The first five months of the 2022 MLB season have been exciting and unpredictable in many ways. We’ve seen no limits, cycles, constant brilliance from Shohei Ohtani, and perhaps the biggest blockbuster commercial ever. This year’s post-season will be incredible, with so many good teams featuring the game’s biggest stars set to join in October. Before that, however, let’s take a look at 15 things to watch in the final month. end of the regular season.
1 of 15
How many houses can Aaron Judge end up with?
Gregory Fisher-USA Sports TODAY
There have been six seasons where a player has broken more than 61 home runs – but all six have come from Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds and are a direct result of the steroid era. As a result, many fans, analysts, and league staff still consider Roger Maris’ 61 home runs in 1961 to be a legitimate single-season record. And that could very well decrease over the next few weeks. Yankees superstar Aaron Judge blasted his 55th longest ball on Wednesday afternoon, and it will be quite the story if/when he eclipses Maris.
2 out of 15
Who is AL MVP?
Brad Penner-USA Sports TODAY
Back to Aaron Judge. He’s hitting over .300, and he’s capable of breaking more than 60 home runs. And lead the majors in RBI. So he should be the unanimous MVP, right? Well, not that fast. What Shohei Ohtani is doing is truly unprecedented. We have simply never seen someone who is both a starting pitcher and a dominant strike force. Currently, Ohtani is 2nd in the US Championship in home runs and 4th in the US Championship at ERA. Just think about that. What Judge has done this season is nothing short of spectacular, but as long as Ohtani continues to do what he’s been doing, it’s hard for me not to consider him the MVP every season.
3 of 15
Paul Goldschmidt pursues Triple Crown
Jeff Curry-USA Sports TODAY
There hasn’t been an offensive triple-crown winner in baseball since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, but Cardinals first-team athlete Paul Goldschmidt has a legitimate chance at the inevitable hit of the month. this. Goldschmidt currently leads the NL in batting average and RBI, and is trailed only by Philly’s Kyle Schwarber in home runs. This could go to the end, but it would be really cool if he actually made it.
4 out of 15
Who will win NL East?
Brett Davis-USA Sports TODAY
This is definitely the most exciting divisional race in a long time. Both the Mets and the Braves will play key roles in how the National League knockout stages play out, and both are clearly two of the best teams in baseball. After trailing the Mets to 10 games in early June, the Braves had a frantic 64-24 run to really pull even with New York on Tuesday night. This will likely take place in the final week of the season, and the clubs actually meet in Atlanta the last weekend of the year. The stakes are high because the division winner will say goodbye and have a chance to set up their pitch the way they want in post-season.
5 out of 15
Can Baltimore steal a playoff spot?
Jessica Rapfogel-USA Sports TODAY
The Orioles are not said to be competing for a playoff spot in 2022, as their promising rebuild seems at least a year or two away. The organization seemed to indicate that they felt the same way when they swapped Trey Mancini and Jorge Lopez on the deadline. But youngster O has become one of the loveliest and most rooted players for baseball teams this summer, and while it’s still a long way off at 4.5 games back, Baltimore has six games left. Toronto and potentially robbing a playoff spot in the American League.
6 of 15
Will Sandy Alcantara Win the NL Cy Young Award?
Bill Streicher-USA Sports TODAY
Miami’s Player of the Year, Sandy Alcantara has been the best pitcher in the National League all year, and he certainly deserves the Cy Young award. Righty is a throw-in who has always gone deep in his games and has had an impressive four complete games. He leads the Majors in innings, and only Julio Urias has a slightly better ERA in the NL. Alcantara is about to have a bad game against the Braves, but as long as it’s not a harbinger of things to come, he should be able to end up strong enough to capture his first Cy Young.
7 of 15
How will the AL Center race go?
Ken Blaze-USA Sports TODAY
Aside from the air battle over NL East, AL Central was the only division still active to claim it. Minnesota led Center for most of the first half, but the Guardians have been going strong over the past month and a half to take a 2.5-game lead. The Twins and Guardians play against each other eight more times over the next few weekends, and how those games begin will determine the outcome of the division race.
