For sports fans like myself, this may be the greatest time of the year. College and professional football are finally back, the NBA season is approximately six weeks away; most importantly, though, this time of year is the home stretch for Major League Baseball.
This is the time of year where some teams collapse, while others get hot at the right time. And with twenty games left until playoffs, the American League Wild Card race is real interesting.
I will say it now – the AL East will have three teams in the playoffs.
With the league’s best offense, I believe that the Red Sox will be the division leaders by the end of the regular season. Although, things could get real interesting, as their remaining 20 games all are within their division. So, the real question is: who will get the two wild card spots? Baltimore and Toronto currently hold the two spots, with the Yankees two games behind.
Since the trade deadline that saw them say goodbye to Aroldnis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova, the Yankees have gotten hot. They have gone 24-13 since the deadline, behind youngsters Gary Sanchez and Ronald Torreyes. Sanchez has hit 13 home runs in his 33 games this season since being called up after the deadline. Torreyes, in 55 games, has batted a respectable .283. Thanks to these hot bats, along with the improved starting pitching they have gotten, I believe that the Yankees will keep their momentum and get into the playoffs as a wild card team.
Out of the two remaining teams – Blue Jays and Orioles – I believe that the Blue Jays will make the playoffs, although, this is really a toss-up that will come down to a three game series between the two Sept 27-29. Both teams bring plenty of power to the table, as Toronto’s Donaldson and Encarncion have combined to hit 73 home runs, compared to Trumbo’s and Davis’ 77. The Jays have stronger pitching, led by Sanchez, Happ, and Estrada, and that will make the difference.
The Tigers are tied with the Yankees two games back, but they play the Royals and Indians a combined 10 times in their last 20 games. They are a combined 7-21 against these two teams, and I believe that this is why they do not have much of a chance.
But hey, anything could happen. And that’s what I love about this time of year.