FINAL SNIP OF THE NUT-CUTTING
The Nationals with the best record in baseball are counting the days and games before an “x” appears in front of their name on the standings board. They currently hold a 5 game lead over Atlanta with only 15 or 16 games to play. Big thing there is they are 6 up in the loss column. Anything is possible but for the Braves to win the pennant is highly unlikely. Even with the shutdown of their young phenom Strasburg, they can still run out Gonzalez, Detwiler, Jackson and Zimmerman which is still a formidable quartet.
The Braves on the other hand are having a much, much better September this year than last season. One of the key ingredients in their machine closing out their season is their last-innings bullpen. The trio of O’Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel has a whole lot less use this year than last season. Freddie G has done a fantastic job limiting the number of innings and pitches by his go to guys. Any team facing Atlanta in late innings and behind has a tough task at hand for sure. And with the emergence of Kris Medlen after Beachy went down has given the Braves a great go to starter as well.
I am afraid the deep pit the Phillies dug themselves into early, and the fact they traded away most of their talent, only says the noise they are currently making is just that; a lot of noise.
My Prediction: This is one of the easiest for me to call. Nationals win pennant, Braves win WC#1. Phillies Fizzle
This division is just as easy for me to forecast with one exception; will the second WC come from the Central? The Reds will hold onto the pennant.
The Cardinals currently are sitting in the second WC slot however; they finish the season with the Nationals and Reds. I would hate to place my hopes on winning both of those series to win a WC spot. While their remaining games other than those two series are with the Cubs and Astros, I still don’t know if there will be enough gas in the tank to finish strong against the Nats and Reds.
The Cardinals are in luck as far as schedule goes. A lot of Brewer Fans are making noise thinking the Brew Crew is going to make a run for one of the playoff spots. Frankly, I don’t see it. The Brewers have to face the Pirates (3), Nationals (4) and Reds (3) back to back to back on the road. They would have to come out of that series at a minimum of 6-4 on that road trip to have a chance of overtaking St. Louis. I don’t see it happening. They play great at home but are a below average team on the road.
Believe it or not the Pirates are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot. However, they are only 2-8 in their last ten games and that is about the way they have played the last half of the season. They only have one bat going well and no pitching of late. Even though the numbers say they are not eliminated, in my opinion they can go ahead and look toward next season.
My Prediction: Reds win the pennant, Cards stay in second WC spot. All others are also-rans.
By now it is no secret I think the pennant winner is the only hope for a playoff team from the West. I have already predicted Atlanta and St. Louis as the two WC teams so that only leaves the West Side Winner.
The Giants will win the NL West pennant. The Dodgers will fall short of the playoffs.
The Dodgers have nine of their last 15 games against current Division Leading, Reds, Nationals and Giants. Their other two series they would have to sweep to even come close. I do not see the Dodgers winning 2 out of 3 of the other series.
My Prediction: Giants win the west. Everyone else left as spectators.
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