The Major League Baseball regular season is coming to a close this week and although most of the playoff races have already been decided, there are a still a few teams vying for the finals spots. Each team begins its final series of the season today and here are the matchups.
Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
After leading the AL Central for much of the season, the White Sox endured a slow fade in August and September, which has lead them to be currently three games back of Detroit with only three games left. So, Chicago needs a miracle to get in, which would involve a sweep of Cleveland and Detroit getting swept by Kansas City. The first part of the equation is not too far-fetched, as Chicago is definitely capable of taking care of business against the worst team in the AL, but it’s hard to imagine the Tigers losing three in a row to the Royals, since they are playing so well.
We will see if the Sox can stay alive today. Hector Santiago is making just his fourth start of the season for the White Sox and will take on Corey Kluber, who is 2-4 on the year. Look for Chicago to do its part and cover the -1.5 runline.
Detroit’s magic number to win the Central is just one and will look to clinch today. The Tigers will give Rick Porcello the ball in game one against KC. Porcello is just 9-12, but has started all season, as has Bruce Chen for the Royals, who is 11-13. I actually like the Royals at home today with Chen to cover +1.5 and keep the Sox hanging around for one more day. However, tomorrow the race could definitely end with Doug Fister getting the start for the Tigers.
NL Wild Card
Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
A few weeks ago, several teams jumped into the NL Wild Card mix, including Milwaukee and Philadelphia, but in the last week they have faded away only to leave St. Louie and LA vying for the final playoff spot in the NL. The Dodgers have had an up and down season overall, but even a more up and down second half. However, recently, they are on the upswing and have given themselves a chance at two games back with three remaining. St. Louis could close things out today with a win and an LA loss.
The Cardinals challenge is obviously that they are playing the Reds, a team that still has postseason home field to play for. Bronson Arroyo gets the ball for Cincy today and has had a good year up until now, going 12-9 with a 3.70 ERA. St. Louis will need a strong outing from Jamie Garcia, who comes into the contest with a record of 6-7 and a 3.99 ERA. I like the Reds to win this one and cover the +1.5 runline on the road.
If the Cards do lose, the Dodgers have to take advantage. Aaron Harang will take the mound for LA with a 10-10 record and a 3.68 ERA against Matt Cain of the Giants, who comes in with a 16-5 record and a 2.77 ERA. Although Cain has the edge in the matchup, I like the Dodgers here at home. It’s a must-win game and the boys in blue are hot right now, winning five in a row. Take LA to make it six by covering the +1.5 runline.