Well baseball fans, the 2017 MLB All-Star Game is now complete. As the festivities in Miami came to a close last night, it is time for the baseball world to turn their attention to the second half. The next major pitstop will be the July 31st Trade Deadline. After that, all eyes will be on the run to the playoffs. So why not take a look at how the American League playoffs are looking right now.
If the season ended today, the playoffs would shake out like this:
(1) Houston Astros vs WC Winner
(2) Boston Red Sox vs (3) Cleveland Indians
(WC1) New York Yankees vs (WC2) Tampa Bay Rays
The Astros have been the best team in the AL, sporting a 60-29 record. This gives them a 16.5 game edge in the AL West, where the Los Angeles Angels sit in second with a 45-47 record. It is a pretty safe assumption that the club will earn one of the top three seeds come October. They currently have a 10 game cushion over the second-seeded Boston, meaning the one seed is also a pretty safe bet at the moment as well.
Speaking of the Red Sox, they have a 50-39 record to lead the AL East. The New York Yankees have been faltering a bit of late, which puts them 3.5 games behind the BoSox. The Rays are also 3.5 behind, meaning this won’t be a cakewalk for Boston in terms of earning a top three spot. But they are the most talented team of the group, so I would venture to guess they hold.
In the Central, Cleveland overcame a slow start to reach the top of the division. At 47-40, they lead the Minnesota Twins by 2.5 games. The Kansas City Royals can’t be forgotten either, as they are only three back. This is likely going to be the most entertaining race in the American League. It would not surprise me to see any of these three grab that third seed.
In regards to the Wild Card, some may be scratching their head when they read the Tampa Bay Rays. The fact that the Rays are holding a Wild Card slot at the moment is all the proof you need to see how weak the AL is this season. Teams like the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays have all failed to live up to expectations.
As a result, it is the Yanks and Rays in the Wild Card slots. New York has a 45-41 record, while Tampa is 47-43. But neither team should feel too safe right now. Of the 10 remaining teams, the last place team, the Chicago White Sox, are only 7.5 games out of a playoff spot.
So to say the Wild Card is wide open is an understatement. Both the Twins and Royals are within two games, meaning they could easily sneak in without overcoming the Tribe. The Los Angeles Angeles, Seattle Mariners, and Rangers may not have much hope in the West, but all three clubs are within four games.
It will surely be interesting to watch who is buying and who is selling come the end of the month. The next two weeks will determine a lot for several clubs.
When things are all settled come the end of the season, I expect to see the top three seeds remain as is. However, I foresee some change in the final two spots. The Yankees have been going in the wrong direction. They likely make a move to help stabilize some of their injury woes, and I think they hold the second Wild Card.
But my gut tells me that one of the teams in the Central will step up in the second half. As a result, they will get the honor of hosting the Wild Card game against New York.
What do you think? How do you see the American League playoffs shaking out in the second half? Tell us what you think in the comments!