I realize we are not even to the All-Star break but there are several teams that should already be thinking about next year. For these teams, this year is probably already lost not even halfway through the season.
In the American League, the season is probably all but lost for the Red Sox, the Twins and the Mariners. These teams are all more than 7 games out in the respective divisions. The Red Sox are 7.5 games back in the AL East. That might not seem like a lot but in that division it’s like an ocean of space. The top three teams in the AL East are separated by 3.5 games. They are all playing well. The Red Sox 7.5 games in this division look like some other teams 11 games back. They just don’t have the team to compete with the Rays or Yankees this year and they are not going to anytime this season most likely.
In the AL Central, the Twins are 9.5 games back. This is not the strongest division in the Majors but 9.5 games is an almost insurmountable lead. The Twins had hoped the return of Morneau and Mauer for this season would bolster their prospects, but it has not happened. The team is well below .500 coming in at .391 on the season and their prospects do not look good.
In the AL West, the Mariners had a good start but then took a decidedly wrong turn and are now 11.5 games out. The Rangers even with Josh Hamilton in the hospital continue to win and lead the division easily. The Mariners are nowhere close to the Rangers level of competition and this season is probably lost to them.
In the National League, there are similar lost seasons unfolding. In the NL East, the Phillies are 9 games out. The vaunted Phillies pitching has not been enough to save them without the likes of Utley and Howard in the lineup for most of the season. They just cannot generate the runs to go with the pitching and their pitching has suffered as well this season. This is definitely not going to be the Phillies year.
In the NL Central, the Astros and the Cubs are 10.5 and 15.5 games back respectively. These two teams have basically no shot at a decent season. This division is one of the weakest in baseball and these two teams are some of the worst. They are both well below .500 and they have lost a combined 81 games.
In the NL West, the Rockies and Padres are both in the cellar. The Rockies are 15 games out and the Padres are 18. Both of these teams are performing abysmally this season and with the Dodgers on fire in this division, they don’t have a prayer.
A few other teams in both divisions are on the brink of lost seasons as well including the A’s, the Brewers and the D-Backs. For these teams and the ones mentioned above, almost everyone is saying Maybe Next Year.