Cracking the Whip: The final 42 games
Before Paul Allen's voice can crest above the Minnesota Festival of Champions this Sunday at Canterbury, the boys of the Bread Basket begin their own vital homestretch of the season starting tonight at the Dome versus old friend Carlos Silva and Seattle. Can they rise to the occasion?
In my own Bombay Sapphire-induced version of reality, I basically see the last six weeks of this 2008 MLB campaign finding the Twins (67-53) and the White Sox (68-52) duking it out for the Central, with the loser jockeying for the Wild Card with Tampa Bay (73-47). True, upstart Tampa continues to lead the East by 3 games over Boston, but with a slew of recent injuries to Crawford, Longoria and Percival, I just don't see them holding off the veteran-laden Red Sox. Nor do I see the injury-riddled New York (64-57) making the postseason. Hell, even their own leadership is waving a pin striped flag. Detroit is 3 games under .500, Texas' three straight losses have evened their mark at 61-61, and Toronto is, well, Toronto.
Assuming the aforementioned plays out and that the Yanks don't get hot, here's some scheduling numbers for the final 42 games facing the Twins, White Sox and Rays:
Series/Opponents Remaining: 1. White Sox- 13/12 2. Twins- 13/10 3. Rays- 13/9
Remaining Opponents' Win %: 1. Rays- .538 2, White Sox- .510 3. Twins- .503
Remaining Opponents' Over/Under/At .500 Mark: 1. Rays- 6-2-1 2. White Sox- 6-6 3. Twins- 4-6
Seasonal Win % versus Remaining Opponents: 1. Rays- .620 2. Twins- .547 3. White Sox- .547
Home/Away Games Remaining (and season win %'s for Home/Away): 1. Rays- 19/23 left (.726/.483) 2. White Sox 19/23 left (.682/.441) 3. Twins 18/24 (.651/.456)
Series' Remaining vs. current 1st/Last place teams: 1. Twins- 3/3 2. White Sox- 2/3 3. Rays- 2/2
Days' off Remaining: 1. Rays- 4 2. White Sox- 4 3. Twins- 3
The Yanks have been in the playoffs every year since '95, so it's fun to see the faces change. Looking at these numbers closer, Tampa's season looks especially impressive when comparing the win % of their opponents with their .620 win clip over said challengers. The Twins, with the most road games remaining (albeit by just one) will no doubt need to improve on said away mark to crack the Second Season. What does look sanguine for our boys, however, is just the four remaining series against teams with a winning record. Tampa, with a nasty 6 of those babies, will no doubt need to keep their pace if they want the grab the nascent postseason birth for the franchise. And the White Sox, they seem oddly even, nothing overtly polar there. This deal may very well come down to a nose when we meet for a final time, at the Metrodome, for a three-game set starting September 23rd.
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