The snapshot has gained a smidge more focus from Wednesday morning, but not much. Here’s an updated look at things heading into Thursday’s action.
Current standings: Baltimore (99-59), Tampa Bay (97-62), Texas (89-69), Toronto (87-71), Houston (87-72), Seattle (85-73), Minnesota (85-73).
Tiebreaker procedure: If there is a three (or more)-way tie that involves the division leader and wild card position(s), the division leader tiebreaker will be resolved first. Then, remaining ties will be broken as needed to determine wild card berths and seeds.
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 has dropped to two.
- The best the Twins can do is get to 89 wins. If they do not win out, they will be the 3 seed.
- If Texas wins at least one against Seattle, they will have at least 90 wins and make the Twins the 3 seed.
If Seattle sweeps Texas and the Twins win out, all three teams will have 89 wins. In that scenario…
- If Houston wins all three against Arizona, they will have 90 wins, win the division and make the Twins the 3 seed.
- If Houston wins two of three, the West becomes a three-way tie. In that scenario, Seattle wins the tiebreaker in those three teams. They have the tiebreaker over the Twins, so they would be the 2 seed and the Twins the 3.
- If Houston wins 0 or 1 against Arizona, the West is a two-way tie between Seattle and Texas. Texas wins the tiebreaker for the division, but the Twins have the tiebreaker over Texas, so Minnesota would be the 2 seed and Texas the 3. This is the only remaining scenario where the Twins earn the 2 seed.
- For the previous sub-bullet, if games were coin flips, there’s a 1 in 256 chance of the Twins and Seattle winning out. There is a 4 in 8 (1 in 2) chance of Houston winning 0 or 1. Combine those, and there’s a 1 in 512 chance of the Twins being the 2 seed. That’s 0.195 percent. I’d encourage having snacks on hand for Tuesday.
- Toronto lost Wednesday, but Seattle lost, so Toronto’s magic number to make the playoffs is now three. Their magic number to be the 5 seed is also three. These do not take tiebreakers into account.
- Texas's magic number to win the West is two.
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 (Bassitt).
- Texas (Montgomery) @ Seattle (Gilbert).
- Tampa Bay @ Toronto (TBA-Ryu).
- Houston (France) @ Arizona.
- Texas (TBA-Eovaldi) @ Seattle (TBA-Woo).
- Tampa Bay @ Toronto (TBA-Kikuchi).
- Houston (Verlander) @ Arizona.
- Texas (TBA-Gray) @ Seattle (TBA-Castillo).
- Tampa Bay @ Toronto (TBA-Gausman).
- Houston (TBA-Javier/Brown) @ Arizona.
- Texas (TBA-Bradford) @ Seattle (TBA-Kirby).
- Gray left Monday's start early for Texas. Without an off day, he would be scheduled to start him Saturday. if Texas skips him, they would either need to use Bradford on short rest or slot someone else in his spot (including the Opener option). Bradford went only 73 pitches Tuesday 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 has named Verlander as their starter for Saturday, keeping him on four days rest, skipping Brown’s spot in the rotation. Sunday’s starter could either be Javier on four days rest or Brown on six. The significance of Verlander moving to Saturday is that increases his availability for the wild card round. See the next item,
- 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 rest. 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 lost Wednesday night, so they have to win three of their remaining four to avoid 100 losses. They have one with Arizona and three with San Diego. The last time they’ve won three of four was part of a four of five streak that ended August 9. Their previous time of winning three was four was part of a six of seven and seven of nine streak that ended June 9. At that point, they were 29-36, so they’ve gone 31-62 since that point. That’s actually 108-loss pace.
- Let's go, D’Backs and Padres!