Nuttz About Sportz – 8/13/13

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by The SportzNutt,

As we wind down the summer season, the 2013 Major League Baseball season has come almost full circle, and with about 50 games to go, the divisions are taking shape. Here’s what each division looks like as we near the postseason.

AL East

What a difficult division to read this season. Four of the five teams remain in contention for postseason play, while Toronto can’t seem to put it together for any significant amount of time. The Red Sox are back to being what they are, one of baseball’s best, while Tampa Bay hangs in there with great pitching and clutch hitting. And while the Orioles find ways to win, the Yankees are overachieving in my opinion.  It’s anyone’s guess who will win the AL East, but I’m thinking that two of these teams make it to the postseason.

AL Central

Detroit seems to be the class of this division, as they have too much firepower for anyone else to deal with. Hitting, pitching and speed are their strengths, but they need a consistent closer. If their bullpen can get their act together, watch out. The Indians have faded a bit as of late (as Kipnis goes, so does Cleveland), while Kansas City is possibly the American League’s feel good story of the season. It’s great to see their hard work of rebuilding and trading for the future starting to pay off. The Twins and White Sox have seemingly given up as they own some of the worst records in baseball. I see the Tigers winning the division, but really want either Cleveland or Kansas City come back and take it…..perhaps a Wild Card berth? (fingers crossed)

AL West

Overall, it’s been a rather disappointing and otherwise boring division this season. Texas leads it now, but has really unimpressed anyone offensively. Imagine a Texas team that NEEDS its hitting to step up while their pitching does all the work for them! Oakland has regressed a bit, but would love to move to the AL East and play in Toronto four times a year. Seattle is one of baseball’s surprises thus far, but looks to be tailing off after a disappointing road trip and current home stand. Speaking of disappointing, the Angels seem to be in rebuilding mode despite having one of the league’s highest payrolls. What a disastrous year for them. The Astros continue to go through growing pains, but are fun to watch (I have a few of them in my Dynasty League). I see Texas (yawn) winning the division.

NL East

There really isn’t much to say, as the class of the division is back on its rightful throne. The Braves have gone on a tear since the All-Star Break and look amazing in the process. The Nationals have had a disappointing season offensively and NEED a healthy Bryce Harper to compete. The Mets are rebuilding with youth, while the Phillies are rebuilding with a roster from five years ago (not literally but with some similar pieces). The Marlins went through a competitive stretch where they actually went 8-4…..only to follow that up with a subsequent 1-7 record as they remembered who they were. I see the Braves possibly winning 100 games this year and owning home field advantage until the World Series (if they advance).

NL Central

The feel good story in all of baseball HAS to be the Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven’t had a winning record since 1992. They currently have 70 wins, which is more wins than in eleven of those under .500 seasons since then. Amazing. Right behind them, though, are the St. Louis Cardinals (who have one of the most complete teams in baseball) and the Cincinnati Reds (who find ways to win, but are slightly over achieving). The Cubs and the Brewers are playing for next season and are a mile away from the pack. That doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense, I know. I see the Reds, Cardinals and pirates ALL making the playoffs, proving the depth and quality of this division.

NL West

This has been one of the more exciting divisions in baseball this season in my opinion, in that everyone’s been alive for most of the season. Lately though, the Dodgers have been on a mission to squash any and all competitors, and would be making more headlines if the Braves hadn’t won as many as they did. The players they traded for and signed are finally coming through for a perceived playoff push. Only Arizona looks like a real threat, but they’re too inconsistent for my liking, despite early season success. The Rockies have fallen backwards as of late, as have the Padres, while the Giants can’t do much right. I see the Dodgers winning the division.

Tough to predict a World Series right now, as there are many teams that are all equally as good. It’s been an odd year as there aren’t many close races to the playoffs right now, outside of the AL East. The AL Central COULD provide some excitement for a winner, but as of now, Detroit looks like they’ll take it. In other years, the NL Central would be a classic race to the finish, but with two wildcard spots available and the rest of the league being under.500 (literally, only Arizona is above .500 outside of division leaders), there isn’t much incentive to win now. All that being said, I know I’ll be watching down the stretch.

And there you have it.