Cubs, White Sox are likely top seeds in MLB’s postseason

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Paul Beaty | Associated Press

Chicago Cubs outfielders Kyle Schwarber, left, Ian Happ, center, and Cameron Maybin, right, celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in a baseball game Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Chicago.

Justin Kelley, Columnist

With the MLB season dwindling to its final weeks of the season, both teams from Chicago are poised to make the playoffs. There is still a possibility either team could fall apart down the stretch and miss the playoffs, but with the playoffs being extended this season, that’s unlikely to happen.

This season eight teams from each league will be eligible for the postseason, three spots for the division winners, three spots for second place in each division, and two wild card spots. 

Currently, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox are both sitting pretty and will be high seeds in this year’s format. The Cubs do have a slight edge to make the postseason over the White Sox due to being in a weaker division. 

In the National League Central division, the Cubs (26-19) and the St. Louis Cardinals (19-18) are the only teams who have an above .500 record. Then there’s the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cubs, White Sox are likely top seeds in MLB's postseason
Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, left, throws to first base after forcing out St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Wieters (32) at second base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Chicago. (Paul Beaty | Associated Press)

Combined they are 22 games under .500, which is by far the worst in the National League for the three teams at the bottom of the division. Realistically out of those three, the Brewers are the only team who could play spoiler down the stretch in the NL Central. 

On paper, the Brewers probably have the most complete bullpen in the National League with closer Josh Hader and relief pitcher Devin Williams. They also have superstar right fielder Christian Yelich who usually is a perennial most valuable player candidate, but this year he has struggled. 

Through 136 at-bats, Yelich is only batting .213, but is second on the Brewers in RBI’s with 18. The Cardinals have their own set problems to finish out the season.

The biggest being there unbearable workload over the next couple weeks playing four double headers. Which could over exert some players and potentially be a key part why they won’t win the National League central.

For the White Sox, it’s a completely different scenario in the American League Central, as the division is more competitive. Four of the five teams are in contention to make playoffs outright or as a wild card team.

Cubs, White Sox are likely top seeds in MLB's postseason
Chicago White Sox’s Yasmani Grandal (24) celebrates with Yoan Moncada as he heads to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Gene J. Puksar | Associated Press)

The White Sox are in first place with a record of 27-16, but the Minnesota Twins are close behind, only a game back with a record of 27-18. In third place there is the Cleveland Indians who are only a game and a half back from the White Sox  with a record of 26-18.

Finally, in fourth place is the Detroit Tigers who are the surprise team of 2020. With a record of 20-23, they are only two games back of the New York Yankees for the second wild card spot. 

The Tigers most likely won’t be a contender for the division crown this year, but they still can play spoiler if they get hot late. When it comes to the Indians and Twins it might be more challenging. 

Both teams have been in more high pressure situations than the White Sox in the last several years. The Twins won the central division last season and Indians have had  several long runs in the playoffs.

Though the White Sox might lack experience, they make that up with a bunch of young talent who are currently white hot. One example of that young talent is Outfielder Luis Robert. 

In his rookie season Robert is batting .265 and has an on-base plus slugging percentage of .876. Also, Robert is a phenomenal defender and has extra gear when tracking the ball.

Cubs, White Sox are likely top seeds in MLB's postseason
Chicago White Sox’s Luis Robert hits a three-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. (Orlin Wagner | Associated Press)

In the long run though they should make the playoffs, whether as the American League division champion or as an outright team.