It has been a long six months, but the end of the baseball season is near, as all teams wrap up regular season play with one final series this weekend. In the National League, all of the playoff spots have been decided. The St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers have all won their divisions, while the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs will square off in the National League Wild Card game.

The American League is a much different story, but here is what we know: the Toronto Blue Jays have won the AL East division, the Kansas City Royals have won the AL Central division, the New York Yankees have clinched one wildcard spot, and the Texas Rangers will be making the playoffs. But, we will not know who will officially win the AL West division until weekend play officially begins. We also have one more wildcard spot up for grabs.

Let’s start with the AL West Division. The Texas Rangers currently hold a three game lead in the division with three games remaining. They must win one of their next three games to officially clinch the division. They begin a series at home against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday evening, and plan on sending Martin Perez, Colby Lewis, and Cole Hamels to the mound this weekend. The Rangers should win this division, unless Texas gets swept and Houston sweeps an interleague series in Arizona.

Speaking of Houston, the Astros currently hold a one game lead over the Angels and the Minnesota Twins entering play this weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a bit of a situation here. Best case scenario is the following for all Houston fans: Astros and Angels both sweep, allowing the Astros to win the division, preventing the Angels from making the playoffs, and forcing the Rangers to play the Yankees in the Wild Card game. The Astros will be sending probable Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel to the mound on Friday night, and 18-game winner Colin McHugh to the mound on Saturday night. If the Astros sweep the series in Arizona, they will make the playoffs. They will also make the playoffs if they win two of three, and Minnesota and the Angels each lose a game.

The Angels, who currently trail the Astros by a game, will not be division winners, but do have a solid shot at a wild card berth. If the Angels were to sweep the Rangers this weekend, who could be resting a lot of their regulars fresh off of a playoff berth, they have a good chance of making the playoffs. Still, they’d need both two Astros losses, and a Twins loss. The Angels play the Rangers in Arlington this weekend, and will be sending Jered Weaver, Hector Santiago, and Nick Tropeano to the mound this weekend.

Finally, the Twins play a three game series at home this weekend against the AL Central Division champion Kansas City Royals. The Royals clinched this division well over a week ago, and will almost certainly be resting major key players this series in hopes for yet another lengthy postseason run this October. The Twins must hope the Astros lose two out of three in Arizona, along with one Angels loss, to go along with a sweep of their own. The Twins will send Ervin Santana and Tommy Milone to the mount in the first two games of the series, with the starting pitcher to be decided for the finale.


This is the Astros playoff spot to lose, and I don’t think they are going to lose it. They’re a young team, built for the future, that has also been atop the American League all year long. While they will unfortunately have to work without a designated hitter in Arizona this weekend, I still think the Astros will take care of business, winning at least two of three games in the series. I do not anticipate a Minnesota or LA Angels sweep this weekend. Not only do I think that the Astros will clinch the last postseason berth, but I also think they will rout the New York Yankees in the American League Wildcard game, which should set up an intriguing first round playoff series between the Astros and the Blue Jays or Royals.

Get ready for an action-packed weekend in the wide world of Major League Baseball!

Image: Rangers