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A month and a half into the season, things are still volatile. Atlanta is making a comeback. Texas is slipping. Several new teams are poking around the Wildcard races. In fact, except for Houston, every team in the AL is within four games of a Wildcard spot, if not there or better. Except for the Cubs and Diamondbacks, the NL is quite similar. So much is going on, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, May 12, before the day’s games:
The Brewers picked off two games against the Yankees, but it hasn’t been easy for them otherwise, and they still have the Giants breathing down their necks. Plus, with Ryan Braun (and now Aramis Ramirez) on the DL, the Brewers have some health concerns which could cost them, even with their pitching.
Miami has lost three in a row, but is still good enough for the second Wildcard. In addition, Giancarlo Stanton has provided much of the kick for the Marlins team; if the Rockies can shut him down (through intentional walks if need be), they’ll have a great chance.
Detroit is five games ahead of their nearest competition in the division, though Oakland is still pretty close. Every other team in the AL Central is below .500, which if nothing else will help Detroit boost their record and make sure everyone’s good to go for the playoffs. With Verlander, Scherzer, Cabrera, Kinsler, Martinez, Nathan and others to combat a Wildcard team weakened by a sudden death game, things look good for Detroit.
The Athletics have won four straight, including a sweep of Washington, which is a good sign. However, they were just 1-5 before that. The Orioles just lost a five-game winning streak, and like Oakland, thrive on a formula of minimal stars and consistent play. This will be a great match, and since Chris Davis just returned from the DL, if he returns to last season’s form, or even a fraction of it, that could tip the scales in Baltimore’s favor.
New York has lost two straight while the Angels have won three straight, but the Yankees did take two of three in Anaheim to begin the week (as they did in New York in April). The Angels are still stacked, however, and health has been an issue for the Yankees all season. Facing down Jered Weaver (not to mention Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, et al), the Yankees will need to keep everyone on the field (and if they advance, will need to keep Michael Pineda out of trouble).
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB Playoffs, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants