The final month of the regular season is here, as the race for October reaches its final leg. With only ten spots up for grabs, ball clubs will be swinging harder for the fences for a chance at playoff glory. Very few teams have their respective divisions in their hands, but those Wild Cards are fair game for the most part.
Here is an overall preview of who to expect to see in October 2018.
October Preview: American League
AL East Winner: Boston Red Sox
Not only do the Boston Red Sox boast an eight-game lead in their division, but they also boast the best regular season record in baseball. It is not difficult to see why, with names like Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Chris Sale all on the same team. Boston is well on pace to have one the best regular seasons in the history of baseball. However, with this comes pressure to run deep into October.
AL Central Winner: Cleveland Indians
Surprising absolutely nobody, the Cleveland Indians will regain the American Central crown. After all, they are the only squad in that division with a WINNING record. Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Corey Kluber will be leading the charge come playoff time. Cleveland will also be looking for its first World Series title since 1948.
AL West Winner: Houston Astros
The reigning World Series champions will not have an easy time holding off the rest of the AL West. Not to mention the Oakland Athletics are just four games behind. Luckily, Houston is regaining crucial momentum, winning seven of their last 10 games. A repeat title is very possible for the Astros. But with a stacked American League to contend with, Houston can’t afford to ease up at any point.
AL Wild Cards: New York Yankees & Oakland Athletics
Both teams are having great 2018 campaigns. At worst case, they will be occupying the two AL Wild Cards. Both ball clubs are atop the American League in home runs recorded as a team. Their pitching staffs are respectable in their own rights as well. The potential clash between these two teams in the playoffs will be a sight to behold.
October Preview: National League
NL East Winner: Atlanta Braves
The NL East has had numerous lead changes, mainly between Philadelphia and Atlanta. But the Braves now hold a three-game lead over the division. With a roster of young and talented players, the Braves have strong chances to get into the playoffs. They will need solid enough momentum to extend the small lead over the NL East they have now.
NL Central Winner: Chicago Cubs
Do not be surprised to see the NL Central crown stay in Chicago. Manager Joe Maddon has once again orchestrated a playoff contending squad, regardless of how the Cubs started off. Similarly to the Atlanta Braves, Chicago’s lead over their division is not a big one, as Milwaukee and St. Louis are not far behind them.
NL West Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
The NL West is a three-way fight and the Los Angeles Dodgers seem very likely to win. Though trailing Colorado by one game, the Dodgers have won eight of their last 10 games. On top of that, they have the NL’s best pitching staff and the most home runs hit by an NL team. The Dodgers will need to kick it into high gear, especially in a division where two games sit between first and third place.
NL Wild Cards: Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have what it takes to get in the October picture. Last season, they lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-8 in the NL Wild Card game. Nolan Arenado and company will be looking for a chance to exceed the Wild Card round. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers are fighting for a shot at the playoffs, after narrowly missing out last season. Manager Greg Council will have to keep up the pace to avoid painful history from repeating itself.
Featured image courtesy of USA -Today
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