Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yankees’ situation forces attention to rest of MLB

I’m forever the optimist but it’s looking more and more like the New York Yankees will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. I didn’t see it coming, not many did, but it seems to be the way they are headed. I’ll root for them to make a run (I’ve been doing so for weeks) and won’t stop until they are mathematically eliminated but the objective sports writer in me has forced my attention to the rest of the Major Leagues.

I was able to see some of the Kansas City Royals this past weekend while they were in the Bronx and they sure seem legit to me. They’ve got great pitching and have a cast of timely hitters and tons of speed. They seem to have gelled as a team and at the right time. They have five more games against the Detroit Tigers so they could flip spots, but I’m not going to suggest it will be easy.

The AL East leading Baltimore Orioles are walking away with the division and they deserve a ton of credit in getting there. They are doing it without two of their better players, catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado. Again, solid starting pitching and relievers along with a very productive lineup has made September an easy month for the O’s.

The Los Angeles Angels have dominated the league for the last several weeks and the Oakland Athletics have fallen into a tailspin which all of the sudden has them within a couple of games of falling out of the wild card race.

I’ll admit, if Robinson Cano’s Seattle Mariners reach the postseason, I’m going to be upset. While I was not against the Yankees letting him sign elsewhere, I was somewhat relieved that he landed in Seattle, thinking they would be hard pressed to make the playoffs this year. Wrong again.

In the National League, it seems that the Washington Nationals have built a big enough cushion in the East to take home the division title. They are showing no signs of slowing down. This is a team with all facets of the game working in their favor.

I was surprised the Milwaukee Brewers lasted as long as they did in the NL Central race, though they are not mathematically out of it, they now find themselves completely outside of the postseason picture if the season was finished. The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates have come on strong and might be able to finish out the month in the same position.

The race in the NL West was not difficult to see coming, though I felt the Los Angeles Dodgers would have a more sizable lead at this juncture over the San Francisco Giants. The six games remaining between the teams should be fantastic and will likely determine the division champ.

With just under three weeks remaining in the regular season, there’s no doubt the standings could fluctuate and it will be enjoyable to watch several teams jockeying for position. I remain hopeful the Yankees can pull themselves back into the race (they sit four games back in the loss column to the Mariners before Tuesday’s games), but if they fail there will still be plenty of baseball to watch and enjoy.

Who are you most eager to see in the postseason? Let me know in the comments below.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.