American League Rundown: The three best teams in baseball play in the AL East. Boston has the third best record in the AL, yet they sit in third place in their division. The Sox are 5.5 games behind division leading NY and 3.5 behind Tampa Bay. The ridiculous amount of injuries seems to finally be catching up with them. The wildcard will most likely come out of that group (just like every other season).
The AL Central race is one of the tightest in baseball. Chicago has a 1.5 game lead over Detroit. Minnesota is now 2.5 games behind the division leaders. That division is up for grabs and will most likely be decided by a trade deadline deal or two. The most surprising division leader might be the one in the best shape down the stretch. Texas is leading the AL West by 3.5 games over Los Angeles, but they recently acquired pitcher Cliff Lee from Seattle. They now have the bats and the pitchers to run away with that division.
National League Rundown: The Bravos are back in a big way. Most analysts assumed that reigning NL Champ Philadelphia would easily run away with the NL East and that potentially New York could challenge. Few thought that the Braves had what it took to take the division. But, as of July 18th, they are sitting pretty 4.5 games ahead of the Phillies and 5 ahead of the Mets.
The two other NL divisions have very surprising leaders. In my season preview I picked Cincinnati to finish fifth and San Diego to finish dead last. I was very wrong and I’m actually happy about it. I like the Red Legs and the Padres are my second favorite team. Cincy may not be able to hold of St. Louis and will probably be battline San Francisco, Colorado and Los Angeles for the wildcard. The Padres look like they might be able to distance themselves from the competition with their superior pitching and defense.
AL MVP: Josh Hamilton – Texas (22 HR 66 RBI .348 BA)
NL MVP: Joey Votto – Cincinnati (22 HR 60 RBI .311 BA)
AL Cy Young: David Price – Tampa Bay (12-4 100 K 2.42 ERA)
NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson – Florida (10-3 130 K 1.62 ERA)
AL Best Reliever: Mariano Rivera New York (20 Saves 34 K’s in 35.1 innings 1.02 ERA)
NL Best Reliever: Carlos Marmol Chicago (17 Saves 82 K’s in 43.1 innings 2.91 ERA)
Who’s going to make the playoffs?
AL: New York (East Champions), Tampa Bay (WC), Detroit (Central Champions) and Texas (West Champions)
NL: Atlanta (East Champions), St. Louis (Central Champions), Cincinnati (WC) and San Diego.
Way too early playoff predictions:
New York over Texas
Detroit over Tampa
Cincinnati over Atlanta
San Diego over St. louis
Detroit over New York
Cincinnati over San Diego
Detroit over Cincinnati
30 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist and sports editor. He also writes about fine beverages for drinkingmadeeasy.com and Chilled Magazine. On top of that, he writes about college and professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, throw him an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/chrisosburn