Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The Stretch Run
And you know what that means. Divisional races become interesting, teams on the outside looking in either spend the month trying to play spoiler or somehow creep into the playoffs themselves. Either way, it's generally an exciting month of baseball, which is all I care about. With some of the races getting tight, and some teams poised to collapse, I thought it prudent to take a look at just what is going on around the league.
National League West
Who really gives a shit? This division is a disgrace. It's quite possible the division winner will finish below .500. Arizona is clinging to a game and a half lead but are a dismal 3-7 over their last ten. The Dodgers have picked up four in a row, closing the gap. Arizona has the pitching to get it done (and more than likely will) but if they keep finding ways to give games away, they'll be the ones on the outside looking in.
National League Central
It's likely we'll see two teams from the Central move into the post-season. The Cubs hold a four and a half game edge on the Brewers, who in turn maintain the very same edge over the Phillies in the wild card race. With four losses in a row the Cubs gave the Brewers a shot a picking up some ground. The Brewers, however, dropped their past two; failing to gain vital ground in the divisional race. Again, it won't likely matter as they're in good shape on picking up the Wild Card. The Cards and Astros, though having decent seasons, are likely to miss the post-season playing in the "tough" Central.
National League East
It's early September and again the Mets are on top of the East. Sound familiar? Of course it does. It was only last year they managed to cough up a seven and a half game lead to the Phillies over the last month and a half of the season. Going into play today the Mets hold a slight two game edge over Philly. I don't expect another 2007 to be completely honest. With a rejuvenated Carlos Delgado tearing the cover off the ball and a stronger starting rotation I expect the Mets to find themselves in the post-season come October.
American League West
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a 17.5 game lead on some other team playing in the same division as them. What the fuck else is there to say?
American League Central
Chicago, Minnesota. Minnesota, Chicago. What I do know is they've both been playing pretty uninspired baseball of late. The Twins go into tonight's game vs. the Jays a half game back, thanks to an early day Chicago win in Cleveland. I didn't think the Sox would be in this position at the beginning of the season, but big seasons by Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye along with the surprising Gavin Floyd have helped atop the Central for much of the season. However, another solid season by homegrown Justin Morneau along with an unhittable Joe Nathan have the Twins knocking on the door as well, and I think they'll be the ones playing October baseball this year.
American League East
I most definitely did not think we'd see the Tampa Bay Rays atop the American League East on September 3rd and neither did you. But here we are, with Tampa Bay hanging onto to a four game lead over the Red Sox who currently occupy the Wild Card. The Rays have even managed to stay atop the division with key injuries to players such as Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria and Troy Percival. Along with being atop the East they also hold the best record in Major League Baseball. The Rays staff has been amazing this season, which is one of the main reasons they occupy top spot. It seems unlikely that they'll completely collapse at this point, but stranger things have happened. I couldn't care less who makes the playoffs to be honest so long as it's not the Yankees who look to be hard pressed on getting in this season. That in itself is fucking great. It looks like more waiting for Jays fans. Which sucks because they looked good going into the season. Their pitching has been the best in the league, but their inability to scores runs has been their undoing. I don't see any reason the Rays and Red Sox won't be there in the end, though I sure would love to see the Jays win out. Maybe...?
American League - Rays, Red Sox, Angels & Twins
National League - Mets, Cubs, Brewers & Diamondbacks
World Series...........Angels vs. Cubs. Or something else perhaps