MLB's Contenders Are Playing October Series in August
This is like Rip van Winkle waking up too early.
Divisional battles to determine who extends their seasons are usually waged in the realm of October.
This week, however, the scheduling gods have graced us with series that are more than previews of the post-season but not quite elimination bouts.
But they're definitely being played as if they were.
The Wild Card format is doing it's job in spades this season:
- The National League currently has five teams within two games of each other for a spot in that one-off game, and
- The American League's got three teams duking it out for the privilege of being the Wild Card road team, all of whom are also scrambling for the AL West title and avoiding sudden death completely.
Right now, an inordinate number of them are squaring off against each other, and all that's missing is bad weather.
Most of the action's taking place on the West Coast this week:
- The Houston Astros just got done clinging to first place in their division by recovering from an opening-game walkoff and taking the finale of their three-game series in Oakland after , but
- Wound up right back into a tie when the Athletics rocked Texas while the 'Stros got re-introduced to Robinson Canó:
- Farther down the coast, red-hot St Louis torched fresh-off-the-DL Kenley Jansen with back-to-back bombs from Jedd Gyrko and salsa king Matt Carpenter to claim a 5-3 victory in the first of their three-game set.
That four-hour marathon created a three-way tie for the second Wild Card position with the Cardinals, Rockies, and Phillies. The Dodgers are a mere two games back.
Game 1 went to the long-ballin' Tribe, 5-4:
The BoSox (88-38) are 15 games better than the Indians (72-52), so it's safe to say they've got home field wrapped in this matchup.
At least those two clubs know they're playing in October. No team can say that yet in the senior circuit.