As we enter the month of September, we also enter the final full month of the 2023 MLB season. At this point in the year, each team knows exactly what’s at stake. Some teams are out of the hunt, while others gear up for a push to the postseason. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting races for the MLB playoffs.
The AL East is arguably the most competitive division in all of baseball this year. Up until a little while ago, all five teams had a winning record. Currently, the worst team, the Yankees, are just one game below .500.
Currently, the newest team on the scene is the Baltimore Orioles. They lead by three games with an 85-51 record. Still, the Rays are hot on their tail. Both of these teams are excellent in nearly every aspect, and this will be one of the most exciting races to watch. Will the newcomer Orioles have the poise to hold on, and likely secure a first-round bye? Only time will tell.
On the other side of the country, the western section of the American League has been very interesting.
Texas has led this group for most of the season, yet have gone on a skid as of late, and sit one game off the pace. The Astros have been holding steady all year long, and their persistence has them tied for first.
Meanwhile, Seattle has risen from the ashes, and currently hold a share of the division lead. After a rough first half to the season, they’ve gone on a tear, and have formed an exciting three-team race for the division as the year winds down.
This race features a mix of old faces and new. None of these three teams stand out among the rest of the NL, yet all three are a team you’d want to avoid in the first round of the playoffs.
Leading the division is Milwaukee with a 76-61 record, led by their impressive pitching staff. The Cubs, like Seattle, burst onto the scene during the second half of the year. They’re just 2.5 games off the pace at this point.
Finally, there’s Cincinnati. The Reds have slowed down as of late, after a run to start the season that had them leading the division for quite a while. They’ve fallen back to reality, and sit just four games above .500, sitting 5.5 games behind the Brew Crew.
AL Wild Card
With just a month left, we can get a pretty good look at how the Wild Card race might end up. It seems whoever finishes second in AL East will get the first Wild Card spot, as Tampa Bay is currently over five games ahead of the Astros.
After that, currently the second and third-place teams in the West hold the remaining two spots. The Blue Jays are only half a game behind Texas for the third spot. The next closest team is Boston, at 4.5 games back.
This Wild Card race is much, much more interesting. The Phillies currently hold the first spot, five games clear. They’re followed by the Cubs, who have a narrower, three game cushion. Finally, the D-backs, who sit at 71-67, are just one game ahead of Cincinnati for the final Wild Card spot.
As I just mentioned, the Reds are the first team out of the race. Miami is right on their tail, at just a half a game back. The only other team close is San Francisco, who sits a full game out. This is a race that has been infected by new, young teams, and is much more exciting than usual for that very reason.
Current Playoff Matchups (At time of writing)
First round byes: Orioles (1), Mariners (2)
Wild Card matchups: Rangers (6) @ Twins (3), Astros (5) @ Rays (4)
First round byes: Braves (1), Dodgers (2)
Wild Card matchups: D-backs (6) @ Brewers (3), Cubs (5) @ Phillies (4)