The baseball season starts after the All-Star break. In other words, contenders use the first half of the season to iron out the kinks and smooth over the chemistry and put players on a roster that are most likely to enter the post-season. Management finalizes trade discussions with players interested in making a run for the pennant and even a series championship after the All-Star break. This entry includes a snapshot discussion of the conferences and the teams that I think are most likely to entertain playoff runs. I did not think the Dodgers had it in them to acquire Max Scherzer, but they picked him and Trea Turner up from the Nats. I think that this could become one of the most important trades of the season.
Of interest in the standings. I have been fascinated with the statistics of the American League East and the National League West all season. I watched Tony LaRussa’s ethic since my childhood, but Dave Duncan is no longer available as a coach. That doesn’t mean that ChiSox can’t or won’s win. It probably means that the fine tuning in playoff competition is untested to date. Houston will probably lock up the American League West. A Philadelphia team that gets hot at the right time and puts a series of wins together could give Atlanta a run for division championship. I do not expect much from the National League East this season. Milwaukee will probably win the National League Central. I would like to see Milwaukee in the playoffs as a contender for the sake of players like Christian Yelich. Milwaukee is untested in the post season.
The trade I mentioned above put the Dodgers on the heels of the Giants. I was thinking about the Giants having the best record in baseball at present. The Giants have built a new team around Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey. I think that the Giants still have Johnny Cueto, but I am not certain. I am hard pressed to name any other pitcher on the staff. I am hard pressed to know the names of any players on any team at this point. I usually leave the chemistry of the team to the managers, head coach, operations and the internals. This leave me to review the statistics.
I lost respect for the Dodger franchise after the Brandon Stow incident a few years back. To the Dodgers’ credit, the organization has made major strides in returning the on the field and off the field organization to the formidable days of yesteryear. I am not proud that I have grown a little critical of the Dodgers in my humor by saying that “half a season only warrants half a world trophy!” I do appreciate the strides the have made with Albert Pujols, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. This organization is really demonstrating a resolve I have not seen since Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson and Mike Piazza. This National League West race for the Pennant will be interesting to watch, at least statistically.
American League East is another race. I am not a huge Yankee fan. I like to watch the Yankees from time to time though. There are a number of notable class act players that stand out in my mind in the recent past and present. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Joe Torre and Don Mattingly were exciting to watch. These players and coaches brought a renewed interest to the game in New York that was not observed in decades.
Who do the Tampa Bay Rays have that can outlast the New York Yankee onslaught of late? There is almost nothing more satisfying in my book than when a baseball team fields a roster in the post season, wins in the playoffs and moves on to the series with a bunch of no named ragtag bunch of scrappers with excellent chemistry on the field. Surprise me!
I would like to see Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit and Oakland more competitive in the future.
Congratulations to Michigan on the LLBWS Championship over Ohio!