MLB Playoff Outlook: Dodgers Cruising Past Competition

Kenny McGraw

Sports Blogger

@KennyTheMacGraw

 

AL Central

Contenders: Cleveland Indians (76-56), Minnesota Twins (68-63, 7.5 GB)

Pretenders: Kansas City Royals (65-67, 11.0 GB), Detroit Tigers (58-74, 18.0 GB), Chicago White Sox (52-78, 23.0 GB).

The AL Central race has calmed down this past week, as the Indians have rode a seven-game winning streak, distancing themselves from the rest of the pack. Minnesota will look to keep up with Cleveland this weekend with a series against the struggling Kansas City Royals, which have gone 4-6 in their past ten games. The Twins are in place for the second wild card spot, leading the Orioles by one game.

 

AL East

Contenders: Boston Red Sox (76-57), New York Yankees (70-52, 5.5 GB), Baltimore Orioles (68-65, eight GB), Tampa Bay Rays (67-68, 10.0 GB)

Pretenders: Toronto Blue Jays (61-72, 15.0 GB)

Although four of the five teams are still racing for playoff spot, the Toronto Blue Jays have fallen out of contention, losing four-straight games this past week. Boston is breaking away from the rest of the teams for top spot in the division, however, the Yankees, Orioles and Rays are still fighting for the two wild card spots in the tight AL Wild Card race. The Orioles look to make a push playing Toronto this weekend, while Tampa Bay travels to Chicago to play the struggling White Sox. New York hosts a crucial rivalry series against Boston this weekend.

 

AL West

Contenders: Houston Astros (79-53), Los Angeles Angels (68-65, 11.5 GB), Texas Rangers (66-66, 13.0 GB), Seattle Mariners (66-68, 14.0 GB)

Pretenders: Oakland Athletics (58-74, 21.0 GB)

The Houston Astros have appeared to have locked up the top spot for the AL West as they show no sign of slowing down a month before postseason play. On the flip side, the Angels, Rangers and Mariners are all within striking distance of the final wild card spot. The Angels have a matchup against their division rival Texas Rangers this weekend, which is looking to make some noise in the final month. The Mariners are making a trip to Oakland to play the fifth-seed Athletics.

 

NL Central

Contenders: Chicago Cubs (72-60), Milwaukee Brewers (69-64, 3.5 GB), St. Louis Cardinals (66-66, six GB)

Pretenders: Pittsburgh Pirates (63-71, 10.0 GB), Cincinnati Reds (56-77, 16.5 GB)

The Cubs managed to keep the top spot in the NL Central, though the Brewers are right on their tail, beating the Dodgers twice out of their three game series this week. The Cardinals hope to keep their playoff hopes alive as they travel to San Francisco to face the Giants. The Cubs look to keep their hot streak going this weekend hosting the Braves. The Brewers have a tough series ahead of them, facing the NL East leading Washington Nationals this weekend.

 

NL East

Contenders: Washington Nationals (81-51), Miami Marlins (66-66, 15.0 GB)

Pretenders: Atlanta Braves (59-72, 21.5 GB), New York Mets (58-74, 23.0 GB), Philadelphia Phillies (49-83, 32.0 GB)

The Nationals have taken control of the NL East, winning four-straight games without Bryce Harper. The Marlins stand 5.5 games back from the final wild card spot and are looking to move up the list with a potential sweep over the Phillies this weekend, who have the worst record in the league.

 

NL West

Contenders: Los Angeles Dodgers (91-39), Arizona Diamondbacks (74-58, 18.0 GB) Colorado Rockies (72-61, 20.5 GB)

Pretenders: San Diego Padres (58-74, 34.0 GB), San Francisco Giants (53-81, 40.0 GB)

(Dustin Nosler, Flickr)

Although there may be another month left in the regular season, one thing is clear: The Dodgers are dominating everything in and out of sight. With Clayton Kershaw and Co. leading the team to a historic year with the only team even close to contention being the Diamondbacks, it may be safe to say Los Angeles has the NL West as well as the entire league under its control. The Diamondbacks and Rockies continue to hold a wild card spot with one month left in the regular season. Both teams will face off this weekend in what should be an intense series.

ozone@ocolly.com

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