MLB Playoff push intensifies


Chase Meili, Spear Contributor

The MLB wild-card race is coming down to the wire.  All six divisions winners have been decided, but the wild-card is another story.  With the new two team wild-card format, this allows for an extra two teams to make the playoffs.  The two wild-card teams in each league then play each other in a thrilling one game playoff.  This makes for a great baseball atmosphere as teams are put in a do or die situation and allows for better competition.  

On the National League side, the Mets hold a 1.5 game lead for the first wild-card spot.  While the Giants currently hold the second spot with a one game lead over the Cardinals.  These three teams have been vying for the two wild-card spots for the last few weeks.  But none of these teams have played well in pressure moments.  All three teams have played mediocre and left the door open for other teams.  Specifically the St. Louis Cardinals recently lost two out of three games to one of the worst teams in baseball, the Cincinnati Reds.  In addition, the Giants have completely fallen off the table.  After holding the division lead headed into the All-Star break, they have had a record of 26-41 in the second half.  They are on pace to become the first team to have the best record in the first half and the worst in the second.  With only a one game lead for the Giants, their is still a chance that they can salvage a playoff spot.  On the other hand, with five games to play the Mets have complete control. Only a collapse in the final games would keep the Mets out of the playoffs.

In the American League, the race is just as exciting.  The Toronto Blue Jays are in a similar situation as the Mets as they hold the first wild-card spot by one game and two games up from missing the playoffs.  The Jays have held the top wild-card spot for the majority of the year.  The second spot is held by the Orioles who lost the division lead to the Boston Red Sox a few weeks ago.  The O’s have struggled throughout the year to have consistent pitching, but have a strong offense led by current home-run leader, Mark Trumbo.  Unlike the National League, two other teams are still in the hunt for a spot.  The surging Detroit Tigers lead by Cy Young hopeful, Michael Fulmer, have got with a game of the playoffs after struggling earlier in the year.  Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners are still within the picture sitting two games back. Changes within the standings could be shuffled as the Blue jays are playing the Orioles tonight.  This could shake up the wild-card as it could allow for the Tigers and Mariners to get one game closer.  A win tonight for the Blue Jays would also clinch them a spot in the playoffs.

The last few weeks of baseball have been nothing short of exciting.  With the new playoff format, anything can happen in the final moments.  A difference of one win could mean a shot to play for the World Series, or at home watching it on TV.  Whoever makes the playoffs it should be an interesting postseason.