The Houston Astros after a run was scored against the Orioles

The Houston Astros after a run was scored against the Orioles. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

The American League East dominated the American League (AL) this season. The Boston Red Sox took the division crown with a franchise record of 108 wins, and the New York Yankees took the first AL Wild Card spot with 100 wins. Boston, led by the offense of right fielder (RF) Mookie Betts, left-fielder (LF) J.D. Martinez and short stop (SS) Xander Bogaerts, scorched their opponents with a league-leading team average of .268. The Yankees, led by LF Giancarlo Stanton, SS Didi Gregorius and third baseman (3B) Miguel Andújar lead the league in home runs with a single-season record 267.
In the American League Central, the Cleveland Indians won their third consecutive division title, the first of which took them to the World Series in 2016. The Indians faced little competition, as they were the only team in the division to finish with a winning record. Led by a strong pitching staff of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer, the Indians finished at a respectable 91-71.
If any division were to rival the AL East, it would be the American League West. The defending World Series Champion Houston Astros won at least 100 games in a season for the second consecutive year. Led by 2018 All-Star Game MVP Alex Bregman, the Astros were not only one of the best teams in baseball this year, but the most charismatic. One of the biggest surprises this season, the Oakland Athletics, won 97 games and took the second AL Wild Card spot behind the Yankees.
The budding Atlanta Braves finally blossomed and won the National League East, their first division title since 2013. Led by veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis, as well as young talents like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies, the Braves appear to have taken command of the division from the reeling Washington Nationals.

The Chicago Cubs celebrating after getting a win.

The Chicago Cubs celebrating after getting a win.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

The National League Central is consistently the most competitive division in baseball. Led by the same core that won the World Series in 2016, the Chicago Cubs turned in their fourth consecutive season of at least 90 wins, finishing second in the league in batting average and hits. However, the Milwaukee Brewers, led by offseason acquisition Christian Yelich and veteran Ryan Braun, were a force to be reckoned with this season, and the two teams tied atop the division at 95-67. The Brewers secured the division crown in the tiebreaker game, giving the Cubs the second Wild Card spot.
The National League West looked to be as close as the National League (NL) Central, as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks each looked strong in the first half of the season. The Dodgers kept ahead in August, but the Rockies pulled ahead in the division with an eight-game win streak in late September. Led by five-time Gold-Glover Nolan Arenado and SS Trevor Story, the Rockies sought their first division title in team history. The Dodgers, led by veteran 3B Justin Turner and recent trade acquisition Manny Machado, lead the NL in runs, home runs and walks. These two teams also finished the regular season tied for the division lead at 91-71. The Dodgers won the tiebreaker game and clinched the division crown, leaving the first Wild Card spot for the Rockies.
The Oakland Athletics will head to the Bronx to play the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card game, the winner of which will face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series. The other American League Divisional Series (ALDS) will feature the previous two American League Champions, the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Indians.
The National League Wild Card matchup will feature the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies. The winner of this game will go on to play the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series, and the other National League Divisional Series (NLDS) will be played between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tune in to the NL Wild Card Game on Oct. 2, and the AL Wild Card Game on Oct. 3, both at 6 p.m.

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