One more week of games left to go before they turn "serious". I say that purely tongue-in-cheek. Boy, did the season fly by or what? Time does indeed fly when you're having fun. With one week left, you might think the playoff picture has been all but decided, right? Think again. The possibilities are wide open, and though some dramatic changes in the standings would take some dramatic results on the field, crazier things have happened. What's interesting is that even though there is only one week left, no team is a mathematical lock in their current standing. Parity? Yup. What follows is a listing of each team's current playoff scenario, and what it would take for teams to improve their standing (or not LOSE their current standing.)
Braves (19-9): On a record roll, the only things that will stop them from getting the #1 seed is getting swept by the reeling Royals AND the A's sweeping the X. Braves' magic number for first place is 1. Any combination of an A's loss or a Braves' win clinches the #1 seed for the Braves.
Likely finish: (Braves/Royals split: 20-10, #1 seed)
A's (14-9): Could fall as low as third, or rise to first, depending on circumstances, but will most likely finish second. Any A's loss or Braves win this week clinches first for the Braves. One A's win this week against the Expos clinches at least the #2 seed.
Likely finish: (A's/X split: 15-10, #2 seed)
Yankees (13-11): It's mathematically possible for the Yankees to fall all the way to sixth place this week, however unlikely. The Yankees can finish no better than second, and would need to sweep the X on Monday AND have the X sweep the A's on Thursday in order to get the #2 seed. The Royals, Twins, and Expos are on the Yankees' heels. Any slip this week by the Yankees could knock them down a spot or two.
Likely finish: (Yanks/X split: 14-12, #3 seed)
Royals (14-13): Can finish no higher than third. Would need any combination of a total of three Yankee losses against the X and Royals' wins against the Braves to take the #3 seed. In the logjam with the Yanks, Twins and Expos, the Royals could conceivably fall as far as sixth place. Likely need to win at least one against the Braves and hope for the Twins to lose one to avoid falling in the standings.
Likely finish: (Royals/Braves split: 15-14, #5 seed)
Twins (12-13): Can also finish ho higher than third. Would need to sweep the Brewers, have the Yanks get swept by the X, and would need the Royals to lose at least one to the Braves. Twins also could fall no further than sixth place, depending on the outcome of the Royals and Expos.
Likely finish: (Twins sweep Brewers: 14-13, #4 seed)
Expos (10-12): With games slated for Monday (makeup vs. Yanks) and Thursday (A's), the X has a lot to gain OR a lot to lose, depending on the outcome. If the X can win two against the Yanks AND two against the A's, and the Royals lose once to the Braves, they could cop the #3 seed. However, 4 losses against the Yanks and A's AND a Brewers sweep over the Twins would put the X into seventh place.
Likely finish: (Expos/A's split, Expos/Yanks split: 12-14, #6 seed)
Phillies (10-17): Circumstances this week may prevent the Phillies from playing at all. That said they will likely finish no higher than seventh.
Likely finish: (no games this week: 10-17, #7 seed)
Brewers (11-19): Put the Twins' hot bats together with the Brewers not-so-hot arms, and this could be a recipe for disaster. Even still, the Crew would need to sweep the Twins to pull out of the basement, and could get as high as sixth if the X manages to lose four games this week to the Yanks and A's.
Likely finish: (Brewers swept by Twins (BURN!!): 11-21, #8 seed)
For all the early-to-midseason talk of the A's winning games in large part due to Larry and the impenetrable defense, consider this: No team has committed more errors (27), and the A's have the lowest fielding percentage of all eight teams (.924). Who knew?
The X's Craig Olson has been under the radar much of the year, not playing many games, but unless there's an appearance and a miracle this coming week, could wind up holding a record nobody wants: 0-for-the-season. Entering play this week, Craig is 0-for-33. Ouch!
Award voting will take place this week, just as All-Stars/Fun-Stars took place last week. The categories: Cy Wiffle (best pitcher), Sticky Paw (best defensive player), The Yellow Slammer (best hitter), MVP (duh), The Sultan of Suck Award (worst player), Alki of the Year (best drinker), and of course, The Jack Cust Award (to the virile, non He-Man, more A-Team-like guy who inspires the most fear in the fawn-like opponent, whilst sparing no human lives in the pursuit of wiffle ball). It'll be done on a "point system" basis, where you'll vote for a first, second and third choice. 3 points for a first place vote, 2 for a second, and 1 for a third. So start thinking of your candidates now!
From the "Short Notice" File: I will be on the Max & Maloney Show tomorrow (Monday the 30th at 4:20pm) on 950AM Sports Radio, plugging the league ... be sure to tell the boss to go screw and tune in!!