A series loss to the Tigers has essentially eliminated the Indians from the Central Division race. Here is some additional proof of this, after which, BurningRiverBaseball will never again mention the Indians and their attempt at the 2013 Central Division title.
- The Tigers will play the Red Sox next, then will not play another play-off contender for the rest of the season. They have nine more games with the Royals and besides those two teams, they will not play a team above .500.
- Considering winning percents, the Tigers are expected to win 16 more games and go 96-66. To match this, the Indians would have to go 24-2. Assuming the Royals can hold their own against Detroit that number could possibly be dropped by a couple of wins, but nothing obtainable. As it stands the Indians would finish 86-76.
On a more reasonable level, the Indians are competing with five other teams for the two available Wild Card spots.
- In this race, strength of schedule is very favorable towards the Indians. The two top teams (the Rays and the A's) have multiple series left against play-off contenders. The Rays have the worst of it, playing in the difficult AL East where they have series against the Red Sox, Rangers, Yankees and Orioles.
- The Indians could improve on their expected 14-12 finish by winning the four game series against the Astros, White Sox and Twins instead of splitting them. If they can turn around their offensive issues they could possible finish as well as 19-7, a record that would place them ahead of the Rays expected finish of 90-72 behind the Athletics at 92-70.
- This imagined finish should show what dire straights the Indians are in right now as far as the play-off picture is concerned. At just seven games over .500, it is hard to believe that they will be able to, all of a sudden, go 13 games over .500 for the last month.
- Not mentioned are the four other legitimate contenders for a Wild Card spot. These are the Orioles (who the Indians will play in Cleveland next), Yankees and the Royals. A hot streak by any of these teams could be enough to dislodge the current leading teams by the end of the year, so we'll keep close tabs on how these other competitors are faring during the next few weeks.
The loss to the Tigers has put a damper on the Indians season and was a major blow to their play-off hopes. This route is where that hope now lies, but it will be difficult. If they continue to play as they have against Atlanta and Detroit the past two series, it wouldn't even matter if they had already clinched the pennant. With the effort the Indians have put out recently, they couldn't possibly beat any play-off contender in a single game, let alone a series.