25 August - Heading for the Stretch

Monday, August 25 2008 @ 05:18 AM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

A fine, gripping ball game. Alas, a Tough Defeat.

Tampa and the Angels look to be as safe as houses, but three other AL teams are locked in a death match for the other two post-season berths. Beyond them... forget it. The Yankees are 5 games out of the Wild Card, the Blue Jays are 8 games out, and everyone else is in double figures.

As of this morning, the Red Sox are 75-55, the White Sox are 74-55, the Twins are 74-56. Only the top two will make it. Here's what remains for everyone:

Road (12) - at New York (3), at Texas (3), at Tampa (3), at Toronto (3),
Home (20): Chicago (3), Baltimore (3), Tampa (3), Toronto (4), Cleveland (4), New York (3)

Road (19) - at Baltimore (3), at Boston (3), at Cleveland (3), at New York (4), at Kansas City (3), at Minnesota (3)
Home (13) - Los Angeles (3), Toronto (4), Detroit (3), Cleveland (3)
(The White Sox also have a suspended game against Baltimore to complete. They'll take care of that later today before the scheduled contest. The two team are actually in Baltimore tonight, but they'll pick up where they left off in Chicago on April 28, tied 3-3- after 11 innings.)

Road (20) - at Seattle (3), at Oakland (4), at Toronto (3), at Baltimore (3), at Cleveland (3), at Tampa (4),
Home (12) - Detroit (3), Kansas City (3), Chicago (3), Kansas City (3)

The Red Sox have by far the most favourable schedule. They might be the best team in the league anyway, and they're very good in their own park, which is where they get to play most of their remaining games. They are going to the post-season; the only question in my mind is whether it's now too late for them to catch up with Tampa. The Wild Card is coming out of the AL East, which has asserted itself again as clearly the strongest division in the AL. Four of the AL East teams have a winning record against AL Central Teams (the Yankees are 17-18); three AL East teams have a winning record against AL West teams (Baltimore is 15-16, Toronto is 17-19). Only two teams outside the division have a winning record against the AL East (Cleveland and Los Angeles).

As for the fight for the Central crown, I like the Twins. But it will probably come down to the final week, when the White Sox visit the Hubie Dome.