Chad Clinger takes a trip around the bases: Down to the wire for MLB

To most, usually the casual fan or people that can’t stand the sport, the Major League Baseball season is entirely too long. Then you have people like me that wish that professional baseball never came to an end…okay, maybe like a slight break to recover after winning the World Series. No matter what your stance on the game, things are beginning to heat up and I wanted to take a moment of your time to fill you in on the most exciting time of a baseball fan’s year…the playoff hunt!

So, the baseball season is roughly (give or take) at the 122-game mark, which signifies that only (again, roughly) 40 games remain in the 2017 regular season. It has been a year of wonderful stories thus far and I don’t see that letting up any time soon. Aaron Judge was on a tear and everyone, including myself, thought that he was the greatest thing to happen to baseball since the steroid debacle a while back. Well, it turns out that Judge hits home runs or strikes out, nothing in between…what a let down! But anyways, I digress…where was I?

Let’s talk division leaders!

There are three divisions of the six in the MLB that are essentially runaway title wins for their respective leaders. The only division that may not be considered won is the American League West. Houston does have a commanding 12-game lead over the second place Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but the Angels are currently playing out of their minds and are tied for the second wild card spot in the AL. This is absurd to think as the Astros are 76-48 on the season! No team will touch the Washington Nationals in the National League East. Washington currently sits at 74-48 with a 14-game lead over second place Miami. But the true runaway right now is happening in the NL West…the Los Angeles Dodgers are leading the Colorado Rockies by 20 games! 20! It’s not like the Rockies are even a bad team, they are one game up on the Arizona Diamondbacks (third place in the West) for the wild card and post a record of 68-56 (Arizona is 67-57)! Oh, the Dodgers are 52-games above .500 at 87-35 and have had multiple nine-game winning streaks this season. The record for most wins in an MLB season is 116, set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners. In my personal opinion, that record falls this year!

THE Boston Red Sox (71-52) lead the New York Yankees by five games in the AL East; The Cleveland Indians (68-54) own a five-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central; Defending World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs (66-57) have had a resurgence as of late and find themselves in the tightest division race in baseball. Chicago leads the Milwaukee Brewers by two games, the St.Louis Cardinals by 3.5 games and the Pittsburgh Pirates by just 6.5 games.

A special shoutout to the Philadelphia Phillies for having the worst record in baseball at 45-77.

If the playoffs were to start today…

In the AL, the Yankees would play either Minnesota or the Angels for the wild card spot. The winner of that game would then meet up in the American League Divisional Series against the Astros. That would mean that THE Red Sox would play the Indians.

The NL would see Colorado and Arizona duking it out for the wild card spot and the unfortunate task of meeting up with the Dodgers. Washington would tackle the Cubs in the other NLDS.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves…here’s a list of statistical leaders on the mound and at the plate.

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) leads the Majors in Earned Run Average (2.04) and wins (15). Chris Sale of THE Red Sox is at the top of four categories: strikeouts (250), strikeout to walk ratio (7.81), strikeouts per 9 (12.83) and innings pitched (175.1). Alex Colome of Tampa Bay has the most saves (36) and Max Scherzer has the best batting average allowed (.171). Ervin Santana of the Twins has pitched five complete games and owns three shutouts to lead those categories.

At the plate, two guys from the Colorado Rockies own four of the nine major statistical offensive categories. Charlie Blackmon and his bearded gloriousness leads with 115 runs scored, triples (14) and total bases (310). Nolan Arenado has driven in 105 runs to lead the Majors in RBI. Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros has the best batting average in the MLB at .362 and most hits with 171. Jose Ramirez of the Indians leads the way with 39 doubles, Billy Hamilton of the Reds has swiped 51 bases and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins has smashed 45 home runs to lead their respective categories.

Who’s who to say how the remaining 40ish games will go but here’s my prediction/dream come true…the Los Angeles Dodgers cruise to a NL championship and meet up with THE Boston Red Sox in the 2017 World Series!

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By Chad Clinger

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Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048