The Final Three Weeks Of The MLB Regular Season
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The Final Three Weeks Of The MLB Regular Season

Which teams have what it takes?

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The Final Three Weeks Of The MLB Regular Season

It’s mid-September, which means most of the sports world is in full football mode. After an exciting first week of NFL action, I’m already psyched for week two. However, it’s important to remember that one very special league is currently in the final stretch of their regular season. Get excited because post-season baseball will be on television shortly. I know many sports fans have stopped caring about baseball, but the reality is this MLB season has been fantastic, and there is still a lot of innings to be played, pennants to be won and a champion to be crowned. While a lot of the divisions have been wrapped up now for a while, there are still two (the Nationals fan in me wants to say three) divisions that are still not claimed.

AL EAST

After the trade deadline, the Blue Jays had made it clear that they were going for it all in the 2015 season. They had some ground to make up to catch a Yankees team that had surprised a lot of baseball fans. The Blue Jays have made up that ground and then some. As seen from the standings above (as of Sept. 18), the Jays are 3.5 games ahead of the Yankees with 16 games to play. Their remaining series include home sets against the lowly Bo' Sox, the Yankees (two of those games will be shown nationally on ESPN) and the Rays. They will then hit the road to play four games in Baltimore and then the Rays again to cap off the season. The Yankees are currently playing in the Subway Series against the thriving Mets. Once that series is over, they will take the 7 train, switch over to the 4 train and arrive in the Bronx where they will face a pair of Sox in two 4-game series, followed by a series in Baltimore.

The schedules are very comparable, the main X-factors here being the head-to-head series, which will take place Sep. 21-23 and will see Price for the Blue Jays in the first game and Tanaka for the Yankees in the finale. Another key for the Jays will be beating the Rays in the six games they have against them. The Rays have taken eight out of the 13 games this season against Toronto, but have not played them yet with the improved Blue Jays roster.

AL WEST

This division is particularly interesting for a couple of different reasons. First things first, when was the last time you saw the Houston Astros with a winning record in mid-September? It's alright if you don't remember, because I looked it up: 2008. Even if they don't make the playoffs this season, there is a high probability that they will make the post-season through the wild card. Another interesting note about this division is that the three teams at the top pretty much have identical schedules moving into the last 16-17 games. They all play each other; the Mariners, Athletics, Rangers and Astros finish their season with a series against pretty horrible teams -- the Tigers and Diamondbacks, respectively. The Angels are in a series right now with the wild card-hungry Twins, another team that has shockingly moved into the scene this season. If the Astros can take two out of three or possibly sweep the Rangers, it should be smooth sailing going into the last six games against Seattle and Arizona. They have their two top pitchers, Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel, slated to pitch against the Rangers, so the four-game sweep that the Rangers put on the Astros last week may be avenged.

Then there's the NL East, where the Mets have seemingly hammered down the last nail in the Nationals coffin. The Nationals did get themselves in this situation (they have played horrific baseball post-trade deadline), but the Mets have launched themselves into first based on their own merit. The lead now is eight games, and with only 15 games left in the season, the math makes sense; but the way the Mets are playing, they should find themselves playing October ball at Citi Field.

This season could conclude with a couple of teams who we aren't used to seeing in October. After a 51-111 season (that's not a typo) in 2013, the Astros first season in the AL West, this may be the season where their rebuilding is complete. The Blue Jays haven't made playoffs since 1993, which is when they won their second straight World Series (cue Drake's "Back to Back"), and the Mets haven't made it to the post-season since 2006. While some very talented and playoff-tested teams await, the Cardinals, Dodgers and Royals could definitely thrive in the playoffs. Continue to be an all-around sports fan, but don't sleep on the MLB.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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