Labor Day weekend is like the green flag for MLB teams. The races are officially under way. Fans can start scoreboard checking without shame, and now you are not rooting for your team plus 4 different teams every fucking night. September can be a great month for some fans, a horrible month for some fans, or just a month straight of stressful fucking nights. For me it is most usually a bad month, The Jets usually shit the fuckin bed out of the gate and the Mets are usually no where close to playing meaningful games. Yet here we are with the Mets in a Wild Card race which means my September is going to be a mother fucking roller coaster.
Barring a goddamn miracle, 3 of the divisions are locked up. The Yankees currently hold a 9 game lead in the AL East, the Astros hold a 10 game lead in the AL West, and the Dodgers hold an 18, yes you read that right, game lead in the NL West. So those 3 divisions are all but locked up with less than a month left in the season.
Two of the divisions are all but clinched with Minnesota leading Cleveland by 6 games in the AL Central and the Braves leading the Nationals by 6.5 games in the NL East. If you remember Cleveland caught up to Minnesota at one point but got swept by the Mets and have not been able to make up ground since. The Braves are a team that may be just as good as the 3 teams mentioned above, but they are flying under the radar in terms of publicity.
Now things get a little murky when you get to the NL Central and the Wild Card races. 3 teams are within 6.5 games of first place in the NL Central. The Cardinals have been great over the past month and it is their division to lose at this point. Any slip-ups though may cause them to fall into a Wild Card race. The Cubs are 3 GB and the Brewers are 6.5 GB. Both have been playing up and down, but both have offenses capable of getting real hot at any moment.
Now the AL Wild Card does not seem near as crowded as the NL Wild Card. In the AL you have Tampa Bay in the first spot by a full game on Cleveland who is in the 2nd spot. Behind them by only half a game is Oakland, and sitting 5 games back and looking to get hot is the Red Sox. TB and Oakland probably have the easiest remaining schedule with only 8 and 4 games left against teams over .500 respectively. Cleveland and Boston both have about half of their games against teams over .500. Given the schedules it is going to be back and forth but in the end I will take Oakland and TB to be playing in the one game Wild Card.
Now, onto the NL Wild Card race. This one is going to be crazy. The Nationals are currently in the 1st spot with a 3.5 game lead on the Cubs who are in the second spot. Behind them the Phillies, Brewers, D-Backs, and Mets are all lined up ready to fuckin pounce, For starters, the Phillies schedule is fucking ridiculous down in stretch. They have the Mets, the Braves, the Indians, the Red Sox, and the Nationals. Understandably, the Phillies have the worst shot of winning the wild card out of those 4 teams. I have pretty much conceded that first spot to the Nats at this point, so it is really 5 teams fighting for 1 spot.
The Cubs are currently in that spot and have a decently tough schedule, they have the Brewers and Cardinals left which could get dicey for them down the stretch.
The Brewers have it kind of easy as they only have the Cubs and Cards after they finish their current series with the Astros tonight. I don’t know if they have the pitching to stay in this race though.
The Diamondacks don’t have much left to scare them on the schedule either. They do though have a huge 4 game set with the Mets next week which could make or break their season.
The Mets have quite a bit that could get them into trouble down the stretch. They have the Nats, Phillies, D-backs, Dodgers, and Braves. That is almost as rough as the Phils. However, the Mets do have the second highest odds (behind the Cubs) to get that 2nd wild card spot. I know those don’t mean shit, but if the bullpen gets their shit together they may be in it until that last weekend.
Given everything I have seen, gimme the Mets to steal that second wild card spot. They have the starting pitching and the lineup is coming back together with McNeil finally back.
Get your fuckin seatbelts on because September is going to be a real bumpy fuckin ride if your team is in one of these races.