Hunt for October: September 24, 2012

11 Days to the #Postseason. With 10 games remaining for most teams! (via MLB.com)

Man what a weekend for baseball! There was some excitement, the San Francisco Giants clinched the NL West division yesterday, along with some heartbreak, the Oakland A’s became the first team to hit 3 homeruns in the 13th inning or later and lose the game. So all in all, more of the playoff picture in the National League was cleared up, while the American League once again showed us NOTHING.

Along with the Giants, the Cincinnati Reds also clinched the NL Central division crown, joining the Nationals in the playoffs. The Nationals have not clinched their division yet because the Atlanta Braves have played amazing baseball all season, but their magic number sits at 5, so they control their own destiny. On the Wild Card front, the Braves should start packing their bags, sitting ahead by 6 games entering play on Monday, they are ready to host the Wild Card play in game. Behind them sit the St. Louis Cardinals, a team many did not pick to be in this situation, followed by  the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers who are both within striking distance. The most likely scenario looks to pit the Cardinals against the Braves in the play-in game, which is a revenge game for the Braves considering the Cardinals knocked them out of the playoffs last year on the final day of the season.

Over in the American League, it has been shown that even after an exciting weekend of baseball, nothing has changed once again. The Orioles and Yankees both kept pace with each other, winning 2 out of 3 over the weekend. In even more shocking news, the same can be said for the West and Central divisions. Only difference, is with the A’s stuggles this past week, the Angels were able to cut the gap to 2.5 games in the Wild Card and the Tigers were able to cut the division lead in the Central to 1 game.

This week is judgement week. With much of the NL decided, all eyes are on the American League. The A’s travel to Texas for a 4 game set with the Rangers. With a sweep, the A’s can tie the Rangers for the division lead. If they take 3 out of 4, they will put themselves within striking distance going into the final 6 games and possibly steal the division from Texas. More importantly, if the A’s finish 5-5, the Angels would have to finish 7-2 just to tie. Safe to say, every loss by the Angels is going to be a huge event. In the East, the Orioles and Yankees race seems like it will to go down to the last series of the season. Same story in the Central division, with the Tigers and White Sox separated by just 1 game. Should be an exciting, yet stressful weekend for both teams. Just like the Orioles/Yankees drama, the White Sox and Tigers do not meet again this season, so both teams should scoreboard watching a lot.

I’m ready for the drama ahead, they added the second wild-card for situations like this one, and the American League has plenty of drama that is yet to unfold. While most of the National League has been decided, the 2nd Wild Card has yet to be determined, and the drama that remains could make for another thrilling finish to the baseball season. Grab your peanuts, a nice cold beer, and let’s get ready for some October baseball!

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