By Jordan Wevers @JordanWevers on August 20, 2014
Last year's World Series champs won't be making a return to the postseason in 2014. The Boston Red Sox made a statement by dealing ace Jon Lester at the trade deadline. Because they were sellers, the Sox's focus will move to 2015 and beyond. As August winds to a close, here is how the playoff seeding will likely play out for October.
As many experts predicted, the pace the Athletics were playing at would be near impossible to keep up and there would be regression at some point. That regression is here, as they are 3-7 over there last 10 games. Enter Mike Trout and the Angels to finish strong and win the division.
Oakland - 0.5 GB
Seattle - 6.0 GB
Baseball's hottest team in the second half, the Royals are 21-9 since the break. The Tigers' loss of Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez is the Royals' gain. The thing is, they have a good team. They're team AVG has them ranked third in MLB, 11th in ERA and 15th in FPCT. Greg Holland might be the game's best closer right now.
Detroit - 2.0 GB
Cleveland - 6.5 GB
The O's have a rather healthy lead and a firm grasp on the East. The Jays are horribly inconsistent, the Yankees have a banged up pitching staff and the Rays' terrible start to the season is probably too much to overcome.
NY Yankees - 7.5 GB
Toronto - 8.0 GB
Tampa Bay - 10.5 GB
Oakland has had a few hiccups in the second half. They are still a great team, and if their pitching staff plays to its potential in October, there is no reason this Wild Card team cannot capture an AL pennant. GM Billy Beane made the necessary moves acquiring Lester, Samardzija and Hammel. They are all in for this year.
Another red-hot team, the M's boast the best pitcher in the AL, the second best defense in the league and a candidate for the AL MVP in second baseman Robinson Cano. Add to that the second best bullpen in MLB and their chances of coasting into the postseason are pretty strong.
The last time both clubs from Los Angeles won their respective divisions in the same season was in 2009. The Dodgers are in any ball game when Clayton Kershaw takes the mound. Matt Kemp is starting to make an impact. Manager Don Mattingly knows what it takes to win and his squad is poised to capture the west just like the city's Angels across town are.
San Francisco - 3.5 GB
San Diego - 10.5 GB
The Brewers have been somewhat of a surprise in 2014, while the Cards are old faithful. Since the turn of the century, they have won the division seven times. It's a tight race right now, so the safe money is on them to persevere and overtake the Brew Crew.
Milwaukee - 3.0 GB
Pittsburgh - 7.0 GB
Credit rookie manager Matt Williams for what he has done with this roster in 2014. The Nats surpassed the Braves on July 19 for the division lead and they look very reluctant to surrender it. They are 19-11 in the second half, are for the most part healthy and have more productive bats than Fredi Gonzalez has to work with.
Atlanta - 6.0 GB
Miami - 8.5 GB
Milwaukee's excellent April has them in a nice position this August. Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez provide strong veteran experience as well as All-Star-caliber hitting to their lineup. Their 11th-ranked ERA comes attached to an above-average pitching staff. There will be postseason baseball this year in Wisconsin.
Their manaager, Bruce Bochy, is a two-time World Series winning bench boss. He knows how to get the most out of his club down the stretch run. So for that reason, advantage Giants over the McCutchen-less Pirates as well as the rather anemic Braves.
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