With the Minnesota Twins eight games ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central standings, the road ahead to the playoffs is tough.
Now, we haven’t even reached the All-Star Break, featuring baseball’s best at our very own Progressive Field (including Carlos Santana starting at 1st base), so there is still plenty of time. 82 games left, to be exact.
Thus, I hesitate to dispute the opportunity the Indians have to win the division. I just counted and there are additionally 13 more games remaining against the Twins alone (six at home, seven on the road).
Shifting my attention to the wild card and it is a tight race.
Tampa Bay, Texas, Cleveland, Boston, Oakland & The LA Angels are all within 3.5 games of each other, competing for two spots (a one-game play-in).
Many will compare this season 1997 when the Indians got into the playoffs with 86 wins. Moreover, the All-Star Game was hosted in…Cleveland. Just like this year!
Is it fate? That team was outs away from winning it all…
Well, there wasn’t a team in the Indians’ division with the talent such as the Twins (second place that year was Chicago at 80 wins). Additionally, there was only a single wild card spot. Thus, it’s a bit different here some 20+ seasons later.
The Indians are 0.5 games behind Texas for the second spot and the Rangers are a game behind the first spot in Tampa Bay. Recently, the Tribe are 7-3 in the last 10 games and are really starting to play better baseball than at the beginning of the season.
Wild Card Play-In Game:
1st Place = Home Team
2nd Place = Road Team
In summation, the wild card is WIDE OPEN! The division? Well, it’s certainly going to take some fall off from the Twins…but it isn’t out of reach just yet…
One final theory:
What advantage does the wild card give?
Well, for the team that wins, they carry momentum into the division series that the home team (division winner with the best record) doesn’t have as they are sitting and waiting. However, it takes winning one single game. Where one play could make the difference…
A lot of baseball to be played. Hang on…it’s going to be a fun summer!