The season is nearly over with a weekend left to determine the Wild Card and home field advantage. I didn't watch enough baseball this season to do a full year recap but I'll look at the state of the standings as of the end of September taking into account the game I'm peeking up from the computer and watching amid football and other tv shows that could have repercussions well into the playoffs. Instead of looking at divisions this time, I'll get to know the teams that will be playing before a little Wild Card discussion.
Already clinched the best record in the National League and in the Major League by 8 games, the Chicago Cubs are the team favored to win it all. Kris Bryant (3B) leads the team in home runs with 39, that is third overall in the league, and batting average at .293. Anthony Rizzo (1B) leads the team in RBIs at 108, also third overall in the NL. Other notable players are Addison Russell (SS), Ben Zobrist (2B) rounding out a stacked infield and Dexter Fowler (CF), and Jason Heyward (RF) to make for an impressive outfield. Pitching is also great on this top team. Kyle Hendricks has a 1.99 ERA with 16 wins. Jon Lester has a 2.28 ERA with 19 wins. Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, and John Lackey round out a seemingly unstoppable rotation with a great bullpen in Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman.
Leading the American League as likely World Series opponent are the Texas Rangers. Adrian Beltre (3B) leads the team in home runs with 32 and RBIs at 104. Elvis Andrus (SS) takes the batting title with a .304. Ian Desmond (CF) is another offensive player to watch. Cole Hamels is their stellar starting pitcher with a 3.32 ERA, 200 strikeouts, and 15 wins.
The NL East champions, the Washington Nationals trail the Cubs by nine games but will be their greatest challenger. Daniel Murphy (2B) with 25 home runs, 104 RBIs, and a .347 batting average. Hard to count out William Ramos (C), Anthony Rendon (3B), Jayson Werth (LF), and Bryce Harper (RF). Max Scherzer is their best starting pitcher with 19 wins, a 2.82 ERA, and 277 strikeouts. They've also got Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez in the rotation.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox just beat the Blue Jays 5-3 making it harder for the Canadian team to get the Wild Card but increasing Boston's chances of home field advantage. The Red Sox are a well-rounded team with all sorts of awesome players. Dustin Pedroia (2B) takes the batting title with a .322 batting average. David Ortiz (DH) in his last season has 38 home runs and 127 RBIs. Mookie Betts (RF), Xander Bogaerts (SS), Hanley Ramirez (1B), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF) add to a remarkable offense. Rick Porcello pitches well with 22 wins and a 3.15 ERA. The other great starting pitcher, David Price has 224 strikeouts. Craig Kimbrel is a great closer with 31 saves.
Close behind, the Indians have a strong team could prove a hindrance to Texas and Boston and pull off an upset. Jose Ramirez (3B) has Cleveland's best batting average at .312. Carlos Santana (DH) has the most home runs at 34. Mike Napoli (1B) leads RBIs with 101. Corey Kluber pitched great this year with 18 wins, 227 strikeouts, and 3.14 ERA. Cody Allen brings relief with 30 saves.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Not to be forgotten the NL West leaders, the Los Angeles Dodger could take down out the Nats and face the cubs in the division championship. Corey Seager (SS) is the batting champ for LA with a .311 batting average. Justin Turner (3B) has 27 home runs and 90 RBIs. Pitching is led by Kenta Maeda with a 3.28 ERA, 16 wins, and 176 strikeouts. The Dodgers close it out with Kenly Jansen with 47 saves.
I'll get more into the playoffs once the Wild Card games are over and we have a better picture of who will face who. Still at this moment it looks like will have national league match up between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants, but the St. Louis Cardinals cannot be counted out yet.
The American League also has a three-way battle made a lot interesting by that Toronto loss this evening. The Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays, and the Detroit Tigers are all fighting to win. Even the Seattle Mariners could slip in if everything goes right.
I'll be watching closely this weekend as everything plays out and I'm excited to be writing up a Wild Card recap after Tuesday and Wednesday adding to an already crowded television load. Hopefully, I can get some exercise while I watch the games.