SIDELINES: this week in sports

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For the first time in a long time I’m being given an opportunity to write about something other than basketball. For the final Sidelines of the 2017-2018 year, I’m filling in for our Sports and Health Editor, Isabelle Cropper. So, for all you people that read The Brock Press two years ago (when I was Sports Editor), let’s relive my knowledge.

With the MLB season beginning this week, here’s a quick breakdown from division to division:

American League East

Probably the deepest division in the American League, the east could see three teams make the postseason and a fourth be in the mix until about late August. The New York Yankees are the sexiest team in baseball — they have Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez — and until Monday, they did have Greg Bird but he’ll miss up to six weeks due to an ankle injury. Their offense will lead them to 90-plus-wins. I’m not huge on the Yankees starting pitching, as there’s nothing special after Luis Severino, however their starters just need to get to six innings and the bullpen can do the rest. Then comes the Boston Red Sox — who I think are overrated. Starters are great with Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello as the top three. Sure, they have a lineup that could match the Yankees in runs scored, but they don’t have a wow factor. Then comes the Toronto Blue Jays — who will either win enough games to make the postseason or lose enough games to see Josh Donaldson on the trade block in July. We don’t know what to expect from Baltimore, but they could be in the wildcard race and Tampa Bay is a lost cause.

American League Central

The Cleveland Indians won their division by 17 games last year. They didn’t improve by a whole lot, but neither did the rest of the division. Kansas City is worse, Detroit’s best players are aging and the Chicago White Sox are trying, but they always do and it’s normally just to finish third or lower in the division. Minnesota is young and could make a push to challenge Cleveland, but the Twins are more of a wildcard team than anything. This is a division for Cleveland to lose, but it’s all but there’s to win.

American League West

Like Cleveland, the Houston Astros won their division by a lot in 2017 and went on to win the World Series. They’re World Series favourites again, specifically since they’ll have a full season with a rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Gerrit Cole, and Ken Giles in the back-end to close the door. There’s not much else to be said, but they also have a really good lineup. The Los Angeles Angels are trying to catch the Astros, especially since Mike Trout’s talent keeps going to waste with a non-playoff team. Additions of Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart are nice, not sure what Justin Upton does for them and pitching is up in the air so the Angels are still not good enough to run with the Astros. Seattle is like Baltimore and will be on the edge of the wildcard, Oakland is well, not good and Texas didn’t do enough to be better or be worse.

National League East

The NL East you ask? Well Washington still has Bryce Harper, and a solid lineup around him. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg headline their starting pitching. The rest of the division is pretty much rebuilding. Atlanta is waiting for its young players to be MLB ready, Philadelphia tried to convince free agents to sign but no one did and Miami traded away their best players in the winter. The New York Mets still have a respectable pitching rotation and hope their lineup can keep up, so wildcard, maybe?

National League Central

The Chicago Cubs are still good, like really good. St. Louis Cardinals tried to acquire a big bat, but failed. Pittsburgh doesn’t have Andrew McCutchen anymore so the Pirates don’t have an identity anymore. Cinciannati won’t do much besides entertain us with the best bat in baseball: Joey Votto. Milwaukee’s good, especially since Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain have been added, but they aren’t quite Chicago Cubs good, so wildcard for the Brewers.

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers are still good, with young talent. San Francisco added Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria, but just recently lost pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija to injury. I like Colorado, and they’ll build on their 87 wins from 2017. Arizona is ready to keep building from their 93 win season and San Diego is a lonely lost puppy. The NL West is the toughest division, and the Dodgers might be good but everyone else got better.

Then there’s college basketball. The Final Four is set: Michigan vs Loyola-Chicago and Villanova vs Kansas. Villanova is the favourite, but they have to get through another one seed in Kansas. Michigan has looked good all tournament, but Loyola is a fan favourite underdog. Anything can happen this weekend, but I picked Michigan vs Kansas from the start.

The NBA and NHL seasons are winding down, so let’s wait until the playoffs to talk more but quickly on Toronto teams. The Maple Leafs deserve a home game in the first round of the playoffs, which they won’t get, so NHL, please fix your playoff format. The Raptors look to be slowing down, but hopefully they figure it out with their remaining regular season schedule.

And that’s sidelines this week. I think I wrote more than I was supposed to, but I was pushed away from sports for awhile and had a lot to say. Anyways, this was the last Sidelines for the year, so until next year, thanks for reading.

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