A few short weeks ago it looked like we would see Tampa Bay playing for a World Series title again this October. Sadly, Wander Franco is likely out until at least spring training after being placed on a restricted list due to some off-field incidents. On top of that, they have other players battling injuries- the most notable one being third baseman Taylor Walls, who has been out most of the last six weeks with a strained oblique and is now day-to-day as of yesterday with a sore groin. Their infield was already depleted with first baseman Luke Raley filling in at short for Franco. As a result, it is now looking unlikely they will even make the playoffs.
However, if they do it is questionable, at best, that they will even get to the American League Championship Series (ALCS). As a result, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it will now be the Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners in the ALCS. Simply put, I do not think Minnesota has what it takes to get to the ALCS. I do not think they did enough at the trade deadline to guarantee a deep playoff run this season.
With that, let’s discuss the National League playoff picture. The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are clearly part of the discussion because they’ve been playing like contenders since before the season started. Looking at the standings with four weeks left in the season it is looking like the Chicago Cubs are pulling away with the second wild card spot. The only thing that could change is they could switch spots with the Milwaukee Brewers the last weekend of the season and take the National League Central.
Unfortunately, this leaves the Wild Card Series matchups in the air because the Cubs and Diamondbacks have yet to play each other this season. They play seven very important games to the playoff discussion over the next three weeks. That leaves the Cubs with ten very important games the next four weeks.
Whatever happens before the National League Division Series I still have the Braves getting to the National League Championship Series likely against the Dodgers and advancing to the World Series. That means we will see a Braves versus Orioles World Series.
With that… these pennant races have heated up.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!