Last Regular Season Baseball Thread
The dog days of August are almost over, and we're heading into the stretch run.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have completely demolished the NL West. They have a good chance of winning their division by 20 games. I can't remember when that happened. They'll be a force to be reckoned with but I still think - and history backs me up - that Dave Roberts over-manages the bejeezus out of his club in the playoffs.
The New York Yankees continue to amaze. Depending on the day of the week, they have both the best record in all of baseball, and the most starters on injured reserve. I don't see how anyone but Aaron Boone can win Manager of the Year. What a job he's done. If the Yankees get completely healthy, I don't know if anyone can beat them.
The Twins are still hanging in there, but the Indians won't go away. You don't see addition-by-subtraction very often but getting rid of clubhouse cancer Trevor Bauer has really helped the Indians.
But it's the Atlanta Braves who are the surprise team of the year. They're building a substantial lead in the NL East, completely under the radar. My favorite Brave - Nick Markakis - is on the shelf. But they have a really solid roster. I wouldn't be surprised if they make the NLCS. However, don't count out the Mets and their monster of a rookie, Pete Alonso. He just broke the Mets' single-season homerun record, smashing his 42nd dinger last night.
The Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers are locked in a fight for the NL Central. There's a ton of pressure on both the Cubs and the Brewers. The Brewers were thought to be much better than they've played. The Cubs are expected to win it all, namely because they spent $$$$$$$ and actually DID win it all a couple years ago. GM Theo Epstein has said this is a make-or-break season and if the Cubs don't make, he's blowing up the roster. So the happy-go-lucky Cardinals jsut keep winning, while the teams around them implode.
I've saved the best for last. Of course I'm talking about the Houston Astros!
Despite multiple injuries to a plethora of pitchers, the Astros have a 10-game lead in the AL West. They're playing incredible baseball. Let's talk about Yordan Alvarez.
Yordan is putting up numbers that have only been put up by the likes of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. He is UNBELIEVABLE. The guy is a rookie! He's played 61 games and knocked in 62 runs. He's got 21 homers, and is hitting .329. His numbers today extrapolate to a full-season total of 56 home runs and 164 RBIs.
The Astros right now have: (1) the most strikeouts by their pitchers in MLB; and (2) the fewest strikeouts by their batters in MLB. No team in the modern era has ever done that so if the Astros can keep it up, they'll be the first in 120 years to do so.
But we have some injuries that are worrisome. Brad Peacock is back on the shelf with a sore shoulder. All Star Ryan Pressly is out until the very end of the season. New acquisition Aaron Sanchez is on the IL. Carlos Correa's injury-plagued season continues, with a lower back issue.
We still have plenty of guns, though. Michael Brantley has just been incredible, and leads all of baseball with a .337 average. And he's been right there all year. He's never slumped. What an incredible addition he's been!
Yuli Gurriel is the hottest player in baseball not named Yordan Alvarez. On May 2, he was hitting .232. Today he's batting .308. He was the player of the month in July (he hit .408 with 12 HRs and 31 RBIs for the month!) and might be again in August. Yuli is hitting .330 since his May 2 nadir.
Right behind him has been Jose Altuve. Jose started the year with a surgically-repaired knee that wasn't fixed just right. He went in for some rehab on May 10, with a .243 average. He came back on June 19 and has raised his average to .305. Altuve has hit .353 since coming back.
Bregman, Springer, Reddick, Correa (when healthy) - all mashing, all smashing. Verlander, Cole, Greinke, Miley - all wheeling, all dealing.
It should be a great September for baseball!