Jun 20, 2013, 5:29 PM EDT
|Photo by USA Today|
By Steve Roney
There's a line of demarcation right now in major league baseball — 39 wins. A quick glance at the standings shows that each team with at least 39 wins either occupies, or is within two games of, a playoff spot. Does your favorite team have fewer than 39 victories? They'd better play in the NL West, where San Francisco, Colorado, and San Diego are all within three games of first place — behind the Diamondbacks, who have a record of 39-33.
Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the majors shaking out:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (46-26; LW: 1) - Hughes: The Cardinals have one of the best pitching staffs and lineups in the majors, and have been fortunate to stay very healthy. Everything is going their way.
2. Boston Red Sox (44-30; LW: 2) - Roney: Not to kick a dead topic, but closer is my least favorite role in sports. Felix Doubront pitches eight innings, giving up three hits with no walks on just 93 pitches. John Farrell brings in Andrew Bailey to slam the door, and he gives up a homer on his second pitch, tying the game at 1-1. Infuriating.
3. Cincinnati Reds (44-29; LW: 3) - Hughes: Arroyo, Latos, and Leake are all pitching like All-Stars. If they can keep it up the Reds are as complete a team as anyone.
4. Atlanta Braves (43-30; LW: 4) - Roney: El Oso Boo-boo just hit the DL, sidelining one of Atlanta's most reliable power bats. Kudos to the Braves, however, for shelving him right away.
5. Oakland A's (43-31; LW: 5) - Zuckerman: Their stadium may reek of sewage, but this team smells awfully good right now.
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