Wild Card

Way back at the All-Star Break—seems like eons ago, now, doesn’t it—it was pretty well universally agreed that the AL Wild Card team would come from the Central Division. Well, a sweep here, a series win there, and a couple of days later things seem awfully close. Think about this:

Boston: 38 losses
Chicago: 39 losses
New York: 40 losses
Minnesota: 41 losses
Toronto: 44 losses
LAA/Oak: 48 losses each

Detroit is once again looking safe as a division winner and early playoff departee. That means at least 3 of the above teams (and perhaps Texas) have a legit playoff shot. Minnesota has made a might run to return to the race. Their ace-filled pitching staff is no team to face in a short series. This one might not be resolved until the final day, if then. Hoot.

25 comments… add one
  • YF – I think that both you and SF do the Tigers a disservice by so casually dismissing them. They have the best pitching in the majors this year, Pudge, Magglio and Inge give them offence (and they have a SS with an OPS over .900) and Young may be on his way back. I don’t know why you assume this team would lose to the Sox, Yankees or A’s in a 5 game series.
    But yes, Minny’s rise is worrisome. If they somehow beat out the White Sox and Yanks/Red Sox for the WC, they’ll be very dangerous indeed. Sadly for all YFs, I fear we won’t care much by that point, our season having already finished.

    Sam July 25, 2006, 10:55 am
  • Backbone, Sam! Sounding a bit SF-y there. Buck up! We’ve got the Leche!

    YF July 25, 2006, 11:23 am
  • Sam, Sam, let’s get some perspective here! The Yanks always win the AL East. They’re within striking distance and they haven’t had the services of Sheff or Matsui for most of the season. These losses aren’t as big as the Coco Crisp injury but they sure seem it.

    Nick-YF July 25, 2006, 11:37 am
  • I think people dismiss the Tigers because of two reasons…
    Record against
    BOS 1-2
    NYY 1-3
    CWS 3-6
    KC 11-1
    CLE 8-3
    Haven’t proved they can beat Bos or NYY yet

    NeffSox July 25, 2006, 11:46 am
  • I think the trick here for the Yankees is to end up with less losses than the Red Sox and Toronto.

    walein July 25, 2006, 11:47 am
  • Sam, are you really a Yankee fan? I don’t know why but Sam sounds like a Sox fan’s name ;) Anyways you can’t give up on the Yanks, we didn’t give up on them last year and they came thru, they have a very good chance to do it again this year.

    Bozo July 25, 2006, 11:52 am
  • How many YFs here are expecting…
    Matsui back at 100% in a few weeks?
    Sheff back at 100% in early September?

    LocklandSF July 25, 2006, 12:55 pm
  • Lockland:
    Yes, I expect Matsui to be at 100% in a few weeks. The reason why is detailed in Peter Abraham’s blog. Scroll down to Saturday, June 10th. Matsui is “willing” it to be so.
    No, I do not expect Sheffield to be back at 100% this year.

    attackgerbil July 25, 2006, 1:26 pm
  • I appreciate the moral support guys. And here’s hoping. But, despite being a fan, I always try to be objective, and right now our bullpen is in danger of setting all sorts of records for appearances and innings pitched, our hitting features a slumping A-Rod and Giambino, and Damon, Cano, Sheff and Matsui are injured.
    As for the starting pitching – I think you can only count on Wang and Moose for the rest of the year. God knows what Randy’s got in store for us and you can forget about the others.
    I dunno. Hopefully the Yanks will make it, but I’m tired of hearing all this “considering the year they’ve had, they’re doing well to be 2.5 games behind”. You know what? The Yanks have chosen to stock their team with aging superstars and crappy starting pitchers and the fact of the matter is that after 97 games they are not in the playoff spots. Game 1 is just as important as game 162.
    Hopefully the next 65 games will bring brighter things, but I don’t think it’s a given. I hope, God do I hope, but I ain’t feeling it today.
    Also, I take the point about the Tigers, but with the vagaries of the season, with slumps and peaks, I don’t think it’s fair to say that they’ve come off worse over 7 games v the AL East monsters, therefore they’re not that good. They may well end up with the best record in the big leagues despite playing in a division with the White Sox, Indians and Twins. I think that deserves some respect.

