Monday, March 12, 2007

NL West like a mutha!!!

Stanicek’s NL West Preview

There were those that said the AL West preview was too long – not snappy enough – too many words – an abundance of letters – and so on. Those people were Pasqua and I because judging from the site meter we are the only ones that read this blog. Quite frankly I am ashamed of all you. But if my Dad taught me one thing it is how to peel and eat an orange while driving....if he taught me two things, it was give the masses what they watch as I toss aside the shackles of wordiness...cast off the burden of length...the oppression of going on and on and on about virtually nothing just to fill up a page and marvel at my own brilliance...yessir, time to cut to the chase, right to the quick, snap to i.....

1) Los Angeles Dodgers
Lineup: LA’s lineup features an eclectic mix of the young and the old, the speedy and “the pace of a Merchant-Ivory film” slow. The top of the order (Furcal and Pierre) could conceivably steal upwards of 2,000 bases IF Juan Pierre can stay healthy and Furcal, sober. Add to that speed the veteran presence of on again, off again steroid abuser Luis Gonzalez, the surly but lovable Jeff Kent and the “Mike Hampton of hitters” in the oft-injured Nomar. Mix with young talent like Wilson Betemit, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin and Jason Repko and you got yourself an interesting little lineup.

Pitching: A strength for the Dodgers and I would definitely say one of the top 5 rotations in MLB. Lowe, Penny, Billingsley and now Schmidt? There hasn’t been this much talent in LA since the last time the cast of “Charles in Charge” had a cast reunion at the Applebee’s on Vine. The bullpen features the return of everyone’s favorite fantasy free-agent pickup, Takashi “Sushi on a Stick” Saito. Say what you will about him, that he has bad breath, that he can’t carry the tune to “Piano Man”...but the kid’s got the goods (100+ Ks in 75 IP).

2) San Diego Padres
Lineup: So much of me wanted to put the Friars at #1. I love that stadium even though it’s so large that if Babe Ruth played there he would have been the “Sultan of Slap Singles”....I like their new third baseman, Kevin Kouzmanoff acquired from the Indians in the Josh Barfield trade – it’s just fun to say Kouzmanoff, sounds like an evil Russian Commander from Red Dawn. But we all know why this team will make a serious run this year....Marcus, Marcus and Marcus. The Braves foolishly got rid of him (despite a valiant effort to trade him to the O’s which would have been better than apple butter on an English Muffin – but Angelos nixed it) and that has turned into the Padres gain. If they just learn not to hit him leadoff you will see ole Marc-e-pie crank out 50 doubles this year and swat about .320.
Admiral Kousmanoff!!! Turn a double play or fire torpedo?

Pitching: Another strong rotation in the NL West headlined by drunken airport arrestee Jake Peavy. Ole Jakey took a step back last year but I think a return form is in order. Following up Jake are two veterans who share absolutely NOTHING in common with each other – Greg Maddux and David Wells. I bet David Wells will give Greg so many atomic wedgies he’ll be split in half by the All-Star Break. Add in Chris Young...funny how the one time Texas actually develops a decent pitcher they trade him away, HA, that’s SO Texas....and Trevor Hoffman and you got yourself a potential Wild Card contender. But NOT the Wild Card.

3) San Francisco Giants

Lineup: Of course I loathe and despise Barry Bonds as much as the next guy and seeing as such, I will not mention his name again, just know he returns to ooze banned substances onto leftfield for the Giants. What is there to say about the Giants except they have mediocre hitting at best supplied by some of the oldest and boringest names in baseball? Randy Winn in right? Rich Aurillia at first? Ray Durham at second? Omar Vizquel at short? Oh God, I’d rather watch deleted scenes from The Prestige than the Giants hit.

Pitching: Here is some actual and interesting talent. The G’ints spent top dollar to land Barry Zito and I imagine he will benefit from making the switch to the National League. I see big things for ole Baked Zito, he is high on my list for potential Cy Youngs. The Giants also have some good young pitchers like Matt Cain and Noah Lowry, so again, another solid staff in the West. Now, about that Armando Benitez REALLY the closer? Ouch. And Steve Kline as setup...oye. Of course after what he said about Baltimore - I wouldn’t support Steve Kline if his nostrils dispensed Cal Ripken jerseys and lumps of imitation crabmeat.

4) Arizona Diamondbacks
Lineup: I would give anyone a shiny Idaho State Quarter if they could give me 5 of the 8 starting position players for the D-Backs off the top of their head. The March 10th depth chart reveals: C – Chris Snyder, 1B – Conor Jackson, 2B – Orlando Hudson, SS- Stephen Drew, 3B – Chad Tracy, LF – Eric Byrnes, CF – Chris B. Young, RF - Carlos Quentin. Try that little game at your next cocktail party or anonymous masked orgy.

Pitching: The D-Backs do have a solid ro-ro. Webb, Big Unit, Livan, Doug Davis...a good righty, lefty mix and continues the trend of solid NL West staffs. Then you look to the ole bullpen and see Jose “6.00 ERA” Valverde out there and now you know why they won’t climb any higher than 4th.

5) Colorado Rockies
In the interest of brevity and due to the fact that I am about to be late for a plane I will confine my analysis of the Rockies to this....they are relying on two former Oriole Lopezes in CRITICAL starting roles – Rodrigo as the #3 starter and Javy as starting that line again, go ahead. Got it? That’s why they’ll be in last place.

Pasqua's NL West PreviewPrediction:
1.) Dodgers
2.) Padres
3.) Giants
4.) Diamondbacks
5.) Rockies

Who's going to be able to predict this division after Barry Bonds is poisoned with synotx nerve gas before opening day and is forced to miss the season? Or maybe just deported back to Hell. Putting the Giants at # 3 is wishful thinking. It's realistically where they'd finish if Bonds was shockingly harpooned by a McCovey Cove fisherman. Reviewing the NL West, it's clear that the Dodgers are stacked and have done well for themselves in the offseason. The Wild Card will make it's to the NL Central or East. This division will continue to suck and nobody will care about the teams other than the Giants...and I'll go to bed every night praying that I awake to the news of Barry's sudden collapse after eating some bad oysters.

getting harpooned. Now THAT'S a way to die.

1. Dodgers
Hitting: Assuming Nomar can play 120 or more games, this team will rake. They added Pierre in center field and have Pepe Lepeau-like speed at the top of the order with him and Furcal. Wait, Pepe was fast, right? The name "Pepe" sure does sound fast so let's go with it. Every Braves fan will grimmace once Chipper tears a muscle and Betemit proves to be one of the better 3B in the National league. If Jeff Kent can play more games this year (I'm convinced that his main objective is to get to the Hall of Fame) than he did in '06 then LA is looking better than the previews of "Norbit 2: Let's offend Indians this time".

Defense: This is probably the best starting pitching staff in the National League (Phillies are a close 2nd). The reason I side with the Dodgers staff is because of the defense behind them and the offenses they'll be facing, which are, offensive (har-har!!!). The bullpen isn't anything special, but when I take a closer look...who is it I see hiding in middle relief? Y ou guessed it...Brett Tomko! I love this guy. He's been on my fantasy team 1,639 times and I've only been playing for 5 years. I want to drop and add him right now just thinking about it.

2. Padres
Hitting: Like I said, this is probably wishful thinking since their offense is bland. They made a huge mistake picking up Marcus Giles and I say that for 2 reasons. 1. I hate Giles with a fire-like passion. 2. The ONE thing that should've been learned by watching that cross eyed loser last year is that HE CAN'T HIT LEADOFF. And what do the Padres think they're going to do with Giles? Hit him leadoff unless Terrmel Sledge can pick up the slack. So, basically, Giles is hitting leadoff. 2 wrongs don't make a right and 2 Giles' don't make runs.

Defense: Real nice staff and it's clear that Maddux has some left in the tank so I thought he was a good pickup. He'll also help Peavy return to being one of the game's best...Jake's a steal in this year's fantasy draft. Chris Young is a nice pitcher...we'll just see how the Pads do when Wells goes onto the DL. Hoffman, like Jeff Kent, will continue to perform because he sees the Hall of Fame light at the end of the tunnel and I really like Linebrink to step in if Hoffman gets arthritis or misses a few weeks for the birth of his grandchild.

3. Giants
Hitting: When Barry gets attacked by an ex-Navy Seal dressed as a hobo outside AT&T Park, who's going to take over the 3 hole in the lineup? I smell Klesko (yes, he's on this team). There's a chance this could be a good offense, but it's just as likely that they all throw their backs out. I like the move to get Dave Roberts at the top of the lineup since he's got a lot of speed and he's over 40. Seriously, how can this team get any older? I want to take my Grandpa to Turner Field when the Giants are in town. He'd be like Moonlight Graham as he points out all the players he dreamed of playing with. "Hey, that's Omar Vizquel. Holy gee, that's Ray Durham and Randy Winn. And over there, is that Rich Aurilia? Mark Sweeney!!!"

Defense: Good point by Stanicek about how A's pitchers take a crap on their next team after they leave Oakland. Hopefully the same will happen for Zito since he's a sissy. After Zito, I don't see a reliable pitcher on their staff unless Matt "Sugar" Cain (I bet you thought I was going to go "Candy" Cain) continues to improve. Their bullpen is boring too, let's move on.

4. Diamondbacks
Hitting: This is a fiesty young team that will surprise people. I really like Eric Byrnes since he played on my team last year and he looks like a hungover frat boy. Carlos Quentin was good times last year too. All the infielders are younger than me except Hudson so the D-Backs are the anti-Giants. You know I'm going to give Scott Hairston a shout out. I taught him everything he knows about playing second base (of course he plays outfield now, but I actually was a sophomore when he was a freshman at Naperville North and was in charge of "teaching him"). Looking at Chris Snyder's picture, he's got the same look as Byrnes and I'm starting to think that this might be an intramural softball team who's main objective are the Coldweisers after the game.

All he needs are some short shorts, a croakie for his sunglasses and a "Byrnes loves ZTA sticker"

Defense: What's the over/under on number of games Livan Hernandez and Randy Johnson will be on the DL? If and when both of these guys go down, the D-Rays are in trouble since I don't think Brandon Webb is going to sneak up on teams like he did last year.

5. Rockies
Hitting: The starting shortstop, according to, is Tulowitzki. That can't be good. Houston's had the "Killer B's", Colorado has the "What the H's" I guess. Hawpe, Holliday, and Helton, plus the surprising Garrett Atkins. Not a bad group of sticks to compliment their best weapon...Coors Field.

Defense: The best strategy for this pitching staff is hoping that opposing teams meet up with Jenn from the Real World Denver and she keeps them up all night with her rock star ways. What I mean is that she'll sleep with the visiting team. It's a race to the finish between the Rockies and Nationals to see who has the worst pitching staff in baseball. The only thing that'll keep the Rockies from winning that dubious honor is the wicked Brian "Daisy" Fuentes. He's got wicked stuff...kinda like Stanicek after a cheesy chicken.

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