MLB Down the Stretch

There’s one month left in the Major League Baseball season. For most of the country, fandom is leaning towards football now. But for baseball cities and fanbases whose teams are still in it, September will be a joyride into the playoffs for some, heartbreak for others.

AL East: This has been a 2 team race almost all season. This last month will be exciting between the Red Sox and Yankees. Boston has been struggling lately; they’ve looked somewhat mortal, but still hold a 7.5 game lead. Meanwhile, the Yankees just added Andrew McCutchen. This should help bolster their offense in hopes of overtaking the Red Sox. It definitely adds some firepower for the postseason.

AL Central: The Cleveland Indians are on cruise control at the moment. They’re sitting on a 14 game lead with only 29 games left to play. They also just added Josh Donaldson. It’s time for them to rest some guys and ensure everyone is healthy. Short of an historic collapse, the Indians will be in the playoffs.

AL West: The Houston Astros currently hold a 1.5 game lead over the Oakland A’s. The Seattle Mariners sit 7 games back. Oakland came out of nowhere with a strong August and put themselves into the mix. If Seattle doesn’t catch fire real soon, this division is down to just 2 teams.

NL East: The Atlanta Braves have surged ahead to take over the East. Philadelphia, once atop the division, has fallen to 2 games back. The Washington Nationals have essentially thrown in the towel, as evidenced by moving Gio Gonzalez at the August 31st deadline. Atlanta has a good, albeit young, offense and solid pitching. The Phillies have a good mix of veterans and youth.

NL Central: Three teams are fighting for the division lead and a playoff spot in the Central. The Chicago Cubs sit at the top with a 3.5 game lead over the St Louis Cardinals. The Milwaukee Brewers are 4 games back, but have looked lifeless at times since the All-Star break. The Cardinals seem revitalized with a new manager and are playing better than anyone at the moment.

NL West: The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently in 1st place in the West. Who saw that coming in April? The Dodgers are 1 game back and the Colorado Rockies are a half game behind them. It looks as though the San Francisco Giants have checked out after dealing McCutchen. This is the tightest race in MLB. A lot of attention will be looking west this month to see how it pans out. I think the Dodgers are the best team here, but have been very inconsistent all season.

AL Wild Card: The New York Yankees and the Oakland A’s are currently holding the Wild Card spots. The Mariners sit 5.5 games off the pace. Again, if Seattle doesn’t make something happen immediately, the playoff picture is fairly clear in the American league.

NL Wild Card: The St Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers hold the Wild Card spots for now. But the NL Wild Card race is going to be intense over the next month. The Dodgers are 2.5 games back, the Rockies and Phillies are 3 games back. Five teams will be vying for 2 spots. If the Dodgers take over the lead in the West, then the Diamondbacks are in the Wild Card mix. Like I said, eyes will be looking west this month.

This is a great time of year for sports fans. Baseball is heading to the postseason and football is kicking off. We’ll even have hockey back in a little over a month. But for fans of these baseball teams that are in the hunt, September promises to be exciting, intense, heartbreaking, you name it. But this is why we love it.

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