Here's a snapshot (though perhaps a blurry 8x10) of how I think things are sitting as it relates to the playoffs and seeding in the American League:
Current standings: Baltimore (98-59), Tampa Bay (96-62), Texas (88-69), Toronto (87-70), Houston (86-72), Seattle (85-72), Minnesota (84-73).
Magic numbers/seed scenarios:
- Baltimore and Tampa Bay will be the 1 and 4 seeds. Baltimore's magic number to win the division and be the 1 seed is three.
- Because Texas and Seattle have four games remaining with each other, the West division winner will have at least 89 wins, so the magic number for the Twins to be locked into the 3 seed is one. That can be either a Twins loss or the West winner reaching 90 games. If the Twins are the 3 seed, the West winner will be the 2 seed and have a first-round bye.
- Toronto's magic number to make the playoffs is four. I think their magic number to be the 5 seed is four. This ignores any tiebreaker scenarios.
- Texas's magic number to win the West is three.
Tiebreaker procedure: If there is a three (or more)-way tie that involves the division leader and a wild card position(s), the division leader tiebreaker will be resolved first. Then, remaining ties will be broken as needed to determine wild cards and seeds.
Remaining schedule: Here's the remaining schedule of games involving Toronto and the three West division teams. Teams have only announced their starters through the current series, but I've added the person who would be starting if they continue in the same pattern they've been in.
- NYY @ Toronto (Berrios).
- Texas (Dunning) @ LAA.
- Houston (Valdez) @ Seattle (Miller).
- NYY @ Toronto (Bassitt).
- Texas (TBA-Montgomery) @ Seattle (TBA-Gilbert).
- Tampa Bay @ Toronto (TBA-Ryu).
- Houston (TBA-France) @ Arizona.
- Texas (TBA-Eovaldi) @ Seattle (TBA-Woo).
- Tampa Bay @ Toronto (TBA-Kikuchi).
- Houston (TBA-Brown) @ Arizona.
- Texas (TBA-Gray) @ Seattle (TBA-Castillo).
- Tampa Bay @ Toronto (TBA-Gausman).
- Houston (TBA-Verlander) @ Arizona.
- Texas (TBA-Bradford) @ Seattle (TBA-Kirby).
- Gray left Monday's start early. Without an off day, if Texas skips him, they would either need to use Bradford on short rest or slot someone else in his spot on Saturday. Bradford went only 73 pitches last night, so it's conceivable. Then on Sunday, they would either need to use Gray with an extra day, Dunning on short rest or someone else.
- Houston's other starter is Javier. He went Tuesday, so could come back on Sunday if they wanted to use him instead of Verlander.
- Any team which clinches would likely revise their rotation the remainder of the way. Wednesday starters could pitch next Game 1 on an extra day's rest. Thursday starters could pitch Game 1 on their regular schedule. Friday's starters could start Game 1 on short rest or Game 2 on normal. Saturday's starters could start Game 2 on short rest or Game 3 on normal. Sunday's starters could pitch Game 3 on short rest.
Also of importance:
- The White Sox have to win three of their remaining five to avoid 100 losses. They have two with Arizona and three with San Diego. Since the All-Star break, there have been only eight times when they could end a game and say, “Wow! We’ve won three out of our last five.” It last happened on Sept. 12 and on Aug. 30.
- Let's go, D’Backs and Padres!