The NL East is still a three-way battle between the Mets, Phills and Braves. 4 games separate the three. If youâ€™re looking an edge in terms of opponents, then I think it goes to the Mets and Philadelphia. Both play Pittsburgh, Washington, San Diego and Los Angeles. Los Angeles has been struggling mightily lately and both the Bucs and the Nationals are terrible.
Atlanta has to play Arizona and St. Louis and both have been playing well. San Francisco and Cincinnati are also up this month, which should help the Braves.
Looking at recent developments, New York has had a tough time with opponents outside of their division, especially the Padres. They have handled the Dodgers easily. The Phills, on the other hand, have been in the plus column against just about anyone theyâ€™ve played, including San Diego. The Braves have really struggled against Arizona, Cincinnati and St. Louis. I said about a week ago that it was time for Atlanta to step up. They really havenâ€™t. Look for Philadelphia to be poised to make a move. Still, the Braves are tough to discount.
In the NL Central, Chicago has lost three of four and gone 3- 7 over the last 10. The Brewers have not done much better, losing four in a row and posting a 2- 8 record. St. Louis has been playing solid ball and is now only 2.5 out of first-place, having won five straight with an 8 and 2 mark. Watch out! These Cards may have a few aces up their sleeves.
The NL West may yield the Wild Card along with a division winner. Arizona, having gone 7 and 3 in the last 10, leads the Westâ€”three games over the Padres and five over the Rockies. Where are the Dodgers? They are in fourth-place, 6.5 games out going one and four in their last five and a 3- 7 record.
In the AL, the Yanks have been extremely hot and are leading the Wild Card by one-game over Seattle and two over Cleveland. Boston still holds onto the lead in the East, despite their lack of hitting. They are now 5.5 games up on NY and have gone two of three, while the Yanks have lost three straight.
No one seems to be winning in the AL Central, but Detroit is losing less than anyone with a 5 and 5 record over the last 10. The Indians have lost three of four, including three in a row against the Bronx Bombers and the first of a two-game set versus the Tigers. But last night, the Tribe beat the Tohers and went into a tie with Jim Leylandâ€™s team. Next they play a series versus Tampa Bay and then back against Detroit again. This is a huge opportunity for both the Indians and the Tigers.
In the AL West, the Angels are three games up on the Mariners. The Mariners simply wonâ€™t go away. Los Angeles has to play Toronto, Boston and the Yankees over the next few weeks. Making their task especially tough. Seattle plays Minnesota, Chicago and Texas. This could be a golden opportunity for the team from Washington State.
In the NL, the Dodgers are quickly fading, while the Cardinals have stepped it up. Chicago has been inconsistent all season, while the Brewers may be the Tigers of 2006. The Mets should take their division but the Phills have proven to be tough to predict. Atlantaâ€™s middle name should be inconsistency.
In the AL, the Red Sox still have the best record in the majors, but the Yankees have shown amazing resiliency. If the Sox bats can heat up (and I think they will), they will take the division and be World Series favorites. NYâ€™s pitching is a problem. In the Central, Detroit looks like the team, despite their injuries. I think the Angels will secure their division and that Seattle has a real shot in the Wild Card race.
Then again, that can all change by next week. Love this time of year when it comes to baseball.