Tag Archives: MLB

MLB Playoffs: Most Exciting Playoff Races in September

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.

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AL East

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.

AL West

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.

NL Central

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.

NL West

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)

MLB Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, we see a new look at the playoff races in each league. The good teams stocked up for a pennant chase, while the bottom-dwellers sold in hopes of a better future. Today, we’ve got not one, but two writers bringing you their MLB trade deadline winners and losers. First up is Jake Brockhoff with four winners and four losers from the deadline.

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The Rangers are certainly enjoying their jump to contention in 2023. Texas jumped on the scene in the AL this year, and once held a several-game lead on the Astros in the West. They’ve struggled recently, but remain tied. Perhaps those struggles influenced some of their big moves at the deadline.

Texas landed Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Stratton and Austin Hedges before the deadline expired. Their offense was fine, but pitching remained an issue, so the overwhelming amount of pitching acquired here makes sense. They were as aggressive as they needed to be, and have set themselves up well for October.

Jack Flaherty

Flaherty has been solid in 2023, but it hasn’t been his best year. He owns a 4.43 ERA, 106 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.55. Those stats aren’t going to jump off the page, but compared to most of the starters dealt during the deadline, Flaherty looks like a pretty solid option.

In his last five starts, Flaherty owns an ERA of just 3.03. He’s been impressive as of late. Jack’s exit from the Cardinals team that seems to be on the down-turn, to an Orioles team that is very much on the rise makes him a winner at this deadline.


Two weeks ago, the Cubs looked like certain seller’s at this year’s deadline. They were well out of the playoff race, and hopes of a late resurrection seemed over. That was until near double-digit winning streak, and an 8-2 record in their past 10 games gave them a winning record, and placed Chicago just a couple games out off the division and wild-card races

The Cubs weren’t big buyers at the deadline, but they did land Jeimer Candelario, one of the best bats on the market. Their division rivals, the Brewers and Reds, failed to make any major moves themselves as well. The combination of these two lands the Cubbies in the winners section.


The defending champs have gone on a run over the past month, erasing the Rangers’ lead on the division.

A Justin Verlander reunion makes everyone in Texas (besides Rangers’ fans) happy. With Justin in the mix, the Astros rotation feels complete. Texas had their chance to put this team away, and they squandered it. With that in mind, plus the addition of Verlander, the AL West division is anyone’s grabs.



The Yankee’s have been losers in several ways this season. The competitive nature of the AL East seems to have passed them by. A division the pinstripes once had a hold on has now left them in last place with a 55-52.

New York must not feel that luck is on their side. Their record would currently put them in first in the AL Central, a much better fortune than the one they currently own. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Their inability to make any meaningful additions at the MLB trade deadline didn’t help.


No matter how this season finishes out, the Orioles can definitely look at this season as a win. Baltimore went from the cellar of the American League to one of the best teams in all of baseball in very short notice.

The Orioles shouldn’t be considered among the other losers on this list. My qualm with their deadline decision-making revolves around the fact that they did little to help their pitching, aside from adding Flaherty. Flaherty helps, but their lack of established pitching depth aside from him should have been addressed as well.


The Royals have had a rough year, and they’ve found themselves at the bottom of their division throughout it. They did the right thing by selling their better players for prospects, and were relatively active at the deadline.

So what makes them a loser? Point blank, they got very mediocre returns. They landed Cole Ragans and Roni Cabrera in return for Aroldis Chapman. That’s a decent return. However, Nicky Lopez, Ryan Yarbrough, Scott Barlow and Mike Mayers all ended up having disappointing returns. Kansas City sold the players they needed to, but did not get nearly enough as they should have in return. Kansas City was one of the losers from this year’s MLB trade deadline.


Similar to the Orioles situation, Cincinnati should look at this season as a net positive no matter what.

Unfortunately, the Reds also followed Baltimore’s deadline blueprint. A team that is in the hunt for the division and the playoffs, one that could have really used some pitching and bench depth, ended with a measly addition of Sam Moll. Given the Reds’ recent success, they’ve earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, their deadline moves left a lot to be desired.

