Remember how everyone was saying “The Tigers-A’s ALCS will be insane!” Yeah, turns out that one of those teams might not even make the playoffs.
The Tigs have sputtered recently, going 3-7 in their last 10 compared to the Mariners’ 8-2. Once that happens, you have the teams tied for the 2nd Wild Card spot (tied by percentage points, as the Tigers have played 2 fewer games). Over in the National League, the Braves have fared even worse of late, going 2-8 in their last 10. They’re now 2.5 back of the 2nd Wild Card spot, and they’re behind the Cardinals and Giants (who actually did something at the trade deadline), and they’re tied with the Reds. They’re also just a game ahead of the Marlins, but Jeffrey Loria’s joke of a franchise has a -31 run differential in addition to being the freakin Marlins, so that won’t last.
I think Atlanta has killed their chances. Sure they can come back and turn it around, but it’s hard to come back from a landslide like this, both for tangible and intangible reasons. This skid does seem like the kind of thing that can hurt a team’s confidence and chemistry, as overrated as those two facets of the game might be. But tangibly, it’s just hard to make up 2.5 games in a month and a half when there are 3 teams to fight with.
Back in the AL, maybe I’m naive to Kate Upton’s abilities to take away a dude’s pitching ability, but I think the Tigs will pull it out. Just seems like a rotation of Scherzer, Price, Verlander, Porcello, and Robbie Ray / Anibal Sanchez will be able to pull it out.
With the Sox out of it, I’ll be posting a lot more about the MLB pennant races, including going team by team nd breaking down each squad’s chances. But for now, things have gotten awfully interesting with the recent slides of the Tigers and Braves.