Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies prepares to bat in a 2019 game against the Atlanta Braves. Harper would bat 2-3 with a HR. Photo courtesy of Ian D’andrea/Flickr
Associate Sports Editor
With the Major League Baseball season winding down, few teams remain in the hunt for a Wild Card playoff spot, but those that do are providing a race worth watching. Last year, the MLB expanded their playoff format to include three Wild Card teams. This change gives more teams a chance to be competitive at the end of the year and we’re seeing that in both the American League and National Leagues right now.
In a few weeks once division winners are decided, the teams with the three best records in the American and National Leagues that didn’t win their division will be rewarded a Wild Card spot.
The teams that currently occupy these spots in the American League are the (92-57) Tampa Bay Rays with a nine-and-a-half-game lead in the Wild Card standings, the (82-65) Texas Rangers with a half-a-game lead over the (81-65) third place Seattle Mariners, and the Seattle Mariners with a one-game lead over the first team out, the (81-67) Toronto Blue Jays. Other teams still in the running for a Wild Card spot include the (75-73) New York Yankees, behind by seven games and the (74-74) Boston Red Sox behind by eight games.
As for the National League, The Philadelphia Phillies occupy the first Wild Card spot with a record of (80-67) and a four-game lead over the second Wild Card team, the (78-70) Chicago Cubs. The Chicago Cubs have a one-and-a-half game lead over the two teams currently tied for the third Wild Card spot, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Reds who each have a record of (77-72). There are two teams that are currently outside the Wild Card spots, but remain close in the race, those being the (76-72) Miami Marlins who are a half a game out and the (75-72) San Francisco Giants who are one game out.
With only a few weeks left in the season the playoff races for Major League Baseball remain very close. As more teams are eliminated from playoff contention, games will only continue to become more meaningful for those left. The teams involved have set us up for a very entertaining playoff race to end the season.