By: William Robinson
As we head into September it’s time to take a look at the baseball races that are starting to take shape. Let’s start in the AL East in which there are basically two teams that have a chance of winning that division. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, of which Boston has a 4.5 game lead as of this writing. The Red Sox have 4 against the Yankees, 6 against the Rays and 4 against the Astros to end the season with the rest against the Blue Jays, Orioles and Reds. The Yankees though have a series against the Mariners, the Indians, the Red Sox, the Rangers and 2 series against the Rays. They also are getting ready to lose Gary Sanchez for some amount of time after the brawl the other night. So If I were a betting man I’m taking the Red Sox to win this division probably by about 8 games once everything is said and done.
The AL Central has three teams in it with the Indians holding a 5.5 game lead over Minnesota and 6 games over Kansas City. The Indians have been excellent in the second half of the season and play a series against the Royals next then the Yankees, they also have four more against the Royals, three against the Angels and a series against the Mariners and Twins. The Royals play the Indians and Rays, the Twins twice and another series against the Indians and end against Arizona. The Twins however have a lighter schedule they play two series against the Royals, the Yankees for one series, the Rays for a series and the Indians for a series. The rest are against the Tigers, Blue Jays, or Padres. However, you can’t really look at only the schedule as the Twins have been woefully inconsistent over the last month. The Indians though have been consistently good and so I’m going to go with the Indians winning this division and probably doing so handily once the dust settles.
The AL West has Houston 12.5 games ahead of the Angels and unless there is an epic collapse I don’t see them losing it. This leaves us with the wildcard. Currently the Yankees have a 3.5 game lead over Minnesota who sits a half-game ahead of the Angels and a half game ahead of Seattle and 1 game ahead of Texas. Baltimore, Tampa and Toronto are technically still alive but I have zero faith in them getting hot and overtaking anyone. As I said earlier in this discussion the Twins have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way home. The Mariners have a brutal schedule playing nearly all their games against teams at or above .500. The Angels have an okay schedule and they play the Rangers a lot coming up. If Minnesota were to go on a losing streak I’d say that the Rangers or Angels may have a shot to overtake them. However, they shouldn’t go on a losing streak. Again though they haven’t been consistent all season as far as beating teams that they should. With all of those teams being just about even then I’m going to go with superstar power and I’m going to pick the Angels to get in that last wild card spot because they have the best player in baseball.
The National League is a lot less up for grabs. The Nationals and Dodgers both hold double digit leads in their divisions and so both of them are likely to win those. The Diamondbacks and Rockies also hold distinct advantages in the wild card so I would say that they are going to end up winning that, however I will look more in depth at this in a second. This leaves us with the NL Central. There the Cubs hold a 3 game advantage over the Brewers and a 4.5 game advantage over the Cardinals. The Cubs have been hot lately winning 7 of their last 10 games and their last games are against the Pirates, Braves, Pirates again for four, the Mets, Brewers twice, the cardinals twice, the rays, and they finish against the Reds. I could easily see them playing .800 ball the rest of the way in and that’s going to make them difficult to overcome. The Brewers have a series against the Nationals and the Marlins and two series against the Pirates. They do have two series against the Reds a team they have owned though. I still don’t see them overcoming the Cubs. The Cardinals are just too far back.
The wild card I think is done too, but…. Fun let’s look at the Rockies schedule as they hold a 3.5 game advantage over the Brewers. They play the Tigers, the Diamondbacks for two series, the Dodgers for two series, the Giants for two series, the Padres, and the Marlins. So they have a really hard schedule to end the season. I think it’s possible that they could end the season going about .600 or .500. That would mean that the Brewers would have to win probably 25 or more of their last 34 games. Can they do that? Maybe but I’m not betting on it.
So in summary:
AL East – Boston
AL Central – Cleveland
AL West – Houston
Wild Card – New York, Los Angeles
NL East – Washington
NL Central – Chicago
NL West – Los Angeles
Wild Cards – Arizona, Colorado
The Angels beat the Yankees
The Diamondbacks beat the Rockies.
Cleveland over Los Angeles in 5
Boston over Houston in 7
The Dodgers over Arizona in 6
Cubs over Nationals in 7
Cleveland over Boston in 6
Dodgers over Cubs in 7
Cleveland over Dodgers in 7.