The darkened, standard time days of November are looming ominously in our near future and many people are anxious. Some of them are anxious about the presidential election but these are people who probably watch too much television, and as a perusal of the local listings for television programs demonstrates, these are probably not the sharpest tools in the box. As a glance at those same listings proves, there is also not a lot to choose from. No, what the most intelligent, educated, and kindly people are anxious about is: can anybody (especially my team) beat the Cubs? We are here to answer that question with a no holds barred, emphatic probably not. However, to quote yet another famous television star, Crazy Guggenheim, “You never know, you know?”
As of this writing, the San Francisco Giants would travel to New York for the one game heart attack to determine who will be bear bait. The Mets have been playing better ball than the Giants lately, but who hasn’t? It’s been a war of attrition throughout the major leagues this season with injury after injury and the Metropolitans have been right in the thick of that with a current roster that bears little resemblance to the one that started the season. Their vaunted starting pitching staff became the favorite of ambulance chasers, with only the old man of the bunch, Bartolo Colon, unfazed. The Giants win the Perversity Award after scratching and clawing to the best record in baseball at the All Star break, then getting most of their wounded back and subsequently losing 42 of their last 68 games, a cool .382 pace that has been the worst in baseball. With Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, however, they cannot easily be dismissed. It says here that they will be though because losing, like winning, is contagious. St. Louis,still alive, looks great one day and terrible the next. As a wild card team,they would be dangerous, however, because they have been demonstrably better in road games.
Among the National League division winners the Cubs have the most strength all around the diamond.Anthony Rizzo. John Lackey. Addison Russell.Kris Bryant. Aroldis Chapman. Jake Arrieta, etc. They have speed, defense, pitching, power, pitching, versatility, and pitching. The Nationals did surprisingly well despite the fact that howitzers were knocking down their troops almost as often as their chief divisional rivals, the Marlins and Mets. I would have rated them next in line before Stephen Strasburg and, even more importantly, Wilson Ramos were injured. I think they’re toast, but it’s hard to count out a Dusty Baker squad. The Los Angeles Dodgers just might be the ones to spoil the Cubs’ aspirations. They won the division after we all were counting them out, and it is definitely not the same old crew. Yasiel Puig is back from obedience school and doing well, Clayton Kershaw looks healthy, Kenley Jansen remains consistent, Justin Turner remains hot, but mostly, Corey Seager. Who played shortstop for them last year? Right. Plus Zack Greinke is still hurling for Arizona, the team that conceded the season when it chose its uniforms.
It looks like Baltimore will be traveling to Toronto for the wild card game in what the Sporting News affectionately used to call the Junior Loop. To determine the winner of this game, take a quarter and flip it three times calling heads each time with the bird of your choice in mind. One thing is not in doubt—the winner will have home run power.
It surprised me that the Blue Jays did not win the division and it pains me to be wrong about the Red Sox but I just didn’t know. I didn’t know how good Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley were going to be, I figured Craig Kimbrel wasn’t going to help, I thought Hanley Ramirez was finished, and I underestimated that young designated hitter. I still think that they are vulnerable on the mound, but it may not matter. Cleveland is very solid but late injuries hurt their chances. The Texas Rangers have been steadily marching along and Yu Darvish is looking good but both Darvish and Cole Hamels will have to look like their old selves to get very far in the post season. We’ll see. If I had to pick an A.L. team to have the best shot in the World Series it would be Boston. And of course, as you know, I’m never wrong. I was also a Bernie Sanders supporter.