The long baseball season is nearing its end. The summer is coming to an end and the Fall season is about to start. With it will come the Major League Baseball Playoffs. The first games of the playoffs start next weekend. So let’s take a look at what teams are approaching the playoffs in this final week of the season.
The American League
The interesting note of the week is that no A.L. teams have clinched a playoff spot yet. It has been a tight race for all of the divisional spots and especially for the two Wild Card spots.
In the East there is great competition between the division leading New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees only lead that division by one game with the Rays in third place by only 5 games.
The Central division has seen the Chicago White Sox fall quite a bit in the past week. The White Sox are trailing the Detroit Tigers in the division by one game. The third place team in the division is held by the Kansas City Royals who are fourteen games behind and have no hope for the playoffs.
The Western division has just as tight of a race as the Eastern division. The Texas Rangers hold the top position with a record of 92-65. The Oakland A’s have been surging ahead in the final month of the season and are only three games behind the Rangers. In third place five games behind the Rangers are the Anaheim Angels. The Angels got off to a bad start at the beginning of the season but were able to turn their season around in the summer months.
Only six games separate the top five teams in the Wild Card race. The Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s are in the top spots. The Angels are two games back. The Rays are three games back, while the White Sox are six games back and will likely only be able to enter the playoffs with winning the Central division.
The National League
The almost half of the playoff spots in the N.L. have been claimed. All but one of the divisions have champions already, which takes some of the excitement away.
This is the only division where a champion has not yet been crowned. With the third place team the Phillies seventeen games back, its between only the Braves and the Nationals for the crown. The Nationals have shocked the baseball world with an incredible season and they currently hold the top spot. The braves are trailing by four games and still have a chance at winning the division. Both the Nationals and Braves have clinched playoff spots. The only question is which one will be the division champion and which one will be in the wild card position.
The Cincinnati Reds won the division this past week. They appear to be a team that could contend for the World Series Title in October.
The San Fransisco Giants won the division championship just a few days ago. This team has been a great team built for the playoffs for a few years now. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and are looking to win their second in three years.
With the Braves having clinched a playoff birth there is only one wild card spot remaining. The St Louis Cardinals hold the remaining spot at the moment. The Dodgers and the Brewers are the only two teams that still have a chance for the remaining wild card. The Dodgers are three games back while the Brewers are five back. The Dodgers have been turning downward as September rolls along. The Brewers have to win their remaining five games to have a chance. The Cardinals will likely hold their position and go into a wild card playoff game with the Braves.
Posted in MLB, sports
Tagged 2012, american league, birth, braves, brewers, can win, central, champions, classic, east, fall, giants, long, make it, MLB, national league, nationals, october, orioles, phillies, play, playoff, playoffs, rays, reds, season, september, west, what teams, white sox, who is in, who is left, who will, wild card, world series, yankees
This past off season Major League baseball did something they had not done since 1994. It changed it’s playoff structure by adding a new element.
Prior to 1995 there were just four teams involved in the post season. There was an Eastern and Western Champion in Both leagues who would play each other for the League Championship. Those two winners would go into the World Series and face off against the opposing leagues Champion. This had been the case since 1969.
The new system was enacted in 1994 but due to the strike shortened season it debuted in 1995. The system worked with each league having three divisions. Each division winner would go to the playoffs and the team with the best record that did not win a division would also go to the post season. There have been five wild card teams that have won a World Series since MLB instituted the wild card.
In November the commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig announced that their would be a second wild card team for each league. The two wild card teams would play each other in a one game playoff. The winner will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs and face one of the divisional champions. All that was added was basically one more game to each leagues playoff. We will see the first wild card playoff game in less than two weeks from now.
The new system obviously adds something to the final month of the season. More teams will be in the hunt for the post season with the additional wild card. Those teams games will also be more exciting down the stretch when MLB can be boring at times. It will also create a new buzz in the playoffs. However there is a draw back.
The two wild card teams might actually be pretty far apart records wise. The second wild card team will be given an opportunity for the playoffs they may not deserve. As of right now you have two teams at the top of the National League wild card race. The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals. The braves lead the Cardinals by 6 games. If the playoffs were to start today the Cardinals would get a one game playoff opportunity with the Braves they should not have.
This new system seems nice right now but over time it will dilute the MLB post season. One wild card team per league is just enough. If you have too many non playoff worthy teams getting a shot in the playoffs it will spell disaster for MLB. This is just another scheme by Selig to make more money off of the last month of the season and add more money to the post season television deals. MLB should go back to the four team per league system before the post season become watered down. As the old adage goes if it is not broke don’t fix it.
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The Miami Marlins are having a disappointing season, so much so that no one saw this coming. The team headed into the 2012 season with so much hope and excitement for what could be. They have dismantled the team to the point it hardly resembles the team that was supposed to make the playoffs when the year began. As of Saturday the team sits 14.5 games behind the 1st place Washington Nationals and a Wildcard birth looks very unlikely. The only bright spot that can be seen at the point is Jose Reyes and his hot hitting streak.
(Photo By Al Bello/Getty Images)
Jose Reyes began this hitting streak on July 13th and is holding strong at 22 games going into Saturday’s game against the Nationals. Reyes went 1-3 in the first game of Friday’s double header with the Nationals and 3-5 in the second game. Reyes has always been a great hitter but has really improved his hitting and it shows with this current streak. He broke his previous streak of 19 games this past week.
Luis Castillo holds the team record for most consecutive games with a hit with 35 games in 2002. That is a mark that Reyes has a strong chance of beating. The have been 55 players in the history of Major League Baseball to have at least 30 consecutive games with a hit. Reyes is the caliber of hitter and streaky enough to become number 56. The question the will be asked if he can make it past 30 will be how far can he go?
Everyone knows that Joe DiMaggio holds the record at 56 games in 1941 and that mark is very unlikely to be broken soon if ever. The closest anyone has come in the last 20 years was the Phillies Jimmy Rollins in the 2005 and 2006 seasons with 38 games. If anyone was going to make a good run and come close to DiMaggio in this era of baseball it would be Joe Reyes. Reyes is still very young and has a lot of potential as a hitter even though he is already one of the best in baseball. Reyes is the defending National League batting champion and this will not be his last claim to that title.
As this season grows older and the Marlins fall deeper in the standings the Marlins might have something to get excited about. That rests solely in the hands of Jose Reyes and his bat. Could we be watching history right now? It is too early to tell but we are seeing an amazing streak and its time for the sports world to pay attention to Reyes. If they don’t start now they may be missing history in the making.
Posted in MLB
Tagged 2002, 2005, 2006 1941, 30 game streak, 38 games, 56 games, bad season, baseball, batting average, batting champion, best, consecutive, double header, first place, florida marlins, games, history, hitter, hitting streak, how many games, jimmy rollins, joe dimaggio, jose reyes, luis castillo, major leagues, marlins, marlins park, Miami, national league, new york mets, personal record, phillies, playoffs, record, season, team record, the streak, tv, washington nationals, wild card