By Bennett Solomon
The Major League Baseball season has reached the halfway point of the season and the best teams start to separate themselves from the rest, preparing to compete during the postseason.
The question is who currently stands out above the rest? Right now, the Astros and Dodgers are shoulders above the rest and look set to take on each other in World Series.
First, the Houston Astros are the best team in the American League.
At 62-31, the Astros have the second best record in baseball and earned most of their wins in the first half of the season.
With their star studded offense including Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, Houston have a great chance to make the World Series. The Astros have six players batting over .300 which is the main reason why they are the best in the American League.
So why will they win the American League?
They are already up 15.5 games in their division so they are destined to control it the rest of the year. They have won most of their games without their ace pitcher, Dallas Keuchel. He is set to return soon and is about to start his rehab assignment with the Astros AA affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks.
The Astros lead the league in runs with multiple players contributing. Jose Altuve is second in the MLB with a .350 batting average only behind Dodger third baseman, Justin Turner.
Despite their success, they have injury problems. Houston just lost one of their best hitters, Carlos Correa, for six to eight weeks due to a torn thumb ligament according to ESPN. They will someone else in their lineup to step up in order for them to succeed.
However, with the injury troubles, if the Astros can continue their hot hitting and can acquire another quality starting pitcher at the trade deadline, the Astros will be a deadly opponent in the postseason and could see themselves in the World Series.
Even though Houston has started off well, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball, winning 31 out of their last 35 games and are on a 11 game win streak. Turner is batting .374 and is on track to winning the batting title. Outfielder Cody Bellinger is on the rise to become a superstar. His batting average is not the most superior but he has 26 home runs and he is just a rookie that started the season in the minors.
Their hitting isn’t the best part about their team as their pitching outshines the rest of the league. Clayton Kershaw is pitching like he always has, confusing batters and striking them out all the time. Lefty Alex Wood is the biggest surprise in the MLB. Wood is 11-0 with a 1.56 ERA and is having a stellar all-star season. Their third starter, lefty Rich Hill, is also a very strong starter though has been battling injuries. He has a 3.55 ERA and could give the Dodgers strong pitching in big postseason games. In addition, the Dodgers have one of the best closers in the league in Kenley Jansen. He has 23 saves in 23 save opportunities.
The Dodgers are 10.5 games up on the second place Diamondbacks and are controlling the toughest division in the MLB. No one can seem to stop the Dodgers on their run and they will be a scary opponent in the postseason. They have the strongest pitching staff and if they keep hitting the way they are, no one will stop them on their way to the World Series.
Both clubs have the best chance meeting each other in the World Series this year. Though, anything can change in the world of baseball and different teams can go on a run at the right time. Postseason baseball is the best baseball with many surprise and the world cannot wait for October to arrive.
Photo Credit: MLB