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Two days left: here’s where it stands

Oct 2, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Getty Images

For those of you too busy watching football or something silly like that last night, here’s where we stand with two days left in the regular season.

Nine of the ten playoff teams are known: the Yankees, Orioles, Tigers, Rangers and Athletics will represent the American League. The Nationals, Braves, Reds and Giants will represent the National League.  The final slot in the NL will come down to the Cardinals and the Dodgers, but more on that in a second. Here’s how it all breaks down:

American League

  • The Yankees won and the Orioles lost last night, giving New York a one game advantage in the AL East race with two to play. The loser will be the wild card winner;
  • The Athletics beat the Rangers last night, clinching a playoff spot and pulling to within one game of the AL West lead. They play two more head-to-head, with the loser settling for the other wild card slot. The A’s win eliminated both the Angles and the Rays from playoff contention;
  • The Tigers win over the Royals gave the AL Central title to Detroit. The White Sox were eliminated from postseason consideration.

National League

  • The Nationals lost to Philadelphia, but the Braves loss to Pittsburgh gave Washington the NL East crown. Atlanta will host the wild card game on Friday.
  • St. Louis and Los Angeles each won.  The Cardinals win clinches at least a tie for the second NL wild card. If they win one of their last two games — or if the Dodgers lose either of their last two — St. Louis will be the wild card representative.  If the Cards lose two and the Dodgers win two, it’s a tie, and the teams will play a one-game playoff on Thursday to determine who plays the Braves in the wild card game on Friday.
  • The Reds and Giants have already clinched their respective divisions.

Triple Crown and MVP race

Miguel Cabrera homered and went 4 for 5 in last night’s game, giving him sole possession of the home run lead to match his lead in the batting and RBI race.  He currently leads Mike Trout — who also had a huge game last night — .329-.325 in the batting title race, has one more home run than Josh Hamilton and ten more RBI than Hamilton.

As far as the MVP implications, the Angels being eliminated from the playoffs may sway a few more voters to go with Cabrera for the MVP than otherwise would. If I had to bet money on it right now, I say that Cabrera will win the MVP whether he wins the triple crown or not.

  1. El Bravo - Oct 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Miggy getting the MVP certainly doesn’t grind my gears. Trout will get his three or four future MVPs regardless of what happens this season, at this rate.

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Agreed. I think Trout should win it, but I’m hardly gonna picket in the streets because they gave it to a Triple Crown winner (or near triple crown winner, however that turns out).

      • kiwicricket - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        What I just don’t understand, is the thinking that a team making the playoffs and not making the playoffs (+/- 3 games) is a defining factor in a decision.
        Balls to that.
        If the guy is on a terrible team, sure I can understand it. But nit picking a close team race in order to define an individual award is just wrong/stupid.
        (This is regards to how the ‘writers’ (voters) feel)

      • pinkfloydprism - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        We may not see a triple crown again. However, that should not be the reason to vote for Miguel. His team did come back from a disappointing year to win their division. He, obviously has been the best “hitter,” while Trout has been the best overall player in the league.

        I can see Miguel winning it, but don’t stop tracking it, or we might see a repeat of 1979 when there were co-MVP’s! (That would be cool, because both are overly deserving of the award with historic seasons)

      • scatterbrian - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        “We may not see a triple crown again.”

        Why not? I understand that sentiment regarding 300-game winners since pitcher usage has changed over the years. But the Triple Crown is a statistical anomaly that hasn’t been affected by any change in how the game is played.

      • florida727 - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        I agree with “scatter” on this one. Why not? Remember, to at least some degree, home runs and RBIs are usually linked; if a guy has a lot of HRs, he’s usually well up the list in RBIs too. So it’s not a stretch to say 2/3rds of the Triple Crown are joined at the proverbial hip. Get that power guy to have an in-the-area-of-.330 batting year and the Triple Crown becomes a real possibility. Then again, you could argue that since the last one was 45 years ago (1967), we may never see another one… unless I live to be 103!

      • pinkfloydprism - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        Two reasons. It has not happened for, what, 45 years? Not too common of an event, and we might not be around (someone will see one though, I am sure). And, the biggest reason…pitchers, for the most part, do not pitch as long into games, and bullpens are full of specialists. I would argue that it is more difficult for big HR number guys to hit for a higher .AVG today with the way pitchers are used. But then again, I am not a statistician, so who knows? You may be right.

    • moogro - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Trout’s 4 for 5 last night again shows he’s the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Most Valuable. Somehow, his team making the playoffs seems to be necessary to make him the Most Valuable Player.

    • hardballtalkusername - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      I agree but think Trout should win it this year. Two more SB’s and he is the third player in history to have a 30/50 season – rarer than the Triple Crown.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      I hope the voters don’t look at it that way. Trout should win if they think he should win, and not lose votes because he may win in the future.

  2. runteddyrun - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    NATITUDE!!!!!

  3. foreverlsu - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Craig, can you please explain who has tiebreaker advantages for Yankees-Orioles and Nats-Reds?

    • KR - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      Nats have a tiebreaker advantage over the Reds due to winning the season series, so Nats would be #1 seed if it came to that.

      I believe Yankees/Orioles would have to play a 1-game playoff, since it’s no longer just a question of playoff seeding but now a question of an entirely separate “round”.

