The State of the Races

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AL EAST

The spread: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but both the Yankees and Red Sox lose. New York stays ahead of Boston by two and a half.

The skinny: It’s gonna be funny when the prognosticators look at the stumbling finish each of these teams seems to be embarking upon and uses it to predict playoff doom for them. When, in fact, there is little if any correlation between how a team finishes and how it does in the playoffs. Remember the 2000 Yankees?

AL CENTRAL

The spread: The Tigers were idle and Chicago beat Cleveland. It’s an eight and a half game lead over Chicago, ten over Cleveland.

The skinny: The party’s over.

AL WEST

The spread: Both Texas and Anaheim had the night off. Texas’ lead is two and a half.

The skinny: The Rangers open a series against the A’s. Anaheim hosts the Yankees.

NL EAST

The spread: The Phillies win one and the Braves win two. A ten game lead for Philly, a seven and a half game lead for the Braves in the wild card.

The skinny: The Braves play a series against the Cardinals this weekend. If the Cards sweep I presume there’s a race for the wild card. Anything less and I’m having a hard time seeing it.

NL CENTRAL

The spread: The Brewers lose to Philly, Cards idle. Milwaukee has an eight game lead.

The skinny: I’m informed by Brewers fans that, because they have a lead in the division, Albert Pujols sucks and Nyjer Morgan is just some precocious scamp. At least that’s what I think they’re telling me. Success has a strange effect on a certain brand of fan.

NL WEST

The spread: Diamondbacks win, Giants idle, and the snakes have a seven and a half game lead.

The skinny: The Dodgers are four back of the Giants in the loss column. How sad would it be if San Francisco finishes in third place?

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves