Sunday Shenanigans 20: Three Dumb-But-Possible Ways for the MLB Standings to End Upby Carter LaCorte August 29, 2021 0 comments
We are reaching the home stretch of the 2021 MLB regular season. September is coming in the next few days. From there it is just 30 days and a series in October until the postseason gets underway. That is still a good amount of time for teams to make a series playoff push.
The current picture has people asking questions like, “Will the Padres or the Reds take the second wild card?”, or “Will we get a one-game, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox playoff series?”. Will we be looking at this today? Of course not, is this your first time reading Sunday Shenanigans? No one looks at the non-playoff teams in the standings, so let’s change that. Here are three ways that the bottom-of-the-barrel teams could line up when it is all said and done.
You can check out all the past Shenanigans here.
The Tigers Are Not a Bottom Half American League Team
Coming into the season, the question with the Detroit Tigers was whether they would be better than a bottom-three AL team. The Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers seemed like the only teams that could be worse than Detroit. Flash forward to late August and the Tigers are serious contenders… for second in the AL Central.
No, really. As of now, they stand 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second spot in the division. With 15 teams in the American League, the Tigers would have to be in the top-eight to not be in the bottom half. Yeah, they may be tenth as of now, but change is possible. Getting into ninth should not be too hard. Detroit sits half a game back of the Los Angeles Angels. Los Angeles just lost one of their top starters for the season in Patrick Sandoval. The Tigers could soon get Wily Peralta back, to join a rotation led by former top prospects Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize.
Admittedly, passing the Indians does not seem easy for a team four back in the loss column on Cleveland. Still, with Shane Bieber, Tristan McKenzie, and Aaron Civale on the injured list, the Cleveland rotation is weak as of now. Aside from Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes, the lineup is bad. The Tigers could do it.
The Rockies Finish Second in the National League East
Are the Colorado Rockies in the National League East? No. Does it matter? Yes, but we will pretend like it does not. After trading away Nolan Arenado in the offseason and failing to deal Trevor Story at the deadline, the Rockies have become a team to laugh at. But no team will ever be more of a laughing stock than the New York Mets, who after a four-game losing streak, are now just two games up on Colorado. For this prediction to work, the Rockies would have to pass the Mets AND the Phillies, who are five games up on them.
The Rockies may be an awful road team and a great home squad, but for this to work they have to figure it out away from Coors Field. Of their 16 games remaining at Coors, only three are against a team that will not be in the playoffs this year, all against Washington. Colorado has won seven of their last 10, while New York has won just two over the same span. So, passing the world-renowned chokers shouldn’t be a big fuss. The Phillies and their surprisingly good rotation will be harder. However, the Rockies have four games versus them in Philadelphia this September. Take three of those games, and they are in a good spot.
The Marlins Catch the Mets
The Mets’ pain continues with this outrageous guess. As of August 28th, the Miami Marlins have lost nine more games than New York. This should not be possible to climb. But, the Marlins have a great schedule for this coming up. Ten games against the Mets. They won’t win all of them, but doing that alone makes up the ground. Six against the Nationals, three against the Pirates, and six against the Phillies. Theoretically, the Marlins could pass the Phillies as well, but this is too adventurous, even for Sunday Shenanigans.
The fact is, that the Marlins are a very good 53-76 team. Their run differential is just -42, which is 17 runs better than the 69-60 Mariners, for example. Miami has a top-ten pitching staff, one that will be key for any future success. Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, and Pablo Lopez are a hell of a top-three. The bullpen is not awful, either. Hitting has been an issue all season. But the pitching staff is good enough to carry a team in a month. Outrageous, yes. But this prediction is possible.
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