The end of July is coming – and that means that teams should know by now whether they are going for the playoffs or not. The problem is – with those two wild card spots and some teams zigging when we didn’t expect them to (Brewers) and others zagging to the bottom (Giants) some teams are finding themselves in good spots ahead of schedule. The problem with saying that 2017 is “ahead of schedule” is that it may be the ONLY chance they get.
Giuseppe accurately had the Dodgers on the top, while my personal bias stopped me from doing so. I actually saw the DODGERS taking the precipitous dump the Giants took this year. I had the Giants on the top and Dodgers in third, while Seppe had the Giants in the two spot. No one thought they would be in LAST place which both of us had the Padres occupying. To my credit I DID Have the Diamondbacks in a wild card spot which they do currently hold down.
The Cubs were going to win the next 108 World Series after a 108 year absence, right? Instead they are in second place and just barely above .500. Both Giuseppe and I had the Brewers in 4th and Cubs in first but this division has both the Cardinals and Pirates lurking within striking distance. The Pirates pose the most interesting of the two: they have several key pieces in Gerritt Cole and Andrew McCutchen who could either be trade chips OR the key to a resurgence and one final playoff push with this core.
No surprise – the Nationals are running away with the division as both of us picked. The surprise might be how they STILL haven’t figured out their bullpen. Sure, they just made a trade with the A’s, but all they really did there was get two guys who USED to close. Count me unconvinced. Meanwhile, Giuseppe’s NL Wild Card Mets team looks pretty horrible and languishing in third place. My other Wild Card pick the Braves however climbed up to .500 AFTER losing Freddie Freeman to a wrist injury and might just be one starting pitching piece away from making a run themselves at the second Wild Card spot. Time will tell, but this team is certainly on the rise with a great mix of veterans and youth.
Giuseppe and I both picked the Red Sox, which as of this moment is correct. They lead the division by just 2 games though and the separation from top to bottom is just 8 games. Giuseppe had the Rays in last place in the division as well as myself, and they find themselves in second place 2 games back with the Yankees right behind at 3.5 games back from Boston. These teams are currently the two AL Wild Card leaders, a half game up from Minnesota but more on that later. I had the Yankees as a WC team with Giuseppe picking the Orioles.
Both of us here picked the Indians to win it with the Royals in second place. We also picked Detroit in third and Minnesota in fourth. The reality shows us Cleveland in first by a game and a half with Minnesota right behind them and KC on their heels at 3 games out. Detroit is hanging in there at 6 games back but just today traded JD Martinez and other pieces like Michael Fullmer on the trading block. Can Minnesota sustain anything to make a charge? I do not think recently signed Bartolo Colon is the answer.
The Astros reign supreme here, just as both of us correctly predicted. Both of us however had the second AL Wild Card coming out of the West. I had Seattle who is treading water at an even .500 but just two games out of the WC, with Giuseppe going with his heart (like I did in the NL admittedly) with the Angels, who are hanging around themselves and just got Mike Trout back just 3 out of that second WC but with several teams in front of them. Anything is still possible.
All in all – we had a few misses but overall still a lot left that could make us looks like geniuses. I did pick Aaron Judge as AL ROY which seems like a foregone conclusion and we both picked Mike Trout as AL MVP which seems unlikely after his injury. That said Chris Sale is looking like a solid choice for AL CY which we both had.
I had an Astros-Cubs World Series and Giuseppe had a Red Sox-Cubs World Series (we both had the Cubs losing), so count on both of us to be hoping the Cubs fight back to win the NL Central at the very least, even if we don’t necessarily want them to win it all!