That's Why They Play The Games: '08 NL East

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Every Monday until opening day WoW will present our division previews and predictions.

Hey do you remember what happened in the National League East in 2007? I'm having some trouble 'amembering so maybe my good friend Wikipedia can recap it for me:

"Down the stretch, the Mets played poorly including losing five out of six games with the fourth-place Washington Nationals. They lost on September 28 to fall into second place for the first time in over four months but pulled back into a tie with Philadelphia on September 29. On September 30, the Mets faced the Florida Marlins with hopes of winning the NL East or at least forcing a one-game playoff. Unfortunately, Tom Glavine surrendered 7 runs in the first inning as the Mets fell 8-1. The Phillies capped their miraculous comeback with a 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals to win the National League East."

Oh, riiiiiight. Sorry, I just wanted to relive that again. Does Major League Baseball sell a DVD that only describes the massive Mets' collapse? I'd enjoy the schadenfreude.

So who's gonna shit the bed this year in the N.L. East? Follow me through and read my preview please:


5. Washington Nationals

The Good:

  • The offensive output might come close to equaling the wackiness output in a lineup that features nascent rapper Lastings Milledge, SHOTY semifinalist Elijah Dukes, lady choker Dmitri Young, and someone I actually like, Wily Mo Pena.
  • Hey, they've got a new ballpark.

The Bad:

  • Absolutely awful starting rotation in what will probably be a hitters' park.
  • Closer Chad Cordero is coming back down to earth with his falling strikeout numbers.
  • The lineup is terrible up the middle with dumb dago-cum-teen heartthrob Paul Lo Duca catching and the trio of shittiness Cristian Guzman, Felipe Lopez, and Ronnie Belliard splitting time at second base and shortstop.
  • No parking.

Predictions:

71 wins, one of every 4 fans is a blogger, and at least 3 murders in or around the stadium

4. Florida Marlins

The Good:

  • Hanley Ramirez is the best hitting shortstop in baseball and he's only getting better. I know because I drafted him in my fantasy league last year and then proceeded to trade him outright for Derek Jeter. Kids, never follow your heart.
  • The rest of the lineup is pretty good too, and they're all younger than me. Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs can all mash.

The Bad:

  • Inexperience. Newly acquired centerfielder Cameron Maybin spent no time in AAA and had just 24 games with the Tigers last year. He's a crapshoot: he'll either end up Rookie of the Year or slumped over the bar at Prive.
  • No number one guy in the rotation. For that matter, no number two guy or number three guy. You've got a bunch of fours, and Andrew Miller. At least Girardi's not around anymore to run Miller's arm into the ground.
  • Loria, Loria, Loria.

Predictions:

75 wins, 20 fat dudes, and a three-quarters of a billion dollar name change to the Miami Marlins.


3. Philadelphia Phillies

The Good:

  • The best hitting team in the National League. The pentavirate of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, and Shane Victorino are good enough to cover up the giant sucking sound emitted by new third baseman Pedro Feliz.
  • The best stadium food in the history of stadium food. If you've never had a schmitter, crab fries, or an authentic Philly cheesesteak (I prefer provolone wit'), then you can sample all three at once at Citizens Bank Park.
  • Cole Hamels is so good, he could win the Cy Young. Unless he gets kidnapped by Clare.

The Bad:

  • Feliz was so bad even the Giants didn't want him anymore. He's got a good glove, although error-prone Ryan Howard at first base nearly negates Feliz' talent.
  • The quality of the rotation falls off pretty steeply after number two guy Brett Myers. Kyle Kendrick and Adam Eaton kinda sorta suck.
  • New closer Brad Lidge could give up 30 home runs at CBP, if his knee doesn't spontaneously combust again.

Predictions:

85 wins, 250 ejections for each dollar dog night, and another quadruple bypass for Uncle Cholly.


2. Atlanta Braves

The Good:

The Bad:

  • Mark Kotsay in center field? Really? He's still around? He better still have a good arm because he hits like a dead retarded monkey. Good thing the Braves have prospect Jordan Schafer (a Jew? perhaps?) waiting in the wings.
  • This is finally the year Tom Glavine goes down, but he's bringing us all with him.
  • The only name I recognize in the bullpen is Octavio Dotel. Maybe that's my fault for not paying enough attention but the Braves are BOORRRING.

Predictions:

87 wins, 180 days on the DL for Mike Hampton, and one personally guided hunting trip with Chipper Jones. Could you be any redneckier?


1. New York Mets

The Good:

  • It's the last season for Shea Stadium, notoriously the worst ballpark in the major leagues and quite possibly the dumpiest dumps that ever dumped.
  • Save for new catcher Brian Schneider, every batter can both get on base and knock in runs, perhaps even this new pitcher named John Setanta or something.
  • The pitching staff has lots of recognizable names.

The Bad:

Predictions:

94 wins, one division championship, and 350 team blogs using the word "Mets" in a not-so-clever way. Enough already!

I stole the choking Mr. Met picture above from The Nosebleeds Blog. Thanks whoever you are!

Next week: CTC breaks down the AL West


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11 Comments

The Braves are so boring, that Dotel left last month and signed with the White Sox.

Well that means the Braves bullpen is a complete mystery to me.

The Phillies are going to hit a billion home runs and win 103 games. BOOK IT.

Well in that case, the Braves Bullpen is like the female orgasm.

I'm pretty excited for Charlie Manuel to melt down again. He's very underrated as far as "batshit crazy old white guys" go.

Isn't Florida's Josh Johnson a #1 when healthy? I remember him terrorizing the NL two years ago.

Josh Johnson was terrorized by Joe Girardi's poor management and had Tommy John surgery last year. Expect to see him in our '09 NL East preview.

71 wins for the Gnats? I'll take the over, thank you very much.
No mention of Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, or Austin Kearns in the lineup, just their 1/7/8 guys. Rigggghhhhht.
Cordero will be dealt by the deadline to get the Wookie, Jon Rauch,in there.
80-85 wins.

Jon Rauch: the tallest soft-tosser in MLB history. Zimmerman is awesome. They could finish .500, but Elijah Dukes will probably take the whole team hostage before September.

Rob,

Re: Kyle Kendrick... How does a 10-4 record with a 3.87 ERA in 2007 equal "kinda sorta suck[s]?"

Phils are good for their first 90-win season in 15 years and a wild card, at least.

Funny you mention Kotsay and Victorino in the previews...they kind of remind me of each other...With that being said, I don't view Victorino as much more than a flash in the pan benefitting from a good lineup around him. If Kotsay was healthy and playing for the Phillies (especially in that launching pad of a ballpark) last year he probably would have had a similar season, save for the stolen bases. They're both under-6-foot, 180 pound guys who hit around .270-.280 and hit 10-15 HR and drive in about 50-60 runs at best, yet somehow everyone wants to blow Victorino. If your numbers compare to Mark Kotsay's, you are serviceable at best. The Phillies will win under 85 games this year. The Mets are the best hitting team in the NL (ahem, if they're healthy.)

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