As we finish up with July and head into August, every Major League Baseball fan is getting a little excited; a little nervous; and most importantly, a little hopeful.
Hopeful for what?
Hopeful that their team can stay on top, or make a move and get to the top.
Hopefully my words here will ease some of you, and infuriate some of you.
So, lets get started with the predictions:
Already out: Seattle. Even with the best young pitcher, Seattle needs to get back into the rebuilding mode and start focusing for being a contender a few years from now.
Stand a chance (kind of): Oakland and Texas. Even though Texas has a couple of good young sluggers, and Oakland has a good young team, I can not see either of them catching the red hot Angels. Sorry Oakland and Texas fans, but do not expect a wildcard either.
Locked up: Los Angeles Angels. With a 10-game lead, do not expect the Angels to falter. You will see them in the playoffs.
Sorry but no cigar: Cleveland and Kansas City. Almost a let-down season for Cleveland after a good one last year. Just do not have the momentum anymore. And how do you get rid of C.C.?
Kansas City is a young team, but aren't they always a young team? Enough is enough if your a Royals fan.
In it to win it: Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago WS. Detroit will hit its stride, Minnesota will keep playing good, and Chicago will keep being gritty. Who will win?
If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Chicago winning the division and Detroit and Minnesota fighting over the Wild card. I think Detroit has shot themselves in the foot, and Minnesota is just not as tough as Chicago to win those must win games when it comes down to it.
Same Ol, Same Ol: Toronto and Baltimore. The tough AL East always seems to bury these two teams who have had good years...sometimes. This year do not expect to see either one of them near the top of the standings as the playoffs near.
Could win the Wild card: Tampa Bay and New York AL. I believe that either one of these two teams will win the wild card in the AL but will not be able to win the division. Tampa Bay will fold and New York just has too many other story lines to keep them from their true potential.
And the winner is: Boston. With the return of Big Papi and maybe the best pitching staff in baseball, plus not to mention the fact that they are the defending champions, expect Boston to display its veteran know how and win the AL East.
AL West—Los Angeles Angels
AL Central—Chicago White Sox
AL East—Boston Red Sox
AL Wild card—New York Yankees
Roughnecks: San Diego, San Francisco and Colorado. San Diego may the biggest disappointment of the year while San Francisco is still in the post-Bonds era and Colorado will pull no cinderella out of its bag this year. Count all of these teams out of the chase as of right...now!
Sticking around for a while: Arizona. Sorry Arizona, but you had a good run while it lasted. I can see the NL West coming down to a two-team race all the way through September. Arizona however, will play its last game on Sept. 28.
Walking away victorius: Los Angeles Dodgers.Two names should pop into your head, Brad Penny and Andruw Jones. Look for both of them to have great second halves and lead the Dodgers to the playoffs.
Business as usual: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Houston. Though some what talented, do not expect to see any of these teams even finish close to .500. I do wish Ken Griffey Jr, the best however.
Walking the tight rope: Chicago NL, Milwaukee. I know, I know but before you start badgering me I do believe that the NL Wild card winner will come out these two teams, but neither will challenge St. Louis down the stretch for the NL Central crown.
Suprise, Suprise: St. Louis. I like many other predictioners (not even a word!) think that St. Louis will win this division. Two games back as of now, I do not expect the Cardinals to go on a losing streak of any kind. The Cards are doing what they always do, staying close until the end and then getting ready to make a run at the final turn.
Man, I am tired: Washington. The only team in this division in my mind that has no chance of anything this year. That number of 16 games behind will only grow as we get closer to the playoffs.
A needle in a haystack: Atlanta and Florida.Though both have fought hard this season, I do not think either have the firepower to compete when it comes right down to it for the NL East crown. I do wish the best for Chipper Jones to hit .400.
Sweating it out: New York NL. Maybe the most talented team in the NL will not win its own division. A contender for the Wild card, maybe.
Winna Winna Winna!!: Philadelphia.This is your year Philly. Get ready to host that trophy because it is yours to win. A very tough race though ahead, but I feel that the Phillies will handle themselves well and bring home the NL East crown.
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL East - Philadelphia Phillies
NL Wild card - Chicago Cubs
I will not go into post season predictions as of yet but there you have it.
No matter what happens and whoever wins, I am just looking forward to a great last two months of competitive, well played baseball!
Who knows, maybe someone will emerge as the next Mr. October!