"Who will make the playoffs?" is a blog worked on by FanNation users dudeman, dyhard and Super Squirrel. It's a 6 part blog covering each and every team. Here you'll find who has the best chance to make the playoffs among the teams in the AL Central. The teams are listed in alphabetical order.
Tuesday: AL East
Wednesday: AL Central
Thursday: AL West
Friday: NL East
Saturday: NL Central
Sunday: NL West
Chicago White Sox
Dude's take: The White Sox are a talented bunch, with a great offense, and a decent pitching staff. I doubt they will have a chance at the Wildcard, so I think they need to put away the division in September if they want to reacht he playoffs. As of right now (2:00, 8/6/08) they are a game ahead of the Minnesota Twins. If they want to win the division they have to tear it up offensively, and have the pitching hold down the fort. Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye have been awesome for them this year. Quentin has a .285 average with 29 homers and 86 RBI. He's definitely an MVP candidate. Dye has a .304 average with 26 homers and 69 RBI, not to shabby. The OF is rounded out by the newest White Sox member, Ken Griffey Jr. who has a .308 batting average with his new club.
Percentage chance: 72%
Dyhard's take: They are tied for first in the AL Central. They have a good team this yera, and they have been impressive. Their last few games they have fallen down, (7.02 ERA) and a bad ERA in July (5.12). If they are going to win this division, they need to get their pitching back in line. The thing that I am wondering is the recent explosion of Ozzie Guillen and him getting suspended for 2 games, will start a spark. The White Sox trouble spot could be the pitching, but with the addition of Ken Griffey Jr, their offense gets an added bat, which will help run support for the Pitchers, and that ERA that they had in July, shouldn't be as bad. The White Sox and Twins will have a hell of a race.
Percentage chance: 50%
SS's take: As of 6:30 PM CDT on 8/5/08, the White Sox are tied with the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central lead, but that doesn't mean that they haven't been sliding over the last few weeks. On July 25th, the White Sox had a 3.5 game lead over the Twins before their three game series last week. Now, the White Sox are entering a crucial series against the Tigers with a 29th worst team ERA of 7.02 over the last seven days after having a 5.14 ERA in the month of July. The pitching staff is playing like total crap since the All-Star Break with a 6.07 ERA. The hitting is still strong, and has gotten stronger with the acquisition of Ken Griffey Jr. and the benching of Paul Konerko. The problem is that without any pitching, that hitting will get them very little, even though they are playing 30 games at home, where they are 35-16. It's tricky here, but they need the Twins to falter down the stretch.
Percentage chance: 50%
Dude's take: The Indians are possibly the biggest disappointment this season. After coming off a great season last year, when they were up 3-1 in the ALCS, but I think that the fact that they lost that series after being up 3-1 might have rattled this team enough to mess them up this season. Right now, they are a dismal 49-63. Good enough for dead last in the AL Central. They are 13.5 behind the White Sox, and with their offensive struggles (16th in MLB in runs scored) and their pitching struggles (19th worst ERA MLB) you can see why they have been a mediocre team this season. It's hard to see them get to the playoffs. Considering where they are and where they have to get to, it'll take near a miracle.
Percentage chance: 2%
Dyhard's take: Cleveland Indians:They had a small chance at making the playoffs earlier this year. That was BEFORE the CC Sabathia and Casey Blake trade. When they traded Sabathia, they took a HUGE hit to their starting rotation. That took a good chunk out of their playoff chances. Next, the traded Casey Blake. That just completely took out about 99.9 % of their playoff chances. They need deeper pitching and more hitting to be able to make the playoffs, which won't happen. Look for next year Cleveland fans. You have good minor leaguers (thanks to the Brewers).
Percentage chance: 0.01 %
SS's take: Cleveland Indians: The Indians sold all chances they had at rebounding this season when they got rid of CC Sabathia and Casey Blake. They threw in the towel, and they've gained no ground on the White Sox whatsoever in the last month. They haven't lost ground, but they aren't going to be able to overcome each of the four teams in front of them. Especially with a depleted rotation that has nothing after Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona and a lineup that is basically Grady Sizemore and Kelly Shoppach.
Percentage chance: 0.01%
Dude's take: The Tigers don't have the pitching to get them to the playoffs. Plain and simple. I don't care how high-powered your offense is, if you don't have pitching, don't expect to make the playoffs, because you have a slim chance. They have a 4.56 ERA which is 25th worst in the league. They have the 5th-most walks, the 18th worst opponents batting average and the 31st worst in strikeouts. It's a miracle they are still close (7.5 games back) in the AL Central. Don't expect them to do anything down the stretch.
