American League Central scenarios: How final two weeks shape up for Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers
The Cleveland Indians enter play Saturday with a 7-game lead over the Tigers with 9 games to go, and a magic number – combination of Tribe wins and Detroit losses – of three.
Here’s how the teams’ schedules shake out:
Cleveland: 2 vs. CWS, 4 @ DET, 3 @ KC
Detroit: 2 vs. KC, 4 vs. CLE, 3 @ ATL
Let’s look at scenarios for the division:
If Cleveland goes…
- 0-9: Detroit would need to go 7-2 to force a tiebreaker on Monday, Oct. 3.
- 1-8: Detroit would need to go 8-1 to force a tiebreaker on Monday, Oct. 3.
- 2-7: Detroit would need to go 9-0 to force a tiebreaker on Monday, Oct. 3.
If the Indians win four games, they win the AL Central.
There is also the matter of home-field advantage throughout the AL Postseason, for which the Indians are a half-game behind the Texas Rangers. (Although, the Red Sox are only a half-game behind the Indians and one game behind the Rangers in the race for that top spot.) If the Tribe earns the AL’s best record, the club would have home-field advantage throughout the Postseason (AL won the All-Star Game, and thus the AL rep in the World Series would have home field).
Owning the top record also would mean the Tribe would play the Wild Card Game winner (currently either Toronto or Detroit) and not the AL East champ (currently Boston), though each of those teams, and Texas, certainly are great teams and will present challenges for any team playing them in the Postseason.
Here’s a look at Texas’ schedule the rest of the way: 2 @ OAK, 3 vs. MIL, 3 vs. TB. (Oakland took two of three from the Rangers last weekend.)
Everyone got all that?
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond