilled with his choice after year one.

NL West
San Diego Padres (88-74). Brian Giles leads the team in offense and good young pitching wins them the West.
San Francisco Giants (87-75). Barry Bonds gets intentionally walked for month of September, stopping the Giants cold.
Arizona Diamondbacks (81-81). Difference between M's and D'backs - their old guys suck. Big Unit's day as stud are over.
Los Angeles Dodgers (77-85). Loss of Cabrera shakes team to foundation, questioning their place in universe.
Colorado Rockies (61-101). Shawn Estes is their Opening Day starter.

NL Central
Houston Astros (93-69). All the talk is of Clemens and Pettitte, but its Berkman and Ensberg that lead this team.
Chicago Cubs (92-70). Miss playoffs after Steve Bartman hits Kerry Wood with car.
St. Louis Cardinals (90-72). Pujols can't overcome the lack of a pitching staff.
Cincinatti Reds (81-81). Kevin Jarvis anchors the rotation by year's end.
Milwaukee Brewers (73-89). Second half surge sparked by arrival of Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Prince Fielder.
Pittsburgh Pirates (69-93). Acquire Eric Owens just so they can keep Craig Wilson on the bench.

NL Least
Atlanta Braves (93-69). Purely on muscle memory.
Philadelphia Phillies (93-69). Lose to Braves in one-game playoff, but get the Wild Card.
Florida Marlins (82-80). Back to reality for the fish.
Montreal Expos (78-84). Become Yankees AAAA team as part of trade deadline deal for Jose Vidro.
New York Mets (68-94). Tom Glavine appreciates the improved defense, but team can't score runs.

Division Series
Mariners beat White Sox 3-1 (and loss sends several M's bloggers into "I told you the M's suck" mode :-)
Yankees defeat A's 3-2 with A's blowing a 2-0 series lead and a 7 run lead in game 5.
Padres take out Braves 3-2 as Braves muscle memory kicks in once again.
Phillies sweep Astros 3-0. Astros can't win a freakin' playoff game.
Championship Series
ALCS: M's eliminate Yankees 4-2 winning game 6 at home with a perfect game from Freddy Garcia.
NLCS: Padres beat Phillies in 7

World Series
M's sweep the Padres and Edgar scores the game-winning run in Game 4.

Enjoy the Ride!

Edited to add - yes, I'm hedging... one of the Red Sox/Yankees will be home in October. Corrected playoffs to reflect my current pick of Yankees winning East. (2 days ago, when I started post, I thought it would be Red Sox).

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