The American League West
With the Yankees and Red Sox down, the balance of power and pizzazz in the American League have migrated to the West.
The Angels have added Josh Hamilton to a lineup that was already loaded, the Rangers have been to the World Series twice in the last three years, and the Athletics are coming off a 94-win season that was enough to win the division last season. Combined, those three teams averaged 92 wins last year.
Welcome to the A.L. West, Houston.
LOS ANGELES – The Angels were hampered by Albert Pujols’s slow start last season, but if he gets it going early, the lineup is frightening. Hamilton moves over from the Rangers and Mike Trout (.326, 30 HRs, 49 stolen bases) is back after being hard-balled in contract negotiations. Toss in Mike Trumbo (32 HRs, 95 RBIs and a ton of strikeouts) and there is more than enough thump. Starting pitch ing was spotty last year, and LA will need decent years from Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and newcomer Tommy Hanson to get to 95 wins.
OAKLAND – Somehow, some way the Athletics will piece together a pitching staff and make a run in the second half. Because they always do. But right now things look a but tenuous. Brett Anderson looks like the No. 1, with aging (40) fatty Bartolo Colon hanging on. No doubt the A’s would take another 13-win season from Jarrod Parker. After that they’ll raid their farm system for reinforcements as needed. Oakland should score some runs, assuming Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 23 HRs), Josh reddick (32 HRs) and Brandon Moss (.291, 21 HRs) don’t backslide.
TEXAS – Maybe the Rangers can steal one of the wild card spots, but it’s hard to see them seriously challenging for the division title after losing Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli. Newcomer Lance Berkman will fill a hole in the infield or outfield, but manager Ron Washington will have to find more offense somewhere along the line. Yu Darvish (3.90 ERA) created a lot of stir in his first year in the league, and should be even better this season as the ace of the staff. Keep an eye on hard-throwing youngster Alexi Ogando.
SEATTLE – The Mariners appear to get it, and with a young team the arrow is pointed in the right direction. But to get them through the often-painful rebuilding process they’ve brought in some verterans. Michael Morse come sover the from the Nationals, Jason Bay from the Mets and Kendry Morales from the Angels. Those three alone should help take pressure off a pitching staff led by all-everything Felix Hernandez (heads up . . . his velocity is dropping) and Joe Saunders.
HOUSTON – Pity manager Bo Porter, who faces a 162-game major league schedule with basically minor league talent in the team’s first season in the American League. And if things aren’t bad enough, owner Jim Crane alienated what remains of the fan base by telling them to pony up side money if they want him to increase payroll. Porter and the Stros are looking at a possible 110-loss season. It’s all about the future in south Texas.
Featured Free Pick
- Larry Ness
- January 18, 2017 - 10:30 PM
- Offered at:
- pinnacle @ -1 -103 SAC
Indiana is 5-14 SU on the road & has failed to cover in ANY of its 14 losses...
My free play is on the the Sac Kings at 10:35 ET.
Sacramento had hoped that a two-week homestand of seven games would help solidify the team as a playoff contender in the Western Conference with six games completed, the Kings have managed just ONE victory! That lone win came 100-94 over the Pistons, who squandered an 18-point third quarter lead. It's safe to say, things haven't gone as planned this homestand for the Kings. Tonight, it's a game against the 21-19 Indiana Pacers, then the Kings head out on the road for an EIGHT-game road trip over 12 days!
The Pacers begin a three-game Western Conference trip with this contest and have struggled to close games this season. Away from Indiana, the Pacers are just plain have trouble winning, sporting a 5-14 SU record, also going 5-14 ATS (more on that, later). The Pacers come in having won six of their past seven and can move three games above .500 for the first time with a victory, but FIVE of those seven games were played at Indiana. SF Paul George (22.0-6.1-3.3), center Turner (15.6 -7.7) and PG Jeff Teague (15.6-4.1-8.0) are the pacesetters for an Indiana offense that has shot at least 50 percent in five of its past six games.
The poor homestand has been disappointing to both players and coaches, and the repeated miscues and breakdowns have been alarming. "We're not a good team right now -- plain and simple," small forward Matt Barnes told reporters. "We have what it takes but we're undisciplined. We're not consistent and we lose our focus too much." However, the Kings are still just one game out of the West's final playoff spot. Also, Indiana's woes on the road are real, as the team has failed to cover in ANY of its 14 SU losses on the road this season! Kings head out on the road off a win.