Major League Baseball is three weeks away from starting the race for the Commissioner’s Trophy. The playoff picture is almost completed.
With three weeks left in the season, MLB is not ready to fully give up its attention to football. Drama and tight races are making September baseball worth a peek.
Here are the most intriguing baseball storylines to follow during the final weeks of the regular season and into the month of October.
National League Wild Card Race
The Braves are running away with the National League and will likely enter October as the No. 1 team, earning a first-round bye. The Dodgers are right behind Atlanta as the No. 2 seed and the Milwaukee Brewers currently sit at No. 3.
The Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs headline the Wild Card race with a substantial lead of more than two games. The remaining spot in the playoff picture is an all-out royal rumble fight between the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, San Francisco Giants, and Cincinnati Reds.
As of writing, the Diamondbacks hold the last spot but are only ahead of the Marlins by half a game. The Giants and the Reds are behind by 1.5 games.
The Reds will face five teams under .500 and have by far the easiest schedule of the four teams. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks will have a two-game series against the Giants that is sure to be filled with playoff atmosphere.
The Giants and the Marlins will play divisional rivals during the last three weeks which only increases the chances of having their seasons spoiled by envious teams in the division.
It’s sure to be an all-out battle for the last Wild Card spot during a sprint that will function as a playoff preview and demonstrate what to expect when October begins.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
On Saturday, Lucas Giolito pitched in Anaheim in front of hometown fans for the third time in a month. The Angels traded for him in an attempt to cover the gap separating the team from a Wild Card berth. He was wearing a Cleveland Guardians jersey during his Saturday start.
During his time with Anaheim, Giolito went 1-6 with a 7.24 ERA and the Angels fell out of playoff contention. The Angels put Giolito and six other players on waivers in an attempt to dump some of the salary it has on the books.
A day after Giolito pitched against the Angels, Bob Nightengale from USA Today revealed the Angels are open to trading Mike Trout if he indicates he wants out of Los Angeles.
The Angels are filled with question marks that will play an important role in how they close out the season.
Mike Trout is on the injury list with a left hamate fracture and should not come back. The chances of making a last-minute playoff run are slim as the Angels will face the Mariners, Rays, and Rangers.
Shohei Ohtani will enter free agency during the offseason. His season as a two-way player ended after an injury to his elbow. His batting is currently on pause after injuring his oblique.
The Angels are currently seven games out of a Wild Card spot. With a turmoil ending to a hopeful season, it’s time to free Trout from the sunken ship and rebuild the team.
The way the Angels manage Trout and Ohtani to close out the season will make the next coming weeks interesting. How the Angels handle the careers of two generational talents will captivate baseball fans during the last three weeks of baseball and beyond. It will be telling on how they will approach the offseason.
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