Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking at the NL Wild Card Race

We've covered the AL Wild Card Race already, so let's get into the NL race. There are four teams within eight games of each other battling for the last two spots, but two of the teams could be in trouble if they don't turn out some wins pretty quickly.

* San Francisco Giants - The Giants are currently one game up on Montreal for the first place wild card spot. They are also only two games behind the San Diego Padres for the NL West division lead. They will split their final 20 games down the middle with 10 on the road and 10 at home. A big three game series with the Expos that could shake up the race a bit starts tomorrow afternoon (8/12 - PM cycle). SanFran won't have a chance to control their division destiny until the next to last series of the season when they hook up the Padres, in the Bay.

* Montreal Expos - Les Expos have gone wire-to-wire in 2nd place in the NL North this season. With the Phillies coming out of the gates on fire, the division race was all but confirmed as over. Since then, the Expos have focused on the wild card and are in good position to seal the deal. After a three game road trip to San Francisco, Montreal will come home for seven games, hit the road for four more, and then finish at home with six straight. With 13 of the last 20 games at home, the Expos can breath a little easier, considering they are only two games over .500 at home.

* Houston Astros - The Astros are sitting at six games behind Montreal for the final playoff spot and with only 21 games left, there is plenty of work to be done. With a total of 13 home games in the last 20, including the last 10 in a row, the 'Stros could be an unexpected bump in the road. But first, they must get past the Brewers in Milwaukee for a three game set. Whoever loses this series can go ahead and consider themselves out of the playoffs.

* Milwaukee Brewers - After finishing their current series at San Diego, the Brew Crew will come home for six games against the aforementioned Astros and Cincinnati. After that, the schedule is not so kind. With 11 straight road games, Milwaukee is certainly facing an uphill battle. If things can't get any tougher, they finish the season with an away series against Montreal and then a home series with Philadelphia. Are Robin Yount and Paul Molitor still available?

Looking at the AL Wild Card Race

Down to around the 20 game mark left in the season and the AL Wild Card Race is getting tight. There are five teams within six games of each other and Baltimore is at 1o back. With that big of a margin, the Orioles are most likely out of it, unless they go on the greatest run in the history of baseball. So, with that being said, let's look at the five teams gunning for the two wildcard spots.

* Texas Rangers - The Rangers are sitting at 78-62 and two games up on Kansas City for the first wildcard spot as of this post. The Ranger are currently in Detroit finishing up a series and will then travel to Minnesota for a three game set, before going back home to Arlington for a 14 game home stand. They finish the season with three games at Tampa Bay.

* Kansas City Royals - The Royals are 76-64 and two games behind Texas, but also two games up on Colorado and Anaheim and four up on Oakland for the last wildcard spot. The Royals schedule isn't as kind as the Rangers though, as they will play 13 of their last 22 games away from Kauffman Stadium.

* Colorado Rockies - While Kansas City might not have the most ideal situation to end their season, the Rockies have really been hit hard by the schedule fairy. The Rockies will play their final 17 games of the season on the road!

* Anaheim Angels - The Angels have almost the reverse fortune of the Rockies with a solid dose of home games. After they finish their current series in Kansas City, the Angels will find themselves at home for 14 games. They will then head to Seattle for three games before coming back home to wrap up the season against Colorado.

* Oakland Athletics - The A's are holding on by the slimmest of margins right now, but with a series against the Angels, in Anaheim, quickly coming up, the A's will know their fate for the season. The A's have an even split of home and away games to finish the season with 10 each. The bad news for the A's is that they are currently 3 games under .500 on the road.