So as the snow fell yesterday I began to think about the “dog days of summer”. Those games in August that hit right before the push to the playoffs. Those are the days that separate the teams that have to potential to achieve immortally in the record books and which teams have the potential to take some early vacations.
With the first official day of Spring being blanketed by a layer of snow and ice in the North East that makes the roadways dangerous we think about the most treacherous battle in the MLB this season.
- Detroit Tigers vs Cincinnati Reds vs Miami Marlins: Last in all of MLB
This season will be unlike any other in recent memory as there will seemingly be a bigger “race to the bottom” (to quote Seattle Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto) than the World Series. So with there being teams with their mind set on losing these three ball clubs are more than likely the bottom three. With the Marlins coming up on top at the bottom.
- Corey Kluber vs Chris Sale vs Luis Severino: AL Cy Young
In a repeat of the 2017 Cy Young finalist the same three men will be battling again in 2018. These men will anchor their respective pitching staffs as the “Ace”. Look for dominance and brilliance out of them once again.
- Clayton Kershaw vs Max Scherzer: NL Cy Young
Much like the battle for the AL Cy Young award the battle in the National League will feature some intense former NL Cy Young winners. Clayton Kershaw looks to be healthy and ready to recapture his title as the best pitcher in the National League. While Max Scherzer wants to continue to assert his dominance.
- Mike Trout vs Carlos Correa vs Manny Machado: AL MVP
The battle for the American League Most Valuable Player will be an all out season long war. With Trout having competition from both Manny in his walk year and Correa who was in the MVP talk in 2017 before his injury derailed that potential.
- Bryce Harper vs Cody Bellinger vs Freddie Freeman: NL MVP
Another fierce competition is set for the National League Most Valuable Player as Bryce like Manny in the AL is in a walk year and will look to have a huge season leading in to free agency. Freeman like Votto in 2017 will have a great season for a team that won’t contend and that will hurt his candidacy a bit. Cody Bellinger on the other hand will have his teams performance aid him as he will be an even bigger part of the LA Dodgers success in 2018.
- New York Mets vs Philadelphia Phillies vs St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewers vs Arizona Diamondbacks vs Colorado Rockies vs San Francisco Giants: NL Wild Cards
The battle for the second Wild Cars in the National League will be something epic as so many teams in the NL seem poised to try and compete. The parody in the National League will make it difficult for any one of these ball clubs to pull far ahead of the others. This battle should take to the final games of the season to sort out.
- Minnesota Twins vs LA Angels of Anaheim vs Chicago White Sox: 2nd AL Wild Card
However unlike the National League the American League doesn’t have quite as many teams with a real chance to contend. As the AL is very top heavy as the Houston Astros should easily claim the AL West, the Cleveland Indians should claim the AL Central. And either the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox will win the AL East, the other will host the AL Wild Card game. However the second AL Wild Card will have will consist of a much smaller pool of contestants that the National League.
- Bryce Harper vs Manny Machado: Bigger Free Agent Contract
This battle will have to wait until after the World Series is over. This free agency “War of Wages” will push the limits of what free agent dollar figures have ever been. Prior to this past off-season one may have expected to have the totals pushing pasted the $400-500 million dollar marks. Now it may be pushing “only” $350 million dollars. Regardless this will be a fun battle to watch.
- New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox: AL East Division
The only apparent division battle will be that for the AL East crown. The battle between the best rivalry in sports the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This battle has been fought for hundreds of years and this season this rivalry looks to re-intensify. As both teams have young cores and have added some big time power hitters in Giancarlo Stanton and JD Martinez to the mix. This battle is another that looks like it will go down to the final games of the season to be decided.
- Washington Nationals vs Washington Nationals: Getting Passed the NLDS
The most intriguing battle of this season will be the Washington Nationals against…themselves. It’s no secret that the Nationals have yet to be able to advance past the Division Series and with a potentially closing window of having the superstar that is Bryce Harper on the squad this year. The Nationals must have a good season and break out of their unlucky pattern and advance past the NLDS if they want a shot at truly keeping the magic in DC going.