The Detroit Tigers became the first AL squad to clinch a playoff berth and a division title Friday night with a 3-1 win over Oakland.
We can now officially put their name into the hat for the top AL seed in the postseason.
The only other real contenders for the other top seed are Boston and New York, with all due respect to Texas, Anaheim and Tampa Bay.
It’s all about the schedule. And while this isn’t a resume builder a la March Madness, scheduling still helps. New York, Boston and Detroit all have a little over ten games left, and each one could be vital to their chances of getting the ever-important top seed.
We’ll start with New York because at this point in time they are the leader in the clubhouse.
The Yanks finish their series with Toronto before going home for a make-up game with the Twins on the 19th. They then welcome Tampa Bay and Boston to town for a three-game set and a four-game set, respectively. The Bombers will then wrap up the regular season in Tampa for three games. It should be noted that New York doesn’t have an off day and has to play a double header at home with Tampa.
Games Remaining- 12
Games Remaining Against Teams Above .500- 11
Next up is Detroit, who has ten games left before the postseason. They finish up with an afternoon game with Oakland before an off day and two games in Kansas City. They will then go back to Detroit to take on the O’s and Indians before the playoffs.
Games Remaining- 10
Games Remaining Against Teams Above .500- 0
The last legitimate contender is the Boston Red Sox. While they trail the Yankees by 4.5 games, they still have 3 games with New York to make up ground. There is also the threat of Tampa Bay catching them, seeing as they are only 3 games ahead of the Rays. The Sox will play 7 games against Baltimore, including a double dip, as well as 2 more games against the Rays and the aforementioned Yankees series.
Games Remaining- 10
Games Remaining Against Teams Above .500- 5
Detroit probably has the easiest schedule for a couple of reasons. One reason is that they already have the division clinched while Bean Town and New York have to play each other for the division title. This could also very well favor the latter two because they are playing playoff like baseball throughout the rest of the year. Meaning they are more prepared for October. This situation could also favor Detroit again on the flip side, because they get to rest up a bit and avoid injury. To put it plainly, Detroit has the easiest schedule, New York has the toughest and Boston has one somewhere in between.