Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Clinchings... Top and Bottom

National League

With their 7-1 victory over Philadelphia and the Giants’ 3-2 victory over the Dodgers, the Braves clinched home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.  The Cardinals do not yet share in that distinction – despite having the same record (94-65) as Atlanta – since the Dodgers would hold the tie-breakers between themselves and St. Louis.  One more Cardinal victory (or Dodger loss), however, and the Dodgers will be a road team for the entire duration of their stay in the playoffs.

While Atlanta and the Cardinals are tied, and Atlanta still clings to their tie-breaker for home field advantage should those teams, the Cards still actually haven’t clinched their division.  Their magic number is down to 1, however, with Pittsburgh hanging on for dear life.  Again, only one Cardinal victory is necessary to put that one to rest.

Potential Matchups Next Week

The two mostly likely possibilities are…

  • Wild Card (Pitt/Cincy) winner at Atlanta; Dodgers at St. Louis… or…
  • Wild Card (Pitt/Cincy) winner at St. Louis; Dodgers at Atlanta.

There are other scenarios still possible, but none of those matter so long at St. Louis beats the Cubs at least once this weekend.  If you’re looking to scout Atlanta’s potential opponents for the NLDS, check out Barry’s Tickets Blog for an in-depth look at Dodgers-Braves.


American League

Nothing is easy in the AL.  It looks like Boston will probably host the Wild Card winner… whoever that may be… with Oakland hosting Detroit in Round 1.  The A’s need only one more win to earn a home field advantage in that round, but could still catch Boston, as they would own the relevant tie-breakers.   Detroit is thus most likely to be a road team for the duration… though technically could still steal that from either Boston or Oakland if they sweep the weekend (and get lots of help elsewhere).

Wild Card:  Tampa Bay leads Cleveland by one game.  Cleveland leads Texas by one game.  Those three teams now have combined win streaks totaling 18 games.  But it may not be enough for the Rangers since they need to (probably) sweep the Angels while the Indians are playing the lowly White Sox.  Since the Rays hold the tie-breaker advantage over Cleveland, expect them to host the Wild Card game in St. Pete on Monday.


On the Other End…

Here’s how the draft pick race is shaping up:

  • 1.  Houston – 108 losses and counting.  Locked in.
  • 2.  Miami – 100 lossses and counting.  Almost locked in.
  • 3.  White Sox – 97 losses and counting.  Almost locked in.
  • 4./5. (tie) Cubs and Twins – 93 losses.  Locked into one of these positions.
  • 6.  Seattle – 89 losses.
  • 7./8./9./10.  Colorado/Milwaukee/Toronto/Philadelphia – 87 losses.

Next?  11.  Mets (86); 12. Giants (85); 13. Padres (84).

Why is this important?  Because the top ten draft picks are locked in.  Thus “bottom 10″ teams acquiring ‘Qualified’ free agents will not lose their first round draft picks in 2014.  So the Brewers/Mets series this weekend is actually meaningful – in a bad way.  The Phillies might not mind getting swept by Atlanta.  The Padres/Giants series might also take on a whole new level for ineptitude.  The Rockies might want to tank against the Dodgers.  The Blue Jays might also want to do that vs. the Rays.

A lot of these have bearing on both draft positions and the playoff home field advantage races.  It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

Ah, baseball!  The final weekend!



Tags: Atlanta Braves Playoffs

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