I don’t pay much attention to the AL during the season, but all baseball is interesting in September. Unless you’re the Royals or Devil Rays. Or, this year, the White Sox. ;^)
The Red Sox lead over the Yankees is down to just 2.5 games. What is up with the Red Sox? They’ve been smoking everybody all year, and now are 4-6 in their last 10? The Yankees have been probably the hottest team in baseball since late June.
The Red Sox finish up their road schedule with one at Toronto and three at Tampa Bay, and then come home for two with Oakland and four with Minnesota. The Yankees face Baltimore once more, then four with Toronto, all at home, and then go on the road for three with Tampa Bay, and three with Baltimore. The Yankees road record is barely .500, while the Red Sox are dominant everywhere, so the remaining schedule seems to favor the Red Sox.
In the other two AL divisions, both Cleveland and Anaheim have 89-62 records, and comfortable leads. They should each clinch very soon, by early next week.
For the wildcard, the Yankees have a 4.5 game lead over Detroit, so that race is about over too.
So, not much drama there, except the usual Yankees – Red Sox battle. Which, frankly, nobody outside of those two metro areas cares about, because we see these two teams on TV too much already, and hear about them on ESPN and ESPN Radio constantly.
It’s hard to miss somebody when they won’t go away.
In the NL, however, every division is tight, with the Cubs and Brewers tied (but the Brewers ahead by 1 in the loss column), the Diamondbacks in front by 1 over the Padres (but tied in the loss column), and the Mets lead over the Phils — a comfy 7 games just a week ago — is now only 1.5 games (but ahead by two in the loss column).
Remaining games (morning of 9/19):
- Mets – 1 at Washington, 4 at Florida, then home for 3 vs. Washington, 1 vs. St. Louis, 3 vs. Florida (12 total)
- Phils – 1 at St. Louis, 4 at Washington, then home for 3 vs. Atlanta, 3 vs. Washington (11 total)
- Cubs – 1 vs. Cincinnati, 3 vs. Pittsburgh, then on the road for 4 at Florida, 3 at Cincinnati (11 total)
- Brewers – 1 at Houston, 4 at Atlanta, then at home for 3 vs. St. Louis, 4 vs. SD (12 total)
- Diamondbacks – 1 vs. SF, 3 vs. LA, then on the road for 3 at Pittsburgh, 3 at Colorado (10 total)
- Padres – 2 vs. Pittsburgh, 2 vs. Colorado, then on the road for 3 at SF, 3 at Milwaukee (10 total)
The wildcard is ostensibly a two team race between the Padres (up by 1.5) and the Phillies, but in reality it is a four team race with three prizes — two division titles and a wildcard — between the Mets and Phillies, and Diamondbacks and Padres. Neither the Cubs nor the Brewers have a realistic shot at the wildcard, although neither is eliminated yet.
So if the playoffs started today, who plays who? I’ve yet to see any coverage of that topic, so will have to do some digging around, but I’m assuming the Red Sox would take on the “worser” of the Angels and the Indians, who are currently tied, while the Yankees would play the other.
The NL situation is much murkier, since so many teams could easily switch spots or fall out altogether, but as of today, the Diamondbacks have the best record, and so would play the wildcard, which today is the Padres. But can two teams from the same division play each other in the first round? Not sure. If so, then the other playoff would be Cubs/Brewers vs. Mets.
If not, then well, who the hell knows? 😉