AL East: A Hotbed for MLB Playoff Teams
Here we go again with the American League East Division. The AL East MLB playoff teams for 2016 may include three of the following four, the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, or New York Yankees. Three of the six AL postseason teams may come from this one division. That’s the highest number possible. Only one team, the Tampa Bay Rays, is basically eliminated from a playoff berth with a 0.1% chance of making it.
The New York Yankees?
It’s true that the Yankees (76-65) only have an 18% chance of getting into the postseason. But consider this, they are in fourth place in the AL East. The Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros, both of which are in second in their respective divisions have a 47% chance and 16% chance respectively of still playing after the regular season is over. All other teams in the AL are pretty much out of the postseason hunt. Plus, NY is ahead of both teams in the Wild Card.
What is astounding is how many top players the Yanks jettisoned as the trade deadline loomed this season. But they still have a pretty good lineup and decent pitching. New York is four games out of first and two games away from the Wild Card! (That’s better than Detroit or Houston in terms of how close they are to the Wild Card.) The Yanks have won seven straight including three from the Jays and one from the Orioles. They play the bottom team in their division this weekend, the Rays.
Blue Jays Flying Erratically
The Jays may have the second-best chance in the AL East of getting to the post season, they are at 79%, but they seem to be uninterested in getting there. They have lost three straight and are 3-7 over their past 10. The Jays have been losing a lot of one- and two-run games, which are the kind you have to win to get to the next level. They are playing the Red Sox this weekend in Toronto and are 1-1 thus far with the rubber game today. This game is big. Especially for Toronto, which recently gave up first place in the AL East to Boston and needs to prove that they can go on a solid winning streak.
Baltimore Looks Weak
For Baltimore it is about the pitching. They are having a tough time stopping opponents from scoring runs. Still, the Orioles have been, for the most part, handling other teams well. They have been streaky as of late, losing three-straight to the Astros and then taking three-in-a-row from the Nationals. This team has a 43% chance of getting to the playoffs. The Orioles are playing a very tough Detroit team this weekend. The Tigers are contenders for a Wild Card spot. They play the rubber match today after, thus far, splitting this series.
Red Sox Can Hit
Yes, the Boston Red Sox can hit and drive in runs. No team in MLB has driven in more. Plus, overall, their pitching has been solid, although they have run into some snags along the way. Their RS/RA differential is first in the AL and second best in MLB, standing at +160. When red Sox hitters are healthy, they can devastate an opponent. They have 90% chance of making it into the postseason as either a first place or Wild Card team.
AL East MLB Playoff Teams- Best Shot
Despite how they have been performing, of all of the AL East MLB playoff teams the Yankees are least likely to make it into the playoffs. After this weekend series with the Rays is over, they will meet Tampa Bay for three more games. But they have three with the Dodgers, seven with the Red Sox, three with Baltimore, and three with the Jays. They will have to take two of three from most and sweep a few, like the Red Sox, to make it.
Boston plays only AL East teams. Along with the seven with the Bronx Bombers, they will meet Toronto for six, Baltimore for seven, and the Rays for three. That is not an easy schedule. But they do have one major advantage and his name is David Ortiz. Ortiz is enjoying a massive farewell tour. He leads the Sox in homers (31), RBI (107), doubles (44), and OBP (406). He has a .318 BA and 144 hits. Of the four AL East MLB playoff teams, the Sox have the best chance of winning a postseason berth.
The Blue Jays, along with Boston, NY, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay, have to play the Angels and Mariners. Those out of division games may work against them. Baltimore plays Arizona and the already mentioned Tigers as well as each team in their division.
At this point as far as AL East MLB playoff teams are concerned, we like Boston and Baltimore. But everyone should be wary of New York. In any case, it will be a wild ride to October 2 and the start of the playoffs.