We have reached the Mid Summer Classic, Chris Berman saying back back back back back back gone! An exhibition game deciding the fates of 2 franchises and now we can turn our attentions to FOOTBALL…not yet. The trade deadline may or may not give us a blockbuster. More than likely we will see relievers and bench bats traded and nothing much more. It seems we know who will be in the postseason already in the divisions: Cleveland and Texas have 5+ game leads in their AL divisions while Chicago and San Francisco boast the same in the NL. What will happen on our way to some Fall Out Boy song being overplayed and thank goodness Smoltz in the booth with Buck as the World Series takes place in…not gonna reveal that right now. Division by division, batflips be damned, we will try to predict what will happen on our way to crowning the 2016 World Series Champion.
Baltimore Orioles 47-35
Boston Red Sox 45-37 2GB
Toronto Blue Jays 46-39 2.5 GB
New York Yankees 40-42 7GB
Tampa Bay Rays 34-48 13GB
A three team race down the stretch between the Orioles, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. The Yankees will soon realize that trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller are best for the future as Mr. Steinbrenner rolls over in his grave. The Rays look like they are headed into another period of being the MLB’s AAA affiliate at the big league level. Contenders will give them prospects for their best developed players and they will eventually be relocated to Montreal. From September 9 through September 30 the division will be settled between the 3 leaders as the Red Sox play Toronto 4 times, Baltimore 7 times, and Baltimore plays Toronto 3 out of the last 4 games of the regular season. This will most likely be the most exciting division down the stretch and it depends on who will make the biggest trade to acquire pitching. Toronto is the only club with a top 10 team ERA to this point while Baltimore is 19th and Boston is 22nd. Boston has the best run differential with Toronto a close second in that metric. The thing that may tip in favor of the Red Sox is their farm system is still loaded and Dombrowski is never afraid to make a major move if his team needs it. Right now we will say it is Boston’s division to lose but with serious pause because it is really too close to call.
Cleveland Indians 50-32
Detroit Tigers 44-39 6.5GB
Kansas City Royals 43-39 7GB
Chicago White Sox 43-40 7.5GB
Minnesota Twins 27-55 23GB
It is almost a sure fire thing the Indians will win this division. They boast the AL’s best starting rotation and are 5th overall in the MLB in team ERA. That is the best in the AL as well. Detroit and Kansas City have both begun to find themselves a little bit, Chicago has fallen back after a really good start. If anyone of that trio wants to make a run at the Wild Card it has to begin immediately following the break. I think the back to back World Series runs have taken their toll on the Royals players and repeating their performance seems a long shot. Detroit seems to have enough talent around the diamond but their pitching has not turned heads to this point. Cleveland is going to ride the Cavalier magic all the way into the postseason and perhaps the best overall record in the AL and perhaps the MLB.
Texas Rangers 52-32
Houston Astros 44-39 7.5GB
Seattle Mariners 43-40 8.5GB
Oakland Athletics 36-47 15.5GB
Los Angeles Angels 33-50 18.5GB
With the most overall wins in the AL, the Rangers have used the 14th best ERA in MLB and only a +36 run differential to run away with the division? What? They have won, Roughned Odor punched Jose Bautista in the face and the Rangers took off. Seattle has the best run differential in the division and Houston claims the best pitching. Are the Rangers fools gold? The dog days are what usually zaps this team if it is going to happen. With Aces Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish hopefully prepped for a big second half the Rangers have the 7th best offense in all of MLB. The D’backs once rode a 2 headed monster to a World Series Championship and I think the Rangers are capable of doing that as well.
Washington Nationals 50-34
New York Mets 45-37 4GB
Miami Marlins 43-40 6.5GB
Philadelphia Phillies 39-46 11.5GB
Atlanta Braves 28-56 22GB
Watch out for the Marlins! Probably not until next season but they are about due to shock the world right in front of a major firesale that leaves them looking like a AA affiliate in Little Rock. If the Mets could ever get the starting rotation all completely healthy and clicking I believe they would run away with not only the division but we witnessed last season what they are capable of. Until that time I will place faith in the Nationals to have learned from last season’s collapse and keeping Papelbon away from Harper in the dugout just in time to get up 2-0 on the Giants and fail once more as that even year magic damns them into another offseason of what if’s. Sidenote: Please get Ryan Howard to an American League team so he can focus on hitting homeruns. Either that or get a DH in the National League (except for when MADBUM is pitching of course).
Chicago Cubs 52-31
St. Louis Cardinals 43-39 8.5GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 42-41 10GB
Milwaukee Brewers 36-46 15.5GB
Cincinnati Reds 31-54 22GB
For the first time since 1945 THE CUBS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!! Wow what a thing to say at the All-Star game. Too bad there is a whole half of a season to play and after losing last season’s postseason hero Schwarber to injury, Kris Bryant has a dinged up leg. The Cubs have a run differential of +151 and that is by far and away the best of anyone in the show. Barring a 2011 Red Sox collapse the Cubs will once again be in the postseason. The Cardinals are trekking along with the third best run differential at +80 so they should have some say about how many games the Cubs will finish ahead of them. Is it time to blow up the Pirates? I honestly thought last year was their year until they again ran into the greatest pitcher of the year. Milwaukee is about to have a firesale I predict and the Reds, oh man when do the Bengals and Steelers play?
