As the Major League Baseball regular season draws to a close, the hunt for the playoffs heats up in both conferences.
Each division will still send three division winners to the playoff. However, this season marks the first year that MLB will have two wild card teams battling it out for the last spot in the playoff bracket.
With this extra playoff spot tensions could not be any higher for the teams in the race both in the National and American League.
In the American League the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Oakland Athletics hold solid leads within their respective divisions with these teams looking like shoe-ins for with only two weeks left in the season.
The Atlanta Braves, and Los Anglos Dodgers also have strong holds on their divisions within the National League.
When it comes to the Central Division in the National League things could not be any closer. The St. Louis Cardinals hold only a 2.5 game lead over both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. With the closing weeks of the regular season upon us the Cardinals have no head to head match ups with either the Pirates or Reds. The Pirates and Reds have six meetings against each other in the closing weeks.
Although most of the division winners have staked their claim to the 2013 World Series Playoffs the final spot remains up for grabs in both conferences.
In the American League the Tampa Bay Rays are tied with the Texas Rangers with the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Kansas City Royals within 2.5 games in the final weeks. One mistake in these final weeks can result in the entire season being a loss for these ball clubs.
Luckily in the National League things are a little clearer on the teams in the hunt for the trophy. The Pirates hold a one game lead over the Reds, and a 5.5 game lead over the Washington Nationals.
If baseball fans have learned from past seasons anything can happen in the closing weeks of season. Connor Moylan of blog site SB Nation landed a further opinion on who he believes will be in the hunt in October for the World Series.
Tampa Bay is 17-23 since August, slowly ceding ground to the other contenders. Texas’ decline has been more spectacular, losing six straight and 12 of their last 15.The Cleveland Indians have been the biggest beneficiary of the leaders decline; they now sit a 1/2 game back of a playoff spot. The Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals all still have a chance to grab one of two Wild Card spots with some strong performances down the stretch. Four of the six teams are in action on Monday. The Indians will travel to Kauffman Stadium to start a three-game series against the Royals. The top two teams face off as well, with the Rangers kicking off a four-game series at Tropicana Field against the Rays.
The guys from Baseball Tonight share their thoughts on Wild Card Winner for the American League.