“Imagine if you will, a regular baseball season, where 162 games are being played in front of fans in packed stadiums” as “The Twilight Zone” theme plays in the background.
Imagine this was a normal regular season. The Los Angeles Dodgers would be on pace to win 115 games, based on their 30-12 record entering Tuesday’s contest. That’s far greater than the 1953 Dodgers who won a franchise-record 105 games during a 154-game season.
The most ever in a season? The 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 of 162 games, tying the 1906 Chicago Cubs feat during a 142-game campaign.
The point being, the Dodgers should go into the postseason the prohibitive favorite to win the World Series.
Their offense is ridiculously good, with a +98 run differential after Sunday’s 7-6 home loss to the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers are on pace to finish with a run differential of 140. During a regular season, that translates to a +378.
So why bring this up? Because we’re two-thirds of the way through the season, and I was looking over my preseason predictions.
Let’s review, as these were my picks with their current situation after Monday’s results.
• AL East: Yankees (third)
• AL Central: Twins (third)
• AL West: Astros (second)
• NL East: Braves (first)
• NL Central: Reds (fourth)
• NL West: Dodgers (first)
• AL Pennant: Yankees
• NL Pennant: Dodgers
• World Series champion: Dodgers
I must say I’m impressed with the Cleveland Indians. If they continue to play good baseball, they’re making the postseason and they’re making a run. I trust the Indians will close the last-third of the season with motivation both on and off the field, as they’ll be playing for manager Terry Francona, who has missed 23 games after having surgery for a gastrointestinal issue at the Cleveland Clinic and then having complications from blood clotting.
I go back to an earlier column where I said the San Diego Padres are the most dangerous. I still believe it. Their overhaul at the MLB Trade Deadline was impressive, and they’re closing in on the Dodgers in the West. They didn’t need to see Eric Hosmer bust his index finger while bunting, but this is a team that plays with confidence until the final out. They know how to win and have components up and down the roster to contribute.
That said, I still have faith in my American League picks, although the Yankees’ recent demise is somewhat alarming. I mean, we’re talking about a team that opened the season 16-5 and has gone since 5-15 since. Monday’s debacle against Toronto was either a wake-up call, or the telling sign the pinstripes aren’t coming back.
I think they will. I also have faith in this week’s picks, after going 1-1 last week.
Angels at Rangers: We might be looking at a decent price here, considering the scheduled matchup I see on the hill. I like Dylan Bundy over Kyle Gibson. The Halos have gotten solid production out of Bundy, who is 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA this season. He just silenced the Astros in what was his longest start since Aug. 11, and now he faces a guy who is 0-4 with a 6.97 ERA in four home starts.
Gibson is also 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three career starts against the Angels. Road win here. ANGELS
Royals at Indians: I told you in my column how impressed I’ve been by the Indians, and they will close out this series with a rout of the lowly Royals.
I’m still amazed this Kansas City team just sat atop the American League five years ago. It has hit rock bottom and went into Tuesday tied with the second-fewest wins in baseball. Cleveland will be laying a big price so be sure to play this on the run line.
We’ll get run production, as Kansas City is expected to start Brady Singer, who is 1-4 with a 5.58 ERA this season. INDIANS RUN LINE
‘LOS. LIFTOFF. ðŸš€ðŸš€ LEAD. LUSCIOUS. pic.twitter.com/SzhTn28PO8
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 8, 2020
Dodgers at Diamondbacks: The beast from Chavez Ravine heads to Phoenix, and I’m laying the run line here, too.
The Dodgers are going to enjoy beating up their old nemesis Mad Bum, as Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to start Thursday night’s game. Arizona’s veteran lefty is 0-4 with a whopping 8.44 ERA this season. I’d rather back Dodgers righty Dustin May, whose 2.88 ERA is highlighting the rotation as a pleasant surprise. Big win in the desert for my World Series favorites. DODGERS RUN LINE
Last week: 1-1