September 23, 2010

MLB’s race to October

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

It’s that time of the year when you really realize that baseball season is coming to an end. After some of the dreary dog days of August and an early trade deadline, MLB kind of sinks into the background when the NFL really fires up. Well now, the best time of the year for baseball is nearly here and how do we know that? A team has punched their ticket to the post-season.
That team is the Minnesota Twins, who have surprised everyone by actually improving after former MVP Justin Morneau went down with a concussion – one so bad that he still hasn’t returned after taking a knee to the head back on July 8.
Of course, winning their division had something to do with the fact that their rivals, the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox, both faltered severely after the all-star break. Even bringing in Manny Ramirez couldn’t save the Sox.
Even though they’re the first to clinch, that doesn’t necessarily make the Twins favourites for the World Series. Several other teams are very close to making the playoffs officially. The Rangers are very close and could have Josh Hamilton back in October. The Rays and Yankees are battling for the top of the AL East, but the loser will end up with the wild card as Boston falls away.
In the NL, the surprising Reds are really close ousting perennial NL Central champion St. Louis. The Phillies are riding their spectacular starters on the way to coming back to win the East while the Braves are sticking around in the wild card hunt.
Then there’s the NL West, where three teams are three games apart and either one or two can make the post-season. San Diego has a half-game lead on San Fran right now, but you also can’t count out the Rockies, who have the only true Triple Crown contender and MVP candidate, Carlos Gonzalez.

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