It’s midweek in late October and that means that there is plenty to talk about, so we’ll get started without delay.
Official 2012 World Series Predictions
First things first… I will not hide the fact that I was rooting for 2 teams during the LCS rounds… Not the Yankees and Not the Cardinals. So that being said, I’m pretty happy with the World Series matchup. Here are some of the storylines to watch out for as this gets started tonight:
The Layoff – How much if any will the week layoff negatively impact the Tigers in the early part of this series? Specifically will it cost them a win in a Justin Verlander start?
Home Field – Plenty has been made of the fact that Justin Verlander got hit hard in the All-Star Game which has handed the Giants home field for the series. Will that matter? The Giants have as good of a home field advantage as any team in baseball, but road teams have been doing extremely well this postseason.
Pitching Rotations – The time off has allowed the Tigers to set their rotation exactly how they want and set up Verlander to go in Games 1 and 5 (or 1, 4, & 7 if they gamble), while the Giants are completely out of order and have Zito in Game 1, a struggling Bumgarner in Game 2, and who knows how it will play out after that.
The Bullpens – Detroit’s bullpen was stellar…outside of their closer Jose Valverde. Will Leyland put him back out there in a save situation? The Giants’ pen has been equally good and Sergio Romo is continuing to get better and more dependable and Brian Wilson continues to be the more interesting cheerleader they have.
Destiny – The Giants had the “Team of Destiny” feel in the LCS, but can they count on Scutaro to hit .500 again? Or will Posey step his game back up to in-season levels? Can they get more magic from Pence & The Panda? That said, the Tigers seemed to work well with Destiny as well and it never hurts to have the reigning Cy Young winner and the first Triple Crown winner in decades on your roster.
Defense – It’s not a sexy topic, but anyone who watched the Yankees and Cardinals fall apart can attest to the fact that poor defense was a HUGE factor. Detroit is keenly aware of its importance after it betrayed them the last time they were in the Series. On paper, the Giants look to have the edge, but the Braves and Cardinals did as well earlier this postseason. What is done is done and it’s all about the defense in the next week in a half.
The Guru’s Official Prediction: Detroit wins in 5 games
The Swami’s Official Prediction: Detroit wins in 7 games
Make no mistake, this is the part of the season where fantasy football leagues are won or lost. Now is the time to figure out the right moves to make. Whether it’s a trade, an injury replacement pickup, holding pat, or positioning yourself for next year if you are in a keeper league, NOW is the time to move. It’s not too late to make a run in most leagues, but you have to capitalize on the remaining bye weeks or you are unlikely to be able to make up enough ground once everyone is back to full strength. With that said there isn’t one theme of a column that can help everyone, so I’ll do this in a stream of consciousness sort of way:
Stay on top of Injuries – If you are struggling (like I have been) the difference between winning and losing can hinge on grabbing the right injury replacements (such as a Jonathan Dwyer or Rashad Jennings).
Trendspotting – We are now at the point in the season where you can begin trusting some of the trends you are seeing. Don’t become too enamored with the past or the pre-season projections…trust what is happening. (e.g. Quizzy Rodgers is NOT vulturing a host of touches from Michael Turner)
Keep Your Eyes Out for Players Returning – With the new shorter IR spot, now is the time that some of those players are coming back. Additionally as players go out for the season, there could be some fresh meat getting a second chance and they could have some serious motivation. You could stumble onto a useful player for the stretch run. (e.g. Vincent Brown, Chris Cooley, Jerome Simpson)
Frequent the Free Agency Pool – Don’t get so enamored with staying put that you don’t realize you’ve been starting someone who has 5 points total over the past 3 weeks (e.g. Mark Ingram, Kickers, Defenses). There are no points for fewest moves. Ride the hot hand and then cut them when they go cold.
If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It – If you are strong, only make deals from a position of strength. And realize that sacrificing one game due to bye weeks can be ok if you are just that much stronger the rest of the time.
Think about Tomorrow – If you are way out of it in a Keeper League, consider your options for the future. Don’t do anything to hurt the integrity of the league, but if you can make a trade that makes sense for next year, go ahead and do it before someone else beats you to it.