• AL Wild-Card Standings Remain Tight as Playoffs Near

    Sep 25, 2013 11:25 AM by Tim

    MLB NEWS

    As the MLB regular season draws to a close, postseason baseball is finally just around the corner. Whether your team has already clinched a playoff berth or is still fighting for one of the final spots, you can purchase your MLB Playoff tickets from Vivid Seats today. Any purchase of baseball playoff tickets is covered by our WIN-surance policy, which guarantees that you will receive a refund on your purchase if a game is ultimately not played. Click HERE for more information on the advantages of buying playoff tickets early.

    While the American League Wild-Card spots are still up for grabs, most of the playoff slots are already sewn up. Read below for the quick rundown on locks and those still in the hunt.

    *All stats as of Sept. 25

    AL Wild Card
    The AL Wild-Card race has been just that—wild. The Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians, and Texas Rangers have been battling for the final two spots in the playoffs, and it could take until the final game of the season for the race to be decided. Tampa Bay currently has the inside track to host the one-game playoff at its home field, but all bets are off as these teams sprint towards the finish line.

    Boston Red Sox | Tickets
    After being involved in a back-and-forth battle with the Rays for first place in the AL East in late July and early August, the Red Sox stretched the lead to as many as 9.5 games, and eventually clinched the division on Sept. 20. Boston has done the brunt of its damage at the plate, placing in the top two of each major offensive category, including runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

    David Ortiz’s continued dominance at the plate has led the way, as the veteran slugger has hit .307 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI. The Red Sox are still due for another boost to their lineup too, as Jacoby Ellsbury—whose 52 stolen bases still leads the MLB despite the fact that he has not played since Sept. 5—is expected to make his return by the start of the postseason.

    Oakland Athletics | Tickets
    The Oakland Athletics continue to get the most out of their talent, as they clinched the AL West on Sept. 22 despite being the owners of the fourth-lowest payroll in all of baseball. With that theme in mind, it is only appropriate that a relatively unknown player like Josh Donaldson—who was not even voted into the 2013 MLB All-Star Game— would lead the offense. The 27-year-old journeyman never played in more than 75 games or hit better than .241 before posting a .305 batting average with 24 home runs and 92 RBI this season.

    Detroit Tigers | Tickets
    Similar to last season, the Detroit Tigers have secured a spot in the postseason primarily by tearing the cover off the ball. The squad ranks first in batting average and on-base percentage, and second in runs and slugging percentage. Miguel Cabrera has put forth another MVP-caliber season—even threatening to earn another Triple Crown—but he has not been alone in racking up huge numbers at the plate. Veterans Torii Hunter (.303 average, 83 RBI) and Prince Fielder (.282 average, 25 home runs, 106 RBI) have done their parts, and Victor Martinez (.302 average, 83 RBI) has come back in a big way after missing all of last season due to injury.

    On the mound, Max Scherzer has stepped up as the ace, earning an MLB-best 20 wins while notching a 3.00 ERA.

    Atlanta Braves | Tickets
    Rarely threatened by division opponents at any point throughout the season, the Atlanta Braves should be fresh heading into the postseason, where they will enjoy a bye into the NLDS after losing in the one-game playoff a year ago. The Braves have handled their business in the batter’s box—third baseman Chris Johnson has been especially impressive filling in for the retired Chipper Jones—but they are one of the most feared teams in the league due to their work on the mound, boasting a pitching staff that owns an MLB-leading combined ERA of 3.19.

    The staff’s collective numbers speak to the fact that its strength lies not in a single ace pitcher, but in its entire roster. If one pitcher deserves recognition, however, it’s closer Craig Kimbrel, who has recorded a league-leading 49 saves and a 1.25 ERA.

    Los Angeles Dodgers | Tickets
    In perhaps the most shocking development of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who sat 12 games below .500 through 72 games, were the first team to clinch a postseason bid, wrapping up the NL West with a Sept. 19 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who held a 9.5-game advantage over the Dodgers back in June.

    Hanley Ramirez and rookie sensation Yasiel Puig have been given the lion’s share of the credit for the team’s turnaround, but it is pitcher Clayton Kershaw who has been the most consistently dominant for the team. The Cy Young candidate’s 1.88 ERA is the best in the MLB by a wide margin.

    St. Louis Cardinals | Tickets
    The St. Louis Cardinals have spent plenty of time atop the NL Central standings this year, but have not yet been able to officially capture the division title. As of Sept. 25, the Cardinals own a two-game advantage in the division thanks in large part to their one-two punch in the starting rotation of Adam Wainwright—whose 18 wins are third-most in the MLB—and Shelby Miller, who couldn’t sustain his hugely successful numbers from the first half, but has still been one of the best stoppers in the NL with 14 wins and a 3.12 ERA in his rookie season.

    Matt Carpenter has shown what he is capable of in his first full year of duty, posting a team-best .324 batting average with 11 home runs and 77 RBI.

    Pittsburgh Pirates | Tickets
    While the Cards have taken home a World Series title as recently as 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates are getting their first taste of the postseason in over 20 years, as their last appearance in the playoffs came back in 1992. Behind the outstanding play of centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, who continues to be a highlight-reel machine, the Pirates have given fans in Pittsburgh reason to believe that this could be the year they deliver the city its first title since 1979.

    Helping the team overcome its pedestrian offensive numbers has been the pitching staff, which ranks second in the MLB with a team ERA of 3.28.

    Cincinnati Reds | Tickets
    While the defending NL Central champions have remained under the radar for the majority of the season, they are as big of a threat as anyone to take home the pennant in the National League. The Reds have been one of the best in the MLB at getting on base, as they rank sixth in the league in the category. Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo rank first and second in the NL in on-base percentage, respectively, and after they set the table,  Jay Bruce has had no problem knocking them in, as the slugger ranks in the top three in the NL in home runs (30) and RBI (107).

    On the defensive end, once the Reds hold a late lead, they rarely give it up—closer Aroldis Chapman’s 38 saves are third-most in the NL.