By Jason Wojciechowski on August 28, 2005 at 4:25 PM
With the A's currently tied with the Yankees in the American League standings (and thus for the wild card), I wondered about the tie-breaker scenarios.
Apparently, the season series between the two teams would be the first tie-breaker. Unfortunately for the A's, they lost five out of six to New York earlier this season. They've got three games left against them, starting on September 2nd, but even with a sweep, they can't take the season series. In some sense, then, the Yankees have a one-game lead on the A's, because the A's have to actually beat the Yankees to get to the playoffs, while New York just has to tie.
The situation is a tiny bit better, but not much, if the Yankees push ahead of the Red Sox and put Boston into a race with the A's, because, while Boston won four out of six against Oakland earlier in the season, the A's have a four-game series in Fenway in a few weeks. If the A's swept that series, they'd win the season series. If they won the series 3-1, they'd tie the season series. Any other outcome means they lose the season series and find themselves in the same position as they're in against the Yankees.
Unfortunately, I really don't think the A's will pull out a four-game sweep of Boston at Fenway. Boston's been slipping a little bit in recent weeks, alternative poor pitching with poor hitting and occasionally putting both together, but it's not like they've been like Oakland circa May. Besides, they haven't suddenly become a mediocre team. They're still very tough and that date in Fenway certainly looms ominously.
Of course, none of this matters if the A's can regain the lead in the West and hold onto it. After last night's events, when the A's blew out Baltimore while Tampa smacked Anaheim, the A's are just 1/2 a game back of the Angels.