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We’re rapidly getting down to the last month of the season, but nothing has slowed down yet. The AL is still tough as ever, though Oakland is starting to fall off just a bit. Pittsburgh’s troubles are finally catching up with them, which has served to make the NL Central race and NL overall a lot more interesting. Teams are frantically searching the waiver wire and free agent markets for extra help that could lift them over the hump, or at least avoid the embarrassment of earning the top overall draft pick. In this rush for the extra-important #1 seed, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, August 26 at 7:05pm:
Atlanta hasn’t been the best lately (5-5 in their last 10), but they’ve still been good enough to maintain a two-game lead in the NL. Still, they’re an excellent home team with plenty of talent to offer, so look for good things from them.
The Dodgers and Pirates are tied at 76-54 (along with the Cardinals). The Dodgers have come down to Earth from their amazing run, but they still have a 9.5-game lead in the NL West, while the Pirates will have to exhaust their energy to get a decent position for the playoffs. Taken together, that puts the Dodgers in a good position.
The Reds are slowly making their way back into the NL Central, while the Cardinals have already done so, now tied for the #2 spot. Even making their way back into the divisional race, the Reds can’t seem to make up much ground on St Louis specifically, so the Cardinals are still a safe bet.
The Tigers continue to reign over the AL behind clear Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer. With only a game on Boston, though, they can’t afford to rest up. Fortunately for them, the Tigers have a lot more ability than just Scherzer, and can beat just about anyone when they’re clicking.
After a very brief time falling behind Tampa, Boston has once again secured a 1.5-game lead in the AL East. That’s helped them stay shortly behind Detroit, and just ahead of Texas. Boston is a streaky team right now, which is sure to cost them eventually, but if the go into the playoffs on an upswing, they could conceivably get by the first round to fight another day.
After another very brief hegemony in the AL East, the Rays fell back following two losses in Kansas City. The Athletics are now 2.5 games behind Texas, which isn’t a death sentence but will be difficult to erase. For the moment, Tampa is still a very dangerous team that could be a dark horse contender. It’s not that Oakland can’t win, but the odds are against them.