Three of the current division leaders haven’t been to the playoffs for years. The NL East-leading New York Mets last played in the postseason in 2006 in a season that ended in a heartbreaking 4-3 NLCS loss to the St Louis Cardinals, whilst the AL West-leading Houston Astros last got there in 2005 when they had a similarly devastating end through being swept 4-0 in the World Series by the Chicago White Sox.
As for the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays, their last taste of the postseason couldn’t have been sweeter with back-to-back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993, but it’s been a long time since those two triumphs.
In comparison the Texas Rangers’ current two-year playoff drought looks inconsequential; however their Wild Card run is no less remarkable as hopes were not high heading into 2015 and they’ve seemingly come from nowhere to get in the mix.
The Minnesota Twins were even more unfancied and had many people tipping them for last place again in the AL Central, but they are just 1.5 games behind the Rangers for the second Wild Card as of today.
And arguably the biggest story is the emergence of the Chicago Cubs. We all knew that they would be contending again soon, yet most felt that 2015 was a season or two too early. The Cubs have ignored that and after Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter last night against the LA Dodgers, you have to wonder if the Curse of the Billy Goat is losing its power.
You can see the Cubs in action twice this working week at a convenient time for us in the UK. The pre-midnight starts are as follows, with all times stated in BST.
Monday 31 August
No early games
Tuesday 1 September
20.10. Arizona at Colorado (Corbin – Flande) *MLB.com Free Game
Wednesday 2 September
17.10. Miami at Atlanta (Conley – Jackson)
19.20. Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs (Iglesias – Hammel)
20.35. LA Angels at Oakland (Heaney – Gray) *BT Sport/ESPN, MLB.com Free Game
21.05. NY Yankees at Boston (Tanaka – Owens)
Thursday 3 September
18.10. Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (Danks – Gibson) *BT Sport/ESPN, MLB.com Free Game
Friday 4 September
19.20. Arizona at Chicago Cubs (Webster – Lester) *BT Sport/ESPN
All of these games are available to watch or listen to live via an MLB.TV subscription. TV coverage of MLB comes courtesy of the BT Sport and ESPN channels and these are highlighted above, as are any games that are available to view online for free via MLB.com. The above list of games just shows those starting before midnight UK time. The full schedule of MLB games can be found on MLB.com.