It is the last day of August, which means there is only one month left in baseball's regular season. And it should be a great one. Right now, there are eight teams within five games of the two American League Wild Card spots, and the National League Central is still up in the air -- and there is, as always, all sorts of uncertainty. The next few weeks will answer so many questions.

But how much do things change, historically? The best way to predict the future is to look to the past. So today we're going to look at the final month of the past 10 MLB seasons. Which ones were truly wild? And what can they tell us about what's coming?

10. 2016

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

AL Wild Card Game: Baltimore at Boston
ALDS: Wild Card winner at Texas
Toronto at Cleveland

NL Wild Card Game: St. Louis at San Francisco
NLDS: Wild Card winner at Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles at Washington

Final playoff matchups

AL Wild Card Game: Baltimore at Toronto
ALDS: Toronto at Texas
Boston at Cleveland

NL Wild Card Game: San Francisco at N.Y. Mets
NLDS: San Francisco at Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles at Washington

Toronto went 14-14 in September, which allowed Boston to catch it in the AL East, but otherwise the AL mostly stayed stable. In the NL, the Mets had a 19-11 September, which allowed them to catch up to both the Giants and the Cardinals (who were 16-15) to host the NL Wild Card Game. But none of these races were particularly scintillating. The playoffs would make up for it, though.

9. 2014

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

AL Wild Card Game: Detroit/Kansas City at Oakland
ALDS: Wild Card winner at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Detroit/Kansas City at Baltimore

NL Wild Card Game: St. Louis/Milwaukee at San Francisco
NLDS: Wild Card winner at Washington
St. Louis/Milwaukee at Los Angeles

Final playoff matchups

AL Wild Card Game: Oakland at Kansas City
ALDS: Kansas City at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Detroit at Baltimore

NL Wild Card Game: San Francisco at Pittsburgh
NLDS: San Francisco at Washington
St. Louis at Los Angeles

The NL Central teams separated themselves in the final month of the regular season -- the Cardinals went 17-9, while the Brewers went 9-17 -- but otherwise, this was a mostly drama-free month. Seattle might argue about that one, though: It fell one game short of a playoff spot, despite a four-game winning streak to end the season.

8. 2009

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

ALDS: Boston at Los Angeles Angels
Detroit at N.Y. Yankees

NLDS: Colorado/San Francisco at St. Louis
Philadelphia at Los Angeles

Final playoff matchups

ALDS: Boston at Los Angeles Angels
Minnesota at N.Y. Yankees

NLDS: Colorado at Philadelphia
St. Louis at Los Angeles

Remember that back before the Wild Card Game, teams in the same division couldn't play in the Division Series. The AL Central was the big story of this September, with the Twins going 21-11 to catch up with and pass the Tigers, who went 17-16 to fall out of the playoffs. Admit it: You totally forgot the Rockies made the playoffs in 2009.

7. 2012

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

AL Wild Card Game: Baltimore at Oakland
ALDS: Wild Card winner at Texas
Chicago White Sox at N.Y. Yankees

NL Wild Card Game: St. Louis at Atlanta
NLDS: Wild Card winner at Cincinnati
San Francisco at Washington

Final playoff matchups

AL Wild Card Game: Baltimore at Texas
ALDS: Baltimore at N.Y. Yankees
Detroit at Oakland

NL Wild Card Game: St. Louis at Atlanta
NLDS: Wild Card winner at Washington
San Francisco at Cincinnati

A 13-18 September doomed the White Sox to miss the playoffs entirely -- they ended up three games behind the Tigers despite having a two-game lead on Aug. 31 -- and the Yankees stormed to 20-10 in September to end up with the best record in the AL. The Giants gave everyone a glimpse at what was coming with a 20-10 record in September themselves. The real drama, though, wouldn't come until the first Wild Card Game in Atlanta.

6. 2015

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

AL Wild Card Game: Texas at N.Y. Yankees
ALDS: Wild Card winner at Kansas City
Houston at Toronto

NL Wild Card Game: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh
NLDS: Wild Card winner at St. Louis
N.Y. Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers

Final playoff matchups

AL Wild Card Game: Houston at N.Y. Yankees
ALDS: Houston at Kansas City
Texas at Toronto

NL Wild Card Game: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh
NLDS: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis
N.Y. Mets at Los Angeles

The dominance of the NL Central in 2015 -- three teams won 97 games or more -- eliminated any Wild Card drama, but the story of this September was Houston's implosion. The Astros went 13-19 down the stretch and dropped all the way to the road team in the AL Wild Card Game. In fact, the Angels, who were 20-11 in September, nearly caught them from behind. Even though the Astros backed into the playoffs, they went on to beat the Yanks in the Bronx, so it all worked out.

