With September baseball in full swing, here are six storylines to watch as the regular season draws to a close.
1. Chris Davis’ assault on Roger Maris — Davis has nine games left to crush the 10 home runs needed to tie Maris. He’s cooled off in September, but does he have one more power surge in him?
2. Miguel Cabrera’s quest for another Triple Crown — Miggy’s got the batting crown in the bag, but only leads Davis by one RBI and still trails the Baltimore slugger by seven big flies. That’s probably too much ground to make up, but he’ll get a chance to fatten up off some terrible pitching courtesy of the White Sox, Twins and Marlins.
3. Who wins the NL Central — Practically speaking, this division is the only one still up for grabs with three teams vying for the top spot. The Cardinals currently reside in first (where they’ve been for most of the season), but Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are just two games out, with eight to play.
4. Texas tanking — The Rangers are doing their best impression of the 2011 Red Sox. After looking playoff bound for most of the year, they’ve hit the skids in September, losing seven in a row at one point and handing the division to Oakland on a silver platter. Now they’re fighting for one of the two wild-card spots and are in danger of missing the postseason altogether.
5. The last of Mariano Rivera … — The game’s greatest closer has looked human lately, but if New York can make the postseason it would be a most fitting conclusion to his stellar career. If not, at least he gets to go out alongside Andy Pettitte, who’s also retiring (for real this time).
6. … and Todd Helton — Unlike Rivera, Helton is quietly riding off into the sunset. No farewell tour for the Toddfather.