Phew! On to the playoffs.
Kidding aside – and I kid the “stat geeks” because, well, why not? – the good folks at Baseball Prospectus determined that the Phillies will win the NL East with 87 victories, edging the New York Mets by two games and Atlanta Braves by five. In fact, Baseball Prospectus predicts that the 87 victories will be the second-highest total in the National League (one game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks) sixth-best in the Majors.
Here are BP’s playoff teams:
Wild card: Padres
East: Red Sox
Wild card: Yankees
Based on this, the Phillies would play the Padres in the NLDS.
But as White Sox GM Ken Williams told the Chicago Tribune about BP’s predictions:
“That’s a good sign for us, because usually they're wrong about everything regarding our dealings.”
I won’t make my formal predictions until Opening Day eve, but here’s where I’m leaning:
East: Red Sox
That was easy enough. Let's get on to the champagne-soaked celebration.
Reports coming out of Clearwater indicate that either Adam Eaton or Jon Lieber will start the season in the bullpen. This information comes after the Phillies lost Justin Germano to the Padres who claimed him off waivers, and sent right-hander Brian Sanches to Triple-A Ottawa.
Germano was a little upset about heading to San Diego. According to the Associated Press’ Rob Maaddi:
“I'm pretty shocked,” Germano said soon after assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. informed him of the move. “I thought I was right there. I had one bad inning. I knew they didn't expect me to be perfect every time out.”
Meanwhile, players’ union head Donald Fehr will be in Clearwater to address the Phillies’ camp. Likely topics include drug testing and the World Baseball Classic.
Much has been made about the 76ers’ 50-point loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday, which is the fourth-worst loss in team history. Needless to say, I didn’t watch the game and haven’t paid much attention to the aftermath, but here’s a thought: It’s reasonable to think that the Rockets could have played an entire half without scoring a single basket and still won the game.
Hey, they were up by 50!
Embattled Tour de France champ Floyd Landis will be near his old stomping grounds this weekend as part of his tour to raise funds for his legal defense.
As an aside, in researching the latest information on Landis, the case and his tour I participated in a message board conversation about the controversy before being attacked by someone who dubbed himself as “Pedrohead.” Besides being turned off by the whole message board experience, I’ve come to learn the identity of the character with the very apt nom de guerre, and let’s just say, “it figures.”
In the interest of full disclosure, my message board handle is, creatively, “jrfinger.” Do you think anyone will know it’s me?
Finally, the presentation from author Eric Schlosser at F&M College last night was quite interesting, though he didn’t stray too far from the information presented in Fast Food Nation. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.