San Francisco Giants 53-32
Los Angeles Dodgers 48-37 5GB
Colorado Rockies 37-45 14.5GB
Arizona Diamondbacks 37-48 16GB
San Diego Padres 36-47 16GB
Does anyone else think Zack Greinke feels like a fool? For the past decade it seems the Dodgers and Giants have ran this division and this season is no different. The Giants have the most wins at the break and have probably the best starting trio in all of baseball, them and Cleveland can lay claim to that. We can only hope that the last series of the year comes with these two clubs within 3 games of each other and the division on the line at AT&T Park.
East Champ-Boston Red Sox
Central Champ-Cleveland Indians
West Champ-Texas Rangers
Wild Card-Houston @ Toronto
Dallas Keuchel throws another playoff gem on the road and the high octane Blue Jay offense does not show up in a big spot. No batlflips this season, unless it comes from Carlos Gomez on a solo shot in the top of the 8th to break a 2-2 tie and the Blue Jay faithful throw LaBatt Blue’s all over the field and the game is called right there. Commissioner Goodell is so mad he moves the Bills to Toronto and suspends the City for the first 4 games of the 2018 season.
Boston vs Texas
The Rangers use Hamels and Darvish to get out to a 2-0 lead as David Price’s postseason struggles continue and Boston fans start to get out their Patriot gear. Mookie Betts makes a game saving catch in the 6th in Game 3 and Jackie Bradley, Jr. hits a bases clearing triple to put the Red Sox up for good in Game 3. Big Papi is back to his old tricks in Game 4 has he hits a walk off solo Home Run as Bostonians put that Patriot gear back in the attic. Game 5 is scoreless until the 7th when Pedroia smashes a liner in the left field gap that plates Bradley. Joey Gallo hits a solo shot in the bottom of the frame that hits Jerry Jones’ stadium and we eventually get to extra innings where Steven Wright’s knuckleball proves too much for the Rangers to overcome.
Cleveland vs Houston
The Indians sweep the Astros and watch the craziness as LeBron hangs out with Terry Francona and basks in the glory of Cleveland winning everything this season.
Boston vs Cleveland
Boston gets a 3-1 lead on Cleveland somehow, Game 5 Mike Napoli crushes a homerun off of Junichi Tazawa as the Red Sox management curses the day they let him go. Cleveland staves off elimination. Game 6 is a blowout with Cleveland winning 14-3. David Price comes back off 3 days rest to throw Game 7 vs Corey Kluber. Tito sees another historic comeback as Kluber out duels Price as Price’s postseason demons continue to make 30 million a year seem like $25,000 a year to the rest of us.
The Cleveland Indians are 2016 American League Champs
East Champ-Washington Nationals
Central Champ-Chicago Cubs
West Champ-San Francisco Giants
Wild Card-New York @ Los Angeles
Clayton Kershaw throws a perfect game as the Dodgers avenge last season’s defeat at the hands of the Mets.
San Francisco vs Washington
You thought I was joking about the Nationals choking a 2-0 game lead on the Giants didn’t you? We have seen this before and we will see it again.
Chicago vs Los Angeles
With Kershaw unavailable, the Cubs streak out to an easy 2-0 lead at Wrigley. Kershaw dominates again in Game 3 but the Cubs put the Dodgers away in Game 4.
Chicago vs San Francisco
With all the rotations out of whack, the curse of the goat comes back again. Steve Bartman is invited to throw out the first pitch in Game 1. Rizzo hurts his ankle trying to steal 3rd in the 2nd inning and the Cubs are derailed from there. San Francisco sweeps the Cubs and still maintain that even year magic.
San Francisco is the 2016 NL Champs. The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant!
Cleveland vs San Francisco
So it’s not exactly a rematch of Warriors-Cavaliers but these two fanbases don’t care. It is fast becoming Boston vs LA. Game 1-Madison Bumgarner is a stud and shows it at AT&T Park. Game 2-Johnny Cueto proves his investment is completely worth it and shuts down the Indians again. Some homecooking does the Indians well in Games 3-4. Game 5-Bumgarner is back to his old ways and suddenly he is the greatest human being in the history of mankind. Game 6-Cleveland did what it did to Boston in Game 6, exactly the same and wins 14-3. Cueto is knocked out after only an inning. Which sets the stage for Game 7 where the Shark dominates innings 1-2-3, Cueto comes back to do innings 4-5, Posey hits a homer in the bottom of the 5th and Madison Bumgarner doesn’t even allow a hit in innings 6-7-8-& 9 in route to his World Series MVP honors. In inning 8 Ricky Vaughn is summoned from the Cleveland bullpen and works a perfect frame using 100 mph fastballs along the way. Jake Taylor walks as Willie Mays Hayes is called as a pinch runner. Pedro Cerrano just misses a fastball for strike 1. But curveball bats are afraid as Bumgarner throws 2 sliders for the out. He strikes out pinch hitter LeBron James for the last out and LeBron raises the Larry O’Brien trophy as Steph, Klay, Draymond, and Kevin walk out from the 3rd base dugout nodding their heads in unison.
The Giants are champions of the baseball world again.