With roughly 10 games remaining on the MLB regular season schedule, teams around the country are making their final pushes for a playoff spot.
While many of the divisions in the American League see their leaders with comfortable leads, the Wild Card race is absolutely must-see television as the season winds down.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the updated American League postseason picture.
While they have not clinched the AL East yet, the Tampa Bay Rays sit comfortably in the top spot. At 94-59, they not only have a six-game lead in the division, but they also have the best record in the American League.
Finishing with the top spot in the AL would not be a bad thing for Tampa Bay as they are currently 49-29 when playing at home.
Tampa Bay is a well-rounded team as they sit seventh in ERA (3.79), eighth in scoring defense (4.14), second in runs per game (5.30), and fourth in run differential (+178).
Offensively, Tampa Bay is led by Brandon Lowe (34 HR, 86 RBI, 90 runs), Mike Zunino (31 HR), Austin Meadows (26 HR, 103 RBI), and Randy Arozarena (19 HR, 89 runs). Arozarena is currently the favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year at -175.
Tampa Bay has the third-best odds of winning the World Series at +600.
Of the three divisions, the AL Central has already been wrapped up. On Thursday, the Chicago White Sox clinched the AL Central with a win over the Cleveland Indians.
At 86-67, the White Sox are currently tied for the fourth-best record in baseball; however, given they are a divisional leader, they would be the number three seed in the AL if the season ended today.
If current positioning holds, it would be a repeat of the 2005 World Series as they would face the Houston Astros in the ALDS.
For the White Sox, they have an offense that ranks seventh in runs per game (4.93). Jose Abreu leads the team with 29 home runs and 113 runs batted in.
Pitching could be the real strength for the White Sox. Their pitching ranks sixth in ERA (3.76), and they are led by Lance Lynn (10-5, 2.47 ERA) who sits with the third-best odds of winning the AL Cy Young at+1300.
The White Sox are legitimate contenders as they are +750 to win the World Series (fifth-best odds).
Like the Rays, the Houston Astros (91-62) have not locked up their division, but they currently lead the AL West by a comfortable seven games over the Seattle Mariners.
Houston’s offense has been impeccable this season as they rank first in scoring (5.43 runs per game), first in batting average (.270), third in slugging percentage (.447), first in on-base percentage (.342), and second in run differential (+220).
Their offense is incredibly deep as Jose Altuve (.277 avg, 29 HR, 111 runs), Yordan Alvarez (.282 avg., 32 HR, 101 RBI, 90 runs), Kyle Tucker (.295 avg., 27 HR, 87 RBI), and Carlos Correa (.281 avg., 24 HR, 87 RBI, 100 runs) lead the way.
Given that list does not even include the likes of Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel, and others, it is no wonder why they lead many offensive categories.
Houston is currently the favorite to win the American League (+200) and has the second-best odds of winning the World Series (+480).
This is where it truly gets interesting. There is a good chance that in addition to the Tampa Bay Rays, two other AL East teams could make the playoffs.
As it currently stands, the Boston Red Sox (88-65) holds a two-game lead over the New York Yankees (86-67) for the top Wild Card spot while New York holds the second spot. Interestingly, these two face off this weekend in Boston.
Sitting one game behind the Yankees is another AL East team in the Toronto Blue Jays (85-68).
The Red Sox have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule as opponents have a combined winning percentage of .434. The Blue Jays have the fifth-easiest at .441. For the Yankees, they have the third-toughest at .583 as they have three games against the Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays remaining.
To make things even more interesting, the Seattle Mariners (84-69) sits just two games behind the Yankees while the Oakland A’s (82-71) sit four games back.
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