Major League Baseball is almost into its final month of the regular season and with much still to play for, now is a good time to assess the picture across both the American and National League.
The Tampa Bay Rays have made a name for themselves by upsetting the apple cart in the AL East on a much smaller budget than their rivals. They have done so again this year, their 84-48 record has them eight games clear of the New York Yankees and 10 ahead of the Boston Red Sox. Those two appear to be fighting it out for wildcard places with the Rays having such a lead.
In the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox are 10 games clear of Cleavland in their division, with that side their only likely competitor for the title. The White Sox are
1/500 to win the section.
The AL West is more competitive, with the Oakland Athletics looking to claw back a five-game deficit over the Houston Astros, with the Seattle Mariners a further 2.5 games behind the A’s. Both of those teams are also just outside the AL Wildcard standings, with the Yankees and Red Sox currently occupying the two spots.
The NL East is one of the tightest divisions left in the league with 5.5 games separating the three teams at the top. The Atlanta Braves currently sit top of the pile, but the Philadelphia Phillies are 2.5 games back and the New York Mets are still in with a shout at 5.5 games out.
The Milwaukee Brewers have racked up a likely insurmountable 10-game cushion in the NL Central, with the Cincinnati Reds and St Louis Cardinals part of the chasing pack.
The NL West race is one likely to go to the wire, with the surprise package San Francisco Giants currently holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers by half a game. Due to their superior records to everyone else in the National League, whoever fails to win the division will likely top the wildcard standings.
Padres in ‘Must-Win’ Territory
Despite being usurped by their divisional rivals, the Giants and Dodgers, the San Diego Padres are very much in the NL Wildcard hunt and will see this week’s game against a poor Arizona Diamondbacks team as must-win.
The Diamondbacks are 44-90, the worst record in the National League, and the
20/43 about the Padres notching a victory here appeals.
The Mariners have kicked into gear late this season and are breathing down the necks of the A’s in the West and the wildcard race. They face the Astros here after beating them comfortably on Tuesday.
Despite Houston having almost a full-strength side, they have failed to recapture their red hot hitting of the early parts of the season and the Mariners may be able to feed off the momentum of their earlier win and repeat the trick.
13/10 available on the Seattle ballclub looks like a wise selection.
*All odds correct at time of writing.