By JUSTIN RIMPI
With a month left in the 162 game Major League Baseball (MLB) season, the playoff picture is emerging. The matchups and seeding will be determined in the final month of the MLB season.
The biggest storyline has been the historic pace the Los Angeles Dodgers have been on for this entire season. But they have hit a rough patch recently. At one point in the season, the Dodgers were predicted to be one of the winningest teams in baseball history. They looked poised to challenge the Seattle Mariners’ record of 116 wins in a season, which occurred in 2001.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, they were unable to complete such a historic season culminating in a World Series Championship. In 2001, the Mariners lost to the New York Yankees in five games during the American League Championship Series(ALCS). The Yankees went on to lose the World Series that year to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Seattle Mariners were the only team in baseball history to not at least advance to the World Series after setting the regular season record for wins that same season. The Dodgers do not wish to add themselves to that ominous list this October.
This season has also seen a resurgence for the New York Yankees and their young core of players known as the “Baby Bombers.” The Yankees find themselves only a few games in back of the American League East- leading Boston Red Sox and in the driver’s seat for the American League’s first Wild Card spot. A positive for the Yankees is that there is still enough tine left in the season to either catch the Boston Red Sox or to solidify their lead in the competitive American League Wild Card race.
The MLB switched to a two Wild Card team format beginning in the 2012 season.
This rule change was an attempt to give more teams the opportunity to be in the MLB playoffs and increase intrigue for the last part of the season. This new format has certainly been very intriguing this season, as the margins remain paper thin with teams in the midst of the season’s home stretch.
The way that this format works is the two Wild Card teams from each league face o with one another in a one-game playoff with the winner advancing to play in the National League Division Series (NLDS). The Wild Card team with the better record gets the opportunity to host the one-game Playoff . The American League card race is very close at this point in the season. There are six teams with a chance to grab the second Wild Card spot. Those teams include the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. All five of these teams are chasing the Minnesota Twins for a chance to win it big.
There are currently four National League teams with a chance to take the Wild Card Spot: The Milwawkee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Colorado Rockies, all chasing the Arizona Diamondbacks, who like the Yankees in the American League, are the team to beat.
With so little time left in the season, teams must put everything they have into their remaining games. If not, the players will find themselves at home when the MLB Playoffs roll around.