Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Baseball 2012

Baseball is ready to start, and I see this as a great money making opportunity. I love to bet on season win totals, especially the under. Is there any better way to spend a Summer than rooting actively against a team you would otherwise have no interest in whatsoever? In the past, I have really enjoyed cursing obscure players like Orlando Hudson when he made an otherwise meaningless RBI single in the 8th inning of a Padres v Rockies game. Why deny myself that sort of pleasure again this year?

Let's start with what is I believe the best opportunity on the board. I am going to bet against my hometown Cleveland Indians and go UNDER 79 wins. I read about this team every single day. Here's what I can tell you. The organization is using phrases like "cautiously optimistic" and "maybe competitive". This is not the swagger of a winning team. This is the talk of a team ready to win 75 games and "evaluate young talent" in September. The Indians have a few issues. The high risk trade for Ubaldo Jimenez looks like a bust. All last season and so for into Spring Training Ubaldo has been taking 90 pitches to get through 5 unspectacular innings. He looks like what he was when the Rockies traded him, a 4.something ERA pitcher with mechanics issues. Carmona/Hernandez is still stuck in the Dominican, where he continues to fall further out of shape. That leaves Masterson/Tomlin/Lowe. Not exactly Halladay/Lee/Hamels. There is no left fielder or third baseman. Astrubal Cabrera came to camp out of condition. Sizemore is out and probably kaput. The closer blew out his obliques on his first bullpen session. This team looks like cannon fodder for the AL elite to kick the crap out of, and then they win 55% of the other games. Last year they finished with 80 wins after a HUGE April/May. That ain't gonna happen in 2012. INDIANS UNDER 79.

Another team I pay a great deal of attention to is my beloved San Francisco Giants. Last year they were the worst offensive team I have ever seen. They literally had one guy that could hit the ball in Pablo Sandoval. Manager Bruce Bochy's bizarre unwillingness to pull over-the-hill struggling vets from a lineup combined with having only one real hitting prospect was a killer combination. Still, these guys can pitch like a motherfucker. I'd take Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner over any other starting three. Add in the unlikely rise of Ryan Voglesong, and suddenly there are plenty of 2-1 games all season long. Despite having NO OFFENSE all season, they still won 86 games. This season Buster Posey is back behind the plate, replacing Eli Whiteside who gives me a good idea of what I might look like batting in a MLB game. Freddy Sanchez will get hurt again at some point, because that is what Freddy Sanchez does, but that guy has always hit. Brandon Belt is making it impossible not to take at bats from floundering Aubrey Huff. While these guys won't hit like the Texas Rangers, all they need to do is get 3 or 4 runs a game to win. Vegas has their total at 87 wins. Last year they won 86 with all those injuries. Take SAN FRANCISCO OVER 87.

Want to get gutsy? Let's take a look at the New York Mets. I think this team is going to be pretty bad. They have managed to spend millions of dollars on a team that has David Wright and a bunch of guys. The pitching should be kinda crappy, especially when Johan Santana is the bright spot. Didn't he just successfully do some long toss about a month ago? Every time you read or hear something about the Mets it is about how horrible the organization is and doom and gloom and more doom. That's because they are in New York, and there is a lot of media content that needs to be filled. It's a lot easier to write about how the Mets are going to bungle the 2012 season than it is to write, the Mets aren't going to be that exciting. The over/under is at 71.5. You have to field a really horrible team like the Astros to only win 70 games. The Mets aren't going to be good. They are going to be a little less than OK. They have some average MLB players that will do average MLB things. I think you can white knuckle a 73-74 win season here. If you choose to be emotionally invested in a Sept 26th Mets v Marlins game, that's up to you. It'll be close but I like the METS OVER 71.5.

I just took a close hard look at the Houston Astros. Wow. That's a bad looking baseball team. I've only heard of two everyday players, and one of them (Carlos Lee) is so far into the twilight of his career we may have to come up with a new phrase like "dusk of his career". They scored the fourth least runs in the NL despite playing in a hitter's park. Their first two starters are OK, but the #3 through #5 and anyone else on the farm has an ERA of well above 5.25. That's not going to get it done in the National League. Last year they won 56 games, and they still had Hunter Pence. This year Vegas has the over/under at 63 games. They did nothing to improve themselves, so they are going to win eight more games because of what exactly? Krusty and I are both way in on HOUSTON UNDER 63, as it will give Ken another hometown team to root against when he is in Austin. I like the idea of him sitting in an almost empty sports bar in Texas on a Tuesday night drinking a Lone Star, and pumping his fist with a "YES!" when Astro Jed Lowrie flails at a 1-2 sinker with two outs in the bottom of the ninth securing a 6-2 loss.

Fuck the Indians and Astros. Let's go Giants and Mets. Play ball!



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