The MLB season is beginning to draw to a close and now is the time to start looking at who is on top, who might still be in the playoff race and who is already looking for a better season next year. Some clear leaders are a shoo-in, but there are still some who are just hanging on. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.
The LA Dodgers, not surprisingly, have clinched the National League West title for the seventh consecutive year. Their participation in the pennant race was cemented on September 10, and the club is ready to take on the competition. They lead the Atlanta Braves for the top record in the NL and are looking to take the lead ahead of the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros as the best team in baseball.
The Braves want to keep the Dodgers from extending their lead. It has clinched its postseason spot already, adding the NL East title when they took down the San Francisco Giants last Friday. It now has 19 division titles, a tie with the Yankees for the most titles since 1969. However, the team has suffered a 15-year drought in winning the division.
The Astros are looking to hit one out of the park after the team scored its third straight American League (AL) West title this past Sunday. This is the fourth time in five years that the team has made it to the postseason and the Astros are one of just six teams in all of MLB history to have won 100 games or more in three consecutive seasons.
The St. Louis Cardinals have turned lemons into lemonade, earning their first trip to the playoffs since 2015. They are hoping to take the NL Central title, but will first have to overcome the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs in games across the final week of action.
The Yankees have done something they haven’t been able to accomplish in seven years. They have secured the AL East title and are now ready to make another postseason appearance, their third in as many years. There is still a lot of work to be done if they want to top the Astros with the best record in the AL and need a serious boost to secure postseason home-field advantage. Currently, the Astros hold the tiebreaker.
The Cubs are still in the running, but the chances of the team picking up the NL Central title are slim. The club has been on a losing streak, throwing five consecutive games by just one run. The organization is likely to see a major restructuring in the off-season as it looks to bring back its former glory.
The Minnesota Twins are hoping they can secure their first AL Central title since 2010. The club is working on it, but will need some extra mojo to pull it off. While they’re looking for the division title, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Nationals are hoping for an NL Wild Card berth. The Nationals could pull it off if they can beat the Philadelphia Phillies and they’re chances look good so far. The Phillies have lost five straight times against the Nationals when playing in Washington.
The Oakland A’s will most likely host the AL Wild Card contest. The A’s have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Cleveland Indians are down half a game behind the Rays. When the A’s go up against the LA Angels today, it will most likely be a contest that favors the Oakland squad. The Indians will take on the Chicago White Sox today, but whether they can muster the energy to secure the needed victories isn’t very likely.
The pressure is on and there isn’t much room for error at this point. Clutch performances are going to be the key to winning or losing, as well as securing a place in the postseason and a possible place in the World Series as the final regular season games find their winners.