Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Faint Hope

While the baseball talk of the summer has been about how close the NL races are, the AL wildcard standings promise an exciting September. This morning, the top of the wild card heap looked like this:
76-62 New York
74-62 Seattle (GB: 1 )
73-64 Detroit (GB: 2.5)
For some time, the concensus has been that Seattle is outperforming its run differential (12 games above .500, they've scored just 8 runs more than they've given up), and their recent 1-9 swoon seems to bear that out. Many commentators -- Jim Leyland included -- have also suggested that the AL Central would not produce the wildcard (this was largely based on the assumption that defending league champion Detroit would win the division, and Cleveland would collapse as they did in 2006). That leaves the Yankees as the obvious choice, which would give the AL East the wild card for four out of five years.

But I think there's a dark horse to consider. Or rather, a dark bird. Let's look at the next rung down on the ladder:
70-67 Toronto (GB: 5.5)
Sure, they've got a few too many contenders in front of them, but their schedule works pretty well for making up ground:

  • 7 games against NYY to close the big gap;

  • 1 game against Detroit;

  • 6 games against last place Tampa Bay (.413);

  • 5 games against Baltimore (.434);

  • And the downside: 3 games against Boston.
It's a bit early to jump on the bandwagon -- particularly given Roy Halladay's propensity for complete game losses, and what looks to be a pummelling of Seattle by the Yankees tonight. And New York has its own full slate of games against the Rays and Orioles coming up. But there's a faint hope here, and that's more than the Jays have had for many a September.

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