The Road Ahead For Playoff Hopefuls

After taking three out of four games on the road in Detroit and winners of eight of their last ten, the Texas Rangers find themselves holding the second wild card spot and only three and a half games behind the Houston Astros for the division lead. While it has been a very interesting season for the club, both in terms of their consistently inconsistent play and their trade deadline deals, they are just a stretch of games away from deciding their fate for 2015. As they gear up for a big series against the first place Toronto Blue Jays, we here at Shutdown Inning pause to take a glance at the road ahead for several of the playoff hopefuls.

*All records and standings information below is current before the start of game play on 8/25/15

Houston Astros
1st place AL West | +3.5

Remaining Opponents combined record – 431-435 (.497%)

The Astros have by far and away surpassed just about everyone’s expectations for 2015 and are poised to make their first playoff appearance since their World Series run in 2005. Of their remaining 37 games, 25 games come against AL West foes where they have gone a combined 28-23. The Astros still have six games remaining with the Angels and seven games with the Rangers, so the divisional race is far from over. However, with 21 road games remaining, and their 24-36 road record, their schedule isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Toronto Blue Jays
1st Place AL East/ Holds 1st Wild Card | + 4.0 in the Wild Card

Remaining Opponents combined record- 482- 506 (.487%)

Anyone with the Blue Jays left on their remaining schedules have a tough road ahead of them. The second half of the season the Jays have gone 24-9 (.727% winning percentage) thanks in large part to the acquisition of both David Price and Troy Tulowitzki. Out of all the remaining contenders, Toronto appears to have the weakest remaining schedule with games remaining against Atlanta (54-71) Cleveland (58-66) and Boston (57-68). It is hard to imagine a playoff scenario that doesn’t feature Toronto at this stage in the season.

New York Yankees
1st Place AL East/ Holds 1st Wild Card | + 4.0 in the Wild Card
Remaining Opponents combined record- 496-493 (.501%)

The road to the postseason wont be easy this year for the Yankees with series remaining against divisional leaders Houston, Toronto and the New York Mets.  The Yankees started a three game set against the Astros at home on Monday before hitting the road for series against the Braves and Red Sox. After that the Yankees hit the “make or break” portion of their schedule with the next 12 games against Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Toronto.

Texas Rangers
2nd Place AL West/ Holds 2nd Wild Card | +1.5

Remaining Opponents combined record – 494-498 (.497%)

Tuesday marks the start of a huge six game stretch for the Rangers as they welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to the ballpark before playing host to the Baltimore Orioles. If the club wants to remain in the playoff picture, they will need to find a way to start winning more games against teams in the division. While the Rangers have won eight out of 12 against the Astros, they have gone 4-8, 4-8, and 4-9 against the Angels, Mariners and A’s respectively with twenty games still left to play against those three opponents. 27 of the teams final 30 games are against AL West opponents.

Los Angeles Angels
3rd Place in Wild Card | – 1.5 of 2nd Wild Card

Remaining Opponents combined record – 491-500 (.495%)

Much like everyone else on this list, the next month or so will determine the fate of the 2015 season for the Angels. After failing to meet expectations again this year, the Angels have the ability to make up games quickly with so many divisional games remaining. One disadvantage the club may have is a remaining three game series against the Los Angles Dodgers in early September. With wild card and divisional races so close, potentially running into the duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke could be problematic.

Minnesota Twins
4th Place in Wild Card | -1.5

Remaining Opponents combined record- 444-421 (.513%)

Not many expected the Minnesota Twins to be part of the playoff picture when the season started in April but thanks to a great start they were able to finish the first half of the year nine games over .500. The second half hasn’t been too kind to the Twins who have gone 14-21 since the break. They have a difficult schedule ahead of them with 12 of their remaining 38 games left against the Astros and the Kansas City Royals.

Baltimore Orioles
5th Place in the Wild Card | -2.5

Remaining Opponents combined record 456-408 (.527%)

With over half of their remaining games against Kansas City, Toronto and New York, the Baltimore Orioles will have the steepest hill to climb to make the 2015 postseason. In order to make a run, they must start to put together a nice string of games against tough opponents. Time is running out for the O’s who sit two games back in the Wild Card hunt with some of the league’s toughest teams still looming on their schedule.

With just about seven weeks remaining in the regular season, we will have to wait and see how the playoff picture shakes out. One thing is for certain, the next two months will provide us a whole lot of scoreboard watching.

Collin Budd
Dallas native and Texas Rangers fan since I was conceived. Nothing goes better with a ball game than a cold beer and a plate of nachos.

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