Playoff baseball . . . it should feel that way, at least. Though the New York Yankees are about a month away from hosting their likely Wildcard game against the AL West runner-up, they will get a taste of postseason intensity on this week’s western swing.
New York’s current series in Oakland could be a wild-card preview. The following series in Seattle has a chance to be one instead, if the Mariners can catch Oakland (or Houston) from behind to sneak into the one-game knockout.
It would take a collapse of epic proportions for the Yankees to miss the playoffs. The schedule is just too easy the rest of the way. But there are concerns about whether the Yanks can beat playoff-caliber opposition. They’re not getting results vs. quality. Check out these records vs. opponents with winning records since the All-Star break as we entered the new week…
Records vs. Winners since ASB
If you can hold your own within a quality subset, then you’re for real. Oakland should be a bit worried because the ability to crush losing teams won’t help you in October (A’s 19-4 vs. non-contenders since the ASB). The Yanks should worry more. That 2-8 record breaks down as 0-4 vs. Boston and 2-4 vs. Tampa Bay…who has a winning record but won’t reach the playoffs.
That’s why handicappers and bettors should pay so much attention to this road trip. Oakland and Seattle are both at peak intensity because every game matters. If the Yankees start the week struggling, they might finish the week struggling too. And, hopes for a deep playoff run would be fairly dim if 2-8 sinks to something even worse.
If you’re wondering how other AL playoff teams grade out in this subset, Boston is 10-8 (slowing down lately), Cleveland 3-4 (with an extremely week schedule), Houston 10-12 (while dealing with some injuries). Entering the week over in the National League…
NL Records vs. Winners since ASB
St. Louis 14-7
Chicago Cubs 10-8
LA Dodgers 16-17
Races have been so tight in the senior circuit because division leaders haven’t established superiority vs. quality. Time for the market favorites to start. The Chicago Cubs are currently visiting Milwaukee. The Los Angeles Dodgers visit Colorado this weekend.