In the American League there are a total of 7 teams not including the leading Yankees fighting for the 2nd WC spot in the American League within 4 games. Minnesota Twins, the Los Angeles Angels of Anehiem, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, and the Tampa Bay Rays. All 7 teams have a legitimate shot of going on a 5 game winning streak and getting the opportunity to play the Yankees in the Wild Card game in the Bronx.
The National League is not nearly as competitive as the American League as there are only 3 teams within 5 games of the Second spot Colorado Rockies. The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently on a 10 game winning streak, and leading the WC 1 spot with a 6.5 game lead over the Rockies as they just swept division rivals Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies this past week. The 3 teams are the Milwaukee Brewers (.5 GB) St. Louis Cardinals (3 GB) and the struggling Miami Marlins who have just lost their last 5 straight games and currently 5 games back of the Rockies and there chances of reviving are getting worse by the day.
Currently WC leading teams the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks are looking like playoff teams and unless there is some unforeseen disaster like the 2007 New York Mets I don’t see them losing their 1 seed in the Wild Card hunt. However, looking at the other teams in the Wildcard hunt the two teams i personally believe will get the 2nd spot are the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies and here’s why.
Last week before the Waiver Trading Deadline (August 31), the Los Angeles Angels improved their lineup drastically. They added the best bat and best glove available in outfielder Justin Upton and 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips. Outfielder Justin Upton is having a great season hitting 28 homers to go along with 94 RBI’s and a 283 batting average. He will give MVP Mike Trout some extra help in the lineup to go along with future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols and a resurgence Andrelton Simmons who is having the best year of his career at the plate. The Angels also added 4 time gold glove winner to be Simmons’ double play compadre Brandon Phillips who was having a nice season for a young Atlanta Braves team where he hit 289 which isn’t too shabby and will definitely be an upgrade to what the Angels originally had at second base. Combine that with the fact that the young and inexperienced Twins didn’t really do anything to improve their roster at the deadline and the Angels have a ton of games left against the struggling A’s and Rangers I believe that they will catch the Twins and be the second WC team come October.
In the National League I believe the Rockies will be able to keep their spot as the second WC for these 3 reasons. The first reason is that with 23 games left on the schedule, 15 of those games are against teams under 500 (losing record). 12 of those 15 games are against the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres (2 of the 3 worst teams in the National League). They should win at least 9 of those 12 games. The other 3 games are against the Marlins, and even though the Marlins are only 5 games out, they have been struggling for a while and when Giancarlo is struggling they have no offense so i believe the rockies will win 2 of those 3 games, in Colorado. The second reason I believe the Rockies will get the second spot is because of the Brewers schedule. They have 6 games left against the Reds and the rest of their schedule is against the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates, which i believe the Brewers and Cardinals will just beat up on each other causing neither to gain any ground or momentum towards that WC spot while Colorado goes out and plays the Giants and Padres for half of their remaining schedule, HUGE advantage Colorado. The third reason I believe the Rockies will get that spot is that they just have way too much talent to not be a playoff team. They have 2 of the top 5 MVP candidates this year in the game in Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. Not to mention they have Carlos Gonzalez, DJ Lemehiu Ian Desmond and trading for stud catcher Jonathan Luccroy at the deadlines as well. Signing Greg Holland to pitch the 9th inning for them in the offseason has proven to be the best offseason signing this year as he has been unbelievable covering 36 of 40 opportunities with a 10.9 K9. The fast growth of young stud pitchers in Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela has been huge for a very good bullpen. I personally believe the Rockies have too much talent to miss the postseason.
So my picks for the WC game in early October are New York Yankees v. Los Angeles Angels and the Arizona Diamondbacks v. the Colorado Rockies.
Tell me what you think in the comments.