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The All-Star Break is here, and it’s still a chaotic time. The whole NL has gotten a whole lot closer. The AL West has the two best and two worst teams in baseball (including a tie between Arizona and Houston). Four divisions are led by no more than 1.5 games. Those teams looking for an edge in the playoff race have more incentive than ever to pull off a trade with a team in a selling mood. It’s an exciting time in the season, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, July 14:
The Dodgers are the latest team to hold sway in the NL, but remain just one game ahead of San Francisco and half a game ahead of Milwaukee, with many others right there with them. At this point in the NL race, each series would be completely exhausting to the winner, leaving the NL rep at a disadvantage in the World Series. The Dodgers have all the talent needed to overcome all the odds, but if they work too hard, could find themselves relying too heavily on Clayton Kershaw.
Milwaukee finally finished a seven-game losing streak (which was also one win apart from another four-game losing streak). Still, they remain in a competitive spot in the standings. Though with that recent history, Milwaukee could easily find things becoming too competitive in a hurry, giving the Nationals, who haven’t been too shabby lately, a great chance to move ahead.
The Giants are sticking in there, but they still need to put together a convincing winning streak after their recent and prolonged horrid run. The Braves have been a little streaky for the last couple of weeks, though there’s nothing like the Cubs to turn that around. Even if San Francisco can put up a good showing, Atlanta won’t make things easy on them.
Oakland is still in firm control of the AL, but the Angels are still hot on their tails. Still, with the rest of the AL well-behind, Oakland has a wealth of depth and ability to concentrate on the Angels. Having to burn their best pitcher in the Wildcard game would also certainly hurt Anaheim against Oakland.
Detroit took a quick two-game set against the Dodgers, followed up by three straight over Kansas City to reestablish themselves in the AL Central. The Orioles haven’t lost a series since June themselves, but have a shorter, less established rotation, which will definitely hurt against Detroit’s power.
The Angels have won five straight and 10 of 11. Seattle is in a great spot to keep #2, but with all the Angels have been doing, Seattle will simply have difficult keeping up, especially in a sudden death game against the likes of Jered Weaver and all of the Angels’ bats.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB Playoffs, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals