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, all the time

We're almost two weeks into August, if your team is still breathing in the race, this is the time of year you live for. By my count, there are 9 teams with a legit shot at the Wild Cards in their respective leagues, add the 6 division-leading teams and the Cardinals (explanation to come) and that makes 16 teams who will battle it out over the next month and a half for the right to play post season baseball. Here's my take on who makes it, who just misses, and who's kidding themselves.

N.L. East

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NY Mets: The Mets are clinging to a 3 game lead over the Fightin' Phils, barely. Everyone had the Mets penciled in as the N.L. representative in the World Series, but their bats have cooled considerably since their red-hot start. Their octogenarian pitching staff has acted its age, and they find themselves exactly where they didn't want to be. Fending off two young teams hungry for the post season. They're pinning their hopes on the return of Pedro Martinez. I think Pedro comes back, but he comes back throwing about 87 mph. Prediction: Watching from home, come October.

Philiadelphia Phillies: Three games behind the afore mentioned Mets, dealing with injuries to their #3 hitter (Chase Utley), #2 hitter (Shane Victorino) and their fourth outfielder (Michael Bourn), the Phils are somehow finding a way to win. They just took 2 of 3 from the Braves to pass them in the standings. Philly has 7 games left with the Mets (4 at home) and 3 games to make up. Prediction: I can't believe I'm picking a team that has Adam Eaton in its rotation, but I am. Victorino will be back soon. Utley will be back eventually. This is the best offense in the National League, and Cole Hamels is the best pitcher in the division. I'll bet on the Phils young legs.

Atlanta Braves: This team was reinvigorated by its two big trades at the dead line. I don't think they're very good, but do you really have to be to win in the National League? Prediction: They ride this momentum into the playoffs as the Wild Card (currently 1.5 games behind the Padres).

Marlins, Nationals: Mabye next year. (Probably not)

N.L. Central (aka the division nobody wants to win I)

cardscubs.jpgMilwaukee Brewers: This team is in full-on fold mode. I hate to see the players suffer, but it's good to see anything Bud Selig touches turn to shit. Everyone's other darling (see N.Y. Mets for the original darling), doesn't have the pitching, or the veteran presence on the offensive side to withstand the free fall they're currently experiencing. The only reason they're still in first (by 1.5 games over the Cubs) is that the rest of the division is equally putrid. This "first place" team is 13 games under .500 on the road, and has scored 3 more runs than it's allowed on the season. 3!!!!!!!! Prediction: No playoffs for you.

Chicago Cubs: I picked the lovable losers to win this division before the season. I'm backing off of that now. Yes, they have the best pitching in the division, but their offense is just pitiful. Derek Lee has 12 HRs on the year, Aramis Ramirez has 18, but he's only hit 1 since the end of June. His wrist injury is killing the Cubbies. Add to that the loss of Alfonso Soriano and you're left with...well, Matt Murton batting cleanup. Prediction: At least the Bears have a decent team.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals are a horrible team. A horrible team 5.5 games out of first place. In a normal division, I would've written a snarky comment like (worst World Series team ever, now just worst team ever), but this is the N.L. Central, so I'm picking them to win it. Why? Because the two teams ahead of them seem dead-set on finishing the season below .500, and the Cards always seem to finish right around .500.

Pirates, Astros, Reds: Heh. Moving on...

N.L. West

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Arizona Diamondbacks: Smoke and mirrors. Arizona has been outscored by 21 runs on the season, yet they're 15 games over .500 and hold a three-game lead in the N.L. West. Can you explain that? I sure can't. If I can't explain it, and I don't understand it, then there must be something to it. Prediction: Eric Byrnes' deal with the devil doesn't expire until the first round of the playoffs. Arizona wins this division.

San Diego Padres: Is their pitching really that good, or is their park just really that ridiculous? The Padres can't score, and as much as I like their home city, I just don't see them squeaking out enough wins to get the job done.

Colorado Rockies: Not for real, yet. Horrible road team, excellent home team. They actually have the best run differential in the division, but I just don't think they have the arms.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Scott Proctor probably isn't going to solve this team's problems. They're in the middle of a horrible tailspin. I'd like to see them make the playoffs, but it just isn't going to happen. Russell Martin is their only reliable offensive force, and even he's fading after playing pretty much every game in the first half.

S.F. Giants: I predict that their left fielder will break the all time HR record this season.

Check back later today for the American League run-down.
by Brian on Aug 13 2007
Tags: Playoffs |