      • foreverlsu - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Makes sense. Thank you!

    • Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Not sure about Nats-Reds, but Os would have it over the Yanks by best divisional record. All that gives them, however, is HFA in a play-in to see who goes to the play-in.

      • madhatternalice - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        I don’t think that’s true. The Orioles start selling tickets today for a possible 1 game playoff between them and the Yankees. The game would be in Baltimore by virture of the division record, but if they end the season tied, then they will play a one game playoff for the division title.

      • madhatternalice - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        VIRTUE!

        Go go gadget edit function!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        Kevin is right, there is no play in game for the division crown. First is H2H record (tied), next is division.

    • American of African Descent - Oct 2, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      And this is why the double wild card system is so dumb. Let’s say that the Yankees and Orioles have to play the one game play off. Each team starts their best available pitcher. The winning team gets to go to the divisional series, but their best pitcher is unavailable for game one or two of the divisional series. The losing team, on the other hand, has to play a one-game play in with their second best available pitcher. Where’s the fairness? Where’s the sportsmanship?

  4. xjokerz - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Before the trout posse arrives, can someone compare me the tigers lineup to the angels ? As a tiger fan, it’s clear to me that the angels lineup is deeper and all around better .. The tigers have miggy Jackson, fielder with the rest being average at best while the angels have pujols trout trumbo aybar morales so on so on. Who’s really carrying his team miggy or trout ? Easy answer IMO ,

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Who’s really carrying his team miggy or trout ?

      Does only offense matter? Or do we care about the rest of the game? Also what information do you want as a comparison? Here’s a breakdown by teams:

      Tigers:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=6&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=16,d

      Angels:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=1&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=16,d

      • 4cornersfan - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Jeter. All year.

      • scatterbrian - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        Man, Tigers fans who are claiming Cabrera carried the team to the playoffs are really selling their pitching staff short.

  5. natstowngreg - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Enough of the tedious Miggy/Trout argument. This morning is about congratulating the teams that clinched things last night — the Tigers, A’s, and Nats.

    • kkolchak - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      And reminding all the obnoxious Trout fans who feel compelled to barge into every Harper thread to tout how much better their guy supposedly is that the difference between the two right now is who will be playing in the playoffs and who will be home watching them on teevee.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        Let me take a moment and explain 3 reasons why I don’t like Bryce Harper. In no particular order:

        1. His hair
        2. His hype
        3. Nats fans

        Nothing about Trout on my list.

  6. xjokerz - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    i can do that…. as i am excited to see the nationals vs my tigers in the worldseries…and congrats Billy Boy in Oakland( still should have gone to Boston )

  7. mckcal - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    The teams with the four best records are all up in the air and two of them will have to play a play-in game, possibly involving cross-country travel, the next two are eliminated and the Tigers get to rest for several days and then throw Verlander twice in a five-game series.

    Yep, the new system is great.

  8. beefytrout - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Sure wish the Rangers could find it in them to win this damn game tonight and be done with it.

  9. natslady - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Nats have won season series against all NL contenders except the Cards and the Dodgers. If Nats lose the #1 seed, and it goes Nats beat Giants, Cards beat ATL (WC), and then Cards beat CIN (NLDS), then I guess the Cards would have home field for the NLCS?]

    [Substitute Dodgers for Cards in that scenario if Dodgers win a WC tiebreaker...].

    Of course, home field advantage for the WS was decided long ago, thank you, Justin Verlander.

    • KR - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      The way it worked under the old system was that the WC team couldn’t have home field in the LCS, even if they had a better regular season record. I assume that’s still the case, but with Bud you never know.

    • kkolchak - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      The Nats won the season series against the Cardinals 4-3.

  10. xjokerz - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    “Of course, home field advantage for the WS was decided long ago, thank you, Justin Verlander.”

    did the AL offense do anything against NL pitchers anyway?

  11. willclarkgameface - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    In the end, would the Angels be as good without Trout as they were with him? I say no dice.

    The Tigers only won their division because 1) it’s a shit division 2) the White Sox CHOKED

    Miggy has shit defense and is really only known for his bat at this point, which is yes, pretty scary.

    Mike Trout is a 5 tool player, a rookie, should get ROY, and should most definitely get MVP. Dude was super impressive this year. As a matter of fact, he’s even better than everyone’s golden boy Bryce Harper.

  12. umrguy42 - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Go Giants! signed, a Cardinals fan :p

  13. ericellers - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    I’m so Gott Verdammt excited for this years playoffs! With diewinning and losing die yelling and crying die drinking of da good stuff, die vonderful ehefrauen throwing out die stuff on die lawn den die polizei zay come and hall you off ….
    Oh I look so forward to zis time of jahr!
    Don’t not vergessen die Charmin Gewebe ( tissue)for many tears will fall.

    GEHEN YANKEES!!!

  14. moogro - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

    Donald Rumsfeld

  15. moogro - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Lot of confusion here on tie-breakers. Here are the rules:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120907&content_id=38029316&vkey=news_mlb_nd&c_id=mlb

  16. jteekalall - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    place it on your post-it notes. WS bound Nats vs Orioles. Bet on it

  17. freeagentsignee - Oct 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Congratulations Yankees!
    Go Miguel!

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