MLB Wild Card race heating up

MLB Wild Card race heating up

In a baseball season that has a pitcher leading the league in home runs, a twenty-two year old fighting for the American League triple crown, and the two best teams fighting to secure the top spot in the same division, Major League Baseball has really amped it up towards the last two weeks of the regular season. Both the American and National League Wild Card races have gotten closer and closer as the season winds down, and teams are going all out to just have a shot at the postseason.

In the American League, teams such as the Rays and White Sox having sealed their spot in the playoffs, the Astros not too far behind, and the Rays have a modest lead for home-field advantage for the entirety of the postseason. Yet the real excitement stems from the two open spots for a wild card.

The Boston Red Sox lead the race, being two games ahead of the pack and looking to keep the one-game playoff at Fenway Park. Along with the Red Sox, their arch rivals, the Yankees own the second spot, having gone 7-3 in their last ten games. Not far behind the Yankees are the Toronto Blue Jays, who broke the bank at the trade deadline to acquire better pitching in Jose Berrios, Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards. The Jays had the second wild card spot for about a week, but having lost three of their last four, have fallen just short, and faced the Yankees in a crucial three-game series that started on Tuesday. The two teams have split the games so far, keeping the same distance between them.

The Seattle Mariners are America’s team, the loveable-losers who just can not make the playoffs to save their lives. Having an absence of October since their 116-win 2001 season, the Mariners only trail by two games, having thrusted themselves up by winning five in a row, including a sweep of the Oakland Athletics, who were only two games back, and have fallen seemingly out of the race completely, falling three games behind after getting swept by the Mariners.

The American League has numerous teams fighting for the two available spots, but in the National League, two teams are slugging it out to avoid the Wild Card all together. The San Francisco Giants have been the surprise of Major League Baseball since the start of the season. With odds of +5000 to win their division as of March 1st, the Giants have been consistently the best team in baseball, off the back of great pitching from Kevin Guasman, Tyler Webb and Anthony DeScalifani and a consistent batting order, the Giants seem to be the team to beat in the NL. However, the second best team in the league, the Dodgers, also happen to be in the same division as the aforementioned Giants. Only one game behind, the Dodgers surplus of superstars like Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Walker Buehler – CY Young Award candidate – the Dodgers have been going stride for stride with the Giants all season long. But as the season dwindles down, both the Giants and Dodgers need to play their best baseball of the year to secure full postseason home-field advantage.

Unfortunately, teams that don’t win their division must play in the wild card, so a team that has 100 wins has to play a win-or-go-home game to just have a chance to move on.

Baseball is a crazy sport, but the wild card race really embraces that, which makes the mayhem of the last two weeks even more beautiful.