MLB outcome predicted
With only a month left in Major League Baseball’s regular season, the playoff buzz has begun, and while the division and wildcard races are still very crowded, I am here to offer my bold predictions as to who will make the cut when October arrives.
In the American League East, the Red Sox will hold off the surging Yankees to win their first division title since 1995. The Red Sox have the best rotation and bullpen in the division with an American League-best ERA of 3.73 as of Sunday. Ace Josh Beckett and veteran Tim Wakefield lead the American League with 16 wins.
The recent addition of Eric Gagne has temporarily hurt the Red Sox bullpen, but closer Jonathan Papelbon and setup man Hideki Okajima strengthen the very deep bullpen.
The Yankees may not win the division, but they will make the postseason once again as the wildcard team. The recent addition of pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain has stabilized a shaky bullpen this year, and the Yankees are nearly first in every offensive category in the league, including batting average, home runs, RBIs, runs, and hits.
In the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers currently trail the Cleveland Indians, but they will still win the division with their strong offense and improving bullpen. Led by MVP candidate Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers have the second-best offense only behind the Yankees. The return of flamethrower Joel Zumaya from the disabled list will stabilize what was considered the best preseason bullpen. The Indians possess two potential Cy Young winners, Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia, but their offense continues to struggle. Their offense has scored three runs or fewer in nearly 50 games this season. If the Indians do not start scoring, they will be out of playoff contention soon.
The Seattle Mariners will surprise the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to win the AL West. The Angels’ failure to make a big trade-deadline move for a hitter will hurt them considerably. Especially with the loss of Juan Rivera, the Angels do not have much protection for cleanup hitter Vladimir Guerrero. Garret Anderson continues to put up mediocre numbers while catching combination Jeff Mathis and Ryan Budde has barely hit .200 in the bottom of the lineup.
In addition to their strong offense, the Mariners are one of the best teams in one-run games, going 21–17. Their bullpen, among the best in the league, will finally help bring them back to the playoffs.
Even with all their rotation struggles, the New York Mets continue to lead the National League East. With Jose Reyes and Castillo at the top of the lineup, the Mets’ offense can attack and score early in any game. Starting pitchers John Maine and Orlando Hernandez continue to pitch well, and the return of ace Pedro Martinez may be the biggest acquisition down the stretch.
The Mets will win this division, but the Philadelphia Phillies will finally make the playoffs by winning a crowded wildcard race. Even after the injury troubles, the Phillies are only a game behind in the wildcard race. Their NL-best offense will be further strengthened by the return of Chase Utley, who was on the disabled list with a broken hand.
The NL Central is the weakest division in baseball but perhaps the most exciting one. The defending champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, got off to a brutal start, but they are suddenly only a few games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. Although the Cubs have a potent lineup, the Brewers will edge out to win the division.
The Brewers have arguably the best closer, Francisco Cordero, in the division and are expecting the return of ace Ben Sheets. With Chris Capuano struggling without a win since May 5, Sheets may be the deciding factor in an extremely tight race.
Led by NL home run leader Prince Fielder and potential rookie of the year Ryan Bruan, the Brew Crew is fighting for more than the division title; it is fighting for its first playoff appearance since 1982.
Without a doubt, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the best in the West. The D’backs have the best record in the National League since the All-Star break. Last year’s Cy Young winner, Brandon Webb, continues to be unstoppable of late with 42 straight scoreless innings for the D’backs. Although the Padres have playoff experience, the D’backs have played well against them head-to-head, going 7–4.
At least 15 teams have a shot at making the playoffs this year, but I predict that solid pitching will lead both the Red Sox and Diamondbacks to the World Series. In the end, the Red Sox come out on top and win the World Series in five games, with home field advantage at Fenway Park.