The Final Stretch

The Final Stretch

By Allyus Fritz

October is finally around the corner. The air is crisper, the races are tighter, and the crack of the bat is sweeter. With just a week remaining in the regular season, it’s time for the final stretch.

This edition of the stretch will focus on the year as a whole.

The American League

Red Sox

This year’s Red Sox team is a new batch of knuckleheads. Boston was at it’s best when Johnny Damon and the other misfits were unshaven and had something to prove. This year’s Sox team fits the mold. Mike Napoli, David Ross, and Johnny Gomes, with their obscene beards and mounds of tattoos, seem to be at the core of Boston’s clubhouse revival.

David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are having excellent seasons are having excellent seasons, but have not gotten any MVP consideration because of the out of this world performances by Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera. Ortiz is on the cusp of another 30 home run, 100 RBI seasons while also batting above .300. Pedrioa is just being himself. He’s average is hovering around .300 and it looks like he will barely miss reaching 200 hits and 100 RBI’s for the season.

Maybe the biggest reason for Boston’s turnaround this season is pitching. John Lackey, who last year was a shell of his former self, has a 3.44 ERA. Jon Lester has 15 wins and has eaten up innings. Clay Buchholz has 1.60 ERA when he’s has been healthy.

Koji Uehara has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. In 72.1 innings he has posted a 1.12 ERA and given up a remarkable 32 hits.

Imagine where they could be if Buchholz wasn’t injured for half the season and could have started 30 games instead of 15.

Texas Rangers

Texas has been riding the struggle bus in September. Coming in to Monday, the Rangers are an agonizing 5-15 in September. After two straight seasons of losing in the World Series, they now have to endure their second straight September collapse. It looks to me that Texas’ spirit is officially broken.

Biggest Surprise: New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are still in contention. This would normally not be surprising. With the injuries New York has endured this season, it’s actually amazing that it will still finish with a winning record. The disabled list in the Bronx is a once upon a time All-Star team. Players who have had stints on the DL are Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, C.C. Sabathia, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis… I’m tired. The organization’s money allowed them to pick up players like Mark Reynolds and Alfonso Soriano to stay in contention.

I see no reason why the Yankees won’t be back to being the Bronx Bombers next season.

Biggest Disappointment: Los Angeles Angels

Yuck. If the baseball gods were to take away Mike Trout’s Demigodness and C.J. Wilson’s second half performance, this team would barely be above the Houston Astros in the AL West. There was a time when a team batting Pujols third and Hamilton cleanup would have destroyed the competition. Apparently, that time has passed. Let’s wait and see if the Angels’ brass throws more money at their problems this offseason.

What to Watch For: Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera’s lingering injury issues could sabotage the Detroit Tigers’ chances of making another World Series. He has not been completely healthy for some time, and it will be interesting to see if his performance has diminished. Detroit will likely play Oakland again. The Athletics could very easily choke the Tigers into the second round, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Cy Young: Yu Darvish

There are many deserving choices out of the AL. I’m choosing Darvish because this is the season that he finally proved his worth. Darvish has been good in the past, but not like this. His 260 strikeouts lead baseball. He is fourth in the AL in ERA and fourth in WHIP. Opponents are batting .193 against him, which is first in the AL. Darvish has taken at least three no hitters into the seventh inning.

Darvish validated his contract by having a dominating season. He should be rewarded.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera is far and away the best hitter in baseball. He can crush pitches in and out of the strike zone, gopher balls and pitcher’s pitches alike. You all have probably heard more than enough about the greatest hitter in baseball, so I’ll move on.

Honorable Mention: 2. Mike Trout, No. 3 Chris Davis

The National League

The Central Race

This will go down to the very last day of the season. I believe the St. Louis Cardinals are the team in the most trouble. Pittsburgh has magic and Cincinnati has dominant pitching. What does St. Louis have besides important injuries? St. Louis’ lack of power and punch will hurt come playoff time. The loss of Allen Craig could be the ultimate killer.

Adam Wainwright may be the key behind how far the Cardinals go. If he isn’t the No. 1 type starter that he was earlier this season, St. Louis won’t have the starting pitching to match up with anyone in the NL. Joe Kelly will likely be the number two starter. Where does St. Louis go from there? Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn have both been extremely inconsistent of late.

I still think St. Louis will win the division, but a long playoff run may not be in the Cards.

Biggest Surprise: The Pittsburgh Pirates

This was obviously the easy answer. Last season, Pittsburgh had high expectations only to swoon after the All-Star break and fail yet again to finish with a winning record. This season the Pirates not only kept winning, but also the organization actually made moves to try and improve their chances of winning! This hasn’t happened in 20 years. Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd at the very least add veteran leadership to a young club.

