Now that both trade deadlines are over and everyone who’s going to be traded has been traded, we can survey the aftermath. There’s a month left to go in the season, the standings are as crazy as ever. There are a few teams with virtual locks on their respective divisions (Dodgers, Astros, Nationals), and a few divisions that are going to go right down to the wire (NL Central, AL East), but the wild card race in both leagues are as interesting as they’ve been all season.
Over in the NL, the Diamondbacks and Rockies have been at the top of the wild card standings for months. The D-backs have pulled away a little bit (4.5 games), but it’s still pretty close. With the Rockies starting to fade a little, it’s opened the door for the Brewers, who are just 1.5 games out of that second spot. But they’re not alone — the Cardinals are 2.5 games behind them, and closing fast. And there’s a surpising contender, too. On the back of Giancarlo Stanton’s monster August, the Marlins are within striking distance, just six games back. A bad series or two could mean that any of these teams has a chance.
The AL wild card makes al that look like child’s play. Because the AL wild card is, right now, insane. The Yankees have that first spot, but they’re ahead by a whopping one game, with the Twins (!!!) just behind them. And clustered behind those two teams are another SIX with a realistic chance of making it — the Orioles, Angels, Rays, Rangers, Mariners, and Royals are all separated by two games or less. That’s a total of eight teams clustered together over a five game spread. And of the teams barely outside of the wild card, two have a record that’s under .500, two have a .500 record exactly, and two are just above .500. The AL has a chance to send some really surprising teams to the playoffs this year.
With the standings looking this way with a month still left to go, the final month of the season has the potential to be crazy. With so many teams so close together (especially in the AL), there is a decent chance this year that in addition to a wild card play-in game, we could even get to see something incredibly rare: game 163, which is played when the regular season ends in a tie. That seems like the best case scenario — who wouldn’t want to see more baseball?