A nasty week-long cold has me filled with delirious thoughts, so maybe that's why I'm picking the White Sox to win the A.L. Central Division in 2010.
The headache, fever and ticklish sinuses are combining with a few other strange notions--that Alex Rios is going have an epic 30 HR, 30 SB, 100 RBI year; that the Piranhas will give up more power-runs and score fewer of their own patented small-ball runs in their new park; and that the Sox will have not only the best starting rotation in the A.L. Central but also the best bullpen, while the Joe Nathan-less Twins bullpen struggles--to convince me that the Sox are destined for an 87-75 record and division crown.
That's exactly where I had them a month ago.
My delirium has its limits, of course, and though the Cubs were better than the Sox this spring (18-12-3 to the Sox' 12-17-5), and have emerged with some surprises--Tyler Colvin on the roster and Carlos Silva in the rotation--I still see them no better than 83-79. That's not bad, and a game or two better than I had them a month ago, but I don't think they have the horses to beat either the Cardinals or Brewers.
That might change if Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee play well and stay healthy all year, and if Carlos Zambrano doesn't implode, and if Colvin plays like a Rookie of the Year candidate, and if Alfonso Soriano excells batting sixth, and if Silva pitches better than he has in years, and if Carlos Marmol chills out, but that's a lot of ifs.
Barring a worsening of my own health, I'll be taking in the Sox opener with The Commish tomorrow afternoon at The Cell. Let's hope it's not a repeat of 2007. I don't like the Mark Buehrle-Grady Sizemore match-up, but aside from that, the Sox seem well-poised to get off to a string start.
The [Monday] Papers
6 hours ago