This Week in Baseball: Final Edition

And here they come down the back stretch. We have just over a week of baseball left before the Playoffs and there are still races left to be decided. This will be the final edition of TWIB, but we will have extensive playoff coverage, so do not get too upset. I think we need little introduction at this point, so let’s get to it.

AL East

Top Contender?

We have maintained for a while that the Yankees were going to beat out the Rays for the AL East crown, and we are sticking to it. However, an interesting story line is developing as the Minnesota Twins continue to tear down the back stretch and threaten to take home-field advantage away from the East. I think everyone was assuming that the Yankees or Rays would have it, but that is clearly not the case. I still like both AL East teams more than the Twins in the playoffs because the Twins lack a real closer, have no real ace, and are still without Morneau, but that home-field could make a big difference with how good the Twins are at home.

The Rays are keeping it close, but I just do not think they have the legs to catch the Yankees now. I also think the Yankees will end up with the best record because the Twins will likely opt to rest some guys before the playoffs. Still a race worth watching because it is some great baseball, but everyone knows that both teams are making the playoffs.

AL Central

All about the Twins. Moving on.

AL West

The A’s fought valiantly, but it was always going to be the Rangers here. The loss of Josh Hamilton will be huge come playoff time.

NL East

The Phillies pretty much iced the division with their sweep of Atlanta but there is still plenty of Wild Card intrigue here. Atlanta does have some tough games remaining and they have really been struggling, but I am going to stubbornly stick with them to win the wild card for now. I know the Giants and Padres are both playing very well right now, but I just can’t imagine Bobby Cox’s team coming up short after such a fine season. Every indication is sort of going against me at this point, but I had the Braves fighting for a Wild Card spot pre-season and I am going to stubbornly continue to pick them until they play themselves out of contention.

NL Central

Joey Votto is the NL MVP and the Reds have won the division. They certainly aren’t playing like champs lately, but they do have this going for them.

NL West

Yeah, I went there. The Rockies were impossibly hot and it did not last and appear to have basically resigned in the West race despite the incredible performances by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The Giants and Padres seem to be the only two teams left in the duel and look set to do battle to the death with that final 3-game series being the high noon showdown. I honestly do not know who will win it as both teams have been sort of streaky lately. I am going to pick the Giants for now but it is pretty much a coin flip, and any televised game involving either the Giants or the Padres is required viewing. I feel like I have already said all there is to say after talking about this race for the last month, so I will leave it at that as long as you promise to watch these teams at every chance. Deal? Deal.

Awards

AL MVP- Miguel Cabrera. Josh Hamilton’s injury will probably keep him from the award, but Miggy is clearly deserving after a truly outstanding season.

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez. Let me make this clear. I do not think he will win it. I think 20 wins means something and CC Sabathia will win the award, but if it was my award to give out, I would give it to King Felix who has been submarined by one of the worst offenses of all time.

AL Rookie of the Year- Austin Jackson. I could be talked into Brennan Boesch too, but I will go with Jackon after living up to all the expectations.

NL MVP- Joey Votto. Pujols’ had better numbers in just about everything that mattered except Wins.

NL Cy Young- Roy Halladay. Everyone has been floudering except the Doc.

NL Rookie of the Year- Jaime Garcia. I think Buster Posey is just as deserving, but I give guys extra credit for doing it all year instead of only part of the year as a call-up.

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