Tampa Bay Rays' Nate Lowe (35) points up after scoring a home run at the bottom of the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Allie Goulding/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
Pierce: Rays, Cubs among teams to watch this September
Drew Pierce is a junior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is finally September, and that means October is right around the corner.
There's something really special about October. No, not the football season being in full swing. Not even Halloween. October marks the start of the Major League Baseball postseason.
Almost as exciting as the postseason is the stretch of baseball between Labor Day and October. This is the most crucial part of the schedule for the teams that are in the hunt. However, there are a few teams that have just about sealed their spot in the postseason and can coast into the postseason pretty easily.
There are three teams that have a 99 percent chance of making the postseason, according to Baseball Reference. The Astros, Yankees and Dodgers are dominating their divisions and are looking to make deep runs into the postseason.
Since these teams are doing so well, my eyes are set on teams like the Rays, Cubs, Nationals and Indians, who are looking to scrap and fight their way into a postseason spot.
One team to watch for the next 20 games are the Rays. They are currently nine-and-a-half games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Thanks to the Red Sox for completely choking after the All-Star Break, the Rays slid in and now are contending for a Wild Card spot. There's a good chance they will face the Indians in the Wild Card bout, but I think the Rays will control the game and move on fairly easily.
The most interesting will probably happen in the NL Central. The Cardinals are only three games up on the Cubs for the division title. Last year, the Brewers and the Cubs had to extend the season to a 163rd game to see who would take the division. Of every race in the league, the NL Central has the best chance of pushing an extra game before the postseason starts.
Challenging the Cubs and Brewers for a Wild Card slot will be the Nationals. A young core of talent has propelled them to a solid season that may be enough to squeeze into a Wild Card spot.
This postseason race is going to be great. Plain and simple. Besides the three teams leading the pack, there are so many teams on the brink. In addition to all of the teams I mentioned, teams like the Athletics, Red Sox and Phillies all have a chance but have a lot of catching up to do.
Dump out the candy, and forget the pumpkin spice. October is about baseball.