Back on March 29th, I made baseball predictions about where the teams would finish and here is what I had said back then.
AL: Boston (East), Detroit (Central), Los Angeles (West) and Toronto (Wild Card)
NL: New York (East), Chicago (Central), Los Angeles (West) and Philadelphia (Wild Card)
As of right now, 2 of those picks are dead on (Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs). 2 of those picks are flat out wrong (Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays). What is going to be interesting is the race down the stretch to see if Boston can make up 3.5 games to win the division, whether the Mets hold on to win the division (up by 3 right now) as well as if the Phillies can gain 4 games on the Brewers with a little over 20 to go. I didn’t know it then, but what a story it would be if Joe Torre makes it to the playoffs with Manny Ramirez and the Yankees don’t make the fall classic.
I can go from having as little as only two correct picks or I can have as much as six out of the eight possible teams in their correct location.
Down the stretch analysis after the break…As for the race down the stretch, let me just analyze each of the possible spots:
AL East: Tampa Bay has done it all year long and despite struggling a little this past week, I think they will still hold on to be strong enough to fend off the Red Sox for the division title.
AL Central: Every year people write off the Twins and with about 20 games to go and after a two week road trip, the Twins are only 1.5 games behind. Now that they are finally home, I think they’ll be able to catch the White Sox and barely win that division.
AL West: I think the Angels basically decided this division right after the break. It looked like for a moment that the Athletics were going to make it a competitive race but they have fallen off the map and conducted a fire sale, so there went that idea.
AL Wild Card: It is going to take about 91-92 wins but I think Boston is going to be able to hold off such remarkable competition to win the American League Wild Card spot.
NL East: For all their bullpen trouble, this team certainly has that fighting character that they were missing last year. Still up 3 games going into a series vs. the Phillies would be a perfect time for them to create more distance between the two teams but who can forget the collapse of 7 games in 17 days… I still think the Mets hold on to win it.
NL Central: Could this finally be the year that the Cubs make a strong showing in the playoffs? Things have certainly lined up pretty well for them in the 100 year anniversary since they last won but a late season injury to Zambrano could damper their hopes and have their fans thinking “Here we go again…”. Come on Cubs, this is your year.
NL West: You learn the true value of a coach once he has left. The Yankees are certainly feeling it and the Dodgers are reaping every benefit from it. Which other manager could acquire Manny Ramirez in the middle of the season, tell him to cut his hair and still have him produce the way he has been? Only Joe Torre.
NL Wild Card: For the Brewers, giving up a 4 game lead with 19 to go isn’t as bad as the Mets last year but after getting swept by the Mets certainly has to have them second guessing themselves down the stretch. If the Brewers continue to struggle and the Phillies come out of this series against the Mets pretty well, the gap could disappear just like that. The schedule seems to be on the side of the Brewers with them getting two “easy” series while the Phillies have to face the Mets and Marlins. Nevermind the 19 games, these six in the upcoming two series could settle the race right now. I’ll give the edge to the Brewers.
AL: Tampa Bay (East), Minnesota (Central), Los Angeles (West), Boston (WC)
NL: New York (East), Chicago (Central), Los Angeles (West), Milwaukee (WC)
Just a funny thought that if I tell someone that New York, Chicago and LA will win their divisions and as them to guess which league it was… how many of the people would have guessed the National League? Think about it.