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Would you rather:

A) Read an MLB season preview written by sober baseball nerds?

B) Read an MLB season preview written by drunk baseball nerds?

If you answered A), you might have better luck here, or here.

If you answered B), or for some reason clicked on those links and still find yourself reading this, then buckle up, because it’s time for the Clown Show’s first annual 2014 MLB Drunk Season Preview.

The premise: aren’t you sick of reading half-assed predictions? “If Clay Buchholz can stay healthy and his FIP only regresses to a certain degree, and if Xavier Boegarts steps up and is the shortstop we think he can be and the Red Sox start winning baseball games early and often, it seems likely that they will blah blah blah blah blah…”. Fuck all that noise. We are getting drunk, not looking anything up, and telling you how we think the MLB season is going to go, fully acknowledging it probably won’t go that way at all. And if sober people think they can do any better than us, well, maybe they can. But you won’t have nearly as much fun reading what they have to say. We promise.

Unfortunately, some of us got too drunk to be posting a preview of one division a day. If you’re looking for the AL Central preview from Thursday, it is here. If, for some strange reason, you would like to read about the NL Central, it is here. Today, we bring you the AL East. 

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 AL EAST

by LeftyGarciaparra

I went to an AA meeting earlier tonight. Coincidentally, I just cracked a beer. Now that that’s out of the way, I can proceed by espousing unpopular opinions about the various strengths and weaknesses of AL East teams with little or no evidence to back them up.

By the way, before I get going, I have to get something off my chest. I recently heard Malcolm Gladwell on a podcast talking about how he hates underdogs and I found myself relatively convinced by his argument. He essentially argued that it goes against “the way things are supposed to be” when a team like the Indians or the Orioles goes on an unexpected run and qualifies for the playoffs. That’s about how I feel about the AL East. There is a natural order of things that is disrupted when a plucky team no one expected to be good, beats a better-funded rival. It makes people feel good for a short while, but it’s ultimately a distraction from the cold hard realities of nature. The scythe is remorseless.

Red Sox

Full disclosure, I’m from Massachusetts. I am a Red Sox fan. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are likeable players. Face it. If you don’t like them, it’s because your team hasn’t won three World Series titles in the last decade. I am fully aware that I sound like a Yankees fan right now, but I went to an AA meeting earlier. That’s my good deed for the day. Go fuck yahself.

One of these days the wheels are going to fall off David Ortiz. Not this year. .290/.370/.525. I’m thinking that’s actually a pretty conservative prediction but The Clown Show Overlords have forbidden me from looking up stats. Go fuck yahself. Wicked pissah (can anyone fucking tell me what that means?). Xander Bogaerts is gonna… oh I don’t fuckin know. I’m no scout. He’ll probably do pretty well because that’s what I read somewhere. To be fair, I’m about the worst Red Sox fan in the world. I’m like an AA attendant that cracks a beer when he gets home. I predict Will Middlebrooks sucking a lot because I hate players who strike out a lot and don’t walk. I predict Daniel Nava falls victim to BABIP regression and does not repeat the smoke and mirrors act of last year. I predict Lester, Lackey, and Buchholz continue to be their slightly above average selves. I predict they patch together a decent back end of the rotation with Webster, De La Rosa, Doubront, Barnes and whoever else I’m forgetting.

Final Prediction: 90-72

Yankees

Jacoby Ellsbury. Think of how the world has changed. Ten years ago he would have wound up bound, gagged and tortured in a basement somewhere in Lowell. These days, we can all chuckle at the silly Wankees who just signed an even more injury-prone version of Carl Crawford (Thanks LA) to a deal for $150 million. Ellsbury is one of the more overrated players in the game. He bent 30 homeruns around Pesky’s Pole like 5 years ago so the world thinks he has “30/30 potential”. Let him steal a few bases, twist his ankle, and then spend the next three months enjoying that Florida heat while rehabbing his tender tendons (I’m embarrassingly proud of the proceeding two words).

I mean who even plays for this team anymore? I know the signings: Ellsbury, McCann, Tanaka, Beltran. I know Brett Gardner, Kuroda and CC. I know the rotting corpses of the Cap’n and Teixeira. I play fantasy, so I know who David Robertson is. Beyond that I honestly don’t know. David Phelps? This team blows.

Final Prediction: 17- 145

Orioles

Other than that whole walks thing, the offense is solid. Davis, Machado, Jones, Hardy are all fantastic and there are some other solid pieces like Markakis, Cruz and Wieters. Eventually, Wieters and Machado are going to break out. It’s really just a matter of time. This offense is ligit. There’s no debating that. That would be a fool’s errand. Errrrrr!

The pitching is a different story. Unless Gausman or Bundy pitches to their potential right out of the gates, this pitching staff is going to sink the ship. Between Tillman, Norris, Chen and Jimenez I’m sure they’ll get some league average innings, but that’s not going to cut it in the AL East. This is a fringe playoff team at best. It’s going to need the offense to really carry it for the first half and then pick up a top of the rotation arm at the deadline, squeak into the playoffs and then get lucky.

Final Prediction: 87-75

Blue Jays

I don’t know shit about the Blue Jays. Edwin Encarnacion is on my fantasy team. Jose Bautista once was unexpectedly good but now he’s less good, and everyone expects it. R.A. Dickey throws a pitch with his knuckles (or fingertips) that goes unusually fast for such a pitch. That’s all you gotta know. But seriously, this team really isn’t that different from the Orioles. Good offense, bad pitching. The pitching staff just either screams “what if?” or just puts you to sleep. Brandon Morrow might be the only interesting name other than Dickey. Mark Buehrle is the single most boring human being to ever exist. Truth.

Final Prediction: 85-77

Rays

Everyone loves the fucking Rays. Or at least that’s how I imagine it. I bet you Billy Beane has wet dreams about the Rays sometimes. No one is actually a fan, but everyone wants to be a fan. It’s like jazz music. That said, I think they’re going to win the division this year and maybe the pennant. They have the best pitching staff in the division without a doubt: Alex Cobb, David Price, Chris Archer, Matt Moore. Not to mention Odorizzi and their seemingly endless stream of talented young pitchers. The offense is good enough to get the job done. I love the Ryan Hanigan signing. High OBP catcher bought low after a down year. Longoria, Myers, Zobrist. Good shit. Plus, Joe Maddon was wearing hipster glasses back in ’08.

 

Prediction: 96 – 66, AL pennant winner.