So they can’t ever beat the American League at the annual All-Star game, who cares? The fact of the matter is, they have been the most exciting league all season long. This has been even more apparent ever since we flipped that calendar to September. Playoff races, MVP races, Cy Young races, there doesn’t seem to be anything available to win that isn’t still up for grabs.
Well except for the Rookie of the Year award as Ryan Braun has easily mashed his way to that award. But I promise you, other than that one, everything else is fair game.
To start off with, let’s take a peek at the division and wild card races as all four of those races have been as entertaining as any we have ever seen. Here’s the current break down:
New York Mets (87-69) GB: –
Philadelphia Phillies (85-71) GB: 2
Chicago Cubs (83-73) GB: –
Milwaukee Brewers (80-76) GB: 3
Arizona Diamondbacks (88-68) GB: –
San Diego Padres (85-71) GB: 3
Colorado Rockies (84-72) GB: 4
NL Wild Card
Philadelphia Phillies (85-71) GB: –
San Diego Padres (85-71) GB: –
Colorado Rockies (84-72) GB: 1
Atlanta Braves (82-74) GB: 3
As you can see all the races are still very close this is despite a very big weekend for some teams and a very bad weekend for others (such as Colorado sweeping San Diego). It is looking more and more like Chicago and Arizona will end up with their divisions (minus any complete collapses) with the NL East still anyone’s to take especially considering New York’s recent troubles.
I am going to step away from my “unbiased baseball reporter role” for a minute (part of the reason I am so happy to be back writing this blog) and share how I hope the race ends. I’d like to see Chicago, Philadelphia, and Arizona win the divisions with Colorado sweeping in for the wild card spot. I think that would make for a very exciting and entertaining fall.
Next we take a look at the MVP race which is also anyone’s for the taking. Right now there four men who all deserve heavy consideration. Here’s how they match up with the number in parenthesis where they rank in the NL (in alphabetical order):
Prince Fielder: .289 AVG, 105 R (8), 48 HR (1), 115 RBI (t-3), 388 OBP, .613 SLG (1)
Matt Holiday: .337 AVG (2), 113 R (4), 36 HR (4), 131 RBI (1), .400 OBP (t-8), .609 SLG (2)
Jimmy Rollins: .293 AVG, 132 R (1), 29 HR, 90 RBI, 37 SB (5), .343 OBP, .526 SLG
David Wright: .323 AVG (7), 107 R (6), 30 HR, 105 RBI (9), 34 SB (7), .416 OBP (4), .553 SLG
Talk about a tough, tough choice. You really can’t go wrong with any of them as they have all had sensational seasons. Not only are all four of them on contending teams, but they are also the main reasons for those team’s success in 2007. Take any of them off their respective clubs and that team immediately falls out of contention. So with such a compelling case for all four of these men, who do we pick?
I wanted to start by using the process of elimination. This didn’t work. Then I tried using the method of who is MOST important to their team. This didn’t work as they all are the keys to their team this season. With all this being said, I am going to hold off on picking someone. I know this is a cheap way out, but I am going to wait and see how this final week plays out and write a separate column about it. Sorry folks, you’ll have to wait until then.
Finally we have the Cy Young race. This one really comes down to four guys who deserve it most: Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, Brad Penny, and Aaron Harang. I know I have left out some big names, so if you disagree, please comment and let me know. Now depending on how you view the Cy Young (similar to the MVP), you can go different ways. But really, it doesn’t matter if you take the best pitchers this year or the best pitchers on the playoff contending teams, because either way your finalists are Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb. Here’s a snap shot of their impressive seasons:
Jake Peavy: 18-6 (1), 2.36 ERA (1), 210 IP (5), 233 SO (1), 3.7 K/BB, 1.03 WHIP
Brandon Webb: 17-10 (2), 3.02 ERA (4), 229.1 IP (1), 192 SO (3), 2.7 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP
With those numbers and what they have meant to their teams, it’s pretty close. But since I’m not going to hand out a co-Cy Young, I will have to give the edge to Jake Peavy. While he may pitch in a pitcher’s park, he has dominated hitters this year and is about to win the Triple Crown of pitchers has he leads the National League in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. How can you argue with that?
After all of that, when you put the American League next to the National League, you can see who the exciting league has been all year. With the divisions all wrapped up already and Alex Rodriguez ready to accept his MVP hardware, there really isn’t too much in the way of excitement in the AL right now.
So over the next week, if you have a chance to catch any of these National League teams in action, by all means stop what you are doing and pay close attention.
Because you are in for a special treat.
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