It’s August 3rd so let’s take a look at what to expect for MLB playoff races during the next two months .
In the AL East, the Red Sox lead the Yankees by just one game, but the Yankees are up seven games in the Wild Card race. Cool Standings gives the Sox a 97.3 percent chance of making the postseason while the Bronx Bombers have a 97.7 percent chance. Tampa Bay? They are 10 games back in the Wild Card and have just a 1.3 percent chance of playing baseball in October.
The AL Central boasts zero teams with a positive run-differential (yikes!). The race is tight though as Detroit leads Cleveland by three games. Of course, that’s a decent chunk and gives the Tigers much better odds to make the playoffs than the Indians have (61.3 percent vs. 24.4 percent). In the past two months though, Cleveland is 21-32. To put that in perspective, Kansas City was 22-32 in that time. Yes, the Indians just acquired Ubaldo Jiminez but there’s still a lot of questions around his velocity. Given the Indians performance the past two months, a 24.4 percent chance of making the playoffs seems generous.
In the West, there actually is a good race. Texas and Los Angeles are just a game apart. The teams have gone back and forth all year, but Texas upgraded its bullpen at the deadline while the Angels did nothing. Cool Standings gives Texas 62.7 percent odds at reaching the postseason while the Angels have just a 39.0 percent chance.
So in the American League, I only see the AL West as a real playoff race. Detroit is going to pull away and Boston and New York will battle for the AL East, with the loser earning a playoff berth via the Wild Card. That’s pretty weak overall. Continue reading “Where Are All The Playoff Races?”
On to the AL Central, the most competitive division in baseball though not the most talented.
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Kansas City Royals
Best Hitter: Miguel Cabrera
Best Pitcher: Cliff Lee
The Indians have some question marks in both their lineup and pitching staff, but a solid enough core of players to make them a slight favorite in this competitive division. Cliff Lee leads the rotation and is followed by Fausto Carmona, Carl Pavano, Anthony Reyes, and Aaron Laffey. Lee is a strong pitcher, but the end of that staff is very uncertain as no one really knows what to expect from the 2-5 pitchers. Grady Sizemore leads the lineup, but more questions exist in Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez, both of whom need to bounce back from tough 2008 seasons. Kerry Wood is the closer for Cleveland, but I doubt that he’ll spend the entire year on the active roster. A lot of questions remain for this team, but not more than the other teams in the division.
The White Sox have many questions as well, but also possess a solid rotation and lineup that make them a contender in the AL Central. Ace Mark Buehrle, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd lead the White Sox’s starting staff and though the second two are not stars, they are solid enough starters to keep Chicago in the game. A lineup with Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, and Paul Konerko won’t be short of power, though their age is certainly a concern. Carlos Quentin and Alexi Ramirez are much younger and offer offensive skills as well. With Bobby Jenks closing out games, the White Sox will be capable of holding leads. Whether or not this team can overtake the Indians will depend upon the health of their lineup and the consistency of their rotation. Continue reading “2009 American League Central Preview”