For me, this regular season more than any other seems to have just flown by. All 162 games for each team will be in the books by the time the sun sets on Saturday. It seems like it was only a few months ago that I started this blog, that we cut the ribbon on Spring Training and began gearing up for what has turned out to be a fantastic 2013.
Now only one week remains. Some clubs have already punched their postseason tickets. The Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox and Athletics have each clinched their respective division titles. The Cardinals have clinched a playoff berth, but the NL Central remains up for grabs. Several more remain jockeying for position while running out of calendar. It’s time to check out where we stand with just six games to go.
If the season were to end today, the playoff picture would look like this:
Wild Card: Indians at Rays
Division Series: Wild Card at Red Sox^ | Tigers at A’s^
Wild Card: Reds at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Braves^ | Dodgers^ at Cardinals*
* – clinched postseason spot
^ – clinched division
The next team to clinch a playoff berth will likely be the Detroit Tigers. Their magic number to clinch the AL Central division crown is two, meaning any combination of Tigers wins and Indians losses that totals two will do it. The Tigers can clinch at least an AL Wild Card spot and a tie for the division crown on Monday if they beat the Twins or if the Astros beat the Rangers. With the Indians off Monday, the soonest Detroit can clinch a division title is Tuesday.
The NL Central race has been the tightest all season and likely will come down to the final series. Just two games separate the first-place Cardinals from the Reds and Pirates. All three teams will be making the postseason, but they are competing to avoid that volatile one-game Wild Card round. Here’s how each team stands.
|z-St. Louis||91||65||.583||–||48-27||43-38||756||590||+166||Lost 1||6-4||100.0|
|Chicago Cubs||65||91||.417||26||30-48||35-43||593||660||-67||Lost 1||3-7||0.0|
St. Louis hosts the Nationals and Cubs to wrap up the season. Cincinnati plays host to the Mets while Pittsburgh travels to take on the Cubs, before the two clubs square off for a final three-game showdown in Cincinnati.
The other notable race to keep an eye on this final week is the American League Wild Card. Five teams remain alive, but last week added some separation between the Rays, Indians and Rangers and the rest of the pack. For the Royals, Yankees and Orioles, its pretty much win or go home with six to play.
|American League Wild Card|
|Tampa Bay||87||69||.558||–||51-30||36-39||664||622||+42||Won 4||7-3|
|Kansas City||82||73||.529||3.5||44-37||38-36||624||576||+48||Won 1||6-4|
|NY Yankees||82||74||.526||4||46-32||36-42||637||648||-11||Lost 1||4-6|