October is almost here which signals the beginning of playoff time in Major League Baseball. The American League playoff picture is fairly stable but the same cannot be said of the National League
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are the best team in baseball, with a record of 100 wins and 46 losses. Since 2000 only 20 teams have won 100 games, and one of those teams – last season’s Houston Astros – won the World Series. They’re statistically great in both offence and pitching, but their two best pitchers are coming off injuries.
They nearly won it all two years ago when they lost in game seven of the World Series to the Chicago Cubs. The line-up has a lot of talent and they rarely strikeout. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer are fantastic starting pitchers. They have the worst record out of all the AL playoff-bound teams and benefitted being in a weak division.
The defending champions have mostly the same team that won it all a year ago. Their offence has been good but they have the talent to be great once the playoffs come. Their pitching has been the best in the majors, so they’ll be a tough team for anybody.
New York Yankees
The Yankees lead the majors in home runs and are second in runs scored due to a powerful offence that will feast on pitcher’s mistakes. They have the ninth most strikeouts so they can be beat with good pitching. The player’s own pitching is strong as they lead the majors in strikeouts.
The Athletics are the surprise team in the AL playoff picture, they weren’t predicted to be here since they lost 87 games last year and have used 14 starting pitchers due to the boatload of injuries, but somehow, they’re the fourth best team in baseball. They’ve starting pitching that’s getting the job done, the best bullpen in the league and an explosive offense. Will this run last once the playoffs start?
The youthful Atlanta team have been a surprise this year: making the playoffs with many players under the age of 25. Their success has come from their resiliency, the Atlanta team have an erratic offence, inconsistent bullpen and inconsistent games, but they always seem to be able to bounce back. That’s not a formula for playoff success, though.
The 2016 champions will look to reclaim the World Series this year, but they need a break, they will have one day off between August 20 and the end of September. Their play has faltered because of it. They’re a talented team but may have issues due to the lack of rest.
Colorado is in place to win their first divisional title in their history – but how they’ll do during playoffs is up in the air. They currently have a run differential of -5 and give up the tenth-most runs in the majors. The Rockies usually win close games, however, they get trounced in blowouts. If they can keep the games close, experience is on their side.
Just like the Cubs, the Brewers are using their strong play in the first half of the season to get them into the playoff hunt. They’ve gone from giving up the fifth fewest amount of runs in the first half to the ninth most in the second half. They need to figure out their pitching or else they’ll have a short post-season, if they get there.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are the exact opposite of the Brewers and Cubs. They had a rough first have but are making a late surge. Their offense exploded jumping from 19th in runs to 11th in that time span. They’ve struggled in September with seven losses and five wins. They need to rekindle their strong play in order to make the post-season.
Los Angeles Dodgers/Arizona Diamondbacks
These two teams are on the outside looking in, but due to the issues facing other teams, it would not be surprising to see them in. The strength with both teams is their starting pitching. Los Angeles has given up the second fewest runs and Arizona the fifth. The Diamondbacks have issues with their bullpen and can’t seem to win close games. The Dodgers are loaded but are also having trouble winning.