Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 3/25/14

  • March 25, 2014

Baseball previews continue today with a look at what is currently the worst team in the majors. Okay, that’s not really fair as the Arizona Diamondbacks had to play those two games in Australia and happened to lose them both. But that might just be a sign of things to come for the 2014 Snakes.

I think this team has some problems in store this season. The pitching looks to be a potential sore point and then some. Patrick Corbin is done for the season. That means a rotation including Bronson Arroyo, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado, at least for the time being. There’s nothing resembling an ace in that quintet, which means there’s a good chance the bullpen gets overworked. The savior could be Archie Bradley, who is a super blue chip prospect with a very high ceiling. But that’s a ton of responsibility to thrust on a kid who has yet to throw a single major league inning.

The Arizona attack should be pretty good. Paul Goldschmidt is a superstar, Martin Prado figures to have a better season as does Miguel Montero. Aaron Hill is solid at the keystone, and Gerardo Parra is an underrated outfielder. Mark Trumbo won’t win any Gold Gloves in left field, but he will produce some impressive power numbers. AJ Pollock is no All Star, but he’s passable in CF, and Chris Owings will at least be a fan favorite at SS with his all-out style. Cody Ross and Eric Chavez are excellent veteran presences off the bench.

The pitching is the problem, and with runs now at a premium throughout the majors, this looms as a major problem for the Diamondbacks. Good pitching can dominate good hitting, and the Snakes are going to find the going tough in a division with arms galore in at least two and perhaps three rival locales. I can see this team being okay at home, but suspect they’re going to have issues on the road, especially in pitcher-friendly parks like LA, SF and SD.

I don’t expect the Diamondbacks to be contenders this season, and getting to .500 might be tough. I’d have to lean Under 80.5 wins, and with the system beyond Bradley somewhat lacking, an overhaul could be in the works.

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My March Madness has been March Sadness. I’ve had a terrible month in basketball, and there’s just no way to sugarcoat it. I can’t recall a run with more come from way ahead losses on what is basically a nightly basis. Miami got me on Monday night, as they frittered away a 17 point fourth quarter lead before winning at the horn.

Fortunately, my best game is about to begin. Baseball has been my best profit producer over the years and I can’t wait for the games to begin. I’m running a strong special for the opening month of the season that includes what I see as a powerful guarantee. Email me at cokin@cox.net for all the details, or simply utilize the “buy now”  feature on this page and click on “April Baseball Special” to get signed up.

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Monday’s comp was a disaster as Radford got crushed from wire to wire by an Old Dominion entry that just could not miss. I don’t like anything in roundball tonight, but I’ve got an NHL opinion that should have a good chance to pay off.

03/25 05:05 PM  NHL   (65) COLORADO AVALANCHE (66) NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Take: (65) COLORADO AVALANCHE -120

The Colorado Avalanche are heading for the playoffs and Patrick Roy has a great chance at being named NHL Coach of the Year. The Nashville Predators will be heading to assorted vacation spots in less than three weeks when the regular season ends.

One of the things I like about the NHL is that there’s almost no such thing as tanking, which clearly appears to be a problem in the NBA. But even the teams with next to nothing to play for continue to work for wins on the ice. The Preds are still technically alive for a Wild Card spot, but it would take more than a minor miracle for them to get there. Nevertheless, Nashville continues to play hard and is returning home off two straight road wins.

The Avalanche have hit a bump in the road recently, garnering only one point over the last three games. But this team is still very much in the hunt to catch Chicago in the divisional race, and they’re going to be in the playoffs regardless.

This building has not been kind for the Avs, but they finally broke through for a win in their last trip to Nashville. Meanwhile, the Predators have fallen upon hard time at home this season. They’ve actually been better on the road this season, and they’ve been struggling badly of late in home games.

I’ll play against the two small streaks here. Colorado does not want to hit a slump at this point in the season, and I’m expecting them to come out determined to get back in the win column tonight. As for the Preds, hot runs have been basically non-existent this year, and I would expect their mild momentum gets stuffed here.

The idea of laying a modest price on the road is not much of a concern, as I make it a good spot for the visitors. Colorado’s ability to win on the road helps make the decision even easier. I’ll side with the Avalanche to get the win tonight.