MLB Home-Stretch: Exploring The Wild Playoff Races

The Home-Stretch: Exploring MLB's Epic Playoff Race

The 2021 MLB season is set to end on October 3, and there is still much to be decided in the league’s playoff races. For some teams, like the Cleveland Indians, it’s a solemn goodbye to this season, as the team has played their last home game under their long-time name. For the New York Mets, it is a time of return. They get to see Noah Syndergaard pitch for the first time since 2019. But for the contenders, this week matters. Not only does it just matter, but it’s going to decide their season.

Phillies Have Their Eyes on NL East Crown

The Phillies have two more sets left, with one weighing with much more importance than the other. The season-ending three games against the Miami Marlins will all need to be won, but they could be meaningless depending on the results against Atlanta first. They are the one team that the Phillies are really chasing, as they see themselves 2.5 games back of the Braves, as of now. A clean sweep can make all of that up. Atlanta is visited by New York following the Phillies. There’s a wild scenario where both teams make the playoffs. If the Phillies win all of their remaining games, the Braves can sweep the Mets, while the Cardinals fail to win again, then there will be two clubs from the NL East represented in October. But with St. Louis on a sixteen-game winning streak, that would be the hardest thing to imagine.

Potential For Chaos

If you have not seen the now-viral Reddit post yet, then you know about the highly improbable, but still possible five-way tie in the American League for the two wild-card spots.

It reads that the Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Mariners, and Athletics can all tie for the two wild-card spots. But, the odds of that happening are astronomically low. The Red Sox would have to lose a series against both the Orioles and Nationals, or beat one and get swept by the other. The A’s would have to sweep Houston, the Yankees would need to sweep Tampa Bay, and more craziness on top of that would need to happen if the season was to end in a five-way tie in the AL Wild Card race. From a pure, unbiased baseball standpoint, this would be the outcome to root for.

Red-Hot Bronx Bombers

As of now September 29, the Yankees have won seven in a row thanks to Bronxie the Turtle. Sweeping the Red Sox in Boston may be the highlight of the season so far, with Giancarlo Stanton‘s grand slam on Saturday being the biggest hit in baseball this year, per cWPA. New York is currently in Toronto for a three game series. It’s a series as equally as important as their last. Thanks to yet again another important Stanton blast, the Yankees took game one of the series North of the border. What knocks the Yankees is that both the Jays and Red Sox play Baltimore, and Boston matches up with Washington to end their season. The Yankees will have to end the season against the AL’s best team, the Rays. New York currently has a two-game lead over Boston for top wild-card spot in the AL.

A Look at the West

The Mariners are inching closer in the race, now only 1.5 games behind the Red Sox for the league’s final playoff spot. They face the Los Angeles Angels for three, and before that, end their series against Oakland. After a 13-4 win in the opener, the A’s will have to win the remaining two for the five-way tie to stay as a potential ending. The Athletics, who were swept in four games by the Mariners a week ago, have to face the Astros after that. It isn’t looking too good for them.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images 

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