AL Wild Card Almost Crystal Clear

With about 11 games left in the season, the Yanks have taken the East and the A’s are about to take the West. It all comes down to the Central to see which will be the final 2 teams in the 2006 AL playoffs.

This is the way it looks—Detroit has a slim one-half game lead over Minnesota and a much more generous 5-game lead over Chicago. Although Chicago still has a chance at the Wild Card (they are 4.5 games out), the cards are stacked against them. It looks as if it’ll be the surprise of the season Tigers and the Twins in the playoffs. One will win the Central and the other will take the Wild Card.

Does Chicago have a chance? Definitely. With 11 games left they play the Tigers once and have 3 against the Twins. The Twins have a fairly easy schedule, playing Baltimore, Kansas City and Boston along with the White Sox.

The White Sox have a tougher road with Detroit, Seattle and Cleveland. It’s certainly possible, with the way it’s set up, that the final 3-game series between the Twins and White Sox could decide a playoff spot.

The Twins are 26- 15 against all of the teams they have left to play, including posting a 9-7 mark against the White Sox. The White Sox are 29-26 against their final opponents.

And what about the Tigers, who have been losing ground the past few weeks. Detroit has 11 games left against Kansas City, Toronto, Baltimore and Chicago. The majority of the games (6) are against the Royals. The Tigers have owned the Royals this season, going 11-1. Detroit is 22-16 against all of their remaining opponents, but 12 of those loses are to Chicago—a team they only have to play one more time.

So, if the numbers stay true, it will be Detroit and Minnesota in the playoffs. Supporting this outcome is the fact that the Twins have been extremely hot while Chicago has been playing sub .500 ball in the last two weeks. It looks like last year’s champions won even have a chance to go to this year’s big dance.

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