With one week left to go in this historic 2020 season, the playoff race is heating up. A new format (8 teams per league) provides endless opportunities. With some teams already locked in, here’s a look at teams fighting for a spot.
Five AL teams have already punched their ticket to the dance, the Houston Astros are vying for the sixth playoff spot out of eight. They hold the 6th best record in the AL at 27-26, four games back of the 5th seed Yankees. Unless a complete disaster takes place in the final week the Astros are set to make the playoffs. The Mariners, Angels, and Rangers are all at least four games back of the Astros for 2nd place in the AL West.
The Cleveland Indians have fallen behind the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox in the standings, but are still a great team. They have, arguably, the best pitching staff in the league and a solid middle of the order in the lineup. They are currently five games over .500, good enough for 3rd place in the AL Central and the first wild card spot. Barring something terrible over the last week, they should assume one the Wild Card spots for the playoffs.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays were in prime contention of the 2nd AL East playoff spot at 26-20 a week ago, but have since dropped six of their last seven games. As of September 21st, they are still clinging to the second AL Wild Card spot at 27-26, but are still set to make the dance, unless they collapse and the Angels, Mariners, Orioles, or Tigers just about win-out to end the season.
Outside Looking In
The Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, and Kansas City Royals are currently not in the playoffs but are technically in the race. They would need to win-out and/or hope that the Blue Jays and/or Indians lose-out to have a shot.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have both clinched playoff berths, but virtually four teams have, as the Cubs and Braves will more than likely clinch within the next few days. The Miami Marlins are three games back of the Braves and currently hold the 5th seed at 28-25, good enough for the second NL East spot. They are in a heated race with the Phillies (27-26) for the spot, but the Marlins could make or break their season with a three game series against the Braves starting September 21st.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are currently the 6th seed but are just two games ahead of the Brewers and Reds for the second NL Central playoff spot. It will be a heated race in the last week, as the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds(who hold the 8th seed, 2nd NL Wild Card spot) are all within striking distance of each other for the second NL Central playoff spot.
At 27-26, the Philadelphia Phillies are holding on to the 7th seed, good enough for the 1st Wild Card spot. As mentioned before, they are one game behind the Marlins for the second NL East seed, and four games back for the division lead. They are more than likely going to stick around the Wild Card spots unless they can breakthrough and the Marlins fall.
The Cincinnati Reds are on a roll, winning eight of their last 10 games. They are within striking distance of the 26-24 Cardinals for the second NL Central playoff spot, and currently hold the second Wild Card spot. They start a three game series with the Brewers on September 21st, and it will most likely set a precedent for who gets the Wild Card spot, who gets closer to the Cardinals, and who gets knocked out.
Natiomal League Wild Card Race
While the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants are still in the thick of the postseason race, the New York Mets and Colorado Rockies are more than likely out of it. The Mets would need a sudden and bleak fall from the Phillies and Marlins in order to contend, but it is almost impossible. The Rockies and Washington Nationals would need the current Wild Card teams to fall, as well as the Giants to have any type of chance. The Brewers and Giants are going to need to have good finals weeks to catch the Wild Card or second division spot.
There will be some must see battles in the final week. Lots of teams are still playing for seeding, as well as their playoff lives. We should be in for a great final week and postseason in the coming days and weeks.
Embed from Getty Images