    Sam July 25, 2006, 1:27 pm
  • Sam, I agree that the Tigers deserves respect. However, there is a lot of baseball left to play and I do not see them as a 110 win team. I think there will be some correction in their record at some point, and the division will tighten up. I think that correction will happen in August when the Tigers have a tough stretch against some formidable opponents: the Tribe (2 series), the Twins, the ChisSox (2 series), the RedSox, and the Yanks.
    If the race gets close in the central, anything can happen even though they finish the year against some pretty weak opponents. Just ask the 2005 Indians.
    And even if they are a 110 win team, my mind always drifts back to what happened to Seattle a few years ago.

    attackgerbil July 25, 2006, 1:52 pm
  • AG: I think you’re right. But what if our minds should be drifting back to such upstarts as the 2003 Marilins and the 2001 DBacks and the 97 Marlins…..

    YF July 25, 2006, 2:10 pm
  • YF: I have a highly advanced case of selective amnesia. Who are these teams and what are these years you speak of? I think you just made that stuff up.
    It’s what gets me through the day. That, and thermos full of gin.

    attackgerbil July 25, 2006, 2:20 pm
  • Detroit hasn’t proven they can win a three-game series against its potential playoff competition. Why should SFs and YFs fear them now?
    As a Sox fan, I’m rooting for Detroit — I’d much rather face them in the postseason than Chicago (even though they haven’t beaten Bos or NY either) or Minnesota.

    Paul SF July 25, 2006, 2:34 pm
  • Paul – sure, you have a point, but facing a rotation of Bonderman, Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Robertson, with Zumaya and lurking in the pen doesn’t sound so hot to me.

    Sam July 25, 2006, 2:39 pm
  • Here is something of note that just posted on MSNBC. Harold Reynolds was just fired from ESPN. No reason was listed.

    Rob July 25, 2006, 2:47 pm
  • Rob, I heard that a few hours ago. There are a few blogs speculating, but nothing concrete.
    Here are a few of the interesting ones I have found:
    Baseball Musings

    attackgerbil July 25, 2006, 2:54 pm
  • Metsblog with repaired URL.

    attackgerbil July 25, 2006, 2:56 pm
  • AG…I read a few things. I think they have a muzzle on all of the employees in Bristol. Amazing some of the talent that they have had there who just dissapears. Sterling Sharp was a good show personality on Sunday NFL countdown and he just disapeared.
    Of course it is not mentioned anywhere on ESPN.

    Rob July 25, 2006, 2:59 pm
  • Hold on…who mentioned Cleveland as a ‘formidable opponent’?
    They have the third worst record in the AL, and among actual major league teams (that is, besides TB and KC), they are the worst team in the league.
    They’re a formidable opponent if you consider Baltimore formidable.

    yankeesnj July 25, 2006, 4:03 pm
  • yankeesnj: hence, the “some formidable…” I included the Tribe for perspective on the month, and the fact it is divisional.
    Also, even as medicore as the Tribe’s pitching has been this year, they are second in the majors in batting average and run production. Cleveland is a team that can hurt you and wear out your pitchers. I do not dismiss them out-of-hand.

    attackgerbil July 25, 2006, 5:09 pm
  • Let’s break Cleveland down a little further…
    BA-2nd ML
    Runs-2nd ML
    Hits-2nd ML
    Doubles-2nd ML
    HR’s-7th ML
    Total Bases-3rd ML
    RBIs-4th ML
    BA-2nd ML
    OBP-4th ML
    Slugging-3rd ML
    OPS-4th ML
    This offense is not push over. As numerous people have stated on this post. The pitching sucks.

    Rob July 25, 2006, 5:33 pm
  • So, what’s the deal with HR getting axed? Do we believe sexual harrasment? I liked him, I thought that he was the only old boy (Kruk, Brantley, Phillips) worth listening to, and I’ll miss him. I like the story on Deadspin that he was fired for going batshit at the producers because they wanted to keep hyping the A-Rod “story”.
    Fire Steve Phillips!

    Sam July 25, 2006, 5:51 pm
  • Heck, fire everyone at ESPN except Hersheiser and Jon Miller…

    Paul SF July 25, 2006, 6:00 pm
  • firestevephillips.com…..

    yankeemonkey July 25, 2006, 6:53 pm
  • I’m reluctant to give the Tigers too much respect for the reason mentioned above – they’ve not played particularly well against the best teams in the AL.
    On the other hand, I fear the Twins. They are the one team I do not want to see the Sox face in the post-season.

    Craig July 25, 2006, 10:03 pm

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