Say what you want about the extra wild card added to this season’s race for the playoffs, but it’s no doubt added more excitement for all MLB bettors with both races coming down to the wire. There might only be three games left in the regular season, but there’s a ton still to decide. The following is a look at which teams have risen to the occasion and closed shop as we near the second season.
Detroit Tigers (6-1, $466): As up and down the Tigers have had over the course of the last six months, it’s nice to finally see this supposed runaway AL Central winner playing its best ball of the season when it matters most. Either trailing or holding a two or less game lead in the division, manager Jim Leyland’s squad are a win or a White Sox loss away from wrapping up the division and heading back to the postseason in successive campaigns for the first time since 1934-35.
On The Docket: Detroit will attempt to put an end to their disappointing regular season effort and charge full steam ahead into the second season by snagging at least one win from the Royals over the next three days. They just swept KC in four straight at home last week and have won six of their L/9 away from Comerica Park ($234).
Tampa Bay Rays (5-1, $408): On paper, it looks to be too little too late for manager Joe Maddon’s Rays whose elimination number now sits at one with only three home games remaining against the AL East or Wild Card hopeful Baltimore Orioles. Even if they hold up their end of the bargain and win their next three, they’ll be partaking in some late night scoreboard watching in hopes of Texas going into Oakland and busting out the brooms.
On The Docket: The Rays have dropped nine of their 15 overall clashes with the Orioles, and they’ve split the six overall match-ups with them at home. Making the Rays postseason hopes all the more grim is the fact that they only sit 10-games over. 500 as a host and have cost their MLB betting backers $511 in those contests. That said, Tampa’s won 10 of its L/11 overall and each of its L/5 in the Trop.
Los Angeles Dodgers (5-1, $393): Faced with a similar fate as the Rays but not as dire, the Dodgers currently sit two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the play-in Wild Card slot. With that the case, manager Don Mattingly’s troops must at the very least win two of their next three at home over the next three days and hope the Redbirds drop two of three in their final home series of the regular season. If that occurs, LA will host a one-game Wild Card-determining tiebreaker.
On The Docket: The Dodgers will enter Game 1 of Monday night’s crucial home series with the current NL West-champion San Francisco Giants winners of five in a row, but that came against the sub .500 Padres and Rockies. LA’s just 2-7 as a host versus the L/9 +.500 opponents they’ve faced and have dropped five of the L/6 versus their hated rivals.
Honorable Mentions: Oakland A’s (5-2, $364), Atlanta Braves (5-1, $331), Cleveland Indians (4-2, $293), New York Mets (4-3, $161), ), San Francisco Giants (4-2, $138), St. Louis Cardinals (4-2, $105), Los Angeles Angels (4-2, $102)
Boston Red Sox (0-5, -$500): Thankfully the end of the regular season has arrived for the Boston Red Sox who are now the not so proud owners of the worst money mark in all of baseball having cost their wagering supporters a whopping -$3,385 on the year. The first year of the Bobby Valentine era was an epic fail in Beantown as the club could possibly finish up 20-games ‘under’ its predicted win total of 89’.
On The Docket: The BoSox could possibly have a say in the final standings with them going into the Bronx for their final three games with the Yankees in a dogfight with the Orioles for the AL East pennant. However, Boston has tallied just one win in its L/10 games played and has dropped 39 of its L/55 overall. Crazier things have happened, but it seems far-fetched that they’ll even be remotely competitive here with reservations to golf courses having already been made weeks ago.
Kansas City Royals (1-6, -$481): I have a bone to pick with Kansas City. They were one of the teams I targeted as possibly being a huge money-maker this year. With the gobs of young talent the team possessed and the way Manager Ned Yost’s squad closed out 2011, it seemed like a no brainer. Yet 159 games into the season, KC has a year-long deficit of -$267 and though it stands 33-36 within the division and gave the White Sox headaches all season long, it never once challenged for division supremacy.
On The Docket: The Royals will not only have the few that pack the stands at Kauffman Stadium in their corner over the next three days, but they’ll also have the White Sox rooting them on in hopes that they pull off the sweep. While KC either swept or got swept in its two home series versus the Tigers, the odds of another broom job occurring for either team over the next three days are extremely long.
Chicago White Sox (2-5, -$462): Nobody expected the White Sox to be a player this season. Not even the linemakers who set their season win ‘total’ at 75 ½ games. While the Palehose toppled that tally by registering 83 wins heading into their final series of the regular season, missing out on the postseason will be a tough pill to swallow for South Siders after their beloved team held a lead atop the division for a majority of the L/6 months.
On The Docket: For Paul Konerko and his mates to have any shot of catapulting themselves into the second season, they must win all three of their games at Progressive Field – a venue they’re 4-2 in to date – and hope the Royals do them a solid by pulling off an unthinkable sweep of the Tigers with a trip to the playoffs and the AL Central pennant on the line. If that scenario fails to occur, Chicago will have only itself to blame after dropping 10 of its L/12 games.
Dishonorable Mentions: Seattle Mariners (1-5, -$315), San Diego Padres (2-4, -$207), Pittsburgh Pirates (2-5, -$291), Chicago Cubs (1-5, -$329), Miami Marlins (1-5, -$363)