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August is nearing its end, and teams have less than a week to use the waiver wire to acquire new talent. Oakland is still having trouble with the Angels. Kansas City is still working on building a more permanent home atop their division. The NL Wildcard race is fairly stable, but still close and frantic. A lot could still happen in the last month or so of the season, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as Monday, August 25, before the day’s games:
The Nationals continue to roll, having won 12 of their last 13. They are slowly building up a lead in the NL, and with no other NL team performing nearly at this level, Washington is also building themselves into a favorite to reach the World Series.
Each side is still treading water, finding it difficult to put together a meaningful streak. Los Angeles has a wealth of talent, especially in their rotation, but is running into several health issues. And every once in a while, Yasiel Puig acts too rashly. Even so, Milwaukee as a whole will need to do a lot more to work their way around facing Clayton Kershaw twice in five games.
The Giants are still fending off Atlanta and Pittsburgh, for now, but haven’t been able to gain ground thanks to a tough series against Washington. The Cardinals are in a more comfortable position, even after dropping two of three to Philadelphia. St Louis went to the World Series last season, and has a strong roster again. They’re also much better at home, so San Francisco will need to be on point, especially in a sudden death scenario.
By salvaging a game over Oakland, the Angels remain in baseball’s top spot. They have plenty of things going for them, but will certainly miss Garrett Richards in their rotation during their title pursuit. Bartolo Colon is an attractive name on the waiver wire, but will cost $11 million in 2015, and Oakland could definitely put in a claim simply to block him going to Anaheim. Either way, the Angels still have plenty left and remain a very dangerous team.
The Royals aren’t exactly as invincible as they were during the stretch that got them to this point, but haven’t lost a series in over a month. That’s good news for them, especially after Baltimore was swept in Chicago (Cubs) after getting a sweep in Chicago (White Sox). To stop the Royals, the Orioles will need to do better than beating up on the White Sox.
Thanks to the Red Sox, Seattle is back in the Wildcard hunt. Oakland did take two of three from the Angels, but remain 3-7 in their last 10. However, Seattle hasn’t had much practice against playoff teams, with their last series against one coming against Baltimore to start August. Seattle also hasn’t won a series against a playoff team since the All Star break. You can never count out Seattle when Felix Hernandez is on the mound, but Seattle doesn’t always give him as much run support as they could.
Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB Playoffs, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals