It’s somewhat hard to believe, however the month of August has arrived! Where has the 2019 MLB season gone?
With the Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror and the next calendar milestone – expanded rosters – fast approach, here’s five quick predictions down the stretch that we may well see eventuate…
The Red Sox will miss the playoffs
Four straight losses, 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East, and 3 1/2 games back in the AL Wildcard race, things aren’t looking good for the reigning world champions. Veteran rotation leaders Chris Sale and David Price are battling inconsistent form, while fellow veterans Rick Porcello and the recently acquired Andrew Cashner are having a real rough time of late. Add to this, the star-studded line-up is more ‘rip shit or bust’ as opposed to being consistent, leaving the team struggling to build momentum when they need it desperately. This upcoming four-game series in The Bronx looms large – if they drop three or four, they may well be too far back to recover.
The Indians will catch the Twins, win the AL Central
The Twins possess the most dangerous line-up in all of baseball, slugging their way to eye-popping 210 home runs through just 108 games. With 54 still remaining, they’re on pace to reach historic levels – 315 to be precise. However, a mashing line-up is just half the story here, as the Twins have seen what was an 11-game division lead just six weeks ago, dwindle down to just three now. The key to this? Some inconsistent pitching and a red-hot Indians team which has won 13 of its last 18 games on the back of some very good pitching. To add more fuel to an ever-growing fire, the Indians’ trade deadline haul of Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes (plus prospects) is sure to boost the line-up’s firepower dramatically, so much so it’s quite possible they’ll surge past the Twins before season’s end.
The Cardinals will run away with the NL Central
It’s hard to believe that less than three weeks ago, the Cardinals – who many expected to win the NL Central division this season – were languishing below .500 (44-45), lacking spark and unable to create momentum. However, their fortunes have changed dramatically since, winning 14 of 19 games and taking advantage of one of baseball’s most under-performing divisions. They now sit on top of the division, narrowly ahead of the Cubs, with the likes of Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong leading the way, backed by a far more consistent pitching staff. In even more encouraging news, Yadier Molina commences his rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis today and is set to return late next week, adding a stabilizing force behind the dish and another potent bat in an already strong line-up. Things are starting to fall into place quite nicely.
The Nationals will edge out rivals, snag an NL Wildcard
With a rotation including Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg, it’s hard to fathom how this team fell to 19-31 earlier in the season. However, a horrid bullpen has since been fixed and the line-up continues to impress – lead by one of baseball’s most underrated hitters, Anthony Rendon. Since things got back on track the, Nats own a very imposing 38-20 record. While they’re unlikely to catch the Braves, who sit seven games ahead, they’re right in the thick of the NL wildcard race which is an absolute bottleneck that currently sees the Cubs, Phillies, Nationals, Brewers, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Mets all within four games of each other. Good luck predicting who will grab the second wildcard, however I’m very confident the first will go to the Nationals.
The NL MVP Award will be shared between Bellinger and Yelich
While Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich have been busy slaying pitching staffs all over MLB ballparks these past four months, fans online have continuously debated which of the two stars will walk away with the top NL individual honor. Instead of being drawn into an almost impossible debate trying to split the two, I’m instead predicting both will share the top honor come season’s end. Why? Because, to put it simply, neither deserve to miss out. Let’s look at their stats…
Cody Bellinger, .331 AVG, 1.109 OPS, 35 HR, 83 RBI 9 SB
Christian Yelich, .332 AVG, 1.118 OPS, 36 HR, 81 RBI, 23 SB
Unless one of the two has a dramatic shift in form these final two months of the season, I think the only fair thing to do is acknowledge each of their record-breaking performances.