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If the Playoffs Started Today – MLB Week 21

Padres vs Rays: Week 21's prediction for the World Series

With just over a month left to go, things are finally starting to fall into place. Baltimore has officially been eliminated, and Pittsburgh could still win their division, if they win their last 32 and Cincinnati loses their last 32. The Yankees were the first team to 80 wins, but were joined hours later by the Rays. That leaves Boston 6.5 games out, with an elimination number of 26. If they’re not careful, Toronto will finish better. Even Baltimore could still mathematically do it. After being so close for so long, the Reds are 5.0 games ahead of the Cardinals, with Joey Votto and Albert Pujols competing for the Triple Crown. With waiver-wire trades coming to a close and the rosters about to expand to 40, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, August 30, before the day’s games:

National League

#1 San Diego Padres vs #W Philadelphia Phillies

This one is not a clear victory; the Padres have lost their last four and the Phillies have won their last three. The Padres were swept by Philadelphia in three games (including a shutout Sunday) and lost to Arizona before that. With the injuries to Philadelphia over, and Oswalt in the mix, I’d say Philadelphia has an excellent chance to advance.

#2 Atlanta Braves vs #3 Cincinnati Reds

Atlanta has won their last two, and in doing so, has managed to tie the Reds at 75-55. Atlanta won the season series 3-2, so they get home-field advantage. They’ll need it, and they have the best home record in baseball (46-18). That, and they’ll definitely need to keep Joey Votto in check.

American League

#1 Tampa Bay Rays vs #3 Texas Rangers

All of a sudden, Cliff Lee isn’t an advantage. Texas needs to hope that Tampa has given themselves false hope and confidence by beating the Red Sox’ abhorrent pitching. Big deal; little leaguers could do it at this point.

#2 Minnesota Twins vs #W New York Yankees

C.C. Sabathia was roughed up in his last victory, A.J. Burnett has been shaky, and Andy Pettitte’s performance once he returns from the DL in two weeks remains to be seen. With home-field advantage in a pitchers’ park, Minnesota needs their staff to utilize its familiarity with said park to jump all over the Yankees and tax their rotation.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With seven games to the Rays’ six (and all seven being home games), expect the Yankees to take back the division.
  • Both the Braves and Reds have two divisional series to deal with, but the Braves have seven games, and the Reds do visit the Cardinals. With the way the Cardinals have been playing, the Braves/Reds standing is a toss-up.

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