The 2021 MLB season has been exciting from the gate, and the drama is far from over.
With the regular season winding down, playoff races are heating up.
We still have a number of wide open races that are yet to be determined.
Today, we’re going to rank those races, taking only the top three.
Let’s get started.
3. NL Wild Card
The NL East race got consideration for this spot, but ultimately, the NL Wild Card takes the cake due to the number of teams that are still technically in the mix.
The St. Louis Cardinals have separated themselves lately in the race for the NL’s second Wild Card spot, and they currently have a three-game lead over the next-closest team.
The Cardinals who were out of the playoffs just a few weeks ago now hold a 3 game lead on the last wild card spot. It’ll be no easy feat with 7 games left against the Brewers but this has potential to be one of the craziest playoff runs
— Preston Bailey (@presto2215) September 20, 2021
However, St. Louis’ remaining schedule isn’t a cakewalk, so that might open the door for a team to make things interesting.
The following clubs are all still kicking:
- Cincinnati Reds (3 GB)
- San Diego Padres (4 GB)
- Philadelphia Phillies (4.5 GB)
It’s likely going to come down to which team heats up the most over these final two weeks, but there’s no doubt that it’s the Cardinals’ bid to lose.
2. AL Wild Card
The AL Wild Card situation is nonstop entertainment.
The race for the Wild Card spots in the AL since the All-Star Break pic.twitter.com/RPC9i9lxH6
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) September 19, 2021
It’s anyone’s guess as to how the race is going to play out.
Here’s how it looks entering play on Tuesday:
- Wild Card No. 1: Boston Red Sox
- Wild Card No. 2: Toronto Blue Jays (1.5 GB of Red Sox for top spot)
- In The Hunt: New York Yankees (0.5 GB of Blue Jays)
- In The Hunt: Oakland Athletics (2 GB of Blue Jays)
- In The Hunt: Seattle Mariners (3 GB of Blue Jays)
Clearly, anything can happen.
The Athletics and Mariners can’t afford to drop too many more games if they want to stay in the mix, but the same can be said about virtually every team listed.
It’s five clubs for two spots, and every game matters at this point.
1. NL West
The National League West is easily going to produce two 100-win teams, but only one will walk away with the division crown.
The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are the two best teams in baseball, and they’ve been battling it out in the NL West all season long.
It’s a shame that one of these clubs is going to land in the Wild Card Game.
Right now, the Giants lead the Dodgers by just one game in the race.
The two teams won’t play again in the regular season.
Both clubs have four series remaining.
Take a look at what their schedules look like the rest of the way:
- Dodgers: 3 vs. Colorado Rockies, 3 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 3 vs. Padres, 3 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
- Giants: 3 vs. Padres, 3 vs. Colorado Rockies, 3 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 3 vs. Padres
The clubs’ schedules are comparable in the sense that each team has two somewhat easy series left and two somewhat difficult series left.
Whichever team takes care of business will likely be rewarded with a division crown.
But also, let’s not sleep on the possibility of a Game 163 tiebreaker, which would occur if the Giants and Dodgers were to finish the regular season with identical records.
Just realized the Giants literally have 12 games left to fend off the Dodgers. Game 163 is such a real possibility and I am not prepared.
— alex (@bantheshiftman) September 21, 2021
That’s what tons of neutral fans are rooting for.
It would be electric.