Where Are All The Playoff Races?

It’s August 3rd so let’s take a look at what to expect for MLB playoff races during the next two months .

In the AL East, the Red Sox lead the Yankees by just one game, but the Yankees are up seven games in the Wild Card race. Cool Standings gives the Sox a 97.3 percent chance of making the postseason while the Bronx Bombers have a 97.7 percent chance. Tampa Bay? They are 10 games back in the Wild Card and have just a 1.3 percent chance of playing baseball in October.

The AL Central boasts zero teams with a positive run-differential (yikes!). The race is tight though as Detroit leads Cleveland by three games. Of course, that’s a decent chunk and gives the Tigers much better odds to make the playoffs than the Indians have (61.3 percent vs. 24.4 percent). In the past two months though, Cleveland is 21-32. To put that in perspective, Kansas City was 22-32 in that time. Yes, the Indians just acquired Ubaldo Jiminez but there’s still a lot of questions around his velocity. Given the Indians performance the past two months, a 24.4 percent chance of making the playoffs seems generous.

In the West, there actually is a good race. Texas and Los Angeles are just a game apart. The teams have gone back and forth all year, but Texas upgraded its bullpen at the deadline while the Angels did nothing. Cool Standings gives Texas 62.7 percent odds at reaching the postseason while the Angels have just a 39.0 percent chance.

So in the American League, I only see the AL West as a real playoff race. Detroit is going to pull away and Boston and New York will battle for the AL East, with the loser earning a playoff berth via the Wild Card. That’s pretty weak overall. Continue reading “Where Are All The Playoff Races?”

2009 National League Central Preview

Time to preview the NL Central for the upcoming season:

Predicted Standings
1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Best Player: Ryan Braun
Best Pitcher: Chris Carpenter

Cubs

The Cubs are the clear favorite in the NL Central as they return a powerful lineup and an experienced, dominant pitching staff. Led by Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lee, the Cubs lineup has the potential to put up a crooked number any inning. In the rotation, Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden lead a staff that is front-loaded, with the 4 and 5 pitccubs-09-previewhers (Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall) a cause for concern. However, a strong bullpen with Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol should keep the Cubs in any ballgame. Overall, the team has a tremendous amount of talent and will likely be a contender for the NL pennant.

Brewers

The Brewers lost C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets from their starting staff and that will seriously hurt their playoff chances, but their lineup is still stacked, giving them the ability to overcome mediocre pitching. With Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, runs will not be hard to come by, especially considering J.J. Hardy and Richie Weeks bat in front of those two sluggers. Jeff Suppan is the number one starter for Milwaukee and that is a sign for concern in itself as Suppan is not quite an ace. Follow him up with Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper, and Dave Busch, and the rotation is shaky at best. Recently-acquired Trevor Hoffman leads the bullpen, but even if he is terrific, Milwaukee is still going to need a lot of run-production to stay in the NL Central race. Continue reading “2009 National League Central Preview”

MLB Trading Deadline

Photo: ESPN

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is just two days away and speculation about who is going to be traded to where has taken main stage across the sport. There have already been a couple of minor trades as well as two big ones (C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden). Harden and Sabathia have already paid huge dividends for the Cubs and Brewers respectively. Though winless in the NL, Harden has struck out 30 batters in 17 1/3 innings, possessing a 1.04ERA. Sabathia is 4-0 with three complete games and a 1.82 ERA. Those were two of the biggest names on the market and the fact that they have already been traded may mean that this year’s Trading Deadline may be uneventful, but anything could happen. Here is a look at a couple of interesting players:

Mark Teixeira: Look who is back on the market. The hottest free agent right now, Teixeira finds himself in an identical situation as last year when he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves. This time the Braves are shopping him around. The Diamondbacks seem to be the strongest pursuer of Teixeira, but there are plenty of other offers. The Braves are looking for a big-league bat and a strong pitching prospect for their star first baseman, whose stats speak for themselves (.280 avg, 20 hr, 78 rbi). Arizona is also joined by the Angels, Red Sox, and Rays in pursuit of Teixeira. I think the Braves will move Teixeira and that the offer by the D’backs will trump all other offers Atlanta will receive. Continue reading “MLB Trading Deadline”