Saturday, September 19, 2009

Handicapping the AL Stretch Drive

The AL's pretty tame compared to the NL's assorted permutations, but there are still a few variations possible. New York and Texas are set, and Charlotte has all but nailed down the first wildcard, but the North and West still hold at least a little intrigue.

The Jays are 5 up with 10 to play and no winning teams left on the schedule. Minnesota has the toughest schedule of the 3 contenders with a set against Oakland, but they do have a series with Toronto. They're 4-3 against the Jays this year need a sweep there to maintain any hope for a miracle. Detroit doesn't have any winning teams left, either, but at 6 back just about has to win out. Prediction: Toronto hangs in.

A veritable NL-like (this year) race, made more interesting by the certainty that the runnerup will get the #2 wildcard. Oakland has a cushy schedule with only Portland left with a +.500 record. Anaheim's is even easier, with the White Sox coming up. Portland has to be the sentimental choice after the Scot Pickford shoulder explosion (8 starts after the Beavers gave a couple of prospects for him on a 1-year rental), but the schedule does not favor them: Texas, Anaheim and Oakland coming up. Prediction: Crystal ball says Anaheim nips the A's. Oakland in as the second wildcard.

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