bill-swift - September 29, 2012
You would think that after more than 150 games that the playoff picture might be pretty clear, right? If that was the case fans would have little reason to watch baseball this last week not to mention how boring that would be.
For many of the Boys of Summer the last six or seven games still hold a lot of meaning. Much of the National League playoff picture is set, but the American League is still very much up for grabs. If you're wondering who is in and who will be in just keep reading!
IN: Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds (Central Division champs), and San Francisco Giants (West Division champs)
The East division champs and exactly who the two wildcards are going to be are all that still need to be decided. Washington has all but locked up their first division title, but technically the Braves still could overtake them (four games back with six games left). It would make for an incredible swan song for Chipper Jones, but that kind of stuff only happens in the movies.
Atlanta will likely be one of the wildcards with the other going to the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, or Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cards are in the driver's seat with a 3.5 and 4.0 game lead over the other two with six games to play. However their remaining six are against Washington and Cincinnati so it will not be easy for them to lock up the final spot.
Los Angeles will have a hard time making up the deficit with a tough three-game series against the Giants. Should the Cards slip and go on a losing streak to end the season the Brewers could catch them; their last six are against the lowly Astros and Padres.
Each division in the American League is technically still up for grabs which means the wildcard spots are up in the air as well.
Texas is the closest to locking in a trip to the post season, but doing so will not be easy with three remaining against the Angels and the Athletics to end the season. One win over the Angels will knock them out of the division race, but Oakland could make for a real test at the end of the season. Should Texas sweep the Angels they can lock up their third straight division title.
The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox will need to take the Central in order to make the post season. Chicago will have its work cut out for them with three more against the surging Tampa Bay Rays (and three against Cleveland) while the Tigers have a much easier route with a series left against the Twins and Royals.
The race to watch has been the AL East. New York has just a single game lead over the surprising Baltimore Orioles. Fortune favors the Yankees over the last six games. They have a series against the Blue Jays and Red Sox remaining while the Orioles will also play the Red Sox, but finish against the tough Tampa Bay Rays.
With such a long history of losing it would be nice to see the Orioles take the division, but if they don't they should still take one of the wildcard spots. The Angels will likely be out of the race after their series with the Rangers leaving the final spot up to either Oakland or Tampa Bay.
Texas could very well do the Rays favor if they can win out over the A's. Tampa Bay will have their hands full with a three game series to end their season against the Orioles.
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