Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All-Star Break Report

Well, we're just past the halfway point of the season, and after last night's Derek Jeter tongue bath All Star Game, we have the official "second half" to look forward to. Let's take a look at the standings, and see if we can't make any predictions about what October might have in store. Bear in mind, I believe in the oligopoly, so I'm not optimistic about seeing anything interesting happen. We'll see how things look in comparison to my preseason predictions.

AL East:

The first-place team is surprisingly the Orioles, who have a four-game lead over the Blue Jays. It would be nice to see someone besides the Yankees, Red Sox or Rays win this division (well, I don't mind the Rays so much), and this would seem to be the year for one of the others to do it. However, the Yankees and Red Sox are members of the oligopoly, while I don't think any other team in this division is, so until they're eliminated, I can't count either one of them out. This division is packed pretty tightly, so even the teams at the bottom still have a shot. Although losing Masahiro Tanaka would be a huge blow, I stand by my prediction that the Yankees are somehow, someway going to win this division. They're evil. It's what they do. I had the Rays winning a Wild Card spot, but I don't see them pulling that off this year.

AL Central:

The current standings are exactly the same as my predicted final standings, so I'm looking pretty good there. I'll stick with my prediction that the Tigers win the Central, and as for my Wild Card prediction for the Royals, I'll stand by that too. They're close behind the Mariners in the race for the stupid second Wild Card spot that nobody wanted, so I think they can still do it. I hope they do.

AL West:

This division has the team with the best record in baseball, the Oakland Athletics. The A's seem to be going all in this year, trading away their top two prospects for starting pitching. After years of frequent-but-forgettable playoff performances, it seems that they're ready to make this year special. I would love to see it, but there's just one problem: They're not part of the oligopoly, so they won't win the World Series, as much as I'd love to see it happen. The Angels are close behind the A's, and they're sort of a fringe oligopoly member, so I could see them possibly winning the World Series, but I wouldn't particularly be interested in that. I picked the Rangers to win this division, but after a bargeload of injuries, their season's already a lost cause. I'm going to amend my prediction to Oakland winning the division and Anaheim winning the Wild Card. The surprising Mariners will fall short.

NL East:

This is pretty much a two-team race between the Nationals and Braves. As a National rooter, I'd like to see them do it, but they're not part of the oligopoly, unlike the Braves. I had the Nats winning the division and the Braves the Wild Card, and I guess I'll stick by that.

NL Central:

I predicted the Brewers would finish in last place, but they're actually in first, surprisingly. I don't think they're for real though, and don't expect them to make the postseason. I also made the out-of-left-field prediction that the Cubs would win the Wild Card, and I think it's safe to say I look like a fool on that one, as they currently sit in last place and have already punted on this season. No biggie. I figured I'd be wrong. I just wanted bragging rights in case I was right. I predicted that the Cardinals would win the division, and even when they struggled early on, I said they were going to do it. I stand by that prediction, because the Cardinals are pure evil and always find a way. Though this is a four-team race on paper, I say it's inevitable that St. Louis takes it and the Brewers, Reds and Pirates are all left out in the cold.

NL West:

This is another two-team race between the Giants and Dodgers. Rivalry! I had the Dodgers winning the division and the Giants in second place. I stand by that prediction, although I'll amend it to have the Giants winning a Wild Card spot.

So here are my amended predictions at the All-Star Break:

NL Wild Card: Giants over Braves
AL Wild Card: Angels over Royals

NLDS1: Cardinals over Giants
NLDS2: Dodgers over Nationals
ALDS1: Angels over Athletics
ALDS2: Tigers over Yankees

NLCS: Cardinals over Dodgers
ALCS: Angels over Tigers

World Series: Cardinals over Angels

Let's see how much more accurate these are.