As we head into September, the American League division races and battles for the three Wild Card spots are far from decided. Some teams are obviously out of contention, but today, we are going to take a look at what the final month of the season holds for the teams still playing for something.
American League East
The Baltimore Orioles hold a tenuous 1.5-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays. At 83-50, the O's are surprising everyone by not only leading the division into September but also sporting the best record in the AL. The Rays are the only other team in the AL with at least 80 wins (82-52). They have a huge four-game series in Baltimore in the middle of the month and have struggled against the Orioles, going 3-6 so far this season. The Boston Red Sox will play a big part in this battle as they face the Rays five times and have seven contests against the Orioles.
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles
American League Central
The Minnesota Twins hold a five-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians as both squads have 28 games left but only three against each other. Minnesota has a relatively easy road ahead. After three-game sets against Texas and Cleveland, the Twins play 16 of their last 22 games against the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's, and Colorado Rockies. Barring a complete meltdown, the Twins should hold serve and the third seed heading into the playoffs.
Prediction: Minnesota Twins
American League West
The AL West is probably the most exciting division in baseball. The Seattle Mariners (76-57), Houston Astros (77-58), and Texas Rangers (75-58) are separated by one game. The Mariners have been on fire since the All-Star break, going 31-13 in that time. They will have to maintain that level through September. Their last ten games are three against Houston and seven against Texas. Speaking of Texas, the Rangers lead the AL in runs per game (5.55) and team OPS (.793). They also added Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery at the trade deadline. The duo has gone 5-2 with a 2.47 ERA since joining forces in Arlington. The Astros score plenty of runs themselves at just over five runs a game. They also have some cake matchups in September as 15 of their final 27 games come against teams with losing records, including six vs. the Kansas City Royals and three against the A's.
Prediction: Houston Astros
Aside from the teams mentioned, the Toronto Blue Jays are also chasing down a playoff berth at 73-61. After the next nine games against losing teams, the Jays face Tampa six times and Texas four times. Unfortunately, they are without Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman for at least the beginning of the month. If Toronto gets lucky and has the services of both Bichette and Chapman soon, then they have a shot. But it may be too little too late.
American League Predictions:
#1 Baltimore Orioles
#2 Houston Astros
#3 Minnesota Twins vs. #6 Texas Rangers
#4 Tampa Bay Rays vs. #5 Seattle Mariners
Orioles vs. Mariners
Astros vs. Rangers
Astros vs. Mariners
American League Champ
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