COLUMN: MLB playoff races

Bryce Harper

It’s the beginning of August. School starts at the end of the month, football is coming back and basketball camps are just around the corner.

But you didn’t forget about baseball did you? I know I didn’t.

America’s pastime is in its final months and things are heating up faster than Logan. Three of the six divisions are in four-team races, with all of them within 8.5 games. The American League East is a FIVE-team race, with the Toronto Blue Jays 8 games back in last place.
Boston currently leads the AL East by a single game over Aaron Judge’s New York Yankees.

Boston’s ace Chris Sale leads the AL in ERA (2.70) and strikeouts (216) and is the current Cy Young favorite, all in his first year with Beantown. Judge’s league-leading 34 home runs are joined by his third place 75 RBIs in a Rookie of the Year/potential MVP campaign.
Last year’s AL pennant winners, the Cleveland Indians, have a slim 2.5 game lead over the 2015 World Series champs Kansas City Royals. Former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is second in the league in ERA (2.9) and Jose Ramirez is second in batting average (.323).

But the Houston Astros are the favorite to come out of the American League this year. The ‘Stros are more than 30 games over .500 and currently are leading the AL West by 15 games – the largest margin a leading team has over a second-place team. Second baseman Jose Altuve is a shoe-in for the Batting Title with an average of .361 and his name has been sprinkled around in MVP conversation.

The Washington Nationals and their wannabe-badass Bryce Harper are living up to their potential and in first-place in the National League East. Pitcher Max Scherzer is leading the NL in strikeouts (201) and is trying to push himself over the hump to win the Cy Young like he did just last year. The Miami Marlins are currently 12 games back in second place.

The NL Central race has turned into the “Who Can Suck Less” race as the reigning champions, the Chicago Cubs, have a 2-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs winning percentage (.538) is the lowest of any division leader in the MLB, there are two teams who have a better percentage and do not lead their division (Arizona and Colorado).

Now is when we talk about the NL West and I do have to mention the fact I have been a Dodgers fan since I could remember. That being said, the Dodgers are really good.
Wait, no – REALLY good.

Their .701 winning percentage is best in the league and since taking the lead have not lost any steam. Third baseman Justin Turner is leading the league in average (.353) and rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger is second in home runs in the league, after perennial slugger Giancarlo “Don’t Call Me Mike” Stanton.

The World Series is seemingly a question of Dodgers vs. TBA, but as a fan I know just how the Dodgers play in the postseason. Washington is poised to be a problem, and Houston’s only hiccup is their own starting pitching. The MLB regular season has been slept on by a majority of sports fans but the World Series is looking like it will be one for the history books.