Biggest Disappointment: The Washington Nationals

Maybe the Nationals and the Angels are my biggest disappointments because I picked them to clash in the World Series. With that embarrassing fact out in the open, let’s continue on.

Injuries sabotaged Washington’s season. The list goes on and on. Stephen Strasburg was unable to be the ace pitcher that the Nationals needed in order to contend. The hot streak that Washington has been on looks to have come just a little too late.

What to Watch for: Allen Craig and Dodger injury issues; Dodger outfield

Allen Craig’s ability to drive in runners in scoring position will be missed by the Cardinals. He needs to come back as quickly as possible. That’s as complicated as I can make that statement.

Los Angeles needs to make the World Series so all the money that they have locked up in the outfield can actually play because of the DH. Andrew Ethier looks to be the odd man out. Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig will likely never leave the lineup. Matt Kemp may be replaced for Ethier if he has poor numbers against a RHP. It remains to be seen if all the money spent by Magic Johnson and company will result in a title.

Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw is the clear winner in the NL. Kershaw is leading in the following categories: strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and shutouts. He is second in opponent’s batting average. Kershaw’s curveball is absolutely devastating. As Tony Gonzalez would say, the choice is clear.

MVP: Andrew McCutchen

McCutchen is the cog that makes Pittsburgh go. His numbers don’t blow you away. The simple fact of the matter is that he is the best player on the most interesting team in baseball. He hits third and is a wizard in centerfield. This is the year the MVP trophy goes back to Pittsburgh.

Honorable Mention: 2. Matt Carpenter, 3. (tie) Yadier Molina and Paul Goldschmidt

The Not So Early Whatsoever Playoff Scenario

AL Wild Card Game: Cleveland at Tampa Bay

4. WC vs. 1. Boston Red Sox

3. Detroit Tigers at 2. Oakland Athletics

NL Wild Card Game: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

4. WC vs. 1. Atlanta Braves

3. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. 2. St. Louis Cardinals

Final Predictions

Last month my World Series prediction was the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. As I feared, I now am eating my words and changing my prediction. I’m kicking the Rangers out because they’re ice cold and frankly the playoffs look more interesting without Texas in the mix. The Braves and Tigers are already in the tournament, so there’s no need for a third team that we all know will choke and not win it all.

American League

Wild Card Game: Cleveland at Tampa Bay

1. Boston Red Sox over Tampa Bay Rays in 5

3. Detroit Tigers over Oakland Athletics in 4

ALCS: Boston Red Sox over Detroit Tigers in 6

National League

Wild Card Game: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (Reds win)

4. Cincinnati Reds over 1. Atlanta Braves in 5

2. Los Angeles Dodgers over 3. St. Louis Cardinals in 4 (If it goes five games the Cardinals win. St. Louis is simply too clutch. But the Dodgers are cold now. Oh my God how do I decide?).

NLCS: Cincinnati Reds over Los Angeles Dodgers in 6 games

World Series: Cincinnati Reds over Boston Red Sox in 7

Final Thoughts

Here are some questions to ponder in the offseason:

What if Chris Davis is on steroids and ruined Miguel Cabrera’s triple-crown chances?

Will Ryan Braun be welcomed back? Or will he be thought of as a villain for the rest of his career?

What will this year be known for? Biogenesis, Pittsburgh, injuries, beards?

Sit back and enjoy the finish of another year of baseball. I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

P.S.  Goodbye Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera

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MLB Predictions for September 23, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 11-4 SU (73%)
In 2013: 1303-1023 SU (56%)




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We’re an outstanding 88-40 (69%) over the past 9 days on all MLB games!

MLB Predictions for September 23, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Phillies 48% 3 -115
Marlins 52% 4 +105
Mets 27% 2 +223
Reds 73% 6 -243
Brewers 42% 3
Braves 58% 4
Pirates 49% 3 -130
Cubs 51% 4 +120
Nationals 44% 3 +145
Cardinals 56% 4 -165
Diamondbacks 48% 4 +100
Padres 52% 5 -110
Orioles 39% 3 +130
Rays 61% 5 -140
Astros 36% 3 +230
Rangers 64% 6 -270
Tigers 58% 5
Twins 42% 4
A’s 59% 4
Angels 41% 3
Royals 52% 5 -137
Mariners 48% 4 +127
Blue Jays 40% 3 +110
White Sox 60% 4 -120

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 23, 2013:

