It’s invisible ink time again. All prognosticators need a ready supply.
The Red Sox and Yankees kicked off the 2010 season Sunday night and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be matched up when the end comes. It may not be fair to the rest of the American League East, but it is reality.
The AL Central is a three-team affair.
The Twins hope their new ballpark keeps that home-field advantage the Metrodome gave them. J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson make them a better defensive team. The loss of closer Joe Nathan to injury is an early disaster.
The Tigers’ Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello are solid starters. However, there are too many questions in Magglio Ordonez, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis and young center fielder Austin Jackson.
The White Sox added Jake Peavy as a starter, and with Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd, that’s some tough pitching. They still will struggle to score.
The Indians and Royals will have to wait.
Seattle has received more positive publicity heading into the season than any other upstart. The Mariners were last in the league in scoring last year and will struggle again. They acquired starter Cliff Lee to join Felix Hernandez and signed former Angel Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley as new names. Not enough.
The Angels are still the team to beat, but it will be close. They will be a slower team and not as good defensively, but will play the situational game better than anyone.
The A’s will be tough to play with a better defense, but there’s not enough offense. Texas with new ownership will be trying to right a franchise that has meandered.
The National League East is between the Phillies and Atlanta. The Phils win again. The Nationals, Mets and Marlins have too many holes.
The Cardinals win the NL Central with enough balance to best the Cubs. Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday will make it tough on all pitchers against the Cards.
The Reds have been touted, but Aroldis Chapman, the pitching sensation from Cuba, isn’t ready to help yet, and starter Edison Volquez will miss the first half of the year.
The Brewers still lack pitching, having the worst ERA in the NL last year, and the Astros and Pirates are watching.
The Giants and Dodgers battle for the NL West and it’s the Giants winning it with pitching, lead by Tim Lincecum. The Padres and Diamondbacks aren’t ready.
The Yankees and Red Sox again in the ALCS. You want really invisible ink for this. The healthy team for the postseason wins.
The Phillies and Cardinals in the NLCS, with the Cardinals moving on.
The AL wins it all.
By the All-Star game this column will have disappeared.