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Hunt for October: AL Wild Card  

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With just five games remaining in the regular season, the wild card hunt is still completely on in the American League. Technically the Royals and Yankees haven’t been mathmatically eliminated, but being four and five games back respectively, they are out in my book. That leaves three teams for two spots. These three will vie for the right to grind out a full 162 game schedule all for the opportunity to play in a 163rd game.

Tampa Bay 88-69

Remaining Games:

2 @ NYY

3 @ Toronto

Why they may make it:

With five games left they have a two game head start on the Rangers. That bodes well since they have the fourth best team ERA in the AL, out of their starting pitching. The three teams ahead of them have already clinched their respective divisions.

The Rays have won 7 out of 10 including their last five as they make a push to at least be rewarded with one extra game. With manager Joe Maddon, they have a big time advantage over at least Texas in this race.

Why they may miss it:

Because they have five games on the road and they certainly have the toughest schedule remaining. While Toronto never came together, they still have some talent capable of surprising the Rays and the Yankees have been playing good ball down the stretch.

Cleveland Indians 87-70

Remaining Games:

1 vs CWS

4 @ Minnesota

Why they may make it:

They have been the hottest team in baseball as of late. They have won eight out of their last ten making up three games over that stretch to wrestle the second wild card spot away from Texas at the moment.

While they would prefer to play their final five games at home, they do get to play the two worst teams not named Houston, in the American League.

Perhaps the biggest advantage they have is in the form of their manager, Terry Francona. He possesses all the experience needed to get the job done and has rallied his guys around one another. They were a big time long shot when the season started and even more so when a hot run fell apart a month or so ago. Just when you thought they were out of it, here they are, currently holding a spot in the postseason.

Why they may miss it:

Because the players themselves don’t have much experience in big games. Would you really be shocked if the Twins took three out of four at home against the Indians to knock them out?

Texas Rangers 86-71

Remaining Games:

1 vs Houston

4 vs LAA

Why they may make it:

On paper this team should be much better. They should have learned from their collapse last year. Instead they collapsed this year as well. However, they aren’t out of it yet. The collapse this year pales in comparison to last year, but there is no such thing as a confident Rangers fan right now.

Luckily, they have an opportunity to right the ship over these last five games. With five games at home they have a chance to change their legacy. If they can take care of business at home and gather some momentum they could make people forget about their late season struggles, and they might save Ron Washington’s job.

Why they may miss it:

Because there is no reason to believe they will snap out of this. They just have that losing stench on them. They don’t seem to believe they can win, instead they seem like they expect to lose. It honestly shouldn’t surprise me if they go 0-5 to close this year out.

How they will finish:

1. Cleveland

2. Tampa Bay

3. Texas

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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