Last September, there was no doubt in my mind that the Mets would make the playoffs. Obviously, I was very very wrong. I don't think anyone could have seen the Mets blowing a seven game lead with seventeen games left. But that why you play the games. (Note: the Mets collapse still kills me to this day) So without further ado, here's how I think it will go down the rest of the way.
NL EAST: Mets
I really can't explain why I think the Mets will finish ahead of the Phillies because my opinion really defies logic. The Phillies have a much better bullpen, a tremendous offense, and most importantly, two aces (Brett Myers and Cole Hamels). But there is something about the 2008 Mets that gives me confidence. Maybe its Jerry Manuel; maybe its Argenis Reyes, Daniel Murphy, and Nick Evans, or maybe its the fact that we can't really collapse again...right?
NL CENTRAL: Cubs
The Cubs have been the NL's most consistent team throughout the entire season and they don't appear to have a weakness. Great starting pitching, a prolific offense, and a great bullpen have led the Cubs to one of the best seasons in Cubs history. But beware, the Cubs are still the Cubs, and crazy stuff is bound to happen.
NL WEST: Dodgers
While the D-Backs probably scare me more, the Dodgers have played some great baseball in September after struggling most of the way in August. Their success will depend on a few things:
1. Can Manny keep up his torrid streak with the Dodgers?
2. How effective can Brad Penny be out of the bullpen?
3. How effective will Saito be?
4. How will Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley hold up in the playoffs?
And I must say that I am very disappointed by the D-Backs. They had a real shot to win this division, but they have been terrible down the stretch, especially in close games.
NL WILD CARD: Phillies
Here's where it gets dicey. Two weeks ago, I would have said the Brewers in a runaway with the wild card, but I'm not so sure right now. The Brew Crew have lost 11 of their last 14 and fired Manager Ned Yost yesterday. The Brewers are now tied with the Phillies for the Wild Card and only have a 2.5 game lead over the previously streaking Houston Astros. I think the Astros are done, they have played over their heads for the last two months and I don't think they will keep it up during the last two weeks. So that leaves the Brewers and the Phillies. And in the end, I think the Phillies heart will lead them to the wild card. The Phillies are not scared and have come back before, while the Brewers have been marred in another September slump and lack the "killer instinct."