Results tagged ‘ Wild Card ’
2013 has turned out to be the year that the Pirates have broken a 20-year stretch of losing seasons. Last night they won their 81st game of the year. It has been a great story to watch unfold and I am happy to see that streak come to an end.
There are players on that team who have endured a lot over their time in Pittsburgh. There are also fans who have had to live through those dismal summers. They have one of the nicest ballparks — if not the nicest ballpark — in the game. Now they have a team that has made it worthwhile to come out and watch. This team is not loaded with superstars. It is, however, loaded with guys who play every out of every game. As a former player, I love to see that. I believe that with the money players make now (and even when I played), that they owe that effort every night to their fan base. This years Pirates do that.
Now comes the question: Will they make the Postseason? I believe they will. But I believe it will be as the first Wild Card team. I still believe that the Reds will win the Central. I think the they have too much talent. They have yet to get on a run, but I believe they will. I could be very wrong, but that is how I see it.
I also see a St. Louis pitching staff that is young and getting tired. When a pitcher is tired, he has to make pitches. Add in the stress of a pennant race and I just feel that the Cards’ staff is running out of gas. I would say — as so many are saying — that both NL Wild Card teams will come out of the Central. But with the weakest division in the NL being the East , I am not sure that the Nationals might not slip in there for the second Wild Card spot. They will play most of their games in their own division in September, as will the Cardinals. That’s to Washington’s advantage, as the Central is a much tougher division.
Back to the Pirates. Congrats to them, but I have a feeling they ain’t satisfied with just a winning season. They have too much fight in them to set their goals that low!
With September nearly upon us , I thought I would look at who is going to be in the 2013 Postseason in the National League.
In the East, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the Braves have that locked up. They hold a lead that I don’t believe can possibly be overtaken.
In the west, I would say the same thing about the Dodgers . That is something I didn’t think would happen this year for them. Not because they didn’t have the talent, but because of chemistry. They seem to have that in abundance now.
Where the NL gets cloudy is in the Central. St. Louis is leading the division by a game and a half over the Pirates, with the Reds 3.5 back, as we sit here on the 28th of August. They are both Wild Card teams right now, but the NL it could get very interesting is the final month.
With so many games played against each other, the Pirates , Reds and Cards could be their own worst enemies. If they all beat up on each other in a fight for the Central, that could give Washington and maybe the D-Backs a chance to sneak into one of the Wild Card spots, as the NL East and West are much weaker divisions than the Central. It would only take a run by one of those teams to keep both Wild Card teams from coming from the Central.
Pittsburgh has been struggling lately and the Reds have yet to make a strong run. It is great to see that the Pirates will enjoy their first winning season in 21 years, but do they have the experience to withstand a playoff push? Time will tell.
Last month I said that I thought both Wild Card teams will come from the Central. I have since changed that opinion. I believe that either Washington or Arizona will sneak in and take one of the Wild Card spots based solely on the strengths of the divisions.
When it is all said and done, I believe LA will be representing the NL in the World Series.
With three games left in the regular season there are still four divisions left that have not been decided. Three are in the AL. That speaks to the parity in the game. But again this year, the Wild Card has been what has kept the game so interesting to watch.
There are two teams in the NL battling for the last Wild Card spot, with the Cardinals holding a two-game lead over the Dodgers. But in the AL, there are three teams still alive — the Rays, the A’s, and the Angels — with three division races still undecided. The Nationals hold a three-game lead over the Braves in the NL East.
As a baseball analyst and a fan of our game, I think the added Wild Card spots in each league have proven to do exactly what commissioner Bud Selig had hoped: keep teams playing hard for all 162 games that are on the schedule. After seeing what we all refer to as “Wild Card Wednesday” in 2011 and the excitement that brought to our game, it is hard for anyone to sit back and say that adding the additional Wild Card team from each league this year has been anything but a huge success.
For all the fans out there who love this game as much as I do, the last three days are going to be a blast to watch. Then will come the excitement of the one-game Wild Card playoff for the right to play in the Division Series!
I have never been known as a “company man,” but in this case it is hard not say that what baseball has done has been anything other than a huge feather in their cap!
As we sit here today, the American League division leaders are the Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers. The Wild Card leaders are Baltimore and Oakland.
Do I believe this is how the season will end up? NO!
