MLB Playoff Race Outlook
The 2021 MLB season was filled with action-packed baseball. As a fan of the game there is not much more one could ask for.
As we inch towards a chilly October, though, that just means that things are just starting to heat up, and the race to get into the playoffs is tight among both leagues.
The American League Wild Card is up for grabs, the National League Wild Card is up for grabs, and some divisions are still undecided.
So let's jump right into some of these races and see what it is going to take to get into the MLB postseason.
National League East
Before the season began, the National League East looked like it was a powerful and stacked division, and many experts thought all teams were competitive enough to win the division.
As the season played out however, the entire division underperformed. As of right now, the Atlanta Braves have a two game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Although the Braves have a two game lead with nine games left in the season, that lead can easily be cut down by the Phillies.
When comparing the teams’ schedules, it is clear that the Phillies have a massive edge. The Phillies have a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins, two subpar teams.
On the other hand, the Braves have to play the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets, two above-average ball clubs.
However, the biggest series of them all is when these two teams take on one another.
Whoever can win the head-to-head series in the upcoming week, will be in the driver’s seat to take the division.
National League West
The National League West has been, arguably, the most fun division to watch this year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres were looked at to be the best of the best in baseball, but out of left field this year came the San Francisco Giants, who are currently leading the division.
As the playoffs near, the race in the West is between the Giants and the Dodgers.
One of them will take the division, while the other will play in a win-or-go-home wild card game.
Currently, the Giants have a one game lead over the Dodgers but this race could have a clear frontrunner.
The Dodgers have too much talent not to win this division, and the Giants just cannot keep up with that talent. Therefore, the Dodgers have a good chance to take the division, pushing the Giants to the wild card game.
National League Wild Card
Before this week came around, the National League wild card’s second spot was completely up for grabs.
With the first spot belonging to either the Giants or the Dodgers, depending on who wins the division, the second spot still has no clear winner.
The race is between the Philadelphia Phillies, the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Up until this week, the race could go any possible way, but the Cardinals had other plans. The Cardinals currently have a 12-game winning streak and are probably the hottest team in baseball.
St. Louis is showing the baseball world that it is a legitimate contending team.
The Cardinals have played steller baseball all around over the past 12 games and really look to be the favorites to take the second wild card spot as they are up 4.5 games over the next team.
American League Wild Card
Probably the most exciting race of them all is the American League wild card.
No team has been able to pull away from the pack, like the Cardinals were able to in the National League.
This race consists of five teams that could all potentially grab the spot.
The Red Sox have a solid two game lead over the New York Yankees for the top spot.
The Yankees and Red Sox face off head-to-head this weekend, and if the Yankees can come up with a sweep over the Red Sox, then Boston could be in trouble. If they split, or the Red Sox Sweep, the Red Sox are most likely a lock for a wild card spot.
The rest of the wild card race consists of the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners.
Currently, the Yankees have a one game lead over the Blue Jays, a two game lead over the Mariners, and a four game lead over the Athletics.
These four teams are all good teams who all win games that they are supposed to. With this being said, it is anyone's spot to grab over these final nine games.
It is truly up in the air as to which team will grab which spot, and it can really go anyway.
Max Savitt is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org