Two of the three divisional races in the American League appear to be over, with the AL Central still being hotly contested. However, the Wild Card is hardly over with 4 teams fighting for 2 spots.
Today we will look at the prospects of all four teams to determine their chances to make the playoffs, see if they are worthy of MLB picks with under 20 games remaining in the season and review what sportsbooks and FanGraphs.com has them listed for as chances to play beyond the regular season.
Oakland Athletics– 96.4% Chance to Make Playoffs
The Athletics fall from grace came completely unexpected, as over four months they were the best team in baseball by a fairly good margin. They had shown the ability to overcome minor losing streaks and dry spells in hitting and were on a historic pace for run differential.
Once Aug. 13 came, everything changed for Oakland. Since that fateful date, the A’s are 8-17 and have lost -14.1 units.
It has been a combination of factors for Bob Melvin’s team. The starting pitchers who had been so brilliant all year started to wear down. Pickups Jeff Samardjiza and Jason Hammel offered little support.
The offense which had been the averaging 5.0 runs a game most of the season is down to 4.7 and they have scored more than five runs four times in last 25 contests.
If this tailspin continues, Oakland is in serious shape of not even making the postseason with Seattle and Detroit nipping at their heels in spite of still being as high as the third-best bet to win the AL at 5Dimes.
The A’s have a critical series at Seattle this weekend and still has three with the Angels, who might have already clinched the division by then, the rest of the schedule winnable.
Oakland should be fine, but the way they are playing, using them for sports picks could empty wagering account.
Kansas City Royals - 66.7% Chance to Make Playoffs
For fans of the Royals, this is a very weird feeling, being in a pennant race. The last time Kansas City made the postseason was 1985 and they are atop the AL Central attempting to hold off Detroit, the heavy preseason favorites.
The Royals pitching staff has been tremendous all year. When Kansas City hits they win. On the season they are middle of the road offensively at 4.0 runs a game. When K.C. reaches that number, they are 67-7 this season.
The Royals have a one-game lead over Tigers in the loss column. Kansas City is the fifth choice to win the AL and other than a ginormous home series with Detroit in nine days, the rest of the opponents are teams they should defeat to make the playoffs.
Seattle Mariners - 57.2% Chance to Make Playoffs
All year, Seattle has been right there chasing a playoff berth. Playing in a division with Los Angeles and Oakland, most MLB baseball handicappers had the betting odds stacked against the Mariners to enter the postseason.
But thanks to the A’s coming back to the pack, Seattle is in a prime spot and is 6-3 so far this month in making their move. Be it for some random bad luck in one run outcomes at 16-25, the M’s could well have already nearly been in the playoffs, with a 63-40 record in all other games.
The Mariners still have work to do with its six remaining home games after today with the A’s and Angels (though the Halos might not care having won the division) and an arduous 10-game road trip sandwiched in. However, in Seattle favor is confidence, with the best road record in baseball at 42-28 (+19.2 units).
Detroit Tigers - 70.8% Chance to Make Playoffs
What was supposed to be a walkover in the AL Central has Detroit trailing Kansas City in the division chase. Though the Tigers offense remains one of the best in baseball and their 14 blown saves are among the lowest in the AL, since the All-Star break Detroit has not been in sync when it came to playing harmonious baseball in all facets.
The Tigers offense would go cold when the pitching was good; the lack of big hits in clutch situations from the bottom of the batting order has proven difficult to overcome. And what was thought to be an All-Star starting pitching staff has shown to be anything but versus the MLB odds.
Oddsmakers still have the Tigers as the second choice to win the American League if they can get in the playoffs. If Detroit can win three of the last four confrontations with K.C. and take care of business against other division foes, they should be Central champs for a fourth straight year.
Based on what we have witnessed this is not a given. Find out what other bettors are predicting for the World Series this year.