The path to the postseason is only paved with gold for some. Teams like Philly, Milwaukee, and Detroit look to be safe strolling down the yellow brick road. Arizona also looks to be in the drivers seat in the NL West, but I would advise them to keep the throttle down with the defending champs still in the rearview mirror. The other 2 division leaders aren’t so lucky. And as October looms, it looks like we will still be treated with a few dog-fights before the season ends.
Heading down the stretch, the AL East and AL West are still up for grabs. In the AL West, the L.A Angels are 2.5 games back of the current division leaders, the Texas Rangers. Texas has 18 games left, 6 against Oakland, 6 against Seattle, 3 against Cleveland, and their final 3 games of the season against the Angels. Which is actually a pretty easy schedule, playing the bottom 2 teams in their division 12 times out of the remaining 18. The Angels have it a little tougher over their remaining 19 games. They start with a 3 game series against the Yankees, play a 4 game series against the streaking Jays, and finish with that pivotal 3 game series against Texas. It would be nice if that final series between the 2 teams was going to decide which team will be playing ball in October, but my hunch is that Texas will have the division clinched by then.
In the AL East it’s a similar story. The Boston Red Sox are also 2.5 games back of the team which is leading their division, The New York Yankees. The Red Sox have looked bad lately dropping 6 of their last 8, and their schedule isn’t going to do them any favours. They have 19 games left. Of those 19, 7 are against Tampa Bay, 3 against the Yankees, and 2 more against the Jays who just handed them 3 loses this week. The silver lining is that they have 7 more games against the abysmal Orioles. The Yankees have 20 games left, playing 14 of the 20 in 13 days, which doesn’t make for an easy home stretch either. They have another 7 against the Rays, 3 with games each against, the Jays, the Angeles, the Mariners, and of course the Red Sox. They also have a make-up game against the Twins. Now I know what your thinking, as good as the battle for first place will be, because of their dominate records, the loser will still make the post season via the wild card spot. Well that is the most likely outcome, lets not count out the Rays. They are 9 games out of first, and 6.5 out of the wild card spot, but they have a combined 14 games against the Yankees and the Bo Sox, and they did win the division last year. It is a big mountain to climb, but their fate is in their hands.
That brings us to the wild card race. Which has little to no excitement in store. In the National League, Atlanta has it all but locked up, with St. Louis and San Fran a ways behind. And in the American League it pretty much belongs to the loser of the AL East race, which right now looks like Boston. But as I said earlier the Rays are still in the mix, as well as the loser of the Texas/L.A battle, but they would have to make up a lot of ground.