2017 AL Wild Card Chase

E5 Yaz

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It's such an odd chase this season. In the National League, the Brewers (who are keeping pace with the Cubs) are third in the hunt, 5.5 games out of a wild card spot spot behind the D'backs and Rockies.

But that 5.5 games is how far the Tigers are out of a spot in the AL -- and Detroit is 10th in the race.

As I type this, the Royals and Mariners are about to start an important second game of their doubleheader. If Seattle wins, they'll be ties with the Rays for the second spot behind the Yankees.

So, our task at the moment is to determine who is a contender and who is a pretender for the WC game. As we start this thread, this by definition does not include the division-leading Red Sox, Indians and Astros.

Front-runners
Yankees 59-51

Rays 58-55
Royals 56-53

Mariners 57-55

What are these guys doing here?
Orioles 55-56
Angels 55-56

Barely breathing
Rangers 53-57
Twins 52-56

Reputation only
Blue Jays 52-59
Tigers 51-59

If any of the bottom four teams here is capable of putting something together, I'd say it was the Blue Jays -- although losses like Sunday's 7-6 defeat in Houston, on a two-out, three-run rally by the Astros, don't help.

The Twins are fading, the Tigers are showing their age and the Rangers just weren't able to put something together this year.

The Orioles and Angels are just mysteries to me. Baltimore has been playing well, and they have guys who have been there before. But their pitching is a mess. And I have no idea what the Trouts are at this stage.

I think the Rays are the thinnest team in the top tier. If luck goes their way, they could survive. The Royals have games in-hand over the others -- and play in the weakest division -- but Salvador Perez's injury could be a crushing blow if it lingers too long. That leaves the Mariners, who are flying under the radar. If I had to pick, I'd pick Seattle to survive this race.

The Yankees/Red Sox division-loser is a lock.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Mariners have a tough row to hoe, especially with so many remaining games against Houston.

8x OAK
3x ATL
9x TEX
6x BAL
10x LAA
3x TBR
3x MFY
3x CLE
6x HOU

But if they beat the O's and Rays, and make hay against the A's and Rangers it's possible, even if they split the remaining games with the Trouts.


But I think the Royals are still the most likely to sneak into the second Wild Card.

9x CWS
3x OAK
6x DET
3x TOR
7x MIN
4x STL
3x TBR
1x MFY
10x CLE
3x ARI
3x COL

There are some tough interleague schedule remaining, but importantly, all 10 of them are home games. So many games against Cleveland means those are make-or-break.
 

E5 Yaz

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That Royals schedule is saved by the 16 games against the White Sox and Twins.

Reading between the lines shows that the Rays have 6 games remaining against the two teams they're battling with
 

E5 Yaz

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The Orioles got back to .500 mark Monday and have gained five games on KC over the past 10 games.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The Orioles got back to .500 mark Monday and have gained five games on KC over the past 10 games.
Orioles remaining schedule I think:

5 = LAA (2 away; 3 home)
7 = OAK (4 away; 3 home)
6 = SEA (3 away; 3 home)
6 = BOS (3 away; 3 home)
7 = TOR (3 away; 4 home)
7 = NYY (4 away; 3 home)
3 = CLE (3 away; 0 home)
7 = TAM (3 away; 4 home)
2 = PIT (2 away; 0 home)

If I'm counting correctly, that's 50 games of which 27 are away and 23 and which 25 games are against LAA, SEA, NYY, and TAM, who are right now their most direct wild card competition.

The way Duquette sees things is that the AL is pretty evenly matched (run differential notwithstanding) and the Os basically hold their fate in their hands. IF they can get some starting pitching - particularly Gausman keeps up his good pitching and one or more from Tillman, Ubaldo, and Miley are league average, they will hit their way into the wild card.

I can understand if they are looking for a miracle as I'm sure Angelos would love to get into the World Series once in his life.
 

E5 Yaz

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DeadlySplitter

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Royals are set to be completely swept in a home & home series with the Cards and fall to .500. they are falling apart, yet the 2nd WC could really be a 82-84 win team this season, so there is time.

SEA & LAA have a big 4 game series starting tonight as well.
 

jon abbey

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James Paxton left tonight with a possible pec strain, but he seems to think it's not serious. Unless I'm forgetting someone, he seems like easily the best SP who NY could face in the wild card game (if they make it obv), definitely hoping that doesn't happen.
 

Soxfan in Fla

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James Paxton left tonight with a possible pec strain, but he seems to think it's not serious. Unless I'm forgetting someone, he seems like easily the best SP who NY could face in the wild card game (if they make it obv), definitely hoping that doesn't happen.
Yeah. Hopefully they collapse and don't even make the wild card game.
 

jon abbey

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Seattle blows a 5-1 lead at home to the Angels and lose 6-5, which means the second wild card team is now....

yes, the Minnesota Twins, the same team that traded their closer less than two weeks ago because they thought they were out of it.
 

E5 Yaz

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Beyond the Yankees, the only other team with a positive run differential is the Rangers, who are three games behind the Twins and four games under .500
 

jon abbey

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The Twins come back from 5-0 down and go up 11-6, then give up 6 unanswered in the final three innings to lose 12-11 to Detroit. Coupled with the TB loss, that means that the winner of tonight's LAA/SEA game will be in the second wild card spot going into tomorrow.
 

E5 Yaz

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The Twins come back from 5-0 down and go up 11-6, then give up 6 unanswered in the final three innings to lose 12-11 to Detroit. Coupled with the TB loss, that means that the winner of tonight's LAA/SEA game will be in the second wild card spot going into tomorrow.
And, it's the Angels.

How the heck ...?
 

grimshaw

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FWIW Fangraphs projects 82 wins for the Angels and Rays, 81 for the Royals and Mariners, and 80 for the O's and Twins. The Angels also have the highest playoff odds with 27%, then TB with 25%, KC 22%, Twins 18%, Mariners 16%, O's 11%, and Rangers 9.5% .

There is a shot at a playoff team being under .500 for the first time ever. The Padres won their division with a record of 82-80, in 2007 and the Mets were 82-79 in 1973.

Though the 1994 Rangers led the AL West with a record of 52-62 when the strike hit.
 

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There is a shot at a playoff team being under .500 for the first time ever.
Granted, this qualifies with a bit of an asterisk, given the season split and wonky methodology overall, but the 1981 Royals would like a word with this statement since they finished an overall 50-53.

Also, don't you mean the 2005 Padres with 82-80 (and were -42 in run differential)? The 2007 iteration finished with 89 wins, 1.5 games division leading Arizona, lost out in a crazy Game 163 with the Rockies for NL Wild Card rights.
 

grimshaw

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Granted, this qualifies with a bit of an asterisk, given the season split and wonky methodology overall, but the 1981 Royals would like a word with this statement since they finished an overall 50-53.

Also, don't you mean the 2005 Padres with 82-80 (and were -42 in run differential)? The 2007 iteration finished with 89 wins, 1.5 games division leading Arizona, lost out in a crazy Game 163 with the Rockies for NL Wild Card rights.
Oops - ya missed that.
 

E5 Yaz

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I think that's about right, especially with 3 SP on the DL. Sonny Gray helps a lot, but that's hard for any team to overcome.
It still means they have a 69.6% chance of making the playoffs
 

jon abbey

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I don't think Fangraphs actually factors in personnel changes, health and new guys traded for and promoted (which is a huge flaw obviously), but Tanaka and Sabathia are both supposed to be back pretty quickly.
 

shawnrbu

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After a sweep of the Tigers, the Rangers get to host the White Sox for 4. Remarkably, the Rangers are only 1.5 games behind LAAA for the second wild card. Texas still has 10 games head to head with the Angels, including 4 at the Big A starting on Monday.
 

E5 Yaz

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It's a telling weekend: The Angels are playing the Orioles and the Mariners are playing Tampa Bay
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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It's funny. The Os spit the bit in June while their pitchers were tying a MLB record of giving up 5+ runs in 20 consecutive games, but the sense I get is that the Os are getting pretty decent pitching struggling nowadays because their offense is boom or bust. Of course that's a matter of roster construction (not a lot of high OBP guys on that team).

On paper, the Os are a pretty talented team but this is the year that the ball is always goes a foot extra in their opponents direction.
 

jon abbey

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Toronto catches TB and Baltimore, essentially a three way tie in the AL East now behind BOS/NY.

8 teams within 3 games of the second wild card, everyone listed in the original post except the Tigers.
 

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After a sweep of the Tigers, the Rangers get to host the White Sox for 4. Remarkably, the Rangers are only 1.5 games behind LAAA for the second wild card. Texas still has 10 games head to head with the Angels, including 4 at the Big A starting on Monday.
Texas is also the only team in the hunt with a positive run differential.
(Though the Angels will probably join them soon now that Trout is back.)
 

