Saturday, November 5, 2011

S20 Playoff Picture at a glance by cebola

It's the last few weeks of the season, and teams are making their runs for a playoff spot and/or jockeying for position. Will someone pull off an A.Rod alternate universe feat like MLB's Cardinals and storm their way in, all the way to a title? Here's where we stand with just a few "weeks" left in the regular season...

As the season winds down even farther, I'll be posting the Magic Number for individual teams to clinch. As a refresher, Magic Number is a countdown of how many games are needed for a team with a lead to mathematically clinch. Either a win from the team with the lead, or a loss from the next closest team, reduces the Magic Number by one.

As a fresher on tie-breakers, head to head is first. Second tie-breaker is record within division. This next round of division games coming up could loom large.

Here's where we stand in the AL (as of 11/5 AM Cycle, 22 games remaining)

Congratulations to both Augusta and Portland for having already clinched their respective divisions. I hope the champagne celebration was nice! These two teams will most likely be battling it out for the second seed and the all-important first round bye. One game separates these two squads. They are within striking distance of Jackson for the top spot (7 and 6 back, respectively.)

In the East, we have a tightly packed race for the top spot. Jacksonville currently has a one game lead over Toledo and a 4 game lead over Trenton. We'll have to keep an eye on these divisional games coming up. They'll probably be a huge factor in determining who comes out on top.

In the South, Jackson's obscene 20-something game winning streak earlier this season cemented their lead in what was a very tight race early on. But Charlotte just won't go away, riding a 10 game winning steak at the time of this writing. Jackson's Magic Number to clinch is 11, which basically means they only have to play slightly sub .500 ball the rest of the way to guarantee the division.

In the Wild Card Race, Charlotte is top dog. Their Magic Number to clinch at least one of the two spots is 12, which also means a record of just under .500 would get them in. Sante Fe has a four game lead for the last play-off spot, with both Toledo and Witchita knocking on the door. Witchita is four games back of Sante Fe with a series between the two teams coming up on 11/7. Toledo is battling for the division, so this bodes well for Sante Fe, since Jacksonville, Trenton and Toledo would all have to play well to challenge the Sluggers.

And now wel look at the NL picture...

Surprisingly, all the division leaders are in similiar boats. Three out of the four have an 11 game lead, and the other lead is 9. Magic Number for Chicago (North), Burlington (East), and St. Louis (West), stands at 1. For my Tampa squad it's 14, but I hardly feel safe, as Iowa is more than capable of pulling off one of their famous 14 game winning streaks!

The Wildcard race has Iowa in the top spot with Scranton 3 games back, but in decent position for the second spot. Iowa's Magic Number to clinch at least a playoff berth is 14. Scranton has a 6 game lead over both a hot Las Vegas team and New Orleans, who happened to leapfrog several teams down the stretch last season to storm into the playoffs. A surging D.C. and a fading Milwaukee are still in the hunt , 7 and 8 games back respectively. The script could not have been written any better, as Scranton's next four series are all against these four teams that are chasing! A lot will be determined in the next "week and a half!"

The division leaders are in a battle to determine the top two seeds and the byes. Currently, Burlington and Tampa have the top 2 spots, but St. Louis (6 games back) and Chicago (8 games back) are not far behind.     

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