A week ago it appeared we would have a rather dull September, with the Yanks and Red Sox cruising their way to October baseball. But a 4 game slide from both teams (2-8 for the Red Sox) has clouded the Wild Card picture. With 3 weeks to go we may actually get a scramble to the finish line, which is always fun as long as you’re not one of the teams involved.
Here’s the Wild Card leaders from Cool Standings:
|2011 AL Standings What are these?|
|DIV||- % chance each team has of winning division|
|WC||- % chance each team has of winning the wild card|
|POFF||- % chance each team has of making the playoffs|
The Rays team that was 9 games back at the beginning of September now stands just 4 games back in the loss column after winning 3 straight and going 7-3 in their last 10. The Angels are equally hot, winning 7 of their last 10 and picking up 2 games on the division leading Rangers. The Rangers are at 64 losses, so if the Angels pass them up for AL West then you have two teams just 4 games back of the reeling Red Sox. With 17 to play, a 4 game lead should hold if you can just manage to play .500 baseball. But the Sox need to right their ship quickly, there’s still time to blow it and the wheels seem to be coming off just as other teams are putting things together.
Looking at their schedule, the Sox have 5 games remaining facing the Rays including the afternoon’s showdown of Jon Lester facing James Shields. After an off day on Monday, Boston plays 17 games in 17 days, including a 9/19 doubleheader against the O’s and 3 more facing the Yanks at the stadium. The Rays have their fate in their own hands, and the bruised Bostonians get little chance rest and lick their wounds.
As delicious as it would be to see the Sox miss the playoffs, especially with the way the MSM crowned them as unbeatable before the season started, this poses risks for the Yanks. Pitching staffs get shortened in October, and we’re seeing firsthand how good Weaver and Haren can be. Detroit’s lead is safe, and they’ve been hotter (9-1) than anyone in the league the past few weeks. Many fans fear facing Verlander twice in a 5 game set, but right now its unclear who the Yanks will be facing. If the Sox fall out of it, the Wild Card may not even come out of their division. One thing can be said for certain, the playoffs this year will be wide open, with no clear favorite heading into the post season. Fasten your seat belts Yankee fans, this could be a bumpy ride.
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