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MLB Season with a Month to Go

By: Frank Jordan
Date: Sep 5, 2016
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There are some races that are over such as the AL West where Texas has a 9.5 game lead, NL East where Washington has an 8.5 game lead and the NL Central where the Cubs have a 16.5 game lead. With that being said the AL East is a three team race, AL central isn’t quite locked up yet, the NL west still up for grabs, and the wildcards in both leagues have several teams fighting for the last two spots.

The AL East is the tightest race in any division with Toronto currently in first with Boston just a game back and Baltimore is still fighting for a shot just three games back. Toronto has three games with Baltimore and six games left with Boston including the last series of the season. Toronto has 13 games left at home (40-28) and 13 games left on the road (37-31). Boston has a bit of a tougher road with 16 games on the road (35-30) and 10 at home (41-30). Boston will basically have their fate in their own hands with seven games against Baltimore and six games with Toronto including the last series of the season at Fenway. Baltimore has seven games left with Boston and just three with Toronto as they finish their season in the Bronx. Baltimore has 15 games left on the road (29-37) and 11 at home (45-25). With Boston and Baltimore having more games on the road than at home the Blue Jays will take the division for the second year in a row behind solid pitching and riding that strong offensive line up with Boston finishing three games back and Baltimore four behind the pace.

The AL Central is a two team race with Cleveland in first at 79-56 with Detroit as the closest pursuer at 5.5 games back heading into this last month of baseball. Cleveland has 14 games on the road (34-33) and 13 games at home (45-23). Cleveland and Detroit have two series left including a big four game set in Detroit in the second to last series of the season. Detroit has 12 games left on the road (35-34) and 14 games at home (39-28). Cleveland has dominated Detroit in head to head matches winning 11 of the first 12, but those were all in the first half of the season and they still have seven games left to determine things. Look for Cleveland to still do well against Detroit in head to head match ups to take the division by four games leaving Detroit to fight for the wildcard.

The NL West looked like a run away for the Giants as they had the top record in the league at the All-Star break, but the second half has been a killer with an awful record and losing their division lead falling three games back of the Dodgers. The Dodgers have 16 road games (32-33) and just 10 home games (44-27). The Dodgers and Giants play two more series the rest of the way one in each stadium, but the last series of the year is in San Francisco. San Francisco has 13 road games (35-33) and 13 home games (38-30) remaining. The Dodgers are getting Kershaw back Friday which should be a big boost to the team and the rotation, but how healthy is he? Look for Kershaw to help, but with the bulk of their games on the road it won’t be enough as the Giants turn it on and win the series in the last weekend of the year to take the division by one game and see them playing strong to end the year like they were in the first half.

The AL Wildcard is a crazy logjam with Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, NY Yankees, Kansas City and Seattle all within five games of a playoff spot. Currently Boston is in first place and Baltimore and Detroit are tied for the second one with Houston two games back, NY Yankees 3.5 games back, Kansas City trailing by four and Seattle five games back, but a ton of teams to jump over to make it. Down the stretch it will be Boston and Detroit capturing the wildcard spots with Baltimore fading in the last week, Houston and Kansas City falling just short, the Yankees playing well but not enough hitting to get in, and Seattle just too far back to make any kind of run.

The NL Wildcard is nearly as bunched up as the AL with San Francisco in the top spot, St. Louis in the second spot, the NY Mets a game back, Pittsburgh 3.5 games back and Miami four games back. Miami and Pittsburgh have been playing poorly of late and they will fade off to make a three team race between San Francisco, St. Louis and NY Mets. San Francisco will take the NL West which means the Dodgers will fall down to a wild card spot with the Cardinals winning the second spot as they edge out by a game over the NY Mets.

The last month of the season will be a very entertaining one with every game carrying weight for a playoff spot. The playoff teams will be Toronto, Cleveland, Texas, Boston and Detroit in the AL. The NL playoff teams will be Washington, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco, LA Dodgers and St. Louis. Enjoy the action!

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