The race for the various American League division titles look as if they could come down to the final games of the regular season. No team has put together a lead that is truly safe and the American League playoff picture could be an interesting one because of that fact.
With that in mind, we take a look at who will be in the running come playoff time.
American League East:
The East has been up for grabs all season.
The first part of the season was controlled by the Toronto Blue Jays who kept the lead for over a month until the Baltimore Orioles got hot and now are atop the divison with a 3 1/2 game lead over the second place Blue Jays.
New York has suffered many injuries, mainly to the starting rotation being without Michael Pineda for most of the year, and are waiting to hear the status of Masahiro Tanaka, who could possibly undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season.
The Yankees are hoping to make a playoff push one more time for their captain Derek Jeter.
Tampa Bay recently traded away David Price to the Detroit Tigers in a three team deal. The Rays got Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and prospect Willy Adames in return, and are trying to get themselves back to a .500 record and make some kind of late season push.
The Boston Red Sox made a few blockbuster trades at the break to help an offense that had struggled all year. Boston traded away ace Jon Lester and John Lackey and received Yoenis Cespedes, Allan Craig, and Joe Kelly.
The Red Sox offense got a major upgrade, but the starting rotation took a bit of a hit, as they also sent Jake Peavy to San Francisco just a few weeks ago. Boston is last in the division, but don't be surprised if the Red Sox heat up in the final months to make the AL East race a bit more interesting.
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles win AL East
American League Central:
The Central seems to be close each year until this point in the season.
The Detroit Tigers have led the way for most of the season and just acquired former Cy Young winner David Price to go along with their other two former Cy Young winners in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
Detroit may have the best starting rotation in the major leagues with those three, along with Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello who are both having solid seasons. The Tigers are a World Series favorite even more so now after the trade in which they acquired Price.
Kansas City is second behind Detroit and five games just ahead of Cleveland who is 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers.
The Chicago White Sox have played well as of late and will likely go as far as their star slugger Jose Abreu and ace Chris Sale can take them. They could possibly make some noise in the final months, but likely not enough to get them into the playoffs.
Minnesota is last in the division and 12 games out, though anything is possible, Minnesota is likely looking forward to next season already.
Prediction: Detroit Tigers win AL Central
American League West:
Oakland has been the one of the best teams not only in their division, but throughout the entire major leagues for most of the season.
They are still in first place in the AL West but have the Angels right behind them just a game back.
The A's made a few moves before the deadline to better their chances of winning the division and possibly making a run to the World Series when they acquired Lester from Boston and Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs.
The Angels are trying to pass Oakland for the lead in the West led by their MVP candidate Mike Trout. The LA ball club have a solid lineup top to bottom with good speed, and the rotation led by Jered Weaver and Garret Richards has done a fine job as well.
Oakland got the starting pitcher they felt they needed, but traded a big piece of their offense in Cespedes that may come back to haunt them.
Seattle sits in third and 10 1/2 games back, and are realistically the only other team in the division with the chance to make the playoffs with a Wild Card spot.
With the pitching Seattle has led by Felix Hernandez. If they were to earn a one game Wild Card, sending King Felix to the mound would give them a legit chance of making a postseason run. Houston and Texas are both out of the division and playoff picture.
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels win AL West
Wild Card Prediction: Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners win AL Wild Card
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