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MLB standings: Going over key series with playoff implications for final week of season

We take a look at the close races in the AL Wild Card, NL East and NL West heading into the final week of the MLB regular season.

Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with Ozzie Albies #1 after hitting a two-run home run off Tyler Clippard #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at Chase Field on September 22, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The 2021 MLB regular season is entering the home stretch with the final week of games set to determine who will win the AL Wild Card, NL East, and NL West division races. As things currently stand, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees hold the the top two spots in the AL Wild Card race.

However, the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, and Seattle Mariners all are in striking for one of the wild card spots. Then in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies are only 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in first place.

Finally, in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers are one game behind the San Francisco Giants for first place. Below we’ll take a look at the respective playoff races and give our predictions on how it will all shake out.

AL Wild Card

Red Sox vs. Orioles
Yankees vs. Blue Jays
Athletics vs. Mariners

To begin the final week of the regular season games, the New York Yankees will be able to separate themselves from the Toronto Blue Jays or fall out of the playoff race themselves. This season, the Blue Jays have won 10 out of 16 games against the Yankees and will get one last shot at them in Toronto.

While those two teams are battling it out, the Red Sox will have a relative easy six road games between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. Boston has struggled recently, but could easily secure a spot if they handle their business. Lastly, the A’s and Mariners could bounce each other out the playoff race with a pivotal three-game series starting on Monday. The Mariners just pulled off a four-game sweep against the Athletics last week and have won six consecutive games over Oakland.

Prediction: Red Sox, Blue Jays claim AL Wild Card spots

NL East

Phillies vs. Braves

The NL East division title will come down to a three-game set beginning on Tuesday night between the Phillies and Braves. Philadelphia lost on Sunday but had won five consecutive games heading into Sunday and is 7-3 in their last 10 games. Atlanta has won three straight games and is 7-3 in their last 10 contests. The Braves’ offense has looked impressive

The Phillies currently lead the season series over Braves with a 9-7 record, however records go out the window in this spot with the playoffs on the line. Philly is looking to snap their 10-year playoff drought, while Atlanta has won the the NL East for three consecutive seasons.

Prediction: Braves win NL East

NL West

Dodgers vs. Brewers
Giants vs. Padres

The Giants have a 2.0 game lead on the Dodgers for first place in the NL West heading into the final week. Both teams will play easier series to start off the week, but each teams final series of the regular season is a bit tougher. The Brewers don’t have much to play for but can also deny the Dodgers the division crown. Milwaukee also lost to the Dodgers not too long ago in the NLCS. The Giants take on their division rival Padres, who may still have an outside shot at the NL Wild Card. Either way, they’ll be somewhat motivated to ruin San Fran’s division title.

Prediction: Giants win NL West