Six weeks into the season, bring on the races

What I’ll be wondering as the division races heat up:

Don't these guys age?: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
Don’t these guys age?: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.

AL East: Why Yankees greats Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada don’t age. … Whether Red Sox reserve Mike Lowell, one of the game’s genuine good guys, will find an everyday job (either in Boston or elsewhere). … How Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, at 24, already has it all. He is the whole package on and off the field, has the respect of his peers and the fear of opposing pitchers, and is the cover boy for a pretty cool video game. … Whether Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells will continue to make his critics pay for saying those awful things about him and his contract. You have to be careful what you say about players who still have uniforms on their backs.

AL Central: Whether the Twins can prove me wrong and win home games outside. … Whether Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera will bring home the MVP award he is capable of winning. … Why the Indians and White Sox can’t get going. … Whether talented White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham can shake his early-season sophomore slump. … Whether I can enjoy anything in the division more than watching Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit.

AL West: How well Mariners co-ace Cliff Lee can pitch for his free-agent life. … Whether Mariners DH Ken Griffey Jr. hung around too long (let’s hope not). … Whether Angels lefthander Scott Kazmir will pitch to his ability. … Whether Mike Scioscia can erase his team’s slow start and earn another manager of the year award. … Whether Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton can stay healthy.

NL East: Whether the slow-starting Braves can send manager Bobby Cox out on top — and whether he will stay if they do. … Exactly what kind of numbers Braves rookie right fielder Jason Heyward is capable of. … What Marlins ownership will do at the trading deadline if they’re in contention. … Just how dominant Phillies ace Roy Halladay will be. … What the Mets can do if they stay healthy. … Whether Matt Capps can save 80 percent of the Nationals’ wins.

NL Central: Whether Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome is more Hideki Matsui than Tsuyoshi Shinjo. … How many bags Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen can steal. … Whether Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder will share his definition of vegetarian. … Whether any team in the division other than the Cardinals can entertain me enough to keep me awake.

NL West: Whether Manny is done being Manny. … Whether Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw will morph into this Sandy Koufax replica many claim he will be. … Whether Giants ace Tim Lincecum will win 25 games. … Whether Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton or Giants closer Brian Wilson throws harder. … Whether a Padres pitcher will throw the franchise’s first-ever no-hitter. … How good Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will be — after he is dealt to a big-market East Coast team.

Todd Jones, a former major league closer, is a regular contributor to Sporting News.

What I’ll be wondering as the division races heat up:

Don't these guys age?: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
Don’t these guys age?: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.

AL East: Why Yankees greats Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada don’t age. … Whether Red Sox reserve Mike Lowell, one of the game’s genuine good guys, will find an everyday job (either in Boston or elsewhere). … How Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, at 24, already has it all. He is the whole package on and off the field, has the respect of his peers and the fear of opposing pitchers, and is the cover boy for a pretty cool video game. … Whether Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells will continue to make his critics pay for saying those awful things about him and his contract. You have to be careful what you say about players who still have uniforms on their backs.

AL Central: Whether the Twins can prove me wrong and win home games outside. … Whether Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera will bring home the MVP award he is capable of winning. … Why the Indians and White Sox can’t get going. … Whether talented White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham can shake his early-season sophomore slump. … Whether I can enjoy anything in the division more than watching Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit.

AL West: How well Mariners co-ace Cliff Lee can pitch for his free-agent life. … Whether Mariners DH Ken Griffey Jr. hung around too long (let’s hope not). … Whether Angels lefthander Scott Kazmir will pitch to his ability. … Whether Mike Scioscia can erase his team’s slow start and earn another manager of the year award. … Whether Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton can stay healthy.

NL East: Whether the slow-starting Braves can send manager Bobby Cox out on top — and whether he will stay if they do. … Exactly what kind of numbers Braves rookie right fielder Jason Heyward is capable of. … What Marlins ownership will do at the trading deadline if they’re in contention. … Just how dominant Phillies ace Roy Halladay will be. … What the Mets can do if they stay healthy. … Whether Matt Capps can save 80 percent of the Nationals’ wins.

NL Central: Whether Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome is more Hideki Matsui than Tsuyoshi Shinjo. … How many bags Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen can steal. … Whether Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder will share his definition of vegetarian. … Whether any team in the division other than the Cardinals can entertain me enough to keep me awake.

NL West: Whether Manny is done being Manny. … Whether Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw will morph into this Sandy Koufax replica many claim he will be. … Whether Giants ace Tim Lincecum will win 25 games. … Whether Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton or Giants closer Brian Wilson throws harder. … Whether a Padres pitcher will throw the franchise’s first-ever no-hitter. … How good Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will be — after he is dealt to a big-market East Coast team.

Todd Jones, a former major league closer, is a regular contributor to Sporting News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*