It is the final day of August, and the reformatted playoffs are just around the corner. If the playoffs started right now, here is what the field would look like.
In the American League, you have the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and the two wild cards would be the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics.
Right now, it is hard to imagine this field changing an awful lot. The Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are right on the doorstep, and they most definitely will be trying to do whatever they can to grab one of those spots.
However, out of these three teams, the Detroit Tigers have the easiest schedule down the stretch as they play either the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians or Minnesota Twins 20 times before the end of the year. The Rays and Angels play many of their fellow playoff contenders over the rest of the season, and that will definitely make it more difficult to stage a comeback.
That being said, if these two teams are able to turn in strong performances against the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers respectively, there is no better way to jump right back into the race.
All of the teams that are currently in those playoffs positions are strong, and it is hard to imagine them slipping up at this point.
The National League is a little bit different.
If the playoffs started right now, the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals would win the divisions while the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals would take the wild-card positions.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in quite the battle right now with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As of the time I am writing this, the Pirates are only a half-game out of the race. On top of that, the Pirates have a relatively easy schedule for the rest of the season. Sure, they do have to meet up with the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds, but beyond that, it should definitely not be that difficult.
The Cardinals do not necessarily have a very difficult schedule either, but they do have a few more challenges with the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers coming up soon. It would be much better for them to have a little more than a half-game cushion.
Beyond that one wild-card position, it is hard to imagine a lot else changing the National League either.
In both cases, the teams that are on top have been playing well all season, and they only have a month to hold it together and claim their playoff position.