Penant race heats up in National League baseball

by Nick Colecchio

It is about mid-September, which means that there are only a couple of more weeks until the end of the regular season in baseball. This is the best time of year for a baseball fan as teams fight to the finish for a playoff berth. Some teams have lived up to the expectations, while others have floundered in its pressure. In the mean time some teams have come out of nowhere to even be in contention at all. Both the American and National league have most of their divisions still undecided.

In the American League the Orioles are making a liar out of many experts as they lead the eastern division by 10 games. Also in the western division the Angels have caught fire and have taken an eight game lead over the Athletics. In the first half of the season the A’s were the team to beat while the Angels were trying to chase them down. After a questionable mid-season trade that landed them Red Sox ace Jon Lester they definitely got the short end of the stick. In that trade they had to give up one of their power bats, Yoenis Cespedes and it has shown in their offensive struggle to score runs. When you move over to the central division, the wild card race is where it gets interesting. After their second straight win over the Royals last night the Tigers have pulled into a first place tie with them. While those two are at the top, the Indians lying back at only 5 games out of first with about two weeks left to play. The Indians clinched a wild card berth on the last game of the season last year after going an incredible 21- 6. So this team is capable of getting hot in the crucial games of the season. In the wild card race, the A’s on top with a one and a half game lead on the Tigers who hold the second and final wild card spot. The Mariners are only a half game out with the Blue Jays, Indians, and Yankees still within striking distance. With the Angels, A’s, and Mariners all being in postseason contention, that means that the American League West could have three out of the five teams in the division make the playoffs. Making it the best division in the American League if not all of baseball.

When you come over to the National League you have pretty much the same scenario. With two of the divisions nearly locked up, the other division land both wild card spots are still up for grabs. In the eastern division you have the Nationals sitting on top with a 9 game lead on the Atlanta Braves. In the central it’s a little tighter with the red hot St. Louis Cardinals in first with a four and a half game lead on the Pirates. Even though the game lead seems like a lot with only two weeks left, it actually is very surpass able. Other teams have come back to overtake the division with bigger margins than four and a half with only two weeks left. In the Western division it is very tight with the defending divisions champ Dodgers two and a half games up on the San Francisco Giants. Every other team in this division have been out of the race since the season started. In the wild card spots you have those same Giants four games up on the second wild card Pirates, who only have a game and half lead on both Atlanta and Milwaukee.

One thing is certain are these last two weeks and the playoffs are going to be going to prevail? Or is a smaller workhorse team going to come out of nowhere to take the crown. Nothing is for certain as “Anything can happen in October.”