MLB Pennant Race

It's coming down to the wire in the 2014 MLB season. Who's in, who's out, read to see who is going where.

Headed In

Manny Machado and the Orioles look to win the AL East division title for the first time since 1997. © Keith Allison

Manny Machado and the Orioles look to win the AL East division title for the first time since 1997.

© Keith Allison

Here is what we know. Barring an absolute epic catastrophes (looking at you 2011 Red Sox), the Baltimore Orioles and LA Angels will be division winners in the AL East and West respectively while the Washington Nationals will take the NL East title. Other than those three teams, it's an open race to be crowed division champ.

The AL Central has been a back and fourth battle between the huge payroll of the Detroit Tigers and the modest one of the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers have pulled out all the stops with trades landing Ian Kinsler in the off season and most recently acquiring David Price. While Detroit throws money at their problems and spotty pitching, the Royals have quietly put together a team 3.50 ERA. That puts them 3rd in the AL while Detroit has a 4.01 ERA which put them 9th. When your starting rotation has the likes of Max Scherzer, David Price and Justin Verlander that ERA should be better. The Royals hold a slim one game lead over the Tigers. They meet in Kansas city September 19-21 which could be the deciding series. As average as Detroit has been I believe they will jump Kansas City for the division.

The NL Central has the St. Loius Cardinals holding a 3.5 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cards face the Rockies, Brewers, Reds, Cubs and Diamondbacks in their last five series of the year. The Bucs have the Cubs, Brewers and Reds, but also have to visit Atlanta to face the Braves in a four game series. Andrew McCutchen will have to try and better his .359 batting average in September to sneak past the Cards. I don't think that will be likely.

Clayton Kershaw leads Major League Baseball in ERA (1.67), Wins (Tie for 1st with 18) and Batting Average against (.188). © SD Dirk

Clayton Kershaw leads Major League Baseball in ERA (1.67), Wins (Tie for 1st with 18) and Batting Average against (.188).

© SD Dirk

The NL West is a two horse race with the LA Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers are tied for the 3rd best ERA in baseball part to the almighty Clayton Kershaw. Not to mention Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett and Dan Haren to back him up. The Dodgers have a 2.5 game lead and I don't believe they will cough that up.

Headed Out

The two teams that are really headed in the wrong direction are the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers. The Athletics are 3-7 in their last ten while the Brewers are 2-8. The Athletics are batting .235 over their last six games while the pitching staff has posted a 2.66 ERA. If the bats don't pick up, Oakland with be in deep shit.

The Brew Crew have the opposite problem. Over their last eight games their pitcher have posted a 4.44 ERA and a .278 batting average against. Milwaukee's pitching is getting buried and as mentioned earlier have to play the Pirates and Cardinals on the road down the stretch.

On The Fence

The Seattle Mariners and Atlanta Braves are the two teams that could be left out. Seattle is 11 games out of their division race while the Braves are eight games out. It's Wild Card or bust for these two teams.

Seattle has a tough road to making the playoffs despite only being a half game out. They have 14 of their last 17 games against teams with a winning record. It doesn't look like their .218 September batting average will do the trick, but their MLB leading 3.01 team ERA doesn't hurt.

The Braves will have to show all their cards when the Pirates come to town on September 22-25th. This team will need to heat up here in September to keep their chances alive.

Playoff Predictions

AL East- Baltimore

AL Central- Detroit

AL West- Angels

WC: Royals & Seattle

NL East- Washington

NL Central- Cardinals

NL West- Dodgers

WC: Pittsburgh & Atlanta