Halftime Sports

The Penultimatum: Two Weeks to Go

September 17, 2014


Yes, there is another week of baseball after this, but anybody paying attention will note that this week matters far more. Here’s what you should be watching as we approach the playoffs:

AL Central

Dear Royals fans- I’m so sorry. My beloved Red Sox may be mathematically eliminated, but that won’t stop us from playing spoiler; we took three out of four against Kansas City when they needed it most, and boy has it hurt them. They’re now a game and a half behind Detroit, who have won four straight. They’re still a good team, but in this new playoff format, “good” only guarantees you one game. In order to win the Central, the Royals should expect to have to win seven or eight of their final 12 games.

Games to watch

This weekend, Detroit plays the Royals in Kansas City for a three game set. It’s not the last week of baseball yet, but this will likely be the last important series between division rivals. Sunday’s game between Scott Shields and Max Scherzer should be a pitchers’ duel to rival the best of them.

AL Wild Card

It’s a three way race for two wild card spots, something we could not say last week. Oakland has continued its slide and sits a mere game and a half atop the wild card stack, with Kansas City occupying the second slot as it desperately tries to trade places with Detroit, and Seattle lurking only a game back from that. Poor Seattle. Of their 13 remaining games, seven are against the Angels, the current undisputed best team in baseball. Compare that to Kansas City and Detroit, who get to beat up on the weak central division, and Oakland, which plays seven of its last 13 against the undisputed weakest team in baseball, Texas.

Games to watch

Watch the Angels games. If Seattle can survive the seven it plays against Anaheim, they have a shot. On the other hand, if Oakland gets swept in the three it plays against the Angels, they could end up handing the slot to the remaining two.

NL Wild Card

Much more straightforward: the Giants have a firm grasp over the first slot, leaving the Pirates and the Brewers struggling over the second. The Pirates are a game and a half up but can’t afford to get complacent; they face as tough a schedule as the Brewers going into their final homestand.

Games to watch

The Pirates play in Milwaukee this weekend for a three game set. Anything but a Milwaukee sweep should be good enough to hand the Bucs the spot.

Photo: FourWallsOnly



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