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With less than two months to go, some teams still have their space between themselves and rivals, while some teams have gotten close again. The Yankees lost their brief hold on the division, while the Angels and D-Backs are closing the gap quickly. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are continuing to fade from their early season success. But most teams still in contention show no signs of easing up on the gas pedal any time soon. Hardly any spots are completely safe, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, August 8, before the day’s games:
The Giants have been in a terrible slump lately, only winning a game against Philadelphia with Tim Lincecum going. But with Philadelphia’s winning ways lately, and Roy Oswalt returning to action, Philadelphia will win easily against non-Lincecum opponents, and will even have Roy Halladay going against Lincecum.
The Braves may still have the second-best record in the National League, but Milwaukee has been on a huge tear lately, winning four in a row and 11 of 12. With the offense the Brew Crew has put together, and if Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke keep things going to their full potentials, then Atlanta won’t be able to compete.
The pitching hasn’t always been there for the Red Sox; in fact, it’s usually not. But their offense can do some damage with each batter, and they did just cost Mariano Rivera a save, so they are powerful. Detroit‘s been pretty good themselves, being 4.0 games ahead of Cleveland, but once you get past Justin Verlander, it’ll be difficult for them to hold off Boston for nine innings at a time.
Before dropping their last two to Boston, New York had won eight in a row. Their pitching has been (overall) quite good lately; C.C. Sabathia just has problems with Boston and Phil Hughes has been troublesome this year. The Rangers have been playing .500 ball over their last 10 games. Their offense is doing okay, but they’ve been giving up too many runs too often. As long as the pitching for New York stays stable, they have a good chance at winning this rematch from last year’s ALCS.