Thursday, September 12, 2013

Magic Numbers, 9/12/2013




Wednesday's results:
Boston 7, Tampa 3
NY Yankees 5, Baltimore 4
Oakland 18, Minnesota 3
Detroit 1, Chicago WS 0


AL East:
Any combination of Boston wins and Tampa Bay losses totaling 8 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Tampa Bay
Any combination of Boston wins and NY Yankees losses totaling 6 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of NY Yankees
Any combination of Boston wins and Baltimore losses totaling 6 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Baltimore


Best record in the AL
Any combination of Boston wins and Detroit losses totaling 12 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Detroit
Any combination of Boston wins and Oakland losses totaling 13 ensures that Boston finishes ahead of Oakland




If Boston wins 6 of their remaining 15 games (6-9, .400, 95 wins):
Tampa Bay must go 17-1 to tie
NY Yankees cannot tie
Baltimore cannot tie

Detroit must go 11-5 to tie
Oakland must go 11-6 to tie


If Boston wins 7 of their remaining 15 games (7-8, .467, 96 wins):
Tampa Bay must go 18-0 to tie
NY Yankees cannot tie
Baltimore cannot tie

Detroit must go 12-4 to tie
Oakland must go 12-5 to tie



 Thoughts:

Another thriller for the Sox as Mike Carp hits a pinch Grand Slam in the 10th for the win.  And the third game of the series (head-to-head against Jets-Patriots in the Boston TV market tonight) is the game in this series where the pitching matchup (Peavy vs. Hellickson) most clearly favors the Red Sox.  (Which, baseball being what it is, probably means it's the game in the series that they lose.)

Baseball is a game without a clock, which always makes implausible comebacks possible.  A game isn't over until the 27th out, and a division race isn't over until it's clinched.  That said, while the other non-Toronto teams in their division haven't been eliminated yet, it's hard to imagine the Red Sox not winning the East.  Their worst 15 game stretch this year came in early May as they went 5-10.  If they were to go 5-10 again in their remaining 15, they would finish at 94 wins, requiring Tampa to go 16-2 to tie them.  If the unthinkable were to happen and they finished up 0-15, Tampa would still have to play .611 ball, 11-7, to tie them.  (And if they were to finish in a tie where one team won the East and the other won a Wild Card, the Red Sox would win the East by virtue of winning the season series between the two teams.)

Finishing with the best record in the league, and the home field advantage that goes with it, is less certain, but they're 4 and 4 1/2 up on Oakland and Detroit respectively, and have to be considered the favorites.

Boston could clinch the AL East as early as Sunday afternoon, by winning out for the rest of the week and getting some help from Minnesota and Toronto.  More likely is that they clinch some time late next week or next weekend, at home against Baltimore or Toronto.  They certainly don't want to head out on the road not having clinched, because they'd love to do it at home, and not having done it by then means that they haven't had a very good week.

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