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The season goes on, and while both East divisions remain tight top-to-bottom, the others now have clear leaders. The Wildcards remain tight, as does the race for #1 in the NL. Some teams are dealing with injuries, others are trying to get better performances out of a few guys. It’s a delicate time, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, May 19 at 8:00pm:
The Giants, continuing to pick up their game, have finally surpassed Milwaukee for the NL’s top spot. They have a great compliment of bats all over the field, They have some good arms, though they could use a little more consistency. Just imagine, for example, if Tim Lincecum were to rediscover his Cy Young caliber form.
The Brewers have been having problems putting together any momentum lately, and just lost a series (including being shut out once), to the MLB-worst Cubs. Despite a tough stretch in San Francisco and St Louis, the Braves retain their lead in the division. Those two always play you hard, and a sweep of the Cubs before that helped. Atlanta will still want to improve their game, especially against the better teams, but if Milwaukee struggles at all, Atlanta can certainly take advantage.
The Nationals recovered last week from a sweep in Oakland to keep pace with Atlanta. The Rockies had a similarly tough week, which let the Giants take advantage. And Washington is only a game behind. Both sides are similar, though Colorado is still out a big bat in Michael Cuddyer. Colorado can’t afford poor health in a sudden death game against Stephen Strasburg.
Detroit has won six straight to expand their lead in the division to seven games. Oakland is regaining form, but with Detroit’s all-around game, it may still not be enough.
The Yankees have retaken the AL East lead, but Oakland has won three straight and nine of ten. To compound New York’s troubles, their division is very close, CC Sabathia is out until at least July and Shawn Kelly and Carlos Beltran are now on the DL as well. Oakland has a clear advantage here.
The Angels have gotten into some winning ways, building a 1.5-game lead in the Wildcard race. The Orioles have lost their last two games, and more importantly, All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to an elbow injury. The Orioles are wondering whether or not he’ll even return this season, and if so, he could be rather delicate, as the team would be without his presence.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB Playoffs, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals