Saturday, October 3, 2009

30 games to go in the chase for the playoffs

We're coming down to the end of the season, with 30 games to go. Some races seem to be comfortably in hand, while some things are yet to be decided.


What we know (barring epic collapse):

-5 of the 6 playoff teams. The leaders in the NL North (Fargo), South (Houston), and West (Salt Lake City) all lead by at least 15 games. Fargo's magic number is 6, which is mind-blowing with a full 30 games to play. Atlanta and Trenton both appear to be playoff bound out of the east, as 2nd place Trenton is 10 games up on all other wild-card contenders.

What we don't know:

- The last team into the playoffs. New Orleans, Austin, and Cheyenne are all tied at 66-66, while Washington is 3 games back at 63-69 and Salem is just 4 back at 62-70.

- The NL East champs. World Champion Atlanta and Trenton have been playing musical chairs with the division lead for a week or two now. The division could end up coming down to games 160 through 162, a three game set between these two in Trenton.

- The #1, 2, and 3 seeds. This becomes important when it comes to potential playoff matchups, home-field advantage, and having to play (or not having to play) in the 1st round. Right now, Fargo leads the way with 84 wins, but Salt Lake City is right behind at 83 and Houston currently has 81 wins, so all three spots are up for grabs. Atlanta or Trenton (77 and 76 wins, respectively) would have to get very hot in order to grab one of the top spots.


What we know (barring epic collapse):

- The AL West champions. Seattle has a 19 game lead on Helena, giving them a magic number of 12 to wrap up the division. They have a 7 game lead on Jackson for the #1 overall seed in the AL, so it looks like the Killer Whales won't have to play a game 7 on the road until the World Series (if even that).

- Jackson will be in the playoffs for the 3rd straight season. They're number 2 in the AL right now at 79- 53, leading the AL South by 5 games over Oklahoma City. Even if for some reason they can't close the deal, they're 12 games ahead of the group tied for the last wild card spot, so they should be in the playoffs in some capacity.

- The AL East is only sending one team to the playoffs. The division leader is 2 games above .500. Enough said.

What seems likely:

-Oklahoma City's 2nd ever playoff appearance, coupled with their best season ever. If they were in the AL East, they'd have a healthy 7 game lead- unfortunately, they play in the same division as Jackson. As it is, they hold the #5 spot- all other teams that don't have a division lead are at least 7 games back, so they're fairly comfortable right now.

What we don't know:

- The AL East and AL North champions. New York leads the East with an underwhelming 67-65 record, leaving everyone else in the race. Boston and Louisville are 5 back, and Scranton trails by 11. The North appears to be a 2-team race, with St. Louis having a leg up at 71-61, and 4-time AL champion Milwaukee 4 back.

- The last playoff entry. This looks alot like the NL, with 3 teams tied for the #6 seed with mediocre records (this time 67-65), with two more teams lurking, one being 3 games back and one being four games back. This time, the three teams tied for the 6 seed are some brand names- Monterrey, Helena, and Milwaukee. Anaheim sits 3 back and Boise is the team that is 4 back.

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