(All statistics referenced are from https://www.mlb.com/.)
With only September left in the regular season, even the best teams have begun to tire. Those with slim division leads, like the Cardinals, Braves, and Twins, this stretch of baseball is very important. Those close second-place teams and those teams just a couple games back of the wild card are running out of time; this final stretch will define their whole season. So how have those contending teams fared in August? Here's a summary of just that:
The Braves had an eight-game win streak despite their offense being ice-cold, only outhitting their opponents once in that whole stretch. With a weird travel schedule, they could use a break, especially with a 5.5 game lead to hold on too. The Nationals just had their best 80-game stretch in history, going 56-24 in that stretch. But they only gained one whole game on the Braves even with that performance. While it may be difficult to catch up to the Braves, they certainly have the wild card spot easily. After getting swept by the Cubs at home, the Mets playoff hopes are pretty much over. But at least the have Pete Alonso to build off of next year. The Phillies are just doing classic Phil things, throwing away their season, and the Marlins who are in rebuild mode are on the verge of mathematical elimination.
From a three-team race in July, I think it is safe to say this division is now a two-team race after the Brewer's poor play. The Brewers hover around .500 and just can not seem to get hot. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals are having stretches of both hot and cold baseball mixed in with each other, with the Cubs sitting just one game back. Whichever team plays the best in September will win the division, and the other team will probably end up in the other wild card spot, so look out for these two teams in the postseason,
The Dodgers are 40 games over .500 now with a league-best +218 run differential, arguable the best team in baseball. However, a series loss to the Yankees at home and to the Braves show they are not untouchable, and while they will easily run away with the division, they still can be beaten come October. The rest of the division is having a season to forget, but the Diamondbacks sure have life in their system.
The Yankees are 41 games over .500, besting the Dodgers by 1 game, but with just a +164 run differential. Still, they managed to take a series from the Dodgers, proving that they can rise to the occasion in a tough situation. The Yankees with an 11 game lead over the Rays have the division locked away, but the Rays are still just a game back of the wild card, so they still need to play well in September. Eric Sogard has been a good acquisition for them, and I think they have a legitimate chance to make the postseason. Both the Jays and Orioles are eliminated, and the Red Sox may not be gone yet, but I don't see them making a late run here.
Minnesota played well against the Indians to distance themselves a bit, but still hold just a 3.5 game lead over them, a lead that can perish quickly. The Indians have cooled off a bit, with their wild card lead slimming down to 1.5 games, and if they collapse in September, they can kiss their postseason hopes goodbye. The White Sox are about to be eliminated, and the Royals and Tigers have been eliminated already, so they look forward to the offseason and into next year.
The Astros are in a similar position to the Dodgers and Yankees, 39 games over .500, with a +212 run differential that is in between both of those teams. They hold a nine game lead over the A's, and while the A's may not win the division, they are a strong team and will play their hearts out for that last wild card spot. Between them and the Rays, that's going to be a fun race. The Mariners are eliminated, and the Rangers and Angels are utterly close to elimination as well.