This is a post where you can click on any tag you want to. It will be a side-bar link.
Today is the first, so it’s prediction time. I will highlight my changes in red.
Rays. This is not going to change. This team just keeps on winning despite losing Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford to injuries. The Red Sox have been bit by the injury bug, too, and have not fared nearly as well. Right now, they sit 5.5 games behind the Rays in the division and are struggling to hold onto the wild card.
White Sox. I’m not changing here. Even with the Twins adding Francisco Liriano they aren’t better than the White Sox. The White Sox have the far better hitting than the Twins, as well as a better bullpen. So the slight advantage the Twins have in starting pitching doesn’t make up for the White Sox’ offense.
Angels. This is still the easiest pick. The second place Rangers elimination number is 9. They have lost the “best team in the MLB” tag, however. They play in the second worst division, and don’t have the dominant top 3 that you need in the playoffs. The still might get to the World Series, but probably won’t win it.
AL Wild Card
Red Sox. They’ll still make the playoffs. There pitching will eventually get healthy, and they have a way better offense than the Twins. The Red Sox and White Sox are almost the same in my mind. The Red Sox with a little better starting pitching when healthy, the White Sox with a better bullpen. And they’re both better than the Twins. By the way, the Yankees have no chance. I am so glad there will be a post season without the Yankees in it.
Phillies. This one is the tougest I have chosen thus far. I was wrong about the Mets and Marlins. I thought the Mets would fade and the Marlins had a good chance at the division. Now the Marlins have faded and are out of the race, while the Mets have surged and taken over first place in the division. I still like the Phillies in the race over the Mets, though, becasue they got Brett Myers to be the old Brett Myers. His resurgence gives both teams about an even rotation. They both have similar offenses. The bullpen is what separates the Phillies from the Mets. The Mets still don’t have a closer, and even though the Phillies bullpen has struggled as of late, they still are far superior to the Mets.
Cubs. Is there any way they don’t win this division? They are only 4.5 games over the Brewers, but have played awesome. This is now not only the best team in the NL, but the best team in the MLB. They have the best playoff rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster. They have a great bullpen, and the best lineup. This team, gulp, is the favorites to win the world series in my mind.
Diamond Backs. This is my only change. The D’Backs are just a better team than the Dodgers, with Manny Ramirez or not. They still have the better starting pitching, and the Dodgers still have the better bullpen. I said in last month’s predictions that the Dodgers have a better offense. Over the last month, the D’Backs were fifth in the NL in runs scored, while the Dodgers were tenth. Adam Dunn has helped their lineup out a ton. The younger players have started to hit as well. This team might even get somewhere in the post season. They have arguable the best 1-2 punch of playoff contenders and a solid bullpen.
I usually make my predictions on the first of every month (excluding the offseason) But because I made the site today, I will make my prediction today.
Rays. They have been awesome almost all year long. Everyone is talking about how they are going to fall off in the final 2 months. Well, half of August is over and they’re still in first. They have had injury problems recently with Crawford and Longoria, but they will still win that division slightly over the Red Sox
White Sox. They are the best all around team in this division. The Twins do have great pitching, but the White Sox pitching is also very good. The White Sox have a far superior lineup, however. Also, the Twins run diferential is not near as good as the White Sox. The Tigers have a slight chance, but they have terrible pitching and are not as good as the White Sox or Twins. This, like the east, is going to go sown to the wire, but I believe the White Sox will come out on top over the Twins.
Angels. They have this division locked up. There is no chance they don’t win it. This is the best team in the MLB. Mark Teixera makes their lineup scary, they have the best pitching in the MLB and a solid bullpen with an outstanding closer. This team is set.
AL Wild Card
Red Sox. This is a fairly easy choice. If the Red Sox do win the East, then the Rays will take the Wild Card. There is a slight chance that both the White Sox and the Twins make the playoffs, but Those teams have a better chance of catching the other in the division. The Rangers and Yankees also have a very slight chance, but a chance. I don’t see it happening, though, because of the teams bad pitching.
Phillies. This is a tough one to call. The Phillies have the best lineup, and probably the best bullpen, but arguably the worst starting pitching. A lot depends on Brett Myers. If he can come back and be their #2, they will easily win this division. I don’t like the Mets chances. They have the worst lineup, arguably the worst starting pitching, and definatley the worst bullpen. Don’t count out the Marlins because they are overachievers. They have a good lineup with a lot of power, and if Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez return successfully from injury, and if Chris Volstad pitches well as a rookie, they will have the best pitching, and maybe the best bullpen. They are a huge dark horse if things go right.
Cubs. This is almost a given. They have been on top all year long, and played well with first place on the line by sweeping the Brewers. They are just the best team in the NL, and are not going to go away. By the way, I don’t see the Cardinals getting any closer than they are right now, they are going to fall off just like they have started.
Dodgers. This is the toughest division to peg. Before the Manny Ramirez trade, I thought it would be the D’Backs because they had a better lineup. After the trade, the Dodgers had the better lineup and the better team. Then the D’Backs get Adam Dunn and it is close again. Since I have to pick, though, I will take the Dodgers. They have been playing like a different team ever since the Manny trade, and have more experience than the D’Backs
NL Wild Card
Brewers. I would be surprised if the Brewers didn’t win this. The Cardinals are falling off, like I stated before, the Marlins or Phillies have a chance if both Brett Myers and the Marlins pitchers pitch well. That’s only 2 teams that have a chance, the Cardinals and either the Phils or Fish. All in all, the Brewers have the best team and will win the Wild Card.