AL Contenders, Playoff Probabilities, & The Week Ahead
The beauty of baseball is that it is a marathon not a sprint....but at some point it becomes both. The finish line begins to come into view on Labor Day and this year it is no different.
Fans are on edge after many highs and lows throughout the long season.
Teams like the Rays who have had hot months like May and July find themselves struggling to put victories on the board in August.
Since losing resonates much louder than winning it is not a fun time to be a Rays fan.
Fans will be watching their team play but at the same time will become hard core scoreboard watching fans. Fans will have emotional highs and lows but the computer guys over at Baseball Prospectus have removed the emotion from the equation and deliver their postseason probabilities daily.
Baseball Prospecuts lists the probabilities for each team to make the playoffs as either a division winner or wild card.
According to Baseball Prospectus:
AL EAST: Red Sox (82.6%), Rays (16.1%)
AL CENTRAL: Tigers (99.2%)
AL WEST: Rangers (78.6%), Athletics (28.8%)
WILD CARD: Tampa Bay Rays (69.7%), Oakland A's (60.6%), Cleveland Indians (12.8%), Baltimore Orioles (8.7%), New York Yankees (6.3%)
There is still much to be decided in the standings as teams head to the finish line and the month of September is full of great matchups. This week alone we'll see possible post-season match ups when the Red Sox take on the Tigers and the Rangers take on the Athletics. Two wild card contenders meet in Cleveland where the Indians will take on the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have an opportunity to gain ground as they will take on the Boston Red Sox in a 4 game series.
A look back at the past week in the AL and a look at the week ahead:
Boston Red Sox (82-56), Division Leader (+5.5 games)
The Boston Red Sox took advantage of the Rays struggles taking 2 out of 3 from the Orioles and sweeping the Chicago White Sox. Their playoff push will hit a bit more turbulence next week as they host the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers for three games before heading to New York to play the Yankees for four.
Tampa Bay Rays (75-60, 5.5 games back in division, hold 2nd wild card +3.0 games)
The Rays have currently lost 4 in row and 7 of their last 8 games. They will look to rebound in Los Angeles against the Angels in a 4 game series before finishing their 10 game west coast swing with a 3 game weekend series in Seattle against the Mariners.
Baltimore Orioles (72-63, 8.5 games back in division, 3 games back in wild card)
The Orioles lost 2 out of 3 games to both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. They will travel to Cleveland to open a 3 game series against the Indians before hosting the Chicago White Sox in a 4 game series.
New York Yankees (72-64, 9 games back in division, 3.5 games back in wild card)
The Yankees lost 2 out of 3 north of the border against the Toronto Blue Jays before returning home to take 2 out of 3 from the Baltimore Orioles. They will host the White Sox for 3 games followed by the Boston Red Sox for 4.
Detroit Tigers (80-57), Division Leader +7.5 games
The Tigers lost 3 out of 4 games to the Oakland A's before taking 2 out of 3 from their division rival Cleveland Indians. They will travel to Boston to take on the Red Sox for 3 games before finishing the week in Kansas City against the Royals in a 3 game weekend series.
Cleveland Indians (72-64, 7.5 games back in division, 3.5 games back in wild card)
The Indians were swept by the Atlanta Braves and lost 2 out of 3 to the Detroit Tigers to fall to 3.5 games behind in the wild card. They will host the Baltimore Orioles for 3 games and the New York Mets for a 3 game weekend series.
Texas Rangers (79-57) Division Leader +1 game
The Rangers swept the Seattle Mariners before dropping 2 out of 3 from the Minnesota Twins. They will travel to Oakland for a 3 games series with the A's before moving on to Los Angeles for a 3 game weekend series with the Angels.
Oakland Athletics (78-58, 1.0 game back in division, hold 1st Wild Card +2.5 games)
The A's took 3 out of 4 in Detroit before returning home to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays. They will stay at home and take on the Texas Rangers for 3 games and the Houston Astros for 4 games.