-Cincinnati Reds over New York Mets

-Chicago White Sox over Toronto Blue Jays

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MLB Predictions for September 22, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 11-3 SU (79%)
In 2013: 1292-1019 SU (56%)




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MLB Predictions for September 21, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Marlins 35% 3 +200
Nationals 65% 5 -240
Reds 51% 5 -105
Pirates 49% 4 -105
Mets 38% 2 +180
Phillies 62% 3 -200
Cardinals 58% 5 -155
Brewers 42% 4 +140
Braves 59% 4 -144
Cubs 41% 3 +134
Diamondbacks 51% 5 -115
Rockies 49% 4 -105
Dodgers 52% 3 -130
Padres 48% 2 +120
Astros 32% 4 +215
Indians 68% 6 -255
White Sox 36% 3 +250
Tigers 64% 5 -300
Blue Jays 40% 3 +140
Red Sox 60% 4 -160
Orioles 44% 4
Rays 56% 5
Rangers 45% 3 +120
Royals 55% 4 -130
Mariners 51% 4 +115
Angels 49% 3 -125
Twins 33% 3 +240
A’s 67% 6 -260
Giants 48% 4 +130
Yankees 52% 5 -140

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 21, 2013:

-Oakland A’s over Minnesota Twins

-Washington Nationals over Miami Marlins

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MLB Predictions for September 21, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 12-3 SU (80%)
In 2013: 1281-1016 SU (%)




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MLB Predictions for September 21, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Braves 47% 3
Cubs 53% 4
Reds 49% 3 +105
Pirates 51% 4 -115
Mets 52% 4 -110
Phillies 48% 3 -105
Marlins 26% 2 +250
Nationals 74% 4 -300
Cardinals 48% 4 -135
Brewers 52% 5 +125
Diamondbacks 42% 4 +105
Rockies 58% 5 -125
Dodgers 60% 4 -175
Padres 40% 3 +160
Twins 34% 3 +210
A’s 66% 5 -240
Astros 32% 3 +220
Indians 68% 6 -260
White Sox 48% 3 +128
Tigers 52% 4 -138
Blue Jays 46% 4
Red Sox 54% 5
Orioles 41% 3
Rays 59% 4
Rangers 52% 5 -105
Royals 48% 4 -105
Mariners 39% 4 +150
Angels 61% 6 -160
Giants 44% 4 +145
Yankees 56% 5 -155

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 21, 2013:

-Washington Nationals over Miami Marlins

-Oakland A’s over Minnesota Twins

-Los Angeles Angels over Seattle Mariners

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MLB Predictions for September 20, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 8-4 SU (67%)
In 2013: 1269-1013 SU (56%)




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MLB Predictions for September 20, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Braves 55% 4 -123
Cubs 45% 3 +113
Marlins 30% 2 +225
Nationals 70% 4 -245
Mets 33% 2 +195
Phillies 67% 4 -210
Reds 48% 2 +111
Pirates 52% 3 -121
Cardinals 55% 5 -170
Brewers 45% 4 +160
Diamondbacks 41% 4 +125
Rockies 59% 5 -135
Dodgers 52% 4
Padres 48% 3
Astros 37% 3 +205
Indians 63% 5 -220
White Sox 22% 2 +270
Tigers 78% 5 -300
Orioles 38% 3 +165
Rays 62% 4 -175
Blue Jays 32% 3 +207
Red Sox 68% 6 -222
Rangers 44% 3 +110
Royals 56% 4 -120
Mariners 35% 3 +187
Angels 65% 5 -202
Twins 31% 3 +205
A’s 69% 6 -220
Giants 39% 3 +125
Yankees 61% 5 -135

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 20, 2013:

-Detroit Tigers over Chicago White Sox

-Washington Nationals over Miami Marlins

-Oakland A’s over Minnesota Twins

-New York Yankees over San Francisco Giants

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MLB Predictions for September 19, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 9-6 SU (60%)
In 2013: 1261-1009 SU (56%)




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MLB Predictions for September 19, 2013:

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 19, 2013:

-Washington Nationals over Miami Marlins

-Cleveland Indians over Houston Astros

-Oakland A’s over Minnesota Twins

-San Francisco Giants over New York Mets

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MLB Predictions for September 18, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 10-6 SU (63%)
In 2013: 1252-1003 SU (56%)




