With seven games or less remaining for every Major League team, the 2021 MLB playoff picture is finally taking shape.
While some races are just about wrapped up, there are several key matchups remaining that will be heavily effected by the MLBbros still in the hunt for postseason glory.
The Chicago White Sox were the first team to clinch their division, and superstar shortstop Tim Anderson made sure they did so in dramatic fashion.
Anderson came up huge with his squad on the verge of their first division title since 08, slapping two opposite field bombs against Cleveland to help deliver the Central Division crown in a 7-2 win.
The victory cements the White Sox in the 3rd seed, where they are most likely to face Michael Brantley and the Houston Astros.
The Sox dropped the season series to Houston 5-2, but took two of three from the Astros in August on the south side.
As for Dusty Baker and the Astros, only a collapse from the Tampa Bay Rays could propel them from the third seed to the top spot in the American League.
However, in what seems to be a scripted twist of fate, the Astros host the Rays for three games this week in H-Town. If there was ever a time for Michael Brantley and the gang to catch fire, any opportunity to clinch the one seed should be more than enough motivation.
Houston will clinch its division this week, but that won’t eliminate the playoff hopes of their AL West rivals the Seattle Mariners. J.P Crawford and the Mariners are 7-3 in their last 10 games and look poised to swipe the final wildcard spot.
Seattle has the easiest path to a playoff spot, with five games remaining against the Angels and three games against the Athletics.
The Yankees are locked in a battle with the Boston Red Sox, and the winner of this series will leave with the wild card lead. Once they finish in Boston, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge have to run the gauntlet, with their two final series against the Blue Jays and Rays.
The final week of the National League is set up for a dramatic finish. Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers have been on fire for the bulk of the second half, yet still trail the San Francisco Giants in a battle for the NL West crown.
One reason the Dodgers haven’t been able to catch the Giants is the late inning heroics of LaMonte Wade Jr.. Wade is hitting .320 in his last 7 games, but its his 12 hits in 19 ninth inning at-bats.
San Fran has been able to weather the storm down the stretch, but with both teams having a light schedule down the stretch this could really go either way.
Fortunately for us, no matter how the NL west ends, there’s still an opportunity for a Dodgers/Giants divisional round, seeing as though whoever wins the NL West will be the number one seed in the National League. So once the wild card.
Jack Flaherty and the St. Louis Cardinals are in the midst of a historic run toward October, winning 15 straight on their way to a commanding 5 game wildcard lead.
The Cards have completely lapped the field in the wildcard, forcing Andrew McCutchen and the Philadelphia Phillies Into a Division Title or bust scenario heading toward October.
The Phillies have their destiny in their own hands this season, as the upcoming three game set against the Braves will more than likely determine the division champion.
If they manage to escape with the division crown, they slot for a battle with Lorenzo Cain, Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Milwaukee Brewers, who’s current magic number sits at two games.
With so much uncertainty headed into the final week, it will be interesting to see what Bros step up to solidify their teams status headed into October.