I was fortunate to grow up playing baseball at some pretty high levels. All-Star teams in Little League and Babe Ruth, AAU when I was between middle school and high school, high school captain, national champion a few times, a collegiate pitcher in the Little East Conference for UMass Dartmouth…and now, I’m a washed-up has-been, talking about the game I fell in love with.
One thing I learned on just about every team I played on was that the postseason is a new season. Once you make it in, it’s a whole different ball game. Win or go home, screw the regular season records: who can win when it matters? And that’s what I would like to talk about today.
With the MLB season entering its final two weeks, we begin asking like we do every year, who’s going to win the World Series. But there’s much more than that, you can’t win if you don’t make it in.
Let’s start with who’s definitely NOT going to be playing in the early weeks of November…
Mathematically, some of these teams aren’t technically eliminated yet, but with little time remaining in the season, it would take miracles for any of these teams to find themselves playing in the postseason this year. Though some of these teams aren’t necessarily bad, it definitely isn’t their year this year. Better luck in April.
Now for the definite postseason locks
Tbd (Most likely the Cubs)
Red Sox (clinched post season birth, not division yet)
And for who’s going to be fun to watch, this is what we all care about, what makes the last month of the season seem like endless drama and action. One day someone’s in the next they’re out. Who will emerge from all the flip flopping and September mayhem?
Someone has to win the NL CENTRAL, if you ask anyone it’s going to be the Cubs. All season long everyone has downplayed the Brewers and have almost waited for them to slide in the standings so they could say they told you so. But even if the Brewers can’t get to the top and edge off the Cubbies to win a division title, are they the only hope to stop the NL WEST from having a division winner and both wild card teams in this years mid fall classic? Likely so. St. Louis is always a difficult team to play against in the postseason but they’ve been hot and cold all year long and if they don’t get hot now, the brew crew is the last team with a realistic chance to take one of the wild card spots from the NL WEST. I love underdogs and the Brewers are on fire right now. My bold prediction is that they knock Colorado off for the last spot in the Wild Card game. The Rockies have a solid core and tremendous young talent, look for them to be in the race for the next few years to come, their pitching staff is NICE.
To the American League. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS FUN!
Someone needs to win the East. And my god does it pleasure me to say that it’s coming down to the Red Sox and the Yankees. Despite coming into today with a 3 game lead over New York, the Red Sox continue to teeter totter between being a powerhouse team and a team that can’t beat bottom of the barrel division teams like Tampa bay and Toronto. The Yankees haven’t been so bad either as of late, but whenever they win it seems the Sox squeak one out in extras and cant gain any ground on the Sox. But I feel that their moves at the trade deadline make them a serious threat in the postseason. I think the Sox can sneak out as Division champs but it’ll come down to the wire. Regardless of who wins the division in the east, the runner up will most definitely be the first wild card team.
So with one spot left in the AL Wild card race there’s 4-5 teams that have a real shot. Minnesota, LA Angels, Seattle, Texas, and KC
Texas is on a three game win streak and the Angels of Los Angeles (I still like to say Anaheim) are on a three game losing streak. If this trend keeps up Texas can sneak up into that third spot for the wild card. But with the first spot almost guaranteed to go to either the Sox or the Yanks, will Minnesota be able to hold on to their spot? Due to their past few seasons, many would say no. And, with a three game losing streak of their own, I would agree with many. Look for Texas to creep into the last Wild Card spot in the next few weeks.
If all of my predictions and assumptions hold to be true, this post season will feature an American League Wild Card game that has the Yankees hosting Texas, and a National League Wild Card game in the dessert when the Diamondbacks host the Brewers.
Tune in next week for an update on standings, who’s hot and who’s not, and a better idea of the actual Post Season matchups.