By Tony George
Penneant races are heating up, and teams are bringing their A game every night, as well as some teams that are not so good and out of the playoff races, not throwing in the towel yet either This is also the time of year that opportunity knocks for sharp players to make large profits on MLB wagering, as oddsmakers are slower to react to changes in MLB with the king of all betting, football, now in full swing and taking a lot of attention away from bases. Do not be fooled by all the football hype as Baseball profits are still avaliable, and you have a lot more to tangible items to handicap than in the first few weeks of football. Lets take a look at my personal top 10 power rankings in baseball as of September 1.
1. NY Yankees - All the pieces are in place for a huge run. The bullpen is solid, they rank 1 or 2 in all offensive categories in all of MLB, and have a 6.5 game lead over Bsoton whom they dominated in the last series they played, on the road. They have more wins than anyone else in MLB and are road warriors. They should be the AL Champs, hands down.
2. LA Dodgers - While I think there is large gap between 1 and 2 here in terms of consistency, LA is dominating the West, and the strength of their bullpen and defense is the best in bases right now. With Manny back to form and making big plays on offense, and a light schedule coming in, I like their chances in the NL to win it out.
3. St. Louis � Somewhat of a surprise here to many but I like the Cards chances of contending for a NL title. They need to shore up their offense but their hitting rotation when it clicks, is awesome. They have a deep bullpen and a solid starting unit, and an experienced Manager who knows how to get the most out of his players. With Smoltz in camp now as a set up guy in late innings, they could be rock solid late in the season. They need their offense to step it up in the playoffs. MY SLEEPER PICK IN THE NL.
4. LA Angels- They were ranked lower until Scott Kazmir joined the rotation. They have offense, tons of it, but if they continue to have to outscore everyone to win, it will be their demise. Still I like their chances to make a run with a 6 game lead over the Rangers. Other than the Yankees and the Phillies, no other team has a better road record in baseball, which is key late in the year.
5. Boston � Cannot discount them, although I think the Yankees are better in a 7 game series. They are getting hotter, and face Tampa Bay and the White Sox on the road early this month, so that will be the measuring stick for them down the stretch. Their offense is good, but their walks and hits allowed are high, that needs to change quickly.
6. Philly � Last years champs will not go quietly into the night. They have offense and Lee from Cleveland has helped a average pitching rotation. They are road warriors as they are tied with the Yanks for the best road record in MLB, and when their offense is going, they are tough to beat. Playing San Fran and Houston the first week of September should keep them on pace to win their division.
7. San Fran � Pitching is key, and the Giants have it big time, and so is the series against Philly the first week of the month to see if they can keep the upper hand in the wildcard race.
8. Tampa Bay - Dealing their ace pitcher away was stupid, and they have fallen from grace after I had them as high as 5th at one point. They have a great offense but their bullpen is too weak, over a 6 ERA last month and they play Boston ealry here this month, so kiss them goodbye.
9. Colorado � Getting smacked by LA and San Fran was the fall from grace, but this team is capable of big runs and tough at home. The have not won since the 25th of August and got hammered by San Fran. Doubt they see a wild card. They are weak against southpaws but could make some noise with an easy schedule early on here this month starting with the Mets, and the bullpen ERA is 3.93 on the year.
10. TIE: Detroit / Texas - Like the Rangers to catch up with the Angels here for a wild card possibly with some more offense, but doubt they make up enough ground late to contend. Detroit plays in a weak division and give up a lot of hits, just not a major contender in the AL.