MLB Playoff races heating up
Kyle McDonald | Sports Editor | @kylesportsbias
As the Major League Baseball season moves into August, the race is on to make the 2015 playoffs.
The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball at 65-37 and sit atop the National League Central. Veteran right-hander John Lackey has anchored the pitching staff that features young right-handers Lance Lynn and Carlos Martinez. They have amassed the best home record in baseball at 38-15 and manager Mike Matheny has the Cardinals in line to make a deep October run.
If the regular season ended today, the San Francisco Giants would be facing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card play-in game. The Giants are the defending champions and are led by World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey. They are only 0.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West race. The Pittsburgh Pirates trail the Cardinals by 5.5 games in the NL Central but they have Andrew McCutcheon. That is about all anyone needs to know. The centerfielder for the Pirates makes life easier for manager Clint Hurdle along with a pitching staff led by Gerrit Cole and AJ Burnett.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals are the other two teams in the playoff mix right now.
MVP candidate Bryce Harper and National League Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer are creating a buzz in the nation’s capital. If the right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg can get healthy, it could be a year when the Nationals make some noise in the playoffs.
With a pitching staff that features two former Cy Young Award winners in Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke, the Dodgers are primed for a playoff run. Manager Don Mattingly also has a gem in his lineup. Rookie of the Year candidate Joc Pederson bats leadoff for the Dodgers and leads all rookies with 20 home runs.
The Chicago Cubs are two games behind the Giants in the Wild Card race and the New York Mets are 4.5 games out. The Mets only train the Nationals by three games in the NL East.
In the American League, the Kansas City Royals own the best record with a 61-40 mark and own a 5.5 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the Central Division. Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer lead the way for the Royals, who have continued their run since they lost the 2014 World Series in seven games to the Giants.
The New York Yankees have shown they don’t need Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera to continue their winning ways. They lead the American League East with a 57-44 record. Led by Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner as well as pitchers CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, the Yankees continue to be the class of the east.
The Houston Astros have won eight out of their last ten games and lead the AL West with a 58-45 record. They are led by all-star pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who is a Cy Young Award candidate with 12 wins.
The Los Angeles Angels are just two games behind the Astros in the AL West. With a lineup that features MVP candidates Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and veteran pitchers Garrett Richards, CJ Wilson, and Huston Street, the Angels are primed to make a run for the playoffs where they haven’t made it past the divisional round since 2009.
The summer is hot but will get even hotter as the race for the five playoff spots in both the National League and the American League continue to heat up.
I am 32 years old, love the Chicago Cubs. A huge lego maniac and love to crochet team blankets (just ask, cool stuff)!! I have a passion for sports and a passion to write about them.