Only Six More Weeks? More Seconds Please!

In the last few days we saw Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners get 16+ hits over a span of four games for the second time in MLB history. To be exact, he got 17 hits in 22 at bats. Wow, just wow! While this is history made by one player… on one team it is still amazing at this time of the season to see such a thing making headlines. With that, let’s look at where the playoff races are in both leagues.

As this is being written all of the games on Sunday have concluded and if the playoffs were to start on Monday the American League (AL) playoff teams would be the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Houston (Cheating) Astros. This would leave the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees out of the playoffs. The New York Yankees would also finish last in the AL East for the first time since 1991. Lucky for both those teams there are six weeks left for both of them to try to push the Toronto Blue Jays down to last!

Now, let’s take a look at the National League (NL) playoff teams.  If the playoffs were to start tomorrow! In the NL we’d be seeing the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, San Fransisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers battle it out for a pennant! In that group we have the team that has remained the best in the NL all season and, well, a team that is not expected by many fans to win more than 79 games and thus would be missing the playoffs… the Cubs of course.

Alright, now it is time to get into the nitty gritty of where these races are going. Will we actually see the Yankees and Red Sox miss the playoffs? Will Dusty Baker take the Astros on another deep playoff run and get back to the Fall Classic for the fourth time as a manager? Are the Braves out after the division series? Will the Cubs get back to the Championship series for the first time since 2018 and face the Dodgers? These are the questions that I have heard and seen discussed since the trade deadline. Here are my thoughts on all of them…

Starting with the Yankees and Red Sox… I can not imaging a world where neither one makes the playoffs. Although I do not think either of these teams is going to go father than the division series it is most likely that the Red Sox are the team of these two to make the playoffs because  while both teams made nothing more than stopgap pitching moves the Red Sox made a couple more moves than their division rivals and have generally been playing better all season.

Will Dusty manage his way to a third consecutive Fall Classic for the first time in his storied managerial career? A managerial career which started in San Fransisco and included the storied World Series run in 2002 followed by the Bartman game in 2003 while he was managing the Cubs? Anything can happen when the playoffs start but the gas in the tank is low. He was brought in to manage that Astros team following the cheating scandal and has brought them to two consecutive Fall Classics. It is most likely that he sees Tampa Bay pass him to get a chance at winning their first title in franchise history.

Now let’s look at the NL contenders. Starting with the Cubs… no, they will not make it to the NLCS agains the Dodgers. However, it is likely the way they have been playing since shortly before the all-star break that we see them facing the Braves in the NLDS after taking the Wild Card series against the Kyle Schwarber and the Phillies. Then the Braves will give the Dodgers a run for their money and find their way to a Game 7, win or go home, situation in the NLCS against Los Angeles.

There is no doubt these are extremely early playoff race predictions. That said, it is looking more and more likely we will see Tampa Bay playing Atlanta in the Fall Classic.

With that… these pennant races are about the truly heat up for the first time in a few years.

If you cannot play with them, root for them!

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