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Three MLB divisions still up for grabs

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As Major League Baseball winds down the final two months of the 2017 season, only three divisions remain in doubt. The leading teams in the other three divisions, in my opinion, have locked up playoff bids with huge leads.

Now, you might argue that there are more than 50 games left in this season, but only once in MLB history has a team blown a double-digit lead and failed to reach the playoffs.

Looking back on MLB history’s 113 years (well, make that 112 since a strike forced the 1994 season to end early and without any postseason), 52 times a team held a double-digit lead on its nearest competitor on August 1, and 51 times those teams made the playoffs. In 1995, the year after the strike, the California Angels held an 11-game lead over Texas and a dozen games over Seattle on August 1.

The Angels blew their lead, and the Mariners were able to make up ground to force a one-game playoff, which was played in Seattle. The Mariners advanced to the AL Divisional Series with a 9-1 victory.

Huge leads in three divisions this year is the most since four divisions were decided early in August 1995.

The Houston Astros currently hold a 15-game lead over Seattle, their nearest competitor in the American League West. The Los Angeles Dodgers possess a 14.5-game lead over Colorado in the National League West, and the Washington Nationals control the NL East with a 13-game advantage over Miami. So, book these guys into the playoffs. If you’re a gambling person, run your nearest bookie and plunk some dough on these three teams making the postseason. You don’t want Pete Rose to get all the gambling glory do ya?

The AL East is still up for grabs by all five teams in the division. Boston currently holds a one-half game lead over the Yankees. Tampa Bay trails Boston by four games, Baltimore is six games back, and Toronto is 8.5 games behind the Sox.

Cleveland, defending AL Champs and defenders of the Central Division, currently leads that division by two games over Kansas City and Minnesota is 6.5 games back. Detroit is nine back, and the Chicago White Sox are 15.5 games behind. So, throw the Sox out of contention.

The Chicago Cubs, which won their first World Series in 108 years, is in the lead in the NL Central. Milwaukee looms behind by 2.5 games. St, Louis isn’t far behind with just 5.5 games out of first place, and Pittsburgh is still in the mix at 6.5 games back. Cincinnati is through as the Reds are 14.5 out of first.

The Cubs had many prognosticators, who picked them to repeat in the World Series, worried two months ago with a below .500 record of 25-27. Chicago went 31-21 the last two months. Only the Dodgers have been hotter with a 42-9 record since June 1.

The next two months are going to be fun for those teams in the AL East, Al Central and NL Central.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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