Were in the final week of the 2017 MLB Regular Season. There are plenty of questions that this week should answer. It makes no sense to wait on answering those questions. Let’s get to it!
2017 MLB Final Week Regular Season
Can the Washington Nationals catch the L.A. Dodgers for the 1 seed in the NL?
If we had asked this question at the halfway mark of the MLB Regular Season, we would’ve gotten laughed at. The L.A. Dodgers were a juggernaut in the first half of the season. The Dodgers were so good that Sports Illustrated ran a story about how the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers might be the greatest team ever.
Then, reality set in. The Dodgers are now only 4.5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals for the top seed in the National League Playoffs. The Dodgers sit at 99 and 57. Washington is at 94 and 61. Could LAD truly lose the 1 seed in the National League Playoffs after being hailed as the best baseball team of all time?
You never know. What’s happened to the Dodgers in August and September is down right frightening. Although La-La Land managed to acquire Yu Darvish, one of the most sought after pitchers on the trading block, although Clayton Kershaw has come back from his injury, the Dodgers are shaky at best.
As of Sep. 24, the Dodgers have gone 8 and 21 straight up in their last 29 games. What’s nuts is that 2 of the wins came against the Washington Nationals. 1 came against Philadelphia. 1 came against San Diego. The other 4 of the Dodgers’ last 8 wins came versus rival San Francisco.
In the Dodgers’ final 6 games of the 2017 MLB Season, they battle the San Diego Padres 3 times. They also battle the Colorado Rockies 3 times. LAD is 1 and 3 in their last 4 versus the Padres. The Dodgers are 0 and 4 straight up in their last 4 versus the Rockies.
The Washington Nationals have 7 games this week. Washington battles Philadelphia 3 times. The Nats battle Pittsburgh 4 times. Washington has gone 3 and 1 straight up in their last 4 versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Washington has gone 1 and 3 versus Pittsburgh in 3 games this season.
I don’t believe Washington should have much trouble beating the Pirates, though. The 3-game set happened early on in the season. Washington has gotten better.
I know this sounds crazy. But, I really believe the Washington Nationals win home field advantage throughout the NL Playoffs. I just don’t see the Dodgers not imploding this week.
Who wins the AL East Division?
In the AL East Division, the Boston Red Sox are 5 games ahead of the New York Yankees. Boston has won 6 straight going into the final week. The Red Sox are destined to dominate in the final week and send the Yankees to the AL Wildcard Game, right?
Not so fast. Boston must play 7 games before the end of the MLB Regular Season. That’s 2 more games than the 5 game difference between the Red Sox and the Yankees in the AL East standings. The Red Sox battle Toronto 3 times this week. Then, they end the regular season in a 4 game series versus AL West Division champ Houston.
The Red Sox have gone 5 and 1 straight up in their last 6 games versus the Toronto Blue Jays. They’ve gone 2 and 1 versus Houston in their last 3 games against the Astros.
The New York Yankees have gone 12 and 5 straight up in their last 17 games as of Sep. 24. NYY battles KC once on Sep. 25. From Sep. 26 through Sep. 28, the Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays. Then, from Sep. 29 through Oct. 1, the Yankees go against the Toronto Blue Jays.
New York has played Kansas City 6 times already this season. New York has gone 4 and 2 straight up versus the Royals. The Yankees have beaten the Tampa Bay Rays in 5 of their last 7 meetings. They’ve gone 2 and 4 against the Toronto Blue Jays in their last 6 meetings.
Although it should be difficult, the Yankees could get hot this week while Boston could take a step back. It’s tough for teams to win more than 5 games in a row. Boston must dig deep to beat the Blue Jays because they’ve already dominated Toronto in 5 out of 6 matchups.
The Astros could be on or off. I think the AL East Division comes down to the final couple of days in the MLB Regular Season. Isn’t that the way it should be? The greatest rivalry in all sports, the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Yankees, going down to the final couple of MLB Regular Season games for the division championship?
This is a tough one. I must side with the Boston Red Sox. Houston has locked up the AL West Division. The Astros aren’t likely to push their starting pitchers this week, especially Lance McCuller Jr. and Justin Verlander, when the American League Playoffs begin in less than 2 weeks.
Boston loses a couple of games to Toronto but then sweeps Houston. The Red Sox take the AL East Division in 2017.
Will it be the Cubs, Cardinals, or Brewers in the NL Central?
The Chicago Cubs are only 5.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central Division. The Cubs are only 6 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
Chicago, and St. Louis to a lesser extent, controls their own destiny. The Cubs battle the rival Cardinals in 4 games this week. All 4 games take place in St. Louis. Chicago has gone 5 and 1 straight up versus the Cardinals in their last 6. To be fair, all 6 games were played at Wrigley Field.
The Cubbies must prove that they can hold off their top rival for the NL Central at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. If the Cubbies can’t, the benefactor might not be the St. Louis Cardinals. It might be the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers battle the Cincinnati Reds in 3 games to begin the week. Milwaukee then takes on the St. Louis Cardinals in 3 games. The Brewers have gone 2 and 4 straight up versus the Reds in their last 6. Versus the Cardinals, Milwaukee has gone 3 and 2 straight up in their last 5.
It’s going to be difficult for Milwaukee to make in roads against the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee must run the table and hope that the Cardinals beat the Cubs, something St. Louis hasn’t done in a while. Also, as of Sep. 24, the Cubs have gone 10 and 2 straight up in their last 12 games.
The Chicago Cubs should have no trouble winning the NL Central Division.
Twins, Rangers, Angels or Royals for the second AL Wildcard?
We know that the first wildcard in the AL is going to either the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees. The second wildcard should go to the Minnesota Twins, L.A. Angels, Texas Ranges, or Kansas City Royals.
As of Sep. 24, the Minnesota Twins have a 5 games lead over the L.A. Angels. The Twins have a 5.5 game lead over the Rangers and Royals. Could Minnesota blow their 5 game lead for the final wildcard spot in the American League? The Twins absolutely could.
Minnesota has a tough go of it this week to nail down the final wildcard berth in the AL. Minnesota battles Cleveland in 3 games before taking on Detroit in 3 games. The 3 games versus Cleveland won’t be easy. The Indians have dominated everyone in September. The Twins are especially vulnerable in their 3 games versus Cleveland this week because all 3 games are in Cleveland.
Beating Detroit might be the way for the Twins to lock down the second wildcard. But, there’s a problem with that theory. Minnesota just beat Detroit 4 games to 0 to end this week. Could Minnesota really beat an AL Central Division rival in 7 straight games? I’m not sure that’s possible.
The one team that could benefit from a Twins’ meltdown are the L.A. Angels. The Angels battle the Chicago White Sox in 4 games before taking on Seattle in 3 games. That’s 7 winnable games for the Angels. How can the Angels ensure victories? Slugger Mike Trout must get out of his slump.
I believe the Twins have an incredibly tough road ahead to lock down the AL wildcard while Trout should get his bat going on Monday versus the White Sox. Also, I think the Twins implode while the Angels run the table this week.
I like the L.A. Angels the make it to the 2017 MLB Playoffs.