With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the MLB playoffs are right around the corner. While the National League playoff picture looks clearer, there are a number of teams vying for only a handful of spots in the American League (Texas and Cleveland are in so I’ve left them out of the discussion). Who’s got the best shot at securing a berth and playing in October?
The East is their’s. The Red Sox battled through a tough stretch in their schedule back in July and August. They survived a difficult West Coast trip when other contenders could have pulled away and buried them. The pitching is as good as anyone’s in the AL, and there’s something to be said for this being David Ortiz’s last season. This is a team to watch deep into October.
Playoff Chances: 90%
Slot the O’s into one of the Wild Card spots. Baltimore has had success all season against fellow AL East teams (36-30) and they wrap up the regular season with 9 of 12 against divisional foes. The other 3 games are at Camden Yards against the woeful Diamondbacks.
Playoff Chances: 65%
The Astros finish the year with 13 games against the AL West — however, they get to avoid the division leader, Texas. Houston has gone 35-28 in the division. The A’s and Angels should not test the Astros too much — and that’s 10 games right there. MVP candidate Jose Altuve can carry the team on his back into the playoffs, if they can win the games they are supposed to win.
Playoff Chances: 45%
The big bombers north of the border have picked the wrong time to fall into a slide, having lost 6 of 10. They will need to beat the teams in the division if they want another crack at the postseason. The Jays have gone 34-32 against the rest of the AL East. They’re probably going to need to get to 88 or 89 wins in order to clinch a berth.
Playoff Chances: 40%
The hottest team in baseball might have waited too long to play their best ball of the season. Solid pitching and timely hitting have the M’s on the fringe of the postseason. That said, the Mariners still have work to do. With 7 games against the very beatable Twins and Athletics, Seattle will have to get past fellow Wild Card contenders, Houston and Toronto, with a 3-game series looming with each. If the streaking Mariners can find a way to take 4 of 6 from the Jays and Astros, I think they will get in. But that won’t be easy.
Playoff Chances: 40%
No team exemplifies the phrase “up and down season” like the Tigers. The last week has been disappointing for Detroit as they settled for a series split with the lowly Twins, then dropped 2 of 3 in Cleveland. It would surprise no one who has followed this team this year if the Tigers reeled off wins in 5 of their next 6 games against Twins and Royals. And it would surprise us even less if the team then got swept at home by the Indians and limped into a season finale 3-game set in Atlanta. The short answer here is who knows what the Tigers are. If they finish on a high note, they could be playoff-bound. But their season-long “consistently inconsistent” play makes it hard to see them winning 10 or 13 — which is likely what they’d need to do to clinch a berth in the postseason.
Playoff Chances: 30%
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