It’s that time of year when MLB playoff races are coming down to the nitty-gritty. Teams like the Yankees and Phillies hang on by a thread, while the Rays and White Sox cruise to division titles. Overall, we’re most interested in the tight races, however I’ll be providing you guys with a full update in the standings.
American League East
This race is completely over as the Rays have proven themselves to be the class of the division. Despite a payroll of just $70 million, Tampa has separated themselves with unmatched player development and well-timed trades. Dealing former right-handed pitcher Chris Archer for Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow set this team up for the success they see today.
3-run shot ➡️ Rays on top
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 21, 2021
American League Central
The White Sox have completely annihilated this division, which we all expected. With the Cleveland Indians dealing the likes of Francisco Lindor and the Tigers drafting at the top of the MLB draft every year, there isn’t much competition. Don’t let this weak division fool you though — Chicago is a real threat in the American League playoffs.
GM Rick Hahn didn’t deal for closer Craig Kimbrel for no reason. They’re built to shut teams down in close games, and that bodes well in tightly-contested games in October.
Craig Kimbrel noticed this White Sox fan impersonating him on the mound last week so they met in person ❤️ @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 17, 2021
American League West
To no one’s surprise, the Houston Astros are the class of the AL West. The Angels, again, were built like a kid who picked his favorite players and forgot to name pitchers. Then the Oakland Athletics began to look like the cheap team they are. The Astros somehow found a gem in Kyle Tucker, and it seems people underestimated the impact of Yordan Alvarez at first base. These guys rake, and their bats have carried them to another division title.
— MLB (@MLB) September 21, 2021
National League East
This is the most bizarre division I’ve covered in my life. One day, the Braves look like they’ll pull away with the division, and a week later they can’t beat the Marlins. Same story with the Phillies, who have been carried by Bryce Harper for the better part of two months. Would I be shocked if Philly stormed back in the season’s final 12 days? I really wouldn’t be, because both squads have an offense to deal with anyone they face. However, neither team can pitch.
National League Central
Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are a one-two punch for the ages. Utter dominance that has Milwaukee cruising with a 10.5 game lead for the division. Never would’ve thought the Brewers had a path to success in a season MVP Christian Yelich was irrelevant. Back injuries did him in, but this team is too strong elsewhere.
Corbin Burnes, Annihilating the Side. 😯
[I love watching this dude pitch.] pic.twitter.com/WH0uXuA2zR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 18, 2021
National League West
This is the interesting race in baseball because the Dodgers and Giants both deserve a division title. Both teams sit more than 20 games ahead of the San Diego Padres, who are in third place, and both teams are playing strong down the stretch (Dodgers 7-3 over their last 10/Giants 8-2 over their last 10).
The NL West race matters since one of these teams will be forced into a one-game playoff. Could you imagine tallying up over 100 wins and playing aggressive at the deadline by dealing for Kris Bryant, all to lose to the Dodgers? I don’t want to say I’m rooting for the Giants, but we almost have to.
Caught ‘em in 10K pic.twitter.com/ch2oWc62gz
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 19, 2021
Wild Card races
The Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays are all fighting for their lives. And the best part is that they play each other over the next week and a half to settle this mess. If I had to take a guess, I’d say Toronto finds a way into the Wild Card since they have the most talent and the AL Cy Young winner down the stretch.
Cardinals. Cardinals. Cardinals.
No one should want to see St. Louis in October after what they’ve done the past month. They’re reminiscent of past Cardinals teams which hovered at .500 all year and then somehow found their stride just in time for an extended playoff run. They have pitching in Alex Reyes at the back end of that bullpen, and they have timely hitting in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. If the Cardinals make a run at a World Series this year, make sure to credit me.
There's no stopping the hugs when you win your 200th! pic.twitter.com/yssuY7m3zT
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 21, 2021