The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.
Despite the fact that NFL training camps are in full swing and football never seems to take a backseat to any sport here in the USA, this is the time to focus on baseball. When August rolls around and the waiver deadline comes and goes at the end of July, fans are gearing up to follow their favorite teams to the bitter end of the regular season.
As we wind down, here are some of my thoughts:
- Can the Yankees catch the Red Sox? With the Aaron Judge injury, which is supposed to sideline him for at least three weeks, can the Yankees keep pace with a team that just keeps on winning? The Yankees will NOT catch the Red Sox, but should be healthy at the end of the season to garner the Wild Card and battle through the playoffs.
- At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Yankees and the Cubs would be in the World Series. I do not dislike my picks right now, but the Astros and the Red Sox look like the two best teams. I can possibly see the Red Sox fading a bit, but the Astros have pitching and hitting. However, in early August, the Astros play 18 of their next 20 games against teams with .500 records or better.
- Just when a fan can start to feel really good about the Phillies, they lose three of four against the last-place Reds. The Phils did not hit at all in this series after their opening game win where they hit seven home runs. They have weaknesses – shortstop and relief pitching being the biggest – that are hard to overcome. The good news is that the Braves are not consistently winning either.
- How important is the two-game series between the Phillies and the Red Sox this week? Well, the Phils have lost three straight and the Red Sox have won 13 of 15. The Sox can afford to lose a couple of games. You decide who needs the wins more.
- With the Cubs’ starting pitching collapsing, it will be interesting to see if former Philly Cole Hamels can be a savior in Chicago. The Cubs are near the bottom in innings per start and need someone to take the pressure off of the bullpen.
- The Dodgers and the Indians are very capable of putting together a great August and battle to the very end.
- Are the Nationals done? As I write this, they are 52-53 and, if they believe the hill is too high to climb to get back into the race, they might start dealing. I think if they are patient, the Phils and the Braves will come back to them.
- Is there a better player than Mike Trout? No.
- Is there a worse team than the Baltimore Orioles? Well, there is a little competition here – the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox, and the Miami Marlins. It will be a battle until the end to win the title.
- I’m also thinking that by now you want to know when the Eagles open their season – September 6 vs. the Atlanta Falcons.
ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
- Have the Cleveland Browns finally found a quarterback? There has been quite a bit of early praise for first overall draft- pick Baker Mayfield. Tyrod Taylor is the starter right now, but the Browns need Mayfield ASAP.
- Speaking of the Browns, in case you forgot, the Browns went 0-16 last year following a 1-15 record the previous year. They should certainly improve – the bar is not very high.
- Alabama football coach Nick Saban just extended his contract through 2025. He has won five national titles in the past nine years. It is worth $74.4 million. They REALLY love their football at Alabama.
- Penn State’s Trace McSorley might just be the best college quarterback in the nation this season. He should have another record-setting year and could keep the Nittany Lions in the national championship hunt. However, beating Ohio State and Michigan State in the Big Ten will be a major challenge.
- For the second straight year, we wanted to bring you a Lehigh Valley Men’s Baseball League game on RCN-TV. And for the second straight year, the game was rained out. President Ron Cahill does a marvelous job putting together a league that has nine divisions, 47 teams, and over 1,000 players. It is the largest men’s baseball league in Pennsylvania. We hopefully will be able to showcase it to you at some point.