The baseball season is coming to a close and teams are looking to make a final push for the playoffs. Only the Angels have clinched a playoff berth as of Sept. 20. That means there are still seven spots remaining in the playoffs, all spots which will be determined in the final days of the season.
For the American League, there are only three spots remaining because the Angels have already won the AL West. The Angels clinched on Sept. 11, allowing them to use their last 17 games to break rookies in, rest players, setup their pitching rotation, and find the hungriest team fit for the playoffs.
In the AL East, the most surprising team in all of sports, the Tampa Bay Rays, are leading the division. Going into this season, the Red Sox and Yankees were favored by almost everyone to find the playoffs somehow. Now the Yankees are out of it, and the Red Sox are fighting to keep their spot as the wild card winner.
The AL Central is extremely tight between the White Sox and the Twins. The White Sox have the lead for now, but this race Is expected to stay heated until the end. The two teams faceoff in a three game series from Sept. 23-25. After that, the White Sox finish with three games against the Indians, and the Twins see the Royals for three games to wrap up the season. If the season were to end today, here would be the set-up for the first round of the playoffs:
1) Angels vs. 4) Red Sox and 2) Rays vs. 3) White Sox
As always around this time, the pressure thickens in the race to reach the MLB playoffs. The American league is looking like they have their candidates almost set in stone, but the National league is a whole different story.
As of right now, the only N.L team that is almost guaranteed a playoff spot is the Chicago Cubs. For once, we don’t have to see the St. Louis Cardinals with another division title. But other than the Cubs and the Cards, there are two other teams in that division who are knocking on the playoff’s door- the ever persistent Milwaukee Brewers and the out-of-nowhere Houston Astros. The Brewer’s have been wild card favorites all year and for a while it seemed as though they were going to get it. But as any baseball fan knows, no lead is ever safe. The Brew Crew is no longer in the lead for the wild card, as they trail the Mets. The Brewers also fired their manager recently in hopes to spark a turn around. It is not looking good for the Brewers at this point with the Phillies, Mets, and Astros on their tail. However at this point in the season, it looks like the Astro’s efforts are too little, too late. But like I said, no lead is ever safe.
Which brings me to the New York Mets. The Mets have managed to hold on to a slim division lead for a good part of the season. As of right now, the Phillies lead them by half a game. This situation is all too familiar to Mets fans after the unbelievable collapse that was suffered last season.
“We just got to win games.” Says Mets Manager Jerry Manuel. “If you win games, the rest will take care of itself.”
On the west coast, it’s looking like the Dodgers are going to win their division when all is said and done. The Diamondbacks were able to hold them off for as long as they could but the Dodgers have taken the lead in the division behind the bat of former Red Sox icon Manny Ramirez. The recent signing of Adam Dunn has not proven to be extremely helpful for the D-Backs as he has continued his pattern of striking out more than getting hits. As of right now, this is the projected first round of the N.L Playoffs:
1) Cubs vs. 4) Mets and 2) Dodgers vs. 3) Phillies.