MLB Picks: Wild Card Races Down to the Wire

Doug Upstone

Saturday, September 19, 2015 2:28 AM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 19, 2015 2:28 AM UTC

For those placing MLB picks, this is a chaotic time. Teams like the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers look like they are on cruise control. While others are fighting to make the playoffs.

The New York Mets have blown open the NL East and are keeping the pressure on the Dodgers for home field when they meet in a couple of weeks. And with the Royals playing .500 baseball, MLB handicappers are wondering if Toronto could surpass them for the top spot in the American League.

Besides sportsbooks still churning out MLB odds, those pounding away on their sports picks are keeping close tabs on the wild card race, which is getting down to just a precious few days. Who's in, who's out, time to examine.


American League Outlook
The New York Yankees still remain hopeful they can catch Toronto, but unless they have a complete collapse, they should at the very least be hosting a wild card game. Due to injury, the Yankees had to go young with this veteran team and first baseman Greg Bird and pitcher Luis Severino have walked in and done the job. New York has one more crack at the Blue Jays at their place starting Sept. 21st. If that doesn't work out, eight home games versus both Sox (red and white) should get them in the playoffs.

Houston slide could not have come at a worst time and now it is just about trying to hang on to wild card berth and find some victories, than worrying about catching Texas for first in the AL West. The Astros have to be thrilled to be back home after another dreadful road trip. They have Oakland, the Angles and Rangers up next and anything less than a 6-3 record could make the last week dicey with six road games.

Minnesota is hanging in right behind Houston, however, they cannot afford any more losses to the Angels at home and have what could be seven important conflicts with Cleveland still on the docket.

The Indians are in the weakest position by record, but if by chance they were to finish 11-4, they might defy the betting odds and sneak into the postseason. Cleveland has the starting pitching to put together such a run, but will the offense do their part to make it happen?

The Los Angeles Angels outside of Mike Trout have been a major disappointment all year, hovering just over .500. Overpaying for brand names and letting the farm system be depleted leaves the Halos in this current situation. However, with the way the schedule sets up, no team in the American League can have a larger say as to where they will finish than the Angels. They are playing Minnesota presently and still have three with Houston and four with Texas. The only problem with this setup, all these games are away from Anaheim.


National League Outlook
We know who is in the postseason in the senior circuit, we just don't where the games will be played at. St. Louis has been the best team in big leagues all season and even if they finish .500. Pittsburgh would have to play like Toronto did most of August.

That seems unlikely and now the Pirates have serious concerns just hanging on to second place in the NL Central. Having lost three of four to the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park, Pittsburgh embarks in a 10-game road trip that takes to play the Dodgers, Colorado and at Wrigley Field. The Bucs will face both Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in L.A., which is no treat as the odds at will support. Winning in the Rockies is very possible, but that trip to Chi-Town will be very telling.

What can you say about the Cubs, bring in Theo Epstein, sacrifice multiple seasons to build up the farm system, hire one of the best managers in baseball to coach these young players up and acquire veteran starting pitching and whala, into the postseason. If Chicago can take a series from St. Louis and sweep Milwaukee at home, next up are three fascinating games for those who place MLB picks, which could make Cubs fans forget Steve Bartman.

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