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June is coming to an end, and the All Star Game will be here before you know it. The Red Sox and Rangers are still fighting for #1 in the AL (with Detroit now right there with them). And the NL’s three best teams are all in the same division, which should make for a fun September. Despite another wave of injuries, the Yankees are hanging around as well. The Rays and even the Blue Jays are still in the mix, returning the AL East to the powerhouse division it once was. With everything that’s been going on, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, June 24, before the day’s games:
The Cardinals have lost three straight, a sweep at home to the Rangers. In addition, the Pirates are just one game behind. The Cardinals have lost their clout, and just like that are no longer a lock to make it far into the postseason.
Atlanta and Arizona have been similar as of late, but not only does Atlanta have the superior record, but they also have a much better cushion in their division with which to hone their team. While being kept tenser and more on the ropes isn’t a death sentence by any means for Arizona, it could just as easily catch up to them in the end.
Pittsburgh has won four straight, moving within a game of the Cardinals. The Reds haven’t been bad, but they haven’t been Pittsburgh either lately. The Pirates are riding a nice wave of momentum right now, and you know their fan base will be downright rabid to have playoff baseball back in Pittsburgh.
Five straight wins have Texas back in front of Boston. Getting a sweep in St Louis reestablished Texas as a firm contender, but Oakland remains only a game behind. Boston and Detroit are right there as well, so Texas still has their work cut out for them. They’re certainly holding up their end of the bargain, though.
Boston lost three of four in Detroit, but both teams are having bullpen issues, especially over what to do about the closer position. Both sides certainly have the power to run through the opposition, so this one could easily come down to who can stabilize their bullpen first. Also of note, Max Scherzer has established himself as Detroit’s pitcher to beat in lieu of Justin Verlander.
Neither team is at its best right now, but Baltimore is still edging out New York for the second Wildcard spot, while Oakland is still but a game behind Texas. With both sides this close, one mistake will decide the sudden death Wildcard game, and home-field advantage will help.