With the final month of the MLB regular season just on the horizon, it is important to hone in on the races that will matter most as teams jockey for postseason position. Let’s start with the National League division races.
National League East:
The Washington Nationals have this division all but wrapped up as we enter September. Even though major injury concerns continue to mount for this squad, look for them to be fully ready for October baseball. The Nationals will easily grab this pennant again.
National League Central:
In one of the more hotly contested pennant races, the Chicago Cubs look to stay atop this division, yet the Milwaukee Brewers are breathing heavily down their necks. The Brewers are just two games back from the Cubs, and look poised for one more key run to avoid being put into the Wild Card round. Also, don’t forget about the St. Louis Cardinals, as they only sit 3.5 games back.
National League West:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a commanding lead of this division with an astounding 20 game lead over the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers should be the first team to punch their postseason ticket, with the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks competing for a coveted Wild Card spot.
National League Wild Card:
As mentioned previously, the Rockies and Diamondbacks should be the top contenders for the Wild Card spots. However, do not forget about the Brewers and Cardinals during the final month of the season. I expect for either the Rockies or Diamondbacks to falter at some point during September, which will make way for a new contender in the final Wild Card standings.
American League East:
After a key series win versus the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox look poised to win the AL East crown. With a current five game lead over the Yankees, look for the Red Sox to increase their lead as the regular season comes to a close.
American League Central:
The Cleveland Indians have a five game lead over the Minnesota Twins, and look ready to defend their American League crown again. I would expect for Minnesota to put up a fight for the pennant, but eventually fall short to the talent-loaded Indians.
American League West:
As much as the Houston Astros have faltered during August baseball, it would be tough to see them giving up their 12 game lead over the next contender up, the Los Angeles Angels. Although the Astros should qualify for a postseason series, look for their time to be short come October, as the other contenders are playing much better baseball down the stretch.
American League Wild Card:
The New York Yankees are solidified in the top Wild Card spot with a 2.5 game lead over the Twins and Angels. As much as many of us had written off the Angels earlier in the season when star outfielder Mike Trout went down with a key injury, the Angels are right back in contention, and playing their best baseball of the season. Look for the Angels and Yankees to qualify for the Wild Card spots, while the Twins will have to wait for next year.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Dodgers Official Website: mlb.com/dodgers
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