American East: Boston Red Sox: Currently they are two games out, but the combination of Ortiz/Manny/Pena is just ridiculiously amazing. Also Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp, Javy Lopez & Mark Loretta can also be very dangerously. They are also playing arguably the best defense in baseball. Their pitching is where the qustion marks lay. Schilling is having a great year, but the other starters are a big qustion mark. If Beckett, Wells & Lester can just eat innings and get the ball to Mike Timlin, Brian Corey & Johnathon Papelbon without giving up tooo many runs I think they represent the East in the playoffs.
American League Central: Detroit Tigers They have a fairly comferatble lead in the Central, however, The White Sox proved last year that it is an easy lead to lose as they nearly blew a 15+ game lead to the Tribe. The Tigers have an amazing pitching staff, maybe the best overall in baseball. Verlander/Bonderman/Rogers/Robertson/Miner is filthy & the bullpen is even better. Fernando Rodeny, Jamie Walker, Jason Grilli, Wilferdo Ledezma, Joel Zumaya & Todd Jones who has recently been nearly lights out. They also have one of the best lineups in baseball. The Tigers are the most complete team in baseball in my opinon.
American League West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
Even though they are 5 1/2 games out currently, I still view them as the most complete team in the West. The A's just don't have enough in my opinon. Frank Thomas is carrying Oakland on his back, and if he gets injured they are going down and going down fast. Take Thomas out of the A's lineup and it might be the worst in baseball. The Angels on the other hand have a great young lineup. They should of traded for a big bat at the break, but Vladdy Guerrero, Garrett Anderson & Juan Rivera make for a good middle of the order to go with the youth that is performing excelent: Maicer Izturis, Rob Quinlan & Howie Kendrick. Also, along with the Tigers they have the best staff in baseball. John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders & Ervin Santana may be the best starting 5 in baseball. The bullpen is no joke either, Scott Shields & Fransisco Rodriguez is a nice 1-2 punch.
American League Wild Card: New York Yankees It comes down to the Yanks, A's, Twins & White Sox. Like I said above, the A's aside of Frank Thomas just don't impress me at all. The Twins are currently without Fransisco Liriano, wich is the main reason they are almost 20 games over .500 to begin with. The White Sox seem to be slipping more and more here lately, and their starting rotation no longer impresses me. The team with almost no weakness is the all year. Jaret Wright is starting to turn it around, and even though he is having his worst season is about 15 years, it is never fun to face the Big Unit. Also, they might have the best lineup in baseball even though Garry Sheffield & Hideki Matsui have been on the shelf almost all year. Scott Proctor and Ron Villone are quietly doing a great job to get the Yanks to Mariano Rivera.
National League East: New York Mets: They are clearly the best team in the NL, but they havn't looked all that impressive lately. Pedro seems to be hurt all the time, leaving a game last night after giving up 6 runs in one inning. If Pedro continues to struggle with injuries, they have to rely on a starting staff of Tom Glavine, El Duque, Steve Trashel & either Oliver Perez, Soler or Pelfrey. That is not very comferting. However, their bullpen is disgusting, maybe the best in the NL. And their lineup is also ridiculiously nasty with Beltran, Reyes, Wright Lo Duca & Delgado.
National League Central: Cincinatti Reds: Even after some retarted trades(Kearns & Lopez for crap) the Cardinals do not impress me one bit. They are 31-39 in their past 70 games. Their rotation is horrible, take away Chris Carpenter and their starters ERA is around 6. The Reds are a better team all around. Harrang and Arroyo are a nice 1-2 punch, althought the rest of the rotation is nothing to write home about. Their bullpen is ok, with Eddie G, Rheal Cormier & Bill Bray. They also have a better lineup than the Cards IMO, Dunn, Griffey Jr., Freel, Encarnation, Aurilla, Hattenberg, Brandon Phillips and David Ross are all having good years and are a force to be reckoned with.
National League West: Los Angeles Dodgers Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Greg Maddux, Mark Hendrickson & Chad Billingsly make up a very good 5 man rotation. They also have an above average bullpen to go along with the rotation. Aquiring Maddux as well as the Julio Lugo trade put them atop the West IMO. Lofton, Lugo, Nomar, Either & Betemit are doing a great job although the lineup isn't anything to write home about. If J.D. Drew & Jeff Kent can turn it around watch out.
National League Wild Card: San Diego Padres The best team out of a bunch of weak contenders that includes the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rockies, Astros & Phillies. The lineup isn't great, but its not bad either. Piazza is having a great year and Adrian Gonzalez is devolping into one of the better first basemen in the NL. Mike Cameron is heating up as well. Peavy/Young/Park/Williams/Hensley is an above average rotation, and the bullpen as always is great.
- Los Angeles Angels over Boston Red Sox in 4:
- Detroit Tigers over New York Yankees in 5:
- San Diego Padres over Cincinatti Reds in 5:
- Los Angeles Dodgers over New York Mets in 5:
- Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Angels in 7:
- Los Angeles Dodgers over San Diego Padres in 5:
Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Dodgers in 6.