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article imageMLB's postseason picture with one week of games left

By Michael Thomas     Sep 28, 2015 in Sports
There are just seven days left in MLB's regular season but plenty of titles are still up for grabs. Here's a look at what's left as the final week gets underway.
AL East
The Toronto Blue Jays have been the talk of the AL East since the trade deadline, where GM Alex Anthopoulos transformed his team into a major post-season threat with the addition of all-start shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, ace pitcher David Price, outfield speedster Ben Revere and veteran bullpen arms LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe. The team has done little but win since, earning its 90th win Sunday and holding a four-game lead over the New York Yankees.
Toronto will open a four-game series against the Orioles (who were just blanked in three straight games) Monday night, and will conclude regular season play against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The Yankees will open a four-game series at home against bitter rivals Boston, followed by three games against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Though the Jays' lead looks comfortable, anything could happen — both the Yankees and Jays are now rarely losing more than two games in a row.
Though the Yankees lost first basemen Mark Texeira to injuries, rookie Greg Bird has been a powerful substitute. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays continue to wait on Troy Tulowitzki's scapula injury, with no set timetable for his return.
AL Central
Not much to talk about here, as the Kansas City Royals clinched the Central title, their first division title since 1985. Though the Royals are guaranteed a spot in the first round of the playoffs, the last seven games will be crucial in deciding whether they or the Blue Jays end with the overall best American League record. As of Monday, both teams hold a 90-65 record.
The Royals will play a makeup game against the Chicago Cubs Monday night, followed by three games against the White Sox and three against the Twins.
AL West
The battle of the west looks to go right down to the wire. The surging Texas Rangers knocked the Astros out of first place and hold a 2.5-game lead as of Monday. The Astros gained some ground in the weekend series with their rivals, but will have to deal with the Mariners and, thanks to a bizarre schedule, the Diamondbacks. The latter may put the team at a slight disadvantage because the series will be on Arizona's turf. Though Texas will be playing at home for its final seven games, the team won't necessarily have it it easy — they'll play three games against the Detroit Tigers and then four against the Angels, who stand just 0.5 games behind the Astros for the second wild-card spot.
NL East
The last week for this division will be mostly quiet — the New York Mets have clinched the division title and all other teams have fallen by the wayside, including the Washington Nationals, who many expected to be at the top at the beginning of October. The Mets will enjoy an off day Monday followed by a three-game series against Philadelphia — the worst team in baseball — and then three against the Nationals.
NL Central
All the National League action will be on the Central division this week. The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs have all clinched post-season berths, but right now it's unclear who will end up in what position. The Cardinals have a major-league best 98-58 record, but have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Pirates are sitting three games back for the division title with the first wild-card spot, while the Cubs are in possession of the second wild-card berth.
The Pirates will be playing three games at home against the Cardinals in what is by far the most crucial series of the week. Should the Pirates (8-2 in their last 10 games) pull off a sweep, they'll be tied with the Cardinals. The Cardinals will then play three against the Braves and the Pirates will face the Reds — the Pirates will have a slight advantage in these final three games since they're playing at home.
NL West
The most expensive team in baseball, the LA Dodgers, are sitting with a six-game lead for the division title over the San Francisco Giants. The rivals will face each other in a four-game series starting Monday. In a nightmare scenario for LA, should the team lose seven straight and the Giants win, it will find itself locked out of October baseball. Neither the LA Dodgers (3-7 of last 10) and the Giants (5-5) have played particularly well lately, so what happens in the teams' final seven games is anyone's guess.
AL Wild Card
As it stands, the Yankees have the first wild-card spot and the Astros hold the second. However, several teams have a theoretical shot at dethroning one or both of those teams, including the aforementioned Angels. The Minnesota Twins are 1.5 games behind, and Cleveland (4 games) and Baltimore (5.5 games) have outside shots too. The Angels can make a difference in the race with four games against the Rangers, but the Twins have their work cut out for them with four games against the Indians and three against the Royals.
NL Wild Card
As noted above, it will just be a matter of what order St. Louis, Pittsburgh and the Cubs will be in. The Cubs sit 4.5 games below Pittsburgh and will face the Royals in a makeup game followed by two teams with losing records, the Reds and the Brewers.
More about MLB, Mlb postseason, Baseball, Toronto blue jays, New York Yankees
 
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