With another 20 plus games of Detroit Tigers baseball left in the 2015 season, Tigers fans can still root Miguel Cabrera on to his fourth batting title in five seasons, and he's likely to do that. But in a few weeks, Tigers' fans will be in the unfamiliar position of watching from the sidelines as other teams compete for the World Series. Here is a menu of teams that you can root for.
The St. Louis Cardinals have two World Series titles over the past decade, and they have the best record in the major leagues in 2015. They lead baseball's toughest division by 4.5 games, they will be making their fifth straight playoff appearance, and have to be considered one of the favorites to win it all again.
The Kansas City Royals surprised the baseball world last season by making a post season run all the way to the World Series. This year, they've not only run away with the American league's central division, but they have a four game lead on every team in the American league.
The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the hottest teams in baseball since the trade deadline, when they made the big trades for David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, and others. They have blown past the Yankees and are comfortably in playoff position, with an MLB best 34- 13 record since the All star break.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are overshadowed by the Cardinals in the National league's central division, but they boast baseball's third best record. They have a roster with very few holes, but will likely have to settle for playing in the wild card game again this season.
The Chicago Cubs are right behind the Pirates, in third place in their division but also third place in the National league. If you like underdogs, the Cubbies have not won a world championship since 1908, a longer drought than any other team. Their last two appearances in the World series ended in losses to the Detroit Tigers, in 1935 and 1945. Chicago has the hottest record in the National league since the all star break.
The Houston Astros, speaking of underdogs, have never won a World series, and few expected them to be where they are today, leading the American league's west division and headed for the playoffs. Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel leads baseball's most improved starting rotation, and a cast of young stars figure to keep Houston in contention for several seasons.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are running away with the National League's west division after sweeping the second place Giants. They have two of the game's best pitchers in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and will be a formidable opponent for any team to face in October. With a payroll that's more than $ 50 million higher than the Yankees, they are expected to win.
The New York Yankees have been passed up by Toronto, but they remain in a playoff position. Some of their aging veterans such as Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have come back to life.
The New York Mets have taken advantage of being in a relatively weak division and have opened up a six game lead on Washington. They feature a rotation with several good young pitchers, while a pair of former Tigers are sparking their offense.
The Minnesota Twins are presently four games above .500, a distant second in the American league's central division, and just 1.5 games out of a wild card playoff spot. How they're doing it is anyone's guess, but if the Rangers falter down the stretch, the Twins could be playoff bound.
The Washington Nationals are stealing some of the media's attention away from the Tigers as one of baseball's most disappointing teams this season, with sub par performances and managerial buffoonery to rival anything that the Tigers have done. At this point, they're on the outside looking in.