The Nats race is done. It was done a while ago, whether you were with me, after me, or before me in getting to that point inside of you you must be there now right? You must understand that if the Mets or Marlins play like they have all season the Nats would merely have to go like 7-24 or 8-23 to tie them. You must understand that if the Nats muddle through September going 15-16 from here on out then the Mets or Marlins will have to go 24-7 to catch them. You get this right?
So if the Nats race isn't watchable what is?
Well we'll start with what isn't. The NL Central makes the NL East look like a horse race. The Cubs have a 14 game lead on the Cards and are almost as far ahead of the Nats for home field as the Nats are ahead in the NL East. Neither that division or the race for HFA in the NL is interesting. Also Ian Desmond and his Texas Rangers have a similar lead to what the Nats have in the AL West. Consider that done.
Probably the most compelling race. Dodgers and Giants, two decades long rivals, fighting for the division. The Giants a biennial favorite to win the World Series, and this is the year. The Dodgers, the team that spent the most to try to get over the hump and get their first championship since 1988. They have 6 games H2H still left - starting on Sept 19th, including a season ending series. The only "shame" is the loser is on pace for the Wild Card rather than a vacation.
NL Wild Card
If everyone is mediocre things can still be exciting as the Cardinals, Pirates (-1.5), Miami (-2.5), and Mets (-2.5) battle it out for maybe 87 wins and the 2nd Wild Card. Good baseball? Maybe not, but compelling? Sure. Impt series include Mets/Marlins right now and Pirates/ Cards starting on Labor Day. They both meet near the end of the year so it could be a hot finish as well. (but knowing these teams 3 of them will go like 5-15 over the next few weeks)
A big ol glorious mess as the Blue Jays currently hold a 2 game lead over the Sox and a 4 game lead over the Orioles. (the 7.5 game lead over the Yankees only scares Nats fans who are still wary of the Mets and Marlins). The Blue Jays are playing the Orioles right now, and will get Boston in little over a week, before finishing the season vs Bal and Bos back to back. In between all that Boston and Baltimore play eachother 7 times in 11 days from the 12th to the 22nd. There's a lot of potential in this race.
Cleveland is up with a solid 4.5 game lead over Detroit and 5.5 over the hard charging (18-4 in last 22) Royals. The Indians meet up with the Tigers and Royals for two series each a starting on the 16th (with a White Sox breather inbetween) so it could be a great finish. It could also be over before it even gets there.
AL Wild Card
A mess but not quite as glorious as the AL East because it's a Wild Card thing. The Orioles, Tigers (-1), Astros (-2), Royals (-2), Mariners (-3), and Yankees (-3.5) all have a shot at that last WC spot. The Royals are trying to end the Yankees hopes right now, then take on the Tigers. The Yankees face Baltimore again after the Royals. The Tigers and Baltimore match up soon after that. If it still matters there are SEAvHOU and more KCvDET and BALvNYY beyond that. It's likely something will end up mattering.
The Rangers have a slight lead for this but have to play SEA and HOU 12 times in the next 15 games. After that it should be smooth sailing. Toronto is closer than Cleveland but there is no rest for an AL East team. 21 games versus the teams we've talked about. Cleveland on the other hand has a more balanced schedule (even better if you don't like the Marlins - and I don't) so they are probably going to be the challenger, if there is one.