We have made it to September, the final stretch of the MLB season as teams embark on a last ditch effort to make a playoff run. With not much time left to go in the season, there are a large amount of interesting storylines which will be talked about by fans and analysts all month long.
Let’s take a look at a few of these storylines to be on the lookout for during the month of September.
Dodgers or Giants in the NL West?
While the surprising San Francisco Giants have been in the lead in the NL West for a majority of the season, the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers have caught up and even took the lead for a brief moment a few days ago.
As of September 6, the Giants hold a one game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers. This result came after the Giants took two out of three in the final regular season series they will play against the Dodgers this year.
The two teams are in a group of only three teams with more than 85 wins so far this season joining only the Tampa Bay Rays. This means that while one team will most likely finish with the best record in the National League, the other will be forced to host a one game Wild Card series.
Despite both teams making big improvements at the trade deadline, it’s possible that a team with the second best record in the MLB could be hosting a Wild Card game this October.
Can Vladimir Guerrero Jr. win the AL Triple Crown?
While he may have an outside shot at winning the elusive award, Guerrero definitely isn’t out of it in the three crucial categories.
It’s worth mentioning that as of now, Guerrero only leads the American League in the batting average category at .318 which is also third in the MLB. He does have competition however with three players within five points of him. The closest of which is Starling Marte of the Oakland Athletics who has a .316 average.
As for the home run and RBI categories, Guerrero will need to continue to stay hot for this final month.
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels currently leads the MLB in home runs with 43 despite slowing down as of late. Guerrero has 40 homers right now making him only one of three players over the 40 home run mark. Guerrero will need to catch both Ohtani and Salvador Perez, who has 41 home runs, to become the baseball's home run champion in 2021.
The RBI category may be the toughest for Guerrero to make up ground as he is currently fourth in the American league with 98. Reigning American League MVP José Abreu currently leads with 103 RBI’s this season with both Perez and Rafael Devers within two of him.
If Guerrero can catch fire and take home the Triple Crown, he would be the first to do so in the American League since Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers did it back in 2012.
Who will take the last NL Wild Card spot?
While it looks like the loser of the Dodgers and Giants race will take one of the Wild Card spots, there are still a bunch of teams fighting for the right to play them.
For a few months, it looked like the San Diego Padres were cruising to take that spot but a rough month of August has opened up the race.
As of now, the Padres still remain in that second Wild Card spot but there are currently four teams that are four games back or less.
The Cincinnati Reds have heated up with both Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos catching fire during a month of August facing teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins. Votto’s play in particular has made him a darkhorse NL MVP contender. There was even a brief point where the Reds jumped the Padres in a Wild Card standings.
Two NL East teams in the Phillies and the Mets have gotten hot as well with both teams having won seven out of their last ten games. Both teams are also still fighting for the NL East division as well as that second Wild Card spot. Both have been able to get back in the race after taking advantage of favorable stretches against the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins who are at the bottom of the NL East.
The St. Louis Cardinals have also stayed in the race but have arguably the hardest remaining schedule of any of these teams. Their next five series are all against playoff contenders with the Dodgers, Brewers and Mets, Padres and Brewers again all on tap. Despite three of these series being at home, the Cardinals are going to have a tough few weeks ahead of them.
Logan Bourandas is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.