Things are shaping up to be exciting as we head toward the playoffs. With the exception of the American League West, every division has some good races happening. I’m going to go out on the limb and predict who wins their respective divisions.
American League East: Tampa Bay and Boston. As of this moment, Tampa Bay has a 5.5 game lead over the Red Sox. The Sox can’t be dismissed, but the Rays not only have the best record, they show no signs of slowing down.
My pick: Cinderella wins the division. Makes for some good press stories and it’ll be fun for fans to see this underdog in the playoffs.
American League Central: Minnesota and Chicago White Sox. The Twins lost Johan Santana, and my favorite player, Torii Hunter, this last off season. No one expected them to do anything, not even anyone in Minnesota. The question is are they playing above their ability or are they for real? The Twins are young and hungry–the White Sox in general are not young.
My pick: Minnesota. Hey, I grew up and still live in the Twin Cities, who else am I going to pick?
American League West: This is the division that really isn’t in question. The only thing that’s up for grabs is whether or not the Los Angeles Angels will have the best record in baseball.
National League East: New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. It was a three-team race, but the Florida Marlins have fallen 6 games back. They’re not completely out of it, but I don’t like their odds. The Mets had a terrible start this year, so bad that their manager was fired. They’ve turned things around since then and lead the division by 1.5 games right now. Philadelphia surprised the Mets last year and took the division out from underneath them, can they do it again?
My pick: New York Mets. Johan Santana traditionally turns it up another notch in the second half of the season and in the Phillies games I’ve seen this year, they seem inconsistent.
National League Central: My beloved Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers. This was another three team race for a while, but St. Louis has fallen 8 games back and I don’t think they have the horses to get back in the race. Both the Cubs and the Brewers are going for broke this year. The Cubs are a veteran team that isn’t getting any younger and Milwaukee will be losing part of their team to free agency at the end of the season. It’s do-or-die time for them. Milwaukee made a key acquisition getting C.C. Sabathia and the Cubs countered by getting Rich Harden.
My pick: Cubs. Did you think it was going to be anyone else after looking at my page? This team hasn’t won a World Series in 100 years. It’s time, and if Boston can break the curse of the Bambino, the Cubs can break the curse of the goat.
National League West: Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers picked up Joe Torre as manager and Manny Ramiriez before the trade deadline. The Diamondbacks have had injuries, but their pitching has been strong and consistent.
My pick: I’d like to see the Dodgers, but I think it’s going to be Arizona. They seem to be a more complete team at this point.
There you go, my choices to win their respective divisions. We’ll see how right or wrong I am come October.