It’s never a nice thing to assume, but in the case of the Astros and Yankees, it would be illogical not to say they are a shoe in for the playoffs. So after we easily hurdle that what teams are we left with? Is there a team that could sneak in? What is needed for these teams to get their foot in the door?
The Twins have a 5 game winning streak going and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They have 7 players with at least 20 home runs which ties them for the all-time MLB record up to this point in the season, and Jorge Polanco is sitting on 19. The pitching is solid, not spectacular but the team plays well together and could upset any team if they are hot going into the playoffs.
Cleveland has not given up (3.5 games out of 1st in the AL Central) and I still think they are the most dangerous of the teams not named the Yankees or Astros. The Indians are known for their pitching and defense but the additions of Puig and Reyes in the outfield has been energizing for this team. While Puig has struggled at the plate (5 for his last 34) Reyes has picked up the slack, with 4 HR’s 10 RBI’s and is batting .333 in his last 7 games. Add in a skipper named Terry Francona and anything can happen.
The last two teams that could make a splash are both “Young Scrappy and Hungry”… a Hamilton reference for you who are unaware (I know they are not too young but I had to do that). Tampa Bay does not have an easy road having series’ left with Cleveland (starting tomorrow so tune in!) the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Yankees, all great teams and besides the Tribe, playoff locks.
The only playoff teams Oakland faces the rest of the season are the Yankees (also starting tomorrow night!) and the Astros, while that’s not ideal it is a better view than what the Rays are looking at. I think Tampa is the better team but this schedule is in Oakland’s favor. This will be an entertaining last month of the season no matter what. Nothing better than summer winding down than the race to the playoffs!