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And Down the Stretch They Come: MLB Standings With Four Weeks To Go

Sept. 4, 2023

Morgan Killian-Moseley

With four weeks left in the MLB season, some teams have clear paths to October, some are fighting to get in, and some had set their sights on next season (or beyond) a while back. Let's take a look at where everyone stands as we head into the stretch. (Standings entering play Sept. 4)

NL East

Atlanta Braves

90-46; Best Record in MLB

With the front-runner for both NL MVP (Ronald Acuña Jr.) and NL Cy Young (Spencer Strider), and top-tier talent all over the roster, it's not a question of if Atlanta will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but what they'll do with it. Manager Brian Snitker has his sights set on getting the Bravos the #1 overall seed, and doing so while keeping his players healthy.

Philadelphia Phillies

75-61; 15 GB in Division, 1st Wild Card

The Fightin’ Phils are certainly living up to their nickname. With their offense, it feels as if they're never out of any game. Whether they can lock up the top Wild Card spot may depend on their relief corps. The Phils bullpen has thrown the fewest innings in the Majors and has looked shaky recently. (What else is new, right?) Perhaps it would be wise for manager Rob Thomson to get his relievers some more work down the stretch to keep them sharp and keep the starting rotation fresh.

Miami Marlins

70-67; 20.5 Games Back in Division; tied for 3rd Wild Card (would lose Run Differential tiebreaker; 4.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

The Fish hadn't won 70 games since 2017, haven't finished over .500 in a full season since 2009, and haven't been in the playoffs since 2020. Sunday's win took care of the first of those three, and Miami hopes to get hot late to check the other two off the list. Struggling ace Sandy Alcantara having a strong last month of the season would do wonders towards those goals.

New York Mets

63-74, eliminated from division title contention, 7 GB 3rd Wild Card

If you've been paying attention at all this season, you know how much of a disaster it has been in Queensboro. Next year began in June for the Mets; it just took them another month for them to realize it. It may be time for the Metropolitans to adjust their approach, especially in free agency and in player development. The only question left for the Mets this season is if Edwin Diaz will pitch at all. Mets fans should probably keep the trumpets stashed away, but remember where they put them just in case.

Washington Nationals

62-76, eliminated from division title contention, 8.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

Nobody expected the Nats to be competitive this season, possibly not even themselves. But this was a developmental year for Washington, and quite a few players have made visible progress this year. Josiah Gray has shown signs of being the player Washington thought he could be when they picked him up in the Max Scherzer-Trea Turner deal, and Lane Thomas has been consistent for the entire year. It may not be outside the realm of possibility for the Nationals to compete for a Wild Card berth next season.

It would also be good of Washington to extend an offer to Stephen Strasburg to stay with the organization in some capacity, as the 2019 World Series MVP has been forced to retire due to injury.

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers

76-60, Division Leaders, 9 GB 1st-Round Bye

The Brew Crew took two out of three at home from the Phillies this past weekend in what could be a potential playoff preview. While winning the division might not be the only path to the playoffs like in the AL Central, manager Craig Counsell would prefer to wrap up at least two guaranteed home games in the playoffs.

Chicago Cubs

73-64, 3.5 GB in Division, 2nd Wild Card (2.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

It was a time of uncertainty in the Windy City at the All-Star break. But while the White Sox have continued to slide, fortunes on the North Side have been, well, ticking north. NL Cy Young candidate Justin Steele and NL Comeback Player of the year candidate Cody Bellinger could use some help from their supporting cast to get themselves back in the playoffs and attempt to erase the lingering sting of 2020’s embarrassing WCS defeat to Miami.

Cincinnati Reds

71-68, 6.5 GB in Division, Tied for 3rd Wild Card (would be eliminated by percentage points; 4.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

The kids are alright in Cincinnati. Elly De La Cruz has taken the league by storm since getting called up- tied for the team lead in triples and stolen bases, Spencer Steer leads the Redlegs in RBIs, and Matt McLain leads the team in batting average and has been good all around.

The Cincy bullpen has benefitted from the offense’s late-game heroics, as reliever Ian Gibaut is tied with starter Andrew Abbott for the team lead in wins (eight), and closer Alexis Diaz is tied for second with starter Graham Ashcraft (seven). Abbott has been solid this season, but no other member of the starting rotation has an ERA below 4.50. Manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson would love for the starters to take some pressure off of the bullpen and the offense.

