Thursday, September 18, 2014

Which MLB Playoff Races will come Down to the Wire?

It’s practically an inevitable occurrence within the current landscape of professional baseball; each and every year there are several MLB division races that go down to the last day. Meanwhile, the wildcard race can also crack the playoff door open for several lucky teams while leaving others ruthlessly out of the glorious postseason that encompasses baseball and reminds us why this sport truly is America’s sport. Like any other, this year figures to be a tight contest all the way to the end! Here’s some of the more enticing MLB playoff races on the horizon and how I expect them to pan out:

The AL Central – While the Cleveland Indians seem to be fading and fading fast, the main culprits are going head to head, tooth and nail to the final day! The free-spending Detroit Tigers are the clear choice to win based on their roster and pre-season hopes, but the Kansas City Royals could be the surprise team of the year, and are currently right on their heels. James Shields has been his usual tremendous self, but the collective hitting and unity has seen the Royals play far beyond their talent and has brought about a new level of belief. While everyone is rooting for them, who knows if they’ll be able to muster enough wins to overtake Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, and the rest of the tremendous Tigers. The upcoming 3-game duel between these two clubs this weekend could decide the AL Central division’s fate, though the wildcard certainly presents an outlet for either team, but both know that facing an entire season’s hopes on one game is certainly far from ideal... These teams will desperately want to claim the division. I think the Royals will do it.

The NL West – Between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants a tremendous west coast rivalry has been simmering for years. But while the Dodgers have been spending big to recruit top players in the last few seasons, the Giants are the one with two recent World Series Championships. Nevertheless, with guys like Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers are rapidly becoming the team to beat and have been getting hot just in time to claim the division and potentially start a deep playoff run. Meanwhile, the Giants with Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner actually have a proven track record of getting hot just in time for the MLB playoffs. The pinnacle series will be early next week between the two sides and could decide their fates, leaving the loser in the dreaded wildcard match. The Dodgers look too good to mess this up, and I suspect they may win it all.

It’ll be interesting to see how these teams fare once the playoffs begin. While other baseball clubs may benefit from being able to rest their players in the last few weeks of the season, teams like the Dodgers, Giants, Royals, and Tigers could benefit from the momentum gained by winning such a tight race. By the time the October playoffs arrive, they’ll be hardened by a full month of living on the edge and could be better equipped to handle the playoff pressure. As such, the winners of these close divisions might just be hoisting the World Series trophy at the end of it all!

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