Playoff races heating up in last month of season

With less than a month of regular season baseball left in 2014, the top teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) are fighting hard for a possible playoff berth or wild card spot.

All season long, dominant pitching and silent bats have helped some teams, while hurting others who can’t seem to find an offensive attack.

Currently leading the American League (AL) divisions are the Baltimore Orioles in the East, Kansas City Royals in the Central and the Los Angeles Angels in the West. Very close behind in the AL wild card race are the Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.

In the National League (NL), the division leaders are the Washington Nationals in the East, St. Louis Cardinals in the Central and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the West. 

In a tight NL Wild Card race, the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates are all jockeying for position.

In other baseball news, several walk-off heroes are in the running for the AL and NL MVP titles, as well as two starting aces for the Cy Young award.

In the AL, outfielder Mike Trout of the Angels and first baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers are both having outstanding seasons. For the past two years, Cabrera has earned the MVP title with Trout closely behind. However, statistics and analysis show that Trout has a slight lead in the race this year over Cabrera

In the NL, it is a pitcher who is dealing his way to the top of the MVP race, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The other two players in the running for the NL MVP are outfielders Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates.

Stanton and McCutchen are both reliable power bats in their respective lineups. However, recently, McCutchen suffered a rib fracture which has limited his time.

In regards to the Cy Young race, the award for the most outstanding pitchers in both leagues, Kershaw and Seattle Mariners All-Star Félix Hernandez are atop of the list of aces in the running.

Players in the hunt for the Rookie of the Year Award are first baseman José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and outfielder Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds, based on their solid statistical seasons.

As Abreu and Hamilton are finishing the first season of their promising careers, one respected player will soon be completing his last MLB game in uniform.

The New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter is playing his last month of his 20 year career, and hopes to cap it off with a championship when the playoffs start in October.