Thursday, January 7, 2010

American League Playoff Picture with 16 Games to Go

With 16 games to go, the American League is a little more defined than the NL. Here's how it looks as of right now:

AL East

Since our last installment, Boston has lost 18 of their 25 games to fall into second place at 74-72, five games back of division leader Louisville (79-67). They'll finish at home against Louisville, but they'll have to stay close, which won't be easy with series outside their division with Boise and Oklahoma City.

AL North

If this were a boxing match, it would have been stopped by the referee long ago. St. Louis has already reached 100 wins (100-46), and the next best record in the division is 58-88 (Milwaukee and Buffalo are tied with that record). The only thing left to play for is seeding (see magic numbers section).

AL South

Monterrey has pulled away in the last 25 games, increasing their division lead from 5 games to 12. They currently sit at 85-61, 12 games in front of Oklahoma City (73-73), and 13 ahead of Jackson (72-74). They've all but won the division.

AL West

Like the South, the division title hasn't been clinched yet, although it should come soon. Seattle (94-52) is 14 games out in front of second place Helena (80-66), and 14 games at this stage is just far too much ground to make up. Boise, having a fine season at 77-69, is eliminated from the division race.

Wild Card

Like the NL, if the playoffs started today, there would be a division with 3 teams in the playoffs (the AL West). Helena right now holds the first wild card spot at 80-66, and Boise is 3 back at 77-69. Like Washington and Trenton, these two finish against each other, so they can't get too comfortable, as one could knock the other out. Hoping to catch up are Boston (74-72, 3 back of the last spot), Oklahoma City (73-73, 4 back of the last spot), and Anaheim and Jackson (both 72-74, 5 back of the last spot). So we still have 6 teams for 2 spots, although the list may shorten pretty quickly- the teams at the end can't afford to drop many games down the stretch.

Magic numbers

Louisville: 12 to clinch AL East

St. Louis: Clinched AL North
2 to clinch 1st round bye
11 to clinch overall top seed

Monterrey: 5 to clinch AL South

Seattle: 3 to clinch AL West
8 to clinch 1st round bye

Helena: 11 to clinch wild-card berth
Boise: 14 to clinch wild-card berth

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