Every season, there are a number of analysts and forecasters who watch Major League Baseball and have to swallow their words. Predictions can easily come out of the mouth, but the most unpredictable of all sports rarely accommodates them. After a bewildering 2009, many pundits are treading lightly with the new campaign. Satellite TV subscribers with access to the MLB Extra Innings package will be able to watch the season unfold daily. Here are five predictions that will be tested.
1. The Yankees will repeat. The easiest of all sports predictions is to say that the Yankees will win it all, but the chances are smaller than most analysts think. For one thing, they’ll depend on their key pitchers not getting hurt. If Pettitte or Burnett goes down, or worse, Sabathia, it’s unlikely they can get out. The AL East has a lot of pitching this year, which means the Bronx Bombers will have to be pretty stingy in terms of ERA.
2. The Red Sox will pitch through October. Pitching is usually the key in baseball, but God knows you have to put the bat on the ball to win games. Fenway Park is too kind to throw flies to left field — and line drives to the right — to make a weak lineup anything but a liability for Red Sox teams. With a 2010 team seemingly built from the rotation, it can be tough to get past some of the division’s rivals. Watching NESN HD to see the Red Sox offensive production will be interesting.
3. The Mariners are going to be a solid team. They have King Felix and Cliff Lee at the top of the rotation; they have Ichiro, Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins in the lineup; So why are Mariners fans so concerned? Safeco Field deserves a winner, but adjustments made do not guarantee success. Lee’s injury and poor spring are less than auspicious starts, making the Mariners a serious question mark after baseball analysts raved about them in a big way.
4. The Phillies will fly through the NL East once again. In the Phillies’ division, what is almost always certain is that the Mets will experience problems and the Nationals will be bad. Other than that, it’s hard to say what kind of problem the Braves could be for the defending NL champions. It looks like Atlanta’s rotation could top Philly’s, but the lineup will also need to produce to dethrone the Phillies.
5. The Tigers will go with the American League Central. The easy choice for many has been the Tigers, who got younger under Austin Jackson and more professional under Johnny Damon. Jeremy Bonderman and other middle rotation pieces will need to be consistent if the Windy City team is to return to the top in 2010. HD broadcasts from Detroit will have plenty of viewers among fans with satellite baseball packages.