After the excitement of the football season starting, Jaime gets back to the real race that's afoot, the MLB's hunt for October
With just over two weeks left in the hunt for October, baseball fans are on their feet in anticipation.
Last year, the regular season went right down to the wire with Game 162 deciding the fate of not one, not two, not three (thanks LeBron) but four teams, and this year, with the addition of a second wild card spot, doesn’t look like it will be much different. That said, this week should show some true colors; some of the schedules around the league open up a lot of room for division titles to be claimed, some wild card teams to fall off and some others to pick up. I’m not calling any shots (who would after last year’s kerfuffle?) but I’m willing to make some educated guesses. Yeah. Let’s call them that. The American League Who would have thought that midway through September the Orioles would be just one game back of the Yankees for the division lead? The AL East Division lead! Through the first half I thought they looked a lot like last year’s Pirates: surprisingly strong but likely to burn out. But nope. No, sirree. Now they remind me of the ’08 Rays team that ran the board in September and went all the way to the World Series. Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t know that the O’s will be in the World Series, but with the sub-.500 Mariners and Red Sox on their schedule this week, they could be in first place for the division come next Sunday. Meanwhile, the Yankees have to play the A’s and Jays. The Athletics are a tough beat this year with a great pitching staff and the Jays recently swept the Yanks, so this could spell more trouble for the Bombers, who’ve dropped a 10-game lead since July. In fact, with the Rays playing Toronto and the Red Sox this week, the Yankees could find themselves fighting off a third-place team while trying to fight their way back into first. Either way, it’s gonna be close. One division over, we’ve got the Tigers two games back of the White Sox, but with each of them playing one team over .500 and one below over the next week, I’m saying this division race stays right where it’s at; this just isn’t the Tigers team we saw a year ago. Out west, the Rangers are staving off the A’s, but that’s a team playing for keeps. Like the O’s, we figured they’d just disappear down the stretch, but here we are, two weeks away from the playoffs and the A’s are going strong. But they’ve got a tough draw this week with the Tigers and the Yankees, so they’ll have to prove they’ve got what it takes. The National League I’m not even sure why I’m writing about this league. While the AL has three division races going on (no current leader has more than a 3.0 game advantage) the National League divisions are just about locked up: Washington’s got a 5.5-game hold on the East, the Reds have a shocking 11.0-game lead in the Central and the Giants locked down the West by 7.5. Even Atlanta has a 7.0-game hold on the first wild card spot. It only gets interesting once we start talking about the second wild card spot, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about the National League at all. Of the six teams fighting over the one remaining spot, four of them made the playoffs last year (St. Louis, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Arizona), two of them were pronounced dead midseason (Philadelphia and Milwaukee) only to come back down the stretch and one of them is the Pirates, who have been the laughingstock of major league baseball for almost two decades. I’d honestly like to see them make it, but I think this is a fight between St. Louis (who might find it embarrassing to be the reigning World Series champions and not even make it back to the postseason) and Los Angeles (who acquired over $250 million in players and salary midseason and would most definitely find it embarrassing not to be playing baseball in October). So that’s where we’re at. We’ll see how this week goes, and come clinch time, I’ll make some playoff predications. Jaime’s Fantasy League Update So after losing a heartbreaker last week (no thanks to DeAngelo Williams and his zero points), I’m happy to announce I have a wildly comfortable 90-point lead this week that I don’t think my opponent, Favre Dollar Footlongs, will be able to overcome. Also, a big thanks to everyone who entered this year’s contest. Take this time to bone up on your fantasy football knowledge; you’ll need it for next year’s contest if you wanna beat me.