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The Most Impactful Divisional Races in MLB

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The Most Impactful Divisional Races in MLB
Eddie Rosario #8 of the Atlanta Braves. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

There are plenty of teams that have won enough games where there’s a huge gap between them and second place. Insert the Brewers in the NL Central, the Rays in the AL East, and the White Sox in the AL Central. But these other divisions are still up for grabs. Here are the three divisions with the most at stake heading into September.

NL EAST

A week ago, many thought the Braves had the division in the bag but losing to the Dodgers changed everything. The Braves are now just two games ahead of the Phillies and five games ahead of the Mets for the NL East. Remember, whoever wins this division, gets a full series and won’t have to play a wild card game. The Mets, Phillies and Braves are also still competing for the Wild Card spots but with more competition between their teams, their fate really remains in winning the division.

The Braves made a slew of moves once Ronald Acuna Jr. went down. They easily made the best decisions for their ballclub and took a team that was below .500 to as much as 10 games over. But like the Mets and Phillies, eventually the Braves had to take on NL West teams and that didn’t help their case moving forward. This is going to be one heckuva race and we’ll be watching all September to see if any team runs away with it.

NL WEST

The NL West is a division where you’re going to feel bad for the team that doesn’t win it. The Dodgers are up by .5 games against the Giants now that the Giants have lost four straight games. We’re basically going to see a team with nearly 100 wins play in a winner-move on a Wild Card game. Meanwhile, it’ll take potentially 80-85 wins to win the NL East division. It’s just the rules of the game but watching either the Giants or Dodgers win nearly 100 games and have to play a single elimination wild-card game is nuts.

The Padres were supposed to be a part of this race but have fallen off. They’re only 71-63 and still fighting for a wild card spot. The Padres would be leading the NL East right now and they’re 14 games out of the NL West. That’s truly absurd but shows you just how good the Giants and Dodgers are compared to the rest of the league.

AL WEST

The Astros are 78-55 on the season and lead the Athletics and Mariners in the AL West division. Everyone knew this was going to be a tight race between the Astros and A’s but the Mariners? They weren’t expected. The Mariners have gained a little bit of steam lately, winning six of their last 10 games. Meanwhile the A’s have gone 3-7 in their last 10 with the Astros going .500 in their last 10.

It’ll be intriguing to see if the Astros continue to struggle against Seattle and other teams in the division. They haven’t played to their full potential nor have the Athletics. It’s unlikely the Mariners will find a way but it would be a cool story. If one of these teams doesn’t win the division, they might struggle finding a spot in the playoffs with the AL Wild Card cluttered with AL East teams. This will be one fantastic finish but with the Astros already leading by five games, they’ll have the edge moving forward.