Just four days into September, playoff races are in full force. The chase for the divisions and playoff spots are heating up, and it’s begun to come clearer just who might be there when the calender says October, and the rest of the MLB is on the outside looking in.
Looking at the American League playoff race there is eight teams that could all be there playing October baseball: New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles; Detroit Tigers; Chicago White Sox; Oakland A’s; Texas Rangers; Los Angeles Angels.
Out of those eight teams, only five teams can make it. So who makes it? Here are the five teams that will represent the American League come October.
AL East: Baltimore Orioles
Why they make it: This has been a spectacular year for the team they call the “Fighting Showalters”. The Orioles came out of the gate hot. But most of the time the O’s fade off by June. This year it has not been the case. The Yankees have been in first place for most of the season, but have really struggled since the All Star break (24-25 in the second half). With the Orioles getting hot at the right time (18-9 in August, 30-19 in the second half), this just might be there chance to win the division for the first time since 1997.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
Why they make it: Even though the Tigers have not saw much of first place this year, and haven’t lived up to the expectations of running away with the division. There is one reason they will win the division: They’ve been able to beat the White Sox when it counts the most. The last two times the Tigers and White Sox have faced off, the Tigers have swept them twice. With the emergence of Max Scherzer, and having the best pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander on your staff, always helps when trying to win games in September.
AL West: Texas Rangers
Why they make it: The Rangers slowed down a lot in the month of July, which is why the division lead has slimmed down to only four games over the Oakland A’s. But with a great offense, and a decent pitching staff, four games should be more than enough padding for the Rangers to win the AL West for the third straight year.
Wild Card: New York Yankees
Why they make it: Yes, the Yankees have been struggling. But lots of injuries, inconsistent pitching, have not helped. But the Yankees should be able to just squeeze their way into a wild card spot by the end of the season.
Wild Card: Oakland A’s
Why they make it: The A’s are the hottest team in baseball, and they picked the best time of the season to get red hot. They don’t have a start studded line up, but they know how to pitch and fight out every single at bat.
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