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Week Seventeen

Baltimore Ravens logoHow was everyone’s holiday? Anyone receive any notable sports-related gifts (aside from Greg‘s Orioles tix)?

If not, never fear, for the giving season isn’t over quite yet. It’s up to the Ravens to deliver the one thing the fans secretly jotted down on their wish lists but never really believed they’d get: a playoff berth. A win at home over the underachieving Jaguars gets it done, no matter what else goes down.

It’s a fairly crazy thing to consider. Back at the beginning of the season I predicted 8-8 and pretty much got laughed out of the building. I heard predictions as low as 4-12, accompanied (of course) by talk of how Joe Flacco wasn’t ready and how it would take time for Harbaugh to get things going.

Seventeen weeks later and the Ravens have already won 10 games. A pretty amazing thing when you think about it.

I’m skipping a full AFC Playoff Predictions thread this week, but here are my official predictions in quick-hit fashion:

Ravens win and make it.
Broncos limp in by barely beating the Chargers
The Jets beat the Dolphins but fail to get in because New England beats the Bills.

This is the first time I’ve deviated since week 9-10. I really want the Jets in, but I can’t see the BIlls taking care of the Patriots. It’s a damn shame.

I can’t believe the playoffs are almost here…where the hell did the time go?

9 comments to Week Seventeen

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    I snagged some pretty nice looking Baltimore Colts glasses, as well as a few other assorted Orioles and Ravens stuff. The glasses are my favorite sports prize, though. I’ve clearly changed a lot in the past year.

    I can see no scenario where the Ravens lose tomorrow. It’s a huge game against a lesser opponent where we should TCB and then some. If things go wrong, though – I’m not sure I can handle the anger, sadness, and eventually ennui that will sweep the area. I might have to retreat back to Rochester sooner than I intended.

    So I’m thinking it’ll be Ravens, Dolphins, and Chargers celebrating in 24 hours. Just gut feelings. Then we can start talking about how far this team can go (I think it’s a lot farther than is healthy to talk about right now).

    As a small side note, I’ve really enjoyed Peter Schmuck’s writing this week, coaxing everybody back off the ledge while still addressing every single one of my qualms from the whole fiasco. So props to him.

  • Greg

    I was trying to think of a player that I could put on an Orioles away jersey. I’m seriously considering Jeremy Guthrie as that person since he’s not a complete stick in the mud like I consider Markakis to be, and better at what he does than I consider Adam Jones to be.

    Anyway. This site needs more girls. I’ve been single for a year now, and it’s not for lack of trying. I want to meet a nice girl with an unhealthy fascination for the O’s. Can we make that happen? That’s my ultimate Christmas wish.

  • neal s

    This site does need more girls, Greg. Maybe the redesign will help with that.

    I forgot to mention that I got some amazing vintage Orioles patches from my sister for christmas. I’ll post some pics when I have them and maybe — maybe — organize some kind of contest to give one away.

    One more prediction: the Lions will find a way to beat Green Bay, thus ruining our collective dream of a new mark for futility.

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    Well, if noone else will say it, I will.



    Ed Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    Meanwhile, the Orioles are going to sign Mark Hendrickson to replace Daniel Cabrera. We don’t know what the deal is going to be, but I can already say I don’t like it much. That said, let’s look at the important numbers, shall we?

    Hendrickson doesn’t give you a ton of innings (we can probably expect 140-150 unless he has a major injury). He won’t give you much in the way of strikeouts (probably around 90 in ’09), but he also won’t walk everyone who steps into the box (about 50). And he doesn’t give up too many home runs, which is always good. With our strong defense (pending a first baseman) we might – MIGHT – get lucky with Mark Hendrickson.

    So we’re getting a 1.5 WHIP guy to throw 150 innings of below average ball. Sounds like Steve Trachsel part deux. Looking at the numbers does little to cheer me up about Hendrickson. But here’s the stupid part: this is clearly an improvement over Daniel Cabrera. Yes, we made a bad signing and improved, albeit marginally – think about it like that.

    The improvement is probably going to be mostly unnoticeable, and with an expected Huff regression, it looks like as of today the Orioles are again a 70 win team, pending Kawakami/Looper/dear god let there be someone else. I’m assuming here that we sign either Millar or Mientkiewicz or someone like that to play a good first base and not hit a lick.

    I was looking at some of our minor league pitching numbers, too, and there’s a little hope for some replacement pitchers in July/August/September to avoid yet another season-ending slump. Bergesen and Hernandez had genuinely good seasons – there’s a little worry in my head that the jump to AAA will show off some of their flaws (which they certainly have despite their great numbers…I’m talking about secondary pitches), but we might see one or both of them later on in 2009.

    As for Tillman and Arrieta, there’s still a lot of work to be done, of course. They both had very good numbers in terms of strikeouts and home runs, but the walks were hiiiiiiiigh…that’ll have to come down this year.

    Anyway, summing up, Mark Hendrickson is crap, but slightly less crap than the DC Cab was last year. And don’t totally despair, help is definitely on the way.

  • Greg

    Everyone talks about Huff and Mora regressing to the mean, but why did they play above the mean for so long, and why should we expect that it wasn’t a permanent thing? Why were they playing above the mean at all to begin with?

  • neal s

    If Huff “regresses” to his career average — 26 HR, 92 RBI, .287, .344 OBP, .483 slugging — it would represent a decline from last year, but I’d still take it.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    hahahahaha baseball

  • neal s

    It does seem a little silly in light of what the Ravens have done this season.