Pepper Power ~ Week 1 Rankings and Playoff PicturePosted 4 April 2011 by Pony Boy
I used to work at a newspaper that didn’t have a major league team, but it was a pretty big metro area, with a hub airport and the whole shooting match. It was hell. Everybody wanted to talk college sports; I might have been the only person in the metro with the MLB package.
In this sea of indifference, there was one other person who cared. Unfortunately, that person was my boss. It happened like clockwork every August. Early in the month. Big Boss would pick up the sports section and see that we weren’t running the wild-card standings. It might have even been right after the All-Star Break one year. Because everybody’s on pins and needles with 60 games remaining in the season.
So it’s been beaten into me. It’s never too early to talk playoffs. And, because I love numbers, I present our inaugural rankings.
1. Phillies (3-0): They would have been here even if they were 1-2. I’m like that. Strong-minded. Does anybody want to make a serious argument about this? I welcome that in the comments. But you’re wrong. I’m done arguing.
2. Reds (3-0): Won the close ones, then blew out the Brewers. Great start against a legitimate team.
3. Yankees (2-1): Rally fell short Sunday or else there would have been a sweep. Jorge Posada with a two-homer day? My God, there goes a season worth of material mocking the Yankees for having a .260 DH.
4. Rangers (3-0): If there’s only one overreaction in these rankings, this is it. Still, three great wins over Boston. They put up 26 fucking runs against a pitching staff everybody was nipping out over in the preseason. Brutal. I’m mostly just mad at myself for pumping up the Sox in my preview. I blame the media.
5. Braves (2-1): OK, they were playing the Nationals. Gotta be happy with the starting pitching though. Do pitchers in Atlanta benefit from being close to Dr. James Andrews in some way? I don’t know. It’s superb and unreal. Too bad everybody in Atlanta is from somewhere else and they don’t give a shit.
6. Rockies (1-1): Isn’t the MLB package great? I finally talked myself into spending $210 on it this year. I get 6 months of games, 162 in all, for that price. Screw the NFL package. Double the price and they televise a minimum of five games a week on national TV. Bite me, Roger Goodell. Bite me. That said, I didn’t see any Rockies games, so this is just a guess.
7. Blue Jays (2-1): Too bad they’re in the East. Expect to see that line a lot this year. I lack creativity and will use it every week.
8. White Sox (2-1): They’d be higher, but they gave up 25 runs. To the Indians. Quick, other than Travis Hafner, name three Indians batters. No Googling, you candyass.
9. Red Sox (0-3): Here is what every sports radio show in New England will sound like Monday (I’m skipping the accents): “Jeeeezus Christ. These fucking guys are terrible. They should trade them all. Goddamn Sox.” New Yorkers got nothing on New Englanders. Candyasses.
10. Brewers (0-3): A couple of close losses followed by a blowout. Not a good start to a win-now year. Packers mini camp starts in … oh, right. Suck it, Cheeseheads. I’m guessing the Brewers only go up from here.
11 .Dodgers (3-1): Holy crap. Did we miss these guys in the previews? Clayton Kershaw looked great in the opener, three scoreless bullpen innings in the next game and the Dodgers have me believing they could actually do it. Nah, just kiddin’. But still. Respect the start.
12. Rays (0-3): The bullpen is already costing them games. Tampa lost its last two games to the Orioles this weekend by allowing the winning run in the seventh inning or later. Time to find some high school teachers with 98 mph fastballs.
13. Cardinals (1-2): Ranking them here out of habit. A Teh Pujols team can’t be this bad.
14. Giants (1-3): We’ll cut them some slack for a World Series hangover. Pablo Sandoval used to party like a madman. I saw him actually kill and eat a panda once. True story. #westside
15. Twins (1-2): Notorious slow starters. They might drop in the rankings further before July starts. I’m sure Ron Gardenhire is reading this and really cares. He loves his Internets.
16. Angels (1-3): No idea what to make of these guys. They’re already bit by injuries. Again.
17. Mets (2-1): Oh, shut up. The only thing as bad as Yankees fans are Mets fans. A New York columnist had a great idea a few years ago: Move the team to Salt Lake City. The Mets are always going to be an also-ran in New York. The Yankees have won the market. Let’s acknowledge that and move on.
18. Orioles (3-0): Not buying it yet.
19. Athletics (1-2): Too much pitching to write them off yet. I think.
20. Tigers (1-2): How awesome is that Eminem/Dodge commercial, right? My first two cars were Dodges and they were hunks of crap. I am never buying another Dodge unless it’s a Viper. And even then, I’m going to max it out at 250 mph and eject, soaring above the car in a parachute as the car smashes into a Dodge dealership. Fuck Dodges.
21. Indians (1-2): Good: The offense put up 25 runs in three games. Bad: They still lost two. Nice job. Quick, name three Indians. No Googling. Two people have already cheated.
22. Royals (3-1): Maybe they’ll trade for Greinke as they make a playoff push. Then he can mail it in and Tony Pena will get back his manage … OK, I’ll give that up now.
23. Mariners (2-1): Just wait ’til that back end of the rotation catches up with them.
24. Marlins (1-2): Somebody bet me that they won’t be drawing 9,000 fans a game in 2013, a year after their new stadium opens.
25. Cubs (1-2): I hate when people take shots at Cubs fans because their team loses. The Minnesota Vikings have lost four straight Super Bowls and five straight NFC title games, but nobody mocks their fans. Possibly because nobody cares about Minnesota except Packers fans. And they’re drunk, praying for minicamp. Or just drunk.
26. Diamondbacks (1-1): They’ve already got the roof closed in Arizona because it’s too warm. Nice problem. School was canceled in my hometown Friday because of snow. It doesn’t snow during baseball season. You need to leave your car running outside at all times to embiggen global warming. Now. Go start it. I’m dying.
27. Astros (0-3): Can we bring back Enron Field? Might as well have a failure playing in a failure.
28. Nationals (1-2): 2012 is looking better. At least they’re spending money.
29. Padres (2-1): Outstanding starting pitching, giving up 8 runs in three games. Now keep it up.
30. Pirates (2-1): No.
Playoffs? We’re talking about playoffs?
Not really. There’s nothing to talk about and I know it. So here’s why MLB has the most meaningful regular season in pro sports: Only 8 of 30 teams make the playoffs. The NBA and NHL take double that. The NFL is trying to figure out how to add additional bowl games to accommodate more playoff teams. Bite me, Goodell.
AL Division winners: New York, Chicago and Texas
AL Wild Card: Eh … let’s go … Red Sox
Playoffs: New York def. Texas; Chicago def. Boston; ALCS: Chicago def. New York
NL Division winners: Philly, Cincinnati and Colorado
NL Wild Card: Atlanta
Playoffs: Philly over Colorado; Cincy over Atlanta; NLCS: Philly over Cincy
World Series: Philly over Chicago. Jeez. I picked Chicago to make the Series? It’s early yet.