Thank the gods of Kobol for the internet, because otherwise I wouldn't know that Sports Illustrated has picked the Dodgers to win the west. The last issue I received was the Gonzaga-covered March Madness issue dated March 30, 2009. And my conversation with the helpful people at Time Warner went like this:
Sax: Hi, I haven't received my Baseball Preview issue yet.
SI: Well, it's dated April 6, and today is only the 4th.
Sax: The date on the magazine has nothing to do with it. I've seen it on newsstands five days earlier. And my brother got his issue delivered four days ago.
SI: Some people get it earlier, some people get it later.
Sax: But since both my brother and I live in the same city, shouldn't we get the issue delivered at the same time? Or at least not with four days' difference?
SI: Sir, it's dated April 6. If you don't get it on Monday, then you can call for a replacement then.
Sax: You understand I'm likely not going to be able to blog about you.
SI: We'll take that risk.
But enough about me. SI.com highlights the same things we already know; our offense should be strong, but our pitching (both starting and relief) is pretty thin.
The young pitchers should benefit from a tight defense that's especially strong up the middle, with returning shortstop Rafael Furcal, plus Hudson and Martin. (The athletic Kemp is still a work in progress in center.) But L.A.'s main goal is to beat up teams up with its bats, and while that's an unusual plan in a division of spacious ballparks, including Dodger Stadium, it may work. With Ramirez back to help that talented quartet of young position players, the Dodgers are the class of a division that has no lineup to match theirs.
SI has the Diamondbacks second, followed by the Giants, Rockies, and Padres.
A sidebar statistic also notes the 100-point difference between Russell Martin's slugging average before and after the All-Star break. We gotta rest this guy more, Joe Torre. Be ready, Brad Ausmus.
photo: John W. McDonough/SI