Well, this is it. Down to the wire. The 2023 MLB season has just one week, seven short days, remaining. That is not a lot of time. Despite this, there is so much to be determined. So many teams are vying for a chance to participate in this year's Postseason. Unfortunately, there is one team that we all know will not be part of this postseason party, and that team is the New York Yankees.
The Yankees' 7-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, September 24 officially eliminated the Bronx Bombers from postseason contention. Honestly, this was coming. The Yankees continued to struggle late into the season, and by mid-August, it was basically a foregone conclusion that this team would miss the postseason for the first time since 2016. In addition, this is the first time the Yankees have missed the postseason under Aaron Boone. Honestly, that needs to be taken into consideration. Six years and we've only missed the playoffs once. That track record should be good enough to bring him back for 2024.
As for those looking to play October baseball (beyond the 1st of the month), here's how things stand.
In the American League, the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays are facing off for not only the American League East, but also the AL's #1 seed. Entering the final week, the Orioles have a 2.5 game lead over the Rays, and they won the season series over Tampa Bay. Baltimore's magic number to clinch the American League's #1 seed is down to three. The runner up in the AL East will end up as the top Wild Card, which guarantees home field in the Wild Card Series.
We have an interesting conundrum in the American League West and Wild Card races. Overall, the Texas Rangers, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Houston Astros, and the Seattle Mariners are vying for the three remaining spots. The three West teams are in a tight race, though the gap has widened a bit. Recently, Texas took over that division lead, and they enter the final week with a 2.5 game lead over Houston, though Seattle is three games out. As for the Wild Card, the Mariners are the only remaining bubble team left, as they are a half game behind the Astros. It's basically a race for the 2nd Wild Card position, with Toronto holding that position by two games over Houston. There is a possibility that all three West teams could reach the postseason, but it would require Houston and Seattle surpassing Toronto in the standings.
The National League doesn't have too much to decide. The Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers not only won their divisions, but they both have byes straight to the Division Series, leaving only the #1 seed up for grabs for both teams. The Braves lead the Dodgers by 3.5 games for that position, and their magic number to get the #1 seed is three. The Milwaukee Brewers are postseason bound, but they are still having problems getting that one win to lock up the National League Central.
The only logjam in the National League is the Wild Card picture. The Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from returning to the postseason, but the real interest is below them in the standings. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs hold the remaining two postseason positions, with the latter leading the Miami Marlins by one game. The NL's Wild Card standings have four bubble teams still alive entering the final week, though the Marlins are the only one with a realistic shot. The Cincinnati Reds are close behind, but they are running out of time, and as for the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants, they could have the plug pulled on them in a few short days.
The final week of the season is always interesting in MLB. Remember: there are no tiebreaker games anymore, so if there are ties for the AL West title or the last spots in either league, the internal tiebreakers will settle it, with head-to-head being the first one. The final seven days will be quite interesting and nail-biting. I wouldn't be surprised if this season needs the final day, October 1, to complete the postseason puzzle.
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