So here’s what we think we know with only 18 games to go in the MLB regular season: Pending a collapse by the Cubs, Dodgers or Pirates, you’ll have a new World Series Champion. Though the Giants aren’t mathematically eliminated, they are 7 games behind Chicago for the final wild card spot in the NL and 7.5 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West. So like I said, count San Francisco out.
In fact, all the teams right now occupying the playoff positions will make the postseason in the NL. It’s just a matter of seeding at this point. It’s going to come down to the Cardinals and Pirates for the top spot in the National League, though I give the edge to the team that’s been at the top the whole season. St. Louis has stumbled the last couple weeks, but not enough for me to warrant Pittsburgh the division. Pittsburgh and St. Louis play one more 3 games series this season, which could really decide that division once and for all, September 28-30. Make sure to tune in for that series. The Dodgers have just pulled away and will match up with one of the hottest team in the majors right now, the New York Mets.
A combination of great pitching and an offense that has changed their whole identity, with an MVP caliber player like Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup. What a difference a change of venue meant for Cespedes. With Detroit in 102 games, Cespedes had 18 HR’s and 61 RBI. With the Mets in 42 games, he’s got 17 HR’s and 42 RBI. Talk about insta-production! Watch out for the Mets if you’re any team in the NL right now.
On the other hand, the American League is not so set in stone. The Royals are the only team that has anything well in hand with a 10 game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central. The Twins still have plenty to play for though as they are in the midst of a wild card run. The Twinkies, Astros, Rangers and even throw the Angels in the mix are all fighting for the final spot in the playoffs. Currently, the Rangers have the AL West lead by a narrow ½ game over Houston, so plan on that coming down to the final day. I like what the Rangers and the Astros bring to the table, sporting timely pitching, but I actually give the edge to the Rangers at this point, with players like Beltre and Fielder helping Texas make their push. I also thinking having pitchers like Cole Hamels and Derek Holland, though Holland needs to even pick things up a bit, will be beneficial moving forward.
It’s still a close battle with the Yankees and Blue Jays, but Toronto will pull away with the division in my eyes, with already a 3 game lead in the division and the best offense in baseball. Pitching is catching up quickly, but it better catch up even quicker in the playoffs, as I plan on Toronto’s run support going down quite a bit in a postseason that’s always predicated on great pitching.
However, with all that’s being said with these AL teams, everything still has to go through KC and that isn’t going to be so easy down the stretch.
Featured Image by: M F Flaherty