Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chase to the playoffs

As the season approaches its end, a number of tight races remain. A recap and brief preview follows.

In the AL North, Ottawa (79-73), Kansas City (78-74), and Tacoma (74-78) are locked in a tight battle, with just 4 games separating the teams. The Ottawa franchise has won the division 7 of the last 8 years, so the strong challenge bodes well for KC. KC remains 10 games out of the wild card.

In the AL East, the three best records in the AL are fighting it out. Scranton has a commanding 7 game lead on Richmond and 8 games on Baltimore. It appears likely that the runners up will win both wild cards, so this battle won't truly be decided until the playoffs. Richmond has made 6 consecutive playoff appearances and that streak does not appear likely to end.

In the AL South, Monterrey (83-69) holds a precarious 4 game lead over Texas with 10 to play. The teams meet in Texas for a 3-game set in the next-to-last series of the season. If Texas can narrow the margin, that series figures to decide the division which Monterrey has won 6 times while missing the playoffs just once. Texas is the defending division champ.

In the AL West, Salem and San Francisco are separated by just two games. Salem is one of only 2 franchises to have won their division in every season, so the streak is very much non the line. Despite their 81-71 record, the Salamies are actually 2 games UNDER .500 at home where they meet SF on the final weekend of the season.

Sioux Falls has a 5 game lead over Helena in the NL North with 10 to play as they attempt to extend their division championship streak to 11 years. Helena is in a 3-way wild card tie with Las Vegas and Cheyenne at 85-67. Three other teams, including Toledo from the North, are within 4 games.

Burlington has stomped the rest of the NL East, leading by 27 games and long ago clinching their division. This will mark the Bulldogs 5th consecutive division crown and they appear likely to receive the 2 seed and a first round bye.

Mexico City once again has the best record in the NL at 102-50. They've also clinched their 5th straight division crown. Fellow Southerns San Juan is 4 games out of the wild card, placing their 10 season playoff streak in jeopardy. Nashville needs a ton of help to make the wild card for the 4th time in its history.

Las Vegas and Cheyenne are deadlocked at 85-67. Whoever loses the division is well-positioned for the wild card. Arizona (82-70) sits three games back of both the division and the wild card. Lucky for the Isotopes, they close with 17 consecutive home games, including their final six against Las Vegas and Cheyenne. Las Vegas recently took 2 of 3 from Cheyenne and are done with them in the regular season. They face defending champion Sioux Falls 4 times followed by their showdown with a hungry Arizona team. The Double Downs narrowly missed out on wild card berths while losing the division to Cheyenne in each of the past two season.

No comments: