- Police Beat
- The Forecaster
As we approach the final month of the Major League Baseball season, you’ll read a lot of self-identified experts’ predictions about how the end of the season will play out.
Ignore them all.
You’ll find the most prescient predictions right here in The Forecaster.
Why should you trust me? Let’s take a look at my record.
In April and May, the Yankees built a big lead in the American League East and I wrote a piece lionizing them as Goliath to Boston’s David. By the time the piece was published, the Yankees’ bullpen was collapsing on a nightly basis and the Red Sox had captured first place, where they’ve remained for almost every day since.
Three weeks ago, I told you that with David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez healthy, the entire American League should be afraid of Boston’s entire rotation. By the time that one was published, Price was injured again, Doug Fister was back in the rotation and the Red Sox had just suffered through a four-game losing streak.
Two weeks ago, I told you that while Eduardo Nunez had hit two home runs in his second game with the Red Sox, he wasn’t a real power threat and would play a minor role at best for a team in need of a real power hitter. Nunez went on to collect 16 hits, including two homers and six doubles, over the next eight games, driving in nine runs and scoring five more during an eight-game winning streak.
Last week, I told you that Addison Reed was a smart acquisition, solidifying the already strong bullpen and hopefully settling the growing late-inning tension at Fenway. Two days after that one was published, Reed acted in his first episode in the never-ending Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. He entered in the eighth inning with a 3-0 lead and retired none of the four batters he faced in what turned out to be a heartbreaking 5-4 loss.
However, in mid-July, I told you Chris Sale was really good and Chris Sale is still really good, leading the majors in basically everything a pitcher wants to lead the majors in, so of course you should trust the following predictions.
Let’s start with Sale. He’s been remarkably healthy all year and, in fact, for most of his career. He’s made at least 26 starts every season since 2012 and at least 31 starts each of the last two years. With 24 starts already under his belt this year, I see Sale hitting the disabled list one of these days and missing the rest of the season and the playoffs (if the Red Sox even get there).
As for the offense, I think the sluggishness we’re seeing represents an irreversible decline in their true talent and that each player’s superior past-year results were the real fluke. None of these hitters will turn it around- not Jackie Bradley, Jr., not Xander Bogaerts, not even Mookie Betts. They’ll be shut out more often than not over the next six weeks.
Onto our friends in the Bronx. Aaron Judge’s recent strikeout binge is just a temporary adjustment. He should get back to hitting a homer a day and carrying the Yankees to another stretch of .700 baseball that relegates the Red Sox to second place.
Or will it be third place, as the Orioles are starting to hit again and, well, who needs pitching? They’ll go on a hot streak and capture the second Wild Card, leaving the Red Sox out in the cold.
The playoffs are hard to predict, but I’m on a roll, so I’ll take a crack. Cleveland, Houston, Washington and the Dodgers will reach their respective League Championship Series, but in the middle of Game Two of the ALCS, an asteroid will hit somewhere in the Midwest and wipe out most of America, canceling the season and declaring the Cubs reigning champions forever.
But I could be wrong.
Bryan O’Connor lives in Cumberland with his wife and two baseball-loving kids. Follow him on Twitter @replevel.