As I look at the AL, I see a Yankee team that is beat up, an Oakland team that I think has been a great story, but ultimately are a little too young in their starting rotation to hang on to a Wild Card berth, and a White Sox team that is heaping a ton on two young left-handers in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana to take them some place niether of them have been in their careers: pennant chase baseball. Sale has been great this year, winning 16 games, but he recently lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. I don’t think they will be able to hold off Detroit. The Tigers are too talented. I believe that the Tigers will win the Central.
Not a lot of question about the West. The Rangers will win that division.
The most exciting baseball in September will take place in the East. I think the Rays are the team that will win that division because of their pitching. The question for me is whether the Yankees and Baltimore be able to win enough games to stay in the Wild Card hunt? I think the Yankees will be able to, because they have been through it so much. I love what Baltimore has done this year. It has been fun to watch, but I think they may be a little too young right now.
The team I think will be will be playing the Yankees in the Wild Card game will be the Angels. I see a late push by them to get that fifth and final spot.
Next week I will address the NL.
Before the season started, I made predictions as to what teams I thought would be Postseason teams. We are in the first week of July, and there are some teams that I thought would win divisions that are either not playing good baseball and are still in the hunt and there is one team that sits dead last in its division — the Phillies being that team.
As I sit here today, the American League East is shaping up to much like I thought it would, with the Yankees leading the division. The big surprise is that the Orioles sit in second place. I still believe that the Yankees will win that division, and I am sticking by my pick of Boston being one of the Wild Card teams. They have endured more days of players being on the DL than any other team in baseball, with over 900 games missed. And they still are only 6.5 games out of first. That means when they do get healthy, the Red Sox will be very deep heading into the second half.
The AL Central has not played out in the first half like I thought it would. I had Detroit running away with the division, but they have not played well as a team yet. I still see them doing much like they did last year and winning the division by a wide margin. Their starting pitching hasn’t been as dominant yet this year. Namely Doug Fister. He came to Detroit last year at the Trade Deadline and went 8-1 for the Tigers. He is 1-6 at this point. That won’t last.
The AL West is right where I thought it would be, with the Rangers leading the division, and the Angels in second place, which will earn them the other Wild Card spot.
In the NL, it has been much harder to figure out what has happened. The Dodgers got off to a great start, but the loss of Matt Kemp due to a hamstring injury has left their offense unable to out-hit average starting pitching. The Giants lead the division, but the team I picked to win the division, Arizona, has started to gain a little ground and they are getting healthier. I still feel that they will win the West.
In the Central, I picked the Cardinals to win the division. They started off on fire this year, but have since come back down to earth. The team that has shocked me and every other so-called expert is the Pirates. They have pitched well and are starting to hit a little bit. This is one division I am changing my pick to win from St. Louis to the Reds. They are at the top of the division in spite of the fact that they have not hit well all year long. They will hit in the second half and win the Central.
The NL East is a division that looks upside-down. In the spring, I picked the Phillies to win the division, even though Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were starting the year on the DL. They are in last place and 11 games out of first. Roy Halladay hasn’t pitched in well over a month. Cliff Lee has not won a game. All of these things will change in the second half. Utley is back, Howard is rehabbing in the minors, and Lee will start winning games. Washington, who I picked to finish second and be a Wild Card team is leading the division and is a very deep team. Atlanta is getting healthy, despite losing Brandon Beachy for the year. They have gotten Jair Jurrjens back, and he has thrown very well in his first two starts. People are going to think I’m nuts, and that is ok. I’ve been nuts before. But I think Washington is going to win this division, and the two Wild Card teams are going to come out of the East, with Philly and Atlanta being the two Wild Card teams.
I think Philly is going to trade Cole Hamels at the deadline to get a big right handed bat to hit behind Howard and also get an arm or two in the deal. There is zero chance of Hamels resigning with the Phillies, in my opinion. He is a Southern Cal boy, and the Dodgers will overpay to get him in their rotation, to go along with Clayton Kershaw. Hamels is at his peak as far as trade value. If the Phillies get a big bat and a bullpen arm or two in the deal, they can win games with Halladay, Lee, and Worley in the top 3 spots in that rotation.
Like I said, people will think I’m nuts. Well, I have papers to prove it! So let’s see how it all shakes out.