Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MLB Update: Two Weeks to Go

Somewhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, there's a twelve-year-old kid who really, really hates the Swingin' A's.  For the second year in a row, the Green-and-Yellow's have swept a late-season series against Texas, apparently yanking away an AL West title that seemed to belong to Texas for most of the year.  But we don't care about that kid, because our sympathies are with the A's and their fans.

With two weeks left in the season, here are the latest power rankings from CBS Sports:

1.  Boston Red Sox:  92-60
2.  Detroit Tigers:  88-63
3.  St. Louis Cardinals:  88-63
4.  Oakland Athletics:  89-62
5.  Atlanta Braves:  89-62
6.  Los Angeles Dodgers:  87-64
7.  Pittsburgh Pirates:  87-64
8.  Cincinnati Reds:  86-66
9.  Tampa Bay Devil Rays:  82-68
10.  Cleveland Indians:  82-69

Natstown, which has now won 27 of its last 37 games (and swept the Braves in a double-header yesterday!) has moved up to 11th.  According to, the Nats still have a 3.8 percent chance of making the playoffs -- almost exactly the same chance that the Yankees have.  This is pretty much enough to satisfy the folks in Natstown -- no one asks less from their sports teams than Washingtonians.  If the Nats can win one more game, they will be only the third Washington baseball team since the early 1950's to finish with a winning record.  So for us, that would be a great year.


  1. Well, there you go. I jinxed the A's by mentioning their magic number earlier today. Angels score two in top of ninth to tie and then one in 11th to take rubber game of three-game series in Oakland. URGH! BASEBALL!

  2. Replies
    1. AL West Champs:

      1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013

  3. So, the American League West champions got back on the field Monday night and whipped the Angels in Anaheim, 10-5. That improves Oakland's record to 94-63, one game behind Boston for top seed in the A.L. playoffs (and best record in all of Major League Baseball).

  4. Now that the A's have slogged through the long, hard summer and prevailed in their division, I'm with Go Heath that the whole wild-card notion is jive. In fact, if Oakland overtakes the Red Sox, I imagine I'll think we should just go back to two big pennant races, followed by a World Series pairing the regular-season American and National League champs.

  5. Boston plays at Colorado today and tomorrow and then at Baltimore Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Oakland is at Anaheim again today and tomorrow and then at (tough) Seattle Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

  6. The A.L. wild-card teams play each other Oct. 2, and then that winner plays the No. 1 A.L. seed in a best-of-five series starting Oct. 4. The other two division winners also play a five-game series, also sarin Oct. 4.

  7. I've watched the animation through 29 A's home losses this season. That's 29 times I've felt like my life is off the rails because I sat there and watched cartoon strikes and balls on a laptop screen for a couple of hours while I could've been hanging out with my wife and daughter or doing something productive--and my team didn't even win. So, it's not like I'm going to feel a whole bunch more confident if the A's get home-field advantage throughout the A.L. playoffs.

    That said, Oakland has 34 road losses this season, with five more away games on its schedule still to be decided. So, obviously, getting to play more often at the OCo would seem to help the A's postseason chances.

    Mostly, though, I just want Oakland to overtake Boston here in this last week of the season because it would be cool. I feel pretty thankful to have gotten to root all season long for a team that actually won their division, and I'd feel even more thankful to have gotten to root all season long for a team that actually finished with the best record in baseball.

    1. The Nats had the best record in the National League last year, and I was very happy about that.

    2. Well, the A's are now two games behind the Red Sox with three to play, so I obviously jinxed them again.

  8. Finally, per (awesome), here are Oakland's records this season against the other teams in the American League.

    Split W L RS RA WP
    BAL 2 5 26 48 .286
    BOS 3 3 32 21 .500
    CHC 2 1 10 10 .667
    CHW 5 2 21 18 .714
    CIN 2 2 18 12 .500
    CLE 2 5 19 33 .286
    DET 4 3 42 40 .571
    HOU 15 4 108 60 .789
    KCR 5 1 27 16 .833
    LAA 11 6 98 78 .647
    MIL 2 1 19 7 .667
    MIN 6 1 68 23 .857
    NYY 5 1 23 16 .833
    PIT 2 1 4 7 .667
    SEA 6 10 58 66 .375
    SFG 3 1 21 15 .750
    STL 2 1 14 13 .667
    TBR 3 3 15 22 .500
    TEX 10 9 81 75 .526
    TOR 4 3 40 30 .571

    I'm going to be scared to death to have to play any of them in the postseason. Even the Twins, against whom Oakland won six of seven this season, beat the A's here just a couple of weeks ago when the A's were still fighting for their postseason lives. So, there's no one Oakland could draw next week where I'm going to think, Oh, great, we've got this in the bag. There's no one we could play against whom we'll have no chance, but there's no one we could play against whom we can coast.

    I guess that's just the way it is in baseball and the playoffs and blahblahblah, but I find it all totally nerve-racking. I once ended my church softball team's season by watching three strikes with a man on second and two out in the bottom of the seventh when we were trailing by one in a playoff game, and it was slow-pitch softball where you have to pitch with the big arc. Point is that I'm not really the kind of guy who is wired to excel in these sorts of high-drama situations. I'm so glad to see that the actual A's baseball players appear to all be much better suited for them than I am.

  9. Also, either I've been getting fatter or it's been shrinking up in the wash, but the Coco Crisp shirt that my wife and daughter bought me for Father's Day is starting to look a little small. (Probably some of both.) Anyway, I might make me a new A's T-shirt for the postseason. If I do, I might have it read ...


  10. A's and Red Sox both lost last night. Oakland remains one game behind Boston for best record in the American League with both teams' having four games left to play.