With 3 weeks to go, here are the division and WC standings:
AL EAST Tampa Bay 85-56 - -- Boston 84-58 - 1.5 GB
The Red Sox are starting to get in somewhat of a groove, although those games they lost were blowouts. They're more than likely making the playoffs, though. Whether they're going in as AL East champs or not is a whole different question. Sure, the Rays have faltered, but Evan Longoria's coming off the DL and he'll give the team a boost. I'm very pleased that, with 3 weeks to go, we can officially write off the Yankees. We COULD include them here, but then we'd have to include 3rd place (not a typo) Toronto in the conversation. And that's just silly.
AL CENTRAL Chicago 80-62 - -- Minnesota 78-65 - 2.5 GB
The loss of Carlos Quentin hurts like hell and now it's hard to picture the Sox making it through. Even if they make the playoffs, I don't see them making too much noise. Especially if Griffey continues hitting with ice cold numbers. The division could be decided by the head-to-head matchup, but look out for the Indians. They'd LOVE to play spoiler for both of these teams, especially if it means icing the Cy Young for Cliff Lee.
AL WEST Los Angeles of Anaheim 86-56 - --
This is the easiest the Angels have claimed this division in a long time. But with that, they're starting to show signs of dogging it and that could carry through to October. The major positive: Mark Teixiera has been worth every penny so far, doing wonders on both the offensive and defensive end. If the Angels don't re-sign him in the offseason, they're nuts.
AL WILD CARD
Boston - -- Minnesota - 6.5 GB
Boston looks to have this wrapped up while the Twins will try and get in through the division. Boston's looked sharp this month, so I don't foresee a collapse here.
NL EAST New York 80-63 - -- Philadelphia 78-65 - 2 GB
Those were some fierce head-to-head battles between the Mets and Phils. I can't venture a guess as to who comes out ahead. It's all division rivals from here for both teams, but the Mets get the Cubs towards the end and the Phillies have a series with the Brewers next weekend. Both of those series could derail these teams, but it's still hard to say who comes out with the division here.
NL CENTRAL Chicago 86-57 - -- Milwaukee 82-61 - 4 GB
Cubs fans have to be very nervous right now with both Zambrano and Harden feeling banged up. They should still be ok for September, but of course the unthinkable worst case scenario has popped up. If Zambrano and Harden are both pitching injured (if at all) and the Cubs keep sliding (they've lost 7 of 10) while Milwaukee and the AL East teams suddenly go on a tear...could the Cubs possibly (*gasp*) MISS the playoffs entirely? It's not likely...but it could happen.
NL WEST Los Angeles 73-70 - -- Arizona 71-71 - 1.5 GB Colorado 67-77 - 6.5 GB
After losing 7 in a row, the Dodgers have now won 8 in a row and taken first place. The D-Backs respond to the Dodgers choke job by pulling off a more phenomenal choke job that includes Dan Haren and Brandon Webb both rolling over and playing dead through their last three individual starts (two of those against the Dodgers). Both of their remaining schedules are a cakewalk, but we've seen both of these teams blow cakewalks before. The difference could be that Arizona has a series against the Cardinals coming up and they could be trouble. Meanwhile, Colorado has head-to-head matchups coming against both of these teams. If they somehow do it again...well...don't say I didn't warn you.
NL WILD CARD Milwaukee - -- Philadelphia - 4 GB St. Louis - 5 GB Houston - 6 GB
I don't think the Brewers lose out here unless Ben Sheets shows signs of injury. They've been playing good baseball while the Phils will try and get into the playoffs through the NL East. The Cards will try and put up one last stand, but it won't get very far. The "2007 Colorado Rockies Rule" dictates that I must include the Astros in the conversation. They have been hot, but I don't think they get very far either.
Wait, you include Colorado and Houston in the discussion but considering Toronto is 'silly'? The Jays have won eight in a row! They still play Boston (who they've owned this year) seven times!
In the words of Jim Carrey, so you're saying there's a chance....
