With less than two months remaining in the baseball season, 20 of the 30 major league teams either lead their division or are within 10 games of first place… 15 of them are either leading the division or within six games of the lead.
In the National League Central, the Milwaukee Brewers have a one-game lead over St. Louis. The third-place Pirates are 1.5 games back and the fourth-place Reds are just 4.5 games behind the Brewers. Of the six divisions, this is the closest race between four divisional teams (the fifth-place Cubs are 13 games back in the division).
Back in 1995 MLB went to three divisions in each league. Since then there have been some great divisional pennant races. In 2007, the N.L. West champs were the Arizona Diamondbacks. Divisional foes Colorado and San Diego each finished one game back. That has been the closest three-team divisional race since 1995. Two years prior to that, the N.L. East had a four-team race where first place and fourth place were separated by only seven games. The Braves won the division that year with Philly two games back and the Marlins and Mets seven games behind at the end of the year.
Here’s a look at the closest divisional races since 1995.
Closest race (3 teams)
American League: A.L. West 2004 (three games)… Anaheim, champ; Oakland, one game back; Texas, three games back.
National League: N.L. West 2007 (one game)… Arizona, champ; Colorado, one game back; San Diego, one game back.
Closest race (4 teams)
American League: (tie) A.L. East 2008 and A.L. East 2010 (11 games)
National League: N.L. East 2005 (seven games)… Atlanta, champ; Philadelphia, two games back; N.Y. Mets and Florida, seven games back.
Closest race (5 teams)
American League: A.L. Central 2008 (14.5 games)… White Sox, champs; Minnesota, one game back; Cleveland, 7.5 games back; Kansas City, 13.5 games back; Detroit, 14.5 games back.
National League: N.L. East 2005 (nine games)… Atlanta, champ; Philadelphia, two games back; N.Y. Mets and Florida, seven games back; Washington, nine games back.
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