When last we checked on the race — not sure that’s the proper word; can’t think of a better one — for the 2017 MLB No. 1 draft pick, the Atlanta Braves held the pole. Which was a kind way of saying they were the worst team in baseball.
With seven weeks remaining in a six-month season, they remain the leader among laggards. But it’s no longer a three-team chase. Others have joined the fray. The Braves and Twins, who’ve been 1-2 or 2-1 — or, put another way, 30-29 or 29-30 — since each started the season 0-9, are still the top/bottom two, but the Reds have slipped to fifth/26th.
The standings in Bizarro World: The Braves lead/trail the Twins by 3 games, the Rays by 4, the Diamondbacks by 4 1/2, the Reds by 5 and the Angels by 5 1/2. Each division features a team that hasn’t yet won its 50th game. The Braves haven’t yet won their 45th.
If we go by FanGraphs’ handy projections, the Braves have no cause to fret: They’ll finish 62-100, with the Twins and Reds at 67-95, the Diamondbacks and Padres at 69-93. The Rays and Angels are both ticketed to break 70 wins.
Being a pessimist, I can still see the Braves messing this up. They play Minnesota at Turner Field on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we know from recent history that the Braves own the Twins. (Granted, 2-0 isn’t the most voluminous of sample sizes.) A sweep here and it’s a one-game lead/deficit with 42 to play.
In sum, pennant fever! Sort of. (But not really.)
Further still: Appreciating A-Rod – it ain’t easy, folks.