Major League Baseball (MLB) has about 20 games left to go and some things that seemed clear last week have become rather murky. Most of the murk is related to the teams that still lurk on the fringes of the Wild Card. These races often tighten up in the last few weeks and that seems to be happening right now. It can be a frustrating time for those who bet on MLB games.
That’s because some of the top teams start to lose, sometimes reeling off relatively long losing streaks. Although there are about seven games between those first in the Wild Card and those second and third and there are very few games left, the fact is that club that is leading is vulnerable. Here’s a look at where we are in the race division titles and Wild Card spots.
NL Top Teams
The Philadelphia Phillies are the top of the top these days. They have an excellent rotation and fine hitters. They are poised to not only take the NL East but to also win the NL Championship. They should win the division by double digits.
The West looks fairly secure also as the Arizona Diamondbacks have the firepower to beat anyone in their division and enough pitching to carry them through to the end. The San Francisco Giants do not have enough gas in the tank and will end up in second.
The Central may not look as sure but overall it is. The Milwaukee Brewers, who are a terrible road team but a great home club, are overall much more solid than second place St. Louis. This is a very weak division.
NL Wild Card
The Atlanta Braves still appear to be good but they will have competition from the Cardinals. Overall, it looks like the Braves will hang on as long as their pitching does. San Francisco is in third for the Wild Card but they simply do not have the offense to supplement their strong pitching.
AL’s Top Teams
It is still a battle between the Yankees and Red Sox for first in the AL East. Right now the Yankees are in good shape to take that spot. Some guys are really stepping up in the pitching department for New York. But it is just a matter of a few games that separate the two teams.
In the Central, it will definitely be the Detroit Tigers. They have turned it up on all levels and are now at +40 RS/RA. No other team in that division is even close to posting a positive RS/RA number. A few weeks ago, the Tigers were putting up a negative number in that area. They could be the team that takes the NL crown.
The West has now become sketchy. Texas has been struggling. As has been said before, they can hit but their all-important pitching is inconsistent. The Los Angeles Angels have a much better staff. Texas plays Los Angeles in LA for the final three games of the season. That could decide which team makes the playoffs.
AL Wild Card
The Wild Card race has started to tighten. The Boston Red Sox are looking over their shoulders at the Tampa Bay Rays and the Angels. The Red Sox have seven games upcoming against the Rays and another three versus the Yanks. They also see Baltimore a lot, which gives them an edge. A majority of Boston’s games in the final weeks are at home where they play exceedingly well. I still believe the Red Sox will outlast the other two teams.
Placing Your Bets
As you place your MLB bets be sure to consider where a team is in the standings and how important it is that they win. Also, take some time to analyze all aspects of the pitching staff and top players down the stretch. Along with trying to figure out the final two weeks, bettors are prepping for the playoffs. This is a wild time as clubs vie for the Wild Card.