The have nots of baseball running out of time

The Dodgers start today with a magic number of 12 to clinch the NL West. They would actually be able to clinch a divisional title before a wild card playoff spot since second place Arizona is seven games behind the Reds, the current second wild card holder.

Up in San Francisco, the Giants would be mathematically eliminated from the NL West race (although not the wild card), if they lose to Arizona tonight and the Dodgers win. The Brewers and Phillies are one loss away from being eliminated in the NL Central and NL East races.

Over in the American League, the White Sox will be mathematically from all postseason play with a loss to Baltimore or wins by the Rays and Yankees. The second wild race in the AL is turning out to be a bizarre five-way affair involving Tampa Bay, New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, and even Kansas City. The Royals next 12 games are against Detroit and Cleveland.

Atlanta, with a magic number of 10, could clinch the NL East as early as Tuesday. The Dodgers could not do so before Wednesday.

Regardless, the Dodgers clinching date should come sooner than later since they play Arizona seven times in the coming two weeks.

  • berkowit28

    I’m so glad you’re doing this again, Bob. I was missing it, and had even started looking into it myself.

    I’m wondering, though: are you sure you’ve got that right about the Brewers being one loss away from elimination in the NL Central race? The current standings show them with an E number of 3, not 1, and ahead of the Cubs, who are at the bottom of the NLC table with an E number of 2.

    And it shows the White Sox as already eliminated from the AL Central. (Perhaps you wrote this before their game with the Orioles was finished last night?)

    Or have the automated calculation on mlb.com got it wrong? I wouldn’t put it past them, but I don’t think even they could have flipped the Brewers and Cubs.

    • btimmer

      MLB.com uses a mathematical formula that just figures out the maximum number of games that the Brewers can win, but doesn’t take into account that the top 3 teams in the NL Central have a bunch of games against each. The Pirates are playing St. Louis in 3 games this weekend and the Reds and Pirates meet 6 more times as well.

      For the White Sox, I was referring to the playoffs overall. And their case is similar, they would be eliminated a little earlier because there are so many games left between the top contenders for the second AL wild card spot. Baltimore plays the Yankees and Rays four times each.

      • berkowit28

        So mlb’s calculations assume that the current leader in each division is “permanent” and just works out other teams’ relations to that team, whereas if that leading team slips below or ties one or more of the other contenders, other possibilities will take over? That makes sense. I’ll see if I can figure it out for myself. I might be gone a while…

  • ASW1

    Taken from Plaschke’s column in this mornings’ Times :

    Best usually isn’t best bet

    How teams with the best record have fared in the playoffs since the wild-card round began in 1995:

    1995 Cleveland 100-44 lost to Atlanta in World Series, 4-2

    1996 Cleveland 99-62 lost to Baltimore in ALDS, 3-1

    1997 Atlanta 101-61 lost to Florida in NLCS, 4-2

    1998 Yankees 114-48 won World Series over Padres, 4-0

    1999 Atlanta 103-59 lost to Yankees in World Series, 4-0

    2000 San Francisco 97-65 lost to N.Y. Mets in NLDS, 3-1

    2001 Seattle 116-46 lost to Yankees in ALCS, 4-1

    2002 Yankees 103-58 lost to Angels in ALDS, 3-1

    2003 Yankees & Atlanta 101-61 Yankees lost to Florida in World Series, 4-2

    Braves lost to Chicago Cubs in NLDS, 3-2

    2004 St. Louis 105-57 lost to Boston in World Series, 4-0

    2005 St. Louis 100-62 lost to Houston in NLCS, 4-2

    2006 Yankees & Mets 97-65 Yankees lost to Detroit in ALDS, 3-1

    Mets lost to St. Louis in NLCS, 4-3

    2007 Boston & Cleveland 96-66 Red Sox won World Series over Colorado, 4-0

    Indians lost to Red Sox in ALCS, 4-3

    2008 Angels 100-62 lost to Boston in ALDS, 3-1

    2009 Yankees 103-59 won World Series over Philadelphia, 4-2

    2010 Philadelphia 97-65 lost to San Francisco in NLCS, 4-2

    2011 Philadelphia 102-60 lost to St. Louis in NLDS, 3-2

    2012 Washington 98-64 lost to St. Louis in NLDS, 3-2

    Since the beginning of the wild-card era in 1995, the team with the best regular-season record has won the World Series just three of 18 times. During this period, of the 18 teams that have won at least 100 regular-season games, only two have won championships.

    • Bob_Hendley

      and five wild cards have won the WS!

    • 14hodges

      I’d be interested in how the teams with the best second half records have fared. I wonder how much the numbers support that the hot team wins it. How many WS champs had the best September in all of baseball?

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Los Angeles Dodgers ‏@Dodgers28m
    Chris Capuano and #Dodgers take the field at 4:10 PT in Cincinnati as they take on the Reds. Game preview: http://atmlb.com/15BlaVo

    • ASW1

      Reds turned it up in taking 3 of 4 against the Cards : Cincinnati outscored the Cardinals 18-9 and posted a 1.67 ERA during the set, which concluded with a 6-2 victory for the Reds on Thursday.

      Maybe they’ll be in “let-down” mode tonight?

      • btimmer

        The Cardinals are kind of a mess now. The pitching staff has fallen on hard times with Wainwright getting lit up two straight times by the Reds. Joe Kelly has been the most reliable starter for them recently.

      • dalegribel

        Was thinking the same thing. They may have put in extra effort against the division foe.

      • Bob_Hendley

        The Nats will be rooting for us, that’s for sure.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Dodgers lineup:
    Crawford LF
    Puig RF
    Gonzalez 1B
    Ramirez SS
    Ethier CF
    Uribe 3B
    M Ellis 2B
    Federowicz C
    Capuano P

    • TAFKA_Gagne55

      Finally, a serious lineup!

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

        Other than the pitcher. No, no, I didn’t entirely mean it, Cappy. Just try your best, willya?

        • Bob_Hendley

          He gave us a chance to win in his past three games, and in two of them we did!

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Los Angeles Dodgers ✔ @Dodgers

    Don Mattingly: Matt Kemp felt some tightness in his right hamstring and will slow down his rehab.

    • dalegribel

      Might not be what anyone wants to hear, but perhaps it is best to just shut Kemp down for the year. Gets him well, brings stability to the lineup, team playing well as is,,,,,,,

  • btimmer

    NPUT