Five months down, one month to go, and numerous teams fighting for a playoff spot as the final month of the 2013 MLB season gets under way. Before I make any September predictions, I think it is appropriate to recap the major headlines of the season up to this point.
The Boston Red Sox have thrived during their first year under manager John Farrell, with an 82-56 record through September 1st and a 5.5 game lead in the AL East after going 69-93 last year and finishing last in the division. Off season acquisitions Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Shane Victorino, Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, and deadline pickup Jake Peavy have been a key to this year’s success. Meanwhile the Toronto Blue Jays have gone the other direction towards a last place finish after high expectations before the season.
The Detroit Tigers have a stranglehold on the AL Central, thanks to strong pitching and another ridiculous season by Miguel Cabrera. Max Scherzer is 19-1, and looking to become the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2001 to go 20-1. Cabrera might be having an even better year than last year’s Triple Crown campaign, but the only thing stopping him from a repeat is the Oriole’s Chris Davis, who leads the majors with 47 home runs.
The AL West has become a two team battle between Oakland and Texas. The Rangers have managed to play very well despite the losses of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, and Mike Napoli. Meanwhile, the team that acquired Hamilton, the Los Angeles Angles, have failed to live up to expectations. With a lineup that includes Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mark Trumbo, some thought the Angels might have the best lineup in the league. However, Pujols and Hamilton have been major disappointments and the Angels have failed to contend in 2013.
Over in the National League, the Atlanta Braves rode a 15 game winning streak earlier in the season on their way to the best record in the majors. The NL Central has been a three team battle between the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds, and the surprise Pittsburgh Pirates, who look to clinch their first winning season since 1992. The San Francisco Giants have been a major disappointment this year, hanging around last place in the NL West after winning the World Series last year. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers caught fire after a rough start to run away with the NL West division. The pitching of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, along with rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, have helped make the Dodgers World Series contenders.
#1 seed: Boston Red Sox (AL East Champions)
#2 seed: Detroit Tigers (AL Central Champions)
#3 seed: Texas Rangers (AL West Champions)
WC 1: Oakland Athletics
WC 2: Tampa Bay Rays
MVP: Miguel Cabrera
Cy Young: Max Scherzer
Manager of Year: John Farrell
#1 seed: Atlanta Braves (NL East Champions)
#2 seed: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champions)
#3 seed: St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central Champions)
WC 1: Pittsburgh Pirates
WC 2: Cincinnati Reds
MVP: Allen Craig
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Manager of Year: Clint Hurdle
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