Now that it’s early August, it is time for baseball fans to take a close look at baseball’s hottest teams to take seriously as the dog days have arrived. In this post, I will examine the top teams in baseball.
Hottest MLB Teams Going into the Final Quarter of 2018
The biggest surprise team in Major League Baseball has been the Phillies. First-year manager Gabe Kapler was on the hot seat for the first six weeks of the season but the Phillies are a legitimate contender to win the National League this year. Offensively, the club is batting .238 supported by two gifted players in Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco. On the pitching front, the team ranks third in the National League with a 3.77 ERA. The Phillies have a future star in pitcher Aaron Nola. If the club can stay healthy, they should be right in the thick of the race all the way until October.
The World Champions of two years ago, the Cubs are serious contenders again in 2018. With the same nucleus of two years ago, the team ranks fifth in the National League in pitching with a 3.82 ERA. Batting wise, Chicago is hitting .267 — good for the best in the National League.
If the group of Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant can keep it going, the Cubs will be the team to beat down the stretch. General Manager Theo Epstein bolstered the bullpen in the offseason by signing closer Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek. At the trade deadline, they obtained southpaw Cole Hamels from the Rangers for depth. If the team stays healthy, then they capture their second National League title in three years.
Boston Red Sox
Except for opening day, the Red Sox have been playing off the charts. First-year manager Alex Cora has the club at an astonishing 79-34. The offseason signing of J.D. Martinez has been the difference maker. Martinez has taken the pressure off of Mookie Betts who is an MVP candidate.
Midseason additions, Steve Pearce, Nathan Eovaldi, and Ian Kinsler have provided depth and experience. On the pitching front, the club has been getting strong performances from the 12-6 David Price. If Price can stay consistent, then they should be a favourite to win the American League.
For the second year in a row, the Astros are the best team in the AL West. If Justin Verlander can regain his postseason form of last season, the Astros could repeat. A lot depends on how Lance McCullers and George Springer recover from late-season injuries. If the pair can recover quickly then the Astros will be right there with the Red Sox.
The Astros fate could depend on starting pitching and relief pitching. The Astros should keep things exciting right until the last day of the season.
In the National League, look for the Cubs to reclaim their championship title. In the American League Boston should reclaim its fourth pennant and achieve their quest for another World title.
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