Lots of MLB teams are still looking to cement their positions as playoff-bound clubs, with a month left on the regular-season calendar.
Most divisions have one or two teams fighting for a spot, maybe three tops.
The American League East division, however, has four organizations with legitimate chances of making it to the postseason: the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Al East Will Likely Have Three Playoff Teams In 2021
In fact, if the season ended today, three clubs would be invited to October: the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox.
Good morning. Here's the playoff picture on Sept. 1.
AL Divisions: Rays, Astros, White Sox
WC: Yankees, Red Sox
NL: Giants, Brewers, Braves
WC: Dodgers, Reds-Padres (tied)
How much will things change (if at all)?
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) September 1, 2021
Tampa leads the pack with a fantastic 84-50 record, by far the best in the AL.
In fact, the Rays are the only team in the junior circuit with at least 80 wins.
The Yankees are second in the East with a 77-56 record, 6.5 games behind the Rays; while the Red Sox are 77-59.
Toronto is a bit behind, at 70-62, but it still has a mathematical chance even though it’s not a realistic one.
MLB surely loves the fact that the AL East is the best division, and four of its teams are pushing to make the postseason.
By now, it is evident that the Yankees’ hypothetical presence in the postseason is great for the league.
People either love the Yankees or love to see them lose, thus increasing ratings for the league to enjoy.
Boston is, additionally, a big-market team with recent success and a rich history.
Fans love to see the Red Sox in the playoffs, and this year’s team has a very good manager in Alex Cora and some exciting players in Chris Sale, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and others.
Tampa is one of MLB’s very best teams, with a modern, analytics-driven approach that has definitely captivated the new generations of fans.
They have a unique way of managing their organization, with an emphasis on player development and resource maximization.
They are a successful club that has been excellent for years, even reaching the World Series in 2020.
Baltimore Is The Only Problem
The only current problem of the AL East is the Baltimore Orioles and their evident incompetence.
As of Friday afternoon, Baltimore has the worst record of the league, at 41-91.
They recently lost 19 games in a row, and the Rays went 18-1 against them in the 2021 regular season.
Rays go 18-1 vs. O’s this year. They are the 3rd team in the divisional era to win 18 against a single opponent. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 29, 2021
The competitive difference between the top four AL East teams and the Orioles is truly abysmal, and makes you wonder if the league should do something to intervene.
Luckily, Baltimore shouldn’t be so bad next year, and hopefully it comes somewhat close to the top four.
For now, it looks like the AL East will include three of their five teams in the 2021 playoffs.
MLB surely isn’t complaining, although each of the three clubs must secure its postseason berth with a solid September.