It’s hard to believe, but we’ve reached the last month of the season 2021 of the MLB. And below the best predictions for the last months of the regular season.
The Dodgers will win the NL West Division
This will be the only divisional race with a change at the top in the last month (congratulations to the Rays, White Sox, Astros, Braves and Brewers). This will also be a rare case where a 100-win team finishes second in their division (fifth time in the divisional era and first since the 100-win Yankees finished second behind the 108-win Red Sox in 2018) .
The Giants don’t deserve to be a second-place team, and this prediction shouldn’t be taken as a blow to them. The depth they gathered and the way they managed workloads took them much further than any of us anticipated. And it’s time to recognize that no matter what we media idiots think ahead of the season, they are elite.
But the Dodgers are the better team, largely because of what they added at the trade deadline in Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. As of this writing, the Dodgers have a run differential of plus 69 in the second half, while the Giants have a mark of plus 29.
The Dodgers have struggled to make up ground in the NL West because the Giants, who won nine straight series before losing two of three in Atlanta last weekend, have refused to let go of the gas.
But starting with a three-game roster in San Francisco this weekend, the Dodgers are going to collect perhaps the most won of the nine consecutive National League West titles.
Forget that Yankees-Red Sox wild card game
Too many people are promoting that game (“Gerrit Cole vs. Chris Sale!”) A month earlier. Something is going to spoil those plans. Because that’s baseball. Maybe it’s the Yankees beating the Rays for the East title, although Wander Franco and company aren’t expected to allow that to happen. More likely, another club will take down the Red Sox. It could be the Blue Jays, fueled by a healthy George Springer and a healthy serving of Orioles schedule. That would be a great story.
It could be the Mariners, who have blown a ton of saves since the poorly received Kendall Graveman trade, but remain in the math mix for their first postseason berth in 20 years. That would be a great story too.
The Athletics will face the Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game for the second time in four years. With the Boston pitching staff showing its cracks and the roster depleted by COVID concerns, Oakland will rise up and seal its semi-regular spot in the single round, hopefully with a healthy return for Chris Bassitt and possibly with the return previously. unexpected home run Khris Davis.
We will need a tiebreaker to define the second wild card of the National League
The Reds and Padres go into September side by side, with the Cardinals, the Phillies and, if we’re very generous, the Mets are still in the mix.
The Reds’ schedule makes them favorites right now, but their offense, which is susceptible to left-handed pitching, has slowed lately.
The Padres’ pitching is a disaster, and they probably have the toughest schedule remaining in MLB.
The Phillies could still push the Braves in the NL East, and the Reds and Padres in the NL Wild Card, but JT Realmuto’s injury hurts an already inconsistent team.
The crystal ball sees the Phillies still into the final weekend, but crushed by a late-inning loss to the Marlins on the penultimate day of the season. The Reds take a one-game lead on the final day but are beaten by the Pirates, while the Padres tackle the Giants for the Dodgers’ divisional victory and need a tiebreaker Monday.
The Padres may be hosts by virtue of their 6-1 record against Cincinnati, but the Reds, powered by a Joey Votto home run (naturally) clinch victory on the road to set a NL Wild Card Game date. with the Giants. And then as we prepare for that game, we all have an excuse to see one of the great receivers again in postseason history.
Fernando Tatis Jr. will make history
With 36 home runs, Tatis enters the final month with a huge advantage in the National League leaderboard. The next closest competitors are tied at 29. And with 24 steals, Tatis is two behind Trea Turner’s league lead.
Although Game 163 will not go down the Padres’ path, their stats will count toward the regular season totals. And so Tatis will use the extra game to defeat Turner. In doing so, he will become the second player in the modern era, joining the Phillies’ Chuck Klein (1932), to lead his league in both home runs and steals.
That will make voting for the NL MVP pretty easy. You’re welcome, voters. Speaking of easy MVP options.
50 home runs for Shohei Ohtani
He is 42 years old as of September. But only nine of those have arrived since Ohtani decided to participate in the Home Run Derby.
If he’s a bit fatigued, who can blame him? And maybe 50 is unattainable. But I’d expect the Angels to push Ohtani away on the pitchers’ side as we relax (he already missed a scheduled start against the Yankees this week after taking a pitch from his right hand a few days earlier), and that would lighten the load. .
They also have seven games left against a Rangers pitching staff that allows 1.5 home runs per nine innings.
So let’s dream big: Ohtani won’t just become the first pitcher to lead the MLB in home runs. Babe Ruth didn’t reach 50 (or 30 or 40, for that matter) until he became a full-time position player. Ohtani can still get there realistically and at the same time leads his team in effectiveness.
We’ll see another no-hitter
As it stands, this season’s eight no-hitters (not counting the two in seven-inning games) tie the all-time record set in 1884. But… The 2021 season will occupy the only position at the top of the league. no-hit hierarchy in the past month by the narrowest of margins with a no-no more.
With information and image of MLB. com (Anthony Castrovince)