MLB Road to the Playoffs: A Look at the Wildcard

Who’s in?

We have known for some time that the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees, STL Cardinals, and Minnesota Twins are in. We also know that the Houston Astros are the odds-on favorites at sites like 5Dimes to win the World Series.

American League Wildcard

The Oakland Athletics have clinched their wildcard berth, with 97 wins and 65 losses. They’ll be facing a resurgent Tampa Bay Rays teams that has thus far managed a 96-win season.

Of the five times these two teams have met this season, the Oakland A’s have walked away victorious three of them. However, the last time they faced off – June 23rd–  the Tampa Bay Rays spanked the A’s 8-2 in the Oakland Coliseum.

As of Sunday morning, the A’s are averaging 5.27 and have allowed 4.23. The A’s are batting 2.50 as a team, have an OBP of .328 and a slugging percentage of .451.

The TB Rays are putting up 4.78 runs per game. They are batting .254, have a slugging rate of .432 and an on-base percentage of .326.

The main difference makers are the fact that the Rays score one run less on average per game, and have roughly one strikeout more per game as well. Other than that, they are fairly well matched up and you can bet the Athletics will bring their A-game at home on Wednesday.

The Athletics haven’t won it all since the Battle of the Bay back in 1989, but they are no strangers to the playoffs in recent years. Since the year 2000, the A’s have been to the playoffs nine times, most recently losing to the New York Yankees in the ALWC.

The Rays have been in the playoffs just four times, and haven’t seen the postseason since 2013 when they made it to the ALDS. The A’s have been consistent most of the season, and the Rays are only in because of the Cleveland Indians taking a nose dive coupled with their own late win-streak. That said, there is something to be said for momentum, and the Rays have definitely found some.

The winner will face the Astros in the ALDS. If it’s the A’s the Astros are likely to have a full series on their hands, as the A’s have beaten them 4 out 6 times this season.

National League Wildcard

The Bew Crew locked it in and now the Washington Nationalshave NLWC opponent. The Nationals have a darn good defense, allowing just under 4 runs per game. Meanwhile, the Brewers are have kept it too close for comfort, averaging 4.78 per game, but allowing 4.74.

At first glance, it would seem like the Nationals are a shoo-in, but the Brewers hold a 4-2 advantage over the Nationals this season; they seem to have their number. The last two games these teams played against one another in August, a total of 53 runs were scored! WHAT THE HECK!? The Brewers won 15 to 14 on August 17th and the Natties won 16 to 8 on the 18th.

Shout out pitching is great to watch, but man would it be fun to see an NLWC game that turns into an all-out battle that hits double-digit scoring.

Whoever wins is lucky enough – or unlucky–  to face the NL leading LA Dodgers. The Dodgers have taken three of five against the Brewers and four of six against the Nationals.