|The Reds losing Brandon Phillips will hurt, but they should still win the NL Central. (US Presswire)|
It's Aug. 1. The non-waiver trade deadline is now firmly in our rearview and it's time to get serious about the postseason, with just two months of regular season remaining. So with that in mind, I'm going to predict the playoff teams.
Now, as always happens in such cases, predictions will inspire plenty of venom and accusations of bias in my direction. Definitely do that, because it makes so much sense. In fact, did you know my predictions actually count in the final standings? So please take these as seriously as anything you do all day. That's far more reasonable than realizing these are for entertainment purposes, and then posting your own predictions in the comments section, just for fun.
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I'm going to stick with the Yankees in the AL East. The race may get closer, but the Yankees won't drop from first the rest of the way.
In the AL Central, the Tigers are going to win by a small handful (three, maybe?) of games over the White Sox in a solid race. The Indians won't fall nearly as far as they did last year (15 games), but won't be able to keep up with Chicago.
I think the AL West is going to be an incredible two-team race between the Angels and Rangers. In the end, I'll go with the Angels by a nose, simply because that's who I picked at the beginning of the season.
For the AL wild card, the Rangers will easily be the top choice. The second wild card will come down to the Red Sox, Rays and A's. In fact, let's get crazy: Athletics head to the postseason.
The Braves and Nationals are going to have a great fight to the finish in the NL East and I'm going with the Nationals to win the division.
The Reds are going to win the NL Central, but I do not believe the Pirates or Cardinals are going away soon. It'll be a three-teamer here.
If not the NL Central, the NL West is going to give us the best race in baseball, as it's going to be three teams down to the wire (the Giants and Dodgers close with a three-game series in L.A.). My pick, though: The defending division champion Diamondbacks as a certain uber-talented right fielder puts the club on his back in September.
Atop the wild-card race, there will be no collapse this year. The Braves are in. And you know what, I already went all in with the A's, so why stop now. That's right, the Pirates are going to the playoffs.
As always, rankings, comments and stats are through Tuesday. Please feel free to contact me via email with comments: email@example.com.