Will Any Team Make a Surprise Run To The Playoffs?
The battle to secure a place in the postseason is heating up after several teams embarked upon hot streaks.
There are just four weeks remaining in the schedule and the Giants, Dodgers, Brewers, Rays and White Sox have seemingly sewn up five of the available 10 postseason berths. However, the remaining five places are very much up for grabs.
Right now, the Astros and Braves lead their respective divisions, while the Red Sox, Yankees and Padres occupy the Wild Card spots. Those five teams are the favorites to reach the playoffs, but these teams are hunting them down:
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are 9-1 in their last 10 games. That hot streak has turned them into genuine contenders for a Wild Card place. They are in the strongest division in the league, the AL East, which could yield both Wild Card spots.
The Red Sox currently lead the way with 80 wins, followed by the Yankees on 78, but the Blue Jays are now on 76 wins for the season. Their recent results have been remarkable, including an 8-0 blowout victory over the Yankees.
The Blue Jays’ offense is on fire, while its rivals are struggling – the Yankees are 2-8 in their last 10, while the Red Sox are 5-5 – and that could see Toronto clinch a place in the postseason. The Yankees should come good in the weeks ahead, but things are now looking precarious for the Red Sox.
The Mariners have two potential routes into the playoffs. They are just five wins behind the Astros at the top of the AL West, and there is still time for them to overhaul that deficit. Houston has suffered an alarming slide in recent weeks, whereas the Mariners have been a lot more consistent.
If they cannot leapfrog the Astros, the Mariners could alternatively claim a Wild Card spot. They are currently level with the Blue Jays on 76 wins in the American League, which leaves them two behind the Yankees. Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager both recently smashed through the 30-homer barrier, and they will be crucial to their team’s chances of reaching the postseason. Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider have impressed at the back of the bullpen too.
Series wins over the Astros and the Diamondbacks left the Mariners 16-7 in their last 23 games, and there is a legitimate chance of them ending their 20-year stretch without a postseason appearance.
The Reds are just half a game behind the Padres in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot (the first will go to either the Dodgers or the Giants). Recent results have been underwhelming, as they are 3-7 in their last 10, but their rivals are also inconsistent, so this battle could go down to the wire. Right now, the Reds are underdogs after struggling against the Cardinals and then suffering a shock defeat to the Detroit Tigers. They will need to improve quickly and hope the bullpen holds up down the stretch if they are to overhaul the teams ahead of them in the postseason race.
The Phillies refuse to lay down and die in the NL East. They just dropped a challenging series against the Brewers, but they are still 8-4 in their last 12 games.
The Phillies are just two games behind the Braves at the top of the NL East and two games behind the Padres in the Wild Card race, so they also have two shots at reaching the postseason. If they can discover consistency in the remaining weeks of the season, they could muscle their way into contention.