Now that we’re ready to start the second half of the Major League Baseball season, we can start looking at some possible playoff matches. Last season there were 16 playoff teams. This year, Major League Baseball has gone back to five playoff teams in each league. The two wild card teams will play one game to see who advances to the divisional series. Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios for the Wild Card games in both leagues. We could see some very tight races in the second half of the season. With all that said, it’s time to jump right into action so you can plan your bets against their AL Division odds and NL Division odds.
National League and American League Wild-Card Possible Matchups
National League Wild Card Possibilities
Right now, it looks like the NL West will have both Wild Card teams. With the San Francisco Giants surprisingly leading the division at the All-Star Break, the two preseason favorites to contend for the division title are chasing the Giants and would be the two National League Wild Card teams if the season were to end today.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently sitting in second place in the NL West. They are two games behind the Giants. On paper, the Dodgers have the most talented team in the National League. Their bullpen still has some issues, as they have blown 19 saves this season. They may also be missing Trevor Bauer for a lengthy amount of time as he deals with some conduct issues.
The San Diego Padres are in third place, six games behind San Francisco. The Padres have had some injury issues, especially to their starting pitching staff. Dinelson Lamet has missed numerous starts. Off-season acquisition Blake Snell hasn’t pitched as well as expected. Once the Padres get healthy and maybe make some key acquisitions at the trade deadline, they’ll be ready to contend for the West title.
Another team that could sneak into the Wild Card game is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are in second place in the National League Central, four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds have one of the most powerful lineups in baseball and can put up runs in bunches. If one of the teams in the West were to falter, the Reds could step into a Wild Card matchup.
American League Scenarios
If the season were to end today, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics would be the two Wild Card teams. The Rays are sitting behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race, while Oakland is behind the Houston Astros in the American League West.
This would be a very interesting matchup if the A’s were to meet the Rays. Neither team has a definitive “ace” on their pitching staff. Both of these squads play good, fundamental baseball and rely on their stellar bullpens to help them win tight games.
The Seattle Mariners are another team to keep an eye on. The Mariners have quietly snuck into the playoff picture. Currently sitting in third place in the American League West, the Mariners’ young hitters have stepped things up this season. They have also gotten some nice production from their starting pitching staff.