Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MLB Wild Card Races - As of Sept 24

Ok, I gotta’ admit I really thought King Felix was going to break trend and pitch well in the Great White North but he got rocked again, and on a day that the A’s loss adds insult to injury and they’re in a ton of trouble now. I think the A’s can lose 3 over their last 5 as although the Angels have nothing to play for they still have the best record in baseball and they certainly don’t want to limp into the playoffs by being swept. Conversely the Mariners haven’t shown any consistency let alone enough to run the table over the last 5, which is what they would need to do and for a team that is playing .529 ball this year for you quants the chances of that happening is 2.35%, it may be time to start looking towards next year. American Team............Wins......Losses.....GB Oakland..........86.........71..... - Kansas City......86.........71..... - Seattle..........81.........68...... 3.0 Cleveland........82.........76...... 4.5 New York.........81.........76...... 5.0 National Pittsburgh.......86.........71....... - San Francisco....85.........72....... - Milwaukee........80.........77....... 5.0 Obviously, no one wants to play a do-or-die one-game playoff and face the ace of the opposing staff with their season on the line and it’s a very fine line between that outcome and best of five series where there is some time to strategize. The Royals are quite happy they’re not going to see the Tigers over their last 6 games as the Tigers have just owned them this season and if they get run down by Seattle that is what everyone will look to as a big part of the cause. The Giants just are not willing to concede the NL West to the Dodgers and have two games left in LA to pull to within a game of the lead but they will have to go through Boardwalk and Parkplace facing Greinke and Kershaw without dropping one of them and that will be difficult. The Royals and Tigers both get teams outside of the bubble but KC is on the road at Cleveland, who may not be mathematically eliminated but for all intent and purposes are, but they will keep on fighting and if the Tigers don’t get some run support they may find themselves in that one game playoff as their lead in the Central is also down to one game. Coming down the home stretch of the season although some of the horses have faded but there is still much to be decided and these games in September are going to be looked back on in October particularly those with home field advantage or favorable pitching rotations. We have to start in the AL as fortunes can change so much and so quickly. As we have previously written the Central Division winner, either KC or Detroit, will be on their way to Baltimore for a 7-game set. Certainly no picnic and could also be an early exit from the playoffs but at least there will be the opportunity to make adjustments and the Orioles haven’t played a game that’s mattered in quite some time so stealing home field is not out of the question. The loser gets a one-game winner-take-all, steal cage death match probably against King Felix and the Seattle Mariners. Other than Clayton Kershaw probably the one guy you would not want to face for one game with your season on the line. Now I understand that right now Oakland is sitting in that second spot but losers of 7 of their last 10, including the worst batting average and slugging percentage in the league since the Cespedes trade, I have not indication that they will do enough to outlast the M’s despite a very favorable schedule as the Angels have nothing to play for and will be basically be resting starters during their 3-game set, and then series with the Phillies and Rangers would be a welcome sight for anyone in pennant race, but even that won’t be enough to get them through. Seattle has 3 games with Houston, 4 with Toronto, and close with the Angels for a 3-game set. I like their chances to better than .600 over their final 10 and that should be enough to get their one game playoff. Hernandez is scheduled to pitch that last game against the Angels but if the M’s don’t need it look for them to sit him in that game and pitch the play-in game on an extra days rest. There are two series that will be watched this weekend probably as much as the playoffs themselves, the Tigers at Kansas City and the Giants at the Dodgers. Both division leads can change hands before the Summer ends. We have laid out the case (fate) of the Tigers/Royals winner and let me tell you, both need to win this upcoming series as the rest of the schedule should be about a wash. Both the White Sox, but the Tigers get a Twins squad with nothing to play for and the Royals will play a Cleveland team that will be desperate to run the table in the hopes of getting that last spot, and willing to pull out all the stops. Rest assured this will be must see TV and a great appetizer ahead of the real deal. Next up the NL. American Team............Wins......Losses.....GB Oakland..........83.........68..... - Kansas City......83.........69..... - Seattle..........81.........67...... 1.0 Cleveland........79.........73...... 4.0 National San Francisco....84.........68....... - Pittsburgh.......82.........70....... - Milwaukee........79.........74....... 3.5 View all the game previews, pitching matchups, betting lines, and more here. Kansas City and Detroit are dueling for the AL Central division lead, the first wild card, and perhaps most importantly avoiding a one-game death sentence against King Felix and Mariners. If the Royals don’t take the flag they certainly can look back and blame it on their lack of production against their division rivals from Detroit as they have dropped 11 out of 15 to the Tigers this season including the first two games of this current 3-game set. The Royals have not made it to the post season in 27 years, the longest such streak in the major leagues and they hope to put it to and end. The Al Wildcards will come down the final series of the year, and among those contenders Seattle appears to have the most difficult path as they have series with three playoff contenders including 7 huge games with the Angels who possess the best record in baseball, 3 with the A’s whom they’re a half-game back of for the last playoff spot, and 4 with the Blue Jays who are 3.5 back and have an outside shot. You have to figure they have to sweep the Astros in their 3-game set to even have an outside shot. The A’s may be recovering from a terrible skid where they lost 9 of 10 but they are still in the driver seat because of the cushion they had and their advantageous schedule which includes 7 games left against the Rangers who possess the worst record in baseball and 3 with the Phillies another last place team, mixed in with 3 with the Mariners and Angels. They may have to win the do-or-die game but if they do, they go back to being one of the favorites to represent the AL.

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