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Articles Tagged AL Wild Card 

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August 16, 2012 8:52 am

In A Pickle: Oakland's Not-Too-Wild Wild Card Scenario

5

Jason Wojciechowski

If you can believe in Chris Carter, you can believe in this year's Athletics.

I write this on Wednesday evening. It is mid-August. The Ides of August, even, though you're reading this the day after. The Oakland Athletics are 61-55, counting the Wednesday loss to the Royals. The last time the A's had a record this good this late was 2006, when they won the AL West behind Frank Thomas's bat and then went 3–4 in the playoffs—three wins against the Twins and four losses to the Tigers.

They're not looking at the division crown this year. They were up 5 1/2 games in the Short Stack in 2006, and they're down six now. Six games doesn't sound like a lot when there are 46 still to play, especially with seven of those 46 against the first-place Rangers. But it is a lot. The Rangers are a better team than the A's, so those games remaining are more likely to bury the Green & Gold than they are to become their salvation. This is why Oakland is only given a 1 percent chance at winning the division in the current iteration of our Playoff Odds. (Current as of my writing, anyway, which doesn't incorporate the Wednesday games yet, though I'll eat my hat with mustard if that figure differs much as you're reading this.)

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September 19, 2011 9:00 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Backing into the Playoffs

5

Jay Jaffe

With the panic button on hold in Boston, here's a look at how poorly some teams have finished in September to still make October.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a playoff race after all. On Sunday in Boston, the Rays pounced on the Red Sox for six runs in the first five innings, taking advantage of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's inability to stop Tim Wakefield's knuckleball—the backstop was charged with four passed balls, and was party to a wild pitch as well—and won their third game in a pivotal four-game series. The win pulled Tampa Bay to two games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race with 10 games left to play. The odds are still heavily in the Sox’ favor because they play the Orioles seven times while the Rays play the Yankees seven times, but given that less than two weeks ago it appeared the playoff slate was all but sealed, even this much drama is a pleasant surprise—at least if you're not a New Englander.

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November 7, 2008 12:24 pm

Prospectus Hit and Run: Divisionology

5

Jay Jaffe

The most powerful and the most hapless divisions of the Wild Card Era.

The World Series is over, and the Rays lost, but from an analytical standpoint, they're a gift that keeps on giving. One much-discussed topic during their post-season run was the strength of the American League East, particularly during the AL Championship Series, where the Rays met and defeated their division foes, the Red Sox. It's no secret that this year's AL East was a particularly deep division in today's smaller-division setup, as its top four teams-the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays-finished above .500 and ranked among the top six teams on the year-end Hit List. The question is: Where does this division fit in historically?

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November 9, 2006 12:00 am

Predictatron Recap

0

Ben Murphy

BP's newest contest is taken down by a Twins fan.

Just as I did last year, I'm here to follow up the HACKING MASS Wrap with a look at this year's Predictatron results. This is the second year we've done the Predictatron contest, and it continues to be popular, for obvious reasons--trying to predict the order of finish and teams' eventual records is one of the oldest hobbies of baseball fans.

For those that haven't had the pleasure to compete, Predictatron is the annual contest at Baseball Prospectus where entrants can win $500 by predicting the total wins for each of the 30 major league teams, and the results of the playoffs. Basic scoring is set up so that everyone starts with 1000 points, and you lose points for every win you are off for each team; you can win points back with the playoffs. There are also a few wrinkles, like the Mortal Lock, so I'd encourage everyone to read the full rules.

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October 4, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Hit List: Week of October 2

0

Jay Jaffe

Despite a better Hit List finish than in 2005, the White Sox are nursing their chai teas and watching from home. The last Hit List of the 2006 season finds justice and injustice up and down the majors.

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October 1, 2006 12:00 am

Locking it Up

0

Mike Carminati

A complete breakdown of when teams earn postseason berths produces some interesting findings.

New York is abuzz with the prospect of another Subway Series, and who can blame them? Though both New York teams took very different routes--the Mets dominated the ignoble National League all season, while the Yankees needed a late-season surge and a five-game sweep of the rival Red Sox to take charge of the AL East--they both were the first in their respective leagues to clinch a playoff spot.

On September 18, the Mets shut out the Marlins, 4-0, and had a 91-58 record, a 14 1/2-game lead, and 13 games left in the season, thereby clinching their first NL East title in 18 seasons.

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Angels and Blue Jays fans get the short end of the stick in the real standings, but they'll always have the Hit List.

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The surging Indians turn it on when it doesn't count in the strongest division in baseball, while former Red Sox prospects turn it on across the country in this week's Hit List.

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September 1, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: In Reverse

0

James Click

Our view of the season would be very different if it had played out exactly in reverse to reality. James rewinds the year, and shows us how.

The length of the baseball season can easily obscure some important trends that are developing. Teams like the A's get noticed because their rise from the depths has been so dramatic that it breaks free of the mass of information built before its arrival. But there are may other trends that can easily escape our eyes because so much of the season has already passed.

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With the season at the halfway point, Ben Murphy has a look at how people made their Predictatron picks.

Before delving deeper, some of you might find it helpful to read up on these statistical terms (thanks to Wikipedia):

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You either love the wild card or you hate it. But has anyone ever really looked at it?

The thing is, neither side has any idea what it's talking about. While I can point to specific examples of the wild card killing divisional races, MLB can point to, say, this year's National League wild-card race as an example of the concept creating interest where there would otherwise be none. Those are just examples, offered up in support of an argument, as the saying goes, rather than illumination. It's a visceral argument, not a rational one.

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August 17, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Not Wild About It

0

Joe Sheehan

The wild-card races have reached a boiling point, but there's something being lost in the steam. Joe Sheehan points out the missing elements in today's column.

I appreciate that the wild-card races look like they're going to be interesting, what with three teams in each league bunched like baby chicks huddled under their mother's wing. (At the close of play Sunday, there were actually three-team ties for first in each race.) I just don't think we realize what we're missing.

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