The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Revisiting Predictions

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I made two predictions last October after the Cubs were swept out of the playoffs by the Diamondbacks: the Cubs will win 100 games in 2008, and lose to the Red Sox in game 7 of the World Series.

100 wins seemed reasonable for the Cubs after 85 wins in 2007. No doubt they dropped a dozen or so last season because of injuries and poor play as they adjusted to Lou Pinella’s system; I reasoned that they would be able to make up those games and more with a healthy, confident, and motivated club.

As for seeing the Red Sox in the World Series for a second straight year, they looked like a sure thing. Their pitching was too tough for anybody to handle in the playoffs last year, and they would be getting everybody back, including Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, who did a lot in 2007 to help Manny and Big Papi tally runs while Beckett and Matsuzaka mowed down batters. It seemed a lead-pipe cinch they would do that again.

Right now, the Cubs have 74 wins with 41 more games to play. They have to play slightly better than they have already this season if they are to win 100 games; a .023 improvement to their current winning percentage of .612 will do it. They have 13 series remaining; only 4 of those are against sub-par teams. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible with lively bats and consistent pitching. I don’t see them letting up– the Brewers are too close, too hot, too hungry, and home field advantage means too much. If the Cubs have things clinched by the last week of the season, there may be a number of starters resting and that could stifle my dreams of a 100-win season, but that doesn’t seem likely given the caliber of opponents they have yet to face.

At this point, I expect the Cubs to battle the Brewers in the NLCS. The Brewers have a better record right now than any of their likely first round opponents– Arizona, Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or New York– and have enough going for them to plow through any of them to get to the second round. Their young, disciplined bats can get on base and score runs, playoff-seasoned CC Sabathia gives them enough confidence for two wins in a 5-game playoff series, and other arms in their stable like Ben Sheets and Manny Parra are capable of picking up at least one more.

I doubt the Red Sox will make it all the way to the World Series. Their pitching has been unsteady, Ortiz has been injured, and they shipped Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles in a move that baffles me. Manny cannot be replaced, though I’m certain Jason Bay will do all he can. Bay’s defense will be better than Manny’s and he’ll be a better clubhouse teammate than Manny, but he is not one of the two or three best and most feared hitters in baseball like Manny Ramirez. This doesn’t bode well for Boston as they prepare to possibly face a stacked, experienced, and well-coached Anaheim team that is ready to reclaim glory.

Regardless of how things end up, the Cubs will most likely have to get through two of the three best teams in baseball– Milwaukee and Anaheim– if they are to end their World Series drought. Whomever said that nothing worth having ever comes easy must have been talking about this.

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Written by seeker70

August 15, 2008 at 2:54 am

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