E5 Yaz

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Twins and Angels win to maintain their tie for the second spot.

Mariners beat Rays to remain a half-game back.

Royals lose and Rangers win to be tied, 1.5 back
 

DeadlySplitter

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it's a one game playoff, but the Yankees (or heaven forbid us) really shouldn't lose to any of these teams in the WC game. but Seattle / Paxton could do the job as mentioned earlier

still a slight chance the Yankees fall all the way back as well, only 2.5 up, but the Twins/Angels really are ripe for some regression
 

E5 Yaz

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Twins by a half-game over Angels, 1.5 over Royals. 2 over Mariners, 3 over Rangers (who are a game under .500)

The Rays and Orioles are starting to slip as the loss column starts to add up and the number of teams to pass becomes an issue.

Seattle has the fewest games remaining
 

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Can we put together a list of which SP these teams would ideally start in a wild card game? I will take a shot but please correct me if you know better, I don't follow most of these teams much:

MIN: Ervin Santana, although he has a 4.75 ERA since the start of June.
LAA: I believe it is Parker Bridwell, not sure I'd heard that name until ten seconds ago. A 26 year old rookie who has started 12 games so far, maybe I'm missing someone.
KC: if it is against NY, Danny Duffy, against someone else maybe Jason Vargas but NY kills him.
SEA: Paxton presumably, you could maybe start the deposed King Felix in game 1 in a seven game series and get away with it but not in a one game playoff, I don't think.
TEX: Hamels
 

E5 Yaz

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Opinions, please, on whether the Orioles (3 games below .500), Rays (4 games below) and/or Blue Jays (6 games below) should still be considered contenders. Working against them is that they'll not only play each other, but the two superior teams in the division as well.

The same holds for the Angels, Mariners and Rangers, of course; the Twins and Royals have it slightly better.

I think if one of the East teams gets really hot, they could re-enter the top of the race. It seems as though the O's would be that team ... but they've been
 

jon abbey

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538 has those three with a combined 8 percent chance to get a wild card, so, sure, it's possible. A five game winning streak puts any of them back in it, and any team can win five in a row.
 

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Can we put together a list of which SP these teams would ideally start in a wild card game? I will take a shot but please correct me if you know better, I don't follow most of these teams much:

MIN: Ervin Santana, although he has a 4.75 ERA since the start of June.
LAA: I believe it is Parker Bridwell, not sure I'd heard that name until ten seconds ago. A 26 year old rookie who has started 12 games so far, maybe I'm missing someone.
KC: if it is against NY, Danny Duffy, against someone else maybe Jason Vargas but NY kills him.
SEA: Paxton presumably, you could maybe start the deposed King Felix in game 1 in a seven game series and get away with it but not in a one game playoff, I don't think.
TEX: Hamels
LAA is probably Garrett Richards if he gets back into the rotation (he's on rehab assignment now) otherwise Bridwell makes the most sense, followed by Skaggs I guess. I can't see their pitching holding up to make it to the wild card game, but what do I know? Anyone complaining about the Sox' rotation (and fortunately there aren't many of those) should look at this mess. Even with everyone healthy, it's still a pretty sketchy rotation.
 

E5 Yaz

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Yankees 68-58

Twins 65-62

Royals 64-62 (0.5 back)
Angels 65-63 (0.5)
Mariners 65-63 (0.5)

Rangers 64-63 (1)

Rays 63-66 (3)
Orioles 62-65 (3)

Weekend series
Mariners @ Yankees
Twins @ Blue Jays
Orioles @ Red Sox
Royals @ indians
Rays @ Cardinals
Rangers @ A's
Astros @ Angels
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Opinions, please, on whether the Orioles (3 games below .500), Rays (4 games below) and/or Blue Jays (6 games below) should still be considered contenders. Working against them is that they'll not only play each other, but the two superior teams in the division as well.

The same holds for the Angels, Mariners and Rangers, of course; the Twins and Royals have it slightly better.

I think if one of the East teams gets really hot, they could re-enter the top of the race. It seems as though the O's would be that team ... but they've been
Generally I wouldn't think of a team as a contender until it gets back to .500.

One thing about the Os is that they are 27-22 against AL East teams although admittedly a lot of that was accomplished early in the season when they were red hot.
 