Pittsburgh Pirates

63-74, 13.5 GB in Division, 7 GB 3rd Wild Card

This was a developmental year for the Buccos as well. And while not many players have stepped up their game offensively, starter Mitch Keller has had himself a career year and closer David Bednar has continued to be solid. While it may take another year or two for Pittsburgh to be competitive again, they do have a good young core to build around.

St. Louis Cardinals

59-78, 17.5 GB in Division, 11 GB 3rd Wild Card

Nobody expected a first-to-worst season in St. Louis, even with the retirements of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. But while Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have continued to perform well, they haven’t had much help from the supporting cast; plus Arenado has missed some time this year due to injury. The pitching staff hasn’t performed too well either, causing General Manager John Mozeliak to get what he could for starters Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery. Cards fans still sellout Busch Stadium on the regular, though, and the place will definitely be packed when Adam Wainwright takes the mound at home for the final time- which might be in a relief role as a calling card to the 2006 World Series.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers

84-52, Division Leader, currently hold 1st-Round Bye, 6 GB for home-field advantage

Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are arguably the top 1-2 punch at the top of any MLB lineup. And even with injuries in the rotation, after their fiery 24-5 August it almost feels like the Dodgers are on cruise control right now; that the real season begins in October for Dave Roberts and company.

San Francisco Giants

70-67, 14.5 GB in Division, Tied for 3rd Wild Card (hold Run Differential tiebreaker; 4.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

San Francisco has been a solid team this year, and a lot of that success has to do with rookie catcher Patrick Bailey. The team is 50-42 since Bailey made his debut. And with the way he’s handled both the bat and the San Fran pitching staff, Bailey is looking like the long-awaited heir to Buster Posey. Manager Gabe Kapler would like for his team to turn everything up a smidge in the final four weeks.

Arizona Diamondbacks

70-67, 14.5 GB in Division, Tied for 3rd Wild Card (would lose Run Differential tiebreaker; 4.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

Tied atop the division at the break, Arizona has struggled since (18-28) while L.A. has been on fire (33-14). The Snakes may have a tough task at getting into a playoff spot, especially since every remaining home game they have after their current series against the Rockies is against a team currently in playoff position. NL Rookie of the Year candidate Corbin Carroll and crew will have to come up big at Chase Field if they want to slither into a Wild Card berth.

San Diego Padres

65-73, 20 GB in Division, 5.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

As surprising as it is to say, all hope is not completely lost for the Friars; but that hope is fading fast, and they’ll need to fire on all cylinders down the stretch to have any shot at getting back to the playoffs. The entire offense needs to get cracking to support the pitching efforts of Blake Snell and Michael Wacha at the front end and Josh Hader at the back end.

Colorado Rockies

50-86, eliminated from Division title contention, 19.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

Sad to say, but considering the sheer lack of talent the Rox have compared to their NL West rivals, Colorado is looking at being stuck in the basement for the foreseeable future.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

85-51, Best Record in AL

Birdland is rocking and nine of the Orioles’ 13 remaining home games are against teams under .500. If they can make the most of the four that aren’t (against the Rays), the road to the World Series in the AL will likely be running through Camden Yards.

Tampa Bay Rays

83-54, 2.5 GB in Division, 1st Wild Card

Tampa will have a tough path to a playoff berth. Of the Rays’ 25 remaining games, they have four in Baltimore, six against Toronto (three home, three road), and they also face division-leading Seattle (four at Tropicana Field) and Minnesota (three at Target Field). It’s a bit of a daunting task, but manager Kevin Cash seems to have his team consistently well-prepared for these very situations.

Toronto Blue Jays

75-62, 10.5 GB in Division, 1.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

The Jays certainly have the talent to get back into the playoffs, but they’ll need to take care of business at home to do so. 16 of Toronto’s last 25 games of the season are at Rogers Centre, including the three-game regular season finale against Tampa.

Boston Red Sox

71-66, 14.5 GB in Division, 5.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

At least they’re over .500. At this point Boston fans are preparing for trips to Foxboro and just looking for the Sox to finish ahead of the Yankees. Other than that, there isn’t much to look forward to at Fenway for the next four weeks.

