We just gathered your latest predictions on the National League side, where there are still quite a few scenarios to consider. But the situation in the American League has gained quite a bit of clarity of late. It appears we’re looking at a potentially fascinating three-team race … with only one of those clubs ultimately getting a full divisional series.
Entering play today, the Rays half a half-game lead over the Athletics, who in turn carry another half-game advantage over the Indians. The Red Sox have fallen well out of the picture, removing one possibility for intrigue. Odds are, we’re going to see those three clubs duke it out down the stretch for position.
Okay, there is still one other realistic outcome. The Indians still have an outside chance of catching the Twins in the AL Central. And if that’s the case, then it’s also true that there’s even a possibility that the Twins will fall outside the postseason picture entirely. But even with Minnesota’s recent run of roster woes, the four-game spread gives them a stout advantage. And it’s especially improbable — so say the postseason odds estimators, at least — that the Minny faithful will be left without even a single playoff contest. Fangraphs and 538 both put the odds at less than one percent of that scenario.
Accordingly, we’ll focus on the Tampa Bay-Oakland-Cleveland low-revenue battle royale. There are any number of outrageous late-season scenarios if we end up with various sorts of ties. Regardless, it’s quite likely that only one of those organizations will be left standing when the ALDS begins.
Every minor factor matters at this stage of the season. The quality of the opposition is an especially major consideration. Here’s the remaining schedule for these three teams.
@ Rangers (1), @Angels (3), @Dodgers (2), vs. Red Sox (4), vs. Yankees (2), @ Blue Jays (3)
@ Astros (1), @ Rangers (3), vs. Royals (3), vs. Rangers (3), @Angels (2), @Mariners (4)
vs. Twins (3), vs. Tigers (3), vs. Phillies (3), @ White Sox (3), @Nationals (3)
How do you think it’ll turn out? (Poll link for app users. Response order randomized.)