What’s up people, so I thought it would be fun to look at the teams in the NL and AL and see which teams in the playoff picture are either for real or fake. I already tip-toed around this subject earlier in the year, when we published an article on the NL Central. However, instead of looking at each and every team in each division, we will just look at those in the playoff picture and see what is what. Up to bat, the NL, in the on deck circle, the AL.
Washington Nationals: Real
Whether it be as the division leaders or in the wild card, the Nationals should expect to be in the post-season this year. After failing to make the post-season last year in rather stunning fashion, since they were considered World Series favorites, they have bounced back very nicely this year. They are sitting with a 54-43 record and again have the best pitching staff in all of baseball, with a 3.09 ERA. The Nats have a very average offense, but everyone knows that post-season success is about pitching, and the Nats have that. Hopefully with the return of Bryce Harper, and a trade over the next few weeks, this will be enough to allow for the offense of the Nationals to wake up. But, regardless if it does or doesn’t, the pitching will still be there and that will be enough to get them into the post-season, making them real contenders.
Milwaukee Brewers: Fake
If you recall my article from earlier in the year, I stated that the Brewers were playing good baseball, but they would not be able to keep this up all year. Sure enough, the Brewers are already starting to fall apart. Milwaukee is still sitting atop the NL Central at 55-45 and hold a half game lead over the Cardinals. However, in there last 10 games they are 3-7 and are looking more like the team they were suppose to be all year. The Brewers have both an average offense and pitching staff, and while the offense you can get over, you cannot get over the pitching staff. The Brewers really need to get their act together and get that team ERA down from 3.80. If they can do that, they will stand a chance, but right now the Brewers are fake contenders.
San Francisco Giants: Fake
Much like the Brewers, the Giants are currently sitting in first in their division but they are slipping, slowly but surely. Sure, they are 6-4 in their last ten games, but they do not have the stranglehold that they once had on the division. The Dodgers are now tied for the lead in the division and looking stronger by the day. The Giants do have a good pitching staff, but the offense is not very good at all. With the Dodgers resurgence, other NL teams starting to play well again, and the fact that the Giants are not going to do enough to win on offense, the Giants are fake contenders for the post-season.
LA Dodgers: Real
Touched on in the last paragraph, the Dodgers are a very real threat to the post-season. They started the year a little slow, but they have come back in glorious fashion. The Dodgers hold on to one of the better offenses, and pitching staffs in all of baseball. They have climbed from mediocrity at the beginning of the season, to the division leaders because of a team batting average of .258 (8th best in baseball), and team ERA of 3.29 (5th best in baseball). The Dodgers may have spent a lot of money on their line-up, but it is looking like the idea worked and they are real contenders for the post-season.
St. Louis Cardinals: Real
Do not ever count the Cardinals out, ever. Again, in the NL Central article that was wrote earlier in the year, I actually chose the Cardinals to win the NL central. The reasons for this are obvious, the Cardinals are just too good. They have the 8th best pitching staff in baseball with a team ERA of 3.39, and with Miller going to the bullpen and Cy Young favorite Wainwright on your team, the Cardinals can get carried by this staff. The offense was not the greatest in the first half with a team batting average of .252, but if you think that will stay the same, you are wrong. Sure they lost Molina for the foreseeable future, but again the Cardinals are just too good and too disciplined to fall out of contention, which is why they are real contenders.
Atlanta Braves: Real
Finally we have the Atlanta Braves, who I personally think that too many people are overlooking in this race to the post-season. The Braves have the 6th best pitching staff in all of baseball with a team ERA of 3.32. They have some veterans on their team, but they also have an amazing ace in Julio Teheran and an equally amazing closer in Craig Kimbrel. These two guys, along with most of the Braves are overlooked, but they are quite the amazing staff. On offense, the Braves are lackluster with a team batting average of .245. But, they have had some struggles so far, I expect Freeman to turn it around and for the Braves to possibly make a trade for some offense before the deadline. This team is currently a game behind Washington for the NL West. Do not be surprised if they win it again this year, and with that, it makes the Braves real contenders for the post-season.
Thanks for reading!
All stats and information courtesy of espn.com