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?”

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2009 National League West Preview

On to the the NL West where the competition isn’t exactly as talented as in the NL East and NL Central:

Predicted Standings
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giantsmanny-dodgers
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

Best Hitter: Manny Ramirez
Best Pitcher: Tim Lincecum

Dodgers

After managing to resign Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have the talent necessary to win this division. Nothing about this team is particularly special as even with Ramirez, the lineup is not overpowering, and the pitching staff is nothing to brag about. Besides Mannys, Russell Martin and Rafael Furcal lead the offense, which is one of the best in the NL West, though nothing compared to the rest of the league. Chad Billingsley leads the rotation, though he is not an overpowering ace, and he is followed by Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw. They may get some outs, but the offense is going to have to carry a large load. In the bullpen, Jonathan Broxton leads a strong relieving core that is one of the reasons I am expecting the Dodgers to win this division. Continue reading “2009 National League West Preview”

Milestone Weekend

This weekend turned out to be the biggest milestone weekend in years with Tom Glavine getting his 300th win, Alex Rodriguez hitting his 500th home run, and Barry Bonds tying Hank Aaron’s home record. Hideki Matsui even became the first Japanese player to hit 100 home runs, but that was completely overshadowed by the other achievements. With all of these amazing accomplishments come big questions. How does Glavine rank with the game’s best pitchers? Will A-Rod eventually break Bonds’ home run record? What will be the reaction to Bonds’ breaking Aaron’s record?

Let’s begin with Glavine, where he is only the 23rd pitcher and 5th lefty to win 300 games. When you think of great pitchers, Glavine isn’t the person who comes to mind, but should he be? His 3.41 career ERA is excellent and 300 wins makes him a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but if you are picking the best ten pitchers of all time, is he in it? I’d say no, but it is not Glavine’s fault. In this era, pitchers pitch fewer innings, giving them less chance to pick up victories and complete games. That makes 300 wins even that more astounding. Here is my list of top ten pitchers of all time: Continue reading “Milestone Weekend”