NL Postseason Predictions
Now that we are at the all-star break, baseball fans can start looking at which teams will make the playoffs this year. Here are some early predictions:
NL West: Although this division has been straight up awful all season long, the NL West is still entitled to one playoff spot. Currently, the Dodgers (somehow) hold a .5 game lead over the Giants. Expect the Dodgers to reach the postseason due to the fact that they have been able to keep their first place lead despite losing their three best hitters to injury (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Dee Gordon). In addition, look for the Dodgers to bring in some more pieces to help solidify their playoff spot.
NL Central: Maybe the world is coming to an end in 2012, as the Pirates find themselves in first place at the all-star break for the first time in nearly ever. However, I see the Reds coming out on top of this division. The Cardinals will have to rely on Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal, and Carlos Beltran to stay healthy, which is never a situation you want to be in. The Reds won the pennant two years ago, and with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in their lineup, I see them edging out the Pirates at the end of the year.
NL East: The Nationals have taken advantage of a down year from the Phillies, and hold a four game lead heading into the all-star break. I expect the Nationals to keep up their strong performance and win the NL East. The only major concern is when will management shut down Strasburg for the season. However, there is still a lot to be happy about in Washington as Michael Morse is now back and Jayson Werth will return later this season. Watch out, the Nats may just be the NL’s best.
Wild Card: The Atlanta Braves will take this year’s wild card, finishing a few games behind the Nats. The Braves have a very solid lineup and their pitching is strong too. Atlanta will also remember their heartbreaking loss on the last day of the regular season last year, and will not let that happen again. Expect Jason Heyward to be a household name by the end of the year.
Wild Card #2: As much as I hate to say it, the Giants will be making the playoffs as the second wild card team. Their pitching is far too strong to not make the playoffs, and as soon as Lincecum puts down the blunt he’ll be back on track too. Look for Melky Cabrera and the Kung Fu Panda to lead the charge in the second half, and don’t be surprised if the Giants bring in another bat at the trade deadline like they did last year with Carlos Beltran.