16 July 2012
The Detroit Tigers find themselves only a half game out of the playoff picture after completing the series win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. The Tigers have been playing excellent baseball for over a month now, they’ve won 20 of their last 31 games going back to June 9, but the stretch has only served to dig them out of the hole, not separate them from the rest of the league.
Here’s the current American League playoff picture:
AL East: New York (54-34)
AL Central: Chicago White Sox (49-39)
AL West: Texas (54-35)
AL Wildcard: Los Angeles Angels (49-40)
AL Wildcard: Baltimore (46-42)
The Yankees have a firm grasp on the East with an eight game lead over second place Baltimore, and Texas has been sitting comfortably for most of the year in the West, although the Angels have been playing very well lately (Texas is currently five games up). The AL Central is the closest division with the Tigers just 3.5 games behind the White Sox.
I think it’s fairly safe to say that both the Yankees and Rangers will be playing in the postseason, but beyond that there’s a lot still up in the air, especially when it comes down to the (new) second Wild Card spot.A current look around the league shows 11 of the 14 AL teams with a record above the .500 mark. Only the Royals, Twins, and Mariners have losing records. This has made for a log jam in the middle. Baltimore’s extra-inning win over the Tigers on Saturday has kept them in position for the final Wild Card spot, but there are six teams behind them that are within a game and a half of that spot. Here’s a look at the Wild Card standings:
Los Angeles Angels (49-40)
0.5 GB – Detroit (46-43)
0.5 GB – Oakland (46-43)
0.5 GB – Tampa Bay (46-43)
1.0 GB – Cleveland (45-43)
1.5 GB – Boston (45-44)
1.5 GB – Toronto (45-44)
The additional Wild Card spot was supposed to keep teams in the race and keep fans interested late in the year, and so far it’s shaping up to do just that in the AL. The Tigers have themselves in a good spot, but they still have lots and lots of work to do to separate themselves from the field. It should be fun though.
Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.