5. 2008

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

ALDS: Boston at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay

NLDS: Milwaukee at N.Y. Mets
Arizona at Chicago Cubs

Final playoff matchups

ALDS: Boston at Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay

NLDS: Milwaukee at Philadelphia
Los Angeles at Chicago Cubs

Two major shifts among division winners in the NL here, with the Dodgers chasing down the D-backs (albeit securing the division with only 84 wins) and the Phillies zooming past the Mets. A year after their World Series title, the Phils got hot in September, going 17-8. You may remember this era of Mets collapses, though this one wasn't quite as bad. They simply went 13-12, which turned out to be not quite enough to hold off the Phillies. Which led to the saddest stadium closing of all time.

4. 2010

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

ALDS: Tampa Bay at Minnesota
Texas at N.Y. Yankees

NLDS: Philadelphia at Cincinnati
San Diego at Arizona

Final playoff matchups

ALDS: N.Y. Yankees at Minnesota
Texas at Tampa Bay

NLDS: Atlanta at San Francisco
Cincinnati at Philadelphia

It's a little bit of a surprise to see San Diego leading the NL West on Aug. 31, isn't it? The Padres were 21 games over on that date -- which would give them the third-best record in baseball today, in 2017 -- but went 14-17 down the stretch to miss the playoffs entirely, finishing a game behind the Braves. The Phillies were the true studs that September, going 23-7.

3. 2013

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

AL Wild Card Game: Tampa Bay at Oakland
ALDS: Wild Card winner at Boston
Texas at Detroit

NL Wild Card Game: Cincinnati at St. Louis
NLDS: Wild Card winner at Atlanta
Pittsburgh at Los Angeles Dodgers

Final playoff matchups

AL Wild Card Game: Tampa Bay at Cleveland
ALDS: Tampa Bay at Boston
Detroit at Oakland

NL Wild Card Game: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
NLDS: Pittsburgh at St. Louis
Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta

The hot team of September 2013 was the St. Louis Cardinals, who went 19-8 to run away with the NL Central. (For the sake of discussion, if the 2017 Cardinals went 19-8 over their next 27 games, they'd still need the 2017 Cubs to go 13-14 just to make the teams even.) The A's also posted a 19-8 record in September, zooming them past the Rangers in the AL West. This was the year of the Texas collapse, by the way. A year after losing two World Series in a row, the Rangers went 12-16 in September to fall out of the playoffs entirely.

2. 2007

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

ALDS: N.Y. Yankees at Los Angeles Angels
Cleveland at Boston

NLDS: Arizona at N.Y. Mets
Chicago Cubs at San Diego

Final playoff matchups

ALDS: Los Angeles Angels at Boston
N.Y. Yankees at Cleveland

NLDS: Colorado at Philadelphia
Chicago Cubs at Arizona

This September is still talked about for two reasons:

  1. What the Colorado Rockies were able to do, going 21-8 from September on (including 14 of their last 15) to burst into the postseason, where they promptly won their first seven games.
  2. Those poor Mets. They had a 2 1/2-game lead with one week left to go in the season. They promptly lost six of their last seven to miss the playoffs all together. Man that was a rough couple of years.

1. 2011

Playoff matchups as of Aug. 31

ALDS: N.Y. Yankees at Texas
Detroit at Boston

NLDS: Atlanta at Milwaukee
Arizona at Philadelphia

Final playoff matchups

ALDS: Tampa Bay at Texas
Detroit at N.Y. Yankees

NLDS: St. Louis at Philadelphia
Arizona at Milwaukee

This is obviously the big year, the one that still gives every team hope. It is worth noting that the two teams that came out of nowhere that September -- the Cardinals and the Rays -- were in fact the teams in second place in the Wild Card race on Aug. 31. The difference, of course, is that the Rays were 7 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and the Cardinals were 8 1/2 behind the Braves. Still, look at these September record differences between the teams who won the Wild Card that year, and the teams that ended up missing the playoffs:

Tampa Bay: 17-10
Boston: 7-20

St. Louis: 18-8
Atlanta: 9-18.

Which led to this:

That's what it requires to have that truly amazing September: Not just a team getting hot, but another completely collapsing. This year looks like it will provide plenty of drama -- so tune in.

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