- By trading for Jon Lester to go with Jeff Samardzjia and Jason Hammel, Oakland had locked up the AL West
- By trading for David Price, Detroit had created an unbeatable FrankenRotation that meant they, too, could make October reservations
- The Brewers had salted away the NL Central, while the Pirates were, err, dead in the water.
- The Braves were mounting their usual late-season charge and the Nationals were in trouble.
- The Royals were, well, the Royals.
As of right now, the Tigers and their Amazing Collapsing Offense are running a guy named Kyle Lobstein out there to pitch, and locked in a dogfight with the Royals. I'm sorry, Kyle Lobstein is the guy whose bar mitzvah you skip because you're double-booked that weekend. He's not the guy you want putting your team on his back during a pennant race. And yet, here we are.
Meanwhile, Oakland's in free fall, racked by injuries and an offense that went cold en masse. The Brewers have collapsed even more thoroughly and are now looking up at those same Pirates. And if you equate "Wile E. Coyote realizes he's standing in midair next to the cliff" with "Braves just realized they were relying on Aaron Harang", you can understand what happened next.
All of which just goes to show that there's a reason they play the games instead of just handing the World Series trophy to whoever the pundits say (and yes, I was totally on the Oakland-Detroit bandwagon, so mock me at your leisure). There's a reason baseball has such a long season (besides money); it's because of ebbs and flows like this. The slower pace of the season allows for rises and falls, charges and retreats, collapses and sudden reappearances. It doesn't allow for instant gratification, for knowing the outcome early and walking away, or for letting over the top punditry off the hook.
And I'm just fine with that.
Because there's still half a month left. And everything could change, all over again.