East: The race between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays has been a great one and looks like it will continue to be right down to the bitter end. The Yanks sit a half-game up on the Rays right now, but looked to be taking control of the division just two days ago after they’d taken a 2.5-game lead over Tampa by winning the first two of a four-game series with the Rays. However, this young Rays team knows how to fight back and was able to take the last two games to pull themselves within striking distance of wrestling first place away from the reigning champs.
The Rays have a fantastic lineup, but their starting pitching has not been all that great as of late. David Price has been solid, but the Rays need someone else to step up and be a big game pitcher. If either Matt Garza or James Shields can get hot, it could be what the Rays need to hurdle the Bronx Bombers. As for the Yanks, they continue to hit, but their pitching has also drawn some question marks. They’ve still got the best roster in the league on paper, though, which will make MLB Playoff tickets to see them play hugely popular regardless of whether they win the division or not.
Central: The Twins have clinched the American League Central thanks to a spectacular second half. They’re currently 12 games up on the Chicago White Sox, who faded in a big way down the stretch. The most impressive thing about the Twins running away with the division has to be the fact that they did it without Justin Morneau. Joe Mauer got off to a slow start but found his stroke around mid-season, and the pitching staff has been great. Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano have had resurgent seasons and guys like Scott Baker have flown under the radar despite solid years. The Twins currently have the best record in the league and will be shooting for home field advantage in the postseason. Ron Gardenhire has to win Manager of the Year.
West: Most people were picking either Los Angeles or Seattle to win this division; the Angels are in third at nine games back and the Mariners are in dead last at 26 games back. The Texas Rangers are all but a lock to take home the division title this season, which comes as a surprise to most people not named Nolan Ryan. Equipped with a lineup that can score runs with just about anybody, the Rangers have been a force this season. Their pitching has been better than expected and a mid-season trade for Cliff Lee has given them a true frontline starter. Lee has struggled as of late, though, which has to have some people in Arlington worried.
Wild Card: It’s going to the loser of the A.L. East race.