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MLB Predictions for September 18, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Marlins 44% 3 +119
Phillies 56% 4 -129
Braves 52% 4 -103
Nationals 48% 3 -107
Padres 41% 3 +149
Pirates 59% 4 -159
Giants 58% 4 -131
Mets 42% 3 +121
Cubs 39% 3 +119
Brewers 61% 4 -129
Cardinals 55% 5 -143
Rockies 45% 4 +133
Dodgers 47% 3 +108
Diamondbacks 53% 4 -118
Twins 51% 4 +122
White Sox 49% 3 -132
Angels 33% 3 +147
A’s 67% 5 -157
Yankees 51% 6 +106
Blue Jays 49% 5 -116
Mariners 42% 3 +167
Tigers 58% 4 -177
Rangers 40% 3 +131
Rays 60% 4 -141
Orioles 37% 4 +144
Red Sox 63% 5 -154
Indians 45% 3 +123
Royals 55% 4 -133
Reds 53% 5 -144
Astros 47% 4 +134

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Our FREE MLB Pick for September 18, 2013:

-Oakland A’s over Los Angeles Angels

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MLB Predictions for September 17, 2013

 

MLB Results
Yesterday: 8-3 SU (73%)
In 2013: 1242-997 SU (55%)




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MLB Predictions for September 17, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Braves 49% 3
Nationals (Game 1) 51% 4
Braves 53% 4 +115
Nationals (Game 2) 47% 3 -125
Marlins 38% 3 +155
Phillies 62% 4 -175
Padres 35% 2 +156
Pirates 65% 4 -170
Giants 49% 2 -120
Mets 51% 3 +110
Cubs 52% 4 +124
Brewers 48% 3 -134
Cardinals 52% 5 -135
Rockies 48% 4 +125
Dodgers 51% 4 -105
Diamondbacks 49% 3 -115
Mariners 34% 3 +240
Tigers 66% 6 -280
Yankees 42% 3 -105
Blue Jays 58% 4 -115
Orioles 40% 4 +129
Red Sox 60% 5 -139
Rangers 51% 5 +129
Rays 49% 4 -139
Twins 44% 3 +120
White Sox 56% 4 -130
Indians 48% 3 +105
Royals 52% 4 -125
Angels 35% 3
A’s 65% 5
Reds 56% 5 -170
Astros 44% 4 +150

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 17, 2013:

-Detroit Tigers over Seattle Mariners

-Oakland A’s over Los Angeles Angels

-Pittsburgh Pirates over San Diego Padres

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MLB Predictions for September 16, 2013

MLB Results
Yesterday: 9-6 SU (60%)
In 2013: 1234-994 SU (55%)


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MLB Predictions for September 16, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Marlins 34% 2 +190
Phillies 66% 4 -210
Braves 49% 3 -105
Nationals 51% 4 -105
Padres 43% 3 +158
Pirates 57% 4 -168
Cubs 41% 3 +112
Brewers 59% 4 -122
Cardinals 48% 4
Rockies 52% 5
Dodgers 47% 3 +100
Diamondbacks 53% 4 -110
Mariners 31% 3 +190
Tigers 69% 6 -210
Rangers 49% 4 +130
Rays 51% 5 -140
Indians 45% 3 +145
Royals 55% 4 -155
Twins 51% 5
White Sox 49% 4
Angels 37% 3 +130
A’s 63% 5 -140
Reds 59% 5
Astros 41% 3

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 16, 2013:

-Detroit Tigers over Seattle Mariners

-Philadelphia Phillies over Miami Marlins

-Oakland A’s over Los Angeles Angels

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MLB Predictions for September 15, 2013

MLB Results
Yesterday: 10-5 SU (63%)
In 2013: 1225-988 SU (55%)


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MLB Predictions for September 15, 2013:

TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
Marlins 39% 3 +145
Mets 61% 5 -155
Phillies 34% 2 +185
Nationals 66% 4 -200
Cubs 37% 2 +172
Pirates 63% 4 -182
Padres 40% 3 +185
Braves 60% 4 -200
Reds 56% 5 -123
Brewers 44% 4 +113
Rockies 51% 4 +115
Diamondbacks 49% 3 -125
Giants 42% 3 +127
Dodgers 58% 4 -137
Royals 31% 2 +190
Tigers 69% 4 -205
Orioles 51% 5 -113
Blue Jays 49% 4 +103
Rays 56% 4 -215
Twins 44% 3 +200
Indians 48% 2 +107
White Sox 52% 3 -117
Angels 52% 6 -145
Astros 48% 5 +135
A’s 52% 5 -105
Rangers 48% 4 -105
Yankees 45% 4 +150
Red Sox 55% 5 -160
Mariners 35% 3 +190
Cardinals 65% 5 -205

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Our FREE MLB Picks for September 15, 2013:

-Detroit Tigers over Kansas City Royals

-Washington Nationals over Philadelphia Phillies

-St. Louis Cardinals over Seattle Mariners

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