With the number of games remaining for teams dwindling into a single digit territory, I thought it a decent time to evaluate the possible postseason match ups that we will be viewing this coming October. Lets start in the American League.
Three of the four playoff spots are all but fixed at this point. New York will win the East, Anaheim the West and Boston the Wild Card. Because of the rule preventing the team with the best record in the league, which will be New York, from playing the Wild Card team if said team is from their division, which Boston is, New York gets the benefit of playing the lower win totaled team that captures the AL Central crown.
Boston will face off against the Angels in the Divisional Series for the fourth time. Each previous time, 2004 (sweep), 2007 (sweep) and 2008 (3 games to 1) was won by Boston. Will the Angels be able to overcome their first round nemesis this season?
The Yankees meanwhile, who have a Divisional Series bug of themselves to boot having not advanced past the first round in their last three trips to the postseason, will face off against either the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of the 2006 ALDS or the Minnesota Twins in a rematch of the 2003 and 2004 ALDS’ which were both won by New York, who hasn’t won a Divisional Series since.
As for which team might present a tougher task to New York, the Twins and Tigers are remarkably evenly matched in value this year. I guess that’s not much of a surprise given their nearly identical records, but when you consider how often it seems the won-loss records are out of whack with the team’s underlying performances, I was interested it note the combined hitters (includes defense) + pitchers WAR for the two teams:
Tigers: 20.9 + 14.8 = 35.7
Twins: 19.2 + 15.4 = 34.6
Neither team is markedly stronger than the other and it would come down to simple matchups and which team might benefit more from the dropped 5th starter in the playoffs.
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