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Only three weeks are left in the season, and it looks like ten teams are still legitimately in it (four in the AL and six in the NL). Everyone knows the Yankees ad Rays are still battling it out for top honors (with the Rays 0.5 games behind and a game in had). The Sans (Diego ad Francisco) are tied out West, except for percentage points. Colorado is only 1.5 games back after winning their last 10. The Redbirds are still out of it, the Phils are still in 1st, ad the Braves are still fighting to regain their perch (and fed off the Rockies for best home record). With just seven teams eliminated from playoff contention (ad the Cubs one loss away), let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, September 13, before the day’s games:
After an injury-plagued season, the Phillies are back in command. Oswalt and Halladay are holding down the defense, and Howard and Utley are swinging the bats. The Padres have bee struggling mightily lately, and with just Adrian Gonzalez to provide dependable offense, it’ll be goodbye Padres. They’re only holding off San Francisco by percentage points, anyway.
If the Reds can keep up consistent pitching, ad Votto keeps doing his thing, Cincinnati will win in five. Atlanta does have that home record, after all. Otherwise, Atlanta will give them a run for their money. But a similar structure to the team meas the series will be close either way.
Despite their troubles with the Rangers in the last few days, the Yankees are still the team to beat. Cliff Lee only had one good start back so far, and Andy Pettitte will return in a week. Aside from their bats, the Yanks’ depth of pitching is why they’ll win.
Minnesota has won eight of their last ten games, and is also very good at home (48-23). With a solid rotation, three closers, Joe Mauer, and maybe (maybe not) Justin Morneau, the Rays will need to wake their bats up in a big way, or else we’ll see another year without an East showdown in the ALCS.