What the Indians Need to Do Part 4

It seems every week, another team is dropped out of view of the Indians window of opportunity for the 2013 play-offs. First, the Tigers moved out of view with a series win against Cleveland (although they have lost enough games to almost work themselves back into view) and this week, the Oakland Athletics have essentially won themselves a play-off spot. While they haven't clinched the West, they have a two game lead over Texas and more importantly, they have a 4.5 game lead over the Orioles/Yankees/Indians triumvirate. Right now, the A's are expected to finish 93-69, a finish the other teams would have to win about 90% of their games for the rest of the year to match. Because of this, the A's will join the Tigers as teams no longer in consideration in the Wild Card race. An interesting addition to this is that the Rangers are still physically reachable, but if they somehow outplay Oakland and win the West, Oakland would be almost guaranteed the first Wild Card spot.

  • As the season goes on, things are getting clearer and there is now a range of wins expected to be enough to take the Wild Card. If any of the four teams still contending are able to get to 90 wins (although they could make it with as low as 87), they will likely take the second Wild Card. The first Wild Card will likely finish with around 92 wins.
  • In order to hit the  90 win plateau, the Indians will need to win 13 more games. This means essentially winning every series for the rest of the year, including taking three games in all three of the four game series.
  • This ending won't be as impossible as it may seem as the four game series are against the three worst teams in the AL, the Astros, Twins and White Sox. The rest of their games, outside of one three game series against Kansas City, are against teams under .500.
  • The three AL East, non-Bostonian, contenders are a lot more complicated. This is because they play games almost exclusively against other East teams, four out of the five of which are attempting to enter the play-offs this year. With the Rays holding a four game series against the Orioles and Baltimore finishing up a four game set with New York, it is difficult to predict who will come out on top.
  • The top team in the AL (Boston) just played Tampa and is moving on to play consecutive series against New York and Baltimore and will end the season against the Orioles in Boston. If the Red Sox would like to do the Indians a favor, they could essentially remove Baltimore from contention and put a big dent into the hopes of the Yankees and Rays.
  • Assuming the Indians don't get eliminated before then (any team could be eliminated by a three game losing streak while the other contenders win), the next update to their play-off chances will be around September 20th when they are playing Houston. By the end of that series (9/23, the last off-day for the Indians), at least one of the AL East contenders should be eliminated (early prediction in New York) and the Indians should be within a game or half a game of the Wild Card lead, if not already in first.
  • While it may be possible for them to gain more than one game over the past two series, it would be much easier for the Indians to take over the lead prior to that so they could set up their staff for the possible one game play-off with the Wild Card one winner.
Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since its inception in 2011. He also writes for The Outside Corner and the Comeback and hosts the Tribe Time Now podcast. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians. Follow on twitter @BurningRiverBB