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Yankees 68-58

Twins 65-62

Royals 64-62 (0.5 back)
Angels 65-63 (0.5)
Mariners 65-63 (0.5)

Rangers 64-63 (1)

Rays 63-66 (3)
Orioles 62-65 (3)

Weekend series
Mariners @ Yankees
Twins @ Blue Jays
Orioles @ Red Sox
Royals @ indians
Rays @ Cardinals
Rangers @ A's
Astros @ Angels
Not gonna lie, it'd be pretty funny if the Twins beat the Yankees in the coin flip game after all those years as an ALDS doormat.
 

grimshaw

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Gotta give Molitor some respect. 2 out of the last 3 years the Twins have been way better than the "talent" on their rosters.

And grudging respect for the Angels who have no business being where they are, and the O's - especially with that god awful pitching staff.
 

E5 Yaz

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Thanks to Seattle imploding against the MFY and Brian McCann's three-run triple to beat the Angels, the Twins now have a 1.5 game lead after the weekend. Minnesota is off Monday, then opens a homestand Tuesday against the visiting White Sox

Minnesota hosts Chicago for four and KC for three before heading on the road against TB
 

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Thanks to Seattle imploding against the MFY and Brian McCann's three-run triple to beat the Angels, the Twins now have a 1.5 game lead after the weekend. Minnesota is off Monday, then opens a homestand Tuesday against the visiting White Sox

Minnesota hosts Chicago for four and KC for three before heading on the road against TB
I'm hoping the Angels and Mariners stay close enough that their series in LA the final weekend still matters. Would be a lot of fun to watch those two play a de facto playoff series.

As for the O's, it's stunning that they're only 2 games back for the 2nd Wild Card given the disastrous rotation they have, but I don't see it happening for them. They play 16 of their next 22 against the Mariners/Indians/Yankees/Sox. Hard to imagine they're still a legitimate contender after that.
 

E5 Yaz

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Thanks to Tito's Gang, we officially are adding the MFY to this thread. The Yankees are now just one game ahead of the Twins for the top WC spot and just two games ahead of the Angels.

MFY 70-62 (L3 in a row)
Twins 69-63 (W3)

Angels 69-65 (1GB; W3)
Orioles 68-65 (1.5; W7)
Rangers 66-66 (3; W2)

Rays 67-68 (3.5; W1)
Mariners 66-68 (4; L5)
Royals 65-67 (4; L1)

Thursday games
Red Sox @ Yankees
White Sox @ Twins
Rangers @ Astros
Blue Jays @ Orioles

Weekend series
Red Sox @ Yankees
Royals @ Twins
Angels @ Rangers
Blue Jays @ Orioles
Rays @ White Sox
A's @ Mariners
 

E5 Yaz

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The Twins finally got over the run differential hump and are now +1 after their 17-0 win over collapsing KC
 

jon abbey

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MFY 70-62 (L3 in a row)
Twins 69-63 (W3)

Angels 69-65 (1GB; W3)
Orioles 68-65 (1.5; W7)
Rangers 66-66 (3; W2)

Rays 67-68 (3.5; W1)
Mariners 66-68 (4; L5)
Royals 65-67 (4; L1)
This race has become a lot more clear since this thread was last updated:

NY 80-66
Twins 77-69

Angels 74-72
Mariners 74-73
Rangers 72-74
Royals 72-74
Orioles 72-75
Rays 72-75
 

E5 Yaz

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This race has become a lot more clear since this thread was last updated:

NY 80-66
Twins 77-69

Angels 74-72
Mariners 74-73
Rangers 72-74
Royals 72-74
Orioles 72-75
Rays 72-75

Time for the old 50-50 game:

If the Twins split their final 16 games (10 road, 6 home), they finish with 85 wins. The 10 road games are all on one trip, beginning Monday (3 @ Yankees, 4 @ Tigers, 3 @ Indians), before finishing with three at home against Detroit. The schedule is difficult, but seven remaining against the Tigers could really help them.

In order to tie ...

The Angels would have to go 11-5
The Mariners would have to go 11-4
The Rangers and Royals would have to go 13-3
The Orioles and Rays would have to go 15-2

The Angels and Mariners finish the season with three games in LAAAAAA; both also have 3 left with Cleveland and with Houston
The Rangers start a LAA-Seattle-Oak nine-game road trip tonight, and finish at home with four against the A's
Stick a fork in the Royals. They begin a 10-game road trip tonight that takes them to Cleveland (3), Toronto (3), CWS (3) and MFY (1, makeup game) ... and finish with three at home against Arizona

As for the Orioles and Rays, they're toast ... they have seven games remaining against each other. Given the number of teams they have to clear to get within striking distance, one of them would have to sweep the seven games to have a shot