MLB Playoff Watch, AL Edition: Seattle slip, Cleveland is on fire

by Jordan Shusterman
FOX Sports MLB Writer

Are we finally looking at the 2022 MLS stadium?

This has been a long season of action and vibration in the rankings, both in the wild card races and the division races. There is still a little more than two weeks into the regular season, but the MLS post-season picture is in the spotlight as the six teams currently in the postseason look highly likely to be those teams that eventually played after October 5.

They’ve played 162 games for a reason, though – there’s still plenty of time for those six teams to change. With that in mind, let’s check out which nine AL teams still have any hope of making it past the season.

(Note: The “Last Week” records include games from September 12 to September 18.)

Houston Astros

Arrow pointing: higher

Inclusive: 97-51

Since the August 2 deadline: 14-29

last week: 6-1

Match odds (via FanGraphs): 100%

The Astros have just wrapped up their fifth title in All West in the past six seasons and are on track to cross 100 wins for the fourth time in that span. They exist at their own level in AL and all over baseball, just along Dodgers For their undisturbed dominance and their crushing hurricane of talent.

Justin Verlander Came back and didn’t look rusty at all, Framber Valdez He continued his historical streak from the beginnings of quality, and Jordan Alvarez He recently came out of a small slump (at least, by his standards) with a brutal three-player game. All is well in H-Town – now it’s just about getting into the post-season as healthy as possible across the board.

New York Yankees

Arrow pointing: higher

Inclusive: 88-58

Since the August 2 deadline: 18-24

last week: 3-2

Playoff odds: 100%

For all the surrounding hoopla Aaron Judge Historic season – well-deserved hoopla, of course – the most significant development for the Yankees of late has been how healthy they are, and they’re about to get it. Anthony Rizzo And the Aroldis Chapman Returned last week. Harrison BaderAnd the Louis Severino And the Scott Evros All are scheduled to return this week. The judge was ridiculously good That he was able to carry the Yankees through his dog days on his own, but any hope for this team in a deep post-season race will likely be determined by how much help the judge gets around him.

This first round of reinforcements is encouraging, and we hope there are more on the way: DJ LimaheuAnd the Zach Britton And the Miguel Castro They are all on their way back as well. Andrew Benintende And the Matt Carpenter Options can come postseason time. The judge will, and should, go on to grab the headlines, but all of these returning pieces are a much bigger deal in the Yankees’ quest for Episode 28.

Toronto Blue Jays

Arrow pointing: higher

Inclusive: 83-64

Since the August 2 deadline: 26-19

last week: 5-3

Playoff odds: 99.5%

Despite wasting a golden opportunity to sweep Baltimore by coughing in the ninth inning lead on Sunday, Toronto appears to be in the strongest position in the AL wild-card pool the way they’ve played lately. Bo Bechet He was one of the best baseball players in the last month, and Ross Stripling He emerged as a really dependable rotation option with six consecutive quality starts, keeping his era season under 3.00. The Jays won three out of five at home against the Rays last week – if they can win the series finale against Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field this weekend, Toronto fans can start getting excited to host the three-match Wild Card series.

sailors in seattle

Arrow pointing: neutral

Inclusive: 81-65

Since the August 2 deadline: 26-16

last week: 1-4

Playoff odds: 99.5%

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the sailors’ reactions took a hit when the player whose entire motto is Good Vibes Only – Eugene Suarez Hit the IL with the broken right index finger. With a sensation rookie Julio Rodriguez As he missed some action over the weekend due to back cramps, Seattle’s attack at Anaheim looked as grim as it had been all season – even Carlos Santana And the Ty France All nine RBI combined in Monday’s 9-1 victory over the Angels to avoid a series sweep. Although the odds of breaking the drought are still quite certain, the other members of the Mariners squad need to continue to advance in Suarez’s absence to ensure they don’t sweat over the past few weeks. Monday was off to a good start.

Three reasons why Seattle makes the World Championships

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry offered three reasons the Seattle Mariners could rival, under the title of rising star Julio Rodriguez.

Tampa Bay Rays

Arrow pointing: Little

Inclusive: 82-65

Since the August 2 deadline: 28-17

last week: 4-4

Playoff odds: 97.2%

Recent returns from Franco’s walk And the Shane McClanahan from IL injected some much-needed star power into a roster still hanging strong with both Toronto and Seattle in the AL wild-card race. How bout Fairbanks House? After allowing runs in each of its first two rounds of the season upon returning from IL in mid-July, the far right launched 19 consecutive goalless outings with 30 strikes only two times during that time to boot. They’ll have a chance to flip the script on the Blue Jays this weekend at home and put themselves in a position to host a wild card series in the dark, bleak but ridiculously loud confines of Tropicana Field.

Cleveland guards

Arrow pointing: higher

Inclusive: 80-67

Since the August 2 deadline: 27-18

last week: 6-2

Playoff odds: 89.8%

What a statement for Cleveland to take four out of five from Minnesota this past weekend, effectively crushing any hopes that the Twins would join them in the AL Central race. Now they head to Chicago with a similar opportunity to quench the White Sox’s hopes and put that race to bed. However, I’m still not sure what to do with this team’s overall chances of making a deep post-season run given their lack of firepower offensively. In some ways I appreciate their playing style more than what the rest of the league looks like in 2022, but it’s just hard to tell how far that will take.

Chicago White Sox

Arrow pointing: Little

Inclusive: 76-71

Since the August 2 deadline: 25-20

last week: 4-2

Playoff odds: 12.6%

Welcome scene for White Sox fans: Yuan Moncadaone of many Sox hitters who have been sorely fatigued for most of the season, has hit 352/.389/.585 over his last 12 games. Jose Abreu And the Eloy Jimenez He’s only been the only Sox hitters to consistently deliver this season, especially in Tim AndersonAbsence. If Moncada can stay at this hot level, it will become even more difficult to deal with this lineup. With Cleveland coming to the city in a three-game series by four games, this will likely be the Southern Siders’ last chance to make up important ground on their own in their quest for an unlikely division title.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that the White Sox were the favorites to win this division before the season even started, so how much should we really celebrate the fact that they are clinging to their dear life two weeks before the end of the season? However, they should feel much better than the team they’ve been through recently in the AL Central standings…

Minnesota Twins

Arrow pointing: lowest

Inclusive: 73-74

Since the August 2 deadline: 19-26

last week: 3-4

Playoff odds: 0.4%

To put it simply: oof. A team that spent essentially all of May, June and July in first place may be in danger of ending up with a losing record and not anywhere near a post-season. Injuries certainly played a significant role in Minnesota’s downfall this year, but it was a somewhat flawed roster to begin with, especially when it comes to the cast. That’s not to say there are no cuts here that Minnesota can contend with in 2023, but that may depend on whether the short stop Carlos Correa He decides to withdraw – which seems likely. This is now two seasons in a row that have completely veered off the twins in very different ways. A huge season looms for GM’s front desk Derek Falvey.

Baltimore Orioles

Arrow pointing: neutral

Inclusive: 76-70

Since the August 2 deadline: 19-24

last week: 3-2

Playoff odds: 0.8%

It’s been a brave all-season effort for this group and Sunday’s comeback against the Blue Jays was another inspiring example of the need to take this team seriously as soon as possible next season. It looks like they’ll be showing up in short order this year, but a great opportunity in a winning season having been the worst team in baseball in 2021 is an undeniable success, especially when you consider the benign breakthroughs of key players like Madeleine Rochman And the Gunnar Henderson.

Jordan Shusterman Half @CespedesBBQ and baseball writer for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.

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