With the MLB regular season slowly coming to an end, playoff races heating up and tensions rising, (don't believe me, ask the Cards and the Reds), I thought I would take a look at each division, break down some key games, players, take a look at some things to look forward too, and make some predictions.
We'll start with the American League...
Currently, the Yankees have the best record in baseball and hold a two-game lead over the Rays, while the Sox are six games back.
Personally, after watching the Sox blow a huge lead over Toronto last night, I do not see them being a major contender in this race; maybe they'll have better luck in the Wild Card.
This race is going to come down to the Rays and the Yankees. These teams will meet for a three-game series Sept. 13-15 and a four-game series Sept. 20-23.
Look for it to come down to these tough games.
Due to the Yankees' depth, and the current struggles of the Rays, I believe the Yankees will take the East, but only by two or three games.
Chicago... Minnesota...who will it be?
Right now, the Twins hold a game lead over the White Sox, while Detroit is 9.5 games out.
Personally, I think its safe to say that the Tigers' playoff hopes are low.
However, this division is close. Both these teams are talented and are quite similar. Also, their remaining schedules are practically equal, with both teams having 47 games remaining and the average winning percentage of their opponents is .490.
These teams will meet for a 3-game series Aug. 17-19 and Sept. 14-16. Look for it to be just as close come late September, however, my money is on Minnesota.
While everyone assumes, including me, Texas has got this one, here are some games for you to watch out for.
Aug. 16-18 @ Tampa Bay
Sept. 3-5 @ Minnesota
Sept. 10-12 vs. Yankees
Possible playoff match-ups?
This is tough. The defending N.L. East champion Phillies or the very talented Atlanta Braves, who currently hold a two-game lead.
Personally, I think both these teams get into the playoffs, and after watching the Phillies come back against the Dodgers after being down seven runs, and knowing they have Victorino back, Howard back next week, and Utley back in September, its tough to root against them.
The Phillies' weakness, however, matches with the Braves strength: pitching. While the Phillies have the H20 rotation of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt, their fourth and fifth starters in Kendrick and Blanton have not performed well.
While it looks like Brad Lidge is back, the bullpen in Philadelphia is still a "bit iffy."
Series to look out for....no surprise here...Sept. 20-22 in Philadelphia, and Oct. 1-3 in Atlanta.
Fight! Fight! Fight! C'mon, is there any baseball fan out there that isn't loving this?
The Reds and Cards are battling, and its making for great baseball.
Offense wise, the Reds are better, Pitching wise, I'd say the Cards, this one is gonna come down to grit and momentum.
Look out for Pujols and Votto, of course. But also, possibly some other players, on both teams to step it up in September. I'm giving this one to the Cards.
Sorry Reds, but you'll be playing golf in October.
Games to watch:
Aug. 23-25 Reds @ Giants
Sept. 3-5 Cardinals @ Reds
Sept. 9-12 Cardinals @ Braves
Sept. 16-19 Cardinals vs. Padres
The Padres are currently favored, as they hold a 2.5-game lead over the Giants. However, the Giants are a very talented team who are keeping up as the Padres have just won four straight.
Pat Burrell would be a name to watch out for here, with a recent grand slam and multi-home run game under his belt, he's looking to lead his Giants into the postseason.
The Giants have a tough couple of weeks ahead, with series against the Padres, Phillies, Cardinals, and Reds.
The Giants practically play every National League playoff contender minus the Braves.
Games to watch out for:
Aug. 13-15 Padres @ Giants
Sept. 9-12 Giants @ Padres
Oct. 1-3 Padres @ Giants
My Final Prediction
American League: Yankees, Texas, Minnesota, Tampa Bay
National League: Phillies, Cardinals, Padres, Braves