I’ve been meaning to get to this for some time now so here goes.
It’s over. The Yanks lead by 8 with 32 left to play. If the Yanks go just 15-5 in their remaining games, the Rays would need to go 24-8 (75%) just to tie. It’s not happening. Can the Yanks get to the WS? I doubt it. The starting pitching is simply not good enough. Paxton’s struggle more than expected, Tanaka and Happ have been very inconsistent, and Sabathia’s done. The Yanks can hit and the bullpen’s better than most. But that starting pitching won’t frighten anyone.
We have a real race. The Twins lead the Indians by 2.5 games. Like the Yankees the Twins can hit but the pitching, both starting and relief, is suspect. The bullpen’s been a problem all season, it’s just be covered up because the Twins score a bunch especially against bad teams. Nos the starting pitching is struggling too. Berrios, the ace, has allowed 5 earned runs twice in his last 4 starts? Oddorizzi started fast, but has slowed down since the AS break. Perez, who was a bum in TEX, found a new pitch and it worked…for a while. It looks like the league has caught up. Michael Pineda has been their best started since the AS btreak. Most of these guys don’t go deep and that magnifies the bullpen woes.
Right now, the Indians look like the better team. The starting pitching has a couple of legitimate aces in Clevinger and Bieber. Depth could be a problem once you get past those two. The bullpens been solid. The tribe’s big problem was they weren’t hitting. They went out and picked up a couple of big bats at the trade deadline. They’re not the Yankees or the Twins when it come to hitting, but their starting pitching is good and so is their bullpen. They’re a more complete team than the Twins, and I think they win this divcision again.
It’s over. The Astros lead the A’s by 7.5 with 32 games left. If the Astros play .500 ball, the A’s would need to go 25-10 in their last 35 games (71.4%). That won’t happen. The Astros have an awesome starting rotation with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole Zack Greinke and Wade Miley. Not even the Dodgers are that deep, but they’re close. Tne bullpen is one of the best in baseball, and as long as they’re healthy, this team can hit with the top teams.
AL Wild Card
We have 3 teams contending to 2 spots. The Rays, Twins or Indians, and A’s. This is a really tough call. The Rays have played amazingly well, considering that they’re down two starting pitchers, Blake Snell (last year’s Cy Yong winner) and Tyler Glasnow. They need to get those guys back and I don’t know if that happens, They lack power and their bullpen while very good, has been used extensively. I think they’re the most likely team to falter. They just don’t have the horses.
The Twins, as mentioned lack pitching and that will become even more problematic when they face good hitting teams.
The A’s were described last season as a team with no real strengths, but also no real weaknesses. I think that’s true again this season. On paper, the starting rotation not going to blow anyone away, but they’re getting the job done. Guys like Mike Fiers and Brett Anderson are outperforming their metrics. The bullpen’s not great, but it is solid, and this team can hit. They rely a little too much on the long ball, but again they’re solid.
I think that the Astros are the team to beat in the AL
The Braves lead the Natfs by 5.5 with 33 games left. If they just go 17-16, the Nats would need to go 23-11 just to tie. I don’t think that’s likely. The Braves can hit, but their starting pitching is a little suspect. Mike Soroka’s been great but the rest of the rotation (Fried, Foltynewicz, Keuchel etc) are all less than stellar. The theire’s the bullpen, and that’s a huge problem. The Braves tried to address it at the train deadline, but their acquisitions have failed miserably. The probably have enough of a lead to hang on an win the division, but the bullpen could cost them dearly in the NL playoffs,
The Nats are playing their best baseball of the season right now. I badly underestimated this team at the beginning of the season. I really liked their starting pitching, but I had reservations about the bullpen. I also thought the the offene would miss Byrce Harper a lot more than they have. The frontline starting pitchers, Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin have all been very good, as long as they’re healthy. The 4th and 5th starters are more problematic. The bullpen has gone from being downright awful to just bad, but damn, once they got healthy they have hit really well. As long ads they have those three guys at the top of the rotation, this team could be dangerous.
Right now the Cardinals lead this by a game over the Cubs, with the Brewers 3.5 games out. The Cards are playing well, but I really don’t think that much of their starting rotation, with the exception of Jack Flaherty. The rest of the starting rotation (Wainwright, Mikolas, Hudson and Wacha) are pretty mediocre. In Wahc’s case really bad might be a more apt description. The bullpen’s been OK, but has had some big breakdowns in key spots. The offense has been pretty mediocre.
The Cubs really haven’t been any better. Well, they are actually much better, but only at home. On the road they’ve been awful. AS for the starting rotation, Yu Darvish is pitching as well as he ever has and so is Kyle Hendricks. Jose Quintana is pitching pretty decently after a really shaky start, but Jon Lester looks done. The bullpen’s very unreliable. The Cubs can hit, but not on the road,
The Brewers are hanging in despite the injuries that keep piling ip. She starting rotation, which wasn’t all that good to start with, is now down two starters, Chacin and Woodruff. The bullpen, the strength of this team as season ago, has been shaky at best. The offense has been solid, especially at home.
In this division, flip a coin between the Cards and the Cubs, it’s that close and that mediocre.
The Dodgers have a 20.5 game lead. It’s been over for a while. The frontline starters, Kershaw, Ryu and Buehler are better that any trio except possibly the Astros trio of Verlander, Cole and Greinke. The offense is tremendous. However, the weakness is the Dodgers bullpen. Jansen shouldn’t be closing any more. He’s simply not getting it done. If the Dodgers falter in the playoffsa, it’ll be because of their bullpen.
NL Wild Card
I think the Nats get there. They’ve got the frontline pitching and the offense. to beat good teams, but the bullpen is worrisome.
I also think that the Met could surprise. The have a really godd and starting rotation with deGrom, Sybdergaard, Wheeler, and Matz, and they added Marcus Stroman at the trade deadline. They’re a decent hitting team if they can just get healthy, but like the Nats the bullpen is suspect. This is another team that has the frontline pitching to beat good teams.
One problem both team share are really bad managers. That could cost either or both.
I fully expect to see the Astros and Dodgers there. I give the Astros the edge because of a better bullpen.