Friday, February 3, 2012

AL Playoff Picture

As we head into the final month of the season, here's where we stand;

In the North, Augusta holds a 2 game edge over Cincinatti. Both teams have been playing well, and neither one has given into the pressure of the other. Augusta seems to have the tougher schedule down the stretch as they have 3 left against Charlotte and 4 left against LA. Cincinatti has to face Jackson for one more 4 game set, but the biggie looks like the second to last series of the season. Cincinatti will host Augusta for a 3 game set, that may well in fact, determine the outcome of the division and the higher seed. The not-so-bad consolation prize will most likely be one of the two wild card spots, as both teams appear to be headed to the post season. Augusta is getting terrific production from MVP candidate Javy "The Kid" Alvarez and OF Marvin "King" Crabtree. Cincy has a CY Young candidate in Craig Jones and is getting an MVP type performance from CF Burt McCartin.

In the East, Jacksonville has seemed to get back on track after experiencing a midseason swoon. Their hot streak has built them a 5 game lead over both Syracuse and Trenton. Jacksonville appears to have the easiest remaining schedule, as ther only remaining opponent with an above-.500 record is Sante Fe. Trenton has the toughest, as they must play both Jackson and Charlotte before it's all over. Syracuse has to play a series against Charlotte. Jacksonville continues to get great run-scoring production from lead-off man Mark Kojima. Syracuse has unveiled a young up-and-comer with 24 year-old rookie pitcher Royce "The Clam" Holt, who is 16-8 for a sub-.500 team. For Trenton, MVP candidate Nick "Big Show" Jacquez continues to tear it up, as he strives to lead his team into the play-offs.

Charlotte has held onto their lead in the South, which is currently 6 games over Jackson. They don't seemed to be fazed by the loss of slugger Santos "Angel" Torres to injury, as they've just reeled off a 13-4 run without him. What it does hinder is their quest to blast 300 HR as a team for the season. Their current pace will now leave them just shy. We'll keep an eye. If Jackson can make up some ground over the next few series, they'll put themselves in a position to perhaps steal the division when the two teams play each over in the second-to-last series of the season at Jackson. If Jackson can't overcome their division defecit, they will still likely reach the post-season as a wild card. Jackson is getting an MVP caliber season from Ralph "Billy the Kid" Kydd and a Cy Young quality season from Reese "Smokin" Hemphill. The division leaders have Carlos "Exxon" Valdes battling for the MVP award and closer Charles "1001 way to" Dye vying for CY Young.

The LA Dodgers have officially clinched the West in part to huge seasons from likely MVP Pedro "Hack" Bonilla, and Cy Young hopefulls Morris James and closer Travis Jones, who has amazingly blown only 1 save opportunity all year. Rick Poppel recently tossed a no-no and is a 15 game winner. They also have two gold-glove candidates at defensive positions with Tony Bennett and Rodney Meulens.

LA is currently the front runner for top seed and a bye with 94 wins. Charlotte would receive the second seed and a bye if the season ended today with their 88 victories. Augusta is not far behind, and could pull out second seed with some great play down the stretch. Their 84 wins puts them 4 back of Charlotte. If Cincy can overtake Augusta first, they would then need to catch Charlotte for a chance for the second seed. Their 82 wins puts them 6 behind.

Sante Fe is the only real hopefull for making a run at a wild card spot, but have to make up 10 games on either Cincinatti or Jackson.

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