“How is it that I am a good actor? What I do is I... pretend to be the person I’m portraying. You’re confused. Case in point: in Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson comes to me and says ‘I would like you to be Gandalf the Wizard,’ and I said ‘You are aware that I am not really a wizard?’ and Peter Jackson said ‘I would like you to use your acting skills to portray a wizard for the duration of the show.’ So I said ‘Okay’ and then I said to myself ‘Mmm.. How do I do that?’ And this is what I did: I imagined that I was a wizard, and then I pretended, and acted, in that way on the stage. How did I know what to say? The words were written down for me in a script. How did I know where to stand? People told me where to stand." -- Sir Ian McKellen, Extras
Originally posted by It's False NL WILD CARD Milwaukee - -- Philadelphia - 4 GB St. Louis - 5 GB Houston - 6 GB
I don't think the Brewers lose out here unless Ben Sheets shows signs of injury. They've been playing good baseball while the Phils will try and get into the playoffs through the NL East.
I think the Phillies (or Mets) will pull this out. As you said the Phillies have a series with the Brewers. The Mets have a series with the Cubs. After that they both play the Marlins (who are fading fast), the Braves and Nationals.
The Brewers still play the Phillies and 2 series with the Cubs. If the Phillies win the Brewers/Phils series then they could be in the position to pass the Brewers if they don't beat the Cubs. Just a guestimation, but I'm thinking the series would have to go Brewers 4, Cubs 2 in order for the Brewers to hold off the Philies and the Cubs not drop down the Phillies. That's certainly doable but I think the Cubs probably win more than 2.
Perhaps the only thing keeping the White Sox in the race is the fact that as of late Griffey and Konerko have been getting hot. Over the last 11 games Griffey has a 900+ OPS, and Konerko has a ridiculous 1130 OPS since August 1. Those two will need to keep it up until the end of the season for the Sox to have a chance.
Originally posted by spfPerhaps the only thing keeping the White Sox in the race is the fact that as of late Griffey and Konerko have been getting hot. Over the last 11 games Griffey has a 900+ OPS, and Konerko has a ridiculous 1130 OPS since August 1. Those two will need to keep it up until the end of the season for the Sox to have a chance.
Minnesota going 4-11 last 15 games has also been a factor. Would appreciate the White Sox taking a few from the 3rd place Blue Jays just so the fear of them taking 7 from Boston and sneaking in with their pitching disappears.
Originally posted by It's False...could the Cubs possibly (*gasp*) MISS the playoffs entirely? It's not likely...but it could happen.
NOTHING would make me happier, as I would be able to give my Cubby fans shit all winter. I'm just disappointed that the Cardinals didn't take advantage of Chicago and Milwaukees recent struggles. I'm going to be so disappointed if they don't make some upgrades over the offseason. They have a lot of money coming off the payroll, a new stadium and great attendance. There's no reason not to.
Originally posted by redsoxnationWould appreciate the White Sox taking a few from the 3rd place Blue Jays just so the fear of them taking 7 from Boston and sneaking in with their pitching disappears.
I've got to deal with my team not being in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Still, for the majority of my life, the Yankees weren't a part of the picture (born in '82). On that note, any way but Fenway.
Pulling for any AL team aside for Boston, although the Dodgers, while not the be all end all, look like they could be fun to root for.
"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Frown and the world laughs at you." -Me.
Originally posted by Lexus...although the Dodgers, while not the be all end all, look like they could be fun to root for.
Yes, please do. It's apparent from last night's shutout that they only play well when people cheer for them.
I'm still sticking with them to win the West, but they refuse to make it easy for me.
The Dodgers at home and on the road is are as different as night and day. They pull off fantastic victories, blow teams out, and generally look like a much better team at home. And on the road, they just implode.
This doesn't bode well for them, considering that if they make the playoffs, they'll be starting as the road team.
What a terrific win pulled off by the Pittsburgh Cubs. Come on, Randall Simon-2 run homer, Kenny Lofton-scored winning run, and last but not least, Aramis Ramirez-managed to boot a ball and win the game because of it.