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MLB Playoffs Sure to be Exciting

Sam Allery, Sports Section Editor

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With one month left, no team is safe.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs start in less than two weeks, many spots are still up for grabs. Three of the six divisions have a guaranteed winner, and all four wild card spots are still open. With over half the league’s teams vying for just 10 spots, who knows what the next month will bring.

American League East

For most of the season, the American League (AL) East has been the closest division is baseball. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are both competing for the number one spot. The Yankees are currently three games behind Boston and have recently closed the gap. Considering they were much further behind Boston less than a month ago, The Yankees certainly have made progress. But the club who comes in 2nd place in the division will win one of the Wild Cards.

But the Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated from the race days ago with a mediocre record of 70-80, while the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles were eliminated more recently.

American League Central

Coming off of their 22-game winning streak, the Cleveland Indians have clinched their division. However, that doesn’t mean all the other teams will miss out on the October action.

The Chicago White Sox have had the worst record in the AL for a while, and the Tigers have fallen to 25 games below .500 after deciding to be sellers at the deadline. That leaves the Kansas City Royals, who aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, and the Minnesota Twins who are currently still in the playoff picture.

Kansas City is five games out of the Wild Card picture as the season comes to a close, but the Twins have possession of the second wild card spot. This means that the Royals have to catch fire if they have any chance of making the playoffs, and Minnesota can’t fall into a slump.

American League West

The American League West was practically won in May. The Houston Astros were on pace for about 106 wins around this time and they haven’t let up since. The Astros have a 15-game lead on the Los Angeles Angels and they clinched it halfway through September. They are sure to be a dangerous team in October.

The Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers all have records under .500, and all but Oakland have been mathematically eliminated. This means Oakland will most likely will fail to make the playoffs. The Angels on the other hand, still have a chance. They are 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot, but with the reigning MVP Mike Trout on the team, no gap is too large.

National League East

Just like the American League Central and American League West, the National League (NL) East has already been decided. On September 10th, the Washington Nationals became the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Unlike other divisions, the fate of every team has already been decided. The Philadelphia Phillies have one of the worst records in baseball, the New York Mets’s record isn’t much better, the Braves have been eliminated, and Giancarlo Stanton’s Marlins were the last of the bunch to go down swinging.

National League Central

This is another very close race. The defending champion Chicago Cubs are leading the way, but their 3.5 game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers is no where near a big enough gap to ensure safety.

The Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals (six games out of first) are all still in contention in the NL Central. Unfortunately for the Brewers and Cardinals, a division win is likely the only way to make the playoffs due to the intense competition for the NL wild card.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are no where close to the playoffs. Both teams have an over 15-game deficit behind the Cubs, even though these clubs feature former MVPs Joey Votto and Kris Bryant.

National League West

The NL West has been one of the more competitive races of the year. The Giants have the worst record in baseball despite being in the middle of a dynasty just three years ago, and the Padres also have been out of the race for quite a while now, but the remaining teams are all in the running.

The Colorado Rockies are fighting for the second Wild Card spot and the Arizona Diamondbacks have a six game lead for the first spot. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the best records by any team in years, making them prime candidates for a championship.

The MLB postseason begins on October 3rd with the AL Wild Card game.

Giancarlo Stanton swings for the fences in a 2015 game against the division rival Phillies. Despite Stanton’s home run, the Marlins lost the game 7-3.
(Corn Farmer via Flickr/CC BY-ND Gian2.0)

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MLB Playoffs Sure to be Exciting