Percentage chance: 7.5%
Dyhard's take: The Tigers main strength this year is hitting. They did take a little bit of a hit when they shiped their catcher to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth. They have stuck up their with the Twins and White Sox, sorta, and are 6.5 games out of first and hovering around .500. The Tigers are hovering around league average in pitching, but they just aren't going to overcome the Twins and White Sox for the division, or the Red Sox, Rays, or Yankees for the Wild Card.
Percentage chance: 12%
SS's take: Somehow, the Tigers have managed to stay only 6.5 games behind the Twins and White Sox going into Tuesday night's game against the White Sox. Hovering around .500, the Tigers have rebounded well from their early season slump. The problem with the Tigers lies in the pitching staff, as they are near the top of MLB in runs scored, batting average, and home runs. Detroit's pitchers are 25th in the league with a 4.55 ERA and only have two current starters with an ERA under 4.00. Their best pitchers right now are Zach Miner and Armando Galarraga, with Verlander and Rogers struggling mightily right now. Not to mention Zumaya is hurt, Jones is hurt, and the bullpen hasn't been up to snuff this year to begin with. I don't see it happening unless the White Sox or Twins take a major hit...
Percentage chance: 25%
Kansas City Royals
Dude's take: The Royals have many great young players, but they aren't winning much this year. They are 53-61 and 10.5 back in the AL Central. Not very impressive. They are sort of like the Tampa Bay Rays before this season. They have potential, but they need time to season their players before they start winning anything. This will be another baseball-less October for Kansas City. Wait boys, because before long you'll be in the thick of playoff races in the AL. But, not it's not their time.
Percentage chance: 0%
Dyhard's take: They aren't going to make the playoffs, but will still be tough opponents for the teams that are trying to contend to make the playoffs. They have good pitching, and their hitting isn't bad either. They are in the middle of the pack in the AL in about every category espn lists. They won't make it past the Twins, Tigers, or White Sox in the division, and they diffently won't make the playoffs as a wild card over the Red Sox, Rays, or Yankees.
Percentage chance: 2%
SS's take: Kansas City is not a team that is going to make the playoffs, but they are going to be one of those teams that just gives everybody headaches down the stretch. They've got some good young starters in Zack Greinke and Gil Meche, they've got some production from Mike Aviles, David DeJesus, and Mark Grudzielanek. The problem is that that's just about as deep as their lineup goes. Alex Gordon and Mark Teahen are on and off this year, more off than on, and they haven't gotten the production that you'd expect from them. Again, they aren't going to make up that 9.5 game deficit, but they will cause the White Sox and Twins even more problems down the stretch.
Percentage chance: 0.01%
Dude's take: The Twins are a very interesting team. They have great hitters that can lead them to the playoffs. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have been great this year with Mauer leading the team in batting average with a .317 batting average, and Morneau has 18 homers and 89 RBIs. They've been surging and have been playing leapfrog with the White Sox in the past week. They are a legit playoff contender, but their pitching has to improve. A 4.37 ERA is not going to cut it if they want to get to October baseball. Francisco Liriano's return has been huge for this team. In his first start since coming off the DL, he went 6 innings and gave up no earned runs for his first win since 2006. He may just be the key for the Twins to reach the playoffs. I don't think there are teams out there that want to play the Twins in the playoffs.
Percentage chance: 90%
Dyhard's take: The Twins are a good team, and they have had good things happen this year. They have had one thing that might hurt them. Francisco Lirano doing a really bad job early on in the season, and then not brought up. He was finally brough up, and that should help them out as he was dominanting minor league hitting. They have a worse total team ERA than the White Sox, and that is one thing that may hurt them. Justin Morneau is pretty much leading the team, actually, he isn't pretty much, he is. According to espn.com, he is leading EVERY hitting category except BA (Joe Mauer is leading that). The Twins look like it will be a hell of a race with the White Sox as I said for the White Sox comment thingy. lol
Percentage chance: 50%
SS's take: I'll try to take as little of a homer view on this as possible. The Twins really just got a boost from the addition of Francisco Liriano to become the most "experienced" pitcher in the rotation. Despite having just blown a 6-0 lead to the Mariners on Monday, the Twins still have a solid 4.44 ERA since the All-Star Break, proving that they have good pitching to lead them down the stretch. The problem lies int he bullpen, which has an ERA over 6 on the road and a 1.92 ERA at home. The Twins only have 21 games at home remaining (due in part to the RNC in St. Paul) and have a huge 14 game road trip to close out August and are going to need to get those numbers turned around during that stretch against the A's and Jays to contend. The Twins have some very good young hitters coming off the DL soon, with Matt Tolbert, who had just been tearing up the majors before getting hurt, coming back to play second, allowing the Twins to FINALLY dump Adam Everett, and with Denard Span coming on strong since his call up and Carlos Gomez hitting .364 over the last week, the Twins are getting into a position where the hitting and the pitching will be good enough to finally control the AL Central lead for good.
Percentage chance: 74.9998%