MLB post-season: races to watch

Around Canada, the main focus right now at on the Toronto Blue Jays. A team that currently sits first place in the American League East Division and is less than a week away from clinching a playoff spot for the first time in 22 years. The excitement around the Rogers Centre is growing as in 1992-1993, when the Blue Jays last won the World Series.

Blue Jays are still in a race in their division as the New York Yankees are not going away easily. With about two weeks left in the Major League Baseball season, a lot of division races are concluded, or in the Blue Jays and Yankees case, it’s heating up. Here’s a breakdown of divisional races.

American League East
It was August 25 when the Blue Jays took over the East division from the Yankees. Ever since, the Blue Jays haven’t looked back or have had any thoughts of letting the Yankees take the top spot. The division lead for the Blue Jays has been as high as 4.5 games, but the Yankees are still finding ways to keep it close.

Both teams are almost certain to making the playoffs, but both would prefer to win their division and avoiding the one-game wild-card playoff game (win or go home) if they were to finish second in the division. Blue Jays have the best record in the MLB since the all-star break and our now also trailing the Kansas City Royals for the best record in the American League.

Blue Jays are wrapping up their home schedule this weekend with a three game series versus the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. If all goes well this week the Blue Jays could clinch a playoff spot by the weekend. They’ll finish their season on a seven game road trip to take on the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Rays. Both teams have been struggling all season, so if the Blue Jays can have a successful series against the Yankees, the rest of the season should be a cruise, however, it’s baseball and anything can happen. For the Yankees, after the Blue Jays series, they play four home games versus a young Chicago White Sox team and four home games versus the Boston Red Sox before finishing, on the road, against the Orioles. Both the Blue Jays and Yankees seasons are light to end the season, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one breaks down.

American League Central
This division is all but over. The Minnesota Twins have been a solid team all year and held a postseason, but they have fallen off in the recent weeks. So the AL central division, for the second straight year, belongs to the Kansas City Royals. The Royals will have the Seattle Mariners at home for two games and the Cleveland Indians for four, before playing a make-up game versus the Chicago Cubs, then finishing on the road against the White Sox and Twins.

American League West
As much as it looked like the division belonged to the Houston Astros, their state rivals, the Texas Rangers have been as hot as they come and have cut the division lead by a lot in September. After a three game home series versus the Los Angeles Angels (who are also in the division race) the Astros welcome the Rangers for a three game series, which could determine the division. Astros finish with three each against the Mariners and Arizona D’Backs on the road. The Rangers get three games in Oakland before the Astros series, then three games at home versus Detroit and four versus the Angels.

National League (East, Central and West)
You can all but wrap these three divisions up. The St. Louis Cardinals have already clinched a playoff spot and have been ahead of each team in the NL central for a majority of the season. Though the Pittsburgh Pirates are not far behind, this division has belonged and will continue to belong to the Cardinals. The Pirates and Chicago Cubs are both in the central look to be heading to the NL wild-card game.

In the NL east, the New York Mets have broken the division wide open, and only the Washington Nationals can catch the Mets in the division. For the Nats, it won’t be an easy task with a minimum amount of games left. Then in the NL West the San Francisco Giants made it close a couple weeks ago, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have since taken control and look poised for another division title.

Wild-card
In the AL, the top spot in the wild-card will go to whoever does not win the east between the Blue Jays and Yankees; Then, the second spot will be a season-ending fight between the Rangers, Twins and Angels. There are other teams still in, but it’ll take a huge run to make it back into the race. Then the NL wild-card spots belong to the Pirate and Cubs, who’ll most likely play the one-game in Pittsburgh.
Predictions:
AL East – (Refuse to jinx it for a certain team)
AL Central – Royals
AL West – Rangers
AL wild-card – Yankees or Blue Jays and Astros
NL East – Mets
NL Central – Cardinals
NL West – Dodgers
NL wild-card – Pirates and CubsMLB_

 

 

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