As the regular season comes to a close in Major League Baseball, we still don’t have a solid answer for an overwhelming favorite in each conference, though we’re getting there it seems. For instance, in the American League, just one month ago, it was Kansas City’s to lose. Well, they lost home field. At least for now. Currently, the Royals trail the Blue Jays 1 ½ games, after Toronto just put on a furious run since the trade deadline. An AL East that was thought was all but sewn up by the Yankees in late July, now has New York looking up at the Blue Jays, with really no chance of clinching. Either a Yankees loss today or a Blue Jays win, which Toronto has a double header today, and the East belongs to the Blue Jays in the American League. Watch out for the AL West division. Teams that don’t score a ton of runs, but can reel it in the pitching department. Now the once thought dead Angels are now in the driver’s seat with a slight ½ game lead on the Astros, but still trail Texas for the division by 2 games. And let’s not forget about the Twins. Sure, they’ve been lurking all season long, but that makes them dangerous, as they’ve almost become an afterthought. Watch out, as the veteran leadership in the locker room is strong.
With all that being said, I still feels this could come down to the Royals and Blue Jays, with the Jays now having home field. Will it stay that way? And will home field advantage really matter? For, it was this same Royals team last season, that didn’t have home field advantage, breezing through the playoffs before hitting the wall that was the San Francisco Giants. That was with home field advantage for the American League. So, sometimes, it just doesn’t matter on the venue.
Speaking of the Giants, that’s a team that won’t be attempting to repeat as World Series Champions, as San Francisco was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, following a loss to the Dodgers, who also wrapped up the NL West last night with that win. But, are the Dodgers the favorite in the National League? Will the Dodgers even get out of the NLDS when the face off against the New York Mets? I anticipate the Dodgers and Mets being a great series. Should go four or five games in the LDS best of 5 series. Jacob deGrom leads the Mets into the playoffs, but having guys like Bartolo Colon, possibly Matt Harvey and Noah Snydergaard really help New York square up nicely against the Dodgers 1, 2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke. That’s saying something, being that one of those two pitchers will most likely be the Cy Young in the National League.
I still lean the winner out of the NLDS in the other match-up to come out the National League Pennant winners, and that’s going to be the St. Louis Cardinals and either the Chicago Cubs or the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cardinals have played the best baseball all year long, but you could argue the best all-around baseball team in NL is the Pirates and/or the Cubs. Both have a pretty formidable offensive lineup and pitching lineup. St. Louis by far and away has the best team ERA, but the Redbirds aren’t exactly scoring runs at will either, but pitching translates in the playoffs, so either that transpires or the Cubs or Pirates generate enough offense to just get by in the NLDS.
This will be a great postseason! A lot of old blood, mixed in with some unknown teams, which usually makes the playoffs that more interesting.
Featured Image by: Chris Kim