NL Central Postseason Race Heating Up

The 2023 MLB season is slowly coming to an end but, the NL Central postseason standings show a race is beginning. Before June, it seemed like the NL Central was dead and the Milwaukee Brewers were going to sail off into the postseason with no struggle. Like everyone says, it’s a long season filled with 162 games — so anything can happen. Once again that sentiment is proving true.

With two months left, the NL Central now has three teams fighting for first place in the division, and one of the three available Wild Card spots. There is an important four-game series between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs starting this week that could make or break either team’s season.

What is the current state of the NL Central division?

Photo Credit: USA Today / Jace Evans

Currently the Reds are in the top spot of the NL Central, followed by the Brewers, who trail by a half game. Not too far from that are the Cubs, who are four games back. The Brewers currently hold one of the three Wild Card spots, and the Cubs are three-and-a-half games back in one of those spots.

The Cubs looked as if they were going to sell at the trade deadline, but they have gone 8-2 in their last ten games and have surged back up the standings. A four-game series with the first place Reds await the Cubs this week. If the Reds can sweep or win the series, it may be the beginning of the end for the Cubs.

On the other hand, if the surging Cubs can take the series, they are all the way back in on winning the division, and could take a bit of wind out of the Reds sails. The Brewers are the most consistent of the three, so it would not be a shock to see them staying the course and winning the division.

What is the most likely scenario?

Photo Credit: AP Photo / Morry Gash

Thanks to the 2022 changes, we saw the postseason expand from ten teams to twelve. With three Wild Card spots, it is possible to see three NL Central teams in the postseason — which did not seem like a possible scenario just two weeks ago. We will most likely only see two of the three.

My pick to win the NL Central postseason race is the Cincinnati Reds, with the Milwaukee Brewers taking the first Wild Card spot. The Chicago Cubs are playing great and are in the hunt, but with the rest of the National League there are stronger teams who will edge them out in the final weeks.

Cincinnati Reds: Trade Deadline Needs

The Cincinnati Reds trade deadline is going to look different from the past couple seasons. It is no secret the Reds have been one of, if not the, hottest teams in baseball since the start of June. It is all due to the never-ending youth movement going on in Cincinnati. The Reds are currently the youngest team in the National League, with top rookies Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Spencer Steer leading the charge.

While winning 20 of their last 24 games, they have rocketed to the #1 spot in the NL Central. The Cincinnati Reds find themselves in a buyer’s position at the quickly approaching trade deadline on August 1st, so who should they be targeting?

Injuries Plague the Starting Rotation

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

With the one-two punch of Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene on the IL until August, the Reds first hole to fill is starting pitching. The first guy to try and go after is Shane Bieber. He is not the same pitcher as the past few seasons, but is still able to pitch efficiently and not give up many runs. The Guardians are playing below expectations this year and have the starting pitching depth to make up for Bieber’s disappearance.

A few guys the Reds could trade to get this done are Nick Senzel or Jose Barrero. Both guys have flashed their talent, but haven’t been able to do so consistently. Sometimes a change of scenery is all a player needs to showcase their true game. Also, the Reds have traded with the Guardians in the past when Trevor Bauer came over for Yasiel Puig and prospect Scott Moss. There’s a history there that could help facilitate a deal.

Everyday Outfielders Needed

Photo Credit: Jason Burke/Si.com

Another guy that the Cincinnati Reds could get for cheap at the trade deadline as a rental is outfielder Brent Rooker from the Oakland Athletics. Rooker is having his best year on offense and can drive in runs. The Reds are loaded with infielders, but struggle to have an everyday guy in the outfield.

With the NL Central being uncompetitive this season, I couldn’t see Rooker being a long-term piece for the Reds, but he could help push them to the finish line for the 2023 season.

MLB Midseason Storylines

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/ Associated Press

As we enter the month of June, the 2023 MLB picture is starting to take shape. Now, nearly 70 games in, the flukes have figured themselves out, deadline buyers and sellers have introduced themselves, and fans are starting to understand who the true title contenders are. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the biggest MLB storylines at the midseason mark.

