Now that the All-Star break festivities have come and gone, it’s time to turn our direct focus to what will happen in the second half of the MLB season. I will be predicting the division winners for each of the six divisions in the major leagues, as well other surprises to look out for. Additionally, I will have my postseason bracket predictions at the end of the article.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the division by division standings at this point and time:
E: BOS 4-1 +1
C: MIN 4-1 +1
W: OAK 4-1 +2
E: MIA 3-1 +1.5
C: PIT 6-0 +3.5
W: COL 5-0 +2.5 pic.twitter.com/NTvuS3Pmqi
— Dan Zumpano (@Embrace_The_DJZ) July 18, 2018
Based on this quick snapshot above, a few things come to mind for the AL: the Boston Red Sox are still the team to beat in the American League, the Cleveland Indians are quickly running away with AL Central division, and the Houston Astros are poised for another postseason run in their attempt to repeat as champs.
In the NL, these observations come to fruition: the NL East is going to be a dog-fight all season long and I’m not ready to count out my hometown favorites in the Washington Nationals. Additionally, the NL Central race should be an interesting one to keep an eye on as the Cubs and Brewers continue to duke it out, while the Pittsburgh Pirates have put themselves back into the wildcard consideration (at the very least). In the NL West, the Dodgers got the pre-trade deadline prize in shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles, thus pushing themselves into the “all-in for 2018” category. Whether this trade works out, in the way the Cubs and Astros had done in years past, with their deadline deals leading to glory, remains to be seen. If nothing else, the Dodgers have done the necessary moves to try and distance themselves from the pesky and scrappy Diamondbacks.
Second Half Final Standings Predictions:
|AL East||AL Central||AL West|
|1) Boston Red Sox (x)||1) Cleveland Indians (x)||1) Houston Astros (x)|
|2) NY Yankees (wc)||2) Detroit Tigers||2) Oakland Athletics (wc)|
|3) Tampa Bay Rays||3) Minnesota Twins||3) Los Angeles Angels|
|4) Toronto Blue Jays||4) Chicago White Sox||4) Seattle Mariners|
|5) Baltimore Orioles||5) Kansas City Royals||5) Texas Rangers|
|NL East||NL Central||NL West|
|1) Atlanta Braves (x)||1) Milwaukee Brewers (x)||1) Los Angeles Dodgers (x)|
|2) Washington Nationals (wc)||2) Chicago Cubs (wc)||2) Arizona Diamondbacks|
|3) Philadelphia Phillies||3) Pittsburgh Pirates||3) Colorado Rockies|
|4) NY Mets||4) St. Louis Cardinals||4) San Diego Padres|
|5) Miami Marlins||5) Cincinnati Reds||5) San Francisco Giants|
(x) = Division Winner
(wc) = Wild Card Participant
MLB Postseason 2018:
Below is how I see the 2018 MLB Playoffs shaking out.
In the wild card rounds, I see the NY Yankees beating the red-hot Oakland A’s, setting up a pivotal divisional series with their nemesis: The Boston Red Sox. In the NL, I see the Nats picking up the slack in the second half of the season to rally for the final wild card spot. This will set up a key rematch against the Chicago Cubs, in Chi-town, with the Nats surprisingly advancing against the World Series Champions from 2016.
In the divisional series in the AL, I like Boston to beat the Yankees in 5 games. Elsewhere, I think Cleveland will knock off the reigning champs, the Houston Astros, in 4 games. In the National League, the Nats will do the improbable, and knock off the #1-seeded Dodgers in a Game 5 that has haunted many Nationals’ fans dreams. On the bottom half of the NL bracket, I like the #2-seeded Brewers to beat the Braves, who I don’t think have enough playoff experience at this point in time to advance. Brew-crew in 4 games here.
Moving on to the decisive Championship Series rounds, I firmly believe Cleveland has enough firepower to knock off the Red Sox, but it will take all 7 games to do so. In the NL, the dream run continues for the red-hot Nats, as they knock off the Brewers in a decisive 4-1 series rout.
This will all set up a huge World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals. I think the DC dream will come up just short here, with Cleveland bringing home their first World Series since 1948, beating the Nats in the decisive Game 7 in front of their adoring, and championship-starved fan-base.
How do you think the second half of the MLB season will play out? Make your voice heard by leaving comments below, or keep the discussion going on Twitter by following us @HubofAthletes.
Photo Credit: FOXSports.com