With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, teams are preparing for the postseason, trying to make the postseason, or waiting until next year. Here is a look at each divisional and Wild Card race. (Note: All records are through Sunday the 16th.)
American League East
The New York Yankees received a bit of ridicule by short-sighted fans when the team was falling vastly off the pace in the early part of the season. However, they sure gave the Boston Red Sox a scare after whittling a 14.5 game deficit on May 29 to 4.5 by Sept. 14. However, the injuries at the start of the year were too much. Boston has the division and the league’s best record locked up.
American League Central
The Detroit Tigers picked the absolute worst time to slump. From Aug. 28 to Sept. 4, the team went 2-5, losing series to the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland A’s. The Cleveland Indians blew past them and now have a commanding lead in the American League Central.
American League West
The Seattle Mariners did their best imitation of a Cinderella team, but a 1-13 record over a 15 day stretch in late Aug. and early Sept. showed that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were the class of this division. The Angels have two potential 20-game winners in John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar and four everyday players who could clear a .300 batting average in Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero, Orlando Cabrera, and Garret Anderson.
American League Wild Card
With their aforementioned bad play, the Mariners effectively took themselves out of contention for the Wild Card, but the Tigers may have a chance at catching the Yankees.
National League East
The division lead was openly available during the Mets’ 9 and 15 June, but the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves did not take advantage. The Mets now have the division locked up and are the consensus pick to represent the National League in the World Series.
National League Central
This division is so bad that the St. Louis Cardinals were feasibly in the race before their recent nine-game losing streak. Now, the winner will be either the Chicago Cubs or the Milwaukee Brewers. And the Cubs may be the team that’s less bad over the last few games.
National League West
It’s shaping up to be an interesting race in the NL. The Arizona Diamondbacks lead by two games over the San Diego Padres and have not totally dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers, who stand only 4.5 games off the pace. While the Diamondbacks are the team most likely to walk away with the division title, it’s hard to bet against the Padres or Dodgers, both of whom have deeper pitching staffs.
National League Wild Card
The two losers in the NL West will have to fight off the Phillies for the final entry into the postseason. The Padres should have the edge.
AL Representatives: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and New York Yankees
NL Representatives: New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres