Check out Jaime's picks for the pennant races and postseason awards.
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Is it still baseball season? This has felt like the longest season ever. For the last couple of weeks I haven’t paid much attention to baseball because I’ve been pumped for the start of football. Baseball was put on the back burner. It’s like the redheaded stepchild of football for me.
But now that I’m all caught up on the pennant races, I’m ready for the season’s homestretch. Here are three predictions I have for the final weeks of the regular season.
The Rays Will Pass the Red Sox and Win the Wild Card
As of Monday, the Rays are two games behind the Sox for the Wild Card after winning six of their last seven against Boston, including a three-game sweep at home earlier this month. When did this happen? While I was busy watching the first two weeks of NFL, the Rays have caught fire. Tampa’s hot and Boston’s not. Evan Longoria has had three homers and nine RBI over the last seven games. He’s gotten hot, so have his teammates, and I think the Rays are going to ride this momentum into the postseason.
Justin Verlander Will Win the American League Cy Young--But Not the MVP
There’s no reason why the Detroit Tigers’ ace doesn’t win his first Cy Young Award. Verlander just picked up his 24th win of the season on Sunday and has looked as sharp as ever. I don’t think that’s even up for debate. But as far as MVP goes, I know that’s not typically given to a pitcher. Roger Clemens was the last pitcher to win the Cy Young and MVP in 1986, when he was still with the Sox. I’m going to predict that Verlander only gets the Cy Young, but personally I want him to win both. No position player who’s up for the AL MVP, like Jose Bautista, Curtis Graderson or Jacoby Ellsbury, has put up monster numbers that would make them a runaway winner. I understand that the MVP is usually an everyday player, but in this case I don’t think anyone can compete with how dominant Verlander has been on the mound. Look at it this way: If you take away half of Verlander’s wins, the Tigers are basically tied for the AL Central lead with Cleveland. That’s MVP material for me.
The Marlins’ Final Game at Sun Life Stadium Will Receive Little Fanfare
The Marlins’ final game at their shared home with the Dolphins will be Sept. 28 against Washington. It’s a work day, and I predict it will pass as just another Wednesday. The Florida Marlins will no longer be, and next year they’ll be reborn as the Miami Marlins, finally with a new stadium to call their own (New Marlins Ballpark). I hope it will be a better experience for the organization, fans and all of South Florida. It will be a fresh start because ever since they came into existence, the Marlins have had to share a stadium and spotlight with the Dolphins. They play in a football stadium, and attendance at their home games looks pathetic. It looks like they have no support. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad if they weren’t playing in such a large stadium. We’ll find out next season.
What are you more excited about this week, the NFL or the pennant races and coming playoffs in baseball? Let me know in the comments below or at my Twitter at @JaimeEdmondson.