We are more than halfway through the MLB season, and while there’s still (somehow), depending on rainouts or other doubleheaders, around 70 or so games for teams to get themselves into the playoffs. It’s been well documented that teams with giant payrolls such as the Mets, Padres, and Yankees have struggled to varying degrees. However, with the trade deadline quickly approaching, there’s a limited amount of time for these teams to get themselves on track. The trade deadline is August 1st, and with games starting back up on July 14th, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for these struggling teams to make a run.
The good news for the Yankees is that they are only 1 game back of the last 2 wildcard spots. Houston and Toronto are tied for the 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively. And Boston is the only team within 3 games of the Yankees. So, the Yankees do have some room to make a run. The bad news is that Aaron Judge is still on the injured list with a torn ligament in his right big toe. It’s hard to imagine the Yankees doing any damage without the reigning MVP, but they have an excellent bullpen and finally got back Carlos Rodon from the injured list.
The teams with a lot more work to do are both the Padres and Mets. Not only are the division races completely wrapped up, but they are 6 and 7 games back of the last wildcard spot, respectively. They both have multiple teams to jump over just to make it to a spot to overtake a team currently in one of the wildcard spots. The good news for these teams is that several teams ahead of them are in their own divisions. The Marlins, DBacks, and Giants are the three wildcard teams at the moment, so both the Padres and Mets will have chances to move up fairly quickly. However, is there any reason to think that they will? The Mets have had bad pitching all year, and the Padres have a star-studded lineup that hasn’t been close to living up to the billing before the season began. If these two teams don’t come out of the gates swinging, they may look to be sellers and look to next year.
The bottom line is that every single game after the All-Star Break matters. There will be teams that fail to meet the moment, but there will be a team that uses the break to regroup and will go on a run. The benefit of having three wildcard spots is that you’re one winning streak away from getting back into the swing of things (pun intended).
The drama will surely come down to the wire, and we can’t wait to see how these playoff races shakeout. It should be a fun second half of the year!