In the National League, the Central Division is the most competitive. St. Louis continues to climb the ladder. Although they are still in third place, the Cards are only two games out. Even Cincinnati is in the hunt being 6.5 games out. But letâ€™s be realâ€”The Cubs and Brewers, who are in first and second respectively with 1.5 games between them, are both having a tough time.
Milwaukee has lost four straight and is 3- 7 over the last 10, while Chicago has lost two in a row, going 6- 4 overall. Chicago and Milwaukee meet for three this week, while the Cards go up against a weak Houston team and then the potentially dangerous Reds. Milwaukee gets to play Pittsburgh, while the Cubs go against Houston. Personally, I think that the Cards can pick up a game or two this week and either be in first-place or a game closer to it.
In the West, the first-place Diamondbacks continue to look good, going 6- 4 over 10, while the Padres, still in second-place three games in back, have also gone 6- 4. The Rockies and Dodgers are both 6.5 in back of first.
The East looks to be the dominion of the NY Mets. The Mets have gone 6- 4 taking the series versus the Dodgers 2-1 and losing the first game against the Phils. They have three more versus the Phils. If the Phils can sweep, they will be two out of first. Donâ€™t expect that to happen. Philadelphia is five games behind and the Braves are six! The Braves, like the Phils, have gone 4- 6 over the past 10. The Mets play both the Phils and the Braves this weekâ€”gut check time guys! Meanwhile, both Atlanta and Philadelphia get to play Florida this week. That should help both clubs.
The NL Wild Card has the Padres in firstâ€”three ahead of the Phils, 3.5 in front of the Dodgers, four ahead of the Braves, 4.5 past the Rockies, six in front of the Brewers and 6.5 ahead of the Cards. The NL Wild Card has a long way to go this month. If pitching wins it, the Padres will be in the playoffs. If managing wins it, itâ€™ll be the Cardinals. If a balanced attack can do it, then look for the Phils to do it. If veteran management is a huge factor, the Braves will be in the post season.
In the AL, the Red Sox have reestablished their dominance. Although they never lost first-place, the Yankees got to within four games of the Red Sox. But after the Sox went 7- 3 and the Yanks 5- 5, Bostonâ€™s lead expanded and they are now eight in front of the team from the Bronx. The Red Sox visit New York for three this week and then return home to play Baltimore. The Sox bats have really broken out this past week, while the Yankee pitching has fallen apart. After Boston visits NY, Tampa will be in the Bronx. If Boston can sweep NY (and thatâ€™s a BIG â€œifâ€™), Steinbrennerâ€™s guys will be out of contention for the division.
The Central continues to be a battle between Cleveland and Detroit, with the Tigers 2.5 out. Minnesota is in third and 6.5 behind the first-lace Indians. The Indians have been hot, winning 7 of 10 and three straight. The Tribe plays the Twins and then the White Sox this week, while the Tigers will be at Kansas City and Oakland. The Tigers stuck it to NY this week and thereâ€™s no reason that they canâ€™t do the same to this weekâ€™s opponents.
In the West, the Mariners just wonâ€™t go away. The Los Angeles Angels are three games up on Seattle and the Mariners have lost three straight (two to Texas of all teams)! The Angels and Mariners meet for three big games and then Seattle goes to Cleveland and Toronto. The Angels, after visiting Seattle, will host the Rangers.
The Wild Card race in the AL has the Mariners two in front of NY and three ahead of Detroit. Seattle and NY have a series coming up in about 10 days. It could be huge.
Thatâ€™s a look at the MLB races. Itâ€™s a little clearer with the NL Wild Card being exceptionally convoluted (it always is this time of year).