Monday, September 22, 2014
MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 22
Sunday's action in Major League Baseball made things a bit clearer with a week before the postseason officially arrives. Then again, there are still quite a few possibilities in play, not just for teams hoping to make the playoffs but for teams already in and now looking for home-field advantage in October. Those will all be worked out over the next seven days. On Sunday, we got a few answers as they played out in real time.
The first definitive conclusion we could come to after Sunday was that the St. Louis Cardinals have clinched a postseason berth. They didn't even have to win to do it, because they were in once the Pirates beat the Brewers. Also on Sunday, the Kansas City Royals made the American League Central more interesting by beating the Tigers and trimming Detroit's division lead to 1 1/2 games. The Royals remain in the second slot for the AL Wild Card race because the Oakland A's maintained the top slot by beating the Phillies on a walk-off homer by Josh Donaldson in the 10th inning.
Elsewhere, the Pirates won and the Giants lost, which had them deadlocked in the top two slots for the NL Wild Card. The Dodgers got closer to an NL West title and ensuring home-field in a Division Series by winning in Chicago on Sunday, but the AL East champion Orioles lost a day of momentum in that department by dropping a game to Boston and the AL West-winning Angels slipped up in their hunt for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a loss to Texas.
IF THE POSTSEASON STARTED TODAY ...
Wild Card: Royals at A's
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
Wild Card: Giants at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers
TODAY'S KEY GAMES TO WATCH (all times ET)
Royals (Duffy, 8-11) at Indians (Carrasco, 8-5), 7:05 p.m.
Before this game starts, the two clubs have to finish up their suspended game from Aug. 31, which Cleveland currently leads, 4-2, in the bottom of the 10th. The Royals will hand the ball to their hard-throwing left-hander, Danny Duffy, in hopes that he'll be able to contain the Indians' offense, but Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco has been brilliant of late and the Royals will be on the road, so it's a tall order.
Mariners (Paxton, 6-3) at Blue Jays (Happ, 9-11), 7:07 p.m.
The Mariners need as many wins as they can get right now, and their young left-hander, James Paxton, has been one of their best pitchers over the past few weeks.
White Sox (Bassitt, 0-1) at Tigers (Lobstein, 1-0), 7:08 p.m.
Detroit will be looking to take advantage of playing at Comerica Park and will rely on Kyle Lobstein to push it one game closer to winning the AL Central
Pirates (Liriano, 6-10) at Braves (Harang, 11-11), 7:10 p.m.
The Pirates are closing in on a Wild Card berth, but they won't play another regular-season game at home. In other words, it's crunch time, beginning tonight in Atlanta.
Cardinals (Wainwright, 19-9) at Cubs (Wood, 8-12), 8:05 p.m
Adam Wainwright can win his 20th game of the year and get his team closer to a division title.
Angels (Wilson, 13-9) at Athletics (Samardzija, 6-12), 10:05 p.m.
The A's might have recaptured some magic at home on Sunday with a walk-off win over Philadelphia. They'll be looking to tap into that mojo against the Angels.
Giants (Peavy, 7-13) at Dodgers (Haren, 13-11), 10:10 p.m.
The Dodgers' magic number to clinch the NL West is only at three, so the Giants need to win beginning tonight to have any shot at pulling out a division title.
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers seven over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: A's eight over Royals
AL Wild Card 2: Royals seven over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals five over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers three over Giants
NL Wild Card 1: Pirates eight over Giants
NL Wild Card 2: Giants three over Brewers