New Teams on the Rise

Parity is often much more evident in other sports than in professional baseball. The lack of a salary cap, among other things, might be to blame. However, it just makes it more impressive when young teams retake the spotlight — which has happened this year.

In the American League, the two most surprising teams are easily Baltimore and Texas. The Orioles have rebuilt through their farm system, and currently sport a 41-24 record, just a few games off the pace in the AL East. Texas on the other hand leads their division by 3.5 games with a comfortable 41-23 record.

In the NL, the Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Marlins have all been pleasant surprises. Arizona has taken control of the NL West, as they battle with the mighty Dodgers for that group.

Meanwhile, the Marlins and Pirates are comfortably above .500 and see themselves in competitive positions for the first time in years. This is by far one of the more impressive MLB storylines at this point in the season.

Teams in the Process of Falling Off

As new teams, like the ones we just discussed, begin to enter their championship window, they replace other teams who see their window start to end. “Out with old, in with the new” is a very solid way to describe this MLB season.

There are a lot of disappointments around the majors, and in the AL, the Red Sox, White Sox, and Guardians all find themselves in that mix. The Red Sox may have started this process a year or two ago, but their 33-33 record at the time of this writing leaves a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile, Chicago and Cleveland are two teams who are relatively new on the scene, yet have struggled mightily to begin 2023. Each of those two sports a record under .500.

The Phillies made it all the way to the World Series last year, and have followed that up with a fourth-place, 29-32 record. Keeping the disarray in their division, the Mets find themselves at 30-31, a year after winning 101 games.

The Padres, a seemingly young team on the rise after making it to the NLCS last year, are now sitting at 32-33. They’ve been about as mediocre as it gets, and have yet to find themselves as we near the halfway point of the season.

Will Ohtani and Trout Finally Make the Playoffs?

After another disappointing year in Anaheim, this past offseason was riddled with trade suggestions regarding Shohei Ohtani. If the Angels were to repeat last year’s struggles in 2023, those rumors would only have gotten louder.

Turns out, Los Angeles isn’t bad. They aren’t great, but they sit above .500, with a 36-31 record. As of now, they’re still in the Wild Card race, although they do have a couple of games to make up. Could this finally be the year we see two of baseball’s best stars in the playoffs?

Will The Astros’s AL West Reign Come to an End?

For what seems like the first time in forever, the Houston Astros haven’t dominated the AL West. Since 2017, the only year they haven’t won the division was the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. Even that year, they knocked the Athletics, who won the division, out in the divisional round of the playoffs.

This year, they have some competition. Although it’s been no fault of their own, as they hold a 37-29 record, Houston still finds themselves five games behind the Rangers. The potential dethroning of the Astros is immediately one of the most interesting MLB storylines in 2023.

How Have Last Off-Seasons’ Big Spenders Fared?

The off-season before the 2023 season was an interesting one, and it had several big signings.

One of the first that comes to mind is Trea Turner. In December, the shortstop signed a massive, 11-year, $300 million deal. While we’re less than one year into the contract, it hasn’t helped Philadelphia much. The Phillies sub-.500 record isn’t all Turner’s fault, but they likely hoped for better when making this deal.

Keeping in the same division, it’s time to talk about the Mets. After a quiet playoff exit in 2022, New York walked into this season with as astounding $350 million payroll.

So far, that has not done much. The Mets have been tight-roping the .500 mark all season and have yet to find their footing. Hopefully, if only to justify their spending, they pick it up as the season continues. The Mets’ continued struggles are one of the more disappointing MLB storylines from the season.

Finally, one of the more harshly-judged contracts of the off-season came from the Boston Red Sox. Boston signed international free agent Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million deal.

At the time, most in baseball assumed this was a terrible contract, and that Boston sacrificed too much money. As it turned out, Boston did get the last laugh, as Yoshida has had an excellent debut season. The season is still young, but Yoshida has quickly established himself as one of the better hitters in the American League.

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