ST. PETERSBURG-The wave of media had finally departed the Red Sox clubhouse, so Kevin Youkilis dropped his guard and smiled at the lone reporter standing at his locker. "This is really amazing," the third baseman said with a twinkle in his eye. "To think where we were just a few days ago. I mean, it was close to being all over for us. Our chances were pretty slim of living to see another day. Now, we've lived to see a couple of more days and we're going to Game Seven. It's a heckuva story."
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The AL Central will be a dead heat, according to the BP staff, with the East and West showing more separation.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. The National League predictions will follow, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.
Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
The ALCS MVP is poised to bolster his big-game reputation in Game One of the World Series.
BOSTON--The champagne and beer had yet to dry on the plastic covering the lockers in the Red Sox' cramped clubhouse at ancient Fenway Park when an interloper who had apparently drunk either some bubbly, brewskis, or a combination of both posed a question to Terry Francona.
A long leash for one starter and the increasingly automatic October greatness of another produced a big Boston win.
CLEVELAND-Anyone with the most basic understanding of sabermetrics knows 65 2/3 innings is a relatively small sample of any established pitcher's career. That's what constitutes Josh Beckett's body of post-season work during his seven-year career. Yet, sample size be damned, the hard-throwing right-hander continues to put himself among the all-time October greats with a postseason to remember.
Josh Beckett looks to be finally over his blister problems, as Jonah Keri checks in with the team he picked to make the World Series.
CF Randy Winn
SS Omar Vizquel
1B J.T. Snow
LF Pedro Feliz
3B Edgardo Alfonzo
RF Todd Linden
2B Deivi Cruz
C Mike Matheny
P Brett Tomko
That lineup won't help much. If the season ended today, a .500 record
would win the NL West. Given Barry Bonds' 2004 VORP was worth more than 14 wins alone, it's fair to say a healthy Bonds all year could be enough for this ugly Giants team to win it
anyway, warts and all. As is, Bonds is out for the year, their second- and
third-best offensive players--Moises Alou and
Durham--have fought injuries all season, and perennial Cy
candidate Jason Schmidt has turned into a pumpkin. And
yet one five- or six-game winning streak--especially with underrated
shortstop Khalil Greene going on the DL for the
first-place Padres--and they'd be right back in the race. So as cruel
Josh Beckett-Deivi Cruz matchup may be to the fine
of San Francisco, the Giants will do as much as a team with the
second-worst offense in the majors possibly can...