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MLB Races to Watch

Credit: Associated Press

It is the 9th inning of the baseball season, as it winds down into the final week. It has been a spectacular season: the rookies who have been home run hitting machines in Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers and Indians historic winning streaks, the single season home run record, and so much more. As we gear up for the postseason, there are still a few spots that still need to be filled, and who is going to play each other is still up in the air. These are the races you want to take a close look at down the home stretch of the MLB season.

Second Wild Card

Image credit: Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

Rockies-Brewers-Cardinals

These three teams are fighting for the final spot in the NL. It looked like there was going to be three representatives from the NL West in this years playoffs for most of the season, but the Brewers and Cardinals have been battling their way back into the conversation. Now they find themselves within reach as the Rockies have been stumbling a little bit. The Rockies hold a small lead over the Brewers and Cardinals with three series left. Winner of this race gets a shot at the red hot bats of Arizona in the desert, although the Brewers and the Cardinals still have an outside shot at the division if the Cubs collapse. The remaining series for the teams are below. The final weekend will be must see with the Brewers and the Cardinals facing off.

Rockies: @SD, vs MIA, vs LAD

Brewers: vs CHC, vs CIN, @STL

Cardinals: @PIT, vs CHC, vs MIL

Twins-Angels-Rangers-Royals

Who really thought the Twins would be here? I mean, they lost 103 games last year. No team has ever made the playoffs after losing 100 games. Now they are in the best shape to lock down the final wild card in the AL. Most of the teams here are the definition of mediocrity, but the fact that these four teams even have a shot with a week left is what makes the second wild card so exciting for baseball. The Twins hold the pole position and a 2 ½ game lead with three series to go. Each of these teams have proven that they can lose. Can any one of them get hot and win over the final week? Here are the schedules:

Twins: @DET, @CLE, vs DET

Angels: @HOU, @CHW (4), vs SEA

Rangers: @OAK, vs HOU, vs OAK (4)

Royals: @CHW, @NYY (1), vs DET, vs ARI

AL East

Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

Red Sox-Yankees

This is the way it is supposed to be, right? The Yankees are in good position to take the first wild card, but they have hopes on the division. The problem is they have been chasing Boston most of the season. Both teams have been close since the beginning of September. After being swept by the Indians in their incredible winning streak, the Yankees took two-of-three from the Sox. Since then, both teams have been keeping pace with each other. It will be a long shot for the Yanks to catch Boston (who holds a three-game lead with ten games to go) because they don’t match up with each other over the last week. Winning the division will buy you a guaranteed three games instead of a one game playoff and not meeting the Indians or each other until the ALCS if they get there. Sounds like a little better than bragging rights. The remaining series break down as follows:

Red Sox: @CIN, vs TOR, vs HOU (4)

Yankees: @TOR, vs KC (1), vs TB, vs TOR

Home Field Advantage

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers-Nationals

The NL race isn’t that competitive, with the Dodgers up 4 ½ games with three series to go, but the fact that it’s even a conversation is credit to the Nationals after what the Dodgers have done this season. If Los Angeles continues to limp down the stretch, the Nats have an outside shot to take it. Here’s who they play:

Dodgers: vs SF, vs SD, @COL

Nationals: @NYM, @ PHI, vs PIT (4)

Indians-Astros

The AL race will be much more exciting. The Indians have been winning and winning and winning some more, but the Astros held the best record in the AL for most of the season. As it stands going into the last three series of the season, the Indians hold a 2 ½ game edge over the Houston and have a much easier path. Look for both these teams to battle for the have home field advantage in the American League. Interestingly enough, it is also a race between the Dodgers and the Indians for the overall best record and home field should they both make it to the World Series. Check out Cleveland and Houston’s remaining schedule below:

Indians: @SEA, vs MIN, vs CHW

Astros: vs LAA, @TEX, @BOS (4)

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