AL Wild Card: Down the Stretch They Come

9/06/2046: Washington Nationals Manger A.J. Hinch Addresses his pennant-contending club:: "Now listen to me. you guys, I'm old now to remember the great '16 Astros that pulled off that big win back in the day. Now listen to me tight and I'm going to tell you straight and simple what you gotta have!"

9/06/2046: Washington Nationals Manager A.J. Hinch addresses his pennant-contending club:: “Now listen to me. you guys, I’m old enough  now to remember the great 2016 Astros that pulled off that big win back in the day. – Now you listen to me real tight and I’m going to tell you straight and simple what you gotta have to pull off your own miracle!”

 

AL Wild Card: Down the Stretch They Come!

As we close Labor Day, 4 of the 5 serious competitors for the two Wild Card spots in the AL Playoffs (Boston, Baltimore, Detroit and Houston)  have 25 games left to play. The New York Yankees have 26 dates left on the schedule.

The following graphic shows where they all stand going into Tuesday for the WC#1 and WC#2 spots, plus the raw numbers on many games they have left to play head-to-head against each other til the fast approaching end to this season:

Wild Card Races Through All Games of Labor Day, 9/05/2016

Table One: Wild Card Chasers By Season Won-Lost Records To Date

IN RACE W L PCT. GB/WC#1 GB/WC#2
Boston 76 61 .555 Leader + 1.0
Baltimore 75 62 .547 – 1.0 Co-Leader
Detroit 75 62 .547 – 1.0 Co-Leader
Houston 73 64 .533 – 3.0 – 2.0
New York 71 65 .522 – 4.5 – 3.5

Table Two: Wild Cards Left By Games With Each Other

IN WC RACE GAMES LEFT WC#1 WC#2 BOS BAL DET HOU NYY
Boston 25 LEADS + 1.0 X 0 7 0 7
Baltimore 25 – 1.0 C0-LEADS 7 X 3 0 3
Detroit 25 – 1.0 C0-LEADS 0 3 X 0 0
Houston 25 – 3.0 – 2.0 0 0 0 X 0
New York 26 – 4.5 – 3.5 7 0 3 0 X

What’s Obvious?

  1. The Red Sox play 14 of their 25 remaining games against the Orioles and Yankees. They have the best chance to win or lose their place in direct competition with the other candidates.
  2. The Astros have no games left with any of their direct rivals. They must win out against this “first-place” club string they are now facing – and keep winning against the lesser competition that follows. If the Astros hit mediocrity now with their weaker pitching and streaky hitting, one or more of the other clubs could beat them out with a hot streak and there will be nothing the ‘Stros can do about it.
  3. Boston, Baltimore, and New York have the opportunity for one them getting hot and becoming unstoppable. Or, they could simply all go mediocre and knock each other out of the picture.
  4. Detroit has one 3-game series with the Orioles and 4-games with AL leader Cleveland, but an otherwise clear shot at grabbing a place in the posts against lesser lights. They do catch the streaky Royals, but they get then at home. The rest of the way they feast on the likes of the Twins and the Braves.

What’s Not Obvious?

Kansas City (4.0 GB) and Seattle (5.0 GB) also are still in the picture for the WC #2 spot, so each could make some noise before things are done, but they are the only remaining AL clubs with winning records that deserve any dark horse consideration among the teams that have yet to be mathematically eliminated. The club after them the Chicago White Sox has a losing record and is 10 games back from any WC # 2 possibility – and facing the very high probability that at least one of the contenders far ahead of them will come through to take last last prized spot.

Bottom Line for Now?

We shall still have to see what happens next. Being this close to a mathematical possibility this late in the season, however, and in spite of all our well known problems with this 2016 Astros club, September, under these circumstances, is usually when my rational and measured doubt shifts into sandlot gear and I warp to “C’mon, guys! We can do it!”

“C’mon, 2016 Astros! We can do it! Just put your heart into every swing, run, slide, throw, and catch – and let’s get it done!”

____________________

eagle-0range
Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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One Response to “AL Wild Card: Down the Stretch They Come”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Not to play Doubting Thomas, but losing Keuchel and McCullers, even for a short time, doesn’t bode well for the ‘Stros considering their remaining games against the division-leading Indians as well their upcoming home series against the division-leading Cubs and Rangers.

    Usually when I give up on them, they start winning just to prove me wrong. Please!

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