8 out of 15
Which Dodger will lead the hit majors?
Sam Navarro-USA Sports TODAY
The high-powered Dodgers easily became the best team in Major League Baseball. They have a squad full of stars, and a depth that every club envy. This team actually has loads of wealth, but they’re being noticed by the top three in their batting order; Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner. Freeman and Turner are currently in a long-running battle for the MLB lead in hit counts, with speeds both well above 200.
9 of 15
Did Tampa Bay really catch the Yankees East of AL?
Kim Klement-USA Sports TODAY
For most of the past five months, one could not ignore the conclusion that the Yankees would capture the AL East title. The Bombers had a historic start to the 2022 season and carried that momentum for much of the first half. However, since the all-star tournament, things are not nearly as they should be. New York had a rough August that coincided with Tampa Bay getting hot. Hot enough to drop the Yankees’ lead to 4.5, and with one more head-to-head series left this weekend, they’ll have a better chance of surpassing that.
10 of 15
How many wins will the Dodgers end up with?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA Sports TODAY
Back to how good the Dodgers were. Baseball’s best team has won 94 games, and while they can slow down and rest some warm-up games over the next few weeks, they’ll easily surpass 105. But how many more are there? ? 110? Than? The 2001 Mariners claimed 116 wins, a record that still stands. Not sure LA will hit that total but how close can they come?
11 of 15
Can the Brewers get back into the playoff race?
Benny Sieu-USA Sports TODAY
For most of the first few months, the Brewers were locked in a tight race against the St. Louis at NL Central, but after a star-studded break, the Cardinals made it clear that they were at the level of the division. So what is left for the Brewers? Well, as of Wednesday night in a difficult situation. Milwaukee is 9 games behind the Cardinals and has lost 3.5 games. They need to keep running for the next few weeks, or they’ll be done looking in from the outside.
Kirby Lee-USA Sports TODAY
I mentioned Shohei Ohtani’s excellence before, but it really can’t be overstated how amazing he is. It’s a shame that an Angels team that employs both him and Mike Trout – understandably two of the best players in the sport – has consistently failed to build a team around them. Los Angeles will miss the playoffs again, so these last few weeks will be your last chance to see Ohtani play until next spring.
13 of 15
Does the draw affect how the teams play?
Scott Taetsch-USA Sports TODAY
During negotiations to end the cut-off, last March, MLB set up a draft draw that meant the worst-performing team would no longer automatically secure the number one pick in the draft. . That will increase competition as clubs won’t be willing to ease tensions in the hope of getting an even better draft spot. Under the old system, Washington, Oakland, Detroit and Pittsburgh are now in a fight to finish the worst by September.
14 of 15
No crash in San Diego around this time?
Orlando Ramirez-USA Sports TODAY
The Padres had a great start a year ago before dying a lot in the long run and missing out on the knockout stages entirely. That shouldn’t have happened around this time. Milwaukee was the only team able to snatch a post-season spot from San Diego, but the Padres had a nice cushion at the moment. This team has faced a lot of undue adversities in 2022 – largely caused by Fernando Tatis Jr – and it would be a good achievement for them to earn a post-season foothold and try play in October.
15 of 15
Seattle ends post-season drought
Joe Nicholson-USA Sports TODAY
The Seattle Mariners are currently mired in the longest post-season drought across America’s four major sports, as they haven’t made it to the knockout stages since all the way back in 2002. But good news for M’s fans, it’s a bad time coming to an end. Led by dynamic rookie star Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners are in a prime position to grab one of the US league’s berths, and once in, they won’t be easily overcome.
Justin Mears is a freelance sports writer from Long Beach Island, NJ. Loves being disappointed by the Mets and Cowboys, reading novels by Linwood Barclay, and being yelled at by his toddler son. Follow him on twitter @justinwmears.