A little pro baseball look to gear up for post March Madness

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Here is a little baseball look to get us geared up after March Madness.

NL EAST

Philadelphia has the best pitching staff in the Majors. The only issue the Phils have is the Achilles injury to Ryan Howard. When he returns, look for the Phils to make it back to the World Series. They have a complete team, an experienced manager and big time major leaguers in Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence.

Atlanta finished second because of question marks in their pitching staff. Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann provide a powerful lineup to challenge the Phils.

The new look Miami Marlins will be interesting to watch primarily because of manager Ozzie Guillen and the best left side in the NL with Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes.

Washington looks to make big strides behind the arms of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, John Lannan and new closer Brad Lidge. Hundred million dollar man Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Werth and hopefully Las Vegas native Bryce Harper will provide the offense. The New York Mets will have a long season and press Houston for the worst record in the NL.

CENTRAL

Cincinnati surprises St. Louis Cardinals and takes over as the division champs. Mat Latos comes over from the Padres and joins Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey in the starting rotation. The Reds are hoping the 100-mile-per-hour flame thrower Aroldis Chapman may be the fifth arm. Ryan Madson has signed a one-year contract and will be the closer.

Former MVP Joey Votto mans first base and is poised for another big year. Add established stars Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen with a solid outfield of Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs and Ryan Ludwick makes the Reds my team to beat.

St. Louis and Milwaukee will be in the race the entire season. The Cards need Adam Wainwright to come all the way back from his injury plus Lance Berkman and newly acquired Carlos Beltran to pick up the void left by Albert Pujois, now with the L.A. Angels.

The Brewers dodged a bullet when Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension was overturned, but they do not have a replacement for Prince Fielder. I don’t want to write anything good about the Pirates as I could jinx them even more, but they could finally finish 500 this year baring anymore bad luck. Pittsburgh will finish in front of the Astros no matter what.

WEST

I will take a look at the AL next week, but I have had some people ask me about the Diamondbacks. Stephen Drew is a very good infielder and Justin Upton is a solid outfielder. Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel are quality major leaguers. Veteran catcher Henry Blanco was brought in to mentor Miguel Montero.

The pitching staff has Ian Kennedy who comes off a great year but don’t think you can count on him to do as well this season. It’s just hard to repeat a 20-win season. Trevorr Cahill came over from Oakland and adds quality to a staff that includes Josh Collmenter and Daniel Hudson. JJ Putz and Takashi Saito are better than average set up and bullpen closers. Arizona looks like the best team in the West, but the Giants and Rockies, along with the rising Dodgers, will make this division very close. San Diego will finish last.

BETTING NEWS

On the surface it may look easy because you don’t need to lay any points unless laying or taking 1½ runs. Opening day pitcher Doc Halladay for the Phils will most likely be -200 and he likely won’t go past five innings. In the long run, you will eventually lose all your hard earned money betting on these big favorites.

Look for games at -150 or less and try to find a few live dogs everyday to add into those parlays and round robins (my play of choice). I like to find my best four games of the day with at least one dog and make four three-teamers. Start out small and try to build up your bankroll.

ETC.

Our big March Madness edition comes out next week and it will be great.

So the “Who Dats” had hit men on the field. Is anyone but the NFL surprised? Oh, I forgot, the NFL still thinks people don’t bet on the games – they just watch for the beauty and grace. Violence and head-to-head helmet hits in every game are overlooked.

Yeah, right! Every defense in the NFL goes out to crush the other team but the Saints players were getting rewarded, Da!

In this week’s tournament action I like Kent in the MAC, Memphis in Conference USA; Marquette looks very live in the Big East; Michigan State will be out looking for revenge in the Big Ten and UNLV is a different team at home.

 

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