“Oh the days dwindle down
To a precious few….”
There’s just a few more days left in the 2015 baseball season – and what a ride it’s been. The Astros, Royals, and Cubs surprising everyone. The Nationals turning from odds-on favorites into a train wreck and then a dumpster fire. Wilmer Flores and the Trade That Almost Happened. Kershaw and Grienke making people think of Koufax and Drysdale. Shelby Miller unable to get run support. Bartolo at the Bat….
While the awards are announced after the end of the World Series, it’s worth noting that all ballots must be submitted before the playoffs start. So now is the time for all voters and baseball fans to make their selections.
The Most Valuable Player awards are pretty much set. About the only way Bryce Harper won’t get the NL award is if he kills someone (and then only if he kills someone other than Jonathan Papelbon). Paul Goldschmidt deserves 2nd place (he’s been quietly having another awesome season). I’d pick Joey Votto for third; he and Todd Frazier are the only reasons to pay attention to baseball in Cincinnati. In the AL, Josh Donaldson has been doing it all for Toronto; Mike Trout has again been awesome for the Angels. Whichever one you pick, you won’t be wrong.
It’s a bit more difficult for the Cy Young Awards. In the NL, it’s a three-way with Jake Arietta, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke. Any one of them is justifiable, but I think Arietta’s no-hitter will give him the tiniest edge. In the AL, you toss a coin between Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and David Price of the Blue Jays.
There’s another bumper crop of rookies to make choosing the Rookies of the Year a tough call. The Cubs’ Kris Bryant lived up to the hype, so he’s very likely to get the NL award. But in the AL…. Carlos Correa (Astros), Francisco Lindor (Indians), Miguel Sano (Twins)…. Arrange them in any 1-2-3 order, and it’s impossible to argue with the choice.
Managers of the Year? Joe Maddon and Ned Yost had the Cubs and Royals respectively both doing way better than anyone had any right to expect. Terry Collins should get a little love in there somewhere. Oh, and Cardinals fans? Yes, the Redbirds had to deal with a couple of major injuries this year. But their success is – as it has been for the past several years – due to organizational depth and breadth of talent, NOT Mike Matheny’s managerial skills.
Anyway, time to dust off the ol’ crystal ball and see what the Playoffs hold….
In the NL, the Cubs and Pirates will face-off in the Wild Card Game. Jake Arietta will no-hit the Pirates through eight, but in the ninth the Cubs will remember that they are supposed to be cursed and commit a couple of errors behind him that will give the Pirates the win. The emotionally drained Pirates will then face a tired and hurting Cardinals team, but will win the NLDS when Mike Matheny makes a couple of inexplicable managerial decisions.
The Dodgers, with a rotation based on “Kershaw and Greinke, then grab a hanky” will hold their own against the Mets Young Guns, until Bartolo Colon slams a pinch-hit home run to win Game 5.
Because I’m going to be on vacation when the World Series begins, the Mets will win the pennant.
In the AL Wild Card Game, the Yankees will be so confused trying to figure out who (and where) they are going to play that they almost don’t show up for the game. They lose to the Astros anyway. The Astros will then be mauled by the Blue Jays powerful offense. The Rangers will be too busy wondering what they are doing winning their division, and lose to a rested Royals team.
Kansas City will beat Toronto for the pennant, because baseball really should be played outdoors in late October and early November.