Wild Card predictions down the stretch

I’m not usually one for predictions. Mostly because people get upset and act like I’m condemning their team to misery. When the truth is, their team stinks, they just don’t want to admit it. It’s a semi-educated guess that makes me look good if I’m right, but if I’m wrong I can shrug it off and move on. But they’re fun, so I’ll give you my Wild Card predictions anyway.

With about 12 games remaining in the season, the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks have essentially locked up the first Wild Card spots in their respective leagues, but the fifth spots in both the American and National Leagues remains up for grabs.

Everything that needed to happen Monday to keep these races close, did. The Minnesota Twins dropped a 2-1 decision to the Yankees, which kept the LA Angels (I’ve given in) and Seattle Mariners within 1.5 and four games, respectively. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers are each 4.5 games out, but with the way they’ve played lately, I’m eliminating them. The Milwaukee Brewers shutout the Pittsburgh Pirates to close within two games of the Colorado Rockies. The St. Louis Cardinals remain 4.5 games back after an idle Monday.

The NL Wild Card race could essentially be over in a week if the Rockies can get their ducks in a row. Though they’re road games, Colorado’s next two series are against the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. If that’s not enough, the Miami Marlins come to town the beginning of next week. We could be looking at a stretch where the Rockies win seven of nine games.

The Brewers have a tough four-game stretch this weekend against the Chicago Cubs, and that might end their postseason if Colorado takes care of business. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are about to hit a perfectly timed stretch of the schedule with seven games against the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. There’s a chance when these two teams meet for a three-game series to end the season, the Cardinals will be the ones playing for a Wild Card spot while the Brewers have already been eliminated.

With a tight race in the AL, the Twins need to take advantage of seven games coming up against the Detroit Tigers, as their current series against the Yankees likely won’t end well and they play three games against the Cleveland Indians.

The problem the Angels and Mariners have is that the Indians close out the season with a West Coast road trip. The Angels also face the Houston Astros before the schedule gets easier with the Chicago White Sox. The Mariners can probably lose three games at most, and there’s a good chance that happens with the Indians coming to town.

So, who’s in and who’s out? I think the Twins hold on. The schedule works out in their favor, while the Angels and Mariners are fighting uphill in sand. I’ll go bold for the NL and say the Cardinals make a run and sneak into the final spot.

Photo by Dave Curnow

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