The longest regular season is coming to a close as the Major League Baseball playoff teams begin to get set. From April to the early October, 30 teams battle through a gruesome 162 game schedule in hope of just making it to the playoffs. As the end is almost here, some have punched their ticket, others are close, and some look to fall short despite a well-played season.
Who Is In:
The best record at 105-50 and the first to clinch their division goes to the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are lead by a Cy Young Candidate in Chris Sale and potential American League MVPs J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts. This is the first time in franchise the Red Sox have won a back-to-back-to-back division title. The Cleveland Indians just did the same thing. Offensively, they are led by another duo of MVP candidate, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, and a phenomenal pitching staff that includes the first rotation with four pitchers (Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber) striking out 200+ batters each. Also in are the defending champs Houston Astros. They have clinched their playoff berth but it is still unclear if they will win their division with still a week left. Their +259 run differential is the best in all of baseball.
The National League is madness right now as only one team has clinched a playoff spot. The Atlanta Braves have clinched their first division title in five years. That team is led by a trio of young superstars in Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Dansby Swanson and their veteran leadership from Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis.
Who Is Close:
For the American League, the final playoff spot most likely will go to the Oakland Athletics. They have come out of nowhere this season after only winning 75 games which them fifth in the American League West.
The National League Central and West are still up for grab with Wild Card spot implication. The National League Central is a three-team race between the current division leader Chicago Cubs, followed by the Milwaukee Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals. For the west, it is now just down to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies after a 5-16 losing skid by the Arizona Diamondbacks this past September. All have explosive line up with potential MVP candidates and stellar pitching during this final stretch of the season.
Who Just Falls Short:
For the American League it is the Tampa Bay Rays. Not much was expected out of the Rays this season but they gave fans a reason to follow even after trading their top pitchers including Chris Archer and a few of their top hitters. The team might still have something to celebrate if Cy Young hopeful, Blake Snell wins the award. He has quite the resume and has at
least one more start to bolster it. This season he is 21-5 with 1.90 earned run average, 211 strikeouts, 0.96 WHIP, and 10.81 strikeouts per nine innings.
When it comes to the National League, it is too close to call with both division races with 4.5 games and a week of games still to be played.
If none of these are your favorite team, better luck next year.
Data as of 9/23/18