The New York Mets will not win the wild card in the National League in 2007. Their pitching is too old at one end—Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez, and too young at the other end—Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, and Oliver Perez.
The Mets will finish behind the Phillies and Braves in the East.
Speaking of the Phillies and Braves, they will play close to each other for the entire season, even seesawing back in forth in and out of first place. In late September, the Phillies will sweep through a successful road trip, then return and sweep the Braves at home, nipping them at the wire.
The Lou Piniella and Alfonso Soriano led Cubbies will win the NL Wild Card, edging out a surprising Pittsburgh Pirates team in the final week of the season.
The Cubs Kerry Wood will rebound from a sore arm to be effective out of the bullpen and Mark Prior will find his fastball at Triple-A Iowa, and return to help the club. The team’s $300 million off season shopping spree added free agent pitchers Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis to the rotation, which includes righthander Carlos Zambrano.
Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild will help closer Ryan Dempster rebound from a shaky 2006, where he was 24 for 33 in save situations, and recorded nine losses and an 4.80 ERA. Dempster, however, recorded a season high12 straight save opportunities from July 5 to August 14.
No longer a team dependent on Wood and Prior, the new look Cubbies will have decent speed at the top of the order in Soriano and Jacque Jones, followed by effective power in Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and free agents Cliff Floyd and Mark DeRosa.
With Piniella now calling the shots in the dugout, the Cubbies can definitely get Wild in the Friendly Confines.