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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The NL Central Race Could Be the Tightest in MLB History

The 1994 AL West is an infamous division in baseball history; the Rangers led with a 52-62 record that would convert to a 74-88 mark over a full year. But that season ended early due to the players’ strike, so the division’s placement atop this list comes with a large asterisk. That leaves the 2005 NL East as the closest division of the last half-century. The Braves won 90 games to claim the NL East that year, the last of Atlanta’s 11 consecutive division titles, while the Nationals brought up the rear with a respectable 81-81 record in their first season in Washington. Discounting the 1994 strike year, the 2005 Nationals are the only last-place team in MLB history to finish within single digits of the division winner.


That example adds a note of caution: Even if the NL Central’s overall spread remains this proximate, it’s not guaranteed to provide a dramatic late-season race. The whole 2005 NL East was close, but not exactly thrilling at the top; Atlanta led by at least four games every day in September. But the 2019 NL Central could also go the route of another close division: the 1973 NL East, where four different teams either led the division or drew within a game of the top in September, with the Mets winning despite sitting in last place as late as August 30 and not holding sole possession of first place all season until September 21.

So the 2019 NL Central looks like one of the closest top-to-bottom divisions in MLB history, which could set the stage for a spectacular September stretch run.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 06:20 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. filihok Posted: July 17, 2019 at 08:22 PM (#5862750)
Or
It could not
   2. Brian C Posted: July 17, 2019 at 08:55 PM (#5862754)
#1 is spot-on. As the wise among us are fond of saying, 'maybe' is just another word for 'maybe not'.

Here's the run differentials for each of the teams in the division before play today:

+65
-14
+10
-53
+35

This does not suggest a bunch of evenly matched teams - it suggests a pretty normal division except for the Reds being weirdly out of place. But still, we should expect to see clear separation as we go along, especially after the trade deadline weeds out some sellers.

For comparison's sake, here's the NL East, no one's idea of a tight division:

+56
+40
-15
-43
-84

Honestly doesn't look much different except that the Marlins are terrible.
   3. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:11 PM (#5862768)
1967, 1964 and 1908 all had three teams within one game of first. I can’t imagine a scenario where it’s anything like that.
   4. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5862770)
the 1973 NL East,


The first five teams finished 5 games apart. The sixth place Phils finished 11.5 back.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2019 at 11:52 PM (#5862781)
Since May 17:

Cards 24-24 -5
Cincy 23-24 +10
Cubs 25-28 +4
Milw 22-27 -28
Pitt 23-29 -7

That's a spread of 3 games in standings and 38 runs in differential over 2 months. That's very tight. Which isn't to say that you couldn't find similar stretches for a division or two every year, I suspect you can.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:51 AM (#5862802)
1967, 1964 and 1908 all had three teams within one game of first. I can’t imagine a scenario where it’s anything like that.


You have a remarkably weak imagination.
   7. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: July 18, 2019 at 09:06 AM (#5862804)
If this guy wearing Darvish's uni who kind of pitches like him, but doesn't walk people is for real....
   8. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: July 20, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5863515)
This was the tightest race in MLB history!
   9. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5863625)
1908 will forever be the gold standard for the tightest races in both leagues, but the 1967 AL race wasn't too shabby, and until the final weekend it involved four teams, not three.

AL Standings after the games of September 6, 1967

Tm W L W-L% GB
DET 79 62 .560 --
MIN 78 61 .561 --
BOS 79 62 .560 --
CHW 78 61 .561 --

AL Standings after the games of September 27, 1967, heading into the final weekend of the season

MIN 91 69 .569 --
DET 89 69 .563 1.0
BOS 90 70 .563 1.0
CHW 89 70 .560 1.5

AL Standings after the games of September 27, 1967, heading into the final day of the season


MIN 91 70 .565 --
BOS 91 70 .565 --
DET 90 70 .563 0.5
   10. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 21, 2019 at 09:39 PM (#5863672)
I still remember in 2007 when there was the prospect of a 3 way tie for the NL West, 2 way tie for the NL East, with all the teams tied for the NL Wild Card as well. But the Diamondbacks won and the Mets lost which left us with just a tiebreaker game between the Rockies and Padres for the Wild Card.

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