MLB Playoff Outlook: Dodgers, Rangers clinch in past week

Andy Cheng

Sports Blogger

@Andy_Cheng12

AL East

Red Sox 92-64

Blue Jays 86-69, 5.5 GB

Orioles 85-71, 7.0GB

The streaking Red Sox brought out the brooms again Sunday night against the Rays. The hottest team in baseball is riding an 11-game winning streak after sweeping three straight series against divisional foes. Next up, the Red Sox will travel to New York for a three-game series with the opportunity to clinch the AL East for the first time since 2013. The Blue Jays and the Orioles are both riding a three-game winning streak and are holding ground in the Wild Card race. An upcoming three-game series between these teams will not only be critical for their own playoff hopes, but also the other contending teams in different divisions as well.

 

AL Central

Indians 90-65

Tigers 83-72, 7.0 GB

The Indians missed their chance to clinch the division at home when they lost the series against the White Sox this weekend. The Indians can’t relax just yet, despite being inches away from locking up the division. A team that thrives at home (Best record at home in the AL), the Indians will only improve their World Series chances if they can catch up to the Rangers and the Red Sox, who currently hold the best records in the A.L. Things are not looking so well for the Tigers who are currently 1.5 games behind the Orioles in the Wild Card and have a tough four-game series against the first-place Indians coming up. With only a 26.8% chance to make the playoffs according to Fangraph.com, the Tigers will have to bring their A-game in the last week of the regular season if they want to play beyond September.

 

AL West

Rangers 92-64

Mariners 82-73, 9.5 GB

Astros 82-74, 10 GB

The Astros and the Mariners were fun to watch this season, but with not enough games remaining on the schedule for either team to catch up in the Wild Card race, their bids for a magical October run may be all but over. Meanwhile, the Rangers are cruising after celebrating their second consecutive AL West title Friday night. With a 5-5 record in their past 10, and the struggles of their starting rotation this late in the season, has to be concerning, but with sub-par teams on their remaining schedule, the Rangers have a solid chance at getting back the best record in the AL, which they held for much of the season.

 

NL East

Nationals 91-64

Mets 83-73, 8.5 GB

The Nationals won the division title for the third time in five years. This was no small feat but the excitement was overshadowed by the potential of losing franchise-player Bryce Harper to a thumb injury suffered while sliding into third base Sunday night. With no chance of losing the division or catching up to the Cubs for home field advantage, the Nationals should start deploying lineups that mostly features September call-ups to avoid further risk of injuries. The Mets are holding on to their spot in the Wild Card, despite a slew of injuries to their starting rotation. With six games against the struggling Marlins and Phillies left in the season, the Mets should have no problem holding on to their 1 1/2 game lead in the Wild Card.

 

NL Central

Cubs 99-56

Cardinals 81-74, 18.0 GB

Not only did the Cubs clinch home field advantage throughout the NL postseasons this week, but they also clinched the best record in MLB. Widely considered the best team in the league for much of the season, the Cubs are not content with only the top record. The World Series favorite still has to prove that it can perform in the postseason as well. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have a lot more work to do being a game back in the Wild Card. With a friendly schedule against the Reds and the Pirates at home, the Cardinals need to pounce on this opportunity if they want to continue their streak of five consecutive playoff appearances.

 

NL West

Dodgers 90-66

Giants 82-74, 8.0 GB

Longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully looked on as L.A. clinched the N.L. West on Sunday (beisbolsinaloa/Flickr)
Longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully looked on as L.A. clinched the N.L. West on Sunday (beisbolsinaloa/Flickr)

The Dodgers sent Vin Scully away in the most memorable way possible Sunday night. Every Dodgers’ player that came to bat tipped their helmet toward the press box as a gesture to the great sportscaster before the team walked off against the Rockies to clinch their fourth consecutive NL West title. With only six games left in the season, the Giants are going to need more than luck to continue their even-year magic. The Giants had a 66 percent chance of claiming a Wild Card before Sunday’s loss to the lowly Padres, according to Fangraph.com. The disappointing defeat saw the Giants’ playoff odds drop to only a 50-50 coin-flip. With upcoming games against a weak Rockies team, and a Dodgers team that has already clinched, the Giants will do everything they can to capitalize on this break.

ozone@ocolly.com

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