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Giambi puts Yanks in familiar territory

Mar 19, 2002 5:57 AM

The New York Yankees missed by just one inning from becoming the defending four-time World Series champion. So Boss George did some off-season shopping.

The result was Jason Giambi leaving Oakland and placing the Yanks back on familiar ground ”” at the top of the win column.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened the Bronx Bombers at over / under 96½ wins for the 2002 season, which begins Sunday, March 31 with the Cleveland-Anaheim game.

Here’s our top picks to rise and fall from 2001.

NY Yanks (95-65): Giambi brings MVP potential to a lineup that has more punch than last year. Rondell White and Robin Ventura won’t hurt a bit. Derek Jeter’s glove will be worth just as much next year. OVER.

Seattle (116-46): Last year’s incredible season is not likely to be matched. Look for Ichiro and the Mariners to focus more on the playoffs than the regular season. Plus, the division is stronger. UNDER.

Boston (82-79): The Red Sox are going to have to find seven more wins and we think they can. Less of Pedro will be worth more as the Red Sox look to keep Martinez healthy all year. Nomar Garciaparra is healthy and the attitude is much better. Johnny Damon could be huge in leadoff spot. OVER.

Anaheim (75-87): Our best bet. Troy Glaus is the league’s top home run hitter. Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad should rebound from poor years. This is at least a .500 ballclub. OVER.

Chicago (83-79): Kenny Lofton will give the White Sox a big boost at the top of the lineup and Frank Thomas is back from injury. If the pitching is there, the Sox can win the division. OVER.

Toronto (80-82): The Blue Jays have Carlos Delgado and a lot of young talent that will leave to seek more money. You just can’t expect to win much in those conditions. UNDER.

Texas (73-89): A-Rod is settled for a second year and Juan Gonzalez is back. But, pitching is still a big question. Someone has to finish below .500 in the West. UNDER.

Minnesota (85-77): The Twins are every bit as good as last year and playing with emotion. OVER.

AL OVER/UNDER WINS

TEAM   OPEN
NY YANKEES   96½
SEATTLE   94½
OAKLAND   91½
BOSTON   88½
CHI WHITE SOX   86½
MINNESOTA   83½
CLEVELAND   82½
TEXAS   82½
TORONTO   76½
ANAHEIM   76½
DETROIT   66½
KANSAS CITY   66½
BALTIMORE   65½
TAMPA BAY   64½