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Futon Report: One Weekend, One Division, Two Wild Cards, Five Teams

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159 GAMES HAVE brought divisional titles to the Braves, Cardinals, Padres, White Sox and Angels.

But we still have two wild cards to sort out. Oh, and a little thing some people call the AL East between the Yankees and the Red Sox.

The weekend’s undercard features the NL Wild Card, where the Astros lead the Phillies by 2 games. Houston’s mission is clear: Win 2 more games against the Cubs. While Philly’s destiny is controlled in the Lone Star State, they will eliminate themselves if they drop 2 of their final games against the Nationals. But if the Phillies sweep the Nats and the Astros get mauled by the Cubs in all 3 games, then Philly takes the WC outright. If the Phillies can tie back up with the Astros, we’ll have a one-game playoff next week.

That’s the easy part. Now comes the AL. (WARNING: Explanations not for the easily confused.)

The White Sox staved off cataclysmic disappointment by holding on to their division lead with a 4-2 victory in Detroit. Even when the Indians reeled in the D-Rays 6-0 last night to keep the South Siders within 3 games, the White Sox would win the tiebreaker even if the Indians were to sweep the Sox this weekend*.

So while the White Sox wash off the victory bubbly and head to Cleveland, the Yankees roll in to Boston with a 1 game lead over their reddish rivals.

The $200 Million Men need to win 2 of 3 and they’re in. The Red Sox need a full-out sweep to claim the East crown. If Boston takes 2 of 3, they will pull even with the Yankees and force a one-game playoff.

But then there’s the Wild Card, which is now the Indians’ only hope to play more October baseball.

If the Indians sweep Chicago they’re the Wild Card winners.

If the Indians win 2 of 3 They win the Wild Card if Boston loses 2 of 3 or the Yankees get swept OR they would play a one-game playoff against the Yankees if they are swept OR if Boston wins 2 of three there would be a three-way tie** for the AL East/Wild Card.

If the Indians win 1 of 3 they win the Wild Card if Boston gets swept OR play a one-game playoff against Boston if they win 1 of 3 OR play a one-game playoff against New York if they are swept OR are out entirely if Boston wins at least 2 games.

If the Indians get swept they play a one-game playoff against Boston ONLY IF the Red Sox get swept as well. Otherwise they’re out.

* — If the Indians sweep the White Sox, they will have the same record (96-66) but the White Sox will win the season head-to-head 11-8. Normally they would play a one-game playoff but since both teams would make the playoffs anyway (it would be mathematically impossible for the loser of the Yanks-Sox series to pull ahead of the WSox-Indians tie) then an extra game is unnecessary and they bank on the statsheet tie-breakers.

** — A three-way tie between the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians would result in two playoff games. Playoff Game 1 would be between the Yankees and Red Sox for the AL East title. The loser of that game plays the second game against the Indians for the Wild Card.

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About Suss

  • http://www.magicjunk.com/blog/ Mark Sahm

    The three-way AL tie would be phenomenal. That’s what I’m pulling for. I’d love for it to always be one-game playoffs. Can you imagine if the Super Bowl was best of seven? I digress.

    Anyway, nice breakdown, Suss. Enjoy the games!

  • Eric Olsen

    great job! It is an exceptionally tense and exciting time, although as an Indians fan I wish it was much less exciting: not losing three in a row to the two freaking worst teams in the American League might have been nice. But they still have a good shot if they can just win the series with the White Sox

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Matt Cary told me strength of skej benefitted the Indians because they played the Devil Rays. You mean the September spoiler Devil Rays? They’re playing to ruin people’s fun.

    The way baseball is today there’s no easy series. There’s no break. Every game is important, especially in September.

    And yes, Mark, I’m hoping for the three-way tie as well.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    The D-Rays have played pretty well the second half, even though it looks like Lou’s had enough. They have a few decent young players, just not enough to contend in that brutal division.

    That is all.

  • http://www.magicjunk.com/blog/ Mark Sahm

    How about the loser of the NY/Boston/Cleveland showdown gets to play a one game playoff against the Padres for an NL playoff spot?

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Hey now, San Diego has the power to steal a short series. They would either play St. Louis or Atlanta and this year — surprisingly — they have a winning record against both (4-3 vs. Cards, 5-1 vs. Braves).

    But where Advantage Division Champs come in is (a) Home field advantage, but more importantly (b) They clinched earlier, so they have more time to rest up their big men and set their rotation.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    “San Diego has the power to steal a short series.”

    That would only be so if Adam Eaton pitched like a #2. Peavy is gold, but Eaton needs to pitch better than he has his last few outings – although he was injured for much of the year.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Gold, Jerry, Gold!

    San Diego doesn’t have the hitting to keep up in the road games and a team like St. Louis has more and better pitching for the Petco games. The Braves look like they’re primed for another first-round loss. I’d say watch out for Houston (most likely) or Philly to make a good run in the playoffs as the wild card. I think the Cardinals are too good for either team, though — too much hitting for Philly to pitch to and too much pitching for Houston’s weak bats if they manage Ensberg and Berkman (a great name for a law firm).

    The Angels will win it all, I think, in a close, extended series against the Cardinals (7 great games). The White Sox will be tougher than people think with their pitching. If Cleveland gets in, they’ll be tough. And the AL East team(s) will be in for a sore disappointment.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    It’s funny because he said “power” and San Diego in the same sentence.

    That is all.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    Fun stuff… If the Padres make it far, it’ll be because of Giles.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    You can’t immediately count out San Diego. You can’t. They won a division, even if it’s the NL West. Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Bruce Bochy have all been to the World Series.

    The Braves don’t have that much more October under their belt as the Padres (Woody Williams, Trevor Hoffman, Ryan Klesko, Ramon Hernandez.)

    I may even pick the Padres over the Cardinals. Crazier things have happened.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    The Padres will be underdogs against anyone they go up against. It’ll be hard for the Padres, but the team isn’t that well-rounded…

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Of course they’re underdogs. That’s what’s appealing about them.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I like when they wear those alternate camouflage uniforms. I think they have them in green and grey. Coolest thing ever.

    That is all.