As the postseason approaches, analysts from around the country start to discuss possible scenarios as to which seed certain teams will land. Scenarios are possibly the most confusing concept in sports, solely because there are just way too many of them.
This year is no exception when it comes to the American League playoff run. Teams aren’t sure whether they want the third seed, the second seed, or the first seed. “Maybe we’ll play a better team if we get the number one seed, maybe not.”
This thought is what is running through the mind of the Baltimore Orioles’ organization right now. With the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels currently tied atop the American League, the Orioles trail both teams by just two games at 70-52. The O’s could make a legitimate run at the number one seed, but the question becomes; do they really want to? I’m not so sure if they do.
The reason is very simple yet very confusing. If the Orioles were to snatch the number one seed in the AL, then they would have to face the winner of the first-round wild card matchup. As it stands today, that matchup could very well involve the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics (the Tigers are just a half-game back of the second wild card). If the season were to end today, and the Os finished with the number two seed, then they would face the Kansas City Royals. Which team would you rather face in the playoffs?
However, the one hole in this is that the Tigers are only 1.5 games back of the Royals for the American League Central Division lead and the Royals are on a crazy hot streak. They have won 20 out of their last 25 games and just had their nine-game winning streak snapped a couple of days ago. They are bound to go on a losing streak and I find it hard to believe that the Tigers won’t win this division. However, the current standings would beg to differ.
Confused yet? Good, because I’m just getting started.
If the Tigers were to regain the division lead, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the O’s would want the number one seed, and here’s why: If that previous scenario were to occur, then the wild card matchup would feature the Royals and either the A’s or the Angels. What are the odds of the Royals beating one of those teams? Not very good. If the O’s were to get the number one seed and the Tigers were to win the AL Central division, then the O’s would be relying on the Kansas City Royals, a team that hasn’t been to the postseason since 1985 (the 28-year playoff drought is the longest current drought in baseball) to beat one of the best teams in baseball.
The Seattle Mariners, however, might be mad at this article so far because I haven’t mentioned their name once. They are currently a half-game up on the Detroit Tigers for the number two wild card in the American League. However, to not make things more confusing for you, let’s just assume that the Mariners are the same as the Royals in that they both have long playoff drought (although the Royals drought is way longer).
To clear things up a bit, here are the American League wild-card standings:
|LA Angels*||72||50||.590||-||41-23||31-27||574||487||+87||Lost 1||5-5|
|NY Yankees||63||59||.516||3.5||29-29||34-30||481||518||-37||Won 2||5-5|
|Tampa Bay||61||63||.492||6.5||28-34||33-29||492||469||+23||Lost 2||6-4|
|Chicago Sox||59||65||.476||8.5||31-29||28-36||532||587||-55||Won 1||4-6|
In a nutshell (I know you guys are relieved to hear those words), the Orioles would love if the season ended today because then they would face the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS with home-field advantage. Who would have thought that this would have been a possibility before the season?
However, right now the Orioles should only have one focus in mind, and that’s winning the division. They are seven games up on the second-place Yankees, so they have a comfortable lead and should feel good about where they are at right now.