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We’re now into June, and things can still be interesting to try to read. While the top five NL teams are fairly safely in their spots, Everyone except Toronto in the AL East is either in the playoff scenario or half a game out. Detroit is still having a rough time holding off Cleveland. At least the Astros are still around where we expected them to be, despite a five-game winning streak. Especially with many teams so close in the AL, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, June 3, before the day’s games:
What more can be said about the Cardinals, who already have 20 road wins in 56 overall games? With Albert Pujols gone, and Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright seemingly taking turns on the DL each season, the Cardinals have shown that they can get by with minimal star power and flourish, which limits the distractions and improves the overall focus of the team.
These two actually have the worst records out of any two of the five NL playoff teams, though the stacked NL Central certainly helps with that. Atlanta isn’t perfect, but has kept it together when they had to in order to avoid losing NL East ground. Arizona has done the same in the NL West, but can’t afford to take anything for granted just yet. At this rate, the home crowd and the Uptons give Atlanta an edge, but an Arizona win wouldn’t be at all surprising either.
Thanks to a sweep of Cincinnati in April, Pittsburgh gets to host this one. That could wind up being very important, as both teams have identical records and are noticeably better at home. With both teams having some good pop all over the field, the slightest moment would decide this sudden death game.
Once again Texas is on top of the AL, but they lead Boston by one game and Oakland by two. That doesn’t mean they’re doing poorly, though; they’re still the team to beat in the AL. However, Texas will need to keep up some good work in order to remain on top, something that they’re very capable of doing.
Detroit is having a hard time getting things together right now. Justin Verlander is anchoring the pitching staff, while Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez are holding the lineup down, but right now not even all of them are enough to do much for Detroit’s postseason chances. Boston has had some rough patches this season, but unless Detroit can get the whole team clicking, Boston should have a successful return to the playoffs.
Last year’s AL surprise teams are back in the same spots again. Oakland may have won their division on the final day of the season last year (the only day they held the division lead), but even with their recent tear, Texas won’t let the division go again without a fight. Still, with Oakland’s 14 wins in 16 games, they have plenty of momentum which Baltimore will be hard-pressed to reverse.