The race between the American League East’s top four clubs could not be much closer than it is on September 12, as the season comes down to the last 20 games.
Just four games are what separates first place, which is held by the Boston Red Sox and fourth place that is held down by the New York Yankees. The top four in the AL East will play 68% of their last 80 regular season games versus one another.
The more the AL East rivals play one another, the easier it is going to be for teams outside the East to stay close in a race for the wildcard. Keeping that in mind, the only way for any of the four AL East contenders to qualify for the postseason could be by winning the division title.
The next fight between heavyweights in the division will see Baltimore traveling north to visit Boston, but that is only one of a handful of rivalry matchups on the MLB schedule for Monday.
St. Louis will attempt to give the Chicago Cub a few things to consider for October when the two meet Monday. In Washington as well as Houston, two hopefuls for wildcards will have to overcome teams that have dominated them to remain in contention for the postseason.
Baltimore will open a series with Boston Monday night that features a pair of starters heading in different directions. Wade Miley is having trouble just getting an out for Baltimore, while David Price the southpaw for Boston is holding opposing batters to a .219 average and averaging close to 7 innings pitched per start over his past six.
The Los Angeles Dodgers visit Yankee Stadium to play the Bronx Bombers on Monday. New York was beaten Sunday to end a winning streak of seven games, but are only two games behind for the final AL Wildcard.
The Cardinals hope to keep abreast of the other National League teams in the wildcard race when they host the Cubs on Monday.
The New York Mets are on a comeback but must play the NL East leading Washington Nationals. New York has won six straight series. The Mets are now trying to nail down the second and final wildcard spot in the NL.
Houston must overcome its AL bully and Lone Star State rivals the Texas Rangers on Monday if they hope to keep alive their wildcard hopes. Houston is 3-13 against Texas this season and 9-26 dating back to the beginning of last season against the Rangers.
With only 20 games to go in the regular season, each game is like a postseason game, for those in the AL East and others, battling for wildcard spots.