There’s one week left of play in the regular season, and it’s truly do-or-die time for some clubs around the league. As the playoff picture takes form and more squads find themselves on the chopping block, here is a clearer picture as to who is in, and who is not.
The Red Sox sealed up their third consecutive divisional crown this past week, doing so in the Bronx thanks to a four-hit game from MVP candidate Mookie Betts. However, the sour taste of the Sox 11-6 clincher wouldn’t last long for Yankees fans. Two days later, the Yankees clinched a postseason berth in walk-off fashion beating the Orioles. With the Boston eyeing up a first-place seed in the AL, they face New York in the division series in what would be a contested series.
There’s not much to say here except that the AL Central is the least entertaining division in all of baseball. The Indians are currently just cruising through the last stretch of games and will most likely be on the road to start the postseason. Additionally, they are looking to have the worst record out of the American League postseason teams, including both wild card teams. Ouch.
In the West, the Astros have already guaranteed themselves a berth in the playoffs. At the same time, winning 7 of their last 10 has helped keep them cemented atop the division with a comfortable lead. On the flip side the Athletics, who entered the season with the lowest payroll, are not only one mere game away from a playoff berth but are within striking distance to take the first-place wild card spot away from the Yankees. With the Yankees on the road in Tampa and then Boston this week, it is possible the 2018 postseason will open in Oakland.
Struggles for the Philadelphia Phillies have not slowed since the month of August ended, leaving the door wide open for the Braves to take a strong hold of the division. With a win over Phillies en route to a sweep, the Braves clinches their first NL East title since 2013, eliminating the Phillies from contention whatsoever. Brb I’ll be crying in my room.
If close playoff races fill you with excitement, this is your week. The Cubs hold a two game over the red-hot Brewers in the division race. Milwaukee sits at the top of the NL wild card by two games over the Cardinals. One week from now, it’s tough to say what the standings may look like. However, with the Cardinals playing both the Brewers and then the Cubs, they have a good shot to jump ahead into the first wild card spot and plausibly the division. Only time will tell.
With such a strong NL wild card race, the Dodgers’ and Rockies’ best shot to clinch for a postseason berth is by taking the division. With only 1.5 games separating the two, the Dodgers will hit the road to take one the D-Backs and Giants, while the Rockies must defend their home turf against the struggling Phillies and Nationals. It’s a fifty-fifty shot in the dark to who will win the NL West, and the crucial 1.5 game-lead for Los Angeles might be a deciding factor.