Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst) Follow @chuckbooth3024
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The Seattle Mariners won yesterday, and the Athletics lost, to pull all top 4 Wild Card contenders to within 2 games of each other heading into the weekend.
Detroit leads the Central with a 84 – 68 record, and KC is a half game behind at 83 – 68, but really are 90% at 83 – 69. with a 4 – 2 10 inning deficit in that suspended game resumption on Monday Sept 22, 2014 to the Indians.
So while the Royals and Tigers battle for the Division at Kauffman Stadium starting Friday. , the ultimate loser of the AL Central, will need to make the postseason via the Wild Card. Needless to say. these 3 games will be pivotal in deciding that.
Since both of those clubs have to have a loser in each of those 3 games, this is great news for the struggling A’s (83 – 69), and especially for the Mariners (82 – 70), to make up some ground if they have good series from Friday to Sunday.
On the surface, Oakland and Seattle should hope the Tigers win the series versus KC this weekend, as that would put the Royals potentially at best 84 – 71 after that game against the Indians is over on Monday. If the Tigers sweep them, the Royals could be staring at 83 – 72 rather quickly.
Oakland would need just one victory to pass KC, and Seattle would need 1 to tie the Royals and 2 to pass them.
The A’s entertain the lowly Philadelphia Phillies this weekend at O.Co, whereas the best road team in the AL (Mariners, 44 – 30) are in Houston to battle the Astros at Minute Maid Park..
If both clubs can win their series (if not sweep the worse squads they are playing) than they will put themselves in great positions for the playoff in going forward.
I have to think the worst scenario for those two teams – is to see the Royals take just 2 games against Detroit, as that would put the Tigers still at 85 – 70, KC at 85 – 69, with the suspended game still to make – probably seeing the, at 85 – 70 as well. Oakland would need a sweep to have a lead, and win 2 out of 3 to tie the Royals/Tigers. The M’s would require a sweep over the Astros – to land them at 85 – 70.
Obviously the A’s have a game lead on the Mariners still going into action Friday, so they can maintain that lead with a sweep vs Philadelphia. and they could overtake the lead on the #1 Wild Card with a sweep. 3 wins over the weekend, would give them a record of 86 – 69, and both KC and Detroit both can’t make it to that many victories come Monday morning.
Another reason Seattle and Oakland should want Detroit to pulverize KC, is that the Tigers have a great schedule once this weekend is finished. They host the Twins and White Sox to complete the year. This is a cupcake itinerary.
Kansas City’s path is not as easy. The Royals start the last bit of games with 3 versus the Tigers, then play 4 games at Cleveland (including the completed suspended game) and end the year at US Cellular Field with a 4 game set.
The last 8 games are all on the road. Yes, the club is 10 games over .500 on the road, but Cleveland is one of the best home squads, and the White Sox have fared decently with home cooking as well.
Cleveland is one of the hottest clubs in the AL, and is sticking around the periphery of this race too. They have massive invested interest in the weekend series with KC vs DET. They are hoping for the Tigers to reign supreme this weekend.
The Tribe are 4 games out sure, but they could easily rundown KC if the Royals lose the weekend series, and then the Indians win 3 out of 4 in the games played ….of course one win is almost guaranteed with that suspension game.
With the way the Mariners and A’s have been finding it tough to win in September, it is not inconceivable Cleveland could put themselves into Wild Card contention by the end of next week.
Terry Francona‘s squad have 3 games in Tampa Bay versus the Rays, before ending the year at home for 7 straight. if they can pull of 9 wins in their next 10 contests, it may be the magic number to make the playoffs.
That is a longshot chance at best, but then again, the Indians won their last 10 games last season to complete their schedule.
Even if Cleveland doesn’t make the postseason, they could seriously dent the Royals hopes of ending their 29 year playoff drought.
Oakland hosts Philadelphia for 3 games, plays the Angels for 3 more at O.co, and finish with 4 games on the road at Texas.
At first glance, this team has the most favorable schedule, but the A’s have been losing to everybody of late. Still if they can muster 6 or 7 wins in their last 10, they should make the playoffs.
Seattle plays 3 at Houston this weekend, before heading for 4 games up north in Canada, then concluding their year vs the Angels at Safeco.
I highly expect the Mariners to win 6 or 7 games here. The Blue Jays are the trump card here. Toronto can light up some teams at their home park at times, and Seattle may fall victim. Seattle must try to split that series and win 5 of 6 in the other 2 series.
The M’s have 2 starts each from Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton – and could bring out 5 of those 6 victories. Perhaps the biggest start of the year is for Taijuan Walker in Houston Friday.
I fully expect the Tigers to make the playoffs. All they need to do in my opinion, is to not be swept in KC this weekend. If they just take 1 game, they would be virtually locked if the Royals lose the suspended game.
With the Twins and White Sox at home on the docket, it is easier than KC playing the Indians and White Sox on the road.
With saying this, I will predict that if the Royals don’t win the series versus the Tigers, they will not make the playoffs at all.
The most pressure is definitely on Oakland. All they have to do is take care of their business, and they should be hosted the Wild Card Game.
Even the series versus Los Angeles should not be that brutal for competition. As we saw last night with the Angels, that team is resting up for the playoffs already, and will likely not put out a facsimile of what their postseason roster will entail.
If the A’s don’t make it to the October baseball, the blame will rest solely on their shoulders.
I would not be surprised if their was a tiebreaker playoff game on the Monday – with the Mariners and the Royals.. If that were to happen, that game would be held at Safeco Field (Seattle won the season series 4 – 2).
Kansas City would host Oakland if they were to be tied (KC Won the season series 4 – 2).
Seattle beat Oakland in the season series 10 – 9, and would host tiebreaker.
Seattle also holds the edge of Detroit in 2014, 4 – 2, so essentially the Mariners would host any playoff game at Safeco.
The Tigers held a 5 – 2 edge on the A’s, and would host a tiebreaker contest at Comerica if necessary.
The Royals have already lost the season series vs the Tigers, and would travel to Detroit if they were tied for the AL Central.
On a lighter note, we don’t think the Yankees will make it, but since they are not mathematically eliminated, they have 7 games at Yankee Stadium In Derek Jeter‘s Farewell Tour” (3 vs the Blue Jays and 4 versus the Orioles).
The ‘Pinstripers’ and Derek Jeter’s career, end at Fenway Park for 3 games next weekend. At 78 – 74, they will need to peel off all 10 wins to even have a chance to make it – with an 88 win campaign.
What would be nice, is if they can win most of their home games, and have #2 exit on a high.
At the very least, winning 4 of their next 10 contests will enable the franchise to run their consecutive winning seasons mark up to 22 straight years. The last time they had a losing record was in 1992, when they went 76 – 86.
In all years that Jeter has played, the team has been over the .500 clip. To have done that his entire lifetime is quite unique. That and 7 World Series Appearances, 10 ALCS Apperance and only having missed the playoffs in 3 of 20 years is pretty damn good – even if the last 2 years were 2 of those.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
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