Thursday, September 20, 2012

NFL Picks Week Three: 82 Reasons I'm Happy it's Football Season

I will readily admit first of all that I did not watch the Mets game last night. Instead I had more important things to do like rock out for nearly four hours, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I had checked the score of their matchup with the Phillies a few times. Now I know what you're all wondering: "Dave, why on Earth were you bothering with the Mets at this point?" And indeed, that is a valid question. After all, the Mets entered last night 15 games under .500 and 23 games back of first place. It's also, mid-to-late September. So clearly, the Mets are -- I'm going to go out on a limb here -- not in contention for a playoff spot.

Don't worry. I'm not delusional. While I still follow the team on a daily basis, I checked out on this season quite some time ago. My thoughts now mostly involve seeing what pieces the team has available for the future and what new fantastic ways the Amazins can find to lose a baseball game. They really excel at that.

Last night this apparently involved letting down stud pitching prospect Matt Harvey in his last start of the season due to the arcane Major League philosophy on innings limits, after he had turned in another superb outing. So good in fact -- 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 7 Ks, 3 BB -- that you'd think he'd pretty much be a lock to win with those numbers. But you would also probably think that if you watched another team play baseball regularly. See, Harvey so far has put up tremendous numbers in his first cup of coffee in the Majors. In 10 starts he's managed to put together a totall of 59.1 IP with 70 Ks, only 26 BBs, a solid 1.15 WHIP, a decent .200 BAA and an extra sharp-looking 2.73 ERA. If Harvey were at the MLB innings minimum he would have the fifth-lowest ERA in all of baseball, which would also mean the Mets would have two of the five lowest ERAs among starters along with R.A. Dickey. Also, he's from Connecticut, which makes him sort of a local boy.

So with impressive numbers like that, particularly for a rookie, Harvey's won-loss record has to be equally impressive, right?

Well, not exactly. Pitching for the Mets will do strange things to you, and one of those strange things is that it will suck the life out of any of your accomplishments. Harvey isn't necessarily entitled to a perfect 10-0 record in his 10 starts by any means, but with numbers like that, certainly he should be sporting a better mark that 3-5. Of course, really, as sabermetrics have proven, winning when determining the value of a pitcher is largely meaningless anyway, but the club getting a victory out of a start is generally a sign that the pitcher did his job effectively -- and by all means, Harvey has done his job very effectively this season.

This gives me at least a mild amount of optimism going into next season that the rotation with Harvey, Dickey and Niese at the top might be somewhat formidable -- not that it says much for the rest of the team. But as for this season, I can comfortably assume that there is no reason to really pay attention anymore, and why would I get that zany idea? Well, last night's loss to the rival Phillies was the Mets' 82nd loss of the year, which means New York has sealed up its tidy fourth-consecutive losing season.

I won't say that this loss is the point of no return or that I still harbored hopes of a late run beforehand, but there is still something unfortunately symbolic of sealing that sub-.500 record for the season. The plus side for this, however, is that I can now formally, fully dedicate my attention to football. No, not the Australian kind, though I will be watching this week's Preliminary Finals between Sydney and Collingwood and Adelaide and Hawthorn (go Swans and Crows). No I'm talking about that good ol' American football.

Granted, I haven't been so shy about mentioning it so far, as my post from earlier this week would attest, but now I don't really bother letting that silly baseball stuff get in the way. In fact, I turned down 10th-row seats to tonight's Mets game because the Giants are visiting the Panthers -- and I'll be damned if the 66-82 Mets will get in the way of me watching the World Champions.

Speaking of which, I suppose I ought to tell you who is GUARANTEED TO WIN WITHOUT QUESTION this weekend. Here it goes.

Last week: 7-7-2
Season: 14-16-2

NY Giants (+3) over CAROLINA
CHICAGO (-8) over St. Louis
Buffalo (-3) over CLEVELAND
Tampa Bay (+8) over DALLAS
Detroit (-4) over TENNESSEE
INDIANAPOLIS (-3) over Jacksonville
NY Jets (-3) over MIAMI
San Francisco (-11) over MINNESOTA
NEW ORLEANS (-9) over Kansas City
Cincinnati (+3) over WASHINGTON
ARIZONA (+4) over Philadelphia
Atlanta (+3) over SAN DIEGO
Houston (-3) over DENVER
Pittsburgh (-5) over OAKLAND
BALTIMORE (-3) over New England
Green Bay (-4) over SEATTLE

That's all she wrote. Enjoy the football.

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