With the final weeks of
the MLB season winding down, the division races are for the most part on the back burners. The
closest race is in the National League is out west, where the Giants have a
seven-game lead over the Dodgers. In the American League, things are closer, but it's the wild card races that are capturing our excitement.
New York, Baltimore and
Oakland are all battling for the AL spots, but the good news for the Yankees and Orioles is that one of them will make the playoffs as a division winner and
avoid that dreaded play-in game. But it's the Athletics who are turning heads by playing well above expectations with a roster of regulars even fans
of the team have never heard of.
The Yankees, who were
about as much of a "lock" as anyone at the All-Star break, have fallen back
with the pack and with Wednesday night's apparent injury to Derek Jeter — who's
having his best year in recent memory — we'll have to see if they have enough
left in the tank to get through the season. Despite the uncertainty, they sit
third on the MLB futures with 7-1 odds of winning the World Series.
Over in the Senior
Circuit, Atlanta and St. Louis are trying to pull away with the wild card spots, which is ironic considering how differently their 2011 seasons ended. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are
right on their heels, carrying their seemingly limitless payroll. The Pirates
are still in contention, but are tragically falling apart and in very real
danger of finishing under .500 yet again thanks to a terrible month of
September thus far.
And don't look now, but
the Philadelphia Phillies are the hottest team in baseball, riding a seven-game
winning streak to an over .500 record and just a handful of games out of a
playoff spot. Sure, they won't win their sixth straight division title, but we
all know that once a team gets into the playoffs, anything can happen.