Monday, September 1, 2008

It’s S-T-R-E-T-C-H Time!

With a month to go in the 2008 baseball season, races are really heating up.
Tampa Bay is for real! They didn’t let three late season injuries to key players derail them from their apparent destiny.
The White Sox and Twins have been in a dogfight all season long. With no apparent challenge from the Tigers and Indians within their division, both teams will need to get red hot to ensure one team wins the division and the other team secures the wild card spot.
Is this the year for the Angels? With a magic number of 9, they are enjoying a lead in their division that differentiates them from Angels’ teams past. What a great balance of speed and timely hitting they have. They should be the team to beat in the American League.

On a personal note, being a die hard Clevelander, I can’t help being thrilled with the Yankees out of contention since what seems to be 100 years. Now, if we can assist the Red Sox in a late season collapse…YeeeeeeeeHaaaaaaaaw!
The Mets and Phillies are much like the White Sox and Twins in a dogfight for their division. Between the two teams, the division winner moves on and the loser goes home as the wild card is more than likely out of reach, but with some 25-27 games remaining, anything can happen.
Lou Pinella has his Cubs in control of their own destiny. With the best record in baseball, they have the Brewers hot on their heels. This is probably the Cubs year. Lou is pushing all the right buttons. The Brewers, with the infusion of Cy Younger CC Sabathia, are making a run for the division but will probably secure the wild card in the N.L. There is nothing in the cards for St. Louis this year.
Arizona is still holding onto first in the West. When will the Dodgers get hot? Come on Joe Torre, make your move now. Apparently the Rockies will not enjoy a repeat stretch run frenzy as they did last year.

Once again, it is time to fantasize about possible World Series match ups. My favorite possibility is Lou’s new team vs. Lou’s old team, Cubs vs. Rays. I don’t doubt that the Cubs can win the N.L. title outright but the Rays will have to get by the Angels and possibly the Red Sox to make this happen. The Rays hold a 6-3 advantage over the Angels this season with no more regular season games remaining. The Rays are 6-6 vs. the Red Sox. The Rays play the Red Sox 6 more games, 3 at Boston and 3 at home. That’s a lot of destiny to control!

The Brewers and Twins make for a very interesting small market match up that would be great for the game. You have to love the resilience of the Twins after losing key players to free agency over the winter and proving that they have a solid core team with a strong manager. (Note to the Cleveland Indians…great lessons are easily found and followed, they just need the strong manager!) Can old friend CC Sabathia help the Brew Crew reach the promised land? What a great season he is having. Congratulations on your 1-hit victory yesterday CC!
We can predict and figure all we want, but somewhere, someone is going to have a surprise stretch run…who will it be?
Strap yourself in for the great ride known as the game of baseball in September!

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