Friday, September 12, 2014

Dodgers: In Drivers' Seat?

Not exactly sure how Will Leitch of Sports on Earth comes up with this math, but he says the Dodgers are in control in the NL West:

There are only three weekends left in the Major League Baseball season. That is so few! Only three weekend sets, only 15-18 games for each team, and then the season is over. It really happens quite fast. I'm always conflicted this time of year: It's when the pennant chases are at their most intense, and that means the postseason -- which is basically six increasingly cold hours of terror and elation every night -- is almost here. It also means we're that much closer to there being no baseball at all. In 48 days, on October 30, the 2014 baseball season will be over. That's so soon.

Of course, for 20 of the 30 MLB teams, it will be over three weeks from Sunday. As of Friday morning, September 12, five Major League Baseball teams have already been eliminated from the postseason: Arizona, Boston, Colorado, Minnesota and Texas. After this weekend, it is likely they'll be joined by Houston and the Chicago White Sox, with the Chicago Cubs (whose wild-card elimination number is 4), Tampa Bay (6), Philadelphia (7), San Diego (8) and Cincinnati (9) not far behind. That's where I'm setting the cutoff: 9, if just to give Mets fans a tiny illusion of relevance. So that's the question: Of the 18 teams still theoretically alive for playoff spots, what records do they need to notch over the last 2 ½ weeks of the MLB season to get in the postseason?

San Francisco Giants: Record: 81-65
Games remaining: 16 (vs. LAD, @ARZ, @SD, @LA, vs. SD)
Wild Card Magic Number: 9
Division Elimination Number: 15
Games ahead in second wild-card: 5.5
Games behind in NL West: 2

Record required for any hope: 4-12. The Giants feel comfortable with their Wild Card spot, but this is of course all about the NL West. Six games with the Dodgers, but they're two back: They'll need to win both those series and do what they have to against the lesser teams on the road. The Dodgers only have to do one of those things.

Most likely record: 10-6. Final record: 91-71.

* * *

Los Angeles Dodgers: Record: 83-63
Games remaining: 16 (@SF, @COL, @CHC, vs. SF, vs. COL)
Division Magic Number: 15
Games ahead NL West: 2.5

Record required for any hope: 2-14. Obviously the Dodgers are in the playoffs, but I like them to win the NL West too. They just have too much margin for error. The Giants have to pound them in their two series and not falter against a tougher schedule than the Dodgers have. Don't see it.

Most likely record: 10-6. Final record: 93-69.