With the trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, rather than a typical team/player/trade analysis, let’s get theoretical: What would the playoffs look like, and how would they unfold, if the season were to end today? Before getting started though, some ground rules:
- I will talk through each playoff matchup, beginning with the Wild Card Games and continuing all the way through the end of the World Series
- After discussing each round, we will predict the results, and move on to the next round based off of those results
- Factors affecting games, such as coaching decisions, will be fabricated, but based on past patterns (in other words, this is based on our assumption of manager behavior, not our analysis of best practices)
- Even though it is only August, we will pretend that games are taking place in October, so we can throw weather in the mix
- As per current MLB Playoff Seeding Rules, if two teams hold identical records, then there will be a one-game play-in for the playoffs, with the better head-to-head record being the home team
- As far as injuries are concerned, players who are expected to return at some point before playoff rosters are set (i.e. Clayton Kershaw) will be considered healthy for this scenario; players who are already out for the rest of the season will remain unavailable (e.g. Blake Swihart)
With that in mind, let’s get started. Below are the teams who would be making the playoffs at the end of play on August 15th.
East: Blue Jays, 67-52 (3)
Central: Indians, 67-49 (2)
West: Rangers, 70-50 (1)
WC1: Orioles, 66-51 (4)
WC2: Red Sox, 64-52 (5)
East: Nationals, 70-47 (2)
Central: Cubs, 73-43 (1)
West: Giants, 66-52 (3)
WC1: Dodgers, 65-52 (4)
WC2: Marlins/Cardinals, 62-56 (5)
WILD CARD ROUND:
Play-in Game: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals
With both teams finishing the season at 62-56, and only one Wild Card spot up for grabs, the Marlins head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in a one-game playoff to determine who will be advancing to October baseball. Don Mattingly sends Ace Jose Fernandez to the mound, up against Cardinal’s righty Adam Wainwright. Mike Matheny’s decision to go with his veteran was supported by Wainwright’s career 3.03 ERA in the postseason as well as a 3.06 home ERA this season. Unfortunately, the pitcher’s duel was ultimately won by Fernandez, as he went seven shutout innings before letting the bullpen take over. The Miami Marlins advance to the Wild Card game.
To find out how the remainder of the postseason plays out, continue reading on Off The Bench Baseball!>>>
Header Photo courtesy of Our Game.