Preparing for Postseason Baseball

Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers are slumping but still in good position for the postseason (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong).

Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers are slumping but still in good position for the postseason (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong).

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Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers are slumping but still in good position for the postseason (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong).

By Dominic Capone

It’s September, which can only mean one thing: playoff baseball is right around the corner. Teams like the Dodgers, Indians, Nationals and Astros are in the driver seat within their division, while the Red Sox and Cubs look to fend off the Yankees and Cardinals, respectively.

The Dodgers, led by rookie sensation Cody Bellinger and future-Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw, have exploded this year for 92 wins thus far with 23 games remaining. Despite being 1-9 in their last ten, they still have a sizable lead over the NL Wild Card-leading Arizona Diamondbacks.

The NL West has three teams in playoff contention, as the Colorado Rockies currently hold the second wild card spot.

Staying in the National League, the Washington Nationals have faced some adversity this year as they lost potential MVP Bryce Harper to a hyperextended left knee. This injury hasn’t deterred the Nationals, as they are 16-8 since Harper was put on the shelf. Washington seems to be in cruise control, as they hold a commanding 18 game lead in the division and look to finally do some damage in the playoffs. The defending-champion Chicago Cubs have a four-game lead in the NL Central despite a World Series hangover to start the season. Struggling early on to keep pace with the red hot Milwaukee Brewers, who were in first place at the All-Star break, the Cubs eventually overtook them and seized the division back.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have won 13 in a row and have a sizable lead between them and the Colorado Rockies, yet they still might not be the hottest team in baseball.

The Cleveland Indians, who have won 15 games in a row, have become only the fifth team in MLB history, and first since the 1935-36 Chicago Cubs, to have back-to-back seasons with a winning streak of 14 or more games. After blowing a 3-1 World Series lead against the Cubs and losing the decisive Game 7 at home, the 2017 Cleveland Indians are on a mission to not only get back to the Fall Classic, but win it all this time.

They are going to have some serious competition as the already stacked Houston Astros added a former Cy Young and MVP winner in Justin Verlander. With Jose Altuve slashing .351 on the year, George Springer powering this lineup with 31 home runs and Dallas Keuchel returning to form, the Astros can contend with any team in the AL, including Cleveland.

The AL East, as of right now, shows the Boston Red Sox with a 3.5 game lead over the New York Yankees. With no games left between the two teams, both clubs have some work to do in order to solidify a division title. The Yankees hold the first AL Wild Card, spot leading the surprising Minnesota Twins by 3 games.

 

With the addition of the second Wild Card spot in 2012, many MLB teams linger around in September. There are six teams behind Minnesota for the 2nd Wild Card spot that are within 3.5 games or less. Baseball fans everywhere are getting geared up for the 2017 playoffs and rightfully so. In the words of many, “Let the games begin.”