What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
EDITOR’S NOTE: Boyd Bergquist was the sports director at KETS-TV in East Tree Stump, Nebraska for almost 40 years. Known across the Husker state as the voice of the Boy’s High School Basketball Tournament, Bergquist was a four-time winner of the Marv J. Butz “Golden Cob” Award For Excellence In Nebraska Broadcast Journalism. That background, along with his quick if not cliché-riddled wit and love of single-malt scotch makes Bergquist a perfect fit to be our “Question” guy.
Like the song says, Camptown Race Track might be five miles long, but that’s nothing compared to 162 games. As we find the calendar landing on Labor Day, every team in major league baseball has somewhere around 30 games to play, which puts us firmly in the home stretch of this horse race. Like a horse race, I break the baseball season down into four parts; the last obviously being the race to the wire.
But before we get to the race down the stretch, let’s recap where we’ve been. If you recall, I’m not about the usual “power ranking” stuff. Instead, I started this season by breaking down all 30 major league squads into six easy-to-understand groups based on what I thought these teams could realistically expect in 2019. Those original six categories were as follows.
Once we got to Memorial Day, I had six new categories at the “far turn” which again should be fairly self-explanatory.
Half-way through the race, there really are only two categories to worry about; is your team a play-off contender and should they be a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline? Here’s how I saw it.
Some teams helped themselves at the deadline, and some teams didn’t; you can see a breakdown of that here. But as we head toward October, it’s time to look at who can get to the Winner’s Circle, and who is going to spit the bit.
The field has been expanded this year to include six teams from each league; the three division winners and three wild-cards. Here’s how I see them running as we head down the home stretch.
18) Boston Red Sox
Well, the Red Sox aren’t mathematically eliminated, but let’s be honest. If you want to see a sporting event in the greater Boston area in October, you’re going to need Patriots tickets
17) San Francisco Giants
At the beginning of this season, I said for The Giants to repeat last years’ 107-win total, they would need everything to go their way again. They didn’t.
16) Baltimore Orioles
The fact I’m even mentioning the Orioles here is a major victory for this franchise.
16) Milwaukee Brewers
In what may be an example of “too little, too late, ” Christian Yelich is hitting .383 in the team’s last 11 games. This includes a two-game stretch where the former MVP went 7 for 10 including two homers. However, that hot streak didn’t stop the Brewers from posting a 12-16 record in August. They feel like “done” to me.
15) Chicago White Sox
When you look at this team’s roster, one can only wonder how to this point they’ve ranked in the bottom half of the American League in both team ERA and runs scored. Could it be the questionable management of Tony LaBiden?
Indians Guardians Guardians of the Galaxy
Last week, Cleveland had a five-game span in which they only managed to score six runs, including being shut out twice. Having great pitching is one thing (take a peek at Triston McKenzie’s numbers over his last ten or so starts), but at some point you have to score.
13) Minnesota Twins
I tried to give the AL Central to the Twins by default, but they simply won’t take it.
12) Toronto Blue Jays
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Blue Jay. Here’s a team that can rip off seven wins in eight games, then get get swept at home by the sorry-ass Angels…and get outscored 22-3 doing it.
11) San Diego Padres
Getting Juan Soto and Josh Bell at the trading deadline was supposed to make this team a baseball version of “Godzilla.” For some reason, they’ve been hitting more like Kermit the Frog.
9) Philadelphia Phillies
A Philadelphia version of the Toronto Blue Jays. They were good enough to post an 18-11 record in August, but 5 of those losses were to the Mets. Even more concerning was losing a series to the lowly Diamondbacks while giving up 27 runs in that three-game set.
8 ) Seattle Mariners
This team has been getting fat on the likes of the struggling Yankees, the crappy Angels and Rangers, and the Oakland Triple-A’s But September sees the M’s in series with contenders like the White Sox, the Braves and the Padres. But then they end with the Angels and Rangers again, the Royals, the Tigers and two series with the Triple-A’s. The question is will we find out what this team is really all about?
7) Tampa Rays
Don’t look now, but this team has won 12 of their last 17, and they should get Wander Franco and Tyler Glasnow back before October. The Shane McClanahan injury could be worrisome though.
6) St. Louis Cardinals
Remember how last year the Cards came from nowhere to make the Wild Card? Well, this year, they had their hot month in August, going 22-7 while Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are looking like MVP candidates. Speaking of Goldschmidt, take a look at how close he is to winning the first Triple Crown in the National League since fellow Cardinal Joe “Ducky” Medwick in 1937.
5) New York Yankees
The Pinstripes need to go back to a category from Memorial Day. They better figure themselves real quick. They’ve been dogshit since the All-Star break, including posting a 10-18 record in August…that was worse than the Reds, but the way. But, they are still in first place, just became the only team in the American League besides Houston to tally 80 wins, and still have a line-up that can’t be dismissed no matter how deep of a funk they are in.
4) New York Mets
If there were a team I think could prove to be the proverbial “house of cards,” this is it. Sure, the trio of starters DeGrom-Scherzer-Bassitt can be one of the best combinations in the game, but can they all stay healthy and/or consistent? The line-up can be formidable, but is prone to extended hibernations. Go look at their production since the middle of August f you doubt that.
3) Atlanta Braves
I like the Braves more than the Mets for one big reason. The Mets have shown they are a first-half team, and the Braves have shown they are a second-half team. Which half are we in now?
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
Everybody thinks the Dodgers are some sort of “machine,” but their recent series loss at the Mets proved that not to be the case. Also, the injuries to Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin are troublesome, and Clayton Kershaw isn’t the guy anymore you can depend on for two starts in a series.
1) Houston Astros
The injury bug is biting the Astros as well, but the difference between them and the Dodgers is this: The Astros are better than anybody else in the American League, including the pre-funk Yankees. But the Dodgers and their new-found pitching woes are eminently beatable by the Mets, Braves, or Cardinals.
Next stop: Play-off Previews!
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