As the calendar is close to turning to the month of September, it is obvious that if you follow major league baseball, most of the division races, as well as the wild card spots, are still highly up for grabs.
It has been a great Summer for baseball, and as we now head into the final 35-40 games, it looks like just about anything can happen.
As I was reviewing things this morning, the thing that really stands out to me is that for the second year in a row, the Tampa Bay Rays are making the late hard push for a playoff berth by playing their best ball of the year. Their pitching is great, and the return of Evan Longoria hasn’t hurt. Looking at the standings, Tampa is only 3 games behind the NY Yankees.
For all of you “southsiders” from Chicago, the White Sox just swept the Yankees in Chicago for the first time since 1991. The Sox are trying (and succeeding) of keeping the Detroit Tigers at bay in the American League Central.
Out West in the AL, my beloved Texas Rangers have been able to hold onto first place almost the entire season. They are 5 up on the very surprising Oakland “moneyball” Athletics. The disappointing LA Angels are 8 1/2 back. The manager’s chair in LA can’t be real comfortable right about now.
Besides the teams in first place, teams with a realistic chance of garnering those 2 wild card slots could still be the aforementioned Tampa, Detroit, Oakland, as well as the Baltimore Orioles.
In the National League, the Cincinnati Reds are playing wonderful baseball, and with the return of Joey Votto, they look to be the team to beat in the NL.
The Washington Nationals are solid in the East. But with the status of Stephen Strasburg up in the air as to when he will be shut down, they are still a question mark as to how far they may advance.
In the West, as has happened numerous times throughout baseball history, the Dodgers & Giants are battling it out for West coast supremacy. Right now, the Giants with the better pitching, seem to be in control. With Tim Lincecum pitching better as of late, this only solidifies the Giants standing.
Wild card possibilities would be Atlanta, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, or LA.
If you get the opportunity, try to get out to see some games. I realize football is right around the corner. But in my mind, baseball is still “America’s Pasttime,” and we are in for another wild ride to the finish line.