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If the Playoffs Started Today – MLB Week 17

Nationals vs Rangers: Week 17's prediction for the World Series

Only about a month and a half remain in the season, and teams are still making plenty of pushes. Both leagues have new leaders, the Wildcard races have undergone changes and two divisions are led by just a game (none by more than 5.5). There’s still plenty of opportunity to take advantage of other teams before season’s end, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as Thursday, August 9 at 8:30pm:

National League

#1 Washington Nationals

Behind five wins in a row, the Nationals are back on track and two games ahead of the rest of the NL. The Nationals certainly have the tools to win, but in the suddenly more volatile top of the NL, they’ll have to put some more room between them and the competition to be more believable.

#2 Cincinnati Reds vs #3 San Francisco Giants

All of a sudden, Cincinnati has lost four straight. However, they’re still a muscular 5.5 games ahead of San Francisco. The Giants are good themselves, but they’ll need Hunter Pence to have more than two decent games to overtake Cincy’s talent pool.

#W1 Atlanta Braves vs #W2 Pittsburgh Pirates

All of a sudden, Pittsburgh has lost their best chance to win in their home-field advantage. With the Pirates’ relative playoff inexperience, any sort of mistake or slip against Atlanta‘s talent pool will be disastrous.

American League

#1 Texas Rangers

Texas has slightly rebounded with two straight victories, albeit against Boston. Having made it to the World Series two straight years clearly proves they have enough abilities, but a little more consistency wouldn’t hurt their chances.

#2 New York Yankees vs #3 Chicago White Sox

The Yankees are trying to rebound, coming off of two straight wins in Detroit. Ironically, that’s the difference in Chicago‘s lead in the AL Central. Chicago is reeling a bit after two straight home losses to Kansas City, which put the advantage squarely with New York’s bank roll.

#W1 Oakland Athletics vs #W2 Baltimore Orioles

Both teams are neck and neck, but Baltimore has exploded back into the race with five wins in a row. Oakland has won two in a row, against the Angels no less, but in a series between two teams so close even home-field advantage won’t mean much, momentum means everything.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With New York hosting Texas, two out of three could easily be good enough to retake the AL.

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