It’s official. The 2008 Major League Baseball season has entered the stretch run.
August is upon us, and sports fans turn their attention to the final months of the baseball season.
The trade deadline has come and gone, and every team has played their 100th game of the season.
Now is a time when teams start separating themselves from the rest of the pack.
It’s a time when we’ll find out who are the contenders and the pretenders.
From now until the end of the September, nearly every baseball game will be important.
Basically, it’s going to be an exciting time to be a baseball fan.
Trying to predict every division winner and the two wildcards will be next to impossible. Every division could go down the wire, except for the American League West. The Los Angeles Angels are running away with that division.
The remaining divisions will be dogfights with two to three teams currently in the contention for the title. Expect the same kind of battle for the wildcard spots in each league.
The opportunity to make the playoffs is there for several teams, and it’s up to them to take advantage of it.
Some teams took care of that in recent weeks by pulling off some big trades.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs each bolstered their pitching rotation by signing CC Sabathia and Rich Harden, respectively. Others turned their attention to improving their offense. The Chicago White Sox took that route by trading for future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.
The New York Yankees followed a familiar script by pulling off several trades in attempt to bolster their lineup for the stretch run. The Yankees picked up Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ivan Rodriguez from the Detroit Tigers.
There was saga between the Boston Red Sox and Manny Ramirez. Instead of coping with Ramirez’s antics for another postseason run, the Red Sox traded the disgruntled player to the Los Angeles Dodgers in part of a three-team trade with the Pirates. The Red Sox got Jason Bay from Pittsburgh, and the Pirates got four minor league players.
Finally, several contenders decided to keep things status quo. The Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets and Minnesota Twins were a few of the teams that fell into that category.
Did these teams take the necessary steps to reach the playoffs?
Unfortunately we have to wait until the end of the regular season to answer that question.
Until then, we can sit back and follow some amazing story lines for the stretch run.
Can the Rays continue their amazing season make the playoffs?
Can the Yankees extend their playoff streak to 14 consecutive seasons?
Will the winner of the National League West make the playoffs with a winning record?
From all indications, it is shaping up to be one of the most exciting stretch runs in baseball in recent years. Baseball fans need to strap themselves in and enjoy the ride. It should be an exciting one. Get great Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees tickets at Front Row King.