Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Home Stretch

159 games have come and gone. Placed in the annals of history as a mere afterthought.
The National League has all of it's seeds in place. But the American League playoff race will come down to the wire.

Wildcard race
Texas Rangers(97-62) - Winners of 2 straight and have a 3 game set @ Kansas City(71-88)
Texas comes into this series tied with the Boston Red Sox for the final wildcard spot.
On paper it would seem to be a easy series victory coming up for Texas. However the season series belongs to KC who is 5-1 vs the Rangers this season.

Boston Red Sox(97-62) - Coming off a 17-2 win over the Chicago White Sox which gave the Baltimore Orioles(103-56) a one game lead in the AL East. Boston heads into this crucial series with the fate of 4 teams potentially resting in their hands. If they get swept then it assures Baltimore of their 10th straight division title. Boston is one of the few teams Baltimore has a losing record against. Leading the season series 4-3.

AL East
Baltimore Orioles(103-56) - Coming off a 3 game sweep of the New York Yankees. This team holds a slim 1 game advantage over Chicago in the AL East. They had into one of the biggest dogfights of their existence. They face off with a Boston Red Sox(97-62) team fighting for their playoff lives as well as faltering in the season series 3-4.

Chicago White Sox(102-57) -This team might be the hottest in the Majors right now.
They have used a 16-4 record over their last 20 games to close the gap and make this division the most interesting race in the Majors. For the winner a #2 seed and a first round bye. For the loser a #5 WC spot and a date with #4 seed. They head into this series with the New York Yankees(62-97) a team they are 5-2 against one the season just one game out ofthe AL East lead.

Playoff seeding
Minnesota Twins(90-69) - With their division already clinched the Twins roll into Cleveland(84-75) winners of 3 in a row. Their spot in the playoffs is secure. The thing they have to play for now is the right to be the #3 seed. Possessing a 1 game lead over Colorado currently while facing a divison rival. They however own the advantage leading 4-3 over Cleveland in the season series.

Colorado Rockies(89-70) - Having locked up the division title several games ago. The Rockies are currently trailing Minnesota by a game in the race for the #3 seed.
The Rockies lead the season series 4-3.

The only two battles in the NL are to determine which team draws seed #5 and which is #6. As well as the fight for the NL East crown between Atlanta & Florida.

Pittsburgh Pirates(89-70) - Heads into #1 seed Montreal's(103-56) home park.
Pitt is locked into the playoffs. They can be no worse than 6th but no better than 5th.
Pittsburgh trails the season series 3-4

Florida Marlins(90-69) - Goes into this important series with the division title on the line with every game played. Atlanta(88-71) has come back from the brink to close within 2 games.
Florida leads the season series 4-3.

Atlanta Braves(88-71) - Faces with division foe Florida(90-69) for the division crown.
Atlanta is assured of a playoff berth. But they seek to claim the division crown as they're 2 games back with 3 to go.
Atlanta trails the season series 3-4.

American League Scenario
1.Tampa Bay*
2.Baltimore Orioles(p)
3.Minnesota Twins(p)
4.Colorado Rockies(p)
5.Chicago White Sox(p)
6.Boston Red Sox

Tie Breakers
AL East - Should Baltimore tie with Chicago then the White Sox would win the AL EAST. As they hold a 6-4 record in H2H.
#3 Seed - Should Minnestoa tie with Colorado; The Rockies would win the via a 4-3 record H2H.
#6 Seed WC - Should Texas tie with Boston; The Redsox would claim the WC spot via the 6-4 record H2H.

National League Scenario
1.Montreal Expos*
2.San Francisco Giants*
3.Florida Marlins(p)
4.Chicago Cubs*
5.Pittsburgh Pirates(p)
6.Atlanta Braves(p)

Tie Breakers
NL East - Should Chicago and Philidelphia tie; Then it gets really interesting. They each won 5 of the 10 game season series. Which would mean it would allow Philly the advantage as they own a 16-11 record vs that of Chitown which is 14-13. With both facing division foes to end the season Chicago has to win 1 to clinch and avoid the tie breakers.

NL South - Should Atlanta tie with Florida; The Marlins would win due to a current 4-3 season series record.

#5 WC - Should Pittsburgh end in a tie with Atlanta; Atlanta would claim the #5 spot due to a 8-2 season series record. Should Atlanta win the South and they tie with Florida instead then the Marlins would claim #5 with a 7-3 season series win.

(p) - In playoffs but seed as yet to be determined.
* - Locked into playoff seed.
Italic - Currently in the playoffs but could be knocked out.

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