New York Yankees

68-69, 17.5 GB in Division, 8.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

Sweeping the defending champions at Minute Maid Park is a good look for the Yanks (especially Jasson Dominguez), and may (but probably won’t) save manager Aaron Boone's job. But it feels like too little, too late for the Bronx Bombers. Expect sweeping changes across the board in the Bronx this offseason.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins

71-66, AL 3-Seed, 6.5 GB 1st-Round Bye

Minnesota will likely have their work cut out for them if they do win the AL Central; as whichever Wild Card team invades Target Field will likely have a better record than the Twins. But the Bomba Squad will cross that lake when they get to it.

Cleveland Guardians

66-71, 5 GB in Division, 10.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

The Guardians are the only team who could feasibly catch the Twins in the AL Central, and they’ll likely have to sweep Minnesota at the Lake House (Progressive Field) this week to have any chance at doing so. Tanner Bibee and Xzavion Curry have been pleasant surprises in the rotation, giving President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti enough motivation to trade Aaron Civale, but the offense as a whole has not done enough. It’s now or never for the Guards’ bats.

Detroit Tigers

63-74, 8 GB in Division, 13.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

While the Tigers have only six games left against teams with winning records, they do have a ten-game West Coast road trip to contend with in their final 25, so any playoff push is most likely a pipe dream. Not the way Miguel Cabrera would want to end his career, but the Motor City will turn out at Comerica Park for his home finale regardless.

Chicago White Sox

53-84 16 GB in Division, 23.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

Heads are already rolling on the South Side, as long-time Executive VP Ken Williams and GM Rick Hahn were let go August 22. There are also rumors that the team wants a new stadium, and may even consider relocating to get it. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf may have plans to get what he wants, but it remains to be seen how they’ll unfold or if they’ll be successful.

Kansas City Royals

42-96, Eliminated from postseason contention

The bottom of the bottommost barrel. The AL Central as a whole has left a lot to be desired, and the Crowns have royally beaten down more often than not this season. The only things they have to play for right now are their paychecks and a shot at the #1 draft pick.

AL West

Seattle Mariners

77-59, Division Leaders, Hold 1st-Round Bye, 8 GB for AL home-field advantage

The AL West has been a dogfight since the All-Star break. The last week of the season will be crucial for the Mariners, as they close the season with three against the Astros and four against the Rangers at T-Mobile Park. Adding in the three the M’s have in Arlington before that, this stretch may be the difference between a division title and being on the outside looking in.

Texas Rangers

76-60, 1 GB in Division, 2nd Wild Card (by percentage points over Houston) (6.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

The Lone Star Rivalry has its final three games of the regular season this week at Globe Life Field. Winning that series will be crucial for the Rangers, as will taking care of business against teams not in playoff position. The only games the Rangers have against teams currently in playoff position after the Houston series are the seven against the Mariners. The Rangers have cooled off a bit after their outstanding May (18-9), but they’re still in good position for a playoff push.

Houston Astros

77-61, 1 GB Division, 3rd Wild Card (6.5 GB 1st Wild Card)

The defending champs’ chances of returning to the playoffs may have taken a hit after being swept by the Yanks, but it’ll take a much longer slump for them to fall out of the playoff picture. And even as a road team in a best-of-three with the season on the line, any manager would take Framber Valdez and Justin Verlander at the top of their rotation.

Los Angeles Angels

64-73, 12.5 GB in Division, 11.5 GB 3rd Wild Card

In the words of Happy Gilmore, “Talk about your all-time backfires.” The Halos went all-in to try and get Shohei Ohtani into the playoffs, picking up Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the White Sox and Randall Grichuk and C.J. Cron from the Rockies. Giolito and Lopez have since been waived, Cron is on the injured list, Grichuk has struggled, and Ohtani may be playing his last games in an Angels uniform and is possibly headed towards his second Tommy John surgery this offseason. Not to mention Mike Trout has to be officially considered injury-prone by now and Anthony Rendon’s contract has been proven to be an unequivocal mistake. It’s time to blow it up in Anaheim.

Oakland Athletics

42-95, eliminated from postseason contention

Well… at least they don't have the worst record in the league anymore, as their weekend sweep of the Halos puts them half a game ahead of Kansas City. But we all know the A’s have their eyes toward the future, in one form or another.


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