Siberian Baseball

Monday, February 12, 2007

Thanks, Tim - We appreciate the vote

According to Tim Kurkjian's breakdown of the best rotations in baseball, the Red Sox are his winners by default.

It's akin to handicapping the presidential races right now, where we really need to see more from each rotation, not to mention that injuries and other fluke things come up in March to hamstring teams that look pretty strong on paper - remember the ESPN the Mag cover in 2004 that had the Cubs rotation as the prettiest girls at the dance?

In any event, the lineup of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield is being seen as the best of a down year in terms of team pitching, with Kurkjian pointing out it's not like the old days of the Braves rotation that was always the prohibitive favorite heading into Grapefruit League play.

When it's a Japanese rookie with no experience in the majors - much less Boston - an injury-plagued young guy coming off a down year, an older power pitcher, a former closer with a season-ending injury last year, a pitcher who just finished chemo (not going for the cheap laugh here, only stating the facts) and an aging knuckleballer as your rotation, I'm not seeing how this is seen as the staff to beat.

I do, however, see the plot to Major League 4 coming along quite nicely.

Rounding out the Top 5 are the Tigers, Angels, Dodgers and Yankees.

On that list, I see at least two rotations I'd bank on ahead of Boston. It's also interesting to note only one National League team in the mix.

I think this only serves to prove two points. First, that picking a top rotation this year is a total crapshoot (can you honestly make a case that Contreras, Garland, Buherle and Vazquez couldn't be substituted into that five?) when pitchers and catchers have yet to report.

Second, it'll be an interesting year again with no big dog in the majors lurking to take everyone's lunch money and walk to a championship.

* Odds were posted the other day on and I'm seeing things differently after reading The Wisdom of Crowds which pointed out that the Vegas lines aren't really there to pick who will win, but rather to provide an attractive line to get an even 50/50 split among all the bets being placed with the bookmaker.

Seeing the Cubs near the top of the list was jarring in that regard - all sorts of suckers place bets on the Northsiders every year just for the hell of it and the recent additions make the team that much more attractive to stupid gamblers.

I'm pretty sure they Cubs could be listed as triple-digit odds underdogs and still see plenty of action on the Vegas line. No need to fuel the fire with 9-1 odds this early in the process.

* Just as a housekeeping note, I'm still (I know, I know) deciding on how to handle the preseason previews and when. Obviously, working full time puts a dent into the process, so last year's team-by-team breakdown won't happen again.

Be patient and I'll more than likely start rolling these out by division once the spring games begin.

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