Baseball playoff races heat upPosted on September 12, 2013 | by Brittany Yu
With less than 20 games left to play in the season, only a few teams in Major League Baseball have secured a playoff berth. Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening in each division:
The AL East has become more interesting than expected in terms of teams vying for a wild card. While it looks like Boston has a ticket to the playoffs, the Rays, Orioles and Yankees are all in the mix for one of the two wild-card spots. The Rays appeared to have locked down a wild card, but have lost seven of their last 10 games, lowering their playoff chances to 63.5 percent, while the Orioles and Yankees are slowly inching their way closer, only one and a half and two games back, respectively.
A year after being swept by the Giants in the World Series, it looks like the Tigers will once again take the division title. The second-place Indians remain only six back, but debates about resting star players before the playoffs have already begun for Detroit. With most conversations about the Tigers inevitably involving Miguel Cabrera, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be repeating his Triple Crown title from last year due to competition from the Orioles’ Chris Davis.
For most of the season, the Rangers and the Athletics have been trading places atop the AL West, while the rest of the teams in the division have just helplessly watched.
While the quietly successful A’s currently lead the Rangers by two and a half games, both teams will likely be playing October baseball. It’s just a matter of which team wins the division and which team takes a wild card spot.
The Braves have taken the NL East title and run away with it. They have a 12-game lead over the second place Nationals and are 30 games over .500 with an 87-57 record. The Nationals remain six games back in the wildcard race and still have a 1.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. The only concern for the Braves is Justin Upton, who is dealing with a knee injury.
The race in the NL Central is arguably the most fun to watch, as the Cardinals hold a measly half game lead over the Pirates and only two and a half games ahead of the third-place Reds. Assuming these three teams continue playing their best baseball, this race will come down to the wire and likely be decided in the last week of the regular season. Plus, the other two teams who don’t win the division will likely fill the wild card spots.
With the rest of the division playing mediocre baseball at best, the Dodgers have essentially guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs. They hold a 13-game lead over the second-place Diamondbacks while the Giants, Padres and Rockies would be lucky to end the season with a .500 record. The NL West has proven to be a more disappointing race than expected with the Giants and Diamondbacks falling short of expectations.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 